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Drama

David Cho Speaks Straight to the Yearning Heart in ‘Where We Are’

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If you can’t be with the one you love, love the one you’re with, may be a solid piece of practical advance, but anyone who’s felt the heart rending pull of romantic love knows that some past relationships just stick with you no matter how happy you should be with the present. In an all too brief, but elegantly observed 85 seconds, LA filmmaker David Cho crafts a beautiful separated conversation of longing that speaks straight to the heart. We asked David to guide us through the yearning.

The themes of separation, distance, and memory were constantly in my mind when I decided to start on this piece. In its initial conception, the images that came to my mind were the shot of the woman sleeping in the back of the convertible and the shot of the two people on the rooftop pool. I feel that those two images set the tone for the rest of the writing. For the story, I imagined a conversation between two people on opposite sides of the world while they remember previous events. I have been interested in blending what characters see in their minds’ eye with reality and the present. It’s something that our minds do so seamlessly and we can fall into daydream without even realizing it.

The filming was two days. The second day was filmed around a month later because we were filming around cast and crew schedules. I am glad that we managed to get the same camera crew for both days. It was astonishing for me to see how well an experienced camera team moved around so seamlessly, achieving perfect focus even when shooting with a lens wide open and with so much improvised camera movement.

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My favorite shots in the hotel room were improvised by the actors and most of cinematographer Yusuke Sato’s camera movements and angles were improvised as well. I asked him to film the actors like he was their close friend and to capture the events like intimate snapshots. The camera used was Alexa and the lenses were Cooke S4s. I love the way that the out-of-focus areas bend and distort but don’t breathe much when you rack focus on these lenses. We didn’t use any movie lights—just some fabric and clips. We shot 360 degrees and with a very free moving camera so most of the time I was ducking and dodging and just trying not to get in the frame.

Because I wasn’t using a director’s monitor, a lot of the shots were pleasantly discovered when I pulled up the footage at home after the shoot. Things look quite different when comparing what you see in real life to what is captured on the sensor at 24 frames per second. I have a much more critical eye when viewing things with the naked eye but the movie camera makes even simple things like a scarf being thrown seem elegant. I didn’t even notice that a scarf was even thrown until I saw the shot while scanning through footage.

Author: MarBelle

MarBelle has a strange compulsion to watch as many films as he can get his hands on and find jobs that give him a legitimate excuse to drill filmmakers about their work. Directors Notes is the latest incarnation of this disorder and so much cheaper than film school. Twitter: @MarBelle

Discussion

2 comments for “David Cho Speaks Straight to the Yearning Heart in ‘Where We Are’”

  1. I don’t understand why this article exists. Simply put, this movie was just not very good. Derivative, uninspired, low production value. It was just a bunch of popular visual tropes, cobbled together into a video too short to be much of anything. Just my two cents.

    Posted by John | April 19, 2014, 12:09 am
  2. I disagree. I thought that David did a great job of building a full and heartfelt relationship – all the more impressive given the brief running time. There were feelings in Where We Are that I could certainly track to moments in my own romantic life.

    But, as such a personal art form, one person’s hit is likely to be another’s miss – which is a long way of my saying, please feel free to share any films you think are worth of our time. We’re always happy to see more.

    Posted by MarBelle | April 21, 2014, 9:38 pm

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