Fellini’s Dream Journals

May 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Advertisements

Orson Welles Gets Metaphysical Wearing a Hat

May 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

This is what happens when Hollywood tries to break a man down. He rises from the figurative ashes in all-black, shrouded by his cape, and stands by a church to philosophize about beauty and posterity.

Somewhere Billy Faulkner is watching this scene, blubbering in his whiskey.

“Because you make so little impression, you see. You get born and you try this and you don’t know why only you keep on trying it and you are born at the same time with a lot of other people, all mixed up with them, like trying to, having to, move your arms and legs with strings only the same strings are hitched to all the other arms and legs and the others all trying and they don’t know why either except that the strings are all in one another’s way like five or six people all trying to make a rug on the same loom only each one wants to weave his on pattern into the rug; and it can’t matter, you know that, or the Ones that set up the loom would have arranged things a little better, and yet it must matter because you keep on trying or having to keep on trying and then all of a sudden it’s over and all you have left is a block of stone with scratches on it provided there was someone to remember to have the marble scratched and set up or had time to…And so maybe if you could go to someone, the stranger the better, and give them something–a scrap of paper–something, anything…it would be at least a scratch, something, something that might make a mark on something that was once for the reason that it can die someday.”

–Absalom, Absalom!

Werner Herzog on Fields of Wheat

May 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Don’t you hear? Don’t you hear the dreadful voice that screams from the whole horizon, and that man usually calls silence?

Truffaut:

One of the first shots from your film The Engima of Kaspar Hauser depicts a field of wheat blowing in the wind. It seems an unusually mundane image to begin a film with, and yet it is so striking. What do you attribute this to?

Herzog:

It’s important to note that Kaspar Hauser spent his entire childhood in isolation, locked up in a cell, with no conception of many of the everyday objects we take for granted, with no knowledge of human history or language or beauty. So for Kaspar, seeing the field of wheat would create a moment of unspeakable awe, quite literally.

We wanted to replicate the feeling of seeing something for the first time, to make it much more alive. The winds helped, it gave the stalks of wheat movement like a violent storm at sea. There was the idea that these fields of wheat are believed to be figments of Kaspar’s unconscious, of his dreams, since he’d never seen them before.

Truffaut:

And you were confident, and in my opinion correct in your confidence, that simply the wind and the music would have this effect on the wheat?

Herzog:

No, in fact I was convinced that the shot would only be successful if a herd of elephants could be seen trudging through the field in the distance.

Truffaut:

Elephants?

Herzog:

Yes, elephants. While there certainly wouldn’t have been elephants wandering through the outskirts of Nuremberg, I thought about the objects that would be most striking to see for the first time. And for me, elephants are the most preposterous creatures in this world. Their trunks are disgusting wrinkled parasites with the head of a pig snout. Their tusks are like Turkish sabers carved from  the harshest quartz. Luckily, our budget forced us to seek out a simpler solution. I fear the absurdity of the elephants would have drawn too much attention away from the other images.

Letter to a Soapbox Son-of-a-Bitch

May 3, 2011 § Leave a comment


I’m sending back your letter to Jean-Pierre. I read it and I find it disgusting. It’s because of that letter that I think the moment has come to tell you, in detail, how, according to me, you act like a shit. I don’t give a damn what you think of Day for Night. But what I do find pathetic on your part is that, even now, you go to films like that when you know very well in advance they don’t match your idea of cinema or your idea of life. It’s my turn to call you a liar. At the beginning of Tout va bien, there’s this line: “To make a film, you need stars.” That’s a lie. Everybody knows about how you insisted on having Jane Fonda – who refused – while your financers told you to pick anybody. Your couple of stars, you got them Clouzot style. Since they work with me, they can work for one tenth of their salary for you, etc. Karmitz, Bernard Paul need stars. You don’t. So that was a lie. You’ve always had it, this way of posing as a victim, like Cayatte, like Boisset, like Michel Drach, a victim of Pompidou, of Marcellin, of censorship, of distributors who cut films, while in fact you get by very well doing exactly what you want, when you want, the way you want, and above all, keeping this your image as a pure tough guy, that you want to keep , even if at the expense of people who can’t defend themselves. When I saw Vent d’Est and the sequence “how to make a Molotov cocktail”, the only feeling I had for you was contempt. And a year later you shied away when we asked you to distribute La Cause du peuple in the street with Jean-Paul Sartre. The idea that men are equal is just theory for you. You don’t feel it. You just want to play a role and it has to be a big role. I think the real militants are like cleaning ladies: it’s not pleasant work, it’s daily, it’s necessary. But you, you’re like Ursula Andress, a four minute cameo, time for the flashbulbs, a few striking quips, and, poof, you disappear, back to the lucrative mystery. Shitty behavior! Really shitty behavior! For a while after May 68, nobody knew what you were doing. Rumors spread: he’s working in a factory; he’s formed a group, etc., then one Saturday we hear, it’s announced, that you are going to speak on RTL. I stayed in the office so I could hear you. It was one way of finding out, getting news about you. Your voice was trembling; it seemed full of emotion. You announced that you were going to shoot a film, The death of my Brother, about a black worker who was sick and whom they let die in the basement of a television factory, and listening, and inspire of the quiver in your voice, I knew first, that the story was probably not precisely true, or that you had tarted it up, and, two, that you would never make the film. And I said to myself: if this dead guy had a family, then they are going to live with the hope that the film is going to be made? There’s no role in the film for Yves Montand or Jane Fonda. But for fifteen minutes you gave the impression that you were “doing good”, like (Prime Minister) Messmer when he announces that the voting age is being lowered to 19. Fake! Dandy! Show off! You’ve always been a show off and a fake, like when you sent a telegram to de Gaulle for his prostate. Fake, when you accused Chauvet of being corrupt because he was the last, the only one to resist you! Fake when you practice the amalgam, when you treat Renoir and Verneuil as the same, as equivalent; fake when you say you are going to show the truth about the movies, who works for no pay, etc. If you want to talk about it, okay…

