The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Geraldine Chaplin Day *

* (restored/expanded)


‘Despite bearing his last name and a close resemblance to him—the high cheekbones, the slightly drooping lips and prominent front teeth, the piercing yet empathetic eyes—remarkably, Geraldine Chaplin has never seemed obscured by the shadow of her iconic father, Charles. Now seventy-one, Chaplin—who first appeared on-screen at age eight in her father’s Limelight (1952)—can proudly boast of an impressive career of her own that has stretched from 1965’s David Lean epic Doctor Zhivago to more recent international hits like Pedro Almodóvar’s Talk to Her (2002) and Juan Antonio Bayona’s The Orphanage (2007). That career has spanned not only decades but continents—the actress, whose mother was Oona O’Neill Chaplin (Eugene’s daughter), was born in California but educated at a Swiss boarding school, is fluent in French and Spanish, and has headlined films in Spain, France, England, and the U.S. Chaplin’s most adventurous and fecund period was the seventies, when she worked with such important directors as Robert Altman (Nashville, A Wedding), Alain Resnais (Life is a Bed of Roses, I Want to Go Home), James Ivory (Roseland), Richard Lester (The Three Musketeers), Claude Lelouche (Les Uns at le Autres), Martin Scorcese (The Age of Innocence), and Jacques Rivette (Noroit). But her most frequent collaborator was the Spanish auteur Carlos Saura, with whom she had a twelve-year romantic and professional partnership and a child.

‘When she met Saura in 1967, Chaplin was already en route to establishing her own identity outside of her family: after years of ballet training, she had turned to acting instead, landing a leading role in Jacques Deray’s Crime on a Summer Morning (1965), with Jean-Paul Belmondo, before her Doctor Zhivago breakthrough. Meanwhile, Saura had become one of Spain’s most important artists, managing to make political films right under Franco’s nose. Crime on a Summer Morning had shot in Spain, and Chaplin adored the country, ironically finding personal freedom in a place that, as she soon discovered, was in thrall to a dictator. She wanted to stay and work in Spain, and was soon introduced by casting agents to Saura, who was in preproduction on the expressionistic Peppermint Frappé (1967); this eventual Berlin Film Festival Silver Lion winner would be their first project together, as well as the beginning of their romance and her entry into political movies. For the next decade, the two would make acclaimed, daring films that subtly critiqued the Franco regime. In a Criterion interview, Chaplin says, “At that time, to make a movie you had to be a contortionist intellectually to get by the censors, if you were doing anything remotely political. And we did it, and we had fun doing it.”

‘In 1975, however, in the midst of their years of collaboration—which thus far had produced the acclaimed La madriguera (1969) and Ana and the Wolves (1972)—Franco died, opening the country’s possibilities for artistic expression. The immediate result for Saura and Chaplin was 1976’s Cría cuervos . . ., the first film that Saura, freed from the meddling of state censors, had complete control over, from conception to realization. At this point, Chaplin was an essential ingredient in Saura’s cinema; the director said in a 1976 interview, “Geraldine is very important in all my films because in a certain way she helps me just with her presence.” And what a presence she has in Cría cuervos . . ., which would go on to win the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival and become Saura’s most internationally lauded film. In it, in fact, Chaplin is all presence: she presides over the film as a spirit.

‘”I wanted to be a ballet dancer. I was a professional dancer for a while. Then I was out of the job. I didn’t want to go home. I worked at the circus for a bit and then I thought: I can cash in on the name and get a job as an actress, that’s got to be easy. And it was so easy! I said, I want an agent – an agent came. He said, ‘Oh, your first film has to be with Jean-Paul Belmondo’, who was then the big star. So my first film was with JP Belmondo. It was just easy! Then, once I started acting, I fell in love with it, desperately in love with it. I like to adapt to it all, avant-garde films and conservative ones. I love my work, I adore my work. If I have a director who is very conservative and very disciplined and wants you to do it exactly his way, like for instance David Lean – he didn’t want the actor’s personality to influence his idea of the character. Robert Altman was completely different. He was totally influenced by the character… I love my job and so I try to do my best. I can’t say I like to do this kind of film or that kind of film. My favorite is comedy. It’s so difficult.”‘ — collaged







Geraldine Chaplin @ IMDb
‘Geraldine Chaplin Advocates Latin American Cinema, Loses Interest in Hollywood’
‘Geraldine Chaplin: “I see myself as a conventional bourgeois”‘
‘The Chaplin Heritage’
Geraldine Chaplin @ The Criterion Collection
Geraldine Chaplin @ mubi
‘”Ich habe Chaplins Namen immer nur ausgenutzt”‘
‘Geraldine Chaplin Movies: Best to Worst’
‘The Chaplin Connection What A Freudian Trip!’
‘Geraldine Chaplin: To be a public person is part of an actor’s career’


“The Return” by Karl Lagerfeld

In December 1953, Coco Chanel began her incredible return to center stage. The designer reopens her Haute Couture house after fifteen years of absence. The collection is welcomed by the French press with an icy silence. Only the American media supports the looks that define the rebirth of Chanel’s style. “The Return” retraces this determining period, that shaped the legend of the designer of rue Cambon forever. “The Return,” imagined, written and directed by Karl Lagerfeld, features Geraldine Chaplin in the role of Gabrielle Chanel, Rupert Everett, Anna Mouglalis, Lady Amanda Harlech, Arielle Dombasle, Kati Nescher, Vincent Darré and Sam McKnight.



