Digital video cams, professional (except Epic, missing)
'The Tipping Point'
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
Sketching Love - my first try in over 30 years! There is something of the making in the blog posts of June 2006, when we did the shooting. The footage shot in Helsinki was done on the 10th of June: we started early in the morning and drove 350 km to do the job. It was sunday and great sunny day and all went extremely well - we even got a parking place just by the park! And then back by the night...
I woke up at 5 am and went downstairs, and saw a lynx slowly hulking by the house. It was a large lynx, because I at first thought it a fawn of an elk, but it was a lynx. It made me joyous as I regarded it a presage of good fortune.
I collected the others at the village - there were three: Saara, Jere and Jarno, all my students. Jarno did the shooting, Saara was the female lead and Jere the male. With Jarno we had done some stuff before and he had been wielding the same size camera in the army so he had some experience. Saara had been modeling for me both on runway and for the camera so she too was quite used to it. Jere was a new guy, but as he was clever and curious I trusted him to clear the day - and the next days, too. I had not told them what it was they were required to do and they trusted me to know what I wanted. On the whole trust is the most important ingredient of a process like this - if there is no trust it won't hold together. But we had it, the trust!
My idea for this film was to portray a feeling that kind of goes through time and places and is threatened by psychological more than concrete. As I was working with youngsters it was different than with more experienced people, had both pros and cons! The great pro was undoubtedly the eager curiosity of my companions and also their sincerity. The con was that extra load of work it put on my shoulders both as responsibility and as real doing like driving and so. But I had been waiting so long!
The feeling begins by chance as they do, and is allowed to take root and grow. Then come the doubts and nightmares created by former experience and disappointments. At the end hope is portrayed by blowing soap bubbles... The different phases are marked also by different colors - green in the beginning, trees and water, - then white, all painted white and white clothes, - and then appears black and red, the white drowns, and black wins the stage - just to deteriorate to rainbow colors of the bubbles at the end.
Sketching Love was meant to be a glass of dry champagne or should I say mead because of their youth - coincidental, innocent and optimistic in a light aquarelle kind of way. I was not explaining or lecturing or preaching but just sketching with simple strokes... There is no tightly spun plot but just a feeling to carry on the film, with nothing extra to neither drag nor support. Mere light weight bones...
The film starts from the streets and walking people - the girl and the boy, light and dark. Both are walking alone and they end to the same place, a park, where he takes photos and she lays on the grass reading. The boy takes photos of things - the church, flowers and trees - not of the colorful people walking and residing in the park. Is he afraid of people or is it just a habit in a city not to pay attention to others?
I am rather proud of the scene where they meet: he steps on her! I am not good with situation comedy and this is quite top for me! So he takes another look and starts to take photos of her. And they also start talking. The first steps are taken and she even smiles while being photographed.
The ice cream... there is the garbage bin and the sound of traffic... close-ups of her face... and the view opens to include the trees - the music begins, idyllic scene while they are chatting and laughing. We can not hear what they are talking but it must be funny! And then they are on the bench kissing...
My cameraman took footage of treetops and I used them to change scene - clumsy maybe but so usual in finnish cinema! And I think it is quite appropriate in this situation: the scene sifts to another location and another time, when he is waiting for her, doubting himself and the sincerity of his feelings. The waiting and then the steps when she is walking towards him, steady steps sounding from the concrete! And then the first conversation - the words and short sentences are like swords, like fighting! He is more matter-of-fact, but she accuses him of being stagnant. Finally he seems to take a protective stand! And the next scene via water - there is also the chain, symbolics!
Obviously it is morning in the next scene, a morning together after a night together - the smiles and atmosphere of intimacy makes it obvious that it was enjoyable. This is the white phase, state of innocence still prevailing, good will and pleasure. They are very close and realize how vulnerable it makes them - the conversation is fractal and leading anywhere. Both listen and feel their way - this time she is more aggressive: - What are you staring at! But agrees to let him take photos. The music is with flute and piano, the softer version.
The next scene starts with him talking to phone somewhere outside the picture frame: there is life outside this bubble! Them he views copies of old photos and reflects about women in them, and comes to a conclusion that he knows nothing, they are an enigma and life is impossible to control, - which of course is true, but should not depress him as it does! Still white and the angles of the camera support his feelings.
The same table but with a comic book and black clothes. And we still see it from up. Enter she in a red dress, and she looks at the photos laughing at the dragonfly mixed between pics of herself. She also looks at the photos of his female lineage identifying with them on general level. Then his phone rings and the situation resolves to laughter! Looking closer one can find some underlying meanings fx the comics are Bilal's and that can open some lines of thinking connected with the dragonfly...
The dream, his dream of her wading in the water in white clothes - projection of his fear of losing her like he has lost his mother maybe... or does he think all women are self destructive? She obviously drowns in her whites to resurrect in black. Maybe he just realizes that the idyllic state wont last forever and the 'black' greyness of everyday life lies waiting... The waking is slow and thoughtful.
The guitar joins the music in the next scene, candles and some sort of festive atmosphere. Both are dressed in black, glasses of wine, cigarette - but he is talking of the dream, telling her and she even jokes about his mom... It ends with close and warm hug, safe and alive.
The final scene shows them blowing soap bubbles with deep red creeper growing on the wall in the background: it is autumn, the summer is gone and they are still together. There are children running after the bubbles - is that a promise? Maybe - who knows... The music has grown darker but it is not threatening, just deeper - yes, a kind of happy ending, I think!
And why did I do this? And with a bank loan? Well, I felt it was due to become real and there hardly was any other possibilities concerning the funding - now looking it at retrospect when I have for five years tried to get funding for writing the manuscript of my next movie I'm certainly happy I did that! So slow and impossible it seems to be to get money to do something one has wanted to do for 35 years that I don't understand... Is it really so criminal to be an ambitious woman and to take risks?? Can't be... =D