his 1849 essay The Artwork of
the Future, German opera
composer Richard Wagner put forth his idea of Gesamtkunstwerk, in which
all theatrical, visual, musical and literary arts are fully developed
and integrated in the medium of opera. Wagner believed that
only in this way could the totality of human experience be expressed
through art, whereby "... the public, that representation of daily
life, forgets the confines of the auditorium, and lives and breathes
now only in the artwork which seems to it as Life itself, and on the
stage which seems the wide expanse of the whole World."
If he had encountered the primitive moving picture devices of his time, could Wagner have guessed that he had prophesied today's experience of cinema? The medium was already nascent: by the time of Wagner's death in 1883, Thomas Edison had invented sound recording, and was only a few years from recording moving pictures on film.
During childhood I digested a large amount of television programming, including the occasional example of what television executives regard as classic cinema. At the age of eight my first true cinematic experience came at a screening of George Lucas' debut feature, a landmark event in American independent cinema.
Since then, I have found many films that speak to me, including those of Mizoguchi Kenji, Ozu Yasujiro, Luis Bu˝uel, Robert Bresson, Ingmar Bergman, Andrei Tarkovsky, Wim Wenders, Michael Haneke, Abbas Kiarostami and especially, Richard Linklater.
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