What’s My Line? – Geraldine Chaplin (Jan 2, 1966)

ENTREVISTA-Geraldine Chaplin

A 1996 Swiss commercial for Swissair.

Interview biographie Géraldine Chaplin

Géraldine Chaplin au festival de Cannes 1966


Interview circa 1964


No doubt you realize, Geraldine, that this interview is due to a name, a relationship: namely, to the fact that you are Charlie Chaplin’s daughter. This might sound discourteous, perhaps it is. But the curiosity and the interest you arouse everywhere are also due to the same thing: let’s admit it. Leading newspapers spread news about you, famous film directors fight over you, proud countesses court you, and yet it can’t be said that you have so far distinguished yourself by any particular achievement : yours is a typical case of a person who becomes someone before they’ve even done anything and..

GERALDINE CHAPLIN : Done anything?!? Damn all, you mean. Look, I’m twenty: and twenty years might not be many but they aren’t few either : there are many people who by the time they’re twenty have done masses of things, but I’ve done a fat nothing, except be Charlie Chaplin’s daughter. It’s unfair, I know, it’s plain ridiculous. In fact, my father is angry, very angry, and he’s right. For example, take what happened when I first appeared in that ballet, Cinderella. I only had two little parts which each lasted a minute, or less, yet there wasn’t a seat to be had in the theatre, and the papers were full of photographs, everyone wanted to interview me, and it was all so disproportionate, so embarrassing. Goodness knows what people thought. You understand? Every time a ballerina did a solo they took her for me : and down would come the applause. When I finally came forward to do my two or three pirouettes, and it became clear that the little Chaplin girl was only going to do two or three pirouettes, their disappointment hit me like a gust of wind. I felt I could hear them saying well, is that all? I felt mortified, humiliated. I thought they’d picked me because I was good : and now I discovered that they’d picked me for the sake of the publicity that goes with my name.

Such are the problems with inheritance, Geraldine. You yourself admitted it in your rather original remark : ‘A lot of people inherit wealth or a title. I have inherited a surname.’ And when you inherit something you always have to pay duties : the greater the inheritance, the heavier the duties. But still, as well as duties, there are the advantages.

GC: Agreed. And the advantages are remarkable. If you want to start a career, and your name is Chaplin, you don’t have the slightest difficulty getting started. Everyone reveres you. Nonetheless the disadvantages are equally remarkable, believe me. If your name is Chaplin, people expect a lot of you. They expect too much and you must be good, you have to be, if you’re not good they take umbrage, they make fun of you, their respect turns to scorn. But if you are good, they take it for granted and whatever happens you never know whether it’s to your own credit or due to your name. Oh! It’s hateful to think that, if you do make something, it’s just due to your name. It’s hateful to think that, if you fail, you’ll be crushed with shame : because of your name. There are times when I think it would be a lot easier to have an unknown name.

Then why don’t you change your name, Geraldine? A lot of people, in your situation, have changed, do change their name. So why do you use the name?

GC: Because I’m proud of it, obviously : very proud. Because I’m glad to be Charlie Chaplin’s daughter. And also because it would be pointless to change it, it’s too late. By now everyone knows who I am. Everyone recognizes me, apart from the fact that I take so much after my father and mother : I have mother’s face from my forehead to my nose, and father’s from my nose to my chin. Not only that : ever since I was a child I’ve been photographed with them all, and if I called myself Geraldine Smith, you know what people would say? They’d say : Geraldine Smith, Charlie Chaplin’s daughter. The definition of ‘Charlie Chaplin’s daughter’ will follow me all my life, even if I change my name a dozen times. And so, I might just as well go on keeping the name. As Jane Fonda does, for example, Henry Fonda’s daughter ; or Susan Strasberg, Lee Strasberg’s daughter. And I might succeed too : they’ve both succeeded, haven’t they? The only trouble, apart from this positive obligation to succeed, is that you never know whether people give you a contract because they think you’ll succeed or because you’re Chaplin’s daughter.

And you aren’t cynical enough not to care about it, not to excessively hurt by it?

GC: I get so hurt that when they asked me to go for my first screen test I said no. I didn’t want to. Or rather, I tried not to want to. And then I knew that father would be angry, after all he’d already been angry about the ballet hadn’t he? But the offers kept on coming in, pouring in, and the moment came when I couldn’t hold out any more, and now I have at least five films lined up : this one with John Paul Belmondo which I’m doing in Madrid, the next one to be made in Italy by da Risi and written by Zavattini, a fourth which will be Doctor Zhivago, playing opposite Omar Sharif, I don’t even know which part it’ll be, and a fifth to be made with Paramount which will be Anne Boleyn. The part of Anne Boleyn, my God!

Heavens, Geraldine! To the best of my knowledge, no film star has so many films lined up.

