Sally Potter is renowned for her rapport with actors, and for the luminous performances she works with them to produce. Now she strips bare the art and craft of directing actors for the camera, from casting a film, through the hidden dynamics of a shoot, to the moment of first screening when the work goes public.
A brilliant writer for the screen, here Potter shows herself to be expert at translating the experience of film-directing to the page. She addresses us in prose that is both unsentimental and inspired, tracing the subtle energies that pass between actor, director and audience – shaping for the reader the acts of transmission and imagination, performance and witness, the sum of which make up a film.
In addition to the core text, the book contains interviews with actors Sally Potter has worked with. Their voices provide a counterpoint, and inform and illuminate the reader’s sense of her work as they each reveal what they feel is essential in their process. Those interviewed include: Simon Abkarian, Riz Ahmed, Joan Allen, Annette Bening, Steve Buscemi, Julie Christie, Lily Cole, Judi Dench, Alice Englert, Elle Fanning, Christina Hendricks, Jude Law, Alessandro Nivola and Timothy Spall.
Naked Cinema is published by Faber & Faber and was released March 2014.
You can order your copy HERE.
I first met Lindsay Cooper in 1979, when she was already a musical phenomenon, playing the bassoon in the avant-rock group Henry Cow. Lindsay often spoke of the bassoon as the instrument closest to the human voice. She made it speak to us in new ways, exploring its growling depths and soaring, mournful heights with dexterity and technical inventiveness. She used a foot pedal to generate multiple loops, becoming a one-woman bassoon orchestra in her legendary solo improvisations.
Lindsay’s off-stage charm and humour transmuted into a charismatic stage presence, at times light and playful, at others dark and intense. She was a composer and band leader who also nurtured the gift of collaboration.
She was an idealist with strong political convictions, but her work was never didactic. She believed in the transcendental power of pure sound.
We worked together in several groups – FIG, The Marx Bros, The Film Music Orchestra and Oh Moscow. She wrote the score for The Gold Diggers and we went on to co-write many songs. Long hours in recording studios at her side taught me many invaluable lessons.
Lindsay died of pneumonia following a heroic 27 year struggle with MS.
Thank God her music lives on.