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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

In the mudroom: Todd Field on Little Children

There’s more than enough misunderstanding to go around ine arly reviews of Todd Field‘s ambitious second feature, Little Children. The writer-director articulates to Filmmaker’s Scott Macaulay, but does not explain: “It’s the basic rule of illusion. It’s like in the magicians’ union: If you sign into the Society of lc_crossing235.jpgAmerican Magicians or the International Brotherhood of Magicians, there are two rules. You work on something, and when you finally show it, you don’t do it again right away. And the second [rule] is that you don’t explain it. It’s the same thing with storytelling… Why would you go to all that trouble to do something that hopefully people are going to engage in enough to have a conversation about, and then get up and say, “What I really meant was…” Or, “Oh, and by the way, the characters you’ve been caught up in for two hours, they’re really actors, and here they are! … That’s why cinema is great. It’s a very democratic process, and it’s open to everyone. Why do we sit and watch Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s films that have no reflection of our culture at all? We’re not from Istanbul, yet we’re so profoundly moved. That’s why film, I think, is the closest form of expression to music. It doesn’t require that someone [be of] a particular background or gender or race or age.” Of adapting Tom Perotta’s novel, Field says, “What interested me about the book were its characters, its themes and, almost in an allegorical way, its sense of paranoia [and how that connected with] the state our country is in right now. Probably the only thing that made me take pause was the fact that it was set in this bedroom community and that it might be accused of being a send-up of suburbia, because I don’t believe that that’s what the story is. I think that would be a lazy way to perceive it.” [More at the link.]

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“Film festivals, for those who don’t know, are not exactly the glitzy red carpet affairs you see on TV. Those do happen, but they’re a tiny part of the festival. The main part of any film festival are the thousands of people with festival passes hanging on lanyards beneath their anoraks, carrying brochures for movies you have never and will never hear of, desperately scrabbling to sell whatever movie it is to buyers from all over the world. Every hotel bar, every cafe, every restaurant is filled to the brim with these people, talking loudly about non-existent deals. The Brits are the worst because most of the British film industry, with a few honourable exceptions, are scam artists and chancers who move around from company to company failing to get anything good made and trying to cast Danny Dyer in anything that moves. I’m seeing guys here who I first met twenty years ago and who are still wearing the same clothes, doing the same job (albeit for a different company) and spinning the same line of bullshit about how THIS movie has Al Pacino or Meryl Streep or George Clooney attached and, whilst that last one didn’t work out, THIS ONE is going to be HUGE. As the day goes on, they start drinking and it all gets ugly and, well, that’s why I’m the guy walking through the Tiergarten with a camera taking pictures of frozen lakes and pretending this isn’t happening.

“Berlin is cool, though and I’ve been lucky to be doing meetings with some people who want to actually get things done. We’ll see what comes of it.”
~ Julian Simpson 

“The difference between poetry and prose, and why if you’re not acculturated to poetry, you might resist it: that page is frightening. Why is it not filled? The two categories of people who don’t feel that way are children and prisoners. So many prison poets; they see that gap and experience it differently. I’m for the gap!”
~ Poet Eileen Myles