ACTING DEPENDS ON THE DIRECTOR

In any work it is necessary to identify correctly the main knot in
the whole string and undo it first by a concentrated effort, which
will make it easier to unravel the other knots and push ahead with
the whole work successfully. This is also true of the creative work
of the film director.

Having completed his literary discussion with the writer, the
director has many things to do with the cameramen, art designers,
composers, actors and all the other members of the creative team.
However, the director cannot do all this work simultaneously, still
less can he do it without taking priority into account. He must take
the main knot and concentrate his efforts on undoing it in order to
step up his creative work as a whole. This is the only way to
succeed.

Working with the actors is the main link in the director's
creative activities.

The actor is the real creator of a human character. He stands at
the centre of the cinematic interpretation. The director can only
show human character as set out in the script, as a live character on
the screen, through the actor. It is the actor who creates a true
portrayal of a character which moves the audience.

The director attaches the greatest importance to the actor's
efforts and, at the same time, directs the creative work of all the
artists towards a single task of portrayal. Taking control of the
actor's creative work is the only way in which the director can
promote the whole work of creation and raise cinematic
representation to a high level. That is why experienced directors
always give priority to choosing the actors and guiding their acting
and concentrate on this.

Choosing those who are suited to the personality of the
characters is the starting point in working with actors. Even if the
character depicted in the script is distinct and the actor has acting
ability and the director gives him meticulous guidance, a successful
portrayal can hardly be expected if it is not possible to choose an
actor who is suited to the character.

It is true that actors should be prepared to portray any character
at any time, but since every one of them has different creative
individuality, he may be well-suited to one character but not to
another. The more similar the actor is to the character he is playing,
the faster and more easily their unity is achieved. If this is not the
case, no amount of effort and enthusiasm will suffice in order to
play the part successfully.

And yet, there is no necessity to try hard to find a "suitable
actor." The actor who fits a part 1 00 per cent is one in a hundred or a
thousand or even more. In the final analysis, a director who searches
for a "suitable actor" is taking a chance in creative work. No
director who relies on luck in creative work has ever achieved
success.

Choosing an actor suited to a part means finding one who has
ideological and artistic qualities and the physical characteristics to
play the part. Therefore, the director must not create a character to
suit the actor, but choose the actor who fits the part.

When portraying a character, the actor always starts from within
himself, but the selection of the actor should always be based on the
character. This is a realistic way to give life to the personality of the
character and enhance the ideological and artistic quality of a
production.

When choosing an actor, the director must have a deep
understanding of every side of the personality of the character and
then examine the actors against its personality and not against its
external appearance. An actor may resemble the character he is to
play, but if he is spiritually and morally inferior to the character,
then he cannot play the role. An actor may not look exactly right for
the part, but if he has the ideological and artistic ability to show the
character's spiritual and moral qualities, there is no need to worry
too much. Makeup can help to alter the appearance of the actor to
look like the character.

In order to choose a suitable actor, it is necessary to study and
understand the personality of the actor comprehensively and deeply,
while at the same time correctly understanding his political and
ideological life and artistic qualities. As his political and ideological
preparedness and artistic qualities are reflected in his creative
activities and daily life, the director should study all the actor's
creative activities and also examine the social, political, cultural and
moral aspects of his life closely and regularly.

In understanding an actor, the director must not be captivated by
a couple of skills he possesses and overlook more important aspects.
The actor must be ideologically well prepared before acquiring
skills. Therefore, he should know the actor's artistic qualities well
on the basis of a deep understanding of his ideological
preparedness. Through his overall study of the actor's creative
activities and the social, political, cultural and moral aspects of his
life, the director can understand his ideological preparedness, his
views on life and the arts, his creative individuality, his merits and
faults in acting and comprehend all his qualities.

When the director has learnt everything about an actor from
every angle through his daily life and creative activities, he can
picture the face of the right actor while he is studying the
personality of a character in the script, and he can decide how to
work creatively with him.

When selecting an actor, the director should not merely consider
a few well-known actors, but should consider many others; he must
pay particular attention to new actors. Only then can he make a
better choice of suitable actors, create fresh and diverse portrayals
and also gain more experience in his guidance of acting.

The director must be particularly careful not to use actors who
have been trained by others but should boldly have faith in new
actors and train them himself. One of the basic tasks of the director
is that of finding and training a large number of new actors.

Choosing suitable actors is only the beginning of the director's
work with actors. Even when he has chosen a good actor, he cannot
avoid failure if that actor cannot represent the personality of the
character truthfully. The director should choose good actors, but he
must work harder to guide them in their creative work.

The portrayal of a person on the screen begins and ends with the
actor, but acting depends largely upon the director. However
talented and experienced he is, an actor can scarcely achieve
success if the director does not give him proper guidance in his
acting. On the other hand, even new actors, achieve good results if
they are given meticulous guidance.

It is the director alone who guides the actors and judges whether
they are portraying the parts they are to play properly. Just as a man
looks into the mirror when making himself presentable, so the actor
can correctly judge how he is acting and can improve his skill with
the help of the director. The actor creates his portrayal of a person
independently but without the director, he cannot complete the task.
In the theatre the player's acting is always reflected by the
immediate response of the audience, but in films, the player's acting
is only perfected through the efforts of the director. Therefore, the
director has to give the actor responsible and meticulous guidance
from shooting and throughout the following stages, until his best
performance has been captured on film.

