‘German cult actor Udo Kier has made a distinct mark for himself in the world of cinema with roles in everything from obscure European exploitation films to the most mainstream of Hollywood fare. Though as an actor Kier has made a name for himself by essaying frequently bizarre and sometimes sadistic film roles, the man himself is almost the complete opposite of the characters he portrays onscreen, exuding a flamboyant and personable earthy elegance that stands in stark contrast to his unforgettably cold, vampiric screen presence.
‘Born in October of 1944 in Cologne, Germany, Kier had a chance encounter with an aspiring young filmmaker named Rainer Werner Fassbinder before moving to Britain at the age of 18 to study English and acting. Shortly after Kier’s arrival, director Mike Sarne offered him the role of a gigolo in The Road to St. Tropez (1966), and with that film the young actor made his screen debut. Though Kier would appear in a few films rounding out the 1960s, it was his part in the controversial 1970 film The Mark of the Devil that would truly set his career path in motion. His role as a witch hunter apprentice who meets a gruesome demise horrified audiences, and the film was subsequently banned in many areas of the world.
‘Increasingly prolific in the following years, it was a pair of Paul Morrissey films from the mid-‘70s that would leave an indelible impression on not only European audiences, but American audiences as well. It was while on a flight from Rome to Munich that Kier made the acquaintance of director Morrissey, and shortly thereafter Kier was cast in the role of Baron Frankenstein in Andy Warhol’s Frankenstein (aka Flesh for Frankenstein). Filled to the brim with satirical gore and graphic violence, the notorious film immediately garnered an X-rating though it would become a hit with strong-stomached audiences who could appreciate its dark humor. Released that same year, Andy Warhol’s Dracula (aka Blood for Dracula) once again found Kier relishing in gore-drenched satire.
‘In 1977 Kier would appear before old friend Fassbinder’s lens in the television drama The Stationmaster’s Wife, the first of his many roles in Fassbinder films, and play a small role in Italian horror director Dario Argento’s Suspiria. The remainder of the 1970s as well as the majority of the 1980s, found Kier appearing frequently in European exploitation films with such lurid titles as G.I. Bro (1977) and Prison Camp Girls, Jailed for Love (1982). Though sharp-eyed American audiences could catch glimpses of Kier in such films as Moscow on the Hudson (1984) (in which he appeared uncredited), it was during this period that Kier would work almost exclusively in Europe. Though American audiences didn’t necessarily bear witness to most of Kier’s work in the 1980s, his career continued to flourish overseas and the actor began to develop a strong personal and professional relationship with director Lars von Trier. Following his appearance in von Trier’s Medea (1987), Kier would not only appear in all of the director future films, but also become the godfather of von Trier’s daughter Agnes as well.
‘It was Kier’s role in director Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho (1991) that brought the actor back to stateside audiences, and following his memorable appearance in the film, Kier would appear in such big-budget American films as Johnny Mnemonic (1995), Armageddon (1998), and Blade (also 1998). Despite appearances in such mainstream comedies as Ace Ventura: Pet Detective (1994), Kier would remain true to his European roots by simultaneously appearing in numerous foreign films such as von Trier’s Europa (1991) and the gleefully amoral Terror 2000 (1992). With the millennial turnover bringing Kier more stateside exposure than ever, following a memorable turn in Shadow of the Vampire (2000), the tireless actor would appear in no less than eight films in 2001 alone, including Werner Herzog’s Invincible and the apocalyptic thriller Meggido: The Omega Code 2.
‘His feature career continuing to flourish, Kier could now be considered a full-fledged star, as appearances in numerous commercials and music videos by such popular acts as Korn virtually guaranteed that while he might not necessarily be a household name, his face would be instantly recognizable by virtually anyone. Though he continued to appear in numerous mainstream films, his experimental side could be evidenced by his appearances in films by Guy Maddin, Werner Herzog, and with his participation in director von Trier’s film Dimension. The production of the film would span 30 years, following the actors (without makeup) as they aged. The actors and director got together once a year to shoot a scene. Spending much of his free time in nature, Kier enjoys gardening, enjoying the company of his dog, and working on his home in California.’ — mubi
Udo Kier: The Official Website
Fuck Yeah Udo Kier
Udo Kier interviewed @ The A.V. Club
Udo Kier @ Box Office Data
‘Udo Kier on film, life and being happy’
‘Udo Kier: Space Nazi’
’20 Fun Facts About Teen Heartthrob Udo Kier!!!!’
