Interesting last three days. We invaded cafes and malls and offices, disturbed the good people there and shot with them video trailers for Manan . Nice of them to acquiesce and to share some very personal incidents and opinions. The videos will be edited and ready by August 20, most likely. August 20 is also the day, fyi, when the book hits the book stores and all online retailers across India.
While there were all sorts of answers for questions on sexuality, puberty, exposure to information, growing up, relationship with parents and siblings, there was also an emphatic unanimous agreement: that small, precious world of 90s is lost; we are never going to relive those days.
I am not a writer. I am a dreamer who actualizes a story through words. My writing regime does not - can not- consist of six hours of writing. It can consist of five and a half hours of dreaming and a half an hour of note taking. Things start from there.
Writing is the last thing in my writing. May I not forget that.
Third sleepless night in a row. I am eating up the words I used to form. Nebula black hole. Empty, empty, empty. Write. Shut up, lock up, act appropriately.
In other words: some habits are dying, leaving behind space. Not for too long. Do, what you have been intending to.
This is how one makes oneself?
Never have I had any doubts that this project is going to be a failure. Never. Not even for a second. I close my eyes and visualize the sequences. I jot down notes and quotes and details of random scenes. I discuss it with my friends. I imagine myself on the location, with my "crew", ensuring that the abstract turns into something tangible. And it all feels so GOOD. Like there is something beautiful that is going to happen through this project. And that is what has made me stick to it every single day.
We are going to fail, for sure, and something beautiful is going to come out of it. Our job? Not to ensure that we fail. Not to ensure that we not fail. Our job is to work to our potential in creating an authentic movie. This could be a start, a way to get ready for the bigger things to come. And I sense that they might just. The team that has formed is good enough. Is excellent in fact. I cannot be sure of our technical abilities, our skills, or even our potential, we know each other very less...but when we talk, we communicate. We udnerstand each other. Good things happened that led to formation of this team, and good things continue to happen.
I hope we stay true to our story and themes. I hope our ambitions aren't misguided. I hope we go prepared as well as we can be in the short time that we have and, once there, translate.
The movie is going to fail but we don't have to.
The movie has become more ambitious in last one week. I think my work for now is to let the script expand, soar, and before I share it with my team, weed out everything except the essentials; and also to work on other components, say, team management and schedule.
Wheels are churning. I sense a momentum building. I hope to flow.
A couple of years back I wrote a film manifesto calling for
a new authenticity in cinema, and encouraging filmmakers to strive for this.
The manifesto has since been translated into Polish and Turkish, and right now
it is in the process of being translated into Traditional Chinese and Slovak.
It is also the subject of several thesis papers in progress by students in
England, Taiwan and Germany, and has inspired a new, growing, international
film movement I was hoping that you might take consider taking a look at it.
Thank you for your time.
Remodernist Film Manifesto
1. Art manifestos, despite the good intentions of the writer
should always “be taken with a grain of salt” as the cliché goes, because they
are subject to the ego, pretensions, and plain old ignorance and stupidity of
their authors. This goes all the way back to the Die Brücke manifesto of 1906,
and continues through time to this one that you’re reading now. A healthy
wariness of manifestos is understood and encouraged. However, the ideas put forth
here are meant sincerely and with the hope of bringing inspiration and change
to others, as well as to myself.
2. Remodernism seeks a new spirituality in art. Therefore,
remodernist film seeks a new spirituality in cinema. Spiritual film does not
mean films about Jesus or the Buddha. Spiritual film is not about religion. It
is cinema concerned with humanity and an understanding of the simple truths and
moments of humanity. Spiritual film is really ALL about these moments.
3. Cinema could be one of the perfect methods of creative
expression, due to the ability of the filmmaker to sculpt with image, sound and
the feeling of time. For the most part, the creative possibilities of cinema
have been squandered. Cinema is not a painting, a novel, a play, or a still
photograph. The rules and methods used to create cinema should not be tied to
these other creative endeavors. Cinema should NOT be thought of as being “all
about telling a story”. Story is a convention of writing, and should not
necessarily be considered a convention of filmmaking.
4. The Japanese ideas of wabi-sabi (the beauty of
imperfection) and mono no aware (the awareness of the transience of things and
the bittersweet feelings that accompany their passing), have the ability to
show the truth of existence, and should always be considered when making the
5. An artificial sense of “perfection” should never be
imposed on a remodernist film. Flaws should be accepted and even encouraged. To
that end, a remodernist filmmaker should consider the use of film, and
particularly film like Super-8mm and 16mm because these mediums entail more of
a risk and a requirement to leave things up to chance, as opposed to digital
video. Digital video is for people who are afraid of, and unwilling to make mistakes.**
Video leads to a boring and sterile cinema. Mistakes and failures make your
work honest and human.***
6. Film, particularly Super-8mm film, has a rawness, and an
ability to capture the poetic essence of life, that video has never been able
7. Intuition is a powerful tool for honest communication.
Your intuition will always tell you if you are making something honest, so use
of intuition is key in all stages of remodernist filmmaking.
