As Sally Potter travels around the world with 'YES'
she is keeping a diary exclusively for this web site
Sign-up for Newsletter

A Different Film

Back to Diary Index

A Different Film

The screening at Harvard was to take place in the Carpenter Centre, the only building in the USA designed by Le Corbusier. Giuliana Bruno (author of the wonderful and erudite ‘Atlas of Emotion’ and responsible for the screening invitation) gave us a brief tour of the light-infused, airy building and once again I was reminded of the exhilarating experience of a consciously-designed and uncompromising space. A long queue of people were patiently waiting downstairs for seats at the already full cinema. Many were turned away.

I watched the first fifteen minutes or so of the film after introducing it, before leaving to go for a stroll around the campus with Andy Fierberg (our American co-producer). The film looked different. Not because of the quality of the projection but because each audience creates its own atmosphere, its own perceptual framework, which places subtly different emphases on the film, even to me. It is, I believe, an error to think of a film as a fixed object; the experience of it (and what else, in the end, is there?) constantly changes. Here the audience seemed extremely mentally alert and so the references in the film suddenly seemed more sharply drawn. All those books, perhaps.

At dinner afterwards with some of the faculty, we discussed the fine line between allegory and generalisation; political content and didacticism. It amounts to the same subject that some of the students who talked to me after the film seemed to be struggling with: how to find a form for the things that are really deeply concerning them; or, what is our relationship with meaning? This is the preoccupation of people living and working in a post-post-structuralist, post-post-modernist moment, in a divided society at war with the world and with itself.

I am finding as I travel from festival to festival that the question of belief is ever more potent in a time of extreme duality – faith versus atheism, science versus religion, spirituality versus materialism. And I continue to be astonished that a small island like Cuba is seen as a threat; a symbol of the spectre of communism, challenging a belief in the ‘freedom’ of consumerism. Even, it would seem from one of the questions, at Harvard.

Comment on this post

Click to Enlarge

Giuilana Bruno

Click to Enlarge

’Atlas of Emotion’

Click to Enlarge

SP with Giuilana Bruno in the Le Corbusier built Carpenter Centre

Click to Enlarge

Le Corbusier

Click to Enlarge

Andrew Fierberg during filming of YES
photo by Nicola Dove

Click to Enlarge

SP and Andrew Fierberg outside the Carpenter Centre

Text © Sally Potter. All pictures © Adventure Pictures unless otherwise indicated