The Chaplinesque Experience

Recently I had a great acting opportunity. I was asked to work as a protagonist in a short film titled “Cocacola, Cerveza, Agua” (Cocacola, beer, water). Director Lluis Hereu was asked to make this short as a homage to Charlie Chaplin and the movie will be shown at upcoming Charlie Chaplin exhibition, in Girona, Spain.

Paco Moreno (As a policeman) and Me during the shoot

Paco Moreno (As a policeman) and Me during the shoot

However working in this movie turned out to be a great learning experience. For the first time I was doing something where no text was involved. It played an important role in the character-building. Students of Stanislavsky always advocate actions as the prime mover of character building. However here we had no other option but to rely on actions to build the character. It came as a surprise to me, how little attention we pay to our body in general. More we thought about each shot and its aesthetics, more we started paying attention to all the minute movements of our bodies. Co-actor Paco Moreno was a great help. He has already done some popular comic shows and he came up with some wonderful suggestions. There were lots of scenes where we were supposed to run across the beach and at one point I was conscious of even amount of sand that was being unsettled by my steps. I am sure in a normal talkie, I wouldn’t have thought of all this.

I also realized why during silent era most of the actors were directors too,

During one of the Chase sequences

During one of the Chase sequences

especially those who relied heavily on action comedy. In this genre of cinema, it is extremely important for the director to know physical limits of the actor and to use it to the fullest. During this short we all were exploring our limits. Fortunately, the director Lluis was open to new ideas and he allowed us to improvise a bit at some stages and I guess that worked well. But the most important aspect was choreographing fight and chase sequences. I wouldn’t reveal much about them but let me tell you, it was tough, demanding and extremely satisfactory.

This short film gave me a chance to meet some extremely talented artists like Paco Moreno, Lluis Hereu, and Rebla who was assistant director of this short. But above everything else it reinforced the idea in my mind that Charlie Chaplin is the greatest Movie-maker of all times.

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One thought on “The Chaplinesque Experience

  1. I have gone through Chaplins’ autobiography three times looking for the paragraph on creativity, something I first came upon 30 or so years ago. But, I am unable to find it. Can you give me a page reference to Chaplin’s comment in which he tells how exhausting it is to generate new ideas, or something to that effect. Thanks so much. Lee

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