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August 30, 2006

A Not Quite Universal Dream

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We went to see the glorious 8 1/2 the other night (part of the Tutto Fellini series at the Modern). I'd never seen it on the big screen before, and I'd also underestimated how long it had been since I last watched it.

Or rather: I knew I hadn't seen it since I was in high school, but I hadn't considered the fact in the space between then and now, I've made a handful of films. The experience of which made it a funnier and more desperate picture, just as the experience of watching it was marked by both newfound empathy and a rather spine tingling narcissism. I was reminded of how Francis Ford Coppola said that, when he viewed it while making Apocalypse Now, he felt as if it was all about him. And he was right. It's all about any filmmaker who watches it, I think - including Fellini, who was only telling most of the truth when he said that, of all his films, this one is the least autobiographical, the most fantastical.

The narrative structure of 8 1/2 would appear to be an intertwined thread of dreams and reality, but I think it's just as accurate - if not more so - to read the entire film as a dream. Individual scenes may appear to reflect or refract some degree of realism, but the manner in which they are articulated with the fantasy sequences betrays a strong bedrock of unconscious logic (the same sort Lynch would use to finish Mulholland Drive some decades on). And it is this dream form that allows every filmmaker who watches 8 1/2 to see his or her reflection in the screen.

Indeed, I've never met a director who hasn't dreamed of showing up to set completely unprepared. It happens to me without fail, like clockwork, everytime I embark on a big production, and sometimes in between. It sure as hell came to Coppola on the set of Apocalypse Now, and I'll bet Fellini knew all about it, too. He may not have seen himself in Guido, but I'm sure he saw himself in the film itself. It's good old fashioned artistic anxiety, and to a significant extent, anyone can relate to it; but what I couldnt comprehend in a complete sense the first time I saw the film all those years ago was that filmmaking is a unique art in that it is in no way (at least in most cases) singular. Indeed, what makes these dreams so nerve wracking and Guido's shortcomings so deliciously catastrophic is that there are so many people there on the set. Crew members wondering what shot they should be preparing for, actors wondering how to play a scene, all of them waiting for you to make up your mind. It's a highly specific version of the old going-to-school-in-your-underwear nightmare, and Fellini captured it in 8 1/2 so perfectly that I experienced a bit of deja vu throughout it - not because I'd seen the film before, but because of what I've come to understand since seeing it last.

* * *

Yen is probably due to start having the dream any day now. Ciao starts shooting on September 16th. Three days of six day weeks, all of which I'll spend managing all the footage. During the test shoot in LA last week, I figured out a pretty efficient workflow with the P2 cards: backup to hard drive, copy to RAID, import to FCP, rename, categorize, etc. It's pretty efficient, but it's going to be a time consuming process, and I'm looking forward to getting past all this technical stuff, all these officious acronyms and workflow issues and getting down to the actual art of the editing process (regardless - after working with the camera for one weekend, I never want to shoot anything on tape ever again).

Cutting together the footage from that test shoot, it finally hit home: this is a pretty major production, and although I always knew I'd be the editor, I only just suddenly I realized that I'm going to be editing it. Time to mentally prepare myself. To that end, I guess it's about time I actually read the script for the film. Last summer, I stopped reading the drafts that Yen kept refining; I'd looked at the script so many times, been so critical of it, that I'd lost perspective. I'm pretty sure I can go over it now with fresh eyes, but maybe I actually shouldn't. Maybe I should cut the film based entirely on what I see in the footage, and what Yen tells me he wants. It might actually be beneficial.

Posted by David Lowery at 12:08 AM | Comments (4)

August 29, 2006

Taking To The Road

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This past Sunday's Times had an article about the influx of film production in the tiny Texas town of Marfa. The two films that recently wrapped there are, of course, Paul Thomas Anderson's There Will Be Blood and the Coen Brothers' adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's No Country For Old Men. Accompanying the article were the first officially released production stills from both films.

