Thinking a lot about Harry Savides passing away… a friend posted the short film below on Facey and I thought it was cool. In many ways even though the interview doesn’t go the way the filmmakers planned, I get a greater sense perhaps of who Harry was from this short film than if the more traditional ‘interview’ had gone to plan.
I also love how the film begins and it’s about one thing, but in the end, it’s about something altogether different. It kind of sums up my approach to directing and to filmmaking in general. You can plan all you want, but in the end, the most important thing is the thing that’s actually happening. Full credit to the filmmakers to being able to respond and capture so beautifully what was actually occurring and didn’t fight to bend the film into a shape it so obviously didn’t want to go. It’s way more beautiful because of it!
UPDATE: Wait a second… is this film a commercial for Built by Wendy? If it is, everything I wrote above is bullshit… And maybe now I should write about how clever it is an advertisement. But I feel a little fooled.
I’m a bit late posting about the passing of the late, great cinematographer Harry Savides who passed away last week. Such an inspiration. He shot so many great films but I think my favourite is Gus Van Sant’s Last Days. The film is so beautifully shot. I remember seeing it with my Dad in a near empty cinema Kino in Melbourne when it was released years ago. I was so blown away by it’s minimalism, beauty and poetry. It’s become one of my favourite films. I left the cinema in awe, speechless. My Dad turned to me as we hit the foyer and said in disgust “Don’t you ever make a film like that…!”. Double speechless…!
So whenever I think of Harry Savides, I think of Last Days and when I think of Last Days apart from fathers ‘advice’ I think of this very simple but stunning scene…
After watching the above clip, watch how they shot it below. Something wonderful about watching a small crew work in unison. I often wonder why they didn’t lay all the track for the dolly and then remove the front pieces as they dollied back, and not have to relay and level on the fly. I like to think that not even Gus Van Sant can afford all the toys all the time and they only had a few lengths of track in the (small) grip truck. A perfect example of how necessity particularly in film making are nearly always the mother of invention.
I have a few heroes. Pete Townsend from The Who (please do watch all 9 minutes of that clip, live rock n’ roll doesn’t get to much better!) is one of them. Just flicked through his recently released autobiography in an airport and was struck by the wonderfully simple and inspiring ‘coda’ right at the of the book.
Flaming Youth, Photographs from Puberty Blues is now also available as an eBook here for AUD$4.99 (or click on the book cover, top right, for more info). The eBook is pretty much the same as the hardcover version except you can’t feel the weight of it in your hands, or the texture of the paper on your fingertips or press your nose firmly to the page and inhale the sweet perfume of freshly printed ink.
The eBook also costs a fraction of the price of the physical copy, which is a true indicator of the cost of nice paper, ink and boutique printing these days.
I could have just created an eBook, but I love, love, love the printed page and buy photographic books almost obsessively. Apart from actually taking photos (or making films), sitting and observing the work of others is the best education there is!