I’ve reached that point where I’m looking around for inspiration.
Just been attempting what is turning out to be the most difficult sequence so far in this cut for the show at the ICA on 20th May.
It’s based around a short video I edited for Wire magazine back in 2009 when I had just started the project. I liked the basic feel but it doesn’t serve the purpose or rhythm of a longer form film.So I’ve been attempting to weave in and out of Bob performing Make Art Not War with the Ken Ardley Playboys with footage from interviews at Tate Britain, the Hayward Gallery and images from Bob’s Factory Outlet show at Beaconsfield.
The cut for the Wire took me about two hours start to finish. This time round, several hours in, couple of cans of beer, a bit of swearing and I’m still not convinced this sequence is working although it has some great moments.
Luckily something popped up when reviewing some interview footage of Bob that has serendipitous associations.
He mentioned being inspired by seeing the artist Christo wrapping Paris’ Pont Neuf in fabric. This was captured brilliantly by the Maysles brothers in a documentary, part of a series of films about the work of Christo. I’ve always loved these films and have watched them again and again.
The Maysles idea of ‘direct cinema’ greatly appeals to me, trying to capture the spontaneity of the moment, of letting action unfold in front of the lens. I love the honesty and simplicity of their films, the documentarian as benign witness.
A couple of years ago I was very fortunate to meet Albert Maysles in New York. It was when I had recently finished The London Perambulator and was considering what to do next. The octogenarian Albert proceeded to enthuse about his current and future projects, at least four of them at various stages of production, his eyes lit up wide and shining as he described scenes he’d shot and things he hoped to capture as the films progressed. It was a truly humbling and inspiring encounter.
When I got back to London I soon threw myself in the Bob documentary and here I am now trying to finish it – wonder what Albert would make of my film – probably find what I’ve just done a tad busy perhaps – on the other hand that is in the service of being true to the subject. Who knows – at this stage you have to please yourself really.
Time to take a break from the edit and watch those Maysles films about Christo and Jean Claude.