Reel World

Caveh Zahedi, who is making a video diary of his life, thinks even driving to the bank can be art

I Am a Camera Back in 1999, Caveh Zahedi took the idea of a video diary to extremes: He filmed one minute of his life every day for a year. Now, I'd go square-dancing with Laura Bush before I'd reveal my intimate thoughts and relationships on camera, but Zahedi has made a career of exposing his neurotic self in deadpan cult faves like I Don't Hate Las Vegas Anymore. "I'm performing my life for the camera and for myself," the famously skinny Inner Richmond filmmaker explains, "and I'm trying to elide the distinction between life and art. Usually there's a separation: When you're making art, you're being creative, but when you're driving to the bank, that's not art. I think it can be art."

Zahedi had only been living with his girlfriend for a year when he began the daily filming of what was to become In the Bathtub of the World. "It definitely can cause tension in your relationship," he concedes. "If me and Mandy were having a fight and I took out the camera to film her crying, that would make her even more angry at me. At a certain point she wanted me to stop filming her when she was upset, and we fought about this quite a bit."

Before you dismiss Zahedi as a self-obsessed tyrant, know that he invites the audience to laugh at his "character." "I don't try to make myself look good," he points out. "If it was narcissistic, it would be about how great I am. It tries to be an honest portrait." To that end, the film includes several scenes of recreational drug use. Naturally, Zahedi will attend the local premiere of In the Bathtub of the World on Friday, Oct. 5, at 8 p.m. at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts; call 978-ARTS for info. You can also catch him in a lengthy improvised cameo in Richard Linklater's Waking Life, opening here Oct. 26.

Ball of Fire Mimi Brody, who assisted Golden Gate Awards director Brian Gordon for several years before succeeding him last spring, is staying on to head the GGAs, the S.F. International Film Festival's juried competition. That's great news for local filmmakers, who are well represented in the documentary and shorts categories every year. For the record, Brody is officially part of the festival's "programming team" (Reel World, Sept. 26) along with Carl Spence, Linda Blackaby, Roger Garcia, and Roxanne Messina Captor.

When the Cat's Away Lunafest, a program of six shorts benefiting the Bay Area-based Breast Cancer Fund, starts a seven-city tour at Mills College in Oakland on Thursday, Oct. 4. Go to www.lunabar.com for details. ... Tom Powers has exited after six years as editor of Release Print, the Film Arts Foundation's monthly magazine. ... The reigning poet laureate of American experimental film, Stan Brakhage, will be in residency at the Pacific Film Archive in mid-November. On top of the PFA's plans (stay tuned), the S.F. Cinematheque intends to show three Brakhage programs. ... Micha Peled's Store Wars: When Wal-Mart Comes to Town is one of the nominees for the prestigious 2001 International Documentary Association/Pare Lorentz Award. ... I belatedly submit that the most egregious product placement in the entire joyless parade of summer movies was the grotesque use of a vintage Coke bottle as a blood donation vial in Pearl Harbor. You do remember Pearl Harbor, don't you?

 
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