This is a first film shot in 1954. It began as one sort of film and ended up something quite different. I had bought a camera, a Kodak Cine-Special. It was used, but so shiny in its velvet lined case it seemed brand new, with lenses, and a tripod. It cost $300 and although it was hand-wound, it was such a beauty that I fell in love with it on the spot. The next day I got some war surplus film of uncertain origin on Canal Street and took Stacy, my two-year-old, to the Central Park Zoo.
I had contrived a scenario in which she ran mindlessly by cages of various animals paying them no heed while they, subject to edited inserts, would appear as excited Stacy observers. I had not fully mastered the tripod and suddenly in the middle of a jerky pan from a drinking fountain the entire tripod is sent flying and never reappears. In fact it has yet to be replaced. Stacy, bored with animals sets out to explore some noises she hears and ends up discovering a merry-go-round. When I finally catch up and help get her up on one of those huge horses for the first time, I see the look on her face, and I know. There’s the film. I should be watching not directing. The unplanned seems to me more interesting always, or at least more possible than the planned. That’s really the film I’ve been trying to make ever since.
D A Pennebaker
- A film by D A Pennebaker 1954, 6 min., b&w