I started this new blog as a digital journal for when I need to write about things outside the film world : https://alittleblackdot.wordpress.com/
(Not that there’s much outside the film world, but you know, writing in general is good for the soul).
What a movie. What a great, non-category movie. It took me back to the time when the night was my whole world.
This film is like a mixture of every single thing that there is in movies. The outfits and haircuts of the main characters remind me of French New Wave films and 1950s James Dean movies. The Girl in the chador, could easily be a comic book character. The cinematography and mood is part Eraserhead, part Film Noir. The theme is a blend of horror, love story , with a couple of scenes that belong in an experimental piece. There’s definitely a strong Middle Eastern presence, not only in the language, but also in some of the art direction, soundtrack and mannerisms. Oh and check this, the description of the movie is “Iranian Vampire Spaghetti Western”. The mind has officially been blown. How do you watch a film like that without feeling like you just smoked something weird?
Each scene is like a short story with its own arc. The pace slows down whenever the scene is changing, giving you some time to breath,notice the excellent photography by Lyle Vincent,wonder why in the world you still haven’t filmed something that looks like that, but once you are in heart of the scene, everything gets magnificently intense. The pacing feels like falling down the rabbit hole really.
Masterfully done miss Ana Lily Amirpour, masterfully done. But girl. If you use the word “fucking” in the same sentence as “David Lynch” , one more time, I might have to give you a call. (I really don’t know what I would say though. Probably, hey, I love your film? I’m really not a badass and kind of shy to be honest). I mean I get that we use the word “fucking” in a positive way sometimes, but it almost feels like littering pure art. I don’t know, maybe that’s just me.
Speaking of pure art, Elijah Wood, who was one of the producers of the film, just referenced Wong Kar-wai’s “In The Mood For Love”. So if I ever meet you Elijah I’ll give you a high five fo sho. (I’ll also show you a picture of this dude that I think might be your lost twin brother).
Here’s the trailer of the movie and lucky you, it’s on Netfilx:
Oh! And bonus! There’s a cat in the movie. I mean can this get any better?
So we entered this one with Shooting Stars Are Dead and we watched our little film on the big screen last night.
Brittany, my director was sitting next to me holding my hand for the whole 20 minutes of the movie. Whenever I’m shooting for a female director they always want to hold to my hand during the screening, which I think it’s kinda sweet because I feel that they trust me. It’s as if we hold hands we’ll get through it together and it will be fine. But there is also something honest about seeing the vulnerable side of people whenever they are showing their work to an audience.
The screening went super great. We were nominated for best screenplay, best supporting actress, best film and best cinematography. We didn’t win anything, but hey, we were nominated for all of these categories which was pretty awesome.
At the end we had a Q&A session. I got some good questions about the photography of the movie, but I have no idea what I said to be honest. Everything is a bit of a blur right now.I think it went something like this “We had to chase the light the whole entire time. It was always something like, the sun is going down or the sun is coming up, hurry up. But it was a lot of fun. ” That’s all I remember.
Then we had drinks and we got to talk to a bunch of people who were at the screening. Some people came to talk to me which was nice because I’m always in my little introvert bubble, but when I’m having a genuine conversation with someone-especially when it’s about film-I feel that I can put away my bubble for later and be present in the moment.
Three or four people talked to me about shooting their films, so yeah..things went really well. I couldn’t be more grateful for all the people that I meet and get to work with and for everyone who is coming out to see our films and show us so much support. I seriously must be the luckiest girl in the universe.
Here’s a picture from last night with Brittany, our director and Andrew our editor:
Today I went to the grocery store to get chicken and this older man started talking to me about cheese and folk dance. My brain was so fried I honestly started thinking that I was in a dream. At some point I said “ok great.Thank you.” and walked away. It was a very strange experience. Right there, in front of the frozen food section.
Anyways, here’s a teaser for Shooting Stars Are Dead. I cut this one specifically for the photography:
ps. I ended up making chicken soup
Shooting Stars Are Dead-day something something. We have finally wrapped.
There must be fifty-five reasons why I love night shoots so much. Neon lights is one of them.
While I was travelling back home I got an email that went something like this: “Hey Christiana this is Brittany K. we met on the blah blah blah set. Would you be interested in shooting my film?Here’s the script. Let me know what you think”. I read the script, I liked it a lot and I wrote back: “I’d love to shoot your film. It reminds me the work of Gaspar Noe and Harmony Korine.” After that, I got an email from Brittany, saying that her and I spoke the same filmic language. So we got together after I was done visiting my cat and we shot.
We’re still in production, but it’s been so much fun shooting this film. One, I get to shoot with some of my favorite people from the Bay and two, we have been on a little road trip to get all the scenes. From the Bay Area to Sacramento to Santa Cruz.
Here’s some stills:
Since the storyline goes from a happy place to a very dark place, I felt that it would be suitable for the photography to follow the same pattern. So the first few scenes that are about dreams and the power of friendship are shot mostly during the golden hour, while the scenes that come later are shot during the evening with one or two lighting sources and limited colour palette.
This is a 20 minutes short that is made for a film competition and will be screened at the Meisner Technique Institute in December.
This is such a great seminar by Sean Bobbitt, who is one of my favourite DPs:
Speaking of handheld, Fish Tank is a great example of great handheld work:
Directed by Andrea Arnold, shot on 16mm by Robbie Ryan, Fish Tank feels so very European and right…if that makes any sense. There’s all these little moments in the movie, like tiny little stories that help build the characters without using too much dialogue.
Watch it if you have Netflix, watch it if you don’t have Netflix, just find your eyeballs a way to watch this movie because it’s that great.
Okie, news on personal projects coming soon. Over and out.