Udo Kier @ Vimeo
Udo Kier interviewed @ Index Magazine
‘Why Udo Kier Loves Guy Maddin’
‘Udo Kier goes bat-sh*t bonkers’
Udo Kier products @ Amazon
Trailer: ‘ICH – UDO’
Udo Kier on ‘The Mark of the Devil’
Udo Kier vs. a Stormtrooper
Udo Kier does the Sirtaki Dance
from Dazed & Confused
You have an appreciation for both high art and lowbrow. How do you decide what projects you want to do?
Udo Kier: I’m not very career-driven, never was. I met Paul Morrissey on an airplane. I met Fassbinder in a bar when he was 15 and I was 16. Gus van Sant I met at the Berlin film festival, and he came up to me. He had a little film in the festival called Mala Noche that he had made for $20,000. He said: ‘You are one of my favourite actors. I’m doing My Own Private Idaho with River Phoenix and Keanu Reeves. You should be in it!’ Then I started working with Gus. I owe Gus my social security number – he sponsored my US visa! Anyway, I’m very grateful to him. After the premiere of Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, I stayed with a girlfriend in Los Angeles and she said, ‘Why don’t you stay here? Why don’t you get a little car and little apartment for $400 a month and just try it?’ I said, ‘No.’ Of course, after three glasses of red wine, I said, ‘Not a bad idea…’ That was 21 years ago.
Tell me about ‘Sitting On A Bullet’ – the song you perform in My Own Private Idaho while shining a lamp under your face…
UK: I always wanted to make music but I cannot play any instrument. I told Gus about the time I was performing in Moscow at the Olympic stadium and they forgot to give me a microphone. I had three songs and I didn’t know what to do. I was in front of 20,000 people. So, I just performed with the flashlamp under my face. Gus said to me on the day, ‘Why don’t you sing to the boys like you did in Moscow? We cannot use a flashlamp because it’s like Dennis Hopper in The Railroad.’ He said I should use a very big living room lamp instead. I said: ‘I cannot dance with that big lamp!’ But of course, I did.
What was the most fun day of your life?
UK: Fun? Well, I know the day I was born was the most important day, not because my mother gave life to me, but how dramatic the story was. I was one hour old and the nurse was collecting all the babies – the newborns – from their mothers and cleaning them. My mother said: ‘Could I hold him a little bit longer?’ and the nurse said yes. Then the wall of the hospital collapsed over her – the building had been bombed. My mother was lucky because her bed was in a corner, so it was architecturally protected. She held me with one arm and with the other she made a hole in the rubble until they freed her, with me. I was two hours old. That is how I was born.
Indeed, very dramatic. Where did you meet Fassbinder?
UK: In a working-class bar in Cologne. There were truck drivers and secretaries and the first transvestites and people working on the street – a real bar. It was called Bar Leni. But we never talked about film. We were teenagers. Later, when I went to England, I saw a magazine and there was a double page spread about Fassbinder. I said, ‘I know him!’ Then, of course, I worked with him many times.
How did you come to be in Warhol’s Dracula and Frankenstein movies?
UK: I was in an airplane flying from Rome to Munich and there was a man sitting next to me. He said, ‘What do you do?’ and I said, ‘I’m an actor’. I hadn’t even finished the word ‘actor’ and I already had a photo of myself under his nose. He said, ‘Give me your number,’ and wrote my telephone number on the last page of his American passport. He said his name was Paul Morrissey and he worked with Andy Warhol. Then I got a call a couple weeks later and he said, ‘Well, I am doing a little film…’ I asked, ‘What do I play?’ He said, ‘Frankenstein.’
And how did the role in Dracula come up?
