The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Léos Carax Day (Restored)

 

‘Leos Carax has ended up with one of the most blighted careers in movies. Seventeen years since his first feature, he has managed just three more films. Carax, who turns 40 in November, was hailed as the new Godard on the strength of his first two films, Boy Meets Girl (1983) and Mauvais Sang (1986). But then, in 1988, he hubristically embarked on Les Amants du Pont Neuf, building a vast Paris set in a field near Montpellier. Rumored to have cost 160 million French francs, the ecstatic romantic drama was a critical and commercial disaster that put Carax out of action for most of the ’90s. It remains an unsung classic—a paean to pure cinema that quotes Chaplin’s City Lights and Vigo’s L’Atalante (though Carax denied the latter’s influence).

‘In contrast, his most recent film Pola X is a threnody of self-pitying, self-destructive romanticism culled from Herman Melville’s corrosive 1852 Gothic satire, Pierre, in which an idealistic young writer becomes besotted with a woman claiming to be his sister. Guillaume Depardieu plays the château-dwelling literary star who takes up with Isabelle, a vagrant who says they have the same father. Played by the heavy-lidded Katerina Golubeva, she’s a refugee from the war in Bosnia and, perhaps, a ghost. He takes her to Paris, where brother and sister have sex and are consumed by the shadows of the past.

‘Even though Leos Carax’s work shows remarkable erudition and an excessive use of intertextuality, his are not films only for movie fans. References and quotes emerge compulsively. He quotes, not intellectually, but emotionally. He does not want us to think about the reference but evoke the feeling emerging from it. The quote in Carax is not between brackets, but articulated inside the sentence, without commas, without full stops, integrated without distorting the narration. He manages to articulate intertextuality in a way that appeals not to movie fans’ memory, but to human emotion.

‘Carax proposes a dispersed cinema, instead of a strictly directed one – to direct is inevitable, the issue is to not do it in a straight line. Especially in Boy Meets Girl and Mauvais sang, he opens up possible worlds to be inhabited for a limited time, with no need for a full understanding of whatever happens, as in life itself. It is not about avoiding any interpretation at all, it is about not trying to uncover the key, to reach the truth of the work. Interpretation is a game, not a tool for disentangling. It is not about taming the film, it must be free and independent. Poetry seeks the senses before it makes sense.’ — collaged from texts by Graham Fuller & Christian Checa Bañuz

 

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Stills
































































 

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Further

Leos Carax @ Senses of Cinema
Leos Carax Discussion Forum
The Fall and Rise of Leos Carax
Leos Carax @ film reference
Leos Carax interviewed @ Artificial Eye
The Leos Carax Collection (DVD)
mp3: How to pronounce Leos Carax in French
‘Quelqu’un m’a dit’
Leos Carax @ IMDB

 

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Extras


Hommage à Léos Carax


Leos Carax interviewed by Philippe Garrel (1989)


Epstein, Cocteau, Godard… by Leos Carax


Screen and Surface, Soft and Hard: The Cinema of Leos Carax (II)


Leos Carax, The Opening Conversation with

 

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Interview
from Indiewire

 

This is your first feature in 13 years and certainly your most ambitious work. How did you expect people would receive “Holy Motors” when it first premiered at Cannes?

The film was imagined very quickly. I thought it would be really difficult, that it would be too strange for people.

Were you nervous?

No. I just thought, “There’s really nothing I can do right now.”

It’s no secret that you aren’t crazy about doing interviews and especially loathe being asked to interpret your work. But “Holy Motors” is a movie that forces people to try to understand it.

I mostly don’t submit to talking about my work because I would like another talk about real life. I don’t think men were meant to be interviewed.

But men have been talking about art ever since they created it.

Men talk about art, and artists make art, but should artists talk?

How did you get around the need to explain “Holy Motors” when you were in earlier conversations about the movie with investors and producers?

I started making films when I was young, and at the time it was a compete bluff. I had never made a movie. I had studied films but I had never been on the set of one. When I made my first film, I had hardly ever seen a camera before, and I was a young man when I arrived in Paris from the suburbs. At the time, I didn’t talk much. I was very shy, so the bluff served me. I was telling people that I had no money, and that I knew how to make films, but I had no proof. I was lucky to find people who believed in me. Very few filmmakers are good at talking about their work, very few artists are good at talking about their work.

Still, it’s impossible not to feel the need to interpret “Holy Motors” and get the sense that it’s being fueled by big ideas. When you watch it, are there ideas that speak to you that you feel are worthy of analysis?

I spent so little time imagining the film. The whole thing took two weeks. It was a race. I didn’t watch my dailies, I didn’t read exactly what I was doing. I only went over it at the editing table. Although I don’t make films for anybody, I do make films, therefore I do make them for someone: I make them for the dead. But then I show them to living people that I start to think about while I’m editing — who’ll watch them? So I start to get more reflexive at the editing table. Why did I imagine this science-fiction word? I did invent a genre that doesn’t exist. But I don’t have the real answers.

