Saturday, April 5, 2008

Struggling to find the words - Mishima

I recently watched a fascinating film about a famous Japanese author: Mishima. Fans of films that are more on the artistic side and that are subtitled should seek this movie out. it’s got great acting, superb camera work and an interesting story.

The movie attempts to show you a full picture of this writer, by showing you his biography (shot in black and white), scenes from his stories (in a vivid surreal color) and the final day of his life (shot documentary style). These elements are interwoven and set into four pieces each dealing with a different theme: beauty, art, action and the combination of the three.

One element of the movie struck me. Mishima was obsessed with words and using the correct words to express himself in the purest way possible. For him beauty was purity. Beauty could be represented in art. Therefore art had to be pure, and the more pure the art the more beautiful it was. Unfortunately he began to struggle with his writing, finding it harder and harder to achieve his goal of purity.

Now Mishima comes across like a writer who wants to create art. Most of us just want to tell stories and have people read them. However, I also think that each writer has a bit inside that wants to create something lasting. Maybe for something to last, it has to be beautiful and pure.

In the current world of publishing, writing is a business. There is little room for art and beauty. Most of the time, something is beautiful because it is different and new. Different and new doesn’t sell books. However most writers still feel the thrill of creation, the action of writing to make a story come to life. That gives us the thrill.

What do you think of art and beauty in writing? Is it something that writers should aspire to, or is it something that can only be done in personal writing? Or is telling stories an art that is not as appreciated as it could be?

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