Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Obsession with Charlie Chaplin...

I got to enter the gates of a supremely special place yesterday, Charlie Chaplin's studio, which is now the Jim Henson company (Muppet Show). First of all, I am haunted by the ghost of Charlie Chaplin. Every year, I become more obsessed with this man's genius and brilliance. Almost every one of his films is a masterpiece. City Lights, Modern Times, The Great Dictator, The Circus... etc. Chaplin Wrote, Directed, Produced, Composed Music, Edited, and of course Acted in almost every one of his films. He was obsessed with his art and has left a legacy that has made him timeless and immortal.

I grew up watching his shorts on TV in Jordan back in the mid 80's. I remember sitting eating zeit u za3tar in the kitchen and watching them on the small TV alone at night and being strangely haunted by the blend of sadness and comedy with the stories of the tramp.

Jump to 20 years later, I wrote my first film, Captain Abu Raed at the Starbucks just across the street from Chaplin Studios on La Brea. This place was built in 1917. And I just finished writing my next script from the same place. I feel like the magic of Chaplin glows over this neighborhood. Sometimes I go walking down the street and wish I could jump back in time to the old Hollywood of the 1920's and 30's. And I always walked just down the street from my apartment past the gates of Chaplin Studios wishing I could just go past the gates to see what it's like inside. But the guards would never allow me in.

Finally yesterday Austin my composer had a trip to visit a recording studio there where he will score a horror film. So we went in, and suddenly standing in his cemented footsteps, I was transported back in time. I was standing in Charlie's studio where he made all his great pictures. Oh what a magical moment that was!

I get so much inspiration from this brilliant genius. If you're not familiar with his films, I highly recommend starting with City Lights. Then you'll be hooked.


Blogger Ray Gun Noey said...

I loved this blog! I am also "haunted strangely" by the beauty and sadness of Charlie's films. He was a gift to the artistic world.

7:14 AM  
Anonymous ArabianMonkey said...

I adore Chaplin, and also remember watching him on TV in the 80s in Amman! I would totally get lost in his streets and alleys and would pretend I'm one of the passersby there or would just hang on the stoop. Magical!

Charlie Chaplin is a great obsession to have ;)

6:37 AM  

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