Yesterday — two contrasting screenings of THE NORTHLEACH HORROR, one with a disparate program of shorts, one with Steve Barker’s kinetic, political zombie theme park movie THE REZORT, which was a total blast. Steve’s audience was my kind of audience.
Spent most of today with the makers of HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY, an utterly charming documentary about a creative collaboration between two members of movie professions who never normally get films made about them: Harold Michelson was a storyboard artist who worked with Hitchcock on THE BIRDS and MARNIE, with Mike Nichols (he designed the shot where Anne Bancroft’s legs frame Dustin Hoffman) and many, many others, while his wife Lillian ran a research library based variously at the AFI, Zoetrope and Paramount. Two amazing and lovely filmmakers, profiled in detail in a film that is both heartwarming and heartbreaking (certain organs break easier when they’ve been warmed).
With the film’s director Daniel Raim and his co-producer and co-editor Jennifer Raim (another great husband-and-wife team) I strolled the city on a sightseeing tour and then dropped in on THE LOVERS AND THE DESPOT, yet another film about a creative partnership, in this case the story of South Korean director Shin Sang -ok and his ex-wife, movie star Choi Eun-Hee, who were reunited when they were both kidnapped by Kim Jong-il and forced to make movies to raise the prestige of the North Korean film industry. A compelling and crazy story, beautifully told.
The perfect blendship.
My editor friend Timo Langer has a copy of Kim’s book on film-making, On The Art of the Cinema — it’s not exactly a manual, more a set of dictats, vague-sounding aesthetic principles about how “each element of a film should be in balance” — the kind of things you can image a not-very-bright studio exec coming out with if asked to pontificate on a panel. It’s sort of like Bresson’s Notes on Cinematography as written by a dilettante blowhard. Or like Hamlet’s notes to the players, translated from the original Korean. Very boring to read, since it’s all just gassy generalisations, but a great talking point to have on your bookshelf. I covet it madly.