8. Any product or result of human creativity is inherently
subjective, due to the beliefs, biases and knowledge of the person creating the
work. Work that attempts to be objective will always be subjective, only
instead it will be subjective in a dishonest way. Objective films are
inherently dishonest. Stanley Kubrick, who desperately and pathetically tried
to make objective films, instead made dishonest and boring films.
9. The remodernist film is always subjective and never
aspires to be objective.
10. Remodernist film is not Dogme ’95. We do not have a
pretentious checklist that must be followed precisely. This manifesto should be
viewed only as a collection of ideas and hints whose author may be mocked and
insulted at will.
11. The remodernist filmmaker must always have the courage
to fail, even hoping to fail, and to find the honesty, beauty and humanity in
12. The remodernist filmmaker should never expect to be
thanked or congratulated. Instead, insults and criticism should be welcomed.
You must be willing to go ignored and overlooked.
13. The remodernist filmmaker should be accepting of their
influences, and should have the bravery to copy from them in their quest for
understanding of themselves.
14. Remodernist film should be a stripped down, minimal,
lyrical, punk kind of filmmaking, and is a close relative to the No-Wave Cinema
that came out of New York’s Lower East Side in the 1970’s.
15. Remodernist film is for the young, and for those who are
older but still have the courage to look at the world through eyes as if they
** The only exceptions to Point 5 about video are Harris
Smith and Peter Rinaldi; to my mind they are the only people who have made
honest and worthwhile use of this medium. (Aug. 2008)
***(The position on digital/video has changed since this
manifesto was written in 2008- the group is inclusive toward use of any motion
picture format. See recent essay here).
This manifesto may be appended/added to in the future, as
further ideas develop.
The movie is based in, and about, Mcleodganj. Who is our principal character? Mcleodganj. The place. I am inspired by my own curiosity since I can't find a way to place this place in my head. How do you understand it beside as a Tibetan settlement? Hundreds of questions really, thousands of curious observations. And there are no simple answers. The movie has to be made. Has to be made. Has to be made. It just cannot be ignored - the itch that I have.
Did not watch El Mariachi today. Spent a major portion of the day reading Castaneda's Fire From Within on a park bench. Played volleyball with random strangers. One area where I waste a lot of time, and so can retrieve a lot of time from, is web surfing. Makes you think you are working but you are not.
Will be more mindful of that moving forward.
About the movie. Some more work on the central protagonists. Looks like we will need 6-7 proper actors. Or people who can pass for proper actors. Wherefrom?
Alrighty! Feels great to just say things. Writing fiction can make you go so up your ass that to write without being self-conscious, and in a voice that is your own, seems almost undoable. But it is so EASY! So natural.
This is how we are supposed to write.
So, well, another declaration. I am going to document the progress with the movie on this blog. The movie, and the stuff around it. This will be a journal of sorts.
Doesn't the universe just love that we make decisions? :)
I am going to watch El Mariachi tomorrow. It will be so much fun to watch it, esp. since I have read about its Pre-Production and am half way through Production. Reading Robert Rodriguez's Rebel Without a Crew (yes, that's the title of his book, with an even more macho subtitle: Or How a 23-Year-Old Filmmaker with $7,000 Became a Hollywood Player).
A very exciting story idea about Rama. Like Lord Rama. Should I sit on it and let it develop or should I write?
Phew! It helps to get that out. The script is under process. Frankly, script is not too much of a concern, the kind of movie we have in mind. Real people, real conversations, no music, little drama, documentation, found footage (maybe), no background music, no nothing. Story is important though: we have to be aware constantly of what we are trying to do, show and there have to be some central characters for the audience to relate to. That's what I am exploring on pages presently. A trip to the location is long overdue. Going as soon as I get well (just a bit of cough and cold and fever and rounds to a dentist these days). Can't wait for it.
Saw Apoorv's camera and stuff. Pity could not just go out and shoot on the roads of Jaipur. Will do that too, soon. I am glad of his new found inspiration in Abbas Kiarostami. He and I both need to stop watching studio movies. Which means no Hollywood and Bollywood and anything that screens on a Friday effectively. I am going to watch The Clerks again. And The Clerks 2. And The Snowball Effect - the movie about making of The Clerks (yet to find it online).
My biggest doubts since I first blurted out the idea: 1) Is my intention for this project right? 2) Having known the level and amount of commitment required in my last project, am I ready for this one?
Haven't been able to reflect. Maybe these posts will help.
On the roof of Indian railways
Now no crouching passengers by rule
So when a 12295 arrives
Full two hours late at 2 am
With barred doors and grilled windows and not an inch of space
The lousy students at the lousy junction
Instigate a hullabaloo
The constables cow, crowd the crowd, and the station master cajoles
And when the voices settle down
And the train is flagged green, the doors kept locked
The lousy scholars wait for a lousy 16468
'There will be room for everybody in its extra special dabba'
Sure, an hour late they will reach for the test
And Section D might go untouched
But the banks this year,
How many positions they have to fill, as such?