Wednesday, February 07, 2018

And it all came true

So far, we're keeping to a schedule of an-Opus-a-month, which is quite gratifying. 

Bay Area Premiere of Her Magnum Opus
Sunday February 11 at 4:30
Monday February 12 at 7:00

At the Q&A after recent screenings of Opus, people have often asked what the script must have looked like, since there's no dialogue, and the actors seem so natural. Looking back at documents from the making of Opus, I was pleasantly surprised to see just how much I'd predicted accurately! The original treatment - longer than a synopsis, still not a script - was in fact 99% what we ended up creating. Below, for example, is one of the character sketches I shared with the performers just before the first day of shooting, October 5, 2016.

He’s part human, part animal - can romp and roll with the children and dog one moment, and exude a quiet meditative presence the next. He’s known her the longest and is very protective of her, making sure she has a comfortable place to sit, bringing her a blanket when she’s cold, shooing visitors away when he suspects she’s tiring. (Arthur, will you ACTUALLY please help keep track of Aileen’s comfort level for me? It will be a long day and I’ll be too busy to pay attention as I should.)  In one scene, we see him hammering a repair on a bench outside, under a window she’s cleaning inside the house. They have an easy, teasing relationship, but he holds her in high esteem, kneeling at her feet in adoration, pride - and later, worry.  (Bring at least 2 costumes - party prep and party for real.)

Of course, this character ended up coming across this way  partly because it pretty much represents Arthur's actual relationship to Aileen.  So, does that mean that Opus is a documentary, or some artless combination of dress-ups and cinema verité? Why define it? When people do go along for the ride, it's because they let go of pre-conceptions about what a movie is. (If only I could do the same, I'd be a lot less tormented about not fitting in.)

Folks who have seen or heard about Opus have invited me to screen it again for their meditation group, their country club, their old age home - and there's even a distributor nosing around. For now, I'll be glad for a-screening-a-month: ideally a few closer to home, since the push pins on the Opus map are mostly clustered in the west - Port Townsend, Borrego Springs, San Francisco.

Remember that whirlwind project I made in Brazil at the end of 2017?  The "script" for that was essentially created by my collaborator, since it relied on the choreography of Francisco da Silva for its raw material.  He and the dancers of Urze were wonderfully generous about allowing me to adapt the movement material, incorporating it into various sites at the EcoVila Tiba where we shot for 2 days, had a week to edit, and then shot for another 4 days. 

So we shot a lot of little scenes - many of them duets - taken from a dance of Francisco's called Tao Intimo. The dancers knew the score, though they had to let go of the original context, which had been a proscenium stage. Costumes were street wear from their own closets, the dancing mostly outdoors on grass or dirt. We used no music, except in one scene when we made it ourselves. Here's a rough edit of one scene - with precious little actual choreography, perversely - to show you the evocative location, the hard-working cast ... the warm weather!

As for my recently-released short film 
In search of lost time 
no drum-roll implying a climax. 
Instead let the band vamp, as for an ongoing list:

cha cha CHA
cha cha CHA

Black Maria Film Festival

Sunday, February 11 @ 2pm
AMC Dine-in Theater West Orange, NJ
more screenings to be announced throughout the year


Midwest RADFest
March 9 & 10
Kalamazoo, Michigan

Short Waves Dances with Camera
March 20-25
Poznan, Poland