Friday, November 23, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
This coming week, we are shooting pick-ups with our other lead, Sally Scott. Again, we've had to wait all year for Sally's schedule to free up enough to allow her one day in Weston. At the moment she can be seen in Boeing Boeing at the Comedy. Once we've done Sally's pick-ups - and had another crack at the final shot - the film will finally be all in the can, and the final push in post can begin. And not before time. Roll on 2008 and red carpets.
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Sunday, October 21, 2007
Wednesday, October 03, 2007
Friday, September 28, 2007
Just read this interview with PJ Harvey in The Grauniad. This bit caught my eye, as what she says is completely on the money:
'Our time is almost up. In the car park, Harvey points out the remains of Abbotsbury's 11th-century abbey and a chapel dedicated to St Catherine - the patron saint of spinsters, she tells me - and then goes on her way. On my long journey home, I tune into Radio 1, and hear Zane Lowe once again playing When Under Ether, which sounds every bit as singular as Harvey had suggested. By comparison, the music that follows it seems hollow and generic, which rather puts me in mind of something she had said earlier on - an outburst, by her standards, in which she said her sense was that the quality of music, literature and film seems to be going "down and down and down, and I struggle so hard to get excited about anything".Characteristically, she wouldn't be drawn on exactly who or what she was railing against, but lurking in what she said, there was a kind of mission statement. "There's too much of everything in the world, but particularly too much of everything that's not all that good. The world doesn't need any more art that's just all right. It only needs mind-blowing, inspirational, life-changing stuff."'
Friday, September 21, 2007
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
"I am guided by the precepts with which our generation regarded art. This is why I desperately refuse to act in the TV-serials I am offered. I am terrified by the scripts I read: they are horrible! ... I have no right to allow myself playing in such nonsense. During one role test I even burst into tears. They all thought I was weeping because of growing into my role, while I cried for the horrible state of today’s cinematography and TV. I rejected the role, though it offered big money. One cannot meet the viewer on such a low moral and intellectual level. If we follow the mass public tastes we can lose our way. This is what is happening in cinema today. This is anti-art, anti-aesthetics. We must not support vice and mass psychosis. Otherwise our profession is not needed. Neither artists nor writers are needed."
It occurred to me that one of the reasons why arthouse/world cinema - call it what you will - is needed more than ever is due to the psychotic nature of Western civilisation. The film The Corporation makes that clear: that putting profit about all else has lead us into a state of cultural pyschosis. Money matters more than anything else. Now, I'm not against making money, but it seems fairly clear that we need to value other things as much as, if not more than, making a profit. These other values could include nuturing the imagination, pronoia, fostering the idea that each one of us has repsonsibilities for our own lives and other people, that every decision we make matters, etc.
This is where so-called unprofitable arthouse films come in. The best of them do foster, I think, some of the values mentioned above. In order to make these films more viable for exhibitors, maybe we need to change the whole cinema-going experience. Your average multiplex has perverted the whole idea of a 'House of Culture' that the French were trying to establish in the 50s, where you could go to the same place for films, dance, galleries, theatre and music. The multiplex simply gives you a dozen or twenty choices to choose from, and they're mainly all crap, junk food for the mind and soul. Plus you can't even get anything decent to eat or drink: it's all sugary crap. (Popcorn ought to be illegal at film screenings. If you eat it during a film, you are effectively saying you are a moron.)
We need art and culture (high culture) more than ever to fight against the relentless drivel of our society. Tarkovsky quoted Gurdjieff in The Sacrifice, and it is a quote worth repeating here:
"If sin is that which is inessential, then our civilization is built on sin from beginning to end."
Mikhail Kononov was right to cry: we should all be crying. The inmates have been running the asylum for far too long. It is time to pity them, and begin their re-eduction, otherwise the asylum will turn into a prison, from which there will be no escape.
Saturday, September 01, 2007
I have also had some interesting conversations with people who have seen the cut. All have been positive, but a chat I had tonight in Glastonbury (of all places) has made me wonder whether we should add something else to the film, namely a voice-over. (Think Sunset Boulevard or American Beauty.) What Folie is about, in one respect, is the sense of being alive in the world, the sheer strangeness of being in a body, of feeling the wind against your skin, hearing a dog bark or a church bell, smelling the sea or a bonfire, smelling the salt of the sea. So the idea of a voice-over adds to the general ontological conundrum posed by the film. In other words, I want the film to ask the viewer, Is It Worth Being Alive At All? And If So, Why? Why Do You Appreciate Life? You should, because one day it will be taken from you. As The Doors said, 'Someday soon you're going to die.' This is the inherent tension at the heart of Folie - when will they (we) die? And how?
