Through spending more time researching into more amateur projects around the world, I have found many young filmmakers who have embarked on a journey to document hidden treasures around the world. Capturing stories far across the world, at the heart of their community. It’s raw, natural. Small budgets and a small crew are not limitations, I think this gives you the freedom to create meaningful content.
As previously mentioned, I’d like to focus on creating a longer sequence(s) where there is no interview underlying the track. I want to isolate some of the individual sounds that the artisan is making. There are thousands of sounds that are unique to that object, that place, that movement. I feel this would be far more effective left alone, letting the images, the sounds speak for themselves. I tried to find content similar to this and I was lucky enough to find a short piece, filmed in Morocco that highlights a variety of sounds of the artisans working. It’s entitled ‘The Artisans of Morocco’ (D. Ryosei Suzuki, 2013) and captures the feel of the working community in Marrakech.
Here it is below:
The cut is quick and combines a variety of movements and individual sounds but they are put together well in the mix. Appearing to use a macro lens or at least working in close range with the subject, you can really appreciate the skill that goes into creating these objects, these pieces to be admired, to be worn, to be enjoyed. There is a rhythm to some of the sounds as well, edited so that one follows the other almost simultaneously. For me, this was very relaxing to watch as well as listen to. I closed my eyes and I was straight back in Morocco, even possibly for those that have never visited this place, you can understand the atmosphere, the energy. Many of my friends that have travelled throughout Morocco, especially Fez and Sefrou, have always said that there was an energy about the place, a feeling that was hard to describe. Whether it was down to change, to a new environment, who knows but I want to see if I can also capture some of that energy and work it into my documentary.
Another documentary I have found, also on artisanal work, is entitled ‘Disappearing Artisans’ (D. Zayed Siddiki, 2016) and explores the disappearing trend of clay artisans and the ancient artistry. It is a nice piece, the edit isn’t quite to the standard I would have it and the sound is poor at times but some of the imagery is beautiful. It’s pace is slow but shows the community at it’s heart. The elderly workers who have been in those few spots their entire lives, continuing to work. Smaller sequences of the methods used in the clay work are nice, not necessarily focusing on the sounds here but more the visual. It is one option, however as I said I would like to include the unique sounds more.
Here is a sample of the documentary below:
The ratio it was shot gives it a more cinematic feel which I think I would definitely like to include in my piece. The use of a cinemascope in a 2.35.1 aspect ratio is standard but not always used for documentary films. A big shame for this film however is that there are no subtitles. I understand his audience may be specific but he has posted this on a world-wide video sharing platform, for anyone to find. I would enjoy this a lot more if I could understand the interviews but I still included it as I think the visual sequences are beautiful.
A final note on a similar reference to the first film above ‘The Artisans of Morocco’, I knew of a film that really focused on capturing a craftsmen at his best in a visual/audible sequence. This time however it was an older man who was a great cook, he really had a relationship with the food and knew how to prepare it right. The film is entitled ‘Eat Drink Man Woman’ (D. Ang Lee, 1994) and I’m referring specifically to the opening scene.
Here we look at the older man preparing and cooking the fish in a number of cuts that show you specific movements, specific interactions with the objects around him:
In this opening sequence, I love the lighting, the choice of medium and extreme close ups with certain cuts of meats, fish and vegetables. You can easily see how skilled this man is, the sequence also makes it feel like a recipe, a set of instructions from start to finish. Below are some screenshots of setups I’d like to achieve in my documentary. Both crafts, both ways of showing the process:
I want my documentary to show the processes behind the artisan’s work, not in full but a glimpse at the interactions, relationships with tools, with materials around them. Through content I’ve been watching and observing I have an idea of how to record the artisan’s working as well as capturing the sounds. It will be trial and error, guerrilla style out in Sefrou but this is when I’m most creative. I’m excited to get out there.
Disappearing Artisans (2016) D. Zayed Siddiki [Online] Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3sWfKopxI0 [Accessed: January 9th 2017]
Eat Drink Man Woman (1994) D. Ang Lee. Opening Scene [Online] Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZoH4bUL5vc [Accessed: January 9th 2017]
The Artisans of Morocco (2013) D. Ryosei Suzuki [Online] Available from: https://vimeo.com/70304558 [Accessed: January 9th 2017]