For the past few months, I’ve gotten my dad, Avi, an accomplished filmmaker and noted curmudgeon, to critique videos made (mostly) by people I know. The segment’s proved to be popular, as apparently everyone loves a grumpy, hard-to-impress judgmental ESL film snob who likes next to nothing. This time around we’re doing things a bit differently. I got Avi to upload one of his first indie films, Tarantula, onto YouTube. I sent it to the musicians, artists, directors and editors that he’s critiqued in the past, with hopes they’d give me their thoughts and feelings on his work.
No one had time to watch it, which, I suppose, is the ultimate harsh review. (I know for me personally, I’d prefer someone read my stuff and hate it then not read it at all.) Anyhow, here’s Avi’s opinion on Avi’s work.
Tell me about the history of this film.
I think it was 1972. My friends and I decided to make a film so we wrote it down. Me and this actor in the film, with the glasses. I met him on another film. I was an editor on feature films. I was 26 or 27. I wrote and shaped it. It was different when it started. I put a little meat on it.
How would you summarize the film?
It’s, what do you call it, three people, one who depends on the other. But they cannot do without one another. Each one plays a part in the relationship. It’s an algorithm of a situation in life. But the style at the time, it was influenced by artsy farty industry of the time. You know Ingmar Bergman…(calling to my mother) who are the others Rosa? (My mother: “Fellini”) They inspired us and we made something similar.
Did you produce it yourself?
Everything was donated by friends and film studios. Because they knew me. We didn’t spend any money on it. We rallied the government for funding but they didn’t want to give us anything. But we carried on. We got a camera from one guy. Ariflex. Film we didn’t buy. We used leftover film from negatives. We’d use 50 feet, 60 feet. Thirty-five feet is one minute. Somehow we put it together. The lab was free. Everything free. But it was a beautiful era, editing with film. Splicer. Editing with splicer. And pencil crayon. I used the viola, an editing machine. We filmed on a friend’s kibbutz, a Six-Day War widow, who wanted to get out of her trauma. She helped with editing. The art director got us some stuffed birds. Mom made sandwiches.
(My mother butts in at this point and goes on a rant about how the lead female character was originally suppose to be played by a famous actress but she dropped out, then they got a real deaf actress but she was hard to direct so my dad commanded my mom to play the lead and she was all like “Go fuck yourself” and then they found the actress in the film, who was unknown but good for the part.)
At what point did you submit it to film festivals?
I moved to Canada and my friends stayed behind and said, let’s give it a shot. He sent it to Tel Aviv film festival and Chicago and we scored in each one of them.
How did winning awards make you feel?
Awards for me are just dust collectors.
Did it open doors?
I didn’t need any doors opened for me. I was working at the time. I’ve never been unemployed for half a day. From one project to the other. All those trophies were just nice statues. It didn’t open doors or anything. I never connected the two together.
What do you think of the film now?
It’s very naïve. It’s a young man’s film. Part of this time. Everyone looks like they have a broom up their ass. So serious and pretentious. At that time everybody liked it. But now, come on. It’s like looking back at your Grade 8 homework. Times change, you change. If I saw the first two minutes, I’d fall asleep too. But at the time, it worked.
Wanna say harsh things about Avi’s work? Now’s your time dear reader! Leave a message below or send me a full detailed email at email@example.com…nothing you say can hurt Avi as he doesn’t really have feelings. So go mental!
May 24, 2012 No Comments