Ojai Diaries: Day Two Of The Fest / by Laurence Fuller

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We went to the screening Q&A for "Mother & Brother" this morning. Watching the film again there is a certain objectivity which is forming about it. Vulnerability is the real strength of the piece, its unashamed bare bummed weakness, which exposes the fragility of life. Dustin has been cautious about expressing too much of an interpretation. I understand why, he wants to create the image and allow others the interpretation. There is something beautifully ambiguous about the meaning of this film. What was in the note that made what happens ok between the two?

"Your strength as an artist does not have to come from your best qualities or gifts. An artist can rise from a deficiency within himself or herself." - Celaya, Art And Mindfulness

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There were some interesting questions, about the ambiguity of the piece, a number of questions about the backstory for the characters, because the script is so spare and unobtrusive. Dustin and I discussed in preparation but these things were not literally present in the finished film. Ultimately with this film I wish to preserve the audience's personal experience of the piece and share my experience of what is was to make it, which isn't easy because everyone seems to want a definitive answer about it. 

We saw many shorts. The one that hit me the hardest and pulled at my tear ducts was Telegram Man. The way James Francis Khehtie captured veteran Aussie actors Jack Thompson and Gary Sweet's performances. There was more than loss, beyond grief, reaching the sublime, a connection with the unknown.

At night we saw an outstanding short based on Anton Chekhov's "Death Of A Government Clerk", is was very funny capturing the true mood Chekhov's writing was intended which is often lost in its English translation. The issue was first brought up between him and Stanislavski during the Moscow Art Theatre's production of The Seagull. The issue both men were facing and wrestling with at their time was the censorship of their spiritual outlooks. Stanislavski's original texts of An Actor Prepares, Building A Character and Creating A Role were considerably redacted and in some cases tailored by the Communist government of the time, who reduced Stanislavksi's use of aspects of Hindu practice to empower the energy of first hand experience and presence, to the conventional dry excersises now practiced in many Drama Schools.

There is an irony intended to Chekhov's writing directed at society, particularly regarding Russian society of the time, but we still can see ourselves in them which is why Chekhov's writing has sustained the changing times.

Malcolm McDowell was with us for the screening of his feature Bereave, which was powerful and unconventional character study. The performances were like experiments in the limitations of the medium.

We retired to our mountain getaway for whiskey and poker, the game was on between director Dustin Cook, his wife, Cat and myself. I leave it to ambiguity who took home the matchsticks.

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