Politics Archive for May, 2010

SIFF Notes: Subtitles

As I was walking out of a SIFF press screening for the film Father of My Children today, this group of four older festival patrons was ahead of me on the escalator (SIFF passholders are allowed to attend the press screenings that run the month before the fest opens). They were discussing the film, which they didn’t care for, and one of them said, “It just had too many little details, especially for a subtitled film!”
And I thought, what a uniquely American attitude … that a film by a French writer/director about French people should, of course, have been created with the needs of American audiences to not be overwhelmed in mind.
Still thinking about what to say about this film with the less-than-200 or so words with which I’m allowed to say them (crap, did those words count? Make that 176 words). One of the things about SIFF is that by the time many of the better films wend their way here, they’ve been acquired for distribution (yay!), which unfortunately for reviewing press means they are on the “hold review” list and can’t be fully reviewed until the film actually opens (awwww!).
I’ll say this teensy bit for now, since both films I saw today — Father of My Children and Soul Kitchen — are hold review films: I liked both of them quite a bit, though they are very different films emotionally and tonally. Interesting combination of cinematic flavor to see them on the same day; the combination would have been even more interesting if we’d been able to see the other film, The Oath (which won the cinematography award at Sundance). Unfortunately, that film had a subtitle problem (specfically, it was not in English and was lacking them), so everyone cleared out and went to lunch instead.
Damn subtitles.


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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