Thursday, April 12, 2007

Give my Regards to Man Ray

In an earlier post, I mentioned that I wrote my first film script this winter. Well, this morning I stopped by the set to watch my friend Dorit shoot the picture. It's a conceptual film--no car chases, blowjobs or exploding lead actresses--and to be honest, I hadn't quite understood it until now. Dorit is shooting the tables and chairs and knives and forks of some of the famous designers and architects who built the housing complex in Berlin called Interbau. I wrote a script--part fiction, part documentary--that reads like a fifty year oral history of the neighborhood.

But even though we've had lots of conversations about the idea behind the film, none of it really gelled in my head until I saw Dorit directing the cameraman and the props people, and I saw the playback of a lovely dolly shot passing across an arrangement of Josef Albers nesting tables. Somehow, seeing this process, this visualization and construction, made it clear to me. We are making a film about how people have lived in these buildings.

It's strange to think that people can put words and pictures together in a concept without really knowing if it's going to work. But I guess lots of movies (and music and books) come together just like that.

In any case, the penny dropped, the light bulb lit up, and finally I got it. When I left, I told Dorit, "I'm really happy." "Me too," she said.

I walked out into a gorgeous and sunny spring day, got on a streetcar and suddenly realized I am where I've always wanted to be. I'm in Europe making art with friends and fascinating people. Playing with ideas and trying to capture something real about our lives and the lives of others. Trying and maybe even succeeding in an attempt to document something of our time.

Back when I was an dreamy young knucklehead, I fantasized about being part of a salon, about being fabulous and famous and having lunch with Man Ray all the time to talk about, oh, shadows, I guess. Now I know it's not going be like that. But it's still sort (It'll be even cooler if I can actually pay my share of the bills while doing all this fascinating interesting stuff.) (But I guess that's another post.)

I had a girlfriend once who spent a lot of time puzzling over how she'd ended up with me, a Texan, and a fairly goofy one at that. She would always just say, "Ehh, you fall in love with who you fall in love with." I've always thought she was right, even when she fell in love with someone else. And I've told myself that I've ended up in Austria because I love Anette, and she loves Vienna. But actually it's more complicated. Or simpler: One makes choices.

I'm sure I'll feel differently tomorrow. But today I think I'm in Vienna because this is where I'm supposed to be.

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