September 5, 2006
I've Been Feeling Feverish
I'll tell you, there's no better cure for a mind-splitting flu than spending a weekend cooped up on a set, collaborating non-stop for two days on as many hours of sleep and making something so optically complex (by my standards) that there's no way of telling whether or not it'll turn out until post-production begins.
Which it has, barely, and it looks like it might work, at least slightly. I've got miles of matte lines to wrangle before I sleep. I wish my head would stop hurting.
Things I've been meaning to mention:
- Harry Tuttle's outstanding article on Drawing Restraint 9 - parts un, deux and trois - thoroughly categorizes the modes and inputs of Barney's latest film and, in placing it in the context of the thirteen other Drawing Restraint works, finds it more an 'avant-garde documentary' than a narrative feature.
I wrote earlier this summer that what impressed me about the work most was its sense of process; after seeing the DR exhibit at SFMOMA back in July it was viscerally evident that the ultimate end of those processes were the massive sculptures that filled that third floor gallery. The film is an elaborate (and elaborated) document of the creation of these pieces; at the same time, although the sculptures are the result of the film, the two halves of the process certainly share a symbiotic relationship (at least from the subjective perspective of the viewer); each makes the other stronger. Or, to co-opt Nancy Spector's fairly applicable description of The Cremaster Cycle: "drawing and film unite to engender photography and sculpture, which, in turn, produce more drawings and film, in an incestuous intermingling of materials that defies any hierarchy of artistic mediums."
- Michael Guillen just posted a great interview with Michel Gondry. Reading it made me really want to see what Gondry's screenplays (which I understand he writes very quickly) look like. I love seeing how extremely visual directors explain their visions; the script often end up looking more like blueprints than easily readable screenplays. I remember reading Kaufman's Eternal Sunshine script before the film was ever even greenlit, and wondering how it could ever be translated into visual terms. Gondry addresses this, saying that "Kaufman had written in a very poetic way the memory decaying and I was trying to find a way to preserve that visually. I couldn't just use what he had written because some would be purely CGI and complicated. They read very good but I had to find my visual way to interpet them and keep the same level."
- David Hudson links to an eight minute behind-the-scenes preview of Guy Maddin's upcoming 'Remembrance In 12 parts, Brand Upon The Brain. This can also be found on the Cowards Bend The Knee DVD, but it's worth rewatching, especially to supplement this lovely press kit, and kindle excitement (which, for this fan, will go unfulfilled) for the film's screening at the Toronto Film Festival this coming Friday: a one-of-a-kind screening with "a live narrator, two on-stage foley artists, a castrato, and an 11-piece live orchestra." I can't believe I'm missing that.
- Filmmaker Aaron Katz made Dance Party USA, which is one of the very best films I've seen all year (more on that soon), and, like many independent filmmakers, he also maintains a blog. Unlike most independent filmmakers, however, his blog has nothing to do with filmmaking, which (self-condemnation notwithstanding) is actually pretty refreshing. Thanks (and a belated happy birthday) to Joe for this link.
- And last but not least, a message from the future: The Aqua Rangers can now be had on DVD. It'll be a collector's item once it becomes serialized on network television, so get a copy now and put it in a safe or something. But maybe watch it first.
Now I'm going to go log footage, eat vitamin C and wait for the reviews of Lynch's Inland Empire to roll across the waves from Venice.
Posted by David Lowery at September 5, 2006 1:00 AM
Some of the reactions to INLAND EMPIRE:
Posted by: Karsten at September 7, 2006 4:18 PM
Not too encouraging, eh? I still can't wait to see it, but the thing that worries me the most are the technical aspects. That scene Lynch put on the Avid promo DVD was so amateurish, and I'm frightened of the prospect of a three hour film from a director I love that looks like that. But maybe I just need to open my mind and broaden my horizons....
Posted by: Ghostboy at September 8, 2006 2:32 AM
Y'know, the cinematographer is Norwegian... Odd-Geir Sæther. I'm cutting a film now that was shot by him, and I find him to be a real magician (it's shot on DV and DigiBeta). But those reviews for IE were really... yeah, unencouraging. And I guess the cinematography isn't getting the best of words either.
Posted by: Karsten at September 8, 2006 3:57 AM
I'm not too discouraged. I think that AVID dvd might have been a joke. I can see the man who does daily weather reports from his desk making a joke out of a corporate promo DVD.
As far as the complaints about photography, I think that no matter how open-minded and liberal film types think they are when it comes to change they're really not that permissive. Especially from such a canonized director. So while comparing the photography from this film to the old ones might leave one feeling dispair, maybe they should stop comparing and just witness this photography as a virgin voyage for Lynch.
Posted by: jmj at September 8, 2006 10:14 AM
I sure hope so. But if the Avid thing wasn't a half-assed joke, we may be in trouble. I mean, I love the shitty DV aesthetic as much as the next guy, but that was genuinely shitty DV.
Karsten's notes on the cinematographer are good to hear, though.
Posted by: Ghostboy at September 8, 2006 3:21 PM