But what does the totality of the film say to you?

In this world I invented, it’s a way of telling the experience of a life without using a classical narrative, without using flashbacks. It’s trying to have the whole range of human experience in a day.

You mean the notion of life being a succession of different attitudes and tones. The film also deals with virtual reality in several ways. In the Internet era, identity has slippery definition.

I’ve always been interested in invisible worlds, and I like to visit digital worlds, you know, any world that’s imposed on us. I’m not against the virtual world, it’s fascinating, but I don’t like the way they try to impose it on us. It’s a thing imposed by rich countries. They want a new experience, they want action, they want to be responsible for our lives and be responsible for what we do, and to encourage every aspect in the republic, even for kids still in school. It’s a big political system. I have nephews who are between the ages of 12 and 25 years old. They have trouble experiencing life. The virtual world is not the enemy. The pioneers invented a world they believed in, but the followers must follow that world whether they believe in it or not.

It’s interesting to hear you talk about the film as science fiction since I know you have an affinity for the genre. In a recent profile in the New York Times, you expressed an affinity for “Chronicle.”

I don’t know, I’m not a cinephile. I watched a lot of films when I was young.

What sci-fi films appealed to you then?

I like tragedies, whether they’re sci-fi or something else, but I can’t say I know much about any genre in particular. My second film, “Mauvais Sang,” was science fiction. With “Holy Motors,” the way I imagined it, I had to go play with genre a bit because it’s supposed to be a sci-fi world. It’s not a real job. This character is supposed to go from life to life traveling in a limousine. I didn’t want every life to be the same degree of reality. Some are more fantastic and others are more realistic.

Denis Lavant plays so many different types of characters in the film. How did you get him to provide the character types that correlated with the images you had in mind?

Well, I’ve worked with him for almost 30 years now, although we don’t know each other in real life. We’re not friends or anything. We don’t have dinner together. We don’t really talk. I explain to him where he’s going to walk, how he’s going to dress. Although the film has been imagined for Denis, I didn’t have to know too many things. I imagined the film for him, but there were two or three scenes where I thought he couldn’t really play the part.

Which scenes?

Probably the father-daughter scene and hotel scene with the dying man and his young niece. He became a greater actor while I wasn’t making my films. I don’t know what happened to him in real life or in his work or both that made him an actor who could play any part, but now he can. When he was younger he was great but he was mostly physical — like a dancer, a sculptor — but now he can portray very human emotions.

I enjoyed seeing the Merde character that you first brought to life in the “Tokyo!” anthology film. But in that film, the character was very specifically meant to represent a certain kind of monster in that society. Initially you said you wanted to make a sequel entitled “Merde in USA.” Instead, you put him in “Holy Motors.” What kind of symbolic representation does he have here?

The only part of “Holy Motors” that predated the project was the part with Merde. It was supposed to be the opening scene of “Merde in the USA.” It was supposed to be here in SoHo, but it didn’t happen, and I wanted to work with Kate Moss again.

That part of the film does look like SoHo.

Well, I was going to create a post-9/11 feature, with all the kind of fear and silliness of it, and all the regression we all went through, down to everyone who was turning backs on babies — whether the government, Bush or Sarkozy — and also the terrorists themselves, how they managed to make us afraid of it happening again. I think it’s the first character who I see as equal to Denis: All the films I made earlier where Denis was called Alex were kind of imposed on him. I imposed these characters on Denis because I did it conventionally with language and cultures, but here we shared this character.

What about the other characters in the film? What sort of symbolic value do they have?

The first one [I imagined] was actually not Merde. It was the older woman, because I pass these women in Paris every day. That was an issue when I made “Lovers on the Bridge” because I was young and I didn’t know anybody in Paris. These old women were cross-eyed and were wandering down the street. Now, when I pass these women, I feel so amazing that they’re still alive, and there are a few of them. They all dress the same and look the same. Some of them are really sick. It’s impossible to think that anyone could be more foreign than these women living in this city, and that’s all that’s left of their lives. I thought at first maybe I’ll do a documentary on them and how could I relate to them. But then I realized I would never make this documentary because I would never be able to finish it. Instead, I made it a complete fiction. I made her played by Denis, and I put my words into her mouth. That’s how it started, and then the rich banker came after that. The rich banker transforms into a beggar. That idea of transformation was invigorating. I wanted to make this movie for a long time because people can be amazing: Sometimes they’re morbid and erotic and they want to be seen differently on the outside, and there’s kind of a virtual world there. It’s a life for rent for a few hours. That’s how it started.

