I was having a conversation today with some friends who, like me, are (1) big fans of Christopher Nolan’s early film “Memento”, not such big fans of his later larger scale work, notably “Inception”. It occurred to us that it would be great to have a backwards retrospective of selected Nolan films, starting with “Inception” and building up to “Memento”. If you’ve seen “Memento”, this makes perfect sense.
I wonder whether one could do similar meta-themed cinematic auteur surveys. A festival of Tarantino films would start in the middle of his oeuvre, and also end in the middle. A retrospective of Alain Resnais would splice together scenes taken at random from all his films. For Max Ophüls the films would need to go around in a circle, with the last film leading into the first.
A Charlie Kaufman retrospective would need to be in the form of a film about the Charlie Kaufman retrospective. For Stan Brakhage, we would get a lot of projectors and show all his films on the same screen at the same time. A Sam Peckinpah retrospective would continue until the entire audience lay dead in a pool of blood.
We would honor the career of George Lucas by screening three film masterpieces, waiting several decades, and then screening three awful films.
And of course the Jean-Luc Goddard retrospective would need to have a beginning, a middle and an end, but not necessarily in that order.