I am not talking specifically about lo-fi filmmaking – with enough conviction you can shoot on anything – truly poetic cinema transcends its medium.
For me, the idea of ‘film poetry’ is intrinsically bound up with authenticity; contrived, conceited and overtly self-aware films will struggle to communicate with the same depth and pull (one constantly being reminded they are watching A Film). Authenticity is humbling, engaging (effective as any scriptwriting formula) and altogether human.
Eschewing tackier modes of delivering a narrative in favour of creating something truly personal is difficult – can feel downright punitive (certainly if you’re as doubtful of yourself as I am when working creatively); easy to become disenchanted early on. Over-analysis is the enemy of free-rolling thought – I find it most effective to Stop Thinking So Hard (especially during the early stages of an idea). We have more preconceptions than we realise.
I ran my first filmmaking workshop last month and assaulted my audience with a deluge of instruction for some time before realising I was making the same mistake I’ve made for many years in writing and shooting films – doing can be writing, writing leads to doing-to-writing-and-on. This doesn’t (necessarily) mean shooting. It means submerging oneself utterly in the experience of the film during its creation – being honest to it. ‘Knowing your film’.
If you know your film, you’ll make your film, because you’ll be very aware of any development towards your film that isn’t your film. A purity of vision, I guess… perhaps this is film poetry?