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- The Marquis At Midnight - A Regency Romance Novel (Midnight Masquerade Series Book 1).
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- Plutôt crever.
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Sign in via your Institution Sign in. Filmmaking is a part of me. It is a driving force like hunger and thirst.
Some people express themselves by writing books, painting pictures, climbing mountains, beating their children, or dancing the samba. I express myself by making films. The great Jean Cocteau has written in The Blood of a Poet about his alter ego staggering along a nightmarish hotel corridor, where behind all the different doors lie what has made him what he is. Without having the unique qualities of Cocteau, I am going to attempt to convey you to the workshop where I make my films.
I must apologize if the visit does not come up to expectations.
The workshop is at present quite a mess as the owner is too busy to keep it tidy. Moreover, the lighting is pretty bad in certain places, and some rooms we will not enter at all—these have PRIVATE in large letters on the doors—and your guide is rather unsure as he does not know what will be of interest to you. However, let us take a look behind some of the doors.
This does not mean that we will find what we are looking for, but the search may possibly provide some odd pieces for that peculiar jigsaw puzzle of filmmaking. This involves—or ought to involve—a serious moral problem for those who work in the film industry. I do not propose to go into the misuse of the cinema by commercial interests, though it would be of interest if a scientist could one day invent an instrument that could measure how much talent, initiative, genius, and creative ability have been destroyed by the industry in its ruthless, efficient sausage machine.
At the same time it ought to be recognized that the rough must be taken with the smooth, and there is no reason why film work should be an exception. Its brutality is unmasked, but that can be an advantage. A motion picture is a perforated length of film made up of a number of still photographs, small and rectangular in shape—there are 52 of them to each meter of film— each separated from its neighbor by a thick black line.
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At first sight these photographs seem the same, but if examined closely slight differences can be detected; when they are projected successively on a screen, usually at the rate of 24 a second, the illusion of movement can be created. While each of these photographs is moving into position for projection a mask moves over the lens. The tightrope, which the ambitious filmmaker is obliged to walk, is like that of a circus without a net.
For the tightrope walker and the filmmaker are subject to the same inevitable risk: They can fall down and break their necks. Now somebody will say that surely this is an exaggeration. There cannot be such a danger in making a film. I say there is just that danger. It is true, as I pointed out, that one must be a conjurer. But no one conjures the producer, the bank director, the cinema owners, or the critics when the public refuses to go to see a film. The tightrope, which the ambitious filmmaker is obliged to walk, is like that of a circus without a net I have a recent and extraordinarily painful example of how I myself was dangerously poised on the tightrope.
An extremely adventurous producer had put up the money for one of my films, and after a year of frantic activity was born Sawdust and Tinsel. Criticism was generally unfavorable. The public stayed away, the producer reckoned up his losses, and I expected to have to wait 10 years for my next experiment in the medium. If I were to make a further two or three films that involved financial losses, the producer would rightly consider that he could not dare to put his money on my talent.
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I would suddenly find myself a suspicious character, a spendthrift, and I would get plenty of time to think about the actual employment of my so-called artistic talent. The conjurer would be deprived of his magic wand. When I was younger I did not know this fear. Work was a fascinating game and, whether the result was profitable or not, I was as happy as a sandboy.
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The tightrope walker danced on his rope, unaware of the void and the hard ground beneath him. The game has become a bitter struggle. The tightropewalking act is now performed with eyes open, and the rope is attached to fear and uncertainty. Creation is an urgent necessity, just as much for mental as for financial reasons. Failure, criticism, indifference of the public hurt more today than yesterday. The wounds are deep and lasting. Jean Anouilh used to play a little game to put off the fear he felt when beginning a new work. He feels real satisfaction in the work of his hands—a pair of practical trousers or an elegant coat.
The joy and satisfaction of a good artisan. The pride of a skilled workman who knows his craft. I recognize the game and very often play it: My films involve good craftsmanship. I am conscientious, industrious, and extremely careful. I do my work for everyday purposes and not for eternity; and my pride is the pride of a good craftsman.
Is there a single meter in any one of your films that will mean something for the future, one single line, one single situation that is completely and absolutely real? Photos: Bo A. To be frightened goes with filmmaking, so they will be paid in their own coin. Filmmaking is not only a problem and dilemma, financial troubles, conflicts of responsibility, and anxiety. It is also secret games, memories, and dreams. A face strongly and suddenly lighted, a hand held out in a gesture, an open space in the twilight where several old women are sitting on a bench eating apples from a bag.
Or a dialogue, two people who suddenly say something in voices that hint at their inner characters, perhaps as they are turning the other way. I cannot see their faces, and yet I am compelled to listen to them, to wait until they come back the next time and repeat the same words with no apparent meaning in them but containing a hidden tension, a tension that I am still unaware of, but that has a treacherous sweetness.
The lighted face, the hand held out in a gesture as if pronouncing a spell, the old women in the square, and the few meaningless words are caught like glittering fish in my net—or, more correctly, it is I who have been caught in it. Quite soon, long before the idea is fully developed, I let my imagination be subjected to a practical test. As if in a game, I put my incomplete and fragile ideas on the test bench where all the technical means of the film studio are represented. This imaginary practical test is a good tempering bath for the idea.
Will it work? However, that is finished product.
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