UK: The last day of shooting Frankenstein I was in the canteen, dressed as Frankenstein, thinking that everything was over – I’d had my three weeks of fame. I had a little bottle of wine for lunch. Paul Morrissey came in and said, ‘Well, I guess we have a German Dracula.’ I said, ‘Who?’ He said, ‘You! But you have to lose at least 10lbs.’ I didn’t eat any more. I just had salad leaves and water. That’s why I was in a wheelchair for so many of my scenes – I had no power to stand up any more. It’s not only Robert de Niro who prepares himself in this way.
You’ve been in every single Lars von Trier film, aside from the ones shot in Danish. How did that relationship begin?
UK: I made a short film that went into competition at the Mannerheim Film Festival in Germany – a very intellectual festival. My short film went in against Lars von Trier’s Elements Of Crime. I knew I wanted to meet whoever made that short film. I expected him to be someone like Kubrick – shy, in a bad mood, dressed in black. But there came a young boy, and we were talking about Fassbinder and Tarkovsky. A few weeks later he called and asked me to be in his film Medea.
Has time ever slowed down or sped up for you?
UK: If I was to write an article about myself, the headline would be Time Is The Sin. Time is the real sin. I am 21 years in America. I mean 21 years. That’s definitely a quarter or your life – I’m already here, and I’ve been years in Paris and years in Rome, and now I’m living 21 years here and I think it’s going to be the stage where this is where I am going to stay. When you get older time moves faster – much faster. Now I am 66. That’s why I like it here in Palm Springs. Everyone is older than me. When I go to a restaurant everyone says, ‘Young man, can you pass the salt?’
22 of Udo Kier’s 200 films
Paul Morrissey Flesh for Frankenstein (1973)
‘If you’re in the properly receptive mindset to appreciate the artistry of director Paul Morrissey’s Flesh for Frankenstein, you may experience an unexpectedly delightful shift in attitude while watching the film. At first it appears that Morrissey is indulging in an exercise of pure camp (and it’s true, he is), but then it hits you: underneath all the wretchedly awful dialogue and seemingly deliberate bad acting, it’s clear that Morrissey and his cast are up to something wonderful. Not only is this a seductively beautiful film to watch–even the abundant bloodshed and gory scenes of dismemberment are esthetically striking–but it’s been conceived with astute intelligence and a wealth of refined humor, while maintaining connections to the resonant themes of the Frankenstein story. In this case, Baron Frankenstein (marvelously overplayed by Udo Kier) is a rather twisted fellow, married to his sister (Monique van Vooren) and determined to create the perfect man and woman from the assembled remains of selected corpses. He’s created a sexy female, but his male specimen’s got the brain of a young man who aspired to be a monk, making sexual arousal a bit of a challenge! The dead man’s friend (Morrissey discovery Joe Dallesandro) intervenes to disrupt the Baron’s mad experiment, and it all leads up to a climactic laboratory scene of gruesome and tragic death, all worthy of Morrissey’s splendid operatic staging.’ — Jeff Shannon
Paul Morrissey Blood for Dracula (1974)
‘Udo Kier is without a doubt the sickliest of vampires in any director’s interpretation of the Bram Stoker tale. Count Dracula knows that if he fails to drink a required amount of pure virgin’s [pronounced “wirgin’s”] blood, it’s time to move into a permanent coffin. His assistant (Renfield?) suggests that the Count and he pick up his coffin and take a road trip to Italy, where families are known to be particularly religious, and therefore should be an excellent place to search for a virgin bride. They do, only to encounter a family with not one, but FOUR virgins, ready for marriage. The Count discovers one-by-one that the girls are not as pure as they say they are, meanwhile a handsome servant/Communist begins to observe strange behaviour from the girls who do spend the night with the Count. It’s a race for Dracula to discover who’s the real virgin, before he either dies from malnourishment or from the wooden stake of the Communist!’ — Jonathan Dakss
Dario Argento Suspiria (1977)
