Brilliant Mind of a Filmmaker: Fernando Meirelles on Blindness
I've really come to admire Fernando Meirelles. Ever since he made the truly powerful City of God I've never looked at filmmaking or films the same again. In his blog entry on the Blindness blog (which is in Portuguese) for his next film, Fernando Meirelles asks a few interesting questions: "Where is that charisma? In the eyes? In some perception we capture with some sense beyond the five most famous ones?" From there Meirelles lets you into his mind and his thoughts and some of it is truly brilliant. He discusses some stories on set working with a few actors as well as his cinematographer and it's rare you get to hear something this enthralling.
Thankfully the good guys over at TwitchFilm have translated the entire post, and damn is it a good read. This really is an introspective into the brilliant mind of a brilliant filmmaker. He primarily looks at what makes people charismatic through two examples of actors working in Blindness.
The first is Sandra Oh, who you may recognize from Sideways or "Grey's Anatomy". He met her and even cast her in a one-line role in the film just to work with her. The second is Mpho Koaho, who you may remember as the guy in the cross-twisting device in Saw III. Here Meirelles has discovered an innate talent and let him build it on screen but putting him in more and more scenes.
Although Meirelles really leaves this discussion on charisma quite open, his conclusion is still intriguing. "I only know we cannot develop it. It’s like being tall or having dark eyes. It comes with the package." In essence, you can't build charisma from nothing, or at least at the depth that these two actors have.
Considering the other talent leading the film: Julianne Moore, Mark Ruffalo, Gael García Bernal, and Danny Glover, I'm fascinated that Meirelles chose to write this entire blog post about two actors who have hardly any appearance in the film at all. Honestly, I suggest everyone go read the translated post at TwitchFilm, it truly was one of the most appealing looks at the mind of a brilliant filmmaker. Something that would be an entire chapter in a book about Meirelles, even.
Although I wasn't as fond of The Constant Gardner, I'm looking forward to Blindness quite a bit. Even this example alone has shown me that he truly is a great filmmaker. Blindness is filming now in Toronto and due for release in 2008.
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