I imagine there's a decent chance both films will be premiering at Cannes next May (and if they do, their combined drawing power might be the impetus I need to finally make the trip to camp out at the Palais). But that's almost a year away, and more pressing at the moment is the news I received via telephone this morning that, only twelve months after No Country For Old Men hit shelves, my favorite modern novelist has a new book coming out: The Road hits shelves on September 26th.

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My friend Tony, who introduced me to McCarthy years ago, was the one who alerted me to its publication. He suggested that I avoid reading anything about it and just let the novel surprise me. Of course, that's just the sort of advice I have trouble heeding, and I immediately started looking for information about the book. There's not much out there - even the Cormac McCarthy Society website hasn't made mention of it yet - and so, as I have a tendency to do, I started to fill in the holes myself.

From reading the first few lines of the synopsis and its suggestions of "a stunning departure from his previous work," its adjectival usage of a tell-tale word like "postapocalyptic," it would appear that The Road will venture into narrative territory even further afield than the (relatively) modern settting of No Country. On the other hand, McCarthy, for all his explicit contextual detail, has never been one to evoke literal realism with his prose; his thematic concerns are what bind the work into one expanding whole, and which make the individual works timeless. And that degree of surreality which made Blood Meridian so nightmarish and The Crossing so mythic began, I think, with Outer Dark - a short fairy tale of a novel abot a journey that was, in its own right, fairly apocalyptic, right down to its four hourseman iconography. Add to that the political ruminations of No Country and the fact that this new book takes place in a ravaged American landscape, and a picture begins to form...

...or maybe it doesn't. I stopped reading the synopsis after the first two sentences. There's no need to spoil with premature analysis something that I'll unquestionably, fervently be devouring in just under a month (and one month after that will see the publication of McCarthy's latest play, The Sunset Limited, which Steppenwolf staged in Chicago earlier this summer and will be bringing to New York in the fall). That seven year draught after Cities Of The Plain certainly seems to be over.

Posted by David Lowery at 3:16 PM | Comments (2)

August 23, 2006

Ways To Laugh Out Loud

LOLpostersmall.jpg If you live in Manhattan, here's what you have to do tonight: go see one of the best films you'll see this year, Joe Swanberg's LOL, which opens today at the Pioneer Theater (read the NY Times review here). Actually, given the time difference between coasts, it's already thirty minutes into its first screening. But never fear, it's engagement will last for a full week. Showtimes can be viewed and tickets procured right here. Don't miss it.

Bonus: if you show up early on Saturday, you can also catch the entire run of Young American Bodies, the series Joe and Kris made for Nerve.com.

aquarangers.jpg If you're in Dallas tomorrow night, then you should go see the premiere of Aqua Rangers at the Lakewood Theater. Free tickets are still available here. I saw the finished product last week, and it's pretty damn funny. Add some alcohol to the mix, and it's bound to be even funnier. Moreso than Talladega Nights, even (that's a random comparison; I've just been looking for an opportunity to mention how disappointed I was with the Ferrell/McKay picture). I think there will be DVDs on sale at the screening; I don't know what they'll have on them in the way of extra features, but if you're lucky, you might get to see the deleted scene in which the robot pirate who bears a suspicious resemblance to yours truly is...compromised...during a fight scene.

I'll be at the former of these events in spirit, and the latter in person. Unless I miss my flight tomorrow morning. In which case, after I've gone off to a dark corner to cry for a bit, I'll console myself with the promise of a Lavender Diamond show on both Saturday and Sunday. Which, if you're in Los Angeles, you definitely should not miss.

Posted by David Lowery at 6:15 PM | Comments (1)

August 21, 2006

A Quinceañera Interview

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I've spoken out in the past about my frequent distaste for those films that can be almost exclusively defined by their presence in the Sundance Film Festival. Films that are, as Jim Emmerson wrote in his review of Quinceañera, "precision-tailored for a Park City reception."