The director must, above all, give the actor the stimulus he needs
to create the character. The actor needs a practical drive which will
push and lead him forward in creation. The road which he must
travel with the character he is to portray is not a smooth one. The
action in one scene is a link in the character's long course of life,
and it reflects his present as well as his past life and gives an insight
into his future life. If the actor is to identify with the character and
attain his creative goal, he must have powerful motivation in his
portrayal.

If an actor wants powerful motivation to play his part, he must
fully understand the seed of the production and explore the life of
the character in depth. Whatever role the actor is going to play, the
goal of his acting and the specific task of the action only become
clear and convincing when the seed of the production and the life of
the character are completely understood.

Since the seed which exists in the characters' lives is revealed
through their activities, the director must teach the actors both the
seed of the production and the personality of the characters, and
must make them understand fully what parts their characters play in
revealing the seed. He must not try to convince the actors of the seed
of the production only theoretically just because the seed is the
ideological kernel of life. As the director himself has been
convinced of this through his own experience and responded to it
ideologically, so actors must be made to understand the seed and
accept it in their hearts as a seed of real life.

The director must make the actors understand and accept the
content of the production before ensuring that they are perfectly in
harmony with the characters, so that they can give a convincing
performance.

If the actor does not completely accept the ideas and emotions of
the character as his own, he may possibly imitate the words and
actions, but he cannot create a real person who is true to life. This
living person can only be created when the actor is completely as
one with the character, that is only when he lives and behaves as the
character would do.

The main way of integrating the actor and the character in the
performance is for the actor to have a deep and extensive
understanding of the latter as well as real experience of his life and
on this basis, speak and act and live like the person he is to portray.

The director must guide all the actors to enter into the world of
the production and obtain a precise understanding of the personality
of the characters, and should ensure that they respond warmly to the
characters' ideas and emotions and accept them as their own and
that they bring life to their personalities in a unique way through
their own individuality. In addition, the director must ensure that the
actors believe in the characters' lives as their own and move
naturally as the characters would do.

Response to and belief in the characters' lives emerge only
when actors enter the state of feeling as the characters would.
Therefore, the director should know how to lead actors into this
state naturally through experience. He must not, under any
circumstances, force them into feeling as the characters would.
While skilfully persuading the actors to enter the world of the
characters of their own accord, the director has to make them
believe in the situation and the atmosphere. Then, the actors can
make themselves part of the action taking place on the screen and
speak and act like the people they are playing.

In order to fuse the actor and the character into an integrated
portrayal, it is important to maintain the consistency of the player's
acting throughout the film. He may act very well in certain scenes,
but if his acting is not consistent, then the person he is creating
would eventually fail to live as a character moving according to his
own ideas and convictions and become a capricious personality.

Unlike the stage actor who takes part in each scene in sequence
according to the plot, the film actor has to act in bits and pieces, out
of sequence because of the complexities of film-making. Under
these circumstances, it is not easy for the film actor to ensure
consistency and uniformity in his acting. This is only possible in the
cinema when acting is effectively guided in each scene by the
director, who plans the general orientation of character portrayal,
the goal of the acting in each scene and the actors' assignments as a
whole.

Acting must be guided in an enlightened manner. This is a
method of guidance for acting, to maintain the development of the
independence and creativity of the actor so as to enable him to
portray characters by himself. It is based on the idea that the master
of character portrayal is the actor himself and no one else.

This method is only effective when exacting demands are made
on the actor and he is patiently helped to identify the heart of the
matter.

The director must not meddle in matters which the actor should
do himself or try to teach him more than necessary, just because the
actor has to be taught and helped to make progress. If the director
tries to teach the actor everything, it will bind him hand and foot
and, consequently, suppress the independence and creativity of the
actor as a creative artist .

This method does not allow the director to interfere un-
necessarily in the course of guidance of acting or to leave
everything to the actor, without making strong demands on him.

Fundamentally, directing means guiding the actors' per-
formance. If the director is going to do this properly, he should set
them high objectives and lead them to solve problems of portrayal
correctly.

The important thing in teaching the actor is that the director
leads him to have a high degree of political awareness as an artistic
creator. The director has to guide the actor in such a way that he
will increase his sense of responsibility and initiative throughout
the creative activity, deeply conscious of the mission assigned him
by the Party and the revolution.

In the guidance of acting, the enlightened method can achieve
better results when it is done expressively on the basis of specific
instances from real life.

The actor's creative work to understand and represent the
personality of the character is a process of exploring his life and
giving expression to the features of his personality. Therefore, the
director cannot inspire the actor's ideas and emotions solely by
logical interpretation, and cannot guide him to represent the
character in a natural way. In the guidance of acting, the director
should always explain life expressively. Then, the actor can
promptly picture the life of tile character and depict it on the screen
as it is and play his role in this life accurately.

A good film can be produced by a director who works well with
the actors, beginning from their selection to his guidance of them in
acting.

THE CINEMA AND DIRECTING
KIM JONG-il, ├ęditions Pyongyang, 1987

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