I also found the structure of the film to be very operatic. All of your films have a close relationship with music.

I hope to make a film one day that will be music. I wanted life in music, that is what I wanted here.

Hence the accordion sequence.

Yes. I think music is the most beautiful part of life, but music doesn’t like me…

As a once-aspiring guitarist, I can relate.

I was one, too!

So we all know that there’s a reference to Georges Franju’s “Eyes Without a Face” in the film when Édith Scob puts on the same mask she wears in that film. When people ask you about this reference point or others, you try to avoid talking about it. But why? It’s such an explicit reference.

I don’t see it as a film of references. I mean, with the mask, I put it at the end of the shot, but it felt right because of the way the film was going. Towards the end of the production I made this mask that she put on when she says, “I’m coming home,” but I almost regret it now, because people keep asking me about it. I knew the things I was going to do with Denis, like I knew I was gonna do the thing with the treadmill and the virtual background. But the mask was the only thing in my film that was really explicitly arbitrary.

I know at least one 11-year-old who has seen the film and understood it. If children can understand “Holy Motors,” maybe it isn’t as much about film history as some have suggested. What do you think?

That’s the only good thing about traveling with the film. The film still exists in space and time. The further I go from home or from people who are obviously going to go see it, especially in New York and festivals or in Paris or a few other rich cities, people get the film. Most people get it. Someone says it’s so simple a kid would understand it, so bring your kid. but that’s the way I feel about my films: They’re very simple. If you’re looking hard, you can get lost in my films. But kids don’t get lost.

What kind of movie could you possibly make after this one?

I would like to make a superhero film. It takes years to do the superhero thing. You know, this guy suddenly has superpowers and he’s all of a sudden fighting the world. What’s nice in “Chronicle” is that when they do discover their powers, and they fly, they fly for a long time. When you have Spiderman flying, there are like two seconds of a shot, and it costs hundreds of millions for this one shot in 3D.

So Leos Carax is making a superhero movie?

Maybe. I don’t know if that will happen. I would like to make it un-American, but that doesn’t mean it has to be French, either.

You’ve said before that you don’t consider yourself a filmmaker. Has “Holy Motors” changed that?

No. I really don’t. It’s hard to call myself a filmmaker.

 

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12 of Leos Carax’s 13 films

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Boy Meets Girl (1984)
‘The revelation of the 1984 Cannes festival was this first feature by 23-year-old Leos Carax. In its fervor, film sense, cutting humor, and strong autobiographical slant, it suggests the first films of the French New Wave (there’s something in the arrogant iconoclasm that specifically recalls Godard), yet this isn’t a derivative film. Carax demonstrates a very personal, subtly disorienting sense of space in his captivating black-and-white images, and the sound track has been constructed with an equally dense expressivity. The hero is a surly young outsider who has just been abandoned by his girlfriend; as he moves through a nocturnal Paris, his adolescent disillusionment is amplified into a cosmic cry of pain. The subject invites charges of narcissism and immaturity, but Carax’ formal control and distance keep the confessional element in a state of constant critical tension. ‘ — Dave Kehr, Chicago Reader


Trailer


Excerpts


Excerpt

 

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Mauvais Sang (Bad Blood) (1986)
‘The second film in his so-called Alex trilogy, Leos Carax’s Mauvais Sang might be the most ecstatic entry in the French auteur’s sparse oeuvre. A movie brimming with giddy excess and hopeless romanticism, Mauvais Sang makes no apologies for privileging sentiment over sense. The improbable sci-fi plot is perfunctory pulp; it’s nothing more than an excuse to string together exhilarating bursts of movie-drunk moments. As in the other installments of the trilogy, Carax casts the remarkable Denis Lavant as his lead and alter ego, Alex (Carax’s given name). Young and impulsive, Alex is the quintessential Carax protagonist: a brooding and romantic obsessive searching restlessly for pure — and hence, fleeting — love. Paralleling this obsession is Carax’s own passion for cinema. If his whimsy and earnestness are redolent of silent film, his exploration of the expressive possibilities of the medium recalls the early French New Wave. The movie’s elliptical cutting, stylized mise-en-scיne, and sound-stage look cohere into a lyrical, pop-infused view of the world. Perhaps no scene encapsulates the movie’s spirit best than a rousing musical interlude. Carax’s tracking camera follows Alex as he staggers, limps, and finally breaks into a sprint on a deserted city street to David Bowie’s “Modern Love.” Anticipating a similar musical epiphany in his next film, The Lovers on the Bridge, the scene also captures the liberating audacity of Carax’s cockeyed romanticism.’ — Elbert Ventura, AMG