(This letter was written by Truffaut himself, a response to Godard’s attacks on his work.)

Tim Burton on Rainbow Goth Shit

May 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

Truffaut:

Your latest film, Alice in Wonderland, seems very visually oriented, even more so than your earlier films. Was this intentional?

Burton:

It was pretty intentional. You see, at this point, I’d say I’m most concerned about branding. If a character seems a bit nuanced, I’ll be sure to flatten it out so that it can fit into a plastic box and be marketed as an action figure. Will this sell to teenagers who wear “You laugh at me because I’m different, I laugh at you because you’re all the same” t-shirts? What’s the ideal ratio of Johnny Depp to white face paint for getting alternative preteens horny?

These are the kinds of questions that plagued my mind once I got the treatment. Great visuals make for great tchotchkes.

Truffaut:

It’s ironic that you chose to adapt Alice in Wonderland for the screen, considering that your movies now constitute a space that leaves me wondering why I’m there.

Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life

May 3, 2011 § Leave a comment

In case you haven’t seen the trailer for Terrence Malick’s upcoming new film, Tree of Life. Brace yourselves.

Do you identify more with Mr. Nature or Ms. Grace?? I identify most with pensive Sean Penn. Sean Pennsive, staring out that window, reflecting on his past.

Jean-Luc Godard on Casa Malaparte

May 3, 2011 § Leave a comment


Truffaut:

At the end of Contempt (Le Mépris), Camille tells her husband, Paul, that she doesn’t love him anymore, that she’s changed her mind about him. Do you believe this happens because he eschews his idealism about art, truth, and beauty in order to pay the rent for the flat? Or is it a response to his love for her seeming too passive?

Godard:

She finds him despicable because he is passive to his own nature, or what she conceives it to be. She believes he is a novelist, he is a playwright. To her, the cinema represents something contemptible, something steeped in money at the cost of truth. And when he allows her to ride in the convertible with Jeremy [Prokosch], it’s not just a denial of his devotion, but a denial of his own convictions..

The film is about the impossibility of remaining true to the nature of the self. Look at the setting in the final scenes. You have the natural beauty of Capri, the azure glow of the Mediterranean. Yet, the viewer cannot take their eyes off the Casa Malaparte, this beautiful seaside villa that is the embodiment of materialist wealth. How can Jack be expected to deny this? A man living in capitalist society can never be true to his own nature. He must descend down the steps to talk to Camille, only to tell him at the bottom that he is “not a real man.” She then jumps naked into the sea. She wants him to be that sea

Personally though, I believe Jack is, at the root of it all, a pure right-wing materialist, who collects women and glamour like playthings to feed his power. The way most men working in French cinema today are.


Truffaut:

So in a sense, you wrote Jack as an autobiographical character.

Godard:

What does that even mean? Are you calling me a fraud?

Truffaut:

You said that every man is–

Godard:

Yes, in one way or another, every film I make is autobiographical. Some of them seek to convey truths from my own experience, others borne from my perceptions of others in my life. This film, I’m afraid, is an example of the latter, Jack being the archetype of the insincere young filmmaker of the French New Wave. The movement is full of frauds. Their first films are honest, they are still guided by their passion for the cinema. But they get a glimpse of fame and their art becomes a means of acquiring more and more and more. They are all frauds.

Truffaut:

Are you implicating me?

Godard:

Yes, François. Your films will become nothing but reels collecting dust in the closet of some fetid old maid, lying there unused with amongst the decades-old couture sewn on the backs of the working poor. They are everything of fashion, nothing of essence. You are a bourgeois infant.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Uncategorized category at Truffaux//Errbody.