For Folie to work as well as it can, one feature that needs to be foregrounded is the direction. I've never liked most British films because they look like TV, and it's no coincidence that the filmmakers from this country I do admire - e.g. Bill Douglas - look more European than British.
How can we make our film stand out from the crowd? I think the answer is to 'stand before your god and commit' if I can paraphrase one of my favourite writers, the great Paul Watkins. The gods in question are, for me, long tracking shots, their polar opposite - completely static shots, and long takes. I think from these three basic building blocks a whole vocabulary can be built, one which we can use to tell the story we want to tell in Folie. I've always disliked conventional blocking - wide establishing shots, moving in close, shot/reverse shot for conversations etc, which is little more than painting by numbers - and I think that now is the time to go the way I feel I really should be going and shoot the film this way.
The polarity between tracking shots (Gods: Tarkovsky, Angelopoulos, Tarr) and the completely static camera (Gods: Douglas, Bresson) also calls to mind the essential polarity of things themselves. For example, if you show a rose, it's just a plant, a flower, the thing itself, but it also has inescapable mythological and symbolic baggage, whether you intend it or not (think of The Name of the Rose, The Romance of the Rose and so on). Therefore, if I make a film using largely these two methods of blocking a scene, I am also hinting that the film is always going to be a case of 'both/and' not 'either/or', such as it's going to be unversal and particular, fiction and fact, real and illusory. Rather like our daily lives.
Sunday, March 05, 2006
On Friday we started shooting Lanterna Magicka (see separate blog here), with and interview with the film critic Ian Christie. It was a little rushed, but I think we got some interesting stuff. We used a Sony Z1, which is the camera we'll shoot Folie with, so Friday's shoot was also a test shoot of sorts for the feature. I'll shoot some more test footage with the camera before taking it back to the hire company. They also sell equipment, and have quoted me a very reasonable price for one. As soon as I've actually bought one, it will bring the reality of shooting Folie that much closer. Once more unto the breech, dear friends...