Trailer


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

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Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (1991)
‘The 1991 film Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (The Lovers on the Bridge) was one of the most expensive cinema productions ever undertaken in France. Building on the success, and the themes, of his two highly acclaimed films, Leos Carax set out to make a grand cinematic opus that would complete his work on the subject of love. It was beset by myriad filming difficulties, delays and funding problems, and then it flopped at the box office – effectively derailing his career for many years. To look back at the film now, or to stumble across it without knowledge of the catalogue of disasters that beset the production, is to discover a very different film. The photography is beautiful, and there are moments of divine pleasure scattered loosely throughout the film, such as the stunning fireworks display, and the water-skiing on the Seine. It’s such a shame the film hasn’t received its due credit. It really is an eccentric, stylistic, avant garde masterpiece.’ — suite101.com


Excerpt


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

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Sans Titre (1997)
‘In 1997, for its fiftieth anniversary, the Cannes Film Festival asked director Leos Carax for a short film; a visual postcard addressed to the festival in which the director could give news of himself and of his current project, Pola X. This official explanation almost suggests some slight, vaguely conventional documentary-like film piece, in which the filmmaker could pay lip-service to the festival organisers and discuss some of the greater trials and tribulations involved in getting his project off the ground. Instead, Sans Titre (1997) is a film that not only works in its own right – drawing us in with an enigmatic story presented in an entirely visual way – but also complimenting the themes and ideas behind the underrated masterwork that is Pola X, in such a way as to make it entirely essential.’ — Shorts Bay


the entire film

 

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Pola X (1999)
‘With Pola X, a noisy epic swirl of breast-beating, hair-tearing angst and portentous symbolism, the 39- year-old director Léos Carax captures the dubious title of French cinema’s reigning mad romantic. This sometimes intoxicating, often infuriating film about the frenzied downward spiral of a naïve young writer in search of ultimate truth was adapted from Melville’s 1852 novel, Pierre, or the Ambiguities. Like the replica of the Pont Neuf that dominated Mr. Carax’s last film, the notoriously expensive and hyper-romantic Lovers on the Bridge, the warehouse is this movie’s coup de cinéma. With its yard guarded by howling black dogs straining at their leashes, the place suggests a giant, festering Pandora’s box that harbors all the emotional, spiritual and political ills of the world. In the heart of this structure, connected to the outside world by a narrow metal bridge, a gaunt, wild- eyed conductor leads an orchestra in an ear-splitting symphony of industrial rock by the cult music artist Scott Walker.’ — Janet Maslin, NYT


the entire film

 

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My Last Minute (2006)
‘Carax was asked for a one minute film, by the Vienna Film Festival. The last minute in a man’s life.’ — collaged


the entire film

 

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Crystal, by New Order (2005)
‘Alternate video for the song Crystal by New Order done by Leos Carax. This was sent as a joke to the producers.’ — Spotnik


the entire film

 

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Merde (2008)
‘One of the strangest anthology films of recent memory, Tokyo! unites the distinctive visions of three individualistic filmmakers: Michel Gondry, Leos Carax and Bong Joon-Ho. Each short explores Japan’s central metropolis through surrealist plots and alienated characters. Needless to say, it’s not your average tourist video. Leos Carax: Merde is not about Tokyo. I have no fascination with Tokyo. When the producers proposed that I write something very fast to be shot in Tokyo, I said yes, just to get back to work. The story didn’t have anything to do with Tokyo. It could have been any big city in the world. It’s not a filmmaker’s project; it’s a producer’s project. I did use some elements from Japan—that it’s an island, being repressed, having almost no foreigners. It’s a very racist, conservative country. It’s all about regression. Merde [the troll character] is a child. The whole society around him is childish. I think this came from a time of fear — of terrorism, of war, and how we all regressed around that to a bunch of children in the dark.’ — NYPress


the entire film

 

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Holy Motors (2012)
‘Making movies is like playing a musical instrument—it helps to stay in practice. That’s why it’s such a wondrous surprise that Leos Carax’s new film, “Holy Motors” (which opens today at Film Forum and Film Society of Lincoln Center), seems at once so precise and so freewheeling, so exactingly conceived and yet so spontaneous. It’s the work of a filmmaker past fifty who hasn’t made a feature in thirteen years, and who at the start of the film, he dramatizes his own isolation and reëmergence in a scene that shows his hesitant, discreet return to a movie theatre. Despite or perhaps because of the passage of time, Carax has made a film of an extraordinarily youthful vigor. It’s all the more astonishing in that his subject is age, along with its inevitable frustration, degradation, disappointment, regret, and loss. It’s also a paean to a life in the cinema—not one devoid of sentimentality, but one in which the sentimentality is intensely and precisely motivated, like old war stories, by the price it exacts. It’s a movie that arises after the end of cinema, a phoenix of a new cinema. Few films have dramatized as wisely and as poignantly the art that, like the two reels at each end of the camera and the projector, gives with one hand and takes with the other. And few films give so harrowing a sense of staring death in the face and so exhilarating a sense of coming back to tell the tale with a self-deprecating whimsy.’ — Richard Brody, The New Yorker