GC: I know. But it’s hard to say no when you’re in demand, even harder when your father happens to be Charlie Chaplin and he keeps saying ‘do something, do something!’ For the sake of doing something I enrolled at the Royal Ballet School in London, I wanted to be a ballerina, I can’t imagine a finer career, and above all my father was happy I should be a ballerina, but I realized that I’d never be a great ballerina and so I might as well give up right away, and try something else. Because you see, it’s not enough to be a good ballerina : you have to be a great ballerina, and this wasn’t the case for me. Firstly I’d started too late, when I was already fifteen, so my technique wasn’t grade one, then, to be honest, I didn’t have the necessary dedication to dance eight hours a day, not to drink, not to smoke, not to eat, to be half nun half robot : and what would have been the outcome? The outcome would have been that I’d have been a disappointment to myself and to father too. I’d have spent my whole life being middling, a member of the corps de ballet, the ones who earn twenty pounds a week, and after all I have to keep myself don’t I?

One question, perhaps indiscreet, Geraldine : didn’t your father help you, isn’t he helping? Would you really have to live on twenty pounds a week and nothing else?

GC: My father paid for my keep when I lived with a family in London, and now he pays or rather he was paying my rent of the flat I’ve been living in since I moved to Paris, But my father thinks that a girl of twenty should support herself, and I think so too. Obviously I could always telephone home and say I’m in a mess, send me a cheque thank you : but I’ve never done it and I never intend to. A while back, for example, I was broke : but really broke. But I didn’t ask them for a thing. Luck came to my rescue. I happened to meet a photographer friend, Willy Rizzo, and Willy said how’s it going, Geraldine? Fine thanks, but I’ve got money problems. So then Willy said why don’t you pose for some fashion photographs, Geraldine? Immediately, thanks : I replied. And so I posed for fashion photographs for four days, a feature that Marie Claire had commissioned Willy to do, and in those four days I earned two thousand francs, a fantastic amount, and so I didn’t ask my father for anything.

They’re offering you crazy sums of money to act in these films. Crazy for a beginner anyway.

GC: My God! For this film I’ve already been given ten per cent and I’ve never seen so much money all at once. It’s even disgusting the amount they pay. When you think that a wretched ballerina works and sweats and breaks her feet for years and years and years to earn in a month what I’m earning in a day! Crazy. I talked about it to my father too ; heavens the money they spend on a film! Father says : true, but more people go to the cinema than to the ballet. Well : it’s still crazy. But that isn’t the point. The point is ; do I deserve it? This isn’t just rhetoric, believe me : it’s pride. Like the business of succeeding. Will I succeed? Will I succeed in making a fool of myself and of my father? My part in this film isn’t difficult, the part of Risi might have been written for me, but the others… Anne Boleyn… my God…and if I don’t succeed…my father. I’d never seen a film camera before I did my screen test, and so I’m going around asking for advice, and some people tell me to study diction, some tell me to study singing, some tell me to study diction and singing, some tell me not to study anything…

You were a very lonely child weren’t you Geraldine?

GC: Oh, no! You can’t be lonely when you have seven brothers and sisters. And Children have a very happy life in the Chaplin household. They play and laugh and sing and make a lot of noise all the time, and there’s always something going on, an argument, a quarrel… And then mother gives them a lot of her attention, father loves them very much ; children are never unhappy, never lonely in the Chaplin house. Everything’s simple in the Chaplin household, while you’re children. It’s later that things become a bit less simple. It’s later that you begin to think for yourself, see for yourself, decide to leave the nest. And so I’ve left the nest, Michael’s left the nest… I was naturally, the first to leave it. After me it was Michael’s turn and at present he’s studying speech and dramma in London. After Michael it will be Josie’s turn, she’s the beauty of the family, fantastically beautiful, even more beautiful than my mother. Afer Josie it’ll be Vicky, she’s very gifted and she’ll certainly wind up an actress too…

And your parents will be left more and more lonely?

GC: Lonely! My father and mother will never be lonely as long as they both live, and for every child that leaves, another arrives. The last one was born eighteen months ago : but will it be the last? And then they’re so used to seeing us go : as soon as the girls are ten years old, my parents send them to a convent. I went to a convent too. I only left it to go to London, to the ballet school.

To a convent, Geraldine?!? Odd that Charlie Chaplin sends his daughters to a convent. It certainly can’t be said that he has any sympathy with the Church. And why on earth does he send you to a convent?

GC: For the dicipline. My father’s fanatical about disciplin. And I am too : in that respect I’m very much like him. besides I was so wild, when I was ten, that I don’t know what would have happened if the nuns hadn’t brought me up. They were strict, the nuns, as strict as father : but they were so gentle too. And gentleness is so lovely and I’m very happy I spent those years with the nuns. And then the nuns gave me something I didn’t have, they gave me religion and… you see : we Chaplin kids were never baptized into any religion. That’s the way father wanted and wants it. We’ve never heard any talk of God, we’ve never heard a prayer and… well, now I’ll tell you a very silly, a very odd thing. The first day I went into class, all the girls were standing up praying. I didn’t know about praying, you see? …and so I thought they were reciting a lesson. But the second day they stood up again and recited the same lesson again, so I thought, that’s odd, didn’t they say the same lesson yesterday? I turned to one of the girls and asked her : what are you doing? We’re praying, said she. Praying? said I. Yes, praying, said she. Praying to whom? said I. Praying to God, said she. God who? said I. And… silly, eh? Odd.


