Alsdair Satchel, Co-ordinator of Understanding Cinema (Cinema Cent Ans de Jeunesse in Scotland) showed us an extraordinary film on Thursday night at a seminar in Manchester. 9-year old Bridget, from one of the workshop groups outside Edinburgh, borrowed a school camera and shot 300 Lumiere Minutes at home, at the beach, in the park. When she was dne, she asked if she could compile a bunch of them together to tell a story. The resulting 9 minute piece we all felt was unlike anything we’d seen by a child before: as if we’d come across the film equivalent of an artist prodigy like Picasso or Mozart.
And here’s the thing: I said it reminded me how we all occasionally see or hear or imagine a shot, image, or story, or feel we could capture a moment or feeling that has the heightened sense that art creates; the artist is the person who goes out and captures, shoots, writes down that impulse, then shapes it into a created thing. The first, crucial difference between the artist, and us, is that the artist responds to that impulse, instead of letting it pass. The second difference is that they take what they’ve captured and try (and sometimes fail) to shape into something other than the thing they captured.
Yesterday I was at a concert given by my daughter’s Saturday Music Centre. I was sitting to the right of the orchestra, directly opposite the doors into the hall, and one of the doors was open, with a view out to a staircase – a real depth of field shot. Just as the guitar ensemble piece began, a small child left the hall with her mother and turned and shouted goodbye to everyone, while other musicians came down the stairs and waited their turn. All the music was offscreen. When it finished, the musicians filed out past us, through the doors, up the stairs. The whole thing took a minute, and would have made a beautiful Lumiere Minute. I had my phone ready to film my daughter, and kept thinking this would be a great shot..but I didn’t shoot. I’m not an artist. Bridget, on the other hand, is..