China Diary

Day 186: Logic And Flow


There’s only so much you can change in a film after it has been shot, but apparently the Chinese way is to disregard the above and go ahead and change anyway. I’ve been working for about two years now with Max and I know he is very, very persistent with the story of his for Iron Sky: The Ark. My mission, when I started to work on the film, was to make it as fun and enjoyable adventure as possible; for Max, the film’s core message goes deeper, and he is relentless in pursuing the clarity of it.

Now, as a director I’m torn between good movie and clear story. Sometimes, these two don’t walk hand in hand; sometimes you have to sacrifice one in order to get the other one working. If you go back and think about a bunch of movies you love, it’s easy to spot logic holes in them; but when the characters work and the story flows, logical mistakes are forgiven. Yeah, the Eagles could have taken the Hobbits straight to Mount Doom and the film could’ve been over before it started. Indeed, Prometheus is one big logic hole itself, but I absolutely love the film. And so on, and so on…

So right now, we are still trying to find the ideal balance between logic and flow. I’m more inclined to go with the flow, Max is hunting for the logic, and we are trying to solve those issues through edit, ADR, VFX and other methods still available at our disposal after the shoot is done.

I do feel a bit bad for our VFX supervisor; it feels there’s a lot of work to be done, and today we sat down together and I described in detail the final key sequence of the movie to him. He says “yeah, no problem”, but I sense a worry in his eyes; the good thing is, he is a true artist himself, so he wants to go where it’s most aesthetic, and this will be important for the final sequence. I don’t want it to be photorealistic, but like a beautiful art film sequence instead. Trick is to try to find the balance between story, logic and aesthetics there, too. It can’t be just a splash of colors and shapes, but it needs to tell a story, too. Some say Kubrick’s 2001’s ending is exactly that – just colors, shapes and sounds for God knows how long, but I think it tells a sound story, yet in a beautiful and artistically challenging way. Same goes with the opening of The Tree Of Life, another beautiful segment in film history, but unfortunately often told to be too long, too abstract and too conceptual.

It’s a shame film as a form of art has been reduced to absolute realism; anything more experimental is considered bad and unfilmlike. Anyway, that’s another balance I’m trying to find there in the ending sequence… You’ll hopefully see one day what I mean.

I finished the day off by having a dinner with a friend from the production crew, eating Xinjiang food. The Xinjiang area, which is located in the Western China, is known for its’ Middle-Eastern -influenced dishes, and the fact that the southern part of the province is not a very friendly place for a regular Han Chinese to visit, due to some unrest in the area.

This unrest, though, presented on part in our great dinner at Baron Rozi Restaurant in Beijing, where we had some wonderful breads, meat skewers, some great spicy chicken and yoghurt.

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