"Art is not a mirror with which to reflect the world; it is a hammer with which to shape it"

Saturday, 8 September 2007

A Life Less Ordinary?

According to an article on IMDB Tim Burton has just been honoured with a lifetime achievement award at the Venice Film Festival this year as "one of America's bravest, most visionary and innovative filmmakers". Their choice, of course, but…

…while I love Burton’s films as much as the next-potential-outsider-on-the-street there are a couple of flaws:

  • Burton has directed 12 features in 22 years which can’t really be considered a huge canon (still trumps our very own Ridley Scott: 16 in 30 years),
  • the canon, while excellent, does not show a huge variety- all wonderfully Gothic, stylish, sympathetic to the outsider, etc.- but not something for all tastes yet,
  • he now lives and works in Britain and has for quite some time,
  • but above all, Tim Burton is only 49! This is a lifetime achievement award? Do they know something we don’t? Do they decide these things, not based on work, but from spirit consultations? Has Burton himself worked out the horrifying implications?

So, there you go… Tim Burton gets an award for being good (which he is) but also for living his lifetime (which is hopefully nowhere near done yet).

Just to make this clear: I love Tim Burton films, might even love Tim Burton (but I’ve not met him so wouldn’t know) but I’m thoroughly baffled as to what exactly constitutes a lifetime these days. This gives most of the scribosphere 10-15 years before our lives can be officially classed as either over or a failure. Whichever’s worse. And before complacency sets in... you may think you've got 15 years to achieve in but they’re handing these things out younger and younger.

Next month’s lifetime achievement goes to Haley Joel Osment.

*Peter O’Toole, of course, didn’t get his lifetime until he was 71. So we’ll swiftly ignore that.

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