She’s a dream, especially isolated in that window, her mane waving and stuck in place at once while she drifts into view with a bottle of wine and a little glass and that pack of smokes, the camera dollying past, peering in, until she stops moving and it does in turn, only to zoom in, closer, as she pauses with the match, it takes a drag to do it, to light up, with one eye hidden that can recall her Faces face, that famous hard light on her right side in that film, the source on our right here, catching all that blonde on top of a silhouette dress making her a beacon, a match all her own, ready to be struck, the human as a strike anywhere being primed to fire up and burn out one millimeter of ash at a time, all dangling as one bent record of time, no clocks ticking but seconds—everything is terminal!—expiring nonetheless.
The best way to stay awake after a 230am pee break is to root through a book on the kindle app on your phone to share some passage you can’t quite remember in specifics but nevertheless feel you must locate, and highlight, and read aloud to your snoring dog.
I know this is elsewhere in my arrayed “online presence” but after rediscovering my Found Facts: A Touching Image last night, this freeze frame of Basile (or Baptiste?) still brings me such joy. Especially coming after the pun of the hose shooting (all white) all over the ground under the word “Allégresses,” which the subtitles translate to “Jubilations,” right after the sexiest non-nude non-sex sex scene I know of in cinema that’s more about connection, making physical the (metaphysical) emotional desire for this other rare being in front of you so displayed between Lauren Capelluto’s Simon (or, more importantly, his hands) and Chiara Mastroianni’s Sylvia. If ever a movie “got” me, it’s this one. Esther Kahn is somehow even more dear to me, more special, I think because I love ideas a little too much, but A Christmas Tale is how I feel.
Last night, after ignoring the Ferguson developments to go see Leos Carax’s Boy Meets Girl at the Castro (read Cuyler’s take here; I thought, similarly, “that was ok”), I came home and rewatched a bunch of stuff my friend Isiah made. First off was this new trailer for the upcoming 88:88 (see above, dumdum). Then I watched Time is the sun.mp4. Then I tweeted a lot about how much I love what Isiah’s doing, in large part because you can tell that he turns his camera on his life not simply to document it but also to say, “I love you,” to everybody in it. Furthermore, they’re truly digital films, by which I mean mosaics—arrangements as much as compositions, pieces strung together to make a whole—or, maybe, gestalts. In this, his work inherits JLG like few other current filmmakers. Isiah’s work is much more private, and less “about” cinema (I guess), but, as I tweeted, meaning is secondary to feeling herein so anybody claiming this is incoherent can take the train to nowhere I want to be.
I’m very interested in physicality. What they’re doing with their bodies. Are they sitting, standing, coat on, hat off? If you can get the actors sorted out physically, it means they’re going to be in the right spot mentally—everything comes from the physical.
I don’t want them thinking. I want them behaving, instinctually. So I keep it very, very simple, and I try to avoid setting anything up shot-wise until I’ve seen what is going to happen with the actors. I try to never have a situation where I’ve already built a frame and I’m telling them where to stand. The first thing I do is, “Let’s just make sure we have a scene that plays. Figuring out how to shoot it is the easy part. Let’s make sure we have something worth shooting.”
— Soderbergh, whose problem solving skills start where they’re supposed to start.