Burning in the red

The solid darkness was closing in today on all levels. It didn’t manage to bring everybody down into the swamp, because luckily, it can successfully be fought off with a burning overdose of sheer lunacy. That is something that has been escalating during this journey since day one. And today, we were drawn even closer to the core.

Of all prolonged shooting days so far, the fifth and “last” (At least in what now is widely well-known as the “filming area”.) proved to be the most difficult and exhausting one. We had more or less dreamed real nightmares around the execution of the “driving scene” in the beginning of the film and had already (With less than noticeable success.) tried to figure out how to shoot it – Especially since none of us (With the exception of Intelligentlight.) actually have a driver’s licence. But this is not the Real World – This is the world of moving images. Under creeping dread, we realized that there is nobody who says that we can’t do it three separate takes. So that’s how we did it. And it sort of worked, even if I had to film and record the sound at the same time. Who needs CGI when you can cheat properly?

This amazing experience was followed by a short lunch break (Where my beverage mysteriously transformed itself from a state of being lovely to becoming stale and virtually undrinkable piss.) with the discussion topics bordering on the criminally insane. (If those had materialized as a “cast and crew”-commentary track on a DVD or something, we’d all be locked up before midnight.) Well, on to the aforementioned difficulties. Of all the millions of square-meters of forest, we just had to pick the wettest, most bug-infested and geologically most awkward spots a few hundred meters away from no man’s land. The thing that made the whole business worse was that we still had to keep up the illusion that it at least still was “early fall” instead of “it’ll snow any bloody day now”. Which meant that we had to avoid filming the millions of brown leaves on the soaked ground. But at least we got some nice “Norwegian Black Metal album cover”-shots of the coniferous forest. The Weather Goddesses were on our side again – No wind and no icy bursts of rain. Just the autumnal Gothlandian paradise. (Oh, yeah.)

One scene took much longer to film than it was intented. We didn’t fall behind the schedule, but it was somewhere around this point I started to feel the “forces” trying to turn the whole thing on its head once again – The very same forces that had driven us out there in the first place all those months ago. It became gradually more and more difficult to set up the scenes and maintain what was left of the so-called focus. And a few times, everybody’s collectively subsiding energy more or less forced the whole process to a halt. (“But freezing temperatures and wet feet ain’t refreshing either.”, says Captain Obvious.) It was clear that we all were getting more and more tired as the hours crept closer and closer to the sunset. And more scenes needed some instantaneous improvising under undeniably fucked up discharges of knuckle-biting insanity. (However, everything must have turned for the better when we saw two beautiful ravens on the light-gray sky, because everybody knows that ravens bring good fortune.) All during the jubilant ride that ends with a frontal collision.

The last scene for today was filmed under not very nice conditions, and it was simultaneously also the most critical one. I more or less held my breath all the time. But judging from the dailies, the actors (And the camera operator.) nailed it like a high-powered nailgun. It looked awesome nevertheless. That very moment said everything.

It hasn’t been said too many times yet, but the appreciation the crew feels towards the actors can neither be expressed nor described. While it certainly was a relief for everybody to wrap things up “over there”, the addiction to the brief and impermanent visits to the parallel world will once more show how unbearable separation angst can be when it surfaces. In the worst moment possible.

by Markus