Archive for September, 2014

September 28th 2014

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

Filmwise: Working on a couple of new pieces.

As the train pulled out of the platform, a young woman almost rammed into me as she hurried through the seat isles, looking anxiously behind her.

With a confused cocktail of emotions and thoughts beginning to simmer within me – my public spirit, sense of civic duty and the basic instinct of giving a helping hand to another human being, to name the more obvious of these – I found myself imagining a gang of thieves, or some foreign gun-wielding assassin, or even worse, a gaggle of pint-sized unruly school kids giving chase to the said young woman.

Before I could query the cause of the sheer terror that peered through her eyes, she stopped a male passenger from reading his paper.

She seemed to say something about being followed, and pointing in my direction.

Before I knew it, I felt the gentle presence of a flying insect that resembled a large mosquito, but looked more like the harmless Crane Fly. The creature may have been trapped by the train doors and could’ve been searching for a way out.

The sense of relief  that the young woman, and now the man whose help she’d sought, sensed in my appearance – no gun-touting assassins or pint-sized gangs – must’ve really confused them. I just watched the insect as it peacefully glided past me, searching seemingly for something, perhaps a way out. Wished if I could guide it to the window at the front of the carriage.

My thoughts were shattered with a swift thud. The man had crushed the lost passenger with his folded newspaper.

Peace and love,

Ja’far

September 21st 2014

Monday, September 22nd, 2014

Filmwise: The new script idea continues to take shape.

Long meandering walks are wonderful ingredients to a great carefree weekend for me. They are particularly enjoyable at the end of a day’s work on a piece of writing.

This Saturday evening, I had cause for a celebratory walk; I’d spent the whole afternoon with new characters on the page. And so, wearing the most comfortable pair of shoes in my possession, I stepped out of the door and turned right. A few hundred feet later, there was a left turn. Then a long straight path.

Towards the end of this road, a couple of elegantly dressed ladies inched their way forward in a similar unhurried pace to mine. They were followed by their other halves, who were clearly talking business.

This procession of the two ladies at the front, the two gents in the middle and me holding the rear, came to an abrupt halt as one of the two leaders pointed to the wallpaper of the front room of the house we were passing.

Not being part of the group, there was no need to humour the lady by exploring the colours and patterns of the said wallpaper. I attempted to go past the two couples who were now craning their necks to look through the window.

My attempt to walk behind one of the gentlemen failed, as he took a step back to let me through in front of him. This also failed, as the lady who’d been standing next him and who’d seen me approach from behind, moved forward to allow me the space behind her.

After a further three abandoned starts, for the other couple also tried to give me way without synchroncity, we all stopped and started laughing.

At the cinema, watched Wish I was Here (Dir. Zach Braff, 2014).

In view of the director’s feature debut, Garden State, and the independent spirit that permeated the making of Wish I was Here, I was joyfully anticipating this viewing. I wasn’t disappointed, but I did wish if Mr Braff had worked with a more ruthless script editor.

Peace and love,

Ja’far

September 14th 2014

Sunday, September 14th, 2014

Filmwise: Finding my way into a new script.

Having spent the greater part of my adult life enrolled in some form of academic study, I have come to associate the month of September with new beginnings, be they a new school or university year, or work on a new project.

Therefore, this weekend, I took up the pen (ok, keyboard) to put to paper a treatment for a project that I have been mulling over for a few years.

On Saturday, two pages pretty much wrote themselves. On Sunday, two more pages of treatment.

A long overdue fix at my local picture house was the reward for the word count.

A Most Wanted Man (Dir. Anton Corbijn, 2014) was a joy to experience on the big screen. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman dazzled the full house with the way he lived the character of a weary middle aged German intelligence officer. Great turns from William Dafoe, Rachel McAdams and Robin Wright.

En route home, a young mother was kneeling by the side of her child’s pram, attempting to fasten the seatbelt to the consternation of the little one. With her jacket forced to climb up her back, I couldn’t help but notice a tattoo: “Carpe Diem,” it commanded.

