October 19, 2008

House Lights: The biggest impressions

Even as I have nighttime footage from New York City's Times Square imported into my computer system, I am haunted by the opening strains of Act 3 from the aforementioned Turandot — the minor section just before the big number "Nessun dorma!" (No one is sleeping) kicks in. (My favorite movie moment using this section of the opera: Ken Russell's segment in Aria. But if your fave films include The Killing Fields, then you, too, know this aria.)

Classical music (including opera) has always had a huge impact on me, even since I listened to WQXR when I was a child riding in my father's car. I suspect it will play a huge role in some of my future movies. Fads in music come and go, and yet what the late Leonard Bernstein called "serious" music still endures somehow. (Amazingly enough, so has WQXR, even as the alliance of National Public Radio, Public Radio International, and American Public Media has come to define the classics on radio.)

But by no means is it the only influence. It's on a list that also includes (in no particular order):


Japanese TV drama from the 1970's onward (HKFlix has a great selection of recent shows and movie spin–offs),

The music of Louisa John–Krol,

People Like Us (a/k/a Vicki Bennett), Negativland, John Oswald (also at the FONY website), and the Evolution Control Committee (enough said),

The music of Cyoakha Grace O'Manion and Land of the Blind,

The films of Peter Watkins (Privilege is finally available legally on a Region 1 DVD, as is The Freethinker),

The music of composers Michael Nyman and Philip Glass,

Classic Motown recordings from the 1960's (including even the live sets),

The movies of Damon Packard (read about him over at Pop Matters, and then have a look at what he's done to date), and

Home movies — the more exotic they are, the better (Collectie Filmcollectif has posted a few good ones over at the Internet Archive).


Of course, how they'll be filtered through the use of Esperanto will be the interesting part. I'd prefer to let the Japanese TV drama influence dominate, because producers favor shooting on tape instead of on film. (I have a feeling that Damon Packard will nevertheless be in there somewhere. Even if you don't notice.)

Are you finding your voice as a movie maker, or trying to? What influences you the most?

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