Don't quite know what to make of M. This was our recent exchange - maybe the last if he gets too pissed off at my being so pissy.
From M: "I found the discussion too dull to sit out. What did you think of the movie? I'd love to see the performances in a theater but they didn't do much for me on screen despite some very nice camera work. Unusually, I think the film would really have benefited from some narration. To me the film got terribly repetitive and didn't seem to have any forward movement -- an object lesson in bad directing. Too harsh?"
From me: "I was disappointed and a little surprised that you left. I didn't even get a chance to give you the film.
I don't know about your comments being harsh but I think they are a bit beside the point. My intention in inviting you was to offer you a bit more exposure to M to add to your three days, introduce you to some more M'is and to some people, like you, who are interested in some aspect of M. At the risk of becoming repetitive myself, my involvement with your project will have to put the people of M as the first audience of the film, for reasons we have discussed that range from the aesthetic to the political to the personal. As you will have gathered from since our initial conversation in Central Park and subsequently from my Field trip website, the artists going with me are not do-gooders; they are not the usual development/religious missionaries coming to look at the all-too-evident ills of M'i society; nor are they coming to do the usual culture-shopping. I have asked them to give as equals to their peers. In the same vein, I would like to be involved in a project that strives to go beyond reportage on a compartmentalized problem. This is merely my POV; I am sure there are M'is you will meet who think differently."
Yeah the film on R was just OK and the discussion was dull and incomprehensible. R is so much better as a director. Where he is struggling with, I realized, is that no one else is trying to define his culture for the world-stage that he has to be on. I think I can help him. Amazingly he went along with the whole Natya Shastra thing. Is it that I simply don't know enough or is my mission of re-defining a cultural identity (ta-da!) going to be harder than I ever imagined?
M's film on HIV/Heroin/AIDS is not the first subject of choice for me. But how many people are interested in M to make a film? I would like to work with him if possible. Yoshiko thinks he is a little weird and that M is too interested in war. That was what we talked about sitting in that god-awful Whole Foods in that new AOL/Time Warner building. We could have been in Hong Kong.
Vic helped me pick out a book on genes for Pabung Macha. I would have preferred "Plants of the Gods" but it's hard to get.