There's a difference between a genuine artist and a filmmaker who cares about what people think of him, and prime examples of both are currently playing. First we have Alejandro Amenabar's Agora (7 screens); it's his first release after he won an Oscar for Best Foreign Language film. This new one is about the search for knowledge during the rise of Christianity in 4th Century Egypt. Then we have George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead (8 screens), the sixth in his ongoing series of zombie movies, which has received mainly bad reviews. So which of these two directors is the genuine artist? Wrong!

Amenabar started out with three very good genre films, Tesis (1996), Open Your Eyes (1997), and The Others (2001). They all contained some really interesting horror and sci-fi ideas and they were enough to get genre fans excited about him, marking him as a director to watch. But instead of following up with another horror or sci-fi film, he made The Sea Inside (2004), which is essentially a "disease-of-the-week" film, the kind of film that usually gets called "brave" and "powerful," but that nobody really wants to see. It told the story of a quadriplegic who wants to die despite the fact that he has just published a book of poetry, and has beautiful women fawning over him at every moment. It's basically an issue movie about the right to die, and doesn't much care about characters or ideas; it won an Oscar.
categories Columns, Cinematical