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Director Focus : Sean Baker, Hong Sang Soo at Jio MAMI (Day 1)


Sean Baker

Sean Baker's first film "Tangerine" was an all-out hit at the Sundance Film Festival shot on an iPhone. The Florida Project was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and now at Jio MAMI, India. When his work went to a film festival, he was wondering where would be nine other competing on the iPhone: but they were the only one. He feels the cast show less inhibition to an iPhone as it is a friendly device. Shooting on a camera phone gives it a definite texture and also cuts shooting cost of the project. For shooting "The Florida Project" with children: Orlando and Alex, he kept the camera at the eye level. He also calls his film making "Guerilla Filmmaking." The media kind of celebrated his shooting of "Tangerine" on an iPhone 5s with Moondog Labs 1.33x Anamorphic Adapters.He provides some advice on securing a location during a shoot: "We had to shoot at this Chinese takeout place on the Upper West Side. Obviously, we didn’t have the money to buy them out and own this location. So we just basically promised them that we would not interfere with their customers, that they could keep the business open, and that we were small enough where we'd be in the shadows. We’ve continued to do that throughout my career."The "Florida Project" has a cast of 6-year-old Brooklyn Prince and Willem Dafoe in the setting of the Disney World resort in Orlando. His cast Prince came from a casting call and Bria on Instagram. Willem Dafoe says that " It seemed like a good adventure and a beautiful project. My job was to fit in with them."Sean is influenced by "The Little Bastards".In "The Florida Project" there is not one shot which in any way suggest that they are looking down on the kids. The camera always tries to make the kids look tall and the king of the world. He uses his crew with a Steadicam to achieve the low shots and the iPhones have stabilization on it now; we may start questioning the handheld cameras ten years from now.

Films: Starlet, Tangerine, The Florida Project, Snowbird

Hong Sang Soo

With two Cannes nomination Korean director Hong Sang Soo was an apt selection for JIO MAMI. He has been hailed as the creator of modern Korean cinema, "Korean Woody Allen" and " Korean Eric Rohmer." He was born on 25th October 1960 in Seoul, South Korea. Most of his film is about the attraction between mundane characters like a writer, filmmaker or a student. He doesn't have a prepared script and writes during the shoot.With a prodigious output, his films have traveled the world over this year, He adds: "I put my own flesh and blood into a film, it makes it more difficult to lose the sincerity toward the film that I am making." Also, he does not discuss the meaning of his works.In a conference, he publicly acknowledged an affair with an actress. His work is increasingly becoming autobiographical. But, then it would leave him with: "no space to move as a creator." He is compared to other South Korean filmmakers like Jang Sun-woo, Park Ki Yong and Lee Kwang-Kuk. He lives in his own creative universe and has a distinct Minimalism to his work. He started his film career with "The Day a Pig Fell in the Well." His initial works have a rate of 24 seconds per shot, a fast editing and the use of dissolves on screen. He uses a foreboding music with his comic element. The film shows what happens after a violent act where two main protagonists die.His works "bear the marks of the violent gesture of distantation" against both Korean and international art cinema. There are "network narratives" in his work in the complex narration, like the works of Quentin Tarantino. In his second film " The Power of Gangwon Province", he has slowed his editing to 33 seconds per shot. There is a lack of "camera movement, a deliberate constraint often seen in certain art cinema auteurs..." The narrative in this film of experimentation. The themes of this film are mundane, quotidian, romantic relationship, friendship and pursuing career goals.His third film " Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors" is considered a Hong masterpiece. Someone says " correctly perceiving this film’s structure requires skepticism as well as discernment.” The narrative form of this film moves in contradictions, the present seen negating the previous. In the film "Turning Gate" he throws away the puzzle-like structure of his previous works and makes it linear. This would be his first film that has a lead character, upholding a hero. One of the best scenes the film contains is : Gyeong-Soo is looking at a woman's legs and the boyfriend catches her. The whole scene takes only 170 seconds. The minimalism is coming to his works now. His fifth film "Woman is the Future of Man" has 51 shots in the 84 minute running time, with an ASL (American Sign Language) of 98 seconds. In 15 of the scenes, there is lack of any movement, with the camera moving only-side-to-side and never backward and forward; with editing done only during transitions.His next three films, "Woman on the Beach", "Night and Day and "Like You Know it All" all have split narratives. There is a return of a lead male character. With "HA HA HA" he again returns to his typical Hongian puzzle narrative like his first film "The Day a Pig Fell in the Well." The story is told in "various flashbacks with black and white stills, resembling a shot/reverse shot structure but de-familiarised." Hong kind of became renowned for repeating himself. Do catch his cinema at film festivals!

The Day After at Jio MAMI 2017

Films: (CLAIRE'S CAMERA), (The Day a Pig Fell in the Well, 1996), (The Power of Gangwon Province, 1998), (Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, 2000), (Turning Gate, 2002), (Woman is the Future of Man, 2004),(A Tale of Cinema, 2005), (Woman on the Beach, 2006), (Night and Day, 2008),Like You Know It All, 2009), (“Lost in the Mountains”) (short, 2009),HaHaHa (2010),k-hi-ui Yeonghwa (Oki’s Movie, 2010), (The Day He Arrives, 2011), (In Another Country, 2012), (short, 2012), (Nobody’s Daughter Haewon, 2013),(Our Sunhi, 2013), (Hill of Freedom, 2014), (Right Now, Wrong Then, 2015).

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