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Ray Pride

By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

The Reeler talks Last Winter (and Hostel) with Larry Fessenden

fessenden_365.jpg“As someone who makes strong horror films with unmistakably thematic interests, how do you react to directors like Eli Roth,” queries S. T. Van Airesdale over at The Reeler “and others who retroactively attempt to defend their own work with such metaphorical or thematic values?” Larry Fessenden, whose latest is the global-warming horror, shot in Iceland Last WInter, following his equally snowy Wendigo, replies, “It’s funny you ask. I just watched Hostel for the first time; I didn’t enjoy or find the merits of Cabin Fever, so I had somewhat written Eli off. I know he’s always whining in the press, defending his movies, so I thought I should see Hostel. In fact, I was asked to write something about my movie versus torture porn. I watched it and I didn’t find it offensive the way I thought I would. I thought I would find it contemptible. Sure, it’s homophobic in the sense that he’s got some issues, but it’s not like he’s not aware that he’s not dealing with that sort of thing. The sexual politics and the hatred of Americans was interesting enough, and the torture did not seem extraneous. It was obviously the point of the movie, and it was scary and doled out pretty tastefully considering the whole thing is repugnant. I think some of the later Saw movies are truly perverse, and a lot of the remakes have no agenda whatsoever. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, because some people hate The Last Winter, of course, and you get into this thing where it becomes hard to discuss. My movies have themes; I present them without shame. I’m a sincere filmmaker, and fuck it if you can’t take that. As for Eli, he does protest too much. I do find him unappealing as a public figure, but he’s making his money, so whatever. He can always say that, and he always does, and I also find that tiresome. The worst pieces of shit make money; it’s hardly an excuse. It hardly represents how well he’s doing. But I couldn’t completely dismiss Hostel.”

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

“Because of my relative candor on Twitter regarding why I quit my day job, my DMs have overflowed with similar stories from colleagues around the globe. These peeks behind the curtains of film festivals, venues, distributors and funding bodies weren’t pretty. Certain dismal patterns recurred (and resonated): Boards who don’t engage with or even understand their organization’s artistic mission and are insensitive to the diverse neighborhood in which their organization’s venue is located; incompetent founders and/or presidents who create only obstacles, never solutions; unduly empowered, Trumpian bean counters who chip away at the taste and experiences that make organizations’ cultural offerings special; expensive PR teams that don’t bring to the table a bare-minimum familiarity with the rich subcultural art form they’re half-heartedly peddling as “product”; nonprofit arts organizations for whom art now ranks as a distant-second goal behind profit.”
~ Eric Allen Hatch