24 of Geraldine Chaplin’s 159 films

David Lean Doctor Zhivago (1965)
‘When David Lean’s Doctor Zhivago was released in 1965, it was pounced upon by the critics, who found it a picture-postcard view of revolution, a love story balanced uneasily atop a painstaking reconstruction of Russia. Lean was known for his elaborate sets, his infinite patience with nature and climates, and his meticulous art direction, but for Pauline Kael, his “method is basically primitive, admired by the same sort of people who are delighted when a stage set has running water or a painted horse looks real enough to ride.” Sometimes one must admit one is precisely that sort of person. I agree that the plot of Doctor Zhivago lumbers noisily from nowhere to nowhere. That the characters undergo inexplicable changes of heart and personality.’ — Roger Ebert

Geraldine Chaplin’s screen test of ‘Dr. Zhivago’

Geraldine Chaplin – 1965 Doctor Zhivago Promo


Charlie Chaplin A Countess from Hong Kong (1967)
‘Charles Chaplin’s much maligned, but ultimately lovely, last film A Countess from Hong Kong (1967) is his first in color. Marlon Brando plays a wealthy American diplomat aboard a cruise ship which docks in Hong Kong. Acountess (Sophia Loren) comes aboard and smuggles herself in Brando’s closet. Brando spends the rest of the film trying to hide her and avoid the press; almost the entire 2-hour film takes place in his majestic stateroom. Chaplin directs with his usual grace, favoring long shots and comedy at a distance. He also provided the sweet, sentimental score and appears in a small cameo as a seasick steward. Tippi Hedren co-stars as Brando’s almost-divorced wife, and a young, adorable Geraldine Chaplin has one line in a ballroom scene. Brando reportedly did not get along with Chaplin, and most critics used that as fodder for panning the film, though the conflict does not show in the final product.’ — Combustible Celluloid



Carlos Saura Peppermint Frappé (1968)
‘Geraldine Caplin plays two women who have to represent the split halves of a dentist’s retarded sexual ideal (Buñuel tried this a decade later in That Obscure Object of Desire, which is less fun, if also less kitschy). She’s meek and passive as the dentist’s assistant, passionate and unknowable as his friend’s lover. She has to be simultaneously hot and cold as the temptress and drowned as the frump; the issue isn’t that she’s not great, simply that Saura isn’t asking all that much of her. Being too afraid to say no on the one hand and on the other so full of sexual energy that you dance spontaneously every few scenes isn’t really all that difficult a range to grasp. Saura’s probably making a point about the man they orbit, a barely repressed bourgeoise meant as a stand-in for the worst of the Franco-ite Spanish aristocracy, but it does limit Chaplin from really earning best actress, at least to this false juror.’ — Apocalypse Now



Carlos Saura Honeycomb (1969)
‘This film is not just one of the great results of Saura and Geraldine Chaplin creative and marital union, but one of the rare movies where the environment, the house here, takes the main role. The huge, abstract, pre-minimalist concrete house (by Spanish architect Carvajal) transforms itself during the whole film running, setting the path to the main characters paranoia. The images that Saura produces are enigmatic, surrealist, funny, and in a strange way therapeutic, and they are deeply rooted in Spanish cubism and surrealism. It is probably one of the most contemporary and interesting film by the director, not recognized, yes, but a great unexpected value anyway.’ — IMDb



Michael Campus Z.P.G. (1972)
‘The movie is just ridiculous and unbelievable. Worse still, the film is glacially slow and boring. The couple played by Oliver Reed and Geraldine Chaplin are both emotionally reticent and uninvolving, especially Reed who goes through the entire motion picture with a permanent scowl which implies that he is either severely constipated or pissed off with his agent for letting him star in a piece of B-movie crud like this . . . If the ‘Sixties were a big party, the 1970s was the hangover the morning after, which is why the decade had so many dystopian flicks (right from Logan’s Run to Mad Max). Ultimately Z.P.G.’s biggest problem isn’t its 1970s pessimism though. No, the movie’s biggest problem is its preposterous screenplay. Z.P.G. is someone who has never read any science fiction in their entire life’s idea of what the genre is all about. Without any energetic camp (where is Charlton Heston when you need him?) to compensate, this is just a dull slog of a movie.’ — Sci-Fi Movie Page



Carlos Saura Ana y los lobos (1973)
‘Like many great filmmakers of the past and present, the most inspired phase of Carlos Saura’s career, or at least what is widely regarded as such, grew out of an intense collaboration with other talented individuals both in front and behind the camera. They were producer Elías Querejeta, screenwriter Rafael Azcona, and actress Geraldine Chaplin, who was also Saura’s partner during this time. In the pointedly allegorical Anna and the Wolves, which falls in the middle of this period that lasted from the mid-sixties to the late seventies, she plays the eponymous English nanny who, in keeping with the film’s fairytale title and construction, emerges literally out of nowhere to fulfill her responsibilities at an isolated country estate.’ —



Richard Lester The Three Musketeers (1973)
‘”We shot one film and then the gangsters, they made two films out of it. The gangster eventually married my sister,” adds Chaplin about one of the film’s producers, Ilya Salkind. As talent Geraldine was only paid for one film. “We sued them and won. If you look at the script it says Intermission. But that intermission was actually the end of the first film and the second one was called Milady’s Revenge.” [The Four Musketeers: Milady’s Revenge (1974)] The first two films had an incredible array of actors and movie stars. But the rapport among the cast was not the same as on an Altman set. “In particular, Faye Dunaway and Raquel Welch had this thing going. They were not too happy with each other, a bit competitive. Also it was shot more like a conventional film, we weren’t all working together, we were all living in different places. I was living at home because it was shot in Spain.”‘ — Geraldine Chaplin

