Woody Harrelson in my home town, my capital city, my london
Last night between the hours of 2am and 3.40am Woody Harrelson pulled off a seemingly impossible feat of simultaneously shooting a feature film and beaming it live directly into cinemas as a single unbroken 100 minute take. Don’t believe it? He did it. I watched it last night and have the bags to prove it. People bang on about the elaborate single take tracking shots in films such as Goodfellahs and The Player but neither of them even hit 10 minutes in duration. This was 10 times the length, entirely shot by one camera by one cameraman and he negotiated 14 location changes, car rides, 300 odd extras and multiple interactions without fucking up once. So much could and probably should have gone wrong but it didn’t. An incredible achievement in itself by the cast and crew but what was even more of an achievement is that it was completely engaging and you managed to forget for huge chunks of it that you were actually watching something whilst it was being acted and recorded.
I was lucky enough to have got tickets and be in the audience at the Picturehouse cinema in the West End as it was the only cinema in Britain to show it. It was also beamed to 500 cinemas in America at the slightly more sociable hour of 6pm. Even though we had to stay up all night for it, it was well worth it and knowing it was happening in the immediate vicinity of where we were sat watching it made it even more exciting. Its also very funny, especially the scenes with Owen Wilson and also tense & emotional in all the right places.
Harrelson must have been slightly nuts to have done it, and he must have balls of steel…especially as it was the first film he had ever directed. He not only got away with it, he delivered an entertaining story (based on real life events that happened to him) and wasn’t just worth seeing for its technical gimmick. The movie wasn’t perfect and you had to adjust as maybe a different viewing experience but in my mind, did a way better job than Birdman at running a plot through continuous action. And that wasn’t live either.
Although a single take single camera movie had already been done (Victoria – German film) it had not been live streamed in the process. It is essentially a new form of art fusing elements of both cinema and the theatre to create….cinetre? thenema?? (ok, we can work on the name in due course) and it will be interesting to see if creates its own genre of movie or will it just exist as this random one off? Who knows..it was just great to be a part of the ride and be present for this new cinematic experience.
Hats off to you Mr Harrelson – spectacular job.
Me and my camera in someone else’s home town, my SE Asia trip, my Bangkok
Bangkok is kinda insane. A giant sprawling relentless metropolis chock full of buildings, people and vehicles. It reminded me more of fictitious futuristic cities like Mega City 1 where Judge Dredd lives or an Asian Gotham. It makes London seem quiet and tame by comparison which is nuts in itself. Although the population seems more concentrated than London, it feels like it runs smoother, more in unison, more like a functional ant colony. There seems to be a more collective understanding with everyone moves at same pace in steady flows rather than here where everyone marches around at their own pace, darting about, pushing people out of the way as they fight for space. For example, despite a chronic traffic problem, there is almost zero road rage.
It is very hot and very busy and I found it slightly overwhelming when I first arrived. I was actually photographically paralysed for the first few days I was there and barely took my camera out as everywhere I looked there was something that I felt I should be documenting but somehow couldn’t. There was just too much to focus on and I didn’t know where to start. So I just tried to soak it all in and get a handle on the place.
I also felt that a lot of what I wanted to capture had already been covered by other photographers who’s feed I had seen on Instagram. I follow a lot of street photographers from all over the world and felt, in some ways, I had already seen a lot of what I was looking at. So I felt I really wanted to hold back, not just to snap away at every turn but to think about this new alien culture I was in and to try and get an understanding of what I was surrounded by before attempting to document it.
What does strike you immediately is how friendly and warm and smiley the Thai people are. Mostly. Obviously. But they are genuinely fucking lovely. Here’s a question for you…if you make a negative generalisation about people it is considered racist but what if you make a positive generalisation about a country’s population? Is that ok? Is that reverse racism? Is there a word for that? Positivism? Proracist? (answers on a postcard)
e.g.: “I love the blah blah people” “Oh my god, you’re such a positivist! Its 2017, you can’t say things like that anymore. Its respectful!”
Anyway, food for thought. Actually I should mention that the food is also spectacular. Everything we ate was delicious and every dish was like a little taste sensation firework display went off in your mouth.
What also I worked out about Bangkok it that it is a city that visually comes alive at night. It is also manageably easier to get around as it is essentially too hot with too poor air quality to walk around in the daytime. This is also slightly true of the nighttime but comparatively better. Next week’s photos will cover this nocturnal side so stay tuned for MYBKKnites..coming up!