Trailer


Excerpt


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

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Gradiva (2014)
‘Galerie Gradiva, a swanky, new Parisian gallery, hired Leos Carax to fashion a promotional riff on Boy Meets Girl ahead of its opening on May 28th. Shooting within the newly furbished space, Carax crafts a cutely subversive portrait of man and woman as nude model (NSFW?) and legendary sculpture. Fed up with his status as gallery poster boy, Rodin’s “The Thinker” airs his grievances to his partner, as Carax animates the bronze with both dialogue and camera movement. The miniature of Rodin’s masterwork is just one of many notable pieces in the gallery that features Dali, Picasso, Kandinsky, Matisse and so forth.’ — Filmmaker


the entire film

 

p.s. Hey. ** Michael, Michael! It’s you, the honorable maestro of music Michael Cameron, yes? Honored, sir. And thank you a ton for the adds. Ah, Further, I told spaced on them when I making that post. I loved them. Cool, thanks again, man, Happy day! ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Cool, glad it coincided with your history. Ah, I’m listening to Naaahh a bunch myself right now, and I just lodged a track of theirs in the next ‘current day’ music gig coming this week. I’ll check the reissued Italo classic. Thanks, pal. ** Raymond, Hi, R. Newness is always the best, so happy to have provided some. Yeah, that does sound very involving, the pre-labour stuff. What’s the latest? Are you making it through with flying colors, or rather flying colours? Fantastic, thank you a lot for finding those clips and sharing them. I was going to start my hunting today. Really kind of you. Scout Niblett, wow. That’s someone I haven’t thought about in ages. Interesting. A nice, even if differently era-ed, add. I guess I would be surprised if that anthology is still in print, but it could easily be a cheap find. Anthologies tend to really die when they go out of print. Very ‘of the moment’ things, I guess. I’ve read a little of Ed Atkins’ writings, and I’ve liked them too and have meant to read more. Funny/interesting what you say about the art context possibly being a better locale for UK writing than the trad area. Until the current renaissance of amazing new US fiction writers and poets started up about eight our so years ago, I probably would have said the same about writing in the US. Wow, what a beautiful Juan José Saer quote. Thank you for that gift. Really makes me want to go read him more thoroughly. Perhaps I will. Good Monday to you. ** Jonathan, Thanks a ton, J-ster. Rock was cooking back then. Crazy to go back and remember how vital guitar/rock based music can be. Been a while since that was true. There was a Matador sampler that intro’d me to a bunch of great bands too. I wonder if it was the same one. I can’t remember the title. Cat Power used to be so amazing. I miss her peak. Hope the rendering somehow suggests a beautiful landscape at whose mysteries you feel like you could gawk forever. ** David Ehrenstein, Hi, Mr. E. Variety of times and forms is the musical spice of life for sure. ** James Nulick, Hi. I was never into Liz Phair, sorry. To me the glaring hole in that post is Sleater Kinney, but I was sticking to songs that got to me at the time, and I weirdly didn’t get into SK until post-90. I look forward to scrolling down to your list. And now I’ve reached it. Nice, nice. Two GbVs = very nice. I’ll hit the links of the stuff I don’t know as soon as I get freed from all of this typing that currently prevents me. Thanks, James! ** B.R.Y., Hey! Totally agree with you about Swirlies. Yeah, ‘Sleepytime’ is a great song. Pinback is one of my all-time favorite bands. I still listen to their first three albums all the time, which I can’t say about the vast majority of stuff from that era. Oh, and Hum yes. How could I have forgotten and not included them?  