Wednesday, July 12, 2006

M. Night’s Moses complex

In the New York Times Sunday Book Review this week, the forthcoming book about M. Night Shyamalan (which we wrote about last week) is critiqued.
New work by important filmmakers is always hyped by early publicity, some of it flattering enough to have been written at gunpoint. Now M. Night Shyamalan has set a new high-water mark for this sort of sycophancy. He has deigned to allow Michael Bamberger, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, to follow him adoringly through every stage of the filmmaking process. The upshot is not just a puff article but a full-length, unintentionally riotous puff book.
Not exactly a promising beginning…

It continues:
Who is M. Night Shyamalan? The point is that you're supposed to know already. By some lights (namely his own and Mr. Bamberger's) he is an A-list Hollywood legend whose work is ablaze with beauty and wisdom. By others, he's the guy who made a mint with "The Sixth Sense," starred in an American Express ad and has now directed "Lady in the Water." The book makes landfall on July 20, a day before the movie does.

"The Man Who Heard Voices" isn't really the filmmaker's fault. His only serious misstep was allowing it to happen. It was Mr. Bamberger who met the auteur at a dinner party ("Night's shirt was half open — Tom Jones in his prime"), became awestruck ("What kind of power could he have over me?") and started taking deeply embarrassing notes.

How could Mr. Shyamalan have known that his Boswell would place him in a biblical light? The book finds some relevance for Night (as Mr. Bamberger calls him) in the fact that the word night, like the word day, shows up early in the Book of Genesis. It also describes an actress in Night's presence as "like Moses before the burning bush."
So he said he resembles Moses in a certain light. So what?

We imagine he gets that all the time. And deservedly so. He's the Dylan of filmmaking...

Related:
Sunday Book Review: M. Night barbecues chicken with perfect grill lines at his Main Line home, the grandest of all the horse-country estates [NY Times]
Earlier:
M. Night had his heart broken on Valentine’s Day too

1 comment:

dmac said...

I loved Bamberger's last book about Pennsbury High School (Wonderland).

I'm kind of excited for this one, if only to read more inane descriptions of M. Night.