‘Suspiria is a 1977 Italian horror film directed by Dario Argento and co-written by Argento and Daria Nicolodi. The film follows an American ballet student who transfers to a prestigious dance academy in Germany, only to discover that it is controlled by a coven of witches. The film’s score was performed by Goblin. The stars are Jessica Harper, Udo Kier, Stefania Casini, Flavio Bucci and Miguel Bosé. It was also one of the final feature films to be processed in the Italian processing plant of Technicolor before it was closed. Suspiria is the first of the trilogy Argento refers to as “The Three Mothers”, followed by Inferno and The Mother of Tears. Suspiria is noteworthy for several stylistic flourishes that have become Argento trademarks. The film was made with anamorphic lenses. The production design and cinematography emphasize vivid primary colors, particularly red, creating a deliberately unrealistic, nightmarish setting, emphasized by the use of imbibition Technicolor prints. The imbibition process, used for The Wizard of Oz and Gone with the Wind, is much more vivid in its color rendition than emulsion-based release prints, therefore enhancing the nightmarish quality of the film.’ — collaged
Miklós Jancsó Hungarian Rhapsody (1979)
‘Hungarian Rhapsody (Magyar Rapszodia) is the first chapter of director Miklos Jancso’s two-part dramatized history of Hungary, from the turn of the century, to World War II. The story is told from the vantage point of Gyorgy Cserhalmi, the son of a wealthy landowner. During World War I, Cserhalmi is instrumental in quelling an army mutiny. Upon realizing that he has been responsible for the deaths of several peasant conscripts, Cserhalmi vows to be a “man of the people” when hostilities cease. He joins a communist cell, but finds he is woefully out of place. Throughout the 1920s and 1930s, Cserhalmi’s political viewpoint is governed almost exclusively by his vacillating emotions. The film is enhanced with a “Russian Roulette” leitmotif, not unlike the fatalistic throughline of Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter.’ — Rovi
R. W. Fassbinder The Third Generation (1979)
‘Fassbinder’s characteristic abhorrence of liberal hypocrisy is amplified ad absurdio in his film The Third Generation, as a group of bourgeois professionals – including a record shop owner, a history lecturer, a banker’s wife, a personal secretary and a composer – enjoy the “game” of being in a terrorist cell, with its apparatus of codes, passwords, whispers and disguises, but literally wet themselves when called to action. As a quote from anarchist theorist Mikhail Bakunin implies, these are children who refuse to grow up: they bully those weaker as if they were still in a schoolyard, and ultimately can’t handle “real” life. When Edgar (Udo Kier) witnesses the murder of a co-conspirator by policemen led by his father (Hark Bohm), who is also sleeping with his wife (Hanna Schygulla), he collapses into Oedipal blubbing. As the terrorists go into hiding, they bicker and compete like the kids in any extended family.’ — Senses of Cinema
the entire film
R. W. Fassbinder Lili Marleen (1981)
‘Fassbinder’s big-budget and much-acclaimed Lili Marleen is a story of love, war and propaganda laced with the filmmaker’s unique blend of irony and pathos. Set in 1938, it focuses on Willie, a German cabaret singer who is in love with Robert, a Jewsih anti-Nazi activist and composer. Willie becomes a household name after she records a version of ‘Lili Marleen’ which is played nightly on the radio, becoming the song of the moment. Willie becomes synonymous with the song, with Nazism and the war effort, becoming a national icon while at the same time having to hide her love affair with Robert. Along with Lola, this is Fassbinder’s most striking film visually. It’s also a clever send-up of the classic WWII romance films of many countries: the stakes keep getting higher for our heroine and hero. Besides those, Fassbinder was clearly targetting Ingmar Bergman’s abysmal The Serpent’s Egg (1977) and Fosse’s Cabaret (1972). The former he topped with an understandable plot; the latter with sheer style.’ — NYT
Udo Kier Der Adler (1985)
‘In 1985, Udo Kier released a single in Germany. It was not a hit, but he performed it on a popular German television show of the era, leading to this record of its existence. Five years later, he would perform the same song in the famous lamp scene with Keanu Reeves and River Phoenix in Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho.’ — Antebellum
Lars von Trier Epidemic (1987)