Royal Film Premiere – In Colour – 1974


Carlos Saura Cría cuervos … (1975)
‘Appropriately for a film made in Spain immediately following Franco’s death, Cría cuervos . . . is about emerging from shadows. Saura burrows into the subjectivity of an eight-year-old named Ana (played by The Spirit of the Beehive’s extraordinary Ana Torrent), who is suffering a trauma. The middle of three sisters who have lost both their parents to separate natural causes, she is haunted by the memory of her dead mother, who was stricken with cancer. Though in a sense the film belongs to the enigmatic, saucer-eyed Torrent, who takes in the world around her with a gaze that fluctuates between mischievous and mercenary, it is unthinkable without the sublime Chaplin, who embodies both the mother (seen in flashbacks, and by Ana as a wraith wandering the halls of her home) and the grown Ana, speaking to the audience in a direct address from the future, with a graceful enchantment and melancholy that evoke the actress’s past as a dancer.’ — Michael Koresky



Robert Altman Nashville (1975)
Nashville is just as amazing as folks say it is, and much like Sidney Lumet’s Network — which was released just a year after — it only becomes more relevant as time goes by. As Geraldine Chaplin has said, politics haven’t changed since the film’s premiere. Just as Hal Phillip Walker’s Replacement Party propaganda rings through the streets from loudspeakers attached to his van, political opinions are forced on us today. And yet, some of the sentiments in his statements still ring true, as is the case with good political satire. “All of us are deeply involved with politics whether we know it or not and whether we like it or not,” he preached. It’s damn true, just as the characters in the film are all connected whether or not they know it and and whether or not they like it. That’s exactly what Altman does best; he handles these immense, free-wheeling narratives, tying them together with his ensemble casts. While many of the people that populate his film begin as caricatures, they emerge as nuanced, complex characters by the end of the film. By the end of Nashville’s almost three-hour running time, the audience has become well-acquainted with these weird folks; and they’re not always easy characters to get attached to.’ — Miami New Times




Alan Rudolph Welcome to L.A. (1976)
‘Writer-director Alan Rudolph made a couple of minor horror movies before becoming an assistant to Robert Altman, who produced Rudolph’s first personal feature, Welcome to L.A. In 1977, viewers must have thought they were watching an Altman film: multiple plotlines with criss-crossing characters of questionable behavior, observed with a roving camera that sometimes dollies in on a face, and held together by musical interludes—in this case, songs performed by Richard Baskin in studio sessions. It’s even got several Altman actors: Geraldine Chaplin, Keith Carradine, Sally Kellerman, Sissy Spacek. Rudolph is clearly influenced by his mentor, but just as clearly Rudolph claims his territory: lonely souls searching restlessly for love or a reasonable facsimile.’ — Pop Matters



Jacques Rivette Noroît (1976)
‘How wondrously weird a concoction this is! A swashbuckling, all-woman pirate melodrama in 70s Jacobean drag. (OK, we see a few men round the edges, but their role is purely decorative – like Olivia de Havilland in an old Errol Flynn movie.) It’s been adapted very freely from Cyril Tourneur’s play The Revenger’s Tragedy, so the soundtrack shifts from French into English for the more lyrical bits of verse. Music is provided by an on-screen chamber orchestra, fiddling away in a corner of a dank Breton castle. “No,” you decide every five minutes or so. “It cannot possibly get any more bizarre than this!” Lo and behold, it promptly does. Bernadette Laffont makes a splendidly wicked Pirate Queen, in the cross-dressing tradition of Joan Crawford in Johnny Guitar or Barbara Stanwyck in Forty Guns. The normally fragile and tremulous Geraldine Chaplin makes a suprisingly ruthless, full-blooded avenger. She must have the most wonderfully long, sinuous hands of any screen performer since Max Schreck in Nosferatu.’ — David Melville



James Ivory Roseland (1977)
Roseland is a 1977 Merchant Ivory Productions’ anthology film with a screenplay by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala. It was directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant. The film is made up of three connected short features, The Waltz, The Hustle and The Peabody. All three stories share a theme of the protagonists trying to find the right dance partner, and all are set in the Roseland Ballroom in New York City. Roseland was filmed in an almost pseudo-documentary style as an exploration of the lives of Roseland’s customers. The vignettes are also purportedly based on true stories. Filming took place almost entirely in the Roseland Ballroom.’ — collaged



Alan Rudolph Remember My Name (1978)
‘This disquieting domestic thriller from writer and director Alan Rudolph was produced by his long-time mentor Robert Altman. Anthony Perkins stars as Neil Curry, a construction worker living happily in suburbia with his wife Barbara (Berry Berenson) until their home becomes vandalized during the holiday season by a stalker. It seems that the assailant, Emily (Geraldine Chaplin), is Neil’s chain-smoking, mentally disturbed ex-wife, who has just been released from jail after serving a long sentence for murder. Now she seems to be both seeking revenge for some past wrongs and attempting to win Neil back at the same time.’ — collaged



