At the end of a gallery talk at Yale about his latest film Mr. Turner, Mike Leigh said: “The audience is a collection of people who are at least as intelligent as me.” He added that it didn’t matter how much the audience knew in terms of general knowledge of the subject, what mattered was that he assumed nothing and conveyed his message in a clear way.
Mike Leigh said those things to a full house of especially intelligent listeners, most of whom knew Turner’s work well. His lecture was part of the annual Festival of Arts and Ideas in New Haven.
Mike Leigh is right : previous knowledge of art is not a prerequisite for enjoyment as long as the message is clear. Mr Turner is an important and enjoyable film for viewers who know Turner’s work well, and also for those who were introduced to him for the first time.
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