Watching a film far from home…

Posted: February 14th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Screenings | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

After a series of delayed and canceled flights, I arrived in Berlin thinking that traveling like this is both exhausting and questionable.  Yet after the screening of 5 lessons last night (sold out audience of 500, the magic of a large film festival) I realize that the process of making a film isn’t completed until I voyage with it. I’m thinking about:

The position of the viewer – how a  film tries to/positions the viewer in different ways (insider/outsider/voyeur/participant/implicated/fly on the wall/passive/active)

The position the viewer wants to be in (hard to fight this)

Is there a way to get around an audience’s tendency when watching films that are not set in their own backyards and in their own language, to watch with a passive/removed curiosity? (A desire to be educated, or perhaps titillated?)  This question is increasingly important, in these times of economic (etc.) interconnectedness.  In 5 lessons, I try, using a profusion of voices, of  I’s, Us’s, We’s to complicate this.   Does it work?  There was one comment from the audience last night on the globalization of gentrification, so this part may have hit home.

I was glad to hear the end chorus (which I had originally wanted to repeat ad infinitum) YOU ARE A PART OF IT, filling the space, first in Cantonese then Mandarin then English, and finally in a mess of all three.  Missing was German.  A fantasy idea – not completely impractical – to make a different edit for each screening.

Above, an off-topic image taken at breakfast which I shot thinking of Ed Bowes and Vermeer.  Is the light softer in the Netherlands?