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The Power of Limits in The Five Obstructions

17 January 2012 4:08 AM, PST | The Moving Arts Journal | See recent The Moving Arts Journal news »

How are you doing with your new year’s resolutions? Did you start this month with enthusiasm and optimism? We seem to enjoy this annual ritual of creating restrictions for ourselves. Some restrictions which seem to complement each other (like exercising and eating less chocolate) in fact serve to double the challenge (burning more calories while taking in fewer). Others (like working harder and maintaining good posture at the computer) really work against each other. Still, most of us make new year’s resolutions every year, and enjoy setting challenges for ourselves, and dreaming of success.

Creatively, challenges can work wonders. In 1960s Czechoslovakia, there was a temporary liberalisation of culture, but censorship remained in place, forcing the young Czech New Wave directors to find creative ways around these restrictions. Much contemporary experimentation comes as a way of dealing with restricted funding. But in some cases, directors can benefit from imposing restrictions on themselves. »

- Alison Frank

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