On the Set: Directors and Actresses

Romy Schneider and Andrzej Zulawski on the set of
L'important c'est d'aimer

I love being on the set of a film, even though the closest thing I can get to an acting experience was a supporting role in a very amateur film (a college project). Or that accidental job for an educational TV program (I was in third grade). Seeing how the actors and directors act behind the camera has always been fascinating for me. The candidness of these people might even be more interesting to watch than the film that they're making.


Was Zulawski possessed by Bergman?

It's quite possible that some of Ingmar Bergman's visceral yet outstanding works inspired Andrzej Zulawski's nerve-racking but impressive 1981 film, Possession. Here are my reasons why.

1. The monologue of two Annas. Zulawski's Anna talks about faith and chance, cancer, madness, and her dissolving love for her husband. Bergman's Anna discusses the man in her life, her relationship with that man, and a ghastly accident. They may not talk about the exact same thing but their monologues are somehow identical. These women invite us to look into their soul. Both also look at the camera as if they're talking to the audience.

Bergman film: The Passion of Anna (1969)

Left: Isabelle Adjani in Possession.
Right: Liv Ullmann in The Passion of Anna.


Silence is Golden

John Cassavetes once said that "silence means death." Cassavetes is one of the greatest filmmakers to ever walk the earth. He is also one of my favorites. (Shadows is a groundbreaking film.) But I have to disagree with him because silence is not necessarily synonymous with death. Most of the time, silence can be one's friend. It can give a person an adequate room for wisdom. We need silence in order to listen, not just hear.

I've always been fascinated with silent characters in talkies. There's usually an air of mystery attached to them. And I love mystery. They might deprive us of their voice, but they can sure leave an echo in our mind.

Here are some of my favorite silent characters. Characters that completely blew me away with their silence.

Elisabet Vogler, Persona

As Elisabet Vogler, Liv Ullmann effectively communicates with the audience through the gestures she's tremendously good at: facial expressions. Elisabet is an actress who just won't talk. Her silence attracts Alma, a nurse assigned to take care of her. For me (and probably for Alma), Elisabet's silence is both frustrating and haunting.


"Gone with the Wind" of music videos

Andrew Morahan, 1992

I'm not really a big fan of Guns N' Roses. (I don't really dig guns or roses, I'm more into Nirvana.) But I find their music video for November Rain truly remarkable.

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