George Miller Knows the Power of a Great Story

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It’s a great mystery, and if you’re lucky enough to be a storyteller, once in a while, at least for yourself, you get to shed some light on the process and the need to make things into a story.

In the film, Tilda Swinton’s character Alithea seems convinced that all myths and historical stories can be explained through logic and science, but this changes with the introduction of the djinn. Do you think there are forces or creatures beyond what we could explain?

No, I don’t think there are any creatures around here. There are certainly events and phenomena that are beyond our ability to explain. It has always been like this, as Alithea herself says. She says, “Myth is what we knew then, and science is what we know now.” This is the narrative of humans as we collectively gain knowledge. It has reached the stage where much of this knowledge is corrupted, depending on which bubble or community you like to join, but regardless of all this anti-science rhetoric, you and I are talking at thousands of kilometers simply because of the like Newton and Maxwell.

In every message and story, there is a teller and a receiver. How do you receive cinderella like a middle-aged man might not be like an eight-year-old girl does. When you’re making a film, are you trying to create what you want people to get, or are you more interested in what they get and where they take it?

It’s really an interesting thing. It’s both, and where you find the balance is really how a film has meaning, or engages the audience in one way or another. I can say this with the authority of someone who has experienced the same thing you are talking about.

First, all stories worth their salt are allegorical in one way or another. In other words, there is more to it than meets the eye. They are also very poetic, meaning they are in the eye of the beholder. Now, whether it’s fairy tales or documentary films or highly analytical books or newspaper stories, any story has to have that quality if it’s going to have any resonance.

It always is cinderella It is said that this means something different to everyone, but it just has to have a large enough audience to have the speech. The most surprising example for me was Girl. I remember I was in South Africa and someone told me very forcefully that the film is about apartheid, specifically. The movie declares at the beginning that it’s about an unprejudiced heart and how it changed our valley forever, or something like that. He says so in the narration. But this man said, “No, no, it’s specifically about apartheid,” and I said, “What do you mean?”

He pointed out that there was a moment when the farmer looks out the window. The pig is deciding to learn to be a sheep pig and herd different animals, and he had separated the brown chickens from the white ones. It was purely coincidental, because we were trying to show that he could be organized by asking the different farm animals kindly, but that was an indicator to him that it was specifically about apartheid. It had never occurred to me.

Now I realize that this kind of thing is in every story if it has this poetic dimension. Even a sports story, or whatever. Nor is it accidental, for they are deliberately poetic. That’s why we often tell stories through some kind of avatar, which can be an animal or a superhero or some other figure.

The person who had the best answer to your question was Freddie Mercury. Someone came up to him and said, “I think I understand what ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ is about,” and proceeded to say this and that. Freddie Mercury’s response was: “If you see it, honey, it’s there.”

That’s why I’m drawn to these stories. The Mad Max world is an allegorical world. Babes and Happy Feet are allegorical worlds.

This movie obviously is, because it’s a fairy tale. The paradox is that there are often very deep truths that resonate through fairy tales. That is why some of these details remain.

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