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David Poland

By David Poland poland@moviecitynews.com

Reeler Pinch Hitter: Lauren Wissot on Roman Polanski's Foot Fetish

[Note: Reeler editor S.T. VanAirsdale is taking the week off, but the blog is in the good hands of trusted friends and colleagues; click here for other entries in the series. Lauren Wissot is the author of Under My Master’s Wings; visit her MySpace site here.]
“What’s up with the feet?” my fellow cinephile friend Roxanne and I wondered.
It had gotten to the point where they could no longer be ignored: Roman Polanski’s feet. No, not the director’s own two feet, but shot upon shot of those attached to names like Deneuve and Farrow, Mastroianni and Kingsley. Some of the greatest ankles and arches ever to grace the screen appear in loving close up or wary long shot in every film in this master’s oevure. It became a game with us: spot the foot shot. We could hardly wait for The Pianist to be released just for a possible glimpse of Adrien Brody’s bunions.
But that’s when it morphed into more than a sport; it became the concept for our very own short film. “Maybe if we recorded all the foot shots,” we thought, “and lined them up frame after frame, a hidden message would appear from the director-in-exile telling us what it all meant.” Eschewing gratuitous sex for gratuitous feet, we found Polanski engaging in no shortage of predictable camera ogling. Could innocent Mia Farrow ever have imagined that removing her shoes and stockings in Rosemary’s Baby would become a voyeur’s striptease? (And what would Frank have said?) What about Sigourney Weaver tucked away in the background of Death and the Maiden, her pretty feet distractingly propped up on a table nonetheless? And Emmanuelle Seigner receiving that foot massage on a park bench in Bitter Moon–come on! How did the MPAA miss that scene of public indecency?
To his credit, however, Polanski performs his most intriguing filmmaking with the gentlemen. Take for example:
–Marcello Mastroianni crushing a ping-pong ball with his foot in Che? (or Diary of Forbidden Dreams);
–Lionel Stander for allowing his feet to be set on fire in Cul-de-Sac;
–Peter Coyote for grabbing a dog’s foot while enjoying a blowjob in Bitter Moon.
Anyway, The Foot (or Un Piede di Roman Polanski) is an experimental meditation that Roxanne and I have been pursuing on-and-off for several years. Because neither of us have ongoing access to equipment, it’s been mostly off. So now we’re putting the call out to any editors interested in helping us to finally achieve our foot fetish dream. We still must collect a few stray toes from The Pianist, Oliver Twist and from the Criterion Collection DVD of Polanski shorts, sync up our Vicious Pink score and voila! Feet!
Interested in putting your best foot forward? Contact Lauren Wissot at laurenvile@yahoo.com or Roxanne Kapitsa at pinkbox@aol.com.

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“The thought is interrupted by an odd interlude. We are speaking in the side room of Casita, a swish and fairly busy Italian bistro in Aoyama – a district of Tokyo usually so replete with celebrities that they spark minimal fuss. Kojima’s fame, however, exceeds normal limits and adoring staff have worked out who their guest is. He stops mid-sentence and points up towards the speakers, delighted. The soft jazz that had been playing discreetly across the restaurant’s dark, hardwood interior has suddenly been replaced with the theme music from some of Kojima’s hit games. Harry Gregson-Williams’ music is sublime in its context but ‘Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots’ is not, Kojima acknowledges, terribly restauranty. He pauses, adjusting a pair of large, blue-framed glasses of his own design, and returns to the way in which games have not only influenced films, but have also changed the way in which people watch them. “There are stories being told [in cinema] that my generation may find surprising but which the gamer generation doesn’t find weird at all,” he says.
~ Hideo Kojima

“They’re still talking about the ‘cathedral of cinema,’ the ‘communal experience,’ blah blah. The experiences I’ve had recently in the theatre have not been good. There’s commercials, noise, cellphones. I was watching Colette at the Varsity, and halfway through red flashes came up at the bottom of the frame. A woman came out and said, ‘We’re going to have to reboot, so take fifteen minutes and come back.’ Then they rebooted it from the beginning, and she had to ask the audience to tell her how far to go. You tell me, is that a great experience? I generally don’t watch movies in a cinema at all. Netflix is the future. It’s the present. But the whole paradigm of a series, binge-watching, it’s quite different. My first reaction is that it’s more novelistic, because if you have an eight-hour season, you can get into complex, intricate things. You can let it breathe and the audience expectations are such that they will let you, where before they wouldn’t have the patience. I think only the surface has been touched with experimenting with that.”
~ David Cronenberg