Production Diary

Day 61: Calm/The Handheld Shot by

the guiding principle

the guiding principle

We start shooting tomorrow and I feel surprisingly, happily calm. Yesterday I had time to go to Banana Republic and buy a few button down shirts for the shoot. It’s like the day before going to camp. I like to know what my uniform is going to be and I feel comfortable knowing I have a set of new, clean shirts to wear each day. I met this afternoon with Fonzie, my dear editor, and we caught up on life (briefly) and then I wanted to show him a lot of the films I’ve been talking with Thimios about the last few days. Close study of Pialat—the subtle differences between L’enfance Nue and Loulou, for example—still reveals things to me. And still leads me to new shots and strategies of approaching our film. I need to talk this afternoon with Thimios about the use of the handheld shot, which he resists like the plague. I always have, previously, but I’m trying to see if there’s a way to use it and still have a careful eye. I see that in some of both these Pialat films. What I remind myself is that now that I’ve shot one film on digital (Last Address) and in general adapted to a point-and-shoot way of life, how do I stay “free” and fast, but also not to get sloppy. This is the challenge.

In these last days, a certain set of films have become the ones I keep returning to, over and over: Loulou (Pialat), L’enfance Nue (Pialat), Regular Lovers (Garrel), A Bigger Splash (Hazen) and Early Summer (Ozu). And then the wider conversation still includes these: Forty Shades of Blue, The Delta, Before I Forget (Nolot), Freeze Die Come To Life (Kanevski), We Won’t Grow Old Together (Pialat), A Nos Amours (Pialat), Sauvage Innocence (Garrel), La Naissance de L’Amour (Garrel), Goodfellas (Scorsese), Taxi Driver (Scorsese) and L’homme Blesse (Chereau).

Ira Sachs

writer, director, blogger

Ira Sachs is a writer and director based in New York City. His films include Married Life (2007), The Delta (1997) and the 2005 Sundance Grand Jury Prize-winning Forty Shades of Blue. His most recent film, Last Address, a short work honoring a group of NYC artists who died of AIDS, has been added to the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art and MoMA and played at the 2011 Venice BIennale. Sachs teaches in the Graduate Film department at NYU and is a fellow at both the MacDowell Colony and Yaddo. He is also the founder and co-curator of Queer/Art/Film, a monthly series held at the IFC Center in New York, as well as the newly established Queer/Art/Mentorship, a program that pairs and supports mentorship between queer working artists in NYC.

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