A new film by Daniel Fish (NYC)
Daniel Fish has long been interested in film – as a textual resource/referent (the screenplay), an element of his stagecraft (the screen) and a structural challenge to his dramaturgy (the “language” of cinema vs. the “language” of the theater). Recently, he made his first serious turn to filmmaking, with the hour-long The Dollar General, a funny, quiet, cinematographically deadpan meditation on economics, crisis, loss and change, shot in an abandoned Ford dealership.
That is, it’s a movie about America right now. It’s a beautiful movie, profoundly affecting in its visual rusticity, and its haunting final scene – the final shot, especially – numbers among the most memorable committed to film in this country in recent years.
For roughly the last twenty years, Daniel Fish has been making innovative work for theater, opera and more recently, film. His heterodox theatrical vision traffics in the unlikeliest of aesthetic combinations – revolutionizing revered dramatic classics (Shakespeare, Moliere, Odets, Benjamin Britten, Rodgers and Hammerstein), or else finding theater where none was intended, as in the labyrinthine writings of the late David Foster Wallace with A (radically condensed and expanded) Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again (The Chocolate Factory and ArtsEmerson’s TNT Festival) and Jonathan Franzen with House For Sale. Fish’s work is at once conceptually rigorous and theatrical lavish, and it is this rare conjunction that gives his work its singular flavor.