Friday, April 27, 2012

Solitude #1

“I love to be alone. I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”

Image:  Neta Dror
Words: the ever ponderable Henry David Thoreau whose guidance I always try and fail to live by...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Faces and Light #1

It's pouring down with rain outside and Australia is going nuts with jingoistic celebrations of the Anzac spirit and whatever else that means in these days of endless wars. I locked myself away with a bunch of flicks and some books to pore over references for some films in the pipeline. As the day came to an end I stumbled on a way to spend a few hours that I deeply enjoyed. I was looking for references for facial lighting that I like - where the light doesn't feel too sculpted or unnatural - and where faces, in stillness, have a painterly quality. So I spent those hours just staring at faces in films. Hundreds of them. Turns out that I found a shitload of lovely references. Here's just a small handful.


Friday, April 20, 2012

Rules #1

escape rigidity

regain lost innocence

create structures that constrict

evade structure through subterfuge

undermine fear

embrace sleeplessness

be childlike

seek out quiet and chaos equally

keep eyes wide

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Brutal Words

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Slack Jaw

This might just be one of the most beautiful film posters I've ever seen. Created by the pretty damned incredible UK artist Peter Strain. I'm slack-jawed with awe. And I want it. I have a birthday this year. Just saying.


Although the shoot might still be a way off yet, I've been doing some more wandering and location scouting for my flick 'Galore'. I've done this before a couple of times, thinking we were accelerating toward shooting but a production setback or another project got in the way. So I get a bit nervous thinking of these trips as 'recces'. Really, it's just wandering and thinking and looking. Maybe it's going to be too elusive to capture on screen, but the areas in the outer southern suburbs of Canberra where the film is set, possess, for me, a singular sense of space and some of the most beautiful expansive skies I've ever seen. It's a rich and strange landscape disguised as a completely normal and banal suburbia. I'm dying to finally throw some people in the places and spaces I imagine for the film and actually shoot a scene or two... Slowly, slowly. In the meantime, here are some shots. Click on the image for a bigger version. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Digital Memory

So, a recent visit to my Mum's house offered up a strange burst of memory. In a small pencil case, she had gathered together a bunch of the hand held 'game and watch' consoles we had all played as kids and stored them in a drawer where they lay untouched. My brother and I found some old batteries and charged them up. I played a few of them - 'Fire', 'Donkey Kong Jr.' were alway my favourites - and immediately my fingers remembered what I had not. My fumbling mansize digits aced the games as if a day hadn't elapsed in the decades since I last held them in my hand. Bodies can always compress time, senses allow the years to collapse in ways that our minds refuse to, no matter how strong the desire. Of course, like any burst of childhood memory, the warmth and terror of a crippling man sized nostalgia followed. So I buried it the way I normally do. I took a photo to kill and then falsify the real world emotion. In any case, thanks Mum.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos

 "And Our Faces, My Heart, Brief as Photos"

Photo: Elizabeth Weinberg
Words stolen from the sublime title of the pretty damned sublime novel by: John Berger

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ten Things about Tarkovsky

Today would have been Tarkovsky's 80th birthday. This has prompted a lot of intense, often lovely and frequently laboured pieces of writing about the brilliance, austerity, singularity and poetry of his vision. I don't want to add too much to all those swirling words with no place to go. So, instead, here is a list of ten things that I love about the old dog.

1. I love that whenever I show 'Mirror' to first year film students, that there is always one or two of them that are profoundly angered.

2. I love each and every forest scene in 'Ivan's Childhood'. Tree trunks, leaves and the natural form of the forest floor as architecture, as screen division, as emotion, as staging, as beauty, as threat.

3. I love his love of faces, of the ways that he lingers on them in the deepest states of melancholy or revery.

4. I love that, in Tarkovsky, fire is not just a visual elemental motif. Fire is as elemental as it is in the real world. It is elemental!

5. I love that every film feels like an emotional biography, whatever the subject, story and setting.

6. I love that he would talk about his own ways of making film in ways such as this:
“We can express our feelings regarding the world around us either by poetic or by descriptive means. I prefer to express myself metaphorically. Let me stress: metaphorically, not symbolically. A symbol contains within itself a definite meaning, certain intellectual formula, while metaphor is an image. An image possessing the same distinguishing features as the world it represents. An image — as opposed to a symbol — is indefinite in meaning. One cannot speak of the infinite world by applying tools that are definite and finite. We can analyse the formula that constitutes a symbol, while metaphor is a being-within-itself, it's a monomial. It falls apart at any attempt of touching it. ”
and this:
“When less than everything has been said about a subject, you can still think on further. The alternative is for the audience to be presented with a final deduction (...) no effort on their part.
What can it mean to them when they have not shared with the author the misery and joy of bringing an image into being?”
and this:
“I am only interested in the views of two people: one is called Bresson and one called Bergman.”
7. I love this polaroid in particular, among his many beautiful polaroids:

8. I love his films. I love everything about 'Mirror'. Everything. And I love that even though it is flawed, 'Ivan's Childhood' will always be one of my 'top' films because I cannot think of any film that when I first watched it, made me swoon, catch my breath and roll my eyes in disbelief. And I love that, while I might love other directors and other films more, that images from each and every one of his films, still chase me, still haunt me, years after first seeing them. I love that his films refuse to be forgotten or ignored.

9. I love the fact that he seems to me to be more truly audacious, more truly visionary, more truly and essentially of the properties and mysteries of cinema itself, than anyone else I can think of.

10. And, finally, I love that his top ten list of films was as follows:
  1. Le Journal d'un curé de campagne
  2. Winter Light
  3. Nazarin
  4. Wild Strawberries
  5. City Lights
  6. Ugetsu Monogatari
  7. Seven Samurai
  8. Persona
  9. Mouchette
  10. Woman of the Dunes

Landscape #2

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Landscape #1