"He wants to see the actor's mind in a shot." Actress Tabu said this about Ang Lee who has directed her in 'Life of Pi'.
It was so beautifully put, but what does it really mean? Is the actor's mind reflecting the character or her/himself? Or, is one superimposed on the other?
Can one see a thought? If so, then the actor contemplating the motives and behaviour of the character would be methodical rather than spontaneous. Is thought not instinct?
You might suggest that premeditated thought cannot be instinctual. But, is there no lapse between thought and action?
Say, we play several roles in life; some we 'perform' because we are directed to - by precedent, norms, or for specific reasons. Is our failure to do so adequately a failure of thought or of action?
Think about some disabilities where the mind is hampered by lack of motor movement. These are unfortunate natural or accident-induced circumstances. However, even those of us who are not so restricted find that we cannot always act out our thoughts. Our thoughts are dependent as much on the manner in which they are received as on how they are conveyed. So, do they remain our thoughts anymore?
If the other person could see our 'mind in the shot', going by Ang Lee's expectation, then would we necessarily be understood? How often do we tear our hair in frustration that what we seek to convey has either been misinterpreted or whooshed past without even a moment of being acknowledged?
Can you read my thoughts? Routine question. But are you reading your own thoughts while trying to decipher another's?
Recently, someone sent a message in response to a call I made. It said, "I wanted to thank the thought." Was my act removed from my thought? Or, does the thought hold greater validity? Had I not acted upon the thought, would a person know? Can there be more than one thought for our actions and many ways to act based on one thought?
If you can see a mind, then you are probably seeing not just what is but what might have been and can be. Mind or minds?
Image: Still from 'Life of Pi'