How much did their wives know?

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Photo: Athenacinema.com

Bernie Madoff. Sean Fitzpatrick. How much did their wives know? And what kind of people were they?

If you ask two people to write a screenplay that starts from these questions, how different could they be? I rewatched Syriana last week, written by Stephen Gaghan (who also wrote Traffic) and I could imagine the kind of film he would write. His films are like essays. They show the world from many angles – inside the boardroom, inside the Federal Bureau, inside a Western marriage, inside a poor young Pakistani being recruited to jihad.

 When I first saw it in 2005 I liked it. This time around, I couldn’t stay with it. It was heavy.

To write a story “about” an issue – when has it worked?

Bernie Madoff and Sean Fitzpatrick. Woody Allen wondered how much their wives knew, and he wrote Blue Jasmine, a drama, not an essay. Why does it work so well? Maybe because it could be a play – we have Jasmine and her sister Ginger, and the men in their lives, Hal, Augie, and Chili. We have two suitors, a dentist and a wealthy widower. We have what you could call a domestic drama with some themes hanging around the fringes.

Giving the terms a broad interpretation, does domestic drama always trump political drama?

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