‘Epidemic, Lars von Trier’s second feature, comes close to being a horror movie, except it keeps derailing itself to noodle while a director (played by von Trier) and screenwriter (screenwriter Niels Vorsel) improvise a scenario about a plague epidemic. Their struggles are shot in grainy 16 mm., while flashes of the intended film are in stunning 35. Epidemic is meandering enough to test the patience of even devoted von Trier fans, but it always looks good even when it looks bad, if that makes any sense, and the finale–which involves hypnotism, one of the Danish director’s early obsessions–will give a chill to genre fans looking for a “gotcha.” Von Trier regular Udo Kier pops up, and the film wouldn’t be complete without its logo: the title branded onto the upper-left corner for most of the movie.’ — Robert Horton
Gus van Sant My Own Private Idaho (1991)
‘Mapping the spaces between fortune and degeneracy, Shakespeare and street cant, Europe and the Pacific Northwest, and gay and straight, My Own Private Idaho is the 1991 masterpiece by director Gus Van Sant. River Phoenix gave the most generous and memory-searing performance of his tragically shortened career as Mike Waters, a narcoleptic street hustler in search of his mother. His best friend, Scott, played by Keanu Reeves, is a son of privilege who fosters plans of rejoining the moneyed world of his father after gallivanting with assorted urchins and ne’er-do-wells. The beautifully symmetrical story that emerges between the two is one of friendship, yearning for lost time, and sexual identity conveyed with a poet’s eye for landscape. The camera lingers on abandoned houses in golden fields and time-lapse clouds, providing what T.S. Eliot called “the objective correlative”–external representations of interior emotional states. We’re treated to striking iconic sequences like a barn falling from the sky and still-life scenes of carnal entanglement. The supporting cast is a rogues’ gallery that includes Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Udo Kier, director William Richert, and a variety of “nonactors” pulled literally off the street to provide documentary veracity to a film that gleefully careens into riffs on Henry IV. It’s beautiful.’ — collaged
Lars von Trier Breaking the Waves (1996)
‘Breaking the Waves is an enchanting but provocative film from Lars von Trier featuring Emily Watson’s exhilarating performance and a remarkable sinister turn from von Trier regular Udo Kier. For anyone interested in the works of von Trier will find this as the best place to start since it definitely his most revered film. For fans of Emily Watson, whose career has flourished since this film, this remains her best performance of her career. While it’s not an easy film to watch since it dwells into elements of melodrama with a lot of graphic material. It is a film that challenges the conventions of melodrama as well as stripping down the aesthetics of traditional cinema. In the end, Breaking the Waves is Lars von Trier’s masterpiece that breaks down all barriers of what cinema is and could be.’ — Surrender to the Void
David Hogan Barb Wire (1996)
‘At some point in movie history producers were rushing to make the next big comic-book related blockbuster. They’re still trying but, now, they often have bigger budgets, bigger actors and bigger directors. Of course, these things don’t guarantee the end product will be any good. Unfortunately, Barb Wire is one of those films. While it’s not as low budget as, say, a Roger Corman movie it’s pretty obvious most of the money was spent on trying to make Pamela Anderson’s acting look good, comparatively speaking, by hiring a who’s-who of straight-to-video B-listers and by shooting the first half of the movie in the same warehouse from different angles to look like different interiors. Outside of an interminably long opening credit sequence with Anderson in leather being hosed-down as she performs a non-stripping routine the only memorable thing in the movie is an exchange between Col. Pryzer (Steve Railsback) and police chief Willis (Xander Berkeley).’ — Studio Mondo
Steve Barron The Adventures of Pinocchio (1997)
‘Apparently aimed at very small children and the simple-minded, The Adventures of Pinocchio is a very modestly effective live-action version of the frequently filmed story of Pinocchio. The Adventures of Pinocchio held the unique novelty at the time of bringing Pinocchio to life using CGI effects. Unlike the more familiar animated Pinocchio by Disney, there are no song interludes here, and characters added to the story by Disney (such as Jiminy Cricket) are absent. With Martin Landau, Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Genevive Bujold, Udo Kier.’ — collaged
Stephen Norrington Blade (1998)