Robert Altman A Wedding (1978)
‘There are several problems with A Wedding. First the cast is just too large. Having many actors together in one place and/or following numerous story threads, was (along with his technique of layering the dialogue) a trademark for Altman, but this time he overdoes it. Some 48 actors are used and most of them have speaking parts. This does not allow time for any one storyline to be fully explored. The camera roams around the mansion seemingly at random, zooming in here, panning over there, never staying in one place very long. This is very much Robert Altman’s style of filmmaking but it points out one of his most common flaws, namely, the lack of a strong script. His best movies are when his unique style was applied to a decent storyline with memorable dialogue. Here the script seems to meander pointlessly. We get to briefly know these characters, (none of whom are all that likable, several are downright pathetic, and the more interesting ones, like the white daughter and the black butler having a clandestine romance, are barely touched on) but there is no real dramatic arc.’ — Three Movie Buffs



Claude Lelouche Les Uns et les Autres (1981)
Les Uns et les Autres is a 1981 French film by Claude Lelouch. The film is a musical epic and it is widely considered as the director’s best work with Un Homme et une Femme. It won the Technical Grand Prize at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival. In the United States, it was distributed under the name Boléro in reference to Maurice Ravel’s orchestral piece, used in the film. The film was very successful in France with 3,234,549 admissions and was the 6th highest grossing film of the year.’ — collaged



Alain Resnais Life Is a Bed of Roses (1983)
‘These are some of the peppiest moments in Resnais’s entire oeuvre, sans a late-career foray into outright comedy. The structure, time jumping, and free-associating most closely resembles that of Luis Buñuel’s The Phantom of Liberty, though Resnais and Gruault’s work is decidedly less anarchic or madcap. Nevertheless, when characters break into song, it’s as if the influences shift from Buñuel to Jacques Demy, with the vibrant colors seemingly plucked straight from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg. Other influential directors like Georges Méliès, Marcel Herbier, or Eric Rohmer deserve citation here, but Demy’s work beckons to be more directly reconciled, especially considering the end of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, where the film’s lovers reveal, after being broken apart, that each of them has a child, one named François, the other Françoise. The moment is borderline surreal, not least because the names substantiate French idolatry. Resnais arrives at a similar conclusion, as three children sit in a tree; one says, “Life isn’t a fairy tale.” When another asks what that means, he replies, “We’ll know when we grow up.” The burden of time only ingratiates fantasy, so that even when adults eventually don suits and dresses, as they do in Last Year at Marienbad, they still only know how to engage in schoolyard activities, asking questions that have no answers and playing games that can’t be won.’ — Slant Magazine



Jacques Rivette Love on the Ground (1983)
Love on the Ground’s progression is some stumbling version of art imitating life becoming life imitating art as the play (built on life) bleeds back into the relationships of the new performers. It’s certainly messy, but when great—really great—filmmakers drop bad films, would that they all looked a bit like Love on the Ground. From what little I’ve been able read about in the scattered Rivette literature available, it isn’t one of the better regarded of his oeuvre, with some arguing that it cribs too liberally from the Celine and Julie Go Boating playbook, others questioning what it all amounts to (Keith Uhlich waxes a little silly over at Slant: “Possessing all the interior profundity of a wiffle ball”). Can’t wholeheartedly disagree with either point, except with a fairly mild “So what?” I wouldn’t mind if Love were an hour longer (there’s a rumored three-hour cut circulating)—its final portions feel somewhat inadequately prepared for, but when too few films bother to ask any questions (or answer them) at all, I’ll gladly luxuriate in a bit of mercurial riddle making. If Rivette doesn’t want to provide us with the solution, much less all of the clues here, how does that make Love on the Ground that much different than any of his other films?’ — Jeff Reichert



Martin Scorcese The Age of Innocence (1993)
‘In Martin Scorsese’s luxuriantly subtle adaptation of the Edith Wharton novel, the characters almost never say what they’re thinking. Instead, they allude to it-playfully, elliptically, maliciously, in language contrived not to seem the least bit ”unpleasant.” The hero, Newland Archer (Daniel Day-Lewis), is a proper young lawyer in 1870s New York who is drawn, with a primal romantic fervor, to his fiancee’s cousin (Michelle Pfeiffer), a free-spirited American now fleeing her marriage to a European nobleman. Yet her divorce would be such a scandal, and Archer is so ruled by convention, that their love is an impossibility. Up through its first half, The Age of Innocence is a masterfully orchestrated tale of romantic yearning.’ — Entertainment Weekly



Jodie Foster Home for the Holidays (1995)
‘Tolstoy said that all happy families are alike, and Home for the Holidays strives to make this unhappy one as freaky as possible: a menagerie of jabbering wrecks, isolated in the very abundance of their missed connections. Yet the film insists on dramatizing this emotional crazy quilt in a way that’s nearly as unstable as the Larsons themselves. Foster, working from a patchy, meandering script by W.D. Richter, produces scene after scene of rudderless banter. The movie is all asides, all nattering; the actors seem lost in their busy, fractious shticks. At Thanksgiving dinner, loony old Aunt Glady (Geraldine Chaplin) breaks into a daft chorus of ”A Bicycle Built for Two.” Tommy, after ”accidentally” dumping the turkey into Joanne’s lap, proceeds to pour the stuffing on her head. Does this sound like your family? Like anybody’s?’ — EW



