As Sally Potter travels around the world with 'YES'
she is keeping a diary exclusively for this web site
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Another Berlin

Oh Moscow

The Press Junket

In the Snow

Invitation to Armenia

Tango Ghost


The Cleaners Revenge

Gorbachev and Kissinger

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The Press Junket

Glancing through the press schedule for tomorrow I note the balance of East and West (journalists from Poland and Canada in the same group, for example). As usual, the journalists are grouped together – about six at a time - to make the quantity of interviews feasible in the time available. It is something of a marathon doing it this way, for I have to try to relate individually to each of them (it must be difficult to be part of such a group, taking your turn to ask a question) and also not to repeat myself too much or the same quotes appear everywhere. I try to think of press junkets as a kind of yoga; an exercise in concise, precise thinking and communication under pressure. However, in reality, I often seem to end up a little ragged, and feeling – as Willem Dafoe once said to me that he was feeling, as he emerged, blearily, from a similar junket – a kind of ‘self-loathing’ at the sound of my own voice going on and on about my own work.

What a luxury it would be, one day, not to have to ‘explain’, not to have to be the intermediary with what I do; just to let the work speak for itself. But film-making now seems to demand of its’ directors (and actors) a flow of explanation both before the film is made (that’s called ‘pitching’) and afterwards (‘director’s statements’, interviews, and so on). What is it that makes some such conversations rewarding and energising and others enervating or dispiriting ? I have found discussions with students, for example, often to be very stimulating and sometimes quite moving; some interviews can be similarly enriching, for to have such interest shown in the work or in oneself is, after all a form of flattery. (As Laurence Olivier once said, on being asked whether he was going to attend a first night at the theatre : ‘Oh, I couldn’t. Everyone will recognise me and want to talk. Or – worse – maybe no one will.’) Perhaps it’s all about the need for a genuine level of exchange. To enter into a dialogue, to feel ‘of use’, to feel connected with an audience – this is ambrosia. To feel one has to justify what one has done, or even defend oneself against a (usually) unspoken but insinuated accusation – how dare you make this film – can be a little tiring.

I shall see which way the scales tip here in Berlin. Snow is starting to fall outside. Perhaps the dark streets and rooftops will soon glow with a temporary white-ness.

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SP at the Brandenburg Gate, as snow falls

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Berlin, birches and snow….

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