‘Stephen Norrington directs this film with much style, but also a lot of weight. The source material is updated, cleaned up, and given a lot of seriousness. Still, as stated, there’s humor and an excellent sense of fun. Perhaps the most notable performance in the film is the main villain Dragonetti portrayed by the eccentric and distinctly European actor Udo Kier. He’s an amazing genre actor with a perfect German accent and look to fit into the classic vampire motif. He has over 170 acting credits on his filmography, and has worked with Peter Hyams, Dario Argento, and even John Carpenter on an episode for Masters of Horror. Udo plays Dragonetti as greatly as he does in any other role, and adding a real air of sophistication to the vampire elders.’ — Forever Cinematic
Fred Olen Ray Critical Mass (2000)
‘Terrorists have taken over the San Miguel Nuclear Power Plant and are threatening to turn southern California into another Chernobyl. It’s up to one man — security guard Mike Jeffers (Treat Williams) — to stop them before they blow up everything in sight. But can he keep the crisis from reaching critical mass? Udo Kier, Lori Loughlin and Doug McKeon co-star.’ — Netflix
Compilation of Udo Kier’s scenes
William Malone fear dot com (2002)
‘William Malone’s fear dot com desperately wants to be a cutting-edge chiller with its ‘up-to-the-minute’ internet theme, but turns out to be a depressing up-chuck of every great horror movie of the last 20 years. What could have been a pointed little chiller about the frightening seductiveness of new technology loses faith in its own viability and succumbs to joyless special-effects excess. The movie’s progression into rambling incoherence gives new meaning to the phrase ‘fatal script error.’ A depraved, incoherent, instantly disposable piece of hackery.’ — Variety
Cartney Wearn Pray for Morning (2006)
‘The plan was to spend one night in the abandoned Royal Crescent Hotel, where in 1985, 5 students were murdered, their killer never found. What was supposed to be just a night for fun, hunting for the victims’ bloodstained rooms, suddenly changes when they find a severed hand and awake an evil presence within the hotel. Now they are running for their lives, trying to solve a mystery 100 years old, and morning is still very far away. Jonathon Trent, Jessica Stroup, Ashlee Turner, and Udo Kier star.’ — CDUniverse
Jon Keeyes Fall Down Dead (2007)
‘When I went to the studio it was wonderful, when they showed me my set. I asked if I could change it a little bit, because after all I am the Picasso Killer, I kill people and no one could ever come to my studio. So I asked for two buckets of blood and I just threw it in the air and that is why it looks quite bloody in my studio. I also asked for some brown paper because I wanted to do the paintings myself which hang in my studio. So I put the brown paper out on the floor, dipped my hands carefully in blood and just went crazy with the right music, and that is what turned out to be the Picasso Killer’s work. I have a lot of art, which I collect; photographs from Robert Mapplethorpe, art by Andy Warhol of course, but no Picasso. This is because when Picasso was affordable I was too young, had no money and it was way too expensive. As I am not working with Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie I do not have this money, so there you have it never a Picasso.’ — Udo Kier
Udo Kier interviewed at the premiere
Rob Zombie Werewolf Women of the S.S. Trailer (2007)
‘Rob Zombie’s contribution to Quentin Tarantino’s Grindhouse omnibus, Werewolf Women of the SS, featured Nicolas Cage as Fu Manchu; Udo Kier as Franz Hess, the commandant of Death Camp 13; Zombie’s wife, Sheri; and Sybil Danning as SS officers/sisters Eva and Gretchen Krupp (The She-Devils of Belzac), along with professional wrestlers Andrew “Test” Martin and Oleg Prudius (better known as Vladimir Kozlov), plus Olja Hrustic, Meriah Nelson, and Lorielle New as the Werewolf Women. According to Zombie, “Basically, I had two ideas. It was either going to be a Nazi movie or a women-in-prison film, and I went with the Nazis. There’re all those movies like Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS; Fräulein Devil; and Love Camp 7—I’ve always found that to be the most bizarre genre.”‘ — Wiki
Dario Argento The Mother of Tears (2007)