Excellent call. Thanks, I’m good, and I hope you are too, despite the world. ** Tosh Berman, Hi, Tosh. Oh, interesting. Somehow I would have thought you would really like Pavement in particular what with their genius level and very literary lyrics if nothing else. But I was a mega-indie rock guy at the time, swallowing everything in that area that showed up. I agree about how to see Conner’s films. At the same time, I guess I do think that seeing them is valuable enough that, if you’re not in one of the few major cities where you might get a rare chance to see them projected, an imperfect way in is a lot better than depriving yourself entirely. ** Sypha, Hi. Yeah, I can’t remember you ever talking about music from the indie rock ‘genre’. Ha ha, no, Depeche Mode wouldn’t qualify as indie rock. I think they get housed in the ‘alternative rock’ category though. I was quite into Peter Gabriel-era Genesis at the time, but when I re-listened to it later, I only found isolated songs interesting. But I’ll still take them in that era even at their loopiest over anything Genesis did after Gabriel left. ** MANCY, Hi, S! Great list! I’m down with it all. Wow, how did I forget Bikini Kill. And Versus. Thank you a lot, man, and for liking Revolver too. What’s going on with you and yours? ** B, Hi. Ha, that’s okay, I think ‘Death Spiral’ is used to being brushed aside by now. Yes, we’re thrilled to have our film’s main guy, but we have shit ton to do, so we’ve had to cease our celebrating. Hope you had a really cool time with the city and via your double feature. ** Jamie, Yolo, Jamie! Great about your great Writing Gang hook up! My weekend was the usual film prep work mainly — man, is there a lot to do, whew — and seeing a performance of Gisele’s and my first collab theater work ‘I Apologize’, which I hadn’t seen in, like, 6 or 7 years. Wow, it seems really young and early and punk to me compared to our later work, but people seemed to like it a lot, so that’s what it’s all about, I guess. I get the feeling that it was easier in the States to be simultaneously into indie rock and techno/ electronic/ rave than in the UK where, and tell me if I’m wrong, it seemed like it was uncool or weird not to choose sides or something. I feel like, as a mere reader/watcher of the UK music scene, there’s a big competitive thing that people there like to get into, a la, to choose an obvious example, that whole Blur vs. Oasis thing back when. Am I wrong? I think the post was inspired by my sitting in a cafe here where they were playing a Pavement album, and it made me think about how incredible (to me) they are/were, which lead me to think about the context in which they were making their music, and … voila! Yes, whenever you guys sort out a Paris visit time, just give me a shout, and I’ll block out the dates. The only thing that getting the guy we got for our lead actor changed in the script is that we originally had the character being both physically handicapped and neurologically messed up from an earlier serious accident in his life, and we took out the physically handicapped part since our actor isn’t. Otherwise, it’s almost eerie how much he is exactly like the character we had imagined. I hope your trip away today goes really well. How is it? Me: we have a lot of film stuff to do, and I’m looking at some possible new apartments today, and I’m ‘praying’ — but not holding my breath — that we me might get an answer about the TV series. We’ll see. Safe trip! Love, me. ** Dóra Grőber, Hi! Thank for the Soul Coughing song link. I don’t know it, but I will very soon. Well, if you were here and spoke fluent French, we would schedule you for an audition, you can be sure. And you could watch/help in any case. Maybe next time. My arm is, I think, getting better. It’s a little hard to tell, but I sense that it maybe is. Nice weekend you had. Mine was pretty good. I guess I spelled it out to someone up above. How did today treat you? ** New Juche, Hi. The ‘Barely Real’ EP is my favorite Codeine too, but I do like their albums. My weekend was pretty allright. How was yours? ** Steevee, Hi. It’s complicated enough to know how to do the right thing with someone who’s feeling suicidal when you can be with them much less on social media where there’s nothing but what they choose to type to go by. Unless it’s someone I know well in the flesh, I try to stay away from that stuff. But who knows what the right thing to do is. ** Chris dankland, Hi, Chris! So happy you liked the gig. I like that Dinosaur Jr. track a lot too, obviously. It’s unusual for them/him, but I like them in general too. Drive Like Jehu are a rush! Me too, as you know, about getting a ton of inspiration and, of course, pleasure from music. It’s been kind of a main go-to muse for me and for my writing for, well, forever. And yep, def., about Fugazi. You’re always so generous and kind about the blog, and I so totally appreciate it, man. It really makes all the work it takes well worth it. How are you doing? How is your writing going? And everything? Have a massvely good start to your week! ** Okay. Someone here or somewhere asked me to restore the Leos Carax post from my murdered blog, and, obviously, I was happy to do that. Today, in fact. See you tomorrow.

