“Sound? Camera? Chinstrap? Action!” Cinema has not been immune to the reach of Covid-19. Quite the opposite. The shootings clearly represent a perfect storm because of their own dynamics. Consequently, this branch was forced to implement unpublished health protocols and profound changes in the performance to be able to return to the ring. Three weeks ago some captures of Paul Thomas Anderson circulated with actor Bradley Cooper on the street set of his new project, Soggy Bottom. To the director of Magnolia He is seen on the streets of Los Angeles wearing a mask and at a distance from the rest of the technical team and the cast. The image speaks volumes for what is and will be the new normal for the industry. In short, until March 2020 the audiovisual task had its modus operandi, and Coronavirus through, begins to be another.
In Argentina, the estimates refer to a hundred suspended productions and several thousand workers unemployed since March. A light – yellow and dim – was glimpsed at the end of August, when the document of the Ministry of Culture de la Nación that had the support of various associations in the sector so that film, television and platform shootings can come out of limbo. At this juncture, the German case stands out, one of the most avant-garde and, especially, that of the production company Pantaleon, which was already able to complete the filming of two fictions. One of them, Oscar’s dress (Oscar’s dress), features the Argentine Juan Carlos Lo Sasso, temporarily based in Germany. It is a high-ranking project, currently in the post-production phase, written and starring Florian David Fitz, member of the Teutonic star system. “They were tremendously effective, they did not move from the schedule they imposed,” Lo Sasso tells Page 12 who highlights the German idiosyncrasy without leaving room for improvisation or error.
A striking fact: each German production company presented its own working model to the authorities which it helped to design a comprehensive protocol that today serves as a standard in the rest of the world. In this sense, the similarities between this model and the one that would be carried out in our country in the coming weeks are striking. The clearest is that of a production divided into phases that implies restricting contact as much as possible from pre-production to shooting. The German document (“Filming in times of crisis”) refers to permanent training in the first stage, an intermediate cycle for last minute adjustments, and finally work on the set. The change in this last phase is monumental. Tasks are differentiated as much as possible to avoid crowds. There is a great “Achtung” in relation to the mobility of those who participate from the filming to the set. T-shirts of different colors are implemented by sector. The use of chinstraps is mandatory for the entire team and only actors are excepted during filming. Tests -permanent and random- and checks are carried out before scenes in which there is physical contact. The extras film their scenes on other days. The spaces are differentiated by heat and all equipment including handys must be disinfected. There are also unique –and logical- details regarding catering: lunches are divided into panels and without dispensers of any kind. These are just some of the measures of the protocol designed to minimize the possibility of contagion and which also includes risk reduction. That is to say, emergency measures in case there is a positive case on set to make sure that “the path of infection remains restricted to a limited group,” says producer Tobias Pollok. in an interview with this medium.
Towards April, the company obtained the endorsement of the Bavarian state administration for the “Concept Filming” to be implemented from June to August, in a total of eight weeks, without major complications. Even Pollock estimates that in the long term, with a vaccine and without a pandemic, some of these changes may become a new standard (The clearer and more organized distinction between assembly, rehearsal and shooting, in his opinion, constitutes an effective model). “We wanted to explore the concept with all the other production companies to compare thoughts, opinions and catch up. We have had good responses very quickly. We watched the news, and the concepts came quickly from productions in the United States, Ireland, and other European countries. We chose what we believed to be realistic. In addition, we put together a system to form groups on set ”, adds the production manager. The initial question is what moves the rest of the threads: what criteria could be used to logically divide the team into groups that have as little contact as possible with each other?
Reorganize this “organized chaos” in record time It is undoubtedly one of the Herzogian merits (with a happy ending) of the project that was scheduled to start in mid-March. Within hours of starting the filming of Oscar’s dress, Angela Merkel’s government decreed the cessation of activities and the mandatory pandemic. “They were several weeks in which the panorama was, basically, everything was canceled. Everything was stopped for many days. The agency didn’t know anything, the production didn’t know anything, nobody knew anything. And if the situation was delicate, in my case being a foreigner, it was total darkness, ”says Lo Sasso.
