Crowdsource: Favorite Film about the Creative Process?

Dear denizens of the internet,

While I'm busy over here grading mounds of student work, perhaps you could help me out with a question I've got:
What's your favorite movie that depicts the creative process?
How you define "depicts" and "creative process" is up to you.  And if you want to mention more than one movie, I won't stop you.

Many thanks,
Mr. Mumpsimus

I'll be back to posting things of substance sometime in the coming weeks...


  1. Overtly about the creative process: Henry Fool. In some ways, it's not a very good movie. In other ways, though, it's a really good movie, and it's interesting that (to me) it succeeds where biopics of actual writers/artists/musicians/whatever tend to fail.

    I'm also partial to any good superhero origin story. To me, they really work as metaphors for how writers, musicians, and other artists grow--you know, discovering what they're capable of and also realizing the limits of their powers. And they involve kicking ass, which is good.

  2. Hi Matt - the arts dept at NHS worked on creating a resource on this very topic, here's the link:

    You can also edit the page to make it better if you'd like.

    There are 3 videos there about creativity but my favorite is the one from Adam Savage of MythBusters.


  3. No love for BARTON FINK? I also have a soft spot for the 1997 adaptation of George Orwell's KEEP THE ASPIDISTRA FLYING, in which Richard E. Grant sets out to live the impoverished poet's life. Surely, ED WOOD counts. And maybe 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE?

  4. Movies about movies: 8 1/2, Pierrot Le Fou, Contempt, Beware of the Holy Whore, Grizzly Man, The Player, Adaptation, A Cock and Bull Story...

  5. El Sol del Membrillo, (known in English as DREAM OF LIGHT), this film depicts Spanish artist Antonio Lopez as he attempts to paint a quince tree in his backyard.

    DIED YOUNG, STAYED PRETTY and AMERICAN ARTIFACT are two recent films about some of the artists who produce rock posters for rock bands both popular and cultish. I don't know if either is about the creative process, but both are vivid depictions of the different creative personalities who make up the poster-artist community.

    NAKED LUNCH by David Cronenberg could never be a film of Burroughs' book, so he decided to make a film in which he imagines how Burroughs might have come to write the book, turning his personal experiences into fictive material and thus wresting personal control over the sometimes traumatic events which, in his life, buffeted him about.

    If any more occur to me, I'll post them later.

  6. Jacques Rivette's La belle noiseuse by a country mile. Bunches of Rivette qualifies actually but L'amour fou and Out 1 etc. aren't readily available.

  7. Because it's you asking, I find myself trying to justify answering "The Thin Red Line."

  8. Either Goonies or Hell Comes to Frogtown, with The Bad Lieutenant a close third. JeffV

  9. "My Beautiful Career", a beautiful film about being a writer.

  10. A Beautiful Mind
    Fahrenheit 451
    Being John Malkovich
    Shakespeare in Love
    The Agony and The Ecstacy
    Barton Fink
    American Splendor
    Young Frankenstein

  11. What's your favorite movie that depicts the creative process?

    I am quite fond of The Horse's Mouth (1958). I was reminded of it by Séraphine (2008), which I also recommend.

  12. The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio

  13. Shadows in the Sun, a lovely movie set in gorgeous Italian scenery. An uptight young smartarse editor travels out into the middle of nowhere determined that HE can be the one to rehabilitate a famously reclusive writer who hasn't written a book in 20 years.

    Harvey Keitel does a great job as the not-as-crazy-as-he-looks-oh-actually-maybe-he-is famous author, and he ends up playing mentor to Joshua Jackson's I'm-an-editor-but-really-I-want-to-be-a-writer apprentice. Also there are hijinks involving stolen cows and karaoke.

    And some really nice advice on writing, too.

  14. A few come tom ind that no-one has mentioned yet. "Edvard Munch" is quite extraordinary, as are several Ken Russell films including "Savage Messiah" and "The Music Lovers". "Backbeat". Finally, while depiction of writing seems to be harder, how about "Henry and June"?

  15. Stranger than Fiction

  16. - Old Acquaintance
    - Andrei Rublev


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