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
Saturday, June 30, 2007
Speaking of good offices, there must surely be bad offices as well. First in line are those amateur halfwits, Shooting People. The last 4 or so messages I've tried to post there have all been rejected for the most pedantic of reasons. (One or possibly two of these messages were appeals for online editors and graders.) The latest was rejected yesterday on the grounds that I had not included the 'going price' for the item I'm trying to sell. (A Z1 training DVD) As it's an auction, the whole notion of 'going price' is a little dimwitted to say the least. It costs £30 a year to belong to SP, and, quite frankly, it's just not worth it. If anyone else feels likewise about these idiots, please leave a comment and cheer me up! I thank you.
BTW, if you want to bid on my DVD, go here. Bidding ends on Tuesday 1845 BST.
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
The search for money to get it finished continues very slowly. Hopefully we should have some news on this front over the summer. Folie is shaping up to be the first film I've made where I'm very happy with both style and subject. It has a real time feel, a lot of silence and stillness, nothing is properly explained, especially the ending, which I think some people will not be able to accept.
Funnily enough, having nearly finished a film I can say is the 'real me' stylistically, I also for the first time ever feel like giving this malarky up. Perhaps it's Folie's subject matter, turning 40, I don't know. So, I may be going off the air, or at least I might spend a bit of time doing other things, e.g. documentaries, or even a few shorts. We'll have to see. It's best not to plan too much. As John Lennon said, 'Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans.'
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Look at the poor response Béla Tarr's marvellous The Man from London got in Cannes. Is this a recognition of art? No, it's a bunch of ignorant, self-appointed cultural arbiters (e.g. Simon Mellons or whatever he's called at The Grauniad) talking about that which they are not intelligent enough to talk about, except which parties they've been to. Whoever said there is no high culture or low culture, there's only culture, is clearly wrong. Most of our self-appointed experts are decidely low culture, and they wouldn't recognize a masterpiece if it came up behind them and had their way with their fat ignorant bottoms. Viva Béla!
Anyway, enough of ranting about the intellectually challenged. Better out than in, as Jung said. (Well, it might have been that Freudian who encouraged his patients to go to the toilet as often as possible.) There are vague filigrees of interest in Folie, from various parties in Europe, North America and the UK being the usual wastelands of the Challenged, as I think I shall refer to them from now on. We are still ploughing on with post, just in case. Wendy is trimming the film down a little, as I feel we could improve the pace somewhat. The film is 90% there, it just needs that little extra je ne sais quoi. (For the Challenged, that's French for 'I don't know', whose meaning is rather more along the lines of 'A Certain Ineffable Something'.)
I did manage to chill out on my last afternoon there on the wonderful Ile St Honorat, where I visited the C11th/12th fortified monastery, and generally tried to think about what really matters (in other words, Cannes wasn't on my mind much).
Congratulations, finally, to Christian Mungiu, whose 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days - which cost under £500,000 to make, had no stars and was about a tricky subject - won the Palme d'Or. I wonder which party Simon Mellons was at when that was screened?
Monday, May 21, 2007
We are hoping to get a near-finished version ready by the end of June, so that we can get it into the Mannheim Film Festival, but that all depends on raising more money. Right now, the piggy bank is empty, and more of the old folding stuff needs to be procured ASAP.
I also hope to visit St Honorat and go to the monastery, catch the new Béla Tarr, The Man from London - the first time the great man has been in Competition - and of course visit the Scandinavian Terrace every day for Happy Hour. (The one place you're always guaranteed to find me.) Wih me luck. We need more cash, otherwise the film will remain an unseen and rumoured masterpiece...
Friday, March 23, 2007
Friday, March 16, 2007
Monday, February 12, 2007
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
The things that I'm not entirely sure of are the dreams, the first and last shots, the final scene and the start of the second pub scene. Apart from those things, I think the film has a stylistic coherence that I'm pleased with (a lot of long-ish takes, with the camera simply following the actors around; very simple blocking in general), some humour (mainly courtesy of the supporting characters, especially Steve Dineen's tie salesman), and also a quietly spooky feel to it (or so I've been told by the people over here to whom I've shown clips). I hope we can still make Cannes, but if not, it's not the end of the world, and however long it takes to get it fully completed from now, it won't be as bad as your average Bela Tarr shoot (I believe the great man has been trying to get his few film, The Man from London, completed for the last two years now). All being well, we'll have a fully finished film in a matter of months, not years...
Friday, February 02, 2007
Sunday, January 28, 2007
BTW, Happy Birthday Sir John (Tavener)!