Published Jul 01, 2003People always tell you to look for the light at the end of the tunnel, but what happens if what is waiting for you at the end of the tunnel is death? I'm looking for it anyway, if only to get this damn movie shoot over and done with. Today we have to drive all the way out to the west end of Berlin again to shoot Patrick and Clyde on location having sex outdoors, a scene rescheduled from another day. We find a bridge near a lake and shoot Clyde following Patrick for the flashback.
When its time to shoot the sex scene, we rope off a section of the walkway under the bridge and shoot the twosome jerking off together while joggers and school children on field trips obliviously pass overhead. Meanwhile, Jurgen is back at the house shooting the sexual liaison between Helmut and Horst to my precise specifications. It's kind of nice to be treating some of the sex scenes as second unit, because frankly, I find the whole business a little embarrassing.
Back at the house we have the evening to shoot the scene in which Patrick and Clyde make out in the trunk of the moving car. Jurgen has promised me a garage for the set-up, but he neglected to tell me that said garage is so small that the car can barely fit into it, let alone the cast and crew. Nevertheless, the two actors are hand-cuffed and stuffed into the tiny trunk. James shoots them from a high, tight angle as I bounce the car up and down with my hands to make it look like it's moving. After they smooch for a while I direct them to do a slow striptease. It looks very unusual, like a kinky circus act. Sometimes I don't know where I come up with this stuff.
Saturday, November 2
Today is the toughest day of all because we have to cram a lot of unfinished business into an ever-shrinking amount of time. As it stands, there is already one scene that we won't have time to get to, the one in which Che is demonstrating terrorist techniques to a bunch of Arabs in the desert. We'll have to do it when I come back to edit the movie in the spring. Jurgen has already extended by a day the tickets back to London of both Andreas and Clyde, so that buys us a little time. We're shooting the final scene in which Gudrun discovers that the little faggots are gone, that the dream has died, as well as the one in which she sets up the videotaping of the sex between Andreas and Patrick. It's a very long and complicated scene for Susanne, who is struggling valiantly with my friggin' convoluted script.
At this point I'm tired and frustrated, so all I can do is run the scene over and over again about ten times to try to get each section of the dialogue delivered properly at least once. Jurgen keeps telling me that I'm running out of time, but I try to block him out, along with the ghosts that I keep on seeing in this empty house we're shooting in. Volkmar, my first A.D., is really getting on my last red raw tender exposed nerve. He means well, but he offers way to many suggestions and distracts me from concentrating properly. The catering is like jail food, and I'm finally getting fed up with the respective attitudes of the costumer and the make-up man, even though I'm well aware that having attitude usually goes with those particular jobs.
To top it all off, I hate our slate. You can tell a lot by the slate of a production, and although I've had worse, this one, of the chalkboard variety, is a constant reminder of how miniscule our budget is.
In the afternoon, we shoot the scene on the Autobahn in which Patrick and Clyde escape to Hamburg. Clyde is driving for the first time in the movie but of course he has never operated a standard transmission before so he almost runs the car into the ditch a couple of times, especially when he has to kiss Patrick and drive at the same time. We stop at a truck stop to essay the scene in which the two boys get approached by a highway cop while they're necking in their parked car and end up tripping the pig, tying him up, and leaving him in the ditch. As usual, wherever we shoot, crowds gather to gawk and mock us. Just before one of the sex scenes at the house the other night, Soren had to chase a couple of teenage boys out of a tree outside the window who were looking to cash in on a little crash course in sexual education. As they ran away they asked him if we were shooting a porno. Kids these days.
Sunday, November 3
I can't believe it's finally the last day. I'm feeling really run down, probably because, as I will find out when I return to Toronto, I'm coming down with a slight case of syphilis. Or maybe it's leprosy. My doctor tells me the two diseases are very similar. I have to trudge up those damn six flights of stairs to Jurgen's apartment one more time to rendezvous with the cast and crew before heading to a Burger King in the east end of the city to shoot a scene that has already been postponed twice. On the way back, we video the boys driving in the BMW from the vantage point of our van, filming dangerously close to them on the busy freeway until they take the wrong exit and disappear. Just as well. We were probably on the verge of a major car accident.
Back up the six flights of stairs to Jurgen's apartment, I am met by a French film crew who is making a documentary on the Cinema of Transgression. They prop me up in the corner of a room so that I can babble incoherently about a film movement that I once viciously trashed in print, but of which now I am apparently a kind of honorary member. Funny how that works. The doc duo comes to record our very last scheduled shoot, the sex scene between Gudrun and Holger in the elevator of a public building. We have no lights, no coffee, and virtually no crew left. It would be pathetic if it weren't so transgressive. Ulrike S. gamely returns to complete her cameo. I like her. She's always up for anything. She and the fellow who plays her husband gamely crowd into the elevator alongside the fornicating Gudrun and Holger.
As the elevator goes up and down with the sound of Gudrun yelling out her revolutionary rhetoric at the top of her lungs reverberating through the building, I can't help but get a little lump in my throat now that the shoot has finally come to an end. I just hope it isn't cancer.