Peace and love,

Ja’far

September 7th 2014

Sunday, September 7th, 2014
“Every week, I receive something like five to ten scripts,” announces my designated “market matchmaker”.
“But I don’t read any of them!”
We are in the Gold Badge-holders meeting area on the third floor of the Excelsior Hotel.
The matchmaker goes on to explain the mountain of obstacles facing a second feature project, like mine.
Not sure whether it’s the bitter dose of reality that I’ve just had or the small breakfast this morning, but I feel positively lightheaded – I need food.
I walk a couple hundred feet along the Lungomare Marconi to a beach restaurant which I had tried on my first day here.
As I walk in, I greet the staff and the chef. His American accent has an Eastern flavour. His parents hail from Afghanistan.
The waiter is about to say “no” for my request of grilled fish mix, when the chef gives him the thumbs up.
When my large plate arrives, the waiter confides,”the chef made an exception for you; we’re not serving lunch at the moment.” I look around me and everyone is having ice cream and coffee.
With no more meetings booked for the day, I head to Sala Darsena, at the back of the Palazzo Del Cinema.
Hungry Hearts (Dir. Saverio Costanzo, USA/Italy 2014) is a remarkable study of parental love and over-protection of their offspring. It develops a narrative thread with instinct and survival as basis of a logic that feels equally acceptable in modern day New York as it would have in a pre-historic tribal setting. Would have benefitted from some prudent editing, but very good nevertheless.
At the Sala Perla at the Palazzo del Casino, I join the audience for The Smell of Us (Dir. Larry Clark, France/USA 2014) in the Giornate Degli Autori (Venice Days) parallel event to the festival.
“It has taken me 20 years to make this film. A movie about French adolescents which no one thought I could make, perhaps because I am not french!,” says the director in a statement read out by an official.
Where Kids, the director’s most well-known work, was a study of New York teenagers and children’s sexual activity and the threat of Aids to their blossoming life, The Smell of Us mixes drugs, teenage prostitution, porn, with a dash of angst thrown in for good measure. The world of bottomless drugs-fuelled underground gigs and orgies with loud incoherent music which these teenagers seem to inhabit appears more the work of middle-aged fantasy than reality.
In the evening, I hop on the Vaporetto for a long-delayed visit to Piazza San Marco and the Rialto Bridge.
They both deliver on beauty, magnificence and sheer scale of ambition and achievement of their builders.
Peace and love,
Ja’far
Venice Film Festival Part II
“Every week, I receive something like five to ten scripts,” announces my this morning’s appointment.
“But I don’t read any of them!”
We are in the Gold Badge-holders meeting area on the third floor of the Excelsior Hotel.
He goes on to explain the mountain of obstacles facing a second feature project, like mine.
Not sure whether it’s the bitter dose of reality that I’ve just had or the small breakfast this morning, but I feel positively lightheaded – I need food.
I walk a couple hundred feet along the Lungomare Marconi to a beach restaurant which I had tried on my first day here.
As I walk in, I greet the staff and the chef. His American accent has an Eastern flavour. His parents hail from Afghanistan.
The waiter is about to say “no” for my request of grilled fish mix, when the chef gives him the thumbs up.
When my large plate arrives, the waiter confides,”the chef made an exception for you; we’re not serving lunch at the moment.” I look around me and everyone is having ice cream and coffee.
With no more meetings booked for the day, I head to Sala Darsena, at the back of the Palazzo Del Cinema.
Hungry Hearts (Dir. Saverio Costanzo, USA/Italy 2014) is a remarkable study of parental love and over-protection of their offspring. It develops a narrative thread with instinct and survival as basis of a logic that feels equally acceptable in modern day New York as it would have in a pre-historic tribal setting. Would have benefitted from some prudent editing, but very good nevertheless.
At the Sala Perla at the Palazzo del Casino, I join the audience for The Smell of Us (Dir. Larry Clark, France/USA 2014) in the Giornate Degli Autori (Venice Days) parallel event to the festival.
“It has taken me 20 years to make this film. A movie about French adolescents which no one thought I could make, perhaps because I am not french!,” says the director in a statement read out by an official.
Where Kids, the director’s most well-known work, was a study of New York teenagers and children’s sexual activity and the threat of Aids to their blossoming life, The Smell of Us mixes drugs, teenage prostitution, porn, with a dash of angst thrown in for good measure. The world of bottomless drugs-fuelled underground gigs and orgies with loud incoherent music which these teenagers seem to inhabit appears more the work of middle-aged fantasy than reality.
In the evening, I hop on the Vaporetto for a long-delayed visit to Piazza San Marco and the Rialto Bridge.
They both deliver on beauty, magnificence and sheer scale of ambition and achievement of their builders.
Peace and love,
Ja’far