And yet I liked Quinceañera quite a bit; the bitter critic in me resisted it for about five minutes, expecting to see evidence of its Jury Prize stamped on every frame, and then it won me over. It works well as an offshoot of the films that inspired it (the British Kitchen Sink Dramas of the sixties), and it works even better as an initial indoctrination to a beautiful culture that is rapidly becoming predominant in the United States. It's a short, sweet film - almost to its own fault, as it is wrapped up with far too neat and tidy a bow, its two narrative threads dovetailing in far too convenient a fashion. I could have stood to spend a bit more time with these characters - to see the irreverent but heartfelt reappropriation of the Virgin Birth story seen through to its fruition, to see the otherwise wonderfully handled gay storyline worked out a bit less simplistically. It's not quite a Latino equivalent of a Mike Leigh film, in other words, but it has enough heart and spark and honesty - not to mention cultural relevance - to warrant a strong recommendation from me. It made this filmgoer happy.

As did the very enjoyable chat I had with the film's two directors, Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland. Since Reversing The Gaze is now sort of defunct, all you have to do to read it is click the link below...

* * *

So are you guys from Echo Park?

RICHARD GLATZER: Yeah, we live there.

The film really had a wonderful sense of the Hispanic culture there, and I was curious as to how immersed you were into it before you began developing the project.

RG: Well you know, it was really through moving here, I think, that we got more immersed in the culture. Especially when we were asked to photograph our next-door neighbor's Quinceañera. They are very communal type of events, especially for the people who don't have a lot of money. We were really flattered to be asked to do the photography, and that was a real eye opener for us. We were really impressed by what a communal thing it is. And the different aspects of it, the really old traditions - do you know much about it?

No. I'm from Texas, so I'm sort of surrounded by the culture, but I've never been immersed in it.

RG: It's millineas old, but its very adaptable. So w hen Mexico became Catholic, it became a Catholic tradition. Now that it's 21st Century Los Angeles, it's all girls text messaging each other and stuff like that.

So we were impressed with what a complicated thing it was, but we didn't really think about making a movie about it. It was really six months down the line, and we were just talking about gentrification in our neighborhood and how it was changing. We were thinking about teenagers going through transitions and neighborhoods going through transitions, and that's how the Quinceañera came back as something we wanted to focus on. And then it really was a crash course whenever we were trying to make the movie work. We had to consult our neighbors and actors about everything, to make sure we got it right.

So did the actors bring a lot to the table? How much of their material was scripted?

WASH WESTMORELAND: Well, the movie was scripted, but for certain sequences we deferred to our actors because they felt that the characters would say a line in a different way. And obviously, we didn't want to set ourselves as grand authorities on Latino culture, and so we really created a feedback loop with our actors on what they felt the characters would say. But the actual story and the structure - and, I'd say, about eighty percent of the dialogue - was in the script. But sometimes we found it was also useful to go completely improvisational. Like in the scenes with Magdalena and her girl posse, when they're hanging out outside the school or watching the Quinceañera video - we're not going to tell you what fifteen year old girls talk about. You just chat. And then they have certain points in the scenes where they have to hit and go into a little bit of the story part that was scripted, but it was very much about using the improvisation to energize those scenes and give it a very real feeling.

RG: And the actors did translate their lines for the most part. The guy who played Magdalena's dad, he's a theater guy who directs more than he acts these days, and he had a real affinity for the language and an understanding of what we wanted. Because neither of us really speak Spanish at all, really, so we relied on our actors for these translations.

That reminds me of one of the little details I loved in the film: the 'Eliminate Your Accent' advertisements stapled to telephone poles. I've seen those all over Los Angeles.

WW: Oh yeahW One day, we just went out on the street and shot stuf. And we saw that sign and thought that it really summed it all up.

It says so much about the gentrification...

WW: Absolutely.

Back to the cast for a moment; what was the ratio of actors to non-actors? I was looking at some of the credits of the younger cast-members, and most of them don't seem to have had much experience.

RG: For pretty much everybody, it was their first movie. Chalo (Gonzalez, who plays the uncle) was our veteran. Jesse (Garcia, who plays Carlos, the young gay outcast of the family) had done a little bit here and there. Commercials mostl. I think he might have done one feature, but this was basically his first movie. Magdalena - the top of her resume was Cleopatra in the school play. A lot of our character actors were people we knew, who were friends, who we auditioned in front of the camer, who had no intention of acting. And that was part of our immersion in the culture.

