DC's

The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Nastassja Kinski Day

 

‘Nastassja Kinski was 15 when she was put in juvenile prison. For years she had been stealing, shoplifting little presents for her mother, the sorts of things her father would once come home with – bits of jewellery, watches, chains – things she believed would make her mother happy again, “like I remembered her when I was little”. As though these things were as central to her mother as food. A lot of the time she would get away with it, but at other times she was caught, and then there would be paperwork and forms to fill in and visits to the police to be made. “Except mum wouldn’t take me. I think she thought it would go away. Then I started doing movies.”

‘And so, when she was spotted by Wim Wenders’ wife at a rock-and-roll competition and offered a part in Wenders’ film, Wrong Movement, she said, “Yes”. In fact what she actually said was: “You’ll have to ask my mum.” Which is just poignant and sad. There followed, at age 14, a lead part in Reifenzeugnis, a hugely successful series on German television, directed by Wolfgang Petersen, later of Das Boot fame; she was cast as a schoolgirl who has a love affair with her teacher. Already, it was apparent, this strange tension in her nature: the child who grew up too fast. Already, this was being translated, by the adults around her, into a mystery, a seduction: the child as savage in relation to the world, unleashing uncontrollable primeval urges.

‘How much did she know of what was being made of her? Probably very little. She was no Bardot, no wild creature of the elements. Bardot came from a bourgeois background, she knew enough of the rules to be able to jettison them. Nastassja knew no rules. Her only model was anarchy. She longed for conformity, for domesticity. You see this clearly in Avedon’s portrait of her when she was about 22, naked except for a python draped around her body. How it is possible to look domestic with a snake wrapped through your legs and around your neck is a mystery. But the two of them managed it. The picture is stylised, tame.

‘Polanksi saw it immediately. Recognised the need and contacted her with a view to casting her as Tess, a part he had originally conceived for his wife, the late Sharon Tate. You can imagine he had a particular interest now in a story about a woman who loses her baby and her life. He sent Nastassja to Lee Strasberg’s studio to improve her English and her accent. “He took a lot of time, two years,” she says, “preparing me for that film.”

‘The film, which was released in 1979, made her. What Ingrid Bergman was to the 40s and Julie Christie to the 60s, Nastassja Kinski was to the 80s: the face of the time. Five years later, when Wenders’ Paris, Texas came out – to great acclaim for Kinski and her co-star Harry Dean Stanton, and written by Sam Shepard, the leading American playwright of the day – you would have thought her future fixed. Then, just as suddenly, it was over.

‘She was never reconciled with her father Klaus Kinski. Over the years, she saw him only rarely, and towards the end they were not speaking at all. When he died in 1991 from a stroke, there was no regret. “Maybe a minute. No, 30 seconds.” She didn’t go to his funeral. The last time she had heard from him was when he telephoned to ask her to be in a movie with him. “That’s why he contacted me. Business.” She doesn’t love him. How could she? Imagine, she says – being a father who has never in his whole life done anything right. Who never saw her children. “Not even a picture. That’s pitiful, it really is. He had eyes like hell and the sky at the same time.”

‘At the moment, she is edging back into film, playing bit parts – or love interest, which she’s not very good at. As she says, “too detached”. She knows there will always be some director willing to use her name, her beauty – she is more beautiful than ever, as though time has somehow reversed to soften her features. But the question is, can her persona ever again achieve the force of the early years.’ — The Guardian

 

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Stills





















































 

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Further

Nastassja Kinski Official Website
Nostalgia Kinky: Celebrating Nastassja Kinski
Extraits d’une vie, a Nastassja Kinski Fan Site
Nastassja KInski: Visual Website
Nastassja Kinski @ IMDb
Japanese Nastassja Kinski Fan Site (in English)
‘Nastassja Kinski, Still a Daddy’s Girl’
Nastassja KInski @ mubi
Nastasja Kinski: Box Office Data
Nastassja Kinski @ Famous People with Narcolepsy

 

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Extras


NK interviewed on David Letterman, 1982


NK dances with Marcello Mastroianni, 1978


NK sings Tom Waits’ ‘Little Boy Blue’


Sparks ‘That’s Not Nastassja’ (live, 2008)

 

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Interview

 

So, I say to Nastassja Kinski, tell me about that story I’ve read about you and Paul Schrader, your director on Cat People (1982); the one in which you break off your romance with him and say: “Paul, I always f- my directors. And with you, it was difficult.”

The dreaminess disappears from Kinski’s grey-green eyes, and her melancholy, oddly tentative voice takes on an edge: “You know what,” she says, crumbling the remains of a blueberry muffin, “that’s one of those idiotic, unbelievable things where you go: ‘What! Where does that come from?’ I never, ever said anything remotely like that. Plus I never?’ She pauses, considers. “Well, maybe there was one person I worked with that I had a relationship with. No other director, ever, ever.”

But it’s pity, really, to disown the story, I say; it’s such a good put-down. “Give it to somebody else – it’s not mine.” The German-born actress laughs, as she often does. “But it could not be further from who I am or what I actually said. You know what I think? I think people imagined so many things, put together so many interpretations when they saw me, years ago. And it’s just so many fantasies.”

When people did see Nastassja Kinski, back in 1982, they saw one of the most beautiful women in the world. They saw a woman who had appeared, clad only in a snake, in a Richard Avedon photograph that decorated thousands on thousands of students’ bedrooms. And, by 1984, they saw a woman who had made the lustrously memorable Paris, Texas and who was, it seemed, certain to become the most famous film star in the world.