The experience for the Argentine actor is worthy of a documentary. Resident of Munro, with a varied curriculum between European and local productions, at the end of last year he received an email with the proposal for the casting of this production. The role to get? The partner of a woman whose son rediscovers her gender identity at age nine (such is the crux of Oscar’s dress that features the performance of a trans girl). Remote camera tests in German, dancing tango, using his dog as a partner, the trip to Munich with no guarantees, testing chemistry with the cast, meeting the director, studying the scripts, getting stranded fifteen thousand kilometers away, until the confirmation that they would film again. “The organization is very complex but the protocol had a positive influence. Between the amount of time we had to prepare and the risk taken to face it, there was a level of concentration that ended up being fundamental. Everyone is taking care of health and in the end the focus, and the tone and the shot is enhanced. Teamwork is very noticeable. And everything is more spaced. When you see someone from another sector, it is quite an event ”, says the 35-year-old interpreter. Lo Sasso emphasizes that for the actors the situation was different from that of the rest of the team, calling it “quasi-quarantine”.
“You wear the mask like anyone else until they put your makeup on. When you arrive and when you leave, let’s say. I had contact with those two areas only, direction and makeup and five or six days before filming you took the test, if it gave you negative, you stayed from then until the day of filming ”. Meticulousness has its reasons. For example, how to coordinate something as elementary as a fight between two characters? Lo Sasso emphasizes the figure of the head of locations who in these circumstances happens to have a fundamental role because he is in charge of everything that enters and leaves the set. He perceived that there were fewer “downtimes” but that in turn more “pauses” were needed because the technicians were short of breath from time to time due to the use of masks. “It’s really tiring to wear a protector all day on set. Especially when you’re standing thirty degrees in the sun. But there is no other option. We never soften the concept. If we said that you didn’t have to wear a mask outdoors, then it would start to be used less indoors, ”says one of its producers. Lo Sasso himself suffered from the rigor of the method when he began to chat with technicians in a motorhorme intended for the latter. “Very kindly a person came and told me that my place was another, that there was a chair with my name on it and that he had a closed bottle of water in case I was thirsty,” he recalls.
Concentration is the word that Hüseyin Tabak, the director of the film, also uses. “On the one hand everything has to be very disciplined and on the other you could feel the joy of working. They allowed you to work to tell a story. The story is special, a boy who does not feel comfortable in his body, and it was shot in a special way, “says the director who grew up under the wing of Michael Haneke. “Everyone wearing masks, when we ate we had glasses in front of us, it was a bit like being in prison. But the joy is greater than any imposition because we know that there are other sectors that were not enabled to work by then and for that we are grateful. The idea is to hit theaters on a big screen. The best place to watch movies, ”says the Kurdish-born filmmaker, and the simplicity of the phrase hides an immense engineering. On the site of the producer They announce that fiction would hit theaters in Germany in 2021. The way the theaters will be arranged by then will undoubtedly be another experience.
Changing the Matrix
Things of destiny, the way it was filmed Dress by Oscar -a movie about a nine-year-old trans girl- served as a model for the filming of what will be the fourth part of the saga of Matrix (photo). The Wachowski sisters (Lana and Lily) have stated that their masterpiece can be read as a metaphor for their own sexual transformation and gender identity change that they both carried out.
The link between the two films arises from the fact that Pantaleon has agreements with Warner Brothers. This is how the mega production, after a five-month stoppage due to the pandemic, was able to start in Babelsberg, on the outskirts of Berlin, on August 18. “There are some really thoughtful and effective protocols, and the pace of filmmaking has not been affected or interrupted,” Keanu Reeves noted days ago.
According to those involved, it is “a completely new film set in the world of The Matrix”. Besides Reeves, other members of the original franchise are Carrie-Anne Moss, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Lambert Wilson (Trinity, Niobe, and Merovingian). Laurence Fishburne confirmed that she will not be part of this story. In fact, it is speculated that the role of Yahya Abdul-Mateen II (Black Mirror Y Aquaman) could be that of a young Morpheus. Another new member of the cast is Neil Patrick Harris.
The Wachowski sisters have developed most of their projects together (v for Vendetta, Cloud Atlas, and the series for Netflix Sense8). But this time, only Lana will be linked to the project. The reason, simply, is because Lilly has declared to have lost interest in science fiction so she did not want to interfere with the production. The Wachowskis in 1999 tackled the world of Matrix, which was followed by the aftermath Matrix Reloaded Y Matrix Revolutions, both from 2003.