(A)Plaudit for Polanski & Desplat @ 9th Film Music Festival (Poland)

(A)Plaudit for Polanski & Desplat @ 9th Film Music Festival (Poland)

(A)Plaudit for Polanski & Desplat @ 9th Film Music Festival (Poland)

Applause is among the purest and most intuitive forms of non-verbal communication. Known to mankind since time immemorial, it can express a puzzlingly diverse range of emotions and attitudes, stretching far beyond the simple act of putting one’s hands together and making noise.
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At the simplest of dichotomies, ovations can be loud or quiet. And yes, you might feel tempted to think that it is exactly where diversity ends. Well, not really. On the ‘loud’ part of the spectum they can be rapturous, intense, fast or slow, evenly-paced or spontaneously chaotic, to mention but a few distinctions. Clapping can also be further enriched by a happy category of sounds, reminiscent of the good old when-we-lived-on-trees era. On the ‘quiet’ end of the spectrum, on the other hand, ovations can be as little as a courtesy reaction – part of an event’s etiquette or a ritual, like after a speech or a performance (even a mediocre one, at best); or an informative, friendly gesture, e.g. when an audience is telling its Master of Ceremonies that a microphone is not working properly.

Beyond the most obvious understanding, there is also the entire non-verbal part of it, which incorporates, quite possibly, by far the most important ingredient of all - the context. How important? Suffice it to say that it is context alone that can put the same, single ovation into all possible shades of meaning, stretching all the way between sarcasm and genuine appreciation. Last but not least, just by looking at someone clapping their hands, a lot can be said (and inferred), based merely on the HOW part of it. History knows so many examples where clapping meant, well, so much more than the surface of it.

  

The long and short of it

I remember the breaks between classes at school very vividly. Most of them were as short as 5 minutes, and yet, we felt we were the best of evolution’s time managers at the time. So much happened during those breaks, so many positive memories come from those short spells of youthful freedom, conveniently squeezed between sciences and humanities. During that time, we somehow managed to eat, talk to colleagues, roam around the school building, both in- and outdoors, feeling, quite naturally, that our entire school lives revolved predominantly around those joyful spells of heavy school-corridor traffic. Five minutes. As one grows older, five minutes is next to nothing…unless the context of how you spend it comes anywhere near what happened at the end of this concert (this is how long nearly two thousand people stood clapping their hands continuously, in appreciation of this year's #ilovefmf artists on stage, during Scoring4Polanski).

 

Feel like watching 4 minutes of continuous ovation? At your service!

Again, one might think that applause, in isolation, is certainly not reason enough to turn it into a blog post, let alone the first blog post on a new blog. But then, if you know anything about the life of Roman Polański, his childhood, the drama of his early adolescent life, the tragedy of his early adult life, the ironies of his legal status, stretching across the decades of his incredible artistic achievement…when you look at his friend, Alexandre Desplat, standing right there on stage, next to him, when you listen to the rapturous, unyielding 5-minute applause going beyond the controversies of politics surrounding the famously notorious and notoriously famous director, you will certainly realize that those 5 minutes are so much more than just people clapping hands for lack of having anything better to do before they leave the building. It is in fact the audience communicating with the director at the most intimate and sophisticated of levels, without a single word spoken. A true testimony to artistic achievement and a wonderful expression of solidarity with the artist and with the man – that in a country which has long forgotten what the word means.

And so, years from now, when I think back about the conversation I had with Roman Polański and Alexandre Desplat on that day, while moderating a press briefing before Scoring4Polanski, I will certainly remember it as one of the most memorable moments of my life...for so many reasons.

FMF2016 - press briefing (Scoring4Polański), www.wandzelphoto.com

Photo (courtesy of): www.wandzelphoto.com & Kraków Festival Office

 

UPDATE (14 June 2016): Scoring4Polanski


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