‘An ancient urn is found in a cemetery outside Rome. Once opened, it triggers a series of violent incidents: robberies, rapes and murders increase dramatically, while several mysterious, evil-looking young women coming from all over the world are gathering in the city. All these events are caused by the return of Mater Lacrimarum, the last of three powerful witches who have been spreading terror and death for centuries. Alone against an army of psychos and demons, Sarah Mandy, an art student who seems to have supernatural abilities of her own, is the only person left to prevent the Mother of Tears from destroying Rome. The movie slides downhill quickly with much help from a horrible performance by Asia Argento. Holy cow!! Where was the mood in this film? Hell, where was the story? The first murder scene wasn’t even scary, just repulsive. That’s the easiest thing to do. I could almost, almost understand if the film were rushed, but c’mon Dario. You had over twenty years to work this crap out and write a story…You’re like Guns & Roses.’ — IMDb
the entire film
Jean-Claude Schlim House of Boys (2009)
‘Written and directed by Jean-Claude Schlim — who, we learn from the production notes, has a deeply personal connection to the story — House of Boys begins as a peppy coming-of-age drama and ends in protracted misery. Despite its sexual openness, the film has an old-fashioned innocence reinforced by cheesy bump-and-grind routines entertainingly faithful to the period. Udo Kier’s quietly regal presence (and terrific drag work) as the establishment’s all-knowing owner anchors his young co-stars, while Stephen Fry supplies the same gravitas late in the film in the role of a concerned doctor.’ — NYT
Udo Kier at the premiere (in German)
Werner Herzog My Son, My Son What Have Ye Done (2010)
‘Werner Herzog’s My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done is a splendid example of a movie not on autopilot. I bore my readers by complaining about how bored I am by formula movies that recycle the same moronic elements. Now here is a film where Udo Kier’s eyeglasses are snatched from his pocket by an ostrich, has them yanked from the ostrich’s throat by a farmhand, gets them back all covered with ostrich mucus, and tells the ostrich, “Don’t you do that again!” My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done confounds all convention and denies all expected pleasures, providing instead the delight of watching Herzog feed the police hostage formula into the Mixmaster of his imagination. It’s as if he began with the outline of a stunningly routine police procedural and said to hell with it, I’m going to hang my whimsy on this clothesline.’ — Roger Ebert
Guy Maddin Keyhole (2011)
‘A gangster and deadbeat father, Ulysses Pick (Jason Patric), returns home after a long absence. He is toting two teenagers: a drowned girl, Denny, who has mysteriously returned to life; and a bound-and-gagged hostage, who is actually his own teenage son, Manners. Confused Ulysses doesn’t recognize his own son, but he feels with increasing conviction he must make an indoor odyssey from the back door of his home all the way up, one room at a time, to the marriage bedroom where his wife Hyacinth (Isabella Rossellini) awaits. Udo Kier also memorably stars. Guy Maddin is Canada’s resident mad genius, his work instantly recognizable as his own.’ — Twitch Film
p.s. Hey. ** Armando, Hi, man. I’m good. I’m working hard on the post-prod on Zac’s and my film. That’s kind of my almost whole life right now. My country … you mean the USA? Weird, I sometimes forget it’s still my country. I have heard Scout Niblett, yes, but not for a long time. I can hardly recall what the stuff is like. Huh, I’ll check back. Thanks a bunch. Enjoy my country. ** Steevee, Hi. Well, I’ll wait and see on the Morris, of course. I will be surprised if there isn’t a lot there that I’m taken with. ‘FCaOoC’ is one of my all-time favorite films too, as I’m sure you know. Glad you liked that Pateras. Yeah, he’s pretty remarkable and weirdly unsung. Off the top of my head, I think your idea to initially propose just one or two projects at the meeting is very wise. That should take care of your fear of inadvertently cornering or swamping them. Best of luck. ** David Ehrenstein, His ‘Out 1’ is an excellent way to put it. ** New Juche, Hey! Really good to see you. Man, I’m so sorry to hear that your health is still hampering you. But great, really great that your new one is finished and in the pipe. I liked ‘Suttree’, I remember, but I don’t know about recommending it apart from his being pretty consistently great during that period. Thanks, Joe. Really, I hope you feel a whole lot better asap. Hugs from the big P. ** Tosh Berman, Yep. Wonderful thoughts about Mallarme. I’m so glad