By Ahmed Latif
I have always wanted to be a film director but recently I came up with the perfect film. This film can fit into almost any genre: action, comedy, drama, or rom com. The film can be made using any budget, blockbuster or art-house. The film can be released as a Christmas movie or a summer flick. The film can open at Cannes or Sundance or even Tribeca. The film is a producer’s long lost brother and an editor’s best friend; that is to say it is both easy to edit yet filled with effects. It examines some heavy themes but in a lighthearted way. It deals with prevalent issues head on but utilizes a great deal of tact and savvy. It is self-aware without being condescending. It can be said to occupy the very essence and soul of minimalistic cinema.
It is one hundred and ten minutes long. It is 110 minutes of a blank white screen. No characters, no explosions, no setting, no plot, no events, nothing. There is no guy that walks across the grand white background and says something profound. There is no woman that appears out of thin air in front of the white dominating background and says something ironically simple. There is no elderly wise man that says nothing. There is no child with a faint and ominous smile. There is no eloquent narrator. At the end you don’t find out that it was a movie within a movie, or an alternate world or a dream. There is nothing and accordingly no explanation for the nothing that has been presented. There is no music, no chart-topping tracks. There is no sound, no movement; just a completely blank slate for 110 minutes. There is nothing; except at the end, the credits. Not with a black background though, instead we will have black font on that same distressing white background. That way audiences can’t tell where the movie ends and the credits start; they will think the whole movie was a preamble to the credits.
The credits will include seven hundred and fifty people. It takes lighting and special computer-generated effects to make the background so white. It takes stylists and makeup specialists to keep the white unblemished. It takes set designers and interior décor experts to ensure that this is the right shade of white. It takes cameramen to shoot the background. It takes editors to edit out the glitches from shooting the background. It takes caterers to feed the crew and producers. And everyone will need interns and assistants.
You need John Williams and the entire London Symphony Orchestra to make the score for this film. Silence doesn’t just happen. You need sound to negate other sounds. You need coughs to negate other coughs. You need to capture the blank and silent ambience perfectly. You will then need a DJ to mix the work of the symphony.
We will also need stuntmen for the crew and body doubles for the white background. We will need casting directors and technical advisors. We will also require a camera crew at the San Diego studio, just in case. Proper licenses are obviously necessary; and thanking the proper authorities, such as the Office of the Mayor of Santa Clara, goes without saying. We will need to give Woody Allen and Quentin Tarantino executive producer credits. After the credits are over, we will need to promote this film in order to get the film the Academy Nominations it deserves; after all it is the definition of minimalist cinema.
Woody Allen and Quentin Tarantino will both give interviews alongside each other and talk about how working together was a dream. John Williams will describe this soundtrack as the pinnacle of his career. It is important to have an A-lister promoting the film, not as a producer or actor but just as an A-lister being paid to promote; no other justification is required. I personally want to say Kevin Kline but the studio feels that this smells like a Willem Dafoe project. Elena, the studio head’s assistant has recommended Tom Hanks; let’s just say that if she recommended Tom Hanks for a young Clark Kent in The Rise of Superman, the studio would gladly oblige. We have to have a top marketing firm, a large promotional budget, and Superbowl ad time. We will need a line of action figures and video games featuring the white background to help promote the film. I don’t even have to mention that a paparazzi-induced rumour about who the white background is dating is most advantageous. We could even leak some photos of the white background at a Clippers game with Zooey Deschanel to Extra or maybe Entertainment Tonight. The white background could even host SNL and TMZ. It could be at the opening of the Chicago Stock Exchange. It could be at the ceremonial first pitch at a San Francisco Giants game. The white background can appear on The Daily Show with John Stewart, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, and The View; and all in the same week. We can even check the white background into a rehab clinic in Napa Valley for exhaustion. Then the white background can make a cameo in a Maroon 5 music video. The white background can feature on a track with Lil Wayne and Adele; any label will look favourably on the white background’s renewed credibility. Then have the white background on the cover of Vanity Fair, the headline will read: A White Hot Shining Star. But we will keep everything very classy and minimalist of course.
After the premier the promotion tour will have to go international. We will need a private jet for the white background and the massive entourage that ensues. We will have to trash a hotel room in Monaco just to keep up appearances. The white background can visit sick children in Rome; they can even have their picture taken with the white background. The white background will be seen surfing with Matthew McConaughey in Hawaii. The white background will be seen at hipster hangouts in New York wearing a Che t-shirt alongside James Franco. Then it will be seen at the Broadway premier of Aquaman alongside Matthew Broderick and Sarah Jessica Parker. Jay-Z and Kanye will rap about chilling with the white background for their new collaboration. The white background can be photographed coming out of LAX with Zoe Saldana. Denzel Washington, while promoting his new movie, will talk about how excited he is to work with the white background on their next project.
The budget for this film should be around one hundred and seventy-eight million dollars. Or as my accountant would say ‘exactly $178,935,753.48’. The film will have an amazing opening weekend because of the media blitz during promotion and then tail off a bit in the box office. Nonetheless it will stay at the top of the box office charts for 5 weeks. We will get mixed reviews on Rotten Tomatoes but generally positive ones on Letterbox’d. There will be a rumour of a sequel. Variety will report on it and get people excited but there will be no sequel. We will develop a loyal cult following. They will make references to this film in every medium of self-expression. The film will become a cornerstone of popular culture. People will react to discovering that their friend has not seen the film by saying, ‘What? What do you mean you haven’t seen it? It is one of the best movies ever. You have to see it. It is the definition of minimalist cinema!’
Oh and I forgot to mention, the whole movie will run backward and no one will be able to tell the difference.