March 20, 2009

4:30 AM Ramble

I just finished the final sound cut on my film. As of tomorrow (today) picture and sound will be locked; my first film will be entirely complete. I'm pregnant with pride and relief.

So now I relax my brain, and goof off online:

It seems that technically Grande Prairie used to be on Russian territory. Oh wait, no.

-If necessary I am capable of literally thinking my way into your skull.

-I found a new cigarette. Djarum's Black. They're a cloved tobacco, wrapped in a black paper instead of white. Really rich, like the cigarette equivalent of dark chocolate cake.

-I rewatched the Luke and Andrew Wilson-directed The Wendell Baker Story tonight. No kidding, it's one of my favourite films from the last couple years. It is a really satisfying experience for me aestheticaly. The sense of abandon and fun that must have informed the script-writing process and the acting, is applied to composition, camera movement, lighting, set design, use of music, editing, etc. All those things in this film are beautiful and creative, but not too careful either -like those Elliott Smith songs that are somehow made a little bit better because you can hear the tape hiss and some quality in his voice that lets you know it's a bedroom 4-track cassette demo. Similarly with Wendell Baker moments of ridiculousness or amateur over-enthusiasm that pull you out of the film -and make you wonder what was going on "on set" instead of caring about the story withing the world of the film- generally serve to make the film a more enjoyable experience. The shots are symmetrical and very Texan, with a little more time left for lingering on the wide establishing shot than is usual for California's Hollywood which so dearly loves the shoulder-up shot in dialogue. Wendell Baker is certainly not a Hollywood film. Luke and Andrew Wilson rely on pretty conventional setups, and the film holds together precisely because they followed the rules on the basics. However, on top of that foundation of deep convention is an apparent fascination with pretty complex mise-en-scene, and long take aesthetics. But not at the expense of montage. For example, while the Wilsons may construct a scene's plot to play out over the course of three or four wide-ish shots, the humour is often built around cuts -so that the timing of the joke is worked into, or borne out of, montage.
The colours in this movie are deep and saturated like a technicolour film, but not washed out in that way everything seems to be lately.
Alright, enough stylistic examination.
Let me say, finally, that it is a deeply thoughtful and good film that feels like it was born out of some real integrity and simple good will.
So, Wendell Baker... it's unpolished and untidy in every sense. And that is precisely why it's great.

-I like my film-makers to be willing to back up a little, generally. Give the landscape and the performers room to breathe once in a while. I love Classical Hollywood Cinema and the conventions it disseminated through time to our present highly-polished age, but I do long for more space more often between me and the performers I am viewing, and longer shots. I didn't enjoy the Jason Bourne movies like everyone else. I found the editing infuriating in all three.

-I had a dream I was a helicopter and I was flying all around Manhattan. I could soar down low and almost touch the tops of buildings. There was no plot, just me soaring through the hazy spring air of New York City.


jon said...

you should ramble more.

i'm totally up for that wilson's movie, and that manhattan dream.

Anonymous said...

I find in times that I am pregnant with pride/relief/etcetcetc I can tell the future via dreams.

I've thought about which book....Im thinking...the answer is on my blog