15 Comments

  1. David Ehrenstein

    I first met Oscar Alexandre Dupont (his real name) back when “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” was released. Juliette Binoche was in L.A. for a press event and she was carrying Oscar around like a clutch-purse. I was the only person there from the media who knew who he was. he was still trying to finish “Les Amants du Pont Neuf.” I next saw him about a yearlater at the Chateau Marmont. I had gone to interview Gus there and Oscar was in the lobby. He told me he was having a screening at Universal that night and he wanted me to come. So I saw “Les Amants” for the firt time on an enormous screen. That’s really the best way to see it. Indeed it’s the best way to see any number of films: “Playtime,” “Lawrence of Arabia,” “2001,” “Les Demoiselles du Rochefort.” par example. Oscar is terribly sweet and steeped in Melville. “POLA X” statins for “Pierre our les Ambiguities 10th Draft” “Holy Motors” is a version of “The Confidence-Man: His Masquerade”

  2. David Ehrenstein

    Here’s Kylie Minogue’s big number from “Holy Motor” It reminds me of the West side piers in the old days.

  3. Tosh Berman

    Carax is working with Ron and Russell Mael (Sparks) for his next film. I think he starts filming this spring. A musical. I’m excited.

  4. Bill

    Great to see this revival! And the great news from Tosh, wow. It’s been a few years since Holy Motors.

    Thanks for all the blasts from the past, Dennis. I’m listening and waxing nostalgic.

    Congratulations on getting your lead guy. And sorry to hear about the impetigo. A few years ago, some of my students were working in a group project, and couldn’t think of a name; so I named them… Impetigo. Sorry.

    Bill

  5. Dóra Grőber

    Hi!

    You’re welcome, I hope you liked it!
    There’s no other way: I have to refresh my French and then I’ll go to your next audition, haha!
    I’m glad your arm is getting better! I hope the whole thing goes away soon!
    I spent my day helping out my mother who had to visit a few shops that sell her ceramics so I wouldn’t call it too exciting but I bought this book ‘A Mother’s Reckoning’ which I’ve been interested in since the first time I heard about it. I’m pretty curious.
    How was your day? I hope it was great!!

  6. New Juche

    Hey Dennis

    Weekend was work, work, work. But that’s ok, I’m on target.

    A while back you did a post on a filmmaker, some of whose short films were shot in Southeast Asia. Another was shot out of a window in Tibet I think, and yet another was of water at night. Who was that?

    Thanks

    J

  7. chris dankland

    i keep meaning to watch Holy Motors !! that’s been on my to-watch list for years now. maybe next weekend i’ll watch it, i really want to. Boy Meets Girl looks interesting too, i’ll try to check that out. i liked the textures video u posted.

    i spent some time with Death Spiral today. i’m getting caught up on the blog, the last couple weeks the news has been taking up so much of my attention. my brain has basically just been manically fruit fly circling the garbage can of american politics. it’s nice to concentrate on other things.

    i remember u saying in interviews that u were starting to feel like u were beginning to exhaust the possibilities of the gif form, do u feel like this piece has done something different from the other ones? i’m interested b/c i feel like with the gifs ur working with hieroglyphics or something, or inventing a new language as u go along. i’m interested to hear how u think they’re developing, or if u feel more like ur figuring out better or more interesting ways to do similar things, if that makes sense.

    these are some of my reactions to the piece, for whatever it’s worth:

    the titles are very important to me, i really focus on them & keep them in mind while reading the gifs. i love the gold theme, it made me think about the gold of heaven and also the gold of fire. i like the revolving a lot too. the revolving gif set was also really cool. i guess overall i felt like Death Spiral was like maybe more elemental than other gif pieces. although actually…now that i think about it, the wind gif piece also seemed very elemental. & also the white themed gif piece & the black themed gif piece. & maybe there would be other ones i’d describe that way too if i looked back through them.

    there’s the pattern of the person on top making the person on the bottom cry, and other instances that seem to point at characters or humans, but when i say elemental i mean like the gifs seemed more focused on sort of describing or enacting some primal elemental force like death or destruction itself. or like describing a process instead of telling a story, if that makes any sense.

    gravity causes fragments to collect and form spinning planets which create life, but that same movement also causes decay and death. so in a sense life is a death spiral from the very start. i also liked u including the dennis gifs, that reminded me a lot of your books.

    so anyway those were some of the things that went through my head while reading the new gif piece. what do u think? do u have a similar or different take on it?

    the last few weeks i haven’t been writing as much b/c the news is very distracting, but i’m starting to get back on track now. the book gathers speed in pretty much direct proportion to how much i stop caring about its audience or what will happen to the book once it’s finished, aka publication & all that. so i’m keeping that in mind, & trying my best to think about it as a deeply important personal project, like i’m just trying very hard to figure out some things for myself. right now i can’t worry about questions like is this entertaining enough or good enough or what would so and so think about it, and all that. anytime i start caring about those things i start wandering off course and the writing gets bad. so anyway it’s been going slower than i’d like, but overall i feel good about it. i feel very fulfilled when i spend time with it.

    i have one last question, this has been bothering me for awhile — do u know where this quote is from?

    http://teenagehallucination.tumblr.com/post/155958049285/i-found-god-and-god-is-not-in-religion-god-is

    i keep looking and looking for it, but i just can’t seem to find the original source. anyway it’s something i’ve been thinking a lot about. that’s a very beautiful and very interesting paragraph and i’d like to read it in context. if u don’t know the source off hand, no worries. thank u

    hope u have a good morning!

