Monday, June 22, 2015

TODAY'S NUGGET: Interiors (1978) - How to End a Fight When There Are No Easy Answers

[Quick Summary: When a father decides to divorce and remarry, his three daughters grapple how to cope.]

I admire this script because it's realistic, sometimes uncomfortably so, but not in a depressing way.

In this story:
- Mom is permanently unhinged.
- Dad is ready to move on with a new wife.
- Daughter Renata (poet) has a husband who feels threatened by her success.
- Daughter Joey (photographer) feels second banana to Renata.
- Daughter Flyn (actress) has go-nowhere career.

I liked that each character has a strong POV and issues that conflict with the others.

However, how do you resolve the conflict if both sides are sound?

How do you resolve a scene when there are no easy answers?

I learned from reading this script that:
1) You do not have to have a nice neat resolution at the end of a scene.
2) How the character comes to terms with the argument can happen off screen.
3) #2 above will work as long as all the issues are presented on screen (#1).

The scene below is the tail end of yet another argument about Mom.

Notice that:
- There is no tidy resolution at the end.
- The scene ends without an "a-ha!" moment.
- The scene lays out the issues, i.e., Joey's resentment. 
- If you read the full script, you'll see this conversation have an impact (albeit off screen). We know this because they act differently after this scene.

ex." RENATA: Look, Joey...I can't help it if you feel guilty about your feelings toward Mother. I mean, you-you-you can't seem to do enough to make up for it.

JOEY (looking at RENATA): Hey, what's that supposed to mean?

RENATA: You know what it means. You could never stand her.

JOEY (Upset): I-I don't believe this. My whole life I've only wanted to be her.

RENATA: Yeah...well, for a while there you were her, weren't you?

JOEY (Shaking her head): I don't know what you're talking about.

RENATA: Oh, Joey, you know what I'm talking about! All those headaches every time she'd come home from the hospital. You never wanted her to come home.

JOEY: This is incredible. I mean, you twist everything I say. I-I-I give up!"

WHAT I'VE LEARNED: Characters don't have to resolve every fight on screen.

Interiors (1978)
by Woody Allen
Four Films of Woody Allen (book published 1982)

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