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David Poland

By David Poland

Das Vaknifeya

In Eastern Promises, Cronenberg takes on Knight

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11 Responses to “Das Vaknifeya”

  1. Chicago48 says:

    I want to see Eastern Promises, if I can find it in Chicago. I think it’s at 2 theatres in Chicago and one in Evanston. Just gotta find time to see it. But looking at the boxo, it dropped 50% and I”m thinking — there was another good movie out there “Talk to Me” and it got lost and never resurfaced….and I’m thinking maybe Eastern Promises will be the Talk to Me – not enough theatres or not enough interest in the material, which to me Talk to me was a really good movie.
    It just disappeared and don’t know what happened; does anybody know what happened?

  2. anghus says:

    i can’t figure it out. i figured with a history of violence being enjoyed by critics and mainstream film fans, their next collaboration would build on that 30 million.
    I think it has to be the material. History of Violence is about middle america. Maybe that contributed to the appeal where a story of Russian Mobsters doesn’t really appeal to everyone.

  3. Joe Leydon says:

    Or…. maybe a lot of folks who saw History of Violence didn’t like the movie, and passed on what they thought might be a second helping?

  4. anghus says:

    that’s true too. though i thought History of violence was well received.
    perhaps that is false.

  5. Joe Leydon says:

    Hey, I liked it, and I know it got some great reviews (and some Oscar nom love). But… How many of the people who bought tickets actually liked what they got for their money?
    I think we tend to overlook the possibility that some financially successful movies — including some big hits — really aren’t enjoyed by huge percentages of the people who see them. Judging from the reader mail I got after my review of it, I’d put The Blair Witch Project in that category.
    I wish I could remember the exact wording of the quote, but years ago Jean-Luc Godard said something to the effect of, “Whenever an artistically accomplished film is also a box-office hit, it’s because of a mistake.” That is, it is a hit because audiences think the film is something other than what it really is, and may be very disappointed when they discover their “mistake.”

  6. jeffmcm says:

    I understand that the New Line people were a little disappointed at the movie they got with A History of Violence – they thought they had a sure-fire commercial hit and instead it turned out to be an art movie.

  7. jeffmcm says:

    The real reason why AHOV would do better than EP, though, is marketing. AHOV had a simple, memorable hook (is this family guy a mobster?) and EP is about…uh, something to do with Russian mobsters and the girl from King Kong gets involved somehow.

  8. I’m gonna be skipping Eastern Promises. I was a fan of A History of Violence, but I wasn’t blown away by it and this one just doesn’t seem as interesting to me. Although I was a big fan of Stephen Knight’s Dirty Pretty Things (also dealing with foreign subcultures in London) but I’m more a fan of Ejiofor than I am of Mortensen.

  9. Ju-osh says:

    I’m not sure of the synapse connections in Kamikaze’s thought process, but I’ve actually thought the exact same things:
    1.”I was a fan of A History of Violence, but I wasn’t blown away by it.”
    2.”I was a big fan of Stephen Knight’s Dirty Pretty Things.”
    3.”I’m more a fan of Ejiofor than I am of Mortensen.”
    I just never thought them all at same time.
    Until now, that is.

  10. Off topic (but there’s no recent BYOB) BUT…
    I read that link on the MCN homepage, about those piracy websites and I checked them out. They’re pretty sweet. But I was literally dying of laughter when I clicked on THE KINGDOM.
    It’s a really crappy camcordered version of the film and that’s just lame. But the kicker is, the guy who filmed it has the entire side of his buddies face in the movie. It looks like Mystery Science Theater or something. I only watched about a minute of it, but c’mon….if you’re going to break the law, be a little more sneaky.

  11. Ju-osh, I was saying that while I liked Knight’s Dirty Pretty Things (directed by Stephen Frears, who I like more than David Cronenberg) I wasn’t a big fan of A History of Violence nor am I a big fan of Viggo Mortensen either. I’m interested by Knight’s ideas but, from what I’ve heard, Eastern Promises isn’t even as good as A History of Violence so I’ll probably skip it.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon