“Let me try and be as direct as I possibly can with you on this. There was no relationship to repair. I didn’t intend for Harvey to buy and release The Immigrant – I thought it was a terrible idea. And I didn’t think he would want the film, and I didn’t think he would like the film. He bought the film without me knowing! He bought it from the equity people who raised the money for me in the States. And I told them it was a terrible idea, but I had no say over the matter. So they sold it to him without my say-so, and with me thinking it was a terrible idea. I was completely correct, but I couldn’t do anything about it. It was not my preference, it was not my choice, I did not want that to happen, I have no relationship with Harvey. So, it’s not like I repaired some relationship, then he screwed me again, and I’m an idiot for trusting him twice! Like I say, you try to distance yourself as much as possible from the immediate response to a movie. With The Immigrant I had final cut. So he knew he couldn’t make me change it. But he applied all the pressure he could, including shelving the film.”
~ James Gray
Movie City Indie Archive for February, 2007
Three movies today, four tomorrow: for now, two portraits. Mira Nair after talking about The Namesake and Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck after The Lives of Others.
Charles Burnett’s little-seen masterpiece will soon be playing around the country. Here’s a glimpse.
Proposition screenwriter, murder balladeer and all-round mustache man Nick Cave talks new projects with Bernard Zuel at Sydney Morning Herald upon the release of a new album by a four-piece group drawn from his Bad Seeds that he’s calling Grinderman. “The 49-year-old father of four is in a well-fitted brown pinstripe suit with a blue patterned shirt, thin legs stretched out and ending in little black boots… [A]s ever he is dressed somewhere between stylish and sharp. That preternaturally black hair is long, swept back off the high forehead in a flourish, though you can see a bald patch at the crown… [A]musement twitches at the corners of his mouth. Well, what you can see of his mouth under an extravagant moustache. Grown for a film role but retained when he saw how much it offended some people, the mo is part bushranger, part ’70s porn star. It looks somehow appropriate on the man who [wrote] the starkly brutal Australian western The Proposition. And he has described one of the film scripts he’s working on now as a “British sex romp” called Death of a Ladies’ Man. Its central character is a sex-addicted man who sells beauty products in Brighton, near Cave’s home… “Well, I’m nearly 50 and I’m not doing anything that I don’t enjoy any more… just don’t involve myself in anything that doesn’t look like I am going to enjoy it from the start. I guess the days of deep despair and anxiety in the studio are behind me. And it’s been like that for a while, actually. It’s not to say that I’m not without that in the writing process or when I’m on my own in the office and have to write songs. But pretty much we have an unspoken agreement that you don’t bring your shit into the studio…. A lot of what I write these days I’m writing to entertain myself, and it’s not that they’re not serious songs any more, but there is a lightness to them I’m really pleased about.”
Older but new to me: A trailer recasting The Fast and the Furious as an Indie® coming-out picture, with Ben Gibbard crooning a Postal Service tune? (I am finally seeing why I was the one worth leaving.) That would be Robert Ryang, the New York editor who created Shining Redux. [More Ryang-arounds here.]
Transcribing and writing up interviews from Park City to be finally done with all of that in anticipation of the next three festivals to come, I keep thinking of the lonely sound of the empty swimming pool in the condo at Sundance when I would wait for the elevator. The smell of chlorine and a sound, a gently sucking sound.
The Departed was one of a pair of Oscar-nommed scripts that studios made officially available for download; the other is Picturehouse’s Pan’s Labyrinth. Both are PDF downloads; from WB, here’s the Oscar-winning stylings of Mr. William Monahan.
Norwegian-born Montrealer Torill Kove, winner of the best short animation Oscar for The Danish Poet talks hand-drawn animation with the Globe & Mail. “I thought maybe if I was half my age, I would be tempted to uproot and try to live out here. But I’m rooted in Montreal . . . and I’m happy to continue what I do there, although my husband and I did discuss very briefly today the idea of coming here for his next sabbatical. But you never know,” she said… The Danish Poet traces a complicated story told as simply as possible about chance encounters in Norway and Denmark leading to love… Given the film’s comparatively simple animation and yet complex plot (all narrated by the Norwegian actress Liv Ullmann), could Kove’s win be viewed just as much as a reaction against the busy computer-generated animation in some of the other nominated films? “The [other] films nominated for the Oscar were not necessarily representative of what is going on in the international animation community, because there is quite a lot of handmade animation going on… It’s starting to look to me like there’s room for everybody. Of course when any of these big studios are going to put out a film, it’s going to have high production values, and in all likelihood computer-animated. But I don’t think it’s indicative of any trend. Handmade animation is alive and well.” [Excerpt here.]
As reported by the Oscar pool, here’s the last question for Mr. Scorsese upon his Oscar win. “I would like to ask you your opinion about the provision of the results of second world war in Estonia I mean the intent of the Parliament to pass a bill to remove the monuments to liberate a soldier?” I’m sorry, I don’t think I’m qualified to answer that. Sorry. I don’t think I’m qualified to answer that. I wish I was. “Thank you. And congratulations.”
Junket Whore director Debbie Melnyk and Rick Caine are SxSW preeming a dissection of the work on Michael Moore, called Manufacturing Dissent. John Anderson reports for NYTimes. “What he’s done for documentaries is amazing,” said Ms. Melnyk, 48, a native of Toronto and a freelance TV producer, who even now expounds on the good he says Mr. Moore has done. “People go to see documentaries now and, as documentary makers, we’re grateful.” But according to Mr. Caine, 46, an Ohio-born journalist and cameraman, the freewheeling persona cultivated by Mr. Moore [was] not quite what they encountered when they decided to examine his work. “As investigative documentarists we always thought we could look at anything we wanted… But when we turned the cameras on one of the leading figures in our own industry, the people we wanted to talk to were like: ‘What are you doing? Why are you throwing stones at the parade leader?’ ” Ms. Melnyk added, “We were very lonely.” [More at the link about the couple’s allegations about Moore’s methods.]
The Observer’s Craig McLean takes the measure of “the biggest Brit in Hollywood” and apparently it’s not Sacha Baron Cohen. “I’m a film producer. How do you define a film producer? Wow… my job is to find screenplays, books, articles, and develop those into shooting scripts. Hire the actors, the director – sometimes even finance the movies,” Graham King says. “He’s involved all the way through overseeing the day-to-day running of the shoot of the film, overseeing the post-production, the release of the movie, the marketing campaigns, trailers. ‘And trying to get the talent to do publicity, which is never easy. So really my job is, from start to finish – everything.’ … Scorsese says that King is different from other producers, insofar as his presence during filming is less about keeping a fidgety, money man’s eye on budgets and schedules. ‘I find him a comforting figure on the set,’ says the director. ‘Unlike some people in the past, who were alarming.'” [Much more at the link, including this promise: “‘I would love to make a movie that Marty would star in. He’s been in movies, and he did the voice in Shark Tale. But I think he’s just a personality all of his own. When you travel with him he gets so much recognition everywhere he goes. He’s bigger than the movie stars sometimes!’]
What constitutes a memorable acceptance speech? Sacha Baron Cohen offers pointers with a verbal one-armed push-up, from the Golden Globes.
O’er at ScreenGrab, Bilge Ebiri trawls for Harry Knowles’ liveblogging the Oscars: : “Shadow Oscar is fucking Creepy! …I want an iPhone …Will Ferrell – A Comedian at the Oscars… heh… THIS FUCKING RULES!!! LOL — I’m gonna beat you down with my Nick award. Heh. John C Reilly from the audience… The Quadraplegic Hamlet Teacher starring Will Ferrell would be the funniest fucking film ever. This is the sort of musical number that I wanted!!! … And the Oscar Goes To: MARIE ANTOINETTE. Oh I love this winner – very nervous – very cute. She’s married to the owner of the Kuato belly!!! … And THE WINNER IS…. PAN’S LABYRINTH — Mexican Flags in the Audience!!!! THat’s awesome!!! … PIZZA ARRIVES!! What a great moment” [This pizza is from Fricano’s.]
James Wolcott‘s drowsy Oscar live-blogging proffers a few fine, feathered jabs: “Jackie Earle Haley looks as if he’s about to star in the Alistair Crowley story and Peter O’Toole’s outfit looks as if it has hidden magic compartments, but otherwise everybody’s perfect in every facet of perfection… If there’s a dominant style in movies today (there isn’t, but let’s pretend there is), it’s jagged-edged, impressionistic realism with a smoke trail of the apocalyptic, as best seen in Children of Man, Babel, and that documentary from Iraq that lost out to An Inconvenient Truth. It’s the present as a futuristic glimpse of life as a free-fire zone where all of the formal structures have broken down and the only way to survive is to keep moving. Whereas what this year’s Academy Awards reflect is the willful believe that hope is on the way, the worst can be averted, and that—oh, maybe I’ll finish that thought tomorrow, if I can reconnect the dots.”
Cellist, commercials maker and documentary guy Errol Morris‘ 4:42 Oscar prelude as he farts around with myriad nominees from behind the camera as they’re against a white seamless is up at the Academy’s site. Pictured: Morris making a mute moment with Thin Blue Line composer Philip Glass. (The short is preceded by a 30-second commercial for a car.)
Steven Soderbergh is a double-agent between arthouse and multiplex, argues Ryan Gilbey in the Guardian. The blunt 44-year-old hyphenate had watched The Good German again the night before at the Berlin film festival in front of 2,000 viewers. “I became aware of just how extreme an experiment the film is… We were sitting there watching this … weird … movie. Not weird in a bad way, hopefully. But this strange process occurs as you watch it and go through different layers of feeling. My hope is that halfway through, the aesthetics fall away and you just deal with the narrative… What if Michael Curtiz had the freedoms in 1945 that I have today? If the Hays [C]ode hadn’t existed, what would movies have been like?” Hit and miss, surely, as as Gilbey notes, “[if]f there’s one director on the planet who can take bad notices on the chin, it’s Soderbergh. When it became clear to him that no one [was going tos ee] The Good German, he was straight on the phone to Warner Bros advising the distributor to scrap the planned wide release, repackage the film for the arthouse, and hit the college towns. “I don’t want to spend $15m chasing $2m,” he shrugs.” He’s also “sick” of people talking about how “everything’s great.” “I like to hear about the blood and gristle of the creative process. I hate these fucking interviews where it’s like there’s sunshine shooting out of the director’s mouth. So I try to be very careful about the syntax I employ. I don’t want to suggest, ‘We’ve done an amazing thing here’.” Studio and Indie® are much the same to Soderbergh: “The rules are the same. Wherever you are in the industry, no one will encourage you to do anything other than what you’ve successfully done before.” The important thing? “The important thing is not to panic.”