Saturday, June 25, 2011

Conrad Veidt: The Other Reality (a mission statement)

From the Il Cinema Ritrovato catalogue: "When I get a new part, I immediately get my hands on the screenplay and – I am at a loss for another word – infect my whole being with it. Days – yes, many weeks before filming I totally withdraw from public life – I would say – omphaloskeptically, focused only on the process of infecting my soul. And soon I feel with growing intensity and anxiety that the character grows in me, and I transform into him. It does not last long, and people know that – right before filming – I move around differently, even in the civilized world, I talk differently, I see differently, I behave totally different from usual, – the Conrad Veidt in me has slowly become another person, and I have to “represent” him, with my Ego that has transformed and unconsciously changed from within. Possession is the perfect word to describe this state. On the first day of filming I normally do the following: I wander around the sets by myself, I look at them carefully, I allow them to influence me, and I stroll around them until I totally own the space, even with my eyes closed – as if it were my apartment bedroom. When they turn on the lights for filming, I become blind and deaf to reality. I see and hear only that world of dreams, the world of fantasy, and that has to be the other reality. Often all this continues, and sometimes way after the lights have been shut off and the director has turned his shoulders to me, I continue to “act”, until someone, some colleague, wakes me up asking me if I’ve gone crazy..." Conrad Veidt, in Paul Ickes: Conrad Veidt. Berlin, 1927.

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