By this time I knew that the scene I wanted to film was about hypnosis, and that my sidekick character would fall under a spell that would color the rest of the film. So that was a relief. I let Sam take over the small talk and I started shooting. It was hard for me to grasp that I’d finally arrived here. We had to get back on the road in an hour, and I was too busy firing shots off. At some point I got roped back into conversation with the kids. They were smart and they both wanted to leave Croatia. Those are unrelated thoughts. They talked about the lack of good jobs or good education. The english speaker, Petar, wanted to go to school in Finland. During the conversation his younger sister and her friend rolled up to the spomenik. They didn’t speak any English but seemed excited to listen to us bark in our mongrel tongue. At some point they decided to cook some corn for us. Foreign teenagers cooking for us at this hallowed place! I was high on Croatia. The girls left to get supplies. I kept trying to get Sam back in front of the monument so I could film him. We got a few more shots off and then decided to just camp there overnight. Petar lead us past a cornfield and through the woods to an old cemetery where his grandfather was buried. He opened up about his family, the village, and the roving wild pigs that try to knock people over so they can eat them. When it started to get dark he told us we had to leave the cemetery because of this exact concern. Back at the spomenik, the girls had brought us bottles of water. Petar’s friend was trying to light a fire directly on the ground of the parking lot. He got it going enough to partially cook the corn. Some couple had driven by and left a watermelon because we couldn’t just eat semicooked corn without some watermelon too. I couldn’t wipe away the idiotic grin on my face. It was a dream. We relaxed all evening with them. They left in the dark and we set up our tents. Our first summer camping since the castle in England, at my own personal holy site, watched over by that incredible winged eye. In the darkness we sat outside, listening to the village. The crickets and bullfrogs were loud. Someone below us was jamming some loud metal music. Thumbs up to that, unless it was neo-nazi music, in which case thumbs down. A few gunshots were fired nearby, because why not. We were definitely in the country. I was trying to absorb all these sounds and determine how safe this village was for a couple of rich foreigners. It was like camping in the rural South without speaking any English. My idyllic view of this place was getting smacked around by reality. It wasn’t too late, so we walked down to the lake. We skirted around it to the town’s motel, where a pathway lead out to a gazebo in the middle of the lake. We stood in the gazebo, lit up with odd orange and green lights, and I obviously had to film a scene. It was such a creepy environment, like some Croatian Twin Peaks. And just to complete the mood, we saw some dark figure shuffling towards us just as I was turning on the camera. He turned out to be the night guard or caretaker of the motel. This guy had definitely been in the shit before. His face looked vaguely scarred. He walked up to us and stood there silently, his piercing eyes just watching us. Sam said it was time to go, and I agreed. The guy got close, maybe a foot away from me, just staring. I backed away from him towards the motel. He followed us as we walked. I kept hoping this wasn’t going to turn into a horror film. Back by the motel, we decided to keep following the laker around to the main gate. The man followed us as we walked. I couldn’t tell if
he was missing a few parts or slightly war-crazed but his presence wasnâ€™t very soothing. And he wouldnâ€™t say anything! We got closer to the gate and the few times I looked over my shoulder he was still following behind us. We reached the main road and he stopped at the gate. After a few moments he turned and trudged back towards the motel. Sam said he seemed like a nice old man.
Published on Feb 18, 2014