Minari is a film you must watch. It is cinema as life. A plot that makes itself invisible. It is also journalism as reality. More on that in a minute.
That it is somewhat autobiographical offers something to the latter. But it’s a story about the subtle dynamics of integration, of pursuing one’s dreams and about sacrifices, and intergenerational problems to overcome. It is life as known.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu said Cinema is a mirror by which we often see ourselves. Alongside Nomadland directed by Chloé Zhao — who won two oscars — Minari nominated for seven Oscars won one for supporting actress Youn Yuh-jung. Is there a shift to what should concern us?
I asked the question in doctorate studies several years ago, what could journalism learn from cinema? To some it was heresy. But what if a director from cinema looked to make stories in journalism? Or what if the two overlapped? It would be like documentary and cinema — a thriving field.
Journalism and its alignment with democracy faces many challenges. Audiences are dwindling. The consequences for our democracies, livelihoods leaves them under assault. It’s not that journalism is dying, but audiences crave drama, true drama.
And the drama need not be physical conflicts, but the confrontations of everyday life. That’s what great cinema explores, the explicit and implicit. That’s what great journalism should explore. A parent who looks fine on the surface, but is suffering from the mental aftermaths of lockdown and taking care of the children.
Cinema journalism is an emerging real discipline. Yet it is by no means an easy medium to grasp. It has constraints, but also a langue that draws in audiences. It requires new ways of teaching, of understanding the theory and practicals to deal with the complexities and ideologies within society.
What if journalists could make great cinema journalism? It’s not a hypothesis because an emerging cadre are, and they’re being lauded for what they do. Their attempts at storytelling reach for new criteria. How do I make my story memorable? How do I cut past dead cats and squirrels? How do I make the audience feel how I feel? Clive Myrie says it’s not about being dispassionate, it’s about emotional intelligence and empathy asking the question: how would you feel?
Journalism has invariably been described as a cultural form. Yes, but easily there’s an adoption of criteria which obviate much needed cultural nuances. That’s what cinema journalism offers.
This is the 2-min promo below from my Doctorate, illustrating cinema journalism.