I’m not sure why, but I’m a sucker for unfinished art. My favorite book is one that is severely abridged from the author’s original intention. I jumped at the chance to play Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony.” I like the moment before writing a story better than the one after writing it.
I could explore this strange fascination. I could explain how maybe it’s because I feel that so many “complete” pieces of art are misinterpreted by teachers and critics, overanalyzed until their innate beauty becomes just another detail to be discussed to death rather than the essence of their existence. I could try to tell you it’s because being labeled as “finished” sounds so final and I’m not sure anything ever is. I could describe my conviction that things left open-ended provide endless possibilities and therefore are more exciting than any so-called resolution.
But there’s no point in exploring it, really. The point is just that, while I didn’t exactly enjoy The White Shadow, I did find it more intriguing simply because only half of the original reels had been restored. And while I wouldn’t compare it to other films Hitchcock was involved with, I would–and do–suggest it’s more interesting to imagine the ending than to actually see it.
In life, in general, I claim I like things simple: give it to me straight, don’t blur the lines of truth, don’t hide the facts. But in art, there are no facts. There are just unfinished brushstrokes and sentences and stanzas with unclear expressions left open to uncertain interpretation–and in my opinion, that’s more honest than anything you could call “done.”
In other words, art is much more representative of reality than life is.