  8. Jamie

    Good day, Dennis! I hope that you’re not tired right now. I’m very tired right now. I’ve had a long day. How was yours?
    I think the only Carax thing I’ve seen is Merde, which I wasn’t so sure about. But I love the way he talks about making Holy Motors up there & now definitely want to see that.
    So good about your actor being such a good fit! I’m very pleased for you. And possibly some word from those dastardly TV folks? Fingers crossed into another dimension.
    Did you enjoy seeing ‘I Apologize’ or was it weirder than that?
    So so true about the UK indie/rock/techno divide! I couldn’t bear to hear a sung vocal or a strummed guitar by the deepest part of my techno phase. It was like my brain got rewired and all that guitar stuff just seemed so square. Yeah, rewired by drugs, I guess. But yeah, the Brits love a really black & white music-scene divide, eh?
    I hope all that movie planning goes well & you get some joy with the apartment hunting. I’m really looking forward to being back in Glasgow, where I’ll be when next I write.
    Happiest of Tuesdays to you,
    Crazy love,
    Jamie

  9. kier

    @B i know! that video is magical.

    hey agent coop, really great gig post this weekend and this restoration too! did u hear anything on the tv show? i feel like you’ve been waiting on word about that for forever! did the writing thing today at school, inspired by that video, it was great, thank you! i was thinking about that wrong/secretive vibe. it looks like an alley but on a rooftop, gotta be a liminal space, haha. i searched for john tuite on tumblr and saw he was in that really great marc jacobs fall 16 ad campaign that also starred cher and genesis p-orridge, that’s very cool. how do you know him? i might write again tomorrow, hit me up with a new thing? do you do the auditions all in french? how does that work for you n zac? does somebody else do the talking? i’m going home to stavanger for a week on wednesday, home as in my bestie(Birgitte)’s apartment, that’s gonna be really nice. she has a cat, and her downstairs neighbour has two cats that like to visit. one of them is some kind of fancy persian with a flat face who can’t really meow, just squeak, and sometimes he wakes us by squeaking outside our door. he’s a cutie, his name is marley. if you click my name here it’ll take you to my blog and he’s the second cat from the top haha. goin to visit the farm too, especially my best sheep silje. she’s been sheared since i was home last so she’ll be like half her size now. i told a teacher of mine about the film gig, and he said he has a friend who did a thing with you a while back in a pub in london where they had a telephone and people could call you all night? is that true?? haha sounds very you! have a really good tuesday, hugs

  10. _Black_Acrylic

    @ Tosh, that is some red hot news about a Mael bros / Carax showdown right there!

  11. Jeff J

    Hey Dennis – Lovely Carax day. Do you recall which film features the burning posters in the subway? An amazing GIF.

    Nice to see Pola X link – that’s been OOP for a while and the original DVD is pretty crappy. Hopefully there’s something better in store for that film. Have you seen the new-ish Carax doc Mr. X? If not, it’s worth tracking down. Weirdly, Netflix was streaming it for a while.

    Enjoyed the 90s music day. Lots of great tunes there. I’d forgotten about that 1st Portastatic album apart from ‘Naked Pilsners’ which was always my song on that record. Some 90’s fodder for me: Team Dresch’s “Fake Fight” from their great first album. Sleater-Kinney. Sarge’s The Glass Intact album. Some fab Chapel Hill bands who made worthy singles but crapped out on album: Picasso Trigger, Motorola, The Raymond Brake.

  12. Misanthrope

    Hello Dennis, I was busy as fuck this weekend…and my niece hogged my computer most of the time too for her new SIMS game. I’ve barely been on the ‘puter at all over the past couple days.

    And now I’ve come down with a bit of a cold…but I’m taking my Zicam (zinc treatment), so I should be fine.

    Yes, it’s so much about inflection with us Americans, no? Sometimes, it can be a visual cue too, like an expression. I think that’s why we see so much arguing on social media, even amongst people who agree. That tone is totally lost.

    I rarely get in an argument or heated discussion in person. We can hear and see that we’re not angry and that we’re using words in a certain, non-threatening, non-confrontational way, even though the same words online would spark the outrage of the masses.

    No, all interesting stuff that.

    Oh, and this is what I was thinking. I want your -and anyone else’s- opinion. I’ve noticed in the reading I’ve done and the interviews I’ve watched and all that, that English speakers, writers, intellectuals, et al, with a good background in Latin seem to have a better command of English and its usage. What do you think?

  13. steevee

    It was so hard to see Carax’s films in the U.S. that it’s really refreshing to have BOY MEETS GIRL & MAUVAIS SANG readily available following a theatrical release. Miramax released LES AMANTS DU PONT-NEUF in 1999; have they ever put it on DVD? I’ve heard that the reason it took so long to get a US release was not distributor apathy but the fact that its French release lost so much money that the sales agent wanted an outrageous sum for the US rights for years.

    Here’s my interview with Kristi Jacobson about her film SOLITARY, which airs on HBO tonight: http://www.studiodaily.com/2017/02/director-kristi-jacobson-on-solitary/

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