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The Tap Lesson

Splendid Demands

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Splendid Demands

The next day (today) my first interview was with Lisa Kennedy who had written a line I adored about YES after she saw it at Telluride; ‘it leaves you weeping at its splendid demands’. I have re-read that muscular, surprising sentence many times, just for the pleasure of its language. I had talked with Lisa in Toronto already, but there was still a lot to talk about. The next two interviews were stimulating, too, with class raised again in each conversation (as well as the subject of reflective surfaces, amongst other intriguing topics raised by Walter Chaw of

Class is a subject which comes up repeatedly by implication because of the cleaning women in the film, but the specific word ‘class’ is often avoided, as if class structure does not really exist, or the terminology is somehow outdated. I get endless pleasure from being able to celebrate the intelligence and wit of working people and cleaners in particular in this story. And I take a certain pleasure, also, in the surprise in people’s faces when I tell them my first paid employment was as a domestic cleaner and my second as a kitchen worker. Ah, the fun in dismantling stereotypes.

And of course it is endlessly gratifying to hear the laughter in the cinema as Shirley Henderson, wizard of understated comic timing, gently, quietly, expounds her philosophy of the metaphysics of dirt.

The last interview in Denver, on the way back to the airport, following a quick stop to take a picture of David standing proudly in front of the Mayan, (he works for the Landmark chain of cinemas and is rightly delighted by their buildings and their screening policies) was with Reggie McDaniel for his popular programme at KOA Radio. I had been told of his legendary outfits and today’s did not disappoint: a lemon-yellow suit, blue shirt and blue and yellow tie with a design of Greek statues. He spoke very, very loud and in a musical, singsong voice. To my surprise he said he found my voice to have a singsong cadence. We laughed a lot, and hugged afterwards. His questions brought out a slightly different turn of phrase in me; I found myself waxing lyrical about the secret poet that lurks inside each of us, which seemed to please him. But then he had the skill of seeming pleased by much of what I had to say and so I duly found new words. Lisa had the same effect: her praise, like a good teacher, encouraging me to perform with more panache for her tape-recorder. It is a similar process to working with actors. An expression of delight and respect will encourage wonders. We all need encouragement. We all want to be liked. Even directors answering questions in a basement room in a hotel in sunny Denver.

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Shirley Henderson as The Cleaner

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Reflective surfaces

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Reggie McDaniel of KOA Radio

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