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(DIR) Eastern European Films_ Personal Essay

Timing of born in right time

Have you ever thought yourself that you were borned in wrong time? What if Picasso were born in 17-18th century? Instead of late 19th century? Probably, he would have been isolated by the other political reasons to not showing his works on Paris Salon. While I was in the world civilization course, there were several things that I was “woken” by the subject matter. The course taught me, importance of being aware in communication, where, when, and what I pursue, between audience. In other words, tell audiences in their eyes, otherwise, your word isn’t exist in that era. As a filmmaker, it is a primary things to understand general history, whether it’s art related, or european, and asian, it wouldn’t be matter. The more you understood the better you can reflect them in your works. In my case, I was heavily influenced by eastern european artists. It is impossible to define my influence within an artist, it’s because cinema isn’t a single material art work. It’s multi-media tool that you must understand sound, music, choreograph, dance, theater, photography/painting, furthermore literature. Out of all the kinds of material of cinema, I were influenced by three artists in three different part of the cinema. Parts of music, photography /painting, and literature in my films were heavily influenced by Henryk Wieniawski, Gustave Courbet, Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Firstly of all, when I write all my stories, I tend to choose a song. I listen the song over and over thousands times. It will give me a sense of pace, mood, and tonality of the screenplay. I am a huge fan of jazz songs, but lately I have been pushing myself into classical musics. It’s because only “Classical songs” have story structure. Unlike any other genre of the musical genre, Classical songs push the boundaries of tell the story through an instrumental sounds. To me it’s a same logic as “Show audience a story rather than tell” in cinema. Dialogs in cinema is somehow killing the artistic part of cinema, and that’s just like a pop song. If pop song is an american romantic comedy that 80% of film is sitting on a cafe and talk between characters, the classical song is a Kubrick’s Space Odyssey, which shows the story, and awake audiences without dialog.

I listen Henryk Wieniawski’s the Legende op. 17 everyday for my new script, Escape From The Cave. It’s a tragedy story based on Plato’s Allegory of the Cave. I wanted to create a story about the cave man who escaped from the Cave with in modern version. According to the conversation between Plato and Socrates in that caveman theory, plato says that the caveman tried to convince others, that there is another world outside of the cave. But, others didn’t believe him. I think that’s very interesting. Nobody believed Nicolaus Copernicus’s Heliocentrism was right, like the caveman. I chose the Legende, because The song is about convincing his wife’s parents to accept his marriage proposal. It was originally written for violin solo that he played the song in front of the parents that the parents let their daughter to marry to him after, they had listened. The song gives me inspiration of the desperation in needs.

Cinema is a visual art, not like a theater where you are listening these two characters keep arguing each other over two hours, where you can’t even see their face. On the other hand, In addition, you can actually show audience about what they character feels. Close Up is a technique that you can show what the character feels. Not only that depends on where he sees, the director indirectly show audience about where he sees, why he sees. Close up of the character is showing the “Subjectivity” A lots of Hollywood directors are misunderstanding about using close up techniques. They use it in the dialog, and that’s wrong. Dialog is “direct-interactive” tool that audience can understand it instantly. You might use the close up on a listener’s face, not the other way.

I chose Gustave’s works as my ideal facial expression painter. His self portrait is showing a lots of emotional expression. The title is “The Desperate man” It’s exactly the theme that I wanted to discover like the screenplay that I am writing. The painting is showing an exotic choices that Gustave chose. Lighting is chose to be placed at behind, top of him. It creates the shadow on his face, the face isn’t highlighted, yet the shadow creates, a bit monstrous desire. Facial expression is simply showing a “blank” unlike his emotional hand gesture that he grabs his hair very strong and dramatically. The blankness of facial expression is filled by the dramatic hand gesture. Color palette is very muted green, blue, very little bit of magenta. Even background was painted in dark green, and yellow green. It gives us the sense of empty and lonely. The painting is showing “right amount of the expression of the theme”

Currently, I am reading, Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment. It’s my only favorite book that I will ask my son to read it when he becomes an adult. The book isn’t technically logical, but it’s rather called poet. It’s about one’s justification of his murder. Raskolnikov, the main character constantly tries to convince “himself” that he was good, and there are reasons to kill others. Yes, he is trying to ‘convince’ himself about his murder justification. The guiltiness that Raskolnikov is struggling with isn’t easy to avoid. It’s absolutely invisible, but it’s there. Therefore, even, after, Raskolnikov confessed, his pride and consciousness constantly convincing him that he didn’t commit “crime” Is a mad person? Or, Is he trying to convincing himself? That’s up to the audience’s choice to make a final conclusion.

I chose Crime and Punishment, because I think, it was written very realistically, and poetically in a same time. The structure of the crime and punishment is still not as clear as conventional novela that we can read. Yes, it isn’t easy to understand. The transition of the scenes were simply awful. But, I chose to read the book, because of the characters that Dostoyevsky made. Sonia, and Raskolnikov are the most interesting characters that I’ve ever read. The most beautiful whole character ever created, and that’s Sonia. The most controversial “Anti-hero”, that you can’t hate as an audience, and that’s Raskolnikov. It’s simply a looser’s story in a modern term, but you give them a sympathy. It’s because these characters are in the “world”, where, filthy and corruption is forgiven. In my case, I am focusing on reading his self justification on the murder that he did. The convincing himself that he was right about it.

At the end, I am using three elements from eastern europe from 19th century’s art works to create a screen play. I don’t know why, I am technically using these eastern european artists’ work. But, unlike other filmmakers, I try not to influenced by the film directors. Like the course, World Civilization, taught me something that I could refer to my screenplay, I prefer to research on genre of the art rather than studying on history of the cinema itself. Otherwise, I would be a technician than a thinker. My personal goal is telling a story that were not many people aware of, perhaps important to point out in a conventional manner.

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