It was an historic occasion. I arrived with my cameraman, Bob Chappell, and his first assistant, Eric Zimmerman, within a few days of the 150th anniversary of the fall of Sebastopol on September 8, 1855. The airport at Simferopol — the Crimea’s capital — was clotted with dozens of elderly British tourists arrived on the afternoon flight from Istanbul. For a brief moment I had this fantasy that I would make a movie about people at the end of their lives reaching back into some unknowable past, trying to recover something perhaps unknowable about their own past. I would follow them about. Record their attempts to reconnect with history. [emphasis added]In one offhand comment made and dismissed, it feels like Errol Morris summed up the entirety of the reason I decided to start making films myself, way back in ought one. Kind of wish he'd done it sooner, but hey.
There's blogging about making films, and there's Blogging About Making Films. Morris's NYTimes blog account of discovering the circumstances behind Roger Fenton's iconic 1854 photos of the Crimean War is dense and long and convoluted, and absolutely fantastic. Part two went up last night [Part one has been up a while.]
Of course, this is no random blog brain dump, but I suspect it will be part of the book written with Philip Gourevitch that accompanies his next film, Standard Operating Procedure. If not, it should be.