Movie City Indie Archive for November, 2010

Hollywood Bride Has Everything

Doubtful Lukas Moodysson

After scant U. S. theatrical exposure, Lukas Moodysson’s Mammoth is opening in the U. K. and Ireland. Moodysson’s given several interviews, and they’re as loving (and doubtful) about the entire notion of filmmaking as he has been since his luminous, tactile first feature, Show Me Love (Fucking Åmål). Bergman called him a young master, but Bergman is gone and now Moodysson is 41. From the Irish Times, talking to Tara Brady, talking about his willful shift to darker and more experimental work until this feature: “Yes, it probably was conscious to speak in a different way. In one way it’s a bit double-edged. Speaking in a narrative still is in some ways more difficult. I find it easier to speak in a more chaotic way. I find that easier in a chaotic world sometimes. It can be a struggle to communicate through narrative.” He concludes, “It’s getting more difficult to make films. In the past I just made something. Now I feel I have a bigger burden in myself. It doesn’t feel I am getting better at the craft. In some ways I feel I have a bigger ability to improvise when younger. It’s getting really difficult to direct. It’s getting hard to say something quickly when somebody on set asks ‘black trousers or blue trousers?’ This has something to do with age. It’s getting harder to react. You have to be in a room with the actors and you have to react to all these small decisions… I feel like I am getting smarter in my head as I get older. But I am also getting slower in my head. More and more I just want to go home and think about the blue trousers or the black trousers.” From Little White Lies, with Jason Woodward: “Confusion and curiosity. My entire career is built on confusion and curiosity. We all share a basic instinct in trying to understand the world around us, and for me that comes from being totally confused by the world and in turn being fascinated by how we, as human beings, live together and ultimately how we exploit each other. I mean that’s the negative thing; that I’m confused, and then the positive reaction to that is curiosity, which is much more of a constant force.” He tells Dazed and Confused that Mammoth was inspired by a harsh, classic Marianne Faithfull song. “It started more with an idea that I wanted to make a film in different languages rather than only English. I thought about that Marianne Faithful song ‘Broken English’, I thought that broken English should be the language of this film.” He notes one audience he observed: “For me at least when I have spent a day or two talking to journalists the way they reacted to the film told me a lot about who they were. They were really some interesting days…” And, from The Guardian, Jason Solomons‘ podcast that includes an interview with the director. [Trailer below.]
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The New Yorker Loves TINY FURNITURE’s Lena Dunham A Little More

While Rebecca Mead’s five-page “Onward and Upwards with the Arts” on Tiny Furniture director Lena Dunham is available online only to subscribers, a “Dept. Of Amplification” with three embedded shorts just got added. Of her untitled HBO pilot, co-produced by Judd Apatow (“‘My friend says it should be called the “Entitled Lena Dunham Project,”‘ Dunham jokes.”), she describes its ensemble story of three women in their twenties who have moved to New York City, “It’s not, like, the ‘move to New York and have an unreasonably large apartment on an unreasonably cute street’ version, but, like, hopefully feels real without feeling like a Mike Leigh movie.” Later, she reflects, “I’ll always have a fat attitude. I’ll always have a chubby attitude.”

All Things Considered…

Still on the mend…

Who is Nina Sayers?

The first thing I asked myself about the black #10 envelope with the too-neat white-ink writing and a Beverly Hills P.O. box return address. It was obviously light as a feather… or, correctly, as light as two feathers. Hmmm. Oh!

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Six Flags Katrina

Photographer Teddy Smith got permission to take a video tour of the abandoned Six Flags New Orleans.

Mmmm, Deep-Fried Turkey! IIIIIIIYYY!

Try this in the neighbor’s garage.

James Ellroy: “Ancient Mariner Of L.A. Noir”

An admiring review of James Ellroy’s “The Hilliker Curse” in the Times Literary Supplement by Elaine Showalter offers this: “For five decades of his life, he has fantasized about redheads, intellectuals, Jewish women, musicians (especially cellists), women named Joan and women with daughters. His long second marriage, to the novelist Helen Knode, seemed to satisfy his needs for acceptance and partnership, but finally tilted him into a breakdown in which he became convinced that he had a variety of cancers… He suffered from insomnia and fits of sobbing, and became addicted to sleeping pills. As he ruefully sums it up, “I was frayed, fraught, french-fried, and frazzled”. Now divorced, he is in a happy relationship with another writer, Erika Schickel… But the more powerful subtext of the book describes Ellroy’s lifelong quest to become a serious writer… Ellroy has evolved into a highly disciplined, dedicated, single-minded, and productive novelist, and constructed one of the most confident and aggressive American literary personae in the business.” But Ellroy (and Showalter) prompt a gem in the comments, unlike the expected puzzling typing under articles in the British press, a darling of a doozy from… Erika Schickel: “I have not responded to any of the press surrounding my partner, James Ellroy’s latest memoir “The Hilliker Curse,” but I feel compelled to having reading your cogent assessment, Ms. Showalter. As a book critic, author and feminist myself, I appreciated your closing paragraph: “I would recommend it highly as a marketing guidebook for aspiring women writers who struggle with diffidence, modesty and self-deprecation. Ellroy’s Curse could be a self-effacing woman writer’s bible.”  While your review focuses on Ellroy’s gift for self-promotion, you have touched on one of the merits that has brought me to love this complex man so dearly – his feminism. Before THC published, we hoped that it would be read more widely by women, and reviewed by more women than men. Not only because it is a work of deep romantic and emotional honesty, but because he so nakedly grants women power… While much of his public persona is indeed a “confident and aggressive” act, the act protects the truest thing about him: his vulnerable, sweet and brave heart. I am not in love with “The Demon Dog,” but I endure his public persona in order to be with this dear, private man. James Ellroy will always be, at bottom, a boy whose mother was raped and murdered — a boy who received no subsequent counseling, little education indifferent parenting, and a boy who turned to a dead German composer (Beethoven) as a role model when others failed to emerge. That this boy is even alive today, writing, loving, and searching for his own artistic and emotional truth, is a testament to his bravery and strength of spirit. Ellroy’s strident persona, obsessive nature and compulsive heterosexuality make him seem predatory, but in fact, he is a true and tender champion of women.” Both sections are worth reading in full. Must go wipe eyes now.

William Shatner Sings Cee-Lo’s H*t

Brian Eno Has His Way With The Rare Glib Interviewer

As weevil twins go… Stream Eno’s “Small Craft On A Milk Sea.”


OK, THAT’S A Movie Poster

An Hour Of Divine And John Waters With R. Couri Hay

Mmmm, VHS SLP!


Movie City Indie

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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