Friday, February 02, 2007

two excerpts

9 of the 200 minutes from Frederick Wiseman's Public Housing (1997).

Euro, a video by André Dias.


Blogger André Dias said...

Are you looking for "drama" while shooting?
WISEMAN - The first thought: I’m trying to make a movie. A movie has to have dramatic sequence and structure. I don’t have a very precise definition about what constitutes drama but I’m gambling that I’m going to get dramatic episodes. Otherwise, it becomes Andy Warhol’s movie on the Empire State Building. So, yes, I am looking for drama, though I’m not necessarily looking for people beating each other up, shooting each other. There’s a lot of drama in ordinary experiences. In Public Housing, there was drama in that old man being evicted from his apartment by the police. There was a lot of drama in that old woman at her kitchen table peeling a cabbage.
What did you see in the second scene above?
WISEMAN - I saw a woman alone in a very sparsely furnished apartment who once was independent. The way she examined and peeled the cabbage, there was an element of control. The patience and endurance suggested to me the way she led her life. When she talked on the phone, she was clearly disappointed that what I took to be a member of her family was not going to show up. I read into that a whole history of family relationships. She was disappointed but accepted it with the same stoicism she’d examined the cabbage. So I found that dramatic, not in a shoot-’em-up sense but dramatic in a sense of the expression of feeling.

5:59 AM  
Blogger Mubarak Ali said...

Thanks for dropping by, André. Here's another excerpt from a wonderful discussion between Wiseman and Robert Kramer:

"Wiseman: There's also distinctions between the things you're describing and films where interviews are being conducted-where people are acting formally because they're nervous or they're not yet comfortable with the questioner-and the more observational kind of film where people are engaged in another activity which, for at least one of the participants, is normal-where the actual event, the non-film event, is more important than the film event. Even if people are uncomfortable with the idea of being photographed, they still behave, at least in my experience, in ways that they think are appropriate not for the situation of being filmed but for the situation which they're in. And in a sense that's exactly what you want. You want people to behave in ways that they think are appropriate for where they are."


Hopefully when I've seen more films by Wiseman, there'll be a proper post on him here in the near future...

9:12 AM  
Blogger André Dias said...

thanks for the quote and link. actually, i don't remember if i've read it already or not. but i've recently came across, while filming, with an ambiguous situation related with camera conscience by the ones who are being filmed. not such much as wiseman, nor even as kiarostami, i'am afraid. let's see if i can do something with it, with its excess of conscience... wiseman is quite known in portugal and very much appreciated. personally, i consider him on of the most important modern film directors, not merely as a documentarist. and he was here last year and told us that he was planing on a american dvd edition of his films. hope that's soon. there are some weird copies circulating on the net (e-mule, etc.), but obviously it's not the same experience... i have to read your blog backwards carefully. keep the good work. bye, andré

1:17 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home

Subscribe to Posts [Atom]