The beauty of seeing my world outside my window is one thing, but I think everyone can agree that seeing that same view, but in the format of a 35mm projection, is much better. I’m often disappointed with my sight, because I feel I’m missing depth of the image in front of me. For instance, the beauty of a woman’s face, is much better photographed than actual sight. I can’t speak for others, but I need the distance to appreciate a beauty, and that is where the camera comes in. Actual death is never beautiful to me. The times when I have been near someone dying, it is painful to be a part of its presence. On the other hand, when Robert Mitchum kills Shelley Winters in “The Night of the Hunter, ” it's quite beautiful, especially when the corpse is floating in the bottom of the lake. My goal in life is to separate my life from what is real and somehow turn it into a movie. Or as I like to term it “projected life. ”
It seemed like a dream when the production of the film “The Subterraneans” came to San Francisco. Or I should say the screenwriter and the star of the film Leslie Caron. To soak up life in North Beach, Caron hung out at various coffee houses and bars to research her role as Mardou Fox. My father met her at City Lights Bookstore, and brought her around to our house on Scott Street. At the time I was four or five years old, and it was a Saturday night, and my parents wanted to go out. They asked Leslie if she would mind to baby-sit me for the evening. She accepted to do so.
As far as I know that was the last I saw Leslie Caron, and I have no memory of her presence and sadly there is no photograph of the two of us together. More likely it was an unremarkable series of moments in her life. Yet, to this day, I feel that I brushed against a time that doesn’t exist, but only in images from that place and time. The nature of making a movie or a series of photographs is tantamount to capture what is not actually there, but what we ‘want’ to be there. We all have our perceived idea what should be, but alas, in reality it usually comes short of our expectations.
My intention was to do good, but sometimes one meets someone down the road, or even in a train station, and that can draw one to a world not of our making. Or perhaps it is? I have been advised by a wise soul that there are no such things as an accident. Everyone wanders aimlessly but eventually one confronts fate, and it is inescapable to avoid that landscape, that is pure poison.
With respect to film viewing I go back to Alice Guy, who was the first woman filmmaker, and headed her own studio as well. One can imagine what she saw, but like a farmer who chooses what is ripe to pick, and well, the rest has to be dismissed. Finding the image, the right image, is the art. The fact it is in front of you, does not make it an art. I can only cope in this world, if I have the ability to edit out certain aspects of my memory. Leslie Caron and I spent time together. I have no memory of Leslie Caron.