you love him. He’s singular, for sure. Best to you. ** Kyler, Hi. A special lamp. I’m intrigued. No, I don’t think I know Andre Aciman at all unless I’m spacing. I’ll look for his stuff and for ‘Enigma Variations’ in particular. Thanks very much for the pass along! ** Jamie, Ten thumbs up, Jamie. Oh, yeah, that pesky ‘u’ that divides the UK and US in so many instances. I think also ‘gray’ vs ‘grey’? The grading was good. We finished the first pass of the film. By the end, we started getting closer to what we want. Today we go back and start working on the film scene/frame by scene/frame, and our film’s DP, Michael ‘Kiddiepunk’ Salerno, is coming in mid-afternoon to give his thoughts and opinions. So, it’s good, and I’m excited about it all. We’re not going for bold colors for sure. Not for this film anyway. I think pretty muted, chilly-ish but not too, except for some popping details here and there and a couple of lush scenes. I hate seeing color in film that looks clearly saturated. It’s like nails on a chalkboard. Like the movie ‘Moonlight’ is a perfect example of a film that’s so massively color-saturated that I couldn’t get through watching it. I like that two worlds thing and the color mismatching. Is that working out? ‘Rushed into production’, scary. Note the newly vertical hairs on the back of my neck. Or take my word for them. Enjoy your Wednesday, man, and I will do the same I’m about 85% sure. Secret, newly discovered tunnel under the ancient pyramid love, Dennis. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Cool, bye-bye, zombie. Thanks for the help. Oh no, your poor, freaked dog. And you. I’ve been sleeping shittily too for no apparent reason. Anita is your first reader! That’s perfect. Oh cool, she seems like someone who’s opinion will be very valuable and in tune with what you’re intending. Exciting! The color grading went well. As I told Jamie, we finished a basic grading of the whole film just to make it look consistent, and now today we start working on the color in great detail. Otherwise, oh, … I got very, very good and long awaited news about something yesterday that I can’t talk about until the ink has dried, but that was a serious highlight. Not much else. The color grading pretty much eats my days right now. And what ended up being on your agenda today? ** Jonathan, Hey, J! Working too much. Hopefully on your stuff, your art? You hung with Jessa Crispin, very cool. Shit, she was at Berkeley last night? Damn. I’m out of it about ongoing things at the moment. Excellent lists, my friend, no doubt in the world. Cool that you read those minimal Saroyan poems and Ricard’s ’79-80′. Little Caesar Press was the distributor for that book when it first appeared. It’s super great. A bunch of music on your list that I need to investigate and will. New pastries … Genie has some pretty incredible new eclairs. Aoki has a spectacular new macha pastry. Wish you could come visit. The only live thing I have in the immediate offing is a Keersmaker piece from the ’80s set to Steve Reich’s ‘Drumming’ on Saturday. Harmony Korine retrospective coming up at the Pompidou. Gigantic Chris Marker retrospective early next year at the Cinematheque. Amazing gig (Tim Hecker, GAS, Prurient, others) at Palais de Tokyo next month. Miss you too, buddy. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Yeah, I haven’t seen the Mallarme fashion thing either and I super want to. ** Misanthrope, I like the idea of you reading Mallarme. It’s psychedelic. Hate that shit too, yep, duh. Oh, right, I remember your bananas thing. I know a couple of ‘no banana’ people. Weird about the disappearing comments. Huh. Have an excellent one! ** S., Hey. Cool. The big M being your fave P. ‘A blind Russian Finnegan’s Wake’, whoa. If even just looking at a White Russian didn’t give me hangover, I would sip one. Excellent sentences. Yours, of course. ** Bill, Hi. Ha ha. Claremont! My stomping grounds while briefly at university! Are you doing something at one of the schools? Say hi to Pitzer College for me. Stuff to do in LA, hm … Well, if I were you, and I’m not, of course, I would check out the brand new Marciano Art Foundation. There’s a giant Jim Shaw show there among other things right now, and the building is cool. Paul McCarthy show at Hauser + Wirth maybe? If you were there tonight, Puce Mary and Pharmakon are playing on the same bill. I’d hurl myself at that. Out of spontaneous ideas now. Bon day! ** Right. My new post restoration is Udo Kier Day. It’s right up there. As you already know. See you tomorrow.