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NYFF 2022: Day 1

Master Gardener.

Greetings from the overlit balcony where laughter erupts from our section of the theatre often. It’s odd considering the film we’re watching. Paul Schrader’s new film, Master Gardener. A film that will likely become one of the most talked about films of the year plot-wise. A film Mr. Schrader describes as a Gothic Fable to avoid the “what?!?” literalism with which many people will understand the plot and go, “wait, WHAT?!?” And that’s precisely what makes Paul Schrader the iconoclast that he is. He understands and is willing to approach things that others are not. I love him for this. He doesn’t give a fuck what you think of his work or his opinions. I aspire to be this person. It’s hard to find in today’s world. In today’s world you’re either delightful or an asshole. An opinion is more than just an opinion. It’s your moratorium on who you are as opposed to just a statement that really doesn’t matter or matters only insomuch as that it’s your stupid or fucked up opinion. I have many. Everyone does. In the film, Sigourney Weaver, who is a standout, generated one of the strongest laughs of the night when she delivered the line “I hate the internet.” It’s a great dismissal of the frivolity of our times. Social media doesn’t matter. I’m posting this on social media. Who cares? Let’s appreciate art that makes you go “what the fuck?!?” You don’t have to enjoy it. I still don’t know how I felt about this film. But will it make you think and did the artists take a risk? Now THAT’s interesting. Take a risk. They aren’t always what you think they’re going to be. But DAMN, as in this case, they are intriguing and thought-provoking. Someone behind me in the theatre after the screening uttered the phrase “I don’t know how I COULD like anything about that” in response to the question “what did you think?” That is glorious. That’s art. As long as there are people willing to take big swings, and explore, and go on a journey you don’t expect to go on yourself, and make a film where you laugh and go “what the fuck?” Even when it isn’t intended to be funny, or maybe is in its own macabre way, there is still something worth creating.

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