Monday, October 13, 2014

DAY ONE: Road trip

Day one through the south west. I flew into Vegas International Airport, rented a car and just DROVE to Utah for Zion national park. I felt so free, so excited, so ready, and so desperately willing to embrace the nothingness of the west. 160 miles to Zion.

"All About Eve" (1950)

"All About Eve" (1950) is possibly one of the best written films I've ever seen. The writing is so strong, so on point, and the acting just carries it away. You are swept away with each and every sentence spoken. My thoughts from this lean towards how to replicate it?? How do I write dialogue as witty and truthful as this?? Do I just write everything I want to say with no filter? Do I plan out specific topics I want to cover?? What kind of process will give me the best results?? So good.
I just learned this film is the only film to receive four female acting nominations. So awesome. GREAT job Joseph L. Mankiewicz. 

Give Love Words

"As a society we are embarrassed by love. We treat it as if it were an obscenity. We reluctantly admit to it. Even saying the word makes us stumble and blush...Love is the most important thing in our lives, a passion for which we would fight or die, and yet we're reluctant to linger over its names. Without a supple vocabulary, we can't even talk or think about it directly." -Diane Ackerman

"This Property is Condemned" (1966)

Watched this cute love story this morning. What I found interesting with this film is that Director of Photography James Wong Howe was able to capture the redness of Redford's white skin. And Natalie Wood didn't seem too terribly flattering. Sydney got achieved a unique, perhaps subtle realism with this film. I think it had to do a lot with the story-living in reality versus the fantasy that Wood's character constantly lived in. Best part of the story was watching Wood's character try to build a live with her love. THAT is the part of our journey as people I find interesting. How do we build when so much as been destroyed?? How do we love when we feel so deeply ruined?? I loved the production design by Stephen B. Grimes. Such detail. Everything looked interesting. He also worked with Sydney on "Out of Africa" (1985) and "Three Days of the Condor" (1975).


This film is ridiculous. It's a BEAST of a story messing with our understanding of narrative in structure, in reliability, competing entirely with the RIDICULOUS fallacy that if we SEE IT it MUST BE TRUE. I love it. So much. Akira Kurosawa is a MASTER film director, with such a strong command on lighting, pacing, blocking, directing actors. It's humbling to watch. It floors me to watch his lead man laugh like a maniac. Where did this man GET THESE IDEAS?? He is brilliant.  It was kind of comforting to watch some of his other films and to learn they weren't as good :)

One of my favorite parts of the film was watching the medium. SHE?? or HE?? was utterly ridiculous in their commitment to letting that ghost come out of them. It was AWESOME. I will most definitely study this filmmaker for his command on structure, composition, and lyrical style of story telling in editing.

ADORE: Improv Rehearsal at the Park

In order to help the actors contextualize and imagine what this unique family unit must look like, I had them improvise a little family picnic at the park. The were to act out Sharon's (the mother character in Adore) 52nd birthday. The opening scene in the short is her 53rd birthday. In the short, Sharon has this powerful monologue about "old times" and how all she wanted was having it all back. For me, that reflects our tendency to simply want things back to the way they were, when break ups occur. We (like Sharon) don't necessarily care to fix the problem or work through the issues. Pride is real. We just want things BACK to the way they were. 
I provided a fruit custard, a blanket, birthday candles, and some travel companion questionnaire cards to help their conversation roll. I also had them record each other on my Mini DV camera. Not sure if it did much. I could see them getting bored quick. BUT, I think the fruit of this improvisation will occur after it's done, as it did for me. As I type this I'm filled with a little nostalgia about the picture of a family, of what it means to be "together" as a conglomerate of highly individualistic human beings. I love what they created. I'm also hoping that the footage we got of them laughing, talking, and chasing each other will pull at their tender heart strings as we film.
I want to make sure that the tone on set stays solemn. In my experience, the moment I release the jitters out and start teasing everyone (to relieve MY stress) the art weakens. And so I want them to leave hating the world. Hating this movie. Hating this story and just utterly devastated by how easily family ties can be shattered by our ridiculous pride.
So we'll see. One month to filming.

Bette & Tina

There is no way to underestimate the effect this show on my life. "The L Word" dramatizing the journey for two women totally at a lost with each other is by far the most wonderful depiction of human love I have seen on screen. You spend five entire seasons hoping to God these two (Bette & Tina) can get it together, can find their way together. Part of you doesn't even realize how bad you want it UNTIL the shows creators/writers dangle it in front of you in season 5-the possibility of their reconciliation. When Bette grabs Tina in this scene and begins to kiss her, all the walls inside of me fell. I seriously felt that if these two could not be together, if they weren't "allowed" to be together because of our ridiculously homophobic morals as Christina people, then life wasn't worth living.
These two-Bette and Tina-are a picture of what love can be: an experience in unconditional acceptance. I love it. Watching Bette, a high strung, powerhouse tower fall into the gentle delicate hands of Tina,  is incredible. I wrote my thesis off of this idea, this experience. I will one day direct my first feature off of this idea, to extend and further visualize this vision of forgiveness and unconditional acceptance. Adore AND Without You both tell this same story. 

So grateful. Thank you Jennifer Beals and Laurel Holloman.