Sometimes a particular meeting can inspire even more, than any traveling. After yesterdays interview with Francis Ford Coppola in Moscow I realized how true it that statement. Talented director presented me a trip to the cinema world. An audience traveled with maestro to Romania, USA and Argentina just in hour and a half.
The room was occupied with photographers and cameramen, but they were informed not to make pictures during the interview. Usual 15 minutes to-be- late spent quite long. Awaited guest appeared in a suit and green tie with a bit short trousers. His introduction was unfriendly. He said that he is ill and doing such Q&A session for several days already. ”What a celebrity” I thought. But then he added ”So I would like to receive as much series questions from you as possible. I want to help you with my professional advices as much as I can”.
The reason Mr. Coppola came to Moscow was introducing his new work – a film ‘Twixt’. That was the topic to start with. In this mystical movie the main character come to abounded town in search of inspiration. Later he face the serial of enigmatic murders and try to find the solution with a help of ghost girl from his every night dreams. And here comes vampires, spiritual world and the writer Edgar Allan Poe. I am not sure whether I like the film, but most likely I will watch this horror. Francis Coppola doesn’t believe in genres. ”Genres is a result of commercial part of this business. How can you divide a life in concrete categories, as normally you have and comedy and thriller and love story in it. And my film it is not a horror movie, but an art work. Just like any other film of other directors. And as far as your work is independent, the hidden idea is big. In Hollywood movies are big in the sense of budget and publicity, but the idea is much smaller”.
Once in October 2009 Mr. Coppola had a strange dream in Istanbul hotel. The girl with vampire teeth came to him and brought him to vampire world. The vision had such a strong effect that director decided to read all books by Edgar Poe. In one of it he found an old English word BETWIXT, which means ”between”. Thats how the title came out. ”Every film is a question for me. In the end of the work I must to get an answer. If I can describe the main idea of it in 2 words, this means that my film is worth.
He gave an advice how to write, as it is quite a complicated craft by itself. Well, just as any other work based on inspiration. Lately he is focused on a book, which he want to write in the given years. Director writes in the mornings when everyone sleep, so there is neither noise nor disturbing business calls. ”When you wrote one page, go to other, than other… And don’t look back to the previous text, otherwise you will hate what you just wrote. In the moment of writing you have such a concentration of hormones that if you stop the process by rereading, you will stuck. Better give your mind to flow and after a month you notice that you have almost a book ready”. The same with filming. Francis advices to copy the others sometimes. Anyway you will never do the same as others, but you can invent your own style. He did copy the film ‘Blow’, which turns into his legendary ‘Conversation’.
I like the way he spoke ill of actors. Coppola think that the best directors comes from actors (Like Clint Eastwood), cos they know how it is hard to act, so give their respect to ones who play. In our work mostly all of us have some instruments, whether it’s scissors or camera. But actors have only themselves, so basically they are totally naked in front of audience. When there are some problems with light or decoration an operator will take some time to fix it. But when actor is not in the proper mood for playing, no one take it seriously to give him an extra hour. There is a stereotype about actors, that they are lazy, arrogant and prance. But in the very core of ‘celebrity complex’ lay a fear. So it is important to stand near the camera for showing that there is a person for whom actor is acting for.
At his 73 (74 in 7th April) he has 3 children (two of them also famous directors) and 4 grandchildren. Following his personal tradition, Francis make a big travel with every of them and compose a personal song for each of babies. And when the audience asked him to sing, he took his I-Pad and play it for us. I must admit, Mr. Coppola is a good musician with strong voice. In his difficult career he had both: success and failures. There were times when Francis Ford was almost a bankrupt and didn’t have any resources for filming. But from his professional career he gained 3 main principles: every film must have original story line, minimum of costs and personal attitude. Thats why he film unknown actors, use nature instead of studio and work in places he wants to travel to, like Argentina or Romania. I don’t know what impressed me the most: his honest story or the fact that almost every time he looked into my eyes, but this meeting opened some social blocks in me and gave the way to inspiration. And I totally agree with Mr. Coppola, that if you want to gain something in your life, just start with idea and do it as you want without listen to the crowd. After your creating the crowd will listen to you!