I'm curious as to whether or not you, as gay filmmakers, saw the character of Carlos as an avatar for yourselves.

WW: I feel that when you're writing, your own feelings go into lots of different characters. And I specifically feel that with Carlos there was a personal investment for both of us, as a story of someone who was rejected by his family because of his sexuality. For me in particular, it was very personal because I have a great uncle Tom in the North of England who was very much the inspiration for the Tio Thomas character. So when I was having problems with my sexuality as a teenager, and my dad really wouldn't accept me, I had this great uncle who became a sort of third parent. So all that stuff is really quite personal, and it went into Carlos.

And I'm really glad you asked that question, because so many people say, "are you the two gay guys?" Which is kind of more obvious - "aha, that must be them!." But emotionally, we much more identified with some of the other characters than the two gay yuppies, who are really the people in the movie who we don't want to be.

I really appreciated how sensitively you handled the topic. I was at Outfest a few weeks ago, and I thought that your film had a much more honest and realistic handling of its gay themes than a lot of the more popualr films I saw there.

RG: For me, it's liberating to feel that maybe, hopefully, we're at a place where we don't have to present every gay character as a paragon of virtue.

WW: Carlos' whole storyline, really, sort of treads this line between homophobia from his parents and the Latino community and this coded racism from the gay couple, who just see him as the hot Latin guy. He's really a new type, because he's gained a lot of his sexual information through the internet, and he's formed his sense of identity through going online. So in the movie, when he goes to that party - he knows he's gay, he's sure of that, it's not a coming out story. But he's still coming into contact with gay people for the first time.

GB: What has the reaction from Hispanic audiences been like?

WW: Oh, we've just been bowled over. It's been incredible. It opened in eight cinemas last weekend, and those closest to Latino neighborhoods were selling out at every show. It's opening more screens this week in heavily Latino neighborhoods.

There was lots of debate amongst distributors after Sundance about whether Latino audiences would accept this movie, because it has a gay story in it. And that's so limited a view of what the Latino market is and who Latino people are. We felt this swell from a number of really influential Latino critics and artists within the community who felt these issues needed to be aired and really supported this movie.

RG: Yeah, it was exactly that sense of cultures butting up against each other that made us want to make the movie. Studios are so conservative about what the Latino audiences expect.

GB: Did you guys self finance this? I know it was very low budget.

RG: No, we had three investors. They're all immigrants - Greek and Israeli - so when we told them about the idea, they just latched onto it. They really jumped right on board.

Was it shot on MiniDV?

WW: No, we actually shot HD. Did you see it on the big screen?

No, it was on a VHS screener, unfortunately. I honestly couldn't tell what it was shot on.

WW: Oh, because we were amazed at how the HD looks when it was transferred to film...

Well, what I was going to say was that it looked amazing for miniDV. And now I know why!

WW: The original idea was miniDV, and to do it more like a documentary. And then we were kinda like, "God, you know, HD looks so good..."

RG: We did come up with some strategies, like we decided that the whole movie was going to be handheld. We had an eighteen day shoot, which was really crazy, especially because a lot of our actors were underage and we only had a six hour day with them. So it was really fast. The only shots that were locked down were at the Quinceañera.

WW: And you know, our shooting budget was $300,000, which isn't a lot of money. So we couldn't shoot 35mm, but we could choose between 16mm and HD. 16mm was kinda like - we know what that looks like. HD is more like a new frontier, using new technologies to explore new looks.

My last question for filmmakers is always the same: do you have any good stories from the set? Any disasters or memorable moments?

RG: We kept getting in car accidents.

WW: I'll tell you a good one. We were shooting one day at Tio Thomas' house, and things weren't going well and everything was taking way too long and everyone was getting a little antsy. And then Jesse went into the costume trailer and came out ten minutes later dressed like this crazy Puerto Rican drag queen. And he did a circuit of the set and then just disappeared back into his trailer and that was it. He's a totally straight guy, and he's playing a gay role, but he never was like, "hey, my girlfriend thinks it's really cool that I'm playing a gay role." He didn't care. He just completely broke the ice on the set that day. It was like a visit from the twilight zone or something. And it's actually documented on film somewhere.