Pedro Almodovar Talk to Her (2002)
‘I was buying a newspaper at a kiosk in Madrid when I ran into Pedro, who said, ‘Give me your phone number.’ Well, it seemed like I waited three months by the phone for a call, and when it came I was sure it was for an invitation to a premiere for one his films, but then I thought, ‘Wait a minute, he doesn’t have a film coming out!’ He asked me if he could send me a script, but I immediately said yes to the part sight unseen. Pedro reminded me of my father. He could make you laugh, then cry and then laugh again. He’ll do all the parts, he’ll show you how to do it. He has a knack of explaining a character to you like a snake putting you under a spell, yet he is open to any kind of suggestions, then takes them and makes them better. He’s the greatest director alive.’ — Geraldine Chaplin



Jane Birkin Boxes (2007)
Boxes (French: Les Boites) is a 2007 French film and the directorial debut of Jane Birkin. Birkin also stars alongside Geraldine Chaplin and Michel Piccoli. The film is based on Birkin’s own family life, chronicling three marriages and the three children she bore from these marriages. The title alludes to the way in which she compartmentalises these relationships and stages of her life. The film was nominated for the Grand Prix at the Bratislava International Film Festival. The film was screened in Un Certain Regard at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival on 21 May. It was released in France on 6 June 2007.’ — Wikipedia



Guy Maddin The Forbidden Room (2015)
‘Guy Maddin fans know that this Manitoban is not just a filmmaker; he is also a religion. His latest, The Forbidden Room, is hilariously hyperactive and a relentless, mind-melting epic voyage. Submariners coping with dropping oxygen levels are baffled when a new passenger, a lost woodsman, suddenly appears aboard the doomed vessel. From that puzzling beginning erupts a riot of two-strip Technicolor and “lost” film fragments. The myriad subplots will leave viewers shocked one moment, baffled the next, laughing hysterically and then profoundly moved. In collaboration with co-director Evan Johnson, Maddin blends hallucinatory camerawork, florid production design and quicksilver editing to immerse actors and audience into an entirely “other” world. Psychotically designed into three acts, a methodical madness slowly reveals itself for those who dare to wander into this truly alternative experience. With a jaw-dropping cast that includes Udo Kier, Charlotte Rampling, Mathieu Amalric, Geraldine Chaplin and Maddin’s longtime muse Louis Negin, The Forbidden Room is a genuine cinematic treasure trove, a nostalgic throwback to 1920s Expressionist Silent cinema married to a 1960s underground “camp” aesthetic.’ —


Teaser trailer 1

Teaser trailer 2


Guy Maddin Seances (2016)
Seances, co-created with Evan Johnson and Galen Johnson, is experimental cinema for those who like drifting into a madhouse reverie, a strange almost hellishly-inscrutable dream from which there is no waking. It’s an endless hall of mirrors. No escape because there’s no exit. Technically, Seances is web-based avant-garde cinema art consisting of a large number of short silent films set to music, which are intermixed at random in bits and pieces by computer algorithms. Maddin shot the films, sometimes one each day, at the Phi Centre in Montreal and the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, with the participation of actors such as Charlotte Rampling, Geraldine Chaplin, and genre favorite Udo Keir, among many others. What’s most fascinating to me about the project is that when you visit the SEANCES website, it opens and fills your computer monitor. An odd title appears center screen, undulating, and then suddenly it changes to a different title. Sometimes the new title is completely different, other times only a few words change. When you click and hold down your cursor it’s as if a roulette wheel is spinning—whatever film is generated is usually a different length, with a title selected apparently at random, with scenes plucked willy-nilly and shown in an order that changes with every viewing. The movie you watch will never be seen by anyone else, nor will it exist after you are finished viewing it.’ — Boing Boing


Seances – Guy Maddin: Jour 1 / Day 1


J. A. Bayona Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
‘Having revived Steven Spielberg’s much-loved dinosaur blockbuster series with 2015’s Jurassic World, Trevorrow wanted to hand over a script for the sequel Fallen Kingdom that was tailored to the horror background of incoming director J.A. Bayona. The resulting film draws out elements of earlier Jurassic Park films that Trevorrow acknowledges were missing from the first Jurassic World. “What we didn’t have a lot of in that movie was suspense,” says Trevorrow, “and tight, claustrophobic terror.” By contrast, Fallen Kingdom sees “the walls close in around the characters.” To accomplish this, Trevorrow and his co-writer Derek Connolly abandoned the safe blockbuster screenwriting template. “The first one was a very audience-friendly movie,” Trevorrow says. “It was structured in a very American, kind of action/adventure way, and I wanted this to be different.”‘ — cnet





