Scottish Doc Institute's Blog

Visit our new blog at blog.scottishdocinstitute.com

On Working with Foreign Language

Mama Teresa and her two grandchildren

Noe Mendelle, Director of SDI, was asked to make a documentary about a housing research project led by Edinburgh University and Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts. Here are some reflections on her experience.

Do we need to understand every word to shoot a sequence?

Mama Teresa was my favourite right from the beginning. She spoke a few Portuguese words but went on speaking to me in Changana, her local language. The energy she gave out seemed to allow me to understand what she was communicating. I have used translators in past situations but although we gain information through the translation, I often feel very frustrated because the attention, focus, keeps slipping from the character to the translator and part of me stops feeling the person that I’m filming. So I  took the decision not to work with a translator and allow me to go with the feel of her and allow her to just talk to me, whenever she wants, knowing that I did not understand her. No  doubt I will discover crucial details during editing and probably get kicked by my editor for not having followed some of the leads. But I ask myself:  do we need to understand every word to shoot a sequence? Can’t we sometimes just work on the feel of it?

How do we film the invisible, the impalpable?

By forcing myself to film what I feel next to this woman, I look around and try to use my camera to capture light and images to translate and create meaning to those feelings/energy. I often try to reflect on how do we film the invisible, the impalpable?
It was a risk but something to play with during editing.

Click on the links to read part I or part II of this thread.

Filed under: Filmmaking, , , ,

Visit our new blog

New SDI Blog

New SDI Blog

This blog is no longer updated

All posts on this blog have been imported into our new blog at blog.scottishdocinstitute.com – see you there for the latest posts!

Categories

SDI Twitter

Error: Twitter did not respond. Please wait a few minutes and refresh this page.