Boredom Of The Disgust is a film made up of a series of scenes but there is no through-action – they are linked because each of them is about cinema itself. The film has documentary scenes (as discussed in Part 1), and it has fiction scenes (including a film noir scene about a man trying to escape from some people he owes money to, and the imaginary argument discussed in the last blog), so it was only natural that the film should culminate in a scene that was both fiction and documentary.
Set in the screening room of The Guesthouse in Cork, I was to play an affable, if eccentric, film lover, who had built a cinema with his own hands, in order to screen the films he loved, and here was opening night, and he was explaining his intentions for the cinema. The cinema did not exist of course, not in the sense that I was talking about it in any case – at one point, I introduced Le Samourai as the next film of the evening to the audience, but there was no audience, and I had no intention of screening Le Samourai. So much for the fiction then. During the improvisation, Rashidi would interject and ask me to speak about my thoughts on cinema generally, about my favourite filmmakers, and what kind of films I loved. Essentially, I gave truthful answers (ie – my actual thoughts rather than made up ones for the character) - I spoke about my penchant for discovering obscure masterpieces, and my preference for personal, idiosyncratic cinema (or auteur cinema) – watching individualist cinema, is, for me, like entering a secret garden. I also spoke about an idea which is important to me: that the richest way a film can be experienced is at the movie theatre, infront of a massive screen (and if you're skeptical about that; watch a film at home on DVD firstly, then go to the theatre to watch the same film). For this whole scene, I was really just riffing – letting ideas form in my mind, in response to the few notes I had been given - it was “playing” in the truest sense. However, I put on a slightly upper class voice, and behaved in a rather stiff manner, along with displaying a certain affability – these are all externals which I applied in order to help create the illusion of character (another example of an external, would be a limp). Of course, this kind of characterization makes perfect sense for the fictional parts of the scene, but is strange when you think I maintained this character while I was explaining my actual own ideas. If the actor is the truth at the heart of the filmmakers artifice, then we can also say he is the truth at the heart of the artifice of characterization – now I think of Charles Laughton in The Hunchback Of Notre Dame, where he uses externals masterfully for sure, but it is undeniably the force of Laughton's spirit underneaththe prosthetics and the make-up, which truly moves us.
It has been a joy to be given a platform to expound my ideas on acting, and then to put those ideas into action in the same film – and it is a testament to Rashidi's love and respect for acting, that he decided to give the craft such focus within the film. Further, as the role of actors is diminishing all the time, Rashidi is to be commended for striving to give responsibility back to the actor, and, by offering challenging work, offers the opportunity to unlock his true creative potential, and all this takes place within his own personal, cinematic aesthetic. The actor, for his part, must not waste the opportunity, but rise to the challenge, and stretch every sinew in service of the film.
Boredom Of The Disgust & Monotony Of The Tediousness, is the fruit of a true actor-director collaboration.