He’s on a great roll, though, especially when talk turns back to monsters.
“To me a monster is meaningless unless it provides a mode of catharsis for the audience. A monster is all the emotions and feelings that exist on the periphery of society’s vision. An artist’s role is to give it an image, a mask, and to allow us to enter into the intimate space of what that monster is. And once you bring an audience into that place, it dissipates the fear in your normal life, in society’s life. I look at films as a homeopathic way of healing.”
Whether he’s healing himself, his audience, both or neither, Merhige is remarkably thoughtful. “I want to bring people to a higher ground," he says. "I don’t want to just take people to dark places and leave them there, because CNN can do that.”