So hopefully it'll be on the DVD.

Yeah.

Well, that wraps things up on my end. Thanks for talking with me this morning.

WW: Thanks so much. It's been really nice.

Posted by David Lowery at 2:27 AM | Comments (1)

August 19, 2006

Fellini, etc.

James called me yesterday to remind me that I picked the worst time to go back to Los Angeles, because there's a pretty unprecedented cinematic event going on in Fort Worth this week. The Modern, in concert with Cinecitta International, is presenting a complete two week retrospective of every single one of Federico Fellini's films. Shorts, features, the works. On the big screen, in pristine 35mm. This is the sort of thing that you always read about happening in New York. It if it happens in Texas, it's in Austin. But here it is, in Fort Worth, and there are still six days of screenings left. I'll be going to most of the remaining shows once I get back; but if you're already in the neighborhood, you should make haste to the Modern and see as many as you can.

Speaking of Fort Worth, Amy and James need your support: their restaurant, Spiral Diner (which catered such films as The Outlaw Son and GDMF), is up for a pretty big award: Best Vegetarian Restaurant In The Nation. They're up against some pretty stiff competition, but really, it's no contest. So go to VegNews and vote for them. It's the right thing to do.

And while I'm on the subject of friends getting accolades: the new album from The Theater Fire (heard on the soundtrack to such films as The Outlaw Son) was reviewed on NPR's All Things Considered the other week. It's pretty significant for them, although I think we all wish critics would stop stretching to make connections to the Arcade Fire. Still, a positive review on NPR is nothing to complain about.

7:30 AM call time for the test shoot tomorrow. Luckily, the location is the room next to my bedroom.

Posted by David Lowery at 9:18 PM

August 18, 2006

La La La

Like before sunset but before the sun rose, Nina Simone inside my head and "Babe, you're gonna miss that plane." I know, I know, I know...

But I caught it and I'm back in LA for a week, catching up on things. Yen arrived yesterday. He's spending the weekend rehearsing with his actors (one of whome flew all the way in from Genoa and has never met Yen or anyone else on the film in person) for Ciao. On Sunday, we're having a full day of test shooting, just to familiarize ourselves with the new gear (and with each other). We're shooting on that relatively new all-in-wonder-cam, the HVX200, which should be a nice upgrade to the DVX. Never having to log another tape is fine by me.

I'm trying to multi-task at the moment, and having a pretty good go at it. I've got three half-finished e-mails floating on my desktop, a screenplay, a Word document, this, a MySpace comment, and now Jim is texting me asking me if I can pick up the camera and lighting package. As long as we have it all weekend, I might have to steal it and make something of my own tomorrow.

Posted by David Lowery at 1:55 PM | Comments (1)

August 14, 2006

Transcriptions

Although I've never tried to categorize the content of this little journal of mine in any way, I know that my writing here has taken a substantial turn from the criticical to the colloquial lately (I'm still kicking myself for missing the Avant-Garde Blog-a-thon). I hope no one minds too much; I'll get back to my usual excessive wordiness before long, and in an attempt to arrive at a halfway point, I've got a few new filmmaker interviews to post this week, and hopefully a review of The Science Of Sleep.

I love interviewing other directors, but I hate typing up the conversations afterwards. I'll do anything to put it off - including transcribing other things, such as my own films. Which is what I did last night. I'm submitting my cut of The Outlaw Son to a few European film festivals, and I have to include a transcription of the dialogue. The 23 minute cut amounted to four pages of material, and it was interesting to compare it to what was originally written in the script. It's pretty similar, in a lot of ways, but the little twists and changes Kyle and Machete added as they made the words their own afforded them a texture I never could have provided on the page.

Some Analog Lines closed out the DVF last night, along with the rest of the Texas Show entries. Bart Weiss had some really nice things to say about it in his introduction. It looked amazing on the big screen - better than it ever has before, in fact. I was really impressed. And Brad's sound mix was just outstanding on those big screen speakers. I can't wait to hear his final mix on the final cut of The Outlaw Son (the files are in the mail, Brad!).