“Oh I know!” says Kinski, her American English flecked with the seductive accents of a cosmopolitan upbringing. “And sometimes you wonder what happened. And I don’t really know. You do right choices, and you do wrong choices. I just went on living, and things happened. And that’s why I feel that now I’ve done The Claim [her latest film] with all these wonderful actors, it’s such a relief. Because you can’t always do things of such quality; I can’t say that happens all the time. It doesn’t. It hasn’t – not for me.” She’s referring, here, to the eight years she spent, from 1984 to 1992, sacrificing her career on the tainted altar of second-rate Italian films. But she’s also referring to the fact that, at the age of 23, she became pregnant, had a son, Aliosha, and married his father, an Egyptian film producer named Ibrahim Moussa.

The couple also had a daughter, Sonia, now 14, but divorced in 1992 and are currently at war: Kinski refers to him as “that person”. Kinski has another daughter, Kenya, aged six, by Quincy Jones, the record producer. She and Jones are no longer together; their relationship, however, is “fine”. Still, many actresses have children when they’re 23 and pursue super-stardom as relentlessly as they did before their pregnancy. Kinski, the abandoned child, was different. “I never had a family,” she says, “and what I always wanted was my family. And now that I had little kids, that’s what I wanted to do: to be there. And not not be there.”

And not not be there – like her father and, in reality, her mother, Biggi. Kinski used once to rhapsodise about her relationship with her mother: “She’s like the sun coming up to me. In this jungle around us she protects me, like the lion’s mother. When we talk, it’s total ecstasy.” Now, though, they don’t speak. “I try to talk to her,” Kinski tells me, “but she doesn’t talk to me. She decided to go another way, she chose a different life from being with us.” Biggi was against Nastassja’s marriage and has rarely seen her daughter’s children. She is often referred to as a poet: ‘She does write, and I think her poems are beautiful. But she never publishes. Because I think she’s scared. So it’s safer to keep it all to herself. But I say to her, to be alive is to communicate.’ Kinski thinks for a moment: ‘And I’ve told my mother, life is not endless, and I really want you to be fulfilled – but anyone can say sorry later.”

There is, it seems, a mother-lode of sorrow and high drama in Kinski’s life. Before our interview, she had sat for more than half an hour, hidden behind the tinted windows of a black limousine, talking into her mobile. At length, the car door opened and she appeared, the Motorola Nextel still clutched to her chestnut-brown hair. Gesticulating fiercely, she paced up and down the Hollywood pavement, a blue-grey sleeveless Puffa jacket over her light-blue shirt, a large Louis Vuitton bag slung over her shoulder. She was agitated, and she was emphatic; later, on her knees before the photographic shoot, she continued her impassioned dialogue over the mobile, urgent and distraught: “I don’t want to hear this,” she said, “I don’t want to hear this. . . I’m putting so much love and so much care and so much time. . . It just makes me sad. . .”

Over Kinski hovers the fearful cloud of her aberrant father and his abandonment of her. Fittingly, in Tess, she is abandoned; in One From The Heart (1982), she is abandoned; in Paris, Texas (1984), she is abandoned; and in The Claim, she and her baby daughter are abandoned by her husband in favour of the rights to a gold strike. “Really,” she tells me, “I yearned for a sturdy, steady lifestyle.” Instead, while he was with her, her father gave her a whiff of the high glamour and the rootless lunacy of the film world. (He also gave her a dog, Sarah, with which she used to sleep; later, it was poisoned.) According to his almost pornographic autobiography, Kinski Uncut, Kinski père’s grotesque appetite for sex, sex and more sex led him incessantly to betray Nastassja’s mother and finally to abandon her and his daughter. But in one, unusually tender, passage, he claims Nastassja came to visit him and two of his other children, and that ‘she clings to me for help as if afraid. . . and her words come like shrieks from her choking throat: “You. . . don’t. . . love. . . me.”‘

“Complete invention,” says Nastassja. Really? “I haven’t read the book and I don’t want to. But I know. . . he would just invent stuff. That hasn’t happened.” But did she never see him again? “No, I wrote him a long letter, but I didn’t see him. I told him what I thought in the letter – a long letter.”

What she thought may have been bilious, but what she had hoped for was different: “I always thought, ‘Maybe later, maybe later he’ll come back,’ and later never came,”she has said. “When he died [of a massive heart attack, in November 1991], I had a moment of grief that lasted about five minutes. It was very intense, then never again. Because he caused us too much pain.” The aftermath of all this lends itself to the pattest of Freudian analyses: Nastassja, after all, was 27 years younger than Polanski when they met; 14 years younger than her husband when they married, in 1984; 28 years younger than Quincy Jones when she went off with him in 1992. At 39, does she still need father figures as directors, lovers, friends?

“Well, any kind of. . . well, directors, yes. That’s why I know so many doctors – I know more doctors and nurses than I can think. Any kind of person who has authority that gives the impression of care; you know, of caring that you exist. And of course any kid that doesn’t have a father looks for approval and elements of fatherhood in other people. But, no, I can’t say that people I’ve been with are like father figures.” (Her ex-husband, Ibrahim Moussa, would seem to disagree: “She never wanted to marry me,” he has said. “I was more of a father to her than a husband.”)

Directors in whom she wishes to put her filial trust include the 55-year-old Terrence Malick (she loves his Days of Heaven), the 63-year-old Warren Beatty, and the 82-year-old Swedish maestro Ingmar Bergman. She no longer wants to do films ‘just to survive’. She has, after all, worked with the best; but she has also done ‘other things that were not like that – and it’s very painful.’ (Terminal Velocity, a 1994 action flick, and Danielle Steel’s The Ring in 1996 should, perhaps, be uppermost in her mind.) Now she wants to be working with people who are ‘very challenging’, and to take on subjects that are very challenging: she would, she says with a self-deprecating smile, like to make documentaries about the Pope, Nelson Mandela and Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler’s favourite film director.

 

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15 of Nastassja Kinski’s 50 films