Meaning and sparsity

"Light Denied" written and directed by Pawel Kuczynski

Recently I have shown and discussed “Light Denied” in several places. Two days ago the film opened the IV International Philosophical Film Festival in Cracow. The panel discussion afterwards contained many flattering remarks and was also inspirational and insightful in its critical parts.  I'll write about it soon.  

The film has some strong supporters, even enthusiasts, but also leaves some people cold. Making it I was focusing on rendering the emotions of my own nietzschean journey, perhaps with not enough consideration for the audience. As a result the film works with those who, I am guessing, share my vibe.  

Watching it again on Thursday I realized how and where to possibly include elements that would make the viewing more “user friendly”, less compressed, with possibly a broader appeal.  Should I do it? Should I attempt a “Light Denied - extended version”? Or should I just apply the lessons learned to my next project? And more specifically: 

How much is enough, how much is too much? Once we know the right amount of “stuff” that we want to convey, what's the best way to disseminate it throughout whatever it is that we are doing?

Do we need to show or only inspire, or provoke?  How much of our communication should be complete to be understood? How much of it should be easy to consume?

What is the role of a challenge in visual communication?  Whose sensitivity and understanding should we check our attempts against?

Because the festival screening took place in “Manggha”, the Japanese Art and Technology Center, I find it fitting to quote a seventeenth century Japanese master painter in regards to sparsity in visual storytelling:

In all varieties of painting, whether monochromatic or colored, make simplicity your primary rule. The pattern should rather remain unfinished. A better effect will be obtained by depicting only one third of the backdrop for the objects. If you are dealing with a poetic theme, do not describe it in full detail, but leave some meaning understated. Empty space is also a component of a picture: leave the space white and fill it with understatement.
- Tosa Mitsuoki (1617–1691)

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