EDIT: I was in a hurry when I left this entry, and I wanted to provide a more graceful conclusion. Unfortunately, I have none to provide at the moment. That bottle of wine went straight to my head...

Posted by David Lowery at 3:45 PM | Comments (1)

August 13, 2006

Hannah And Her...

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Shortly before LOL had its local premiere this evening, Joe wrapped production on his followup feature, Hannah Takes The Stairs. I meant to link to his production journal back when principal photography first began, but I guess I got too caught up in reading it to comment on it, and now everyone's beaten me to the punch. Nonetheless: if you haven't been reading it, there's no better time to catch up than now. Just as with the LOL journal last year, this production has been an inspiring one to follow along with. Joe's filmmaking process seems so damn enriching. I think one of my new goals in life is to be in (or at least on the set of) one of his next films. Until then, I'm looking forward to seeing this one.

Last year, I was planning to play catch-up with my friends and have another feature of my own ready to lens by the end of this summer. Those plans have fallen by the wayside (for, I think, a fairly decent reason), but I'm regrouping and rescheduling and rewriting and hoping that within the next twelve months, I'll be prepping something new. Until then, I've got a few more shorts to shoot, including one that will require two rolls of 16mm film, 120 feet of dolly track and an October sky.

I received a Writers Guild Membership package in the mail today. I didn't think I qualified for being a full blown word teamster, but I guess I was wrong. The application and its many, many pages of legalese (not to mention the apparently pressing deadline for filling it out and returning it) is scaring me. On the other hand, the packet includes guidelines for registering a legal pseudonym (for crediting purposes). That sounds like fun. It stipulates that the pseudonym must be within reason, but it doesn't give any examples. I wonder how far I could push it?

Posted by David Lowery at 12:57 AM

August 12, 2006

Unscripted, pt. 2

GDMF had its first public screening this evening, and aside from the fact that the sound was horrendous (not our fault, completely), it went really well. James wasn't sure if the audience was enjoying it, but as it's the sort of film that doesn't really exude positive vibes, I don't think the lack of audible response was a gauge of much. More telling were the two people who walked out - but considering the scene they left in, it's probably a sign that we did something right.

I wrote back in May that I wasn't sure the film was going to work, that it might need some reshoots, that the improvisational approach had muddled the film. And indeed, it was certainly riddled with problems - but we'd also just finished that cut in the space of a week, and I wasn't at a point where, as an editor, I couldn't look at it with any constructive objecitivity. So we went off to New York and forgot about it, then I stayed gone for a few more weeks while James went back and played around with some of the more troublesome scenes and figured out what exactly he wanted them to be; what he was guiding the actors towards back when we shot it. And as it turns out, everything we needed was there. More than we needed, in some cases. We cut out a few unnecessary scenes, lengthened another by about five minutes, and rearranged others to tighten the focus of the story. And now it's really strong, and I'm pretty proud of it, and proud of James for making it. I actually love watching it.

Even tonight, when the sound quality made it almost unbearable. Where did all that bass come from?

Posted by David Lowery at 3:23 AM | Comments (2)

August 8, 2006

Getting Star Wars

Over at GreenCine, David Hudson's been running a great series of Summertime Questions, each posed to a different film blogger. There have been some great pieces written by Filmbrain, Girish, Chuck Tryon and Matt Dentler, among many others, and so it's an honor to join their ranks with my own answer - to a question that was all too snug of a fit: "Does Kevin Smith Get Star Wars?"

Posted by David Lowery at 12:22 PM | Comments (4)