p.s. Hey. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Label loyalty is a rare and precious thing, so very lucky them. Hm, I’ll have a peek at the “suicide prank troll” youtube genre. Of interest, obviously. Thanks, yeah, my botched Mallorca trip was a drag, but apparently it went really well and has led to some future opportunities, so no huge big ultimately. ** David Ehrenstein, Ah, I think you might be right about that. Wow, cool about the Nico fest, and fingers crossed that you’re the introducer. The Balthus brouhaha is part and parcel of current trigger-unhappy madness. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Welcome back to you too! I’m good apart from being partly boiled alive by our current heatwave. Things went quite well at the Mallorca festival, Zac says. So it’s fine, all in all. Very interesting about the acting tutor. Yeah, go for it. I’m imagining it’s like learning writing in that you’ll end up learning skills that you can later partly abandon knowledgeably, if that makes sense. But I guess it depends on the style of acting that the tutor works with. Do you know? In any case, that is exciting! I can imagine it’ll help with the kind of anxiety you had with the trans group. I think it’s good to know how to perform who you are when need be. I took acting classes for a while when I was a kid. It didn’t end up being for me, but it’s true it might’ve helped me socially. Obviously, I’m super interested to hear how the first meeting with the tutor on Friday goes. I’m strangely not so tired, apart from heat exhaustion. I just saw a few moments ago that the initial comments from ARTE have now arrived in my inbox, and I’ve begun taking deep breaths waiting to open the email and see how much work they’re going to make us do on the TV script. Gulp. But stuff’s good. I hope you have a very wonderful Tuesday. Let me know the highlights (or more) of what happened when you get a chance. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. It’s so spooky to think these heatwaves are basically going to be coming and coming forever now. I don’t know. I’m battling our wave, but sans AC since it used to be that in Paris you never really needed it. Cool about the Rye Wax order. ** Kyler, Hi. People still like, buy, sell weird and interesting lighters. At least over here where smoking is not quite a dying art form yet. Thanks about the lost flight, but it’s all okay in the long run. I can’t wait to tell you the date when you will get to see our film! ** Misanthrope, Hi, G. Maybe lighters need an NRA type of organisation to posit that it’s the mental illness of the rare lighter owner that’s the problem but not the lighters. Zac more than held his own in Mallorca, it seems, no surprise. I can’t doze in general, but especially when my body is a pretzel in those space-impaired plane seats. I just watched a couple of movies (‘The Last Jedi’, ‘The Post’) and then my mind fuzzed out and I just stared blearily and angrily into space until touchdown. So glad you’re re-set. ** Okay. I’ve brought back Geraldine Chaplin Day for some reason, I guess because she’s a curious actor with an interesting and odd, all-over-the-place career or something. Check her out or pay her homage or whatever else. See you tomorrow.


  1. Steve Erickson

    Thrill Jockey seems extremely loyal to its artists. They have released every album by Tortoise (who were the biggest seller in their early days, I suspect, but are now way out of fashion) and the Sea and Cake and have supported Thalia Zedek’s projects since Come broke up. Their founder used to do A&R for Atlantic in the post-Nirvana salad days (I think she signed the Lemonheads) and then got laid off and worked for Pier Platters before she was able to make a living off Thrill Jockey.

    I am seeing Xavier Legrand’s CUSTODY today. I recall looking at the French box office chart a few months ago and realizing this was the only French film in the top 20 that I recognized and seemed credible.

    I’ve watched more “suicide prank” videos. There was one that pretty disturbing and well done, enough so that the director explained that the actor was using a realistic-looking BB gun with the CO2 charge that enables it to fire removed, where he went on a webcam chat site and played Russian roulette, opening up the chamber and inserting more bullets as the people with whom he was chatting freaked out. But I saw quite a few where someone simply goes on a chat site and plays a video of himself pointing a gun at his head. The one interesting thing about some of these video chat sites seem to have an audience of gay men looking for cybersex – the guys who come up are often shirtless, and although their cocks are out of frame, you can tell by their motions and breath that they’re jerking off. If I was planning to jerk off to a hot guy and I saw someone pointing a gun at his head instead, I’d lose my erection, at the very least.

  2. _Black_Acrylic

    Geraldine Chaplin seems to have an eventful and interesting CV which is no mean feat. Also cool that she’s still landing worthwhile roles late into her career.

    My friend and Yuck ‘n Yum colleague Alex Tobin has recently completed an online residency for a group called isthisit? with a project called itter. It creates generative text through autonomously produced Twitter accounts, and will do this forever or until he pulls the plug on it. Over the course of the month over 500 unique profiles were made, continuously tweeting and developing its own garbled language. I told him it’s an experimental novel for the online age and he can use that for the blurb haha.

    Not much to report here but I’m occasionally venturing outdoors despite the heatwave, like tomorrow morning I’ll be getting another of my regular MRI scans. As ever, I’ll choose an ABBA soundtrack for the hospital’s headphones.

  3. JM

    “For some reason” no this is cool maddin to bayona. Started reading Moby dick and it’s the most sensual sexy book so fun so so so fun. Bought horror hospital unplugged too yay.

  4. Cal Graves

    Hey Dennis,

    Hope you are doing well.
    Found a few good-looking flicks on here that Im definitely checking out; esp. Honeycomb. that clip has piqued a lot of interest.
    Do you like Guy Maddin’s work? I’ve seen The Forbidden Room and Keyhole by him and fell in love with them. I think about them often. Here’s a link to one of his shorts that I also enjoyed:
    Oh and thank you for the post yesterday, a few of those pics sparked some ideas for a short piece that I thought was long long dead.
    What have you been reading lately?


  5. David Ehrenstein

    “Remember My Name” and “Noroit” are my favorites

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