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February 1994


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Sun, 20 Feb 94 14:45:08 EST
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As I punched the send key I was reminded of Louis Marcorelles,
LIVING CINEMA (New York: Praeger, 1973; originally published in
French, 1970).
He deals with the then-still-sort-of-new film phenomenon of Direct
Cinema, extending the original Drew-Leacock-Pennebaker-Rouch views
into the possibility of constructing a "direct cinema environment"
(my phrase) where people would be cast in terms of their experiences
responding to their world as they would.  The key point, as I remember
it, was that the crew would be responding to the "constructed" world
as they would in actuality.  The crew would have no a priori knowledge
of what was happening or would come.
The point about FAMILY and REAL WORLD (and certainly BRADY and MONKEES)
is that the people creating the work, knew where it was going.  Ideas
like "actor's intentions" enter here.  Actors are very nervous when they
don't know how it's all going to turn out.  They need some sense of where
their acting partners are going so that they can shade their own performances.
On this topic, during the shooting of CASABLANCA, Ingrid Bergman, who had
a vast understanding of technique kept asking "who is my character going
to leave with?"  Of course, there was no answer since the script was
being written while they were shooting.  Pages would be distributed daily.
When they came to shoot the final sequence, no decision had yet been made.
As a superb technican, Bergman was able to nuance her performance
throughout to make her peformance credible no matter how it turned out.
In this world there are few performers with Bergman's technical control.
(It was said that even during repeated takes, she would blink, for instance,
on the same syllable.)  You certainly won't find such skills among a bunch
of kids put together for something like REAL WORLD.