August 7, 2006

Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

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The day before yesterday, we finally caught up with a 35mm print of Hou Hsiao-Hsien's Three Times; we watched the DVD a few months ago, but my impression of it was somewhat indistinct. The silver screen cut through that haziness, as it always does, as I expected it to, and I loved the film; but I didn't expect it to make me feel as ecstatic as I did. I felt like I was high. During the first segment, I couldn't stop smiling; I almost laughed out loud. A little bit of it might have been what A.O. Scott was talking about when he said that watching the film was like falling in love; part of it might just have been that Shu Qui smile; part of it might just have been my mood; but my critical side will attribute this near-rapture to the langorous harmony of Hou's imagery and his musical choices, especially in that first segment. The sustained recurrences of Smoke Gets In Your Eyes and Rain And Tears aren't diegetic cues - but they play out as if they were, even when they bind multiple scenes together. Their rhythm informs the picture, as songs in film often do, but they aren't limited to setting a pace or mood or easing a transition or providing commentary; they serve, essentially, as proxies for the characters themselves, whose memories of each other are anchored by songs heard on jukeboxes or mentioned in letters. It's how they think of each other. And they can't get them - the songs, or each other - out of their heads.

* * *

Harry Nilsson's on the stereo and a summer storm is brewing outside; it's been building all day and I'm waiting for it to break. It rained yesterday too, but I slept through it; it was after we wrapped shooting Yen's short film, running on the usual one-hour-of-sleep-rush that fuels just about all of our filmmaking endeavours. Frank Mosley and Arianne Martin made up our cast and in one of the best moments of improvisation I've seen in a long time, they didn't break character when some crazy homeless street preacher blessed us from across the street. His prayers must have worked, because the shoot went off without a hitch, and, after logging the footage late last night, I think the film will turn out really well; it could very likely be completely heartbreaking, especially if you're a sucker for the old wringing a puppy's neck cliche. Which I am.

I've been sitting here writing this while the final cut of GDMF prints off my computer; it just finished, and so I've got to rush it to the festival offices. I think they were getting worried that we'd never actually hand it over to them.

* * *

And now I'm back, and those pinstripes of gray on the horizon finally swept my way. Driving under an underpass, I saw a motorcyclist leaning against the concrete, waiting for the storm to pass. He didn't even have to try to remind me of Bud Clay in The Brown Bunny, which we also watched the night before last. I hadn't seen it since it left theaters, and it was even better than I remembered it being. I remember having trouble with the flashbacks the first time I saw it, and not minding them the second time; this time, perhaps because I'd downplayed them in my memory of the film, they caught me off guard and affected me the way I think they were intended to.

Vincent Gallo is the sort of person whose sensational, self-promulgated legend makes him (easy to love but) difficult to take seriously sometimes; I think this film, though, is as sincere as sincere gets, and about as original too.

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I've been listening to Gallo's album When sometimes lately. That's pretty sincere and lovely, too.

* * *

I love the sound of windshield wipers.

Posted by David Lowery at 2:45 PM | Comments (2)

August 5, 2006

Absence Makes The Heart

Since I last wrote, I've walked through a graveyard at sunrise, added credits sequences to two films, been drained of a pint of blood, stayed up for thirty six hours and written far too little. In fact, I've deleted three half-finished entries here - one of which was intended for the Avant-Garde blog-a-thon, which came and went and took with it my plans of contributing a semi-avant-garde piece film of my own (it fell by the wayside as time slipped ever on by, but I'm committed to having it finished next week). You can find a list of and links to all the participants here, along with Girish's own piece on the films of Joseph Cornell. Get ready for some good reading.

* * *

Yen is shooting a short film this weekend, to flex his muscles for his feature outing in a month and a half; we're going to lens it with an eye towards a 35mm transfer, which we've never bothererd to do before. I dropped by MPS this afternoon and picked up the equipment, which James and I then co-opted in order to run out and grab a few last minute insert shots for GDMF (which is 165 hours away from its first screening). While we were shooting them, we realized they might make a half-decent, suggestive-but-not-nondisclosive teaser for the film. So we gave it a shot:

Quicktime
For iPod

We've been working on the film all week - or, at least, we have on the days when James hasn't been jetting across the country, catching as many Tom Waits concerts as he can. We put the finishing touches to the color correction tonight, and did as much as we could with the sound mix (it's nice to have a computer that's fast enough to run Soundtrack Pro, but it'd be even nicer if I knew how to use it). I think it's actually done, now. The running time is twenty nine minutes and fifty nine seconds, on the dot. I'll have more to write about it - and other things - soon.

Posted by David Lowery at 3:51 AM | Comments (5)