A friend of mine recently asked me whether I’d ever consider making a film about human relationships.
She had noticed that people, as subjects rather than objects, make rare appearances in my films. Indeed, my last short, Audition, doesn’t have anyone in it at all.1 Anyone turning up in one of my films is usually just there as a vehicle for ideas.
Anyway, I said yes. “Of course.” I think that was the right answer. I love films about human relationships, especially films about love. Eric Rohmer’s Six Moral Tales2 is my favourite box set, and I’ll watch Richard Linklater’s Before… trilogy over and over again.
What, then, is the film I would most like to make, she asked me.
“An adaptation of William Golding’s novel, Pincher Martin”
“What’s it about?” she asked me.
“A man stranded, alone, on a rock in the Atlantic after the ship he was on has been torpedoed. He might be dead.”3
“There are flashbacks in it. With other people….”
The conversation keeps coming back to me. I think this is mainly because I don’t really want to make a film about human relationships at all. Why this should be is no real mystery to me. Firstly, making films with people in is much more difficult than making films without them in. Especially if your budget is zero. Secondly, and more personally, whilst cinema is a form of escapism, making films is, for me, a form of escape. From people.
An actor/playwright I know recently told me that she much preferred writing plays to acting because it enabled her to spend more time in her own head. This is something I understand.4
I used to have a job where I had to work with several hundred people and I left that. I think it scarred me.5 I also think I need to deal with my problem and I’ve done it in two ways. On the one hand, I’ve applied to study for a Masters degree in filmmaking. I think I need to collaborate and get outside of my own head. It does have its limits.
On the other hand, and much more exciting, I’ve made a romantic comedy. What could be a better way of breaking the ice?6
1 This is not strictly true. There are cars moving in the first scene and cars don’t drive themselves. And whilst the images may be otherwise people free, the audio tracks are of several people. But, yes, you don’t see anyone.
2 These are more about lust and how stupid men are when they let their pants do the directing.
3 Have I just ruined the book for anyone?
4 To be clear, I want to spend time in my head, not hers.
5 It scarred them
6 In my heart?