An Article Written by the Director
My name is Paul Hibbard and along with being a film critic for years for ZekeFilm, I am also a film director. I made a film called Tuesday Night and Wednesday Morning which is starting its festival run and plays at the St. Louis Showcase film festival this Saturday at 7 pm at Brown Hall inside of Washington University. Along with myself, ZekeFilm co-founder Jim Tudor worked on the film as Production Designer, and I have worked with other ZekeFilm writers on films in the past, including Lydia Hardy, who is an actor.
I love film and wanted to write a piece talking about my influences that I put into my movie. The whole genesis of Tuesday Night and Wednesday Morning was to make a film that was self-critical of what I was doing wrong in life. I made the character of Jonathan worse than I ever was, but film can play in extremes, and like a lot of writers, you can only see yourself when you put it down on paper and read it as an objective being.
But I wanted to use film as my prism into telling my story, both as the medium but also using influences from movies I love to make it come true. The biggest influence, which would be obvious to anyone who sees it, is the Before trilogy (Before Sunrise, Before Sunset, Before Midnight). This trilogy is one of the greatest of all time, and considering it’s mostly talking, it would make sense that it would be a huge influence to young filmmakers. You constantly see independent films pop up that are influenced by it, but often times with a different angle (Before series with African-Americans, Medicine for Melancholy; Before trilogy with a future President, Southside with You)
As for titling the movie, I’m awful at titles. I usually do song titles or a riff on titles from other films. In this case, I harkened back to the 1960 English working class film Saturday Night and Sunday Morning. A movie I love, but is largely forgotten. The only part of that film that has really lived on is a quote that became the name of the first album from the English band The Arctic Monkeys. “Whatever People Say I Am, I’m Not.”
In Tuesday Night and Wednesday Morning, the characters Jonathan and Jenna just meet after being dumped. I liked the idea of starting my film in a very contrived, Hollywood opening and then the rest of the film, making it go into reality. As a film-lover my whole life, I tend to see things as being a movie. I like the idea that life, in the third act, will bring me what’s right and just. If I’m hurt, then that person is the problem and something better will come along soon, because life is fair. A new girl, more made for me, whether I can see it or not, will immediately pop up. But that isn’t life and people aren’t characters in your movie. Sometimes you are hurt for reasons that are no one’s fault. Or sometimes, believe it or not, the fault is yours. And if you keep going forward not taking responsibility, then history will repeat itself.
From there, the story of Jonathan and Jenna begins. Two heart-broken lovers who find each other, immediately after being “unfairly” hurt, and they talk about life, love, politics, religion and music. There is a heavy-handedness to the directing that is intentional, as I wanted myself the director to speak to the audience as much as the characters do. There’s an old saying in writing classes to “show, don’t tell.” Which is true, though overly repeated. But that is usually translated as “don’t have the characters talk, just have them do stuff.” But what if they still talk as much, but what they’re saying isn’t what is being told? I liked that concept, so I used more cinematic tricks like a black and white to color fade that comes and goes in a direct line of communication to the audience. Moment with title cards popping on screen to gunshots (which is directly taken from Jean-Luc Godard).
One of my favorite scenes in the film takes place in a movie theater. I have a bad habit of just viewing film as good or bad. Quality, not content. So, if a film is great, then it’s great for any situation. I have a bad habit, that is joked upon amongst friends, of taking first dates to the WORST movies. I once took one to see Lars Von Trier’s Antichrist. I took one to Michael Haneke’s White Ribbon. I took a date to Blue Valentine. Horrible first date movies. One of my favorite all-time scenes from any movie is from Taxi Driver. Travis Bickle is insane. He has a misconception about life that is played out in the movie. But it is really pointed at in an early scene when he takes a date to a porno house. In his mind, that is normal. But to her (and the audience) it is creepy and really tells you something is off about this guy. That’s what I love about Scorsese. He can go big and cinematic when he needs to, but there are always little things like that in his films that give you the willies in a subtler way.
Side note: in the theater, the scripts says we’re watching Cannibal Holocaust. We’re technically not because I couldn’t get the rights, but just know, that’s what we’re SUPPOSED to be watching.
Ultimately, whether I achieved it or not, I wanted to make a movie you can talk about. About if the characters are good or bad. If they are selfish or unselfish. And do they deserve the pain that life is throwing at them. One of my favorite lines in a film ever is from Ingmar Bergman’s Wild Strawberries. I repeat it in Tuesday Night and Wednesday Morning but it’s also just the theme of my film. The character says “There is no morality. There is no right or wrong. Everyone just acts in accordance to their needs.”
I think I used to believe that. But when I got older, I realized that isn’t correct. There is a right and wrong and a good and bad. And writing this script and making this movie helped me realize that. Thank you for reading.
Washington University. Brown Hall. Saturday, July 14th. 7pm