24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE
Documenting The Event
The filmmakers' next step was to
bring award-winning director of photography Robby Muller on board. "I'd
talked to Robby about a couple of films before, but it hadn't worked
out," says Winterbottom. "I think he's a fantastic cinematographer,
from his early work with Wenders to his recent work with Lars Von Trier. He has
a great eye and I think his work often seems very simple, very direct, yet
somehow he manages to capture exactly the things you want to see on film. So
with this one I was lucky. He was free and he was interested in the story, so he
came over to talk about it. From that point on it was just a question of working
in a way that Robby felt comfortable with."
In his approach to the filming,
Winterbottom was keen to replicate the ethos that had made Factory so unique.
"Part of the original idea was that the script would be quite loose. In a
way, part of the attraction of making a film about Factory is that when you read
about it, it sounds fairly shambolic. Almost the idea of Factory was not to plan
things, not to organize, not to work like a company, but to work as a group of
people who let other people do what they wanted to do. So the idea was that the
film would have the same spirit. That anyone who was working on it would be as
free as possible to do what they wanted to do. The whole thing is a bit of a
shambles, but hopefully in the kind of way that..." — and here Tony
Wilson chips in, "we were!"
"That you were, thank you,"
says Winterbottom. "Loads of great things came out of Factory. I'm sure
the film will be the same — a patchwork of different bits and pieces."
24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE is
shot entirely on digital video. "I've shot films like this before,"
says Winterbottom. "Though Wonderland was on film, the filming style
was the same. I don't think it matters so much about the technology as much as
the relationship between the cameras and the actors."
"When we started talking about the
idea with Robby," Winterbottom continues, "the idea was to mix between
35mm and DV. We looked at Wonder/and (which I'd shot on 16mm), Breaking
the Waves (which Robby shot on 35mm), and then some stuff he shot on DV. In
the end, the practical advantages of DV and the actual aesthetic of the film —
it was surprising how close the DV was to the film."
Muller adds, "The quality of DV is
so forgiving that you can be a bit more lose on lighting, which helped us,
because we didn't have time for lighting and Michael wanted to see 360 degrees
Commenting on the overall style of the
film, Winterbottom says, "The reason we shot the way we did was to allow
the performances as much space as possible and to have a sense of recording
things as they happen, as opposed to composing and organizing them. It's not
to achieve a certain look or style, but to achieve the best content."
Making a film based on the lives of
real people was always going to draw attention, both good and bad, from those
depicted, from idle tales of Shaun Ryder's demands for a Hollywood star to
play him to cameo appearances by some of Manchester's finest. Winterbottom
admits, "We were really nervous at first. It's really difficult when you're
making a movie about real people, with their names attached and events from
their lives. All we've tried to do is to talk to as many people as possible
and tell them we're trying to celebrate what went on. It's not an attack on
anyone and it's not trying to slag<
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