When I was casting Tango Octogenario, I had to make a very big decision. The script called for 80-year-old tango dancers. The decision I had to make was do I cast actual octogenarians or do I go for younger dancers and try to age them with make up.
Elderly dancer’s would be more authentic. Younger dancers might be more nimble, might be crisper dancers.
When I met Alex and Jean Turney, my dilemma disappeared, because they were the age of the characters and they were excellent dancers. But Alex had occasional doubts. I remember when I told him that I would be shooting a close up of their hands as they clasped just before they danced.
Alex was concerned. He was very conscious of the look of his arthritic fingers. “You want to show these hands?” he objected.
“They’re beautiful hands,” I told him. “Those are hands that have lived a full life.”
I think that won him over.
At some point Alex asked why I didn’t go with younger dancers, or professional dancers. I told him I wasn’t really interested in expert dancers, that I wanted expressive dancers. And that’s what I saw in them. They oozed expression.
It’s the same with the music I listen to. Give me a lo-fi, raggedly recorded soulful song over a highly produced, technically flawless soulless song any day. Of course, in an ideal world, you get both expertise and expression, but if I have to choose one, I’ll always choose the latter.
And so it is with A Life’s Work. As I edit, I continue to look first and foremost for the expressive moment, the expressive composition, the expressive cut, the expressive sequence. If those are expertly delivered.
This is related to that post on perfection, but my desire to achieve perfection doesn’t preclude expressiveness. I’m just looking for both, because that’s what perfect is.
Questions, thoughts, or comments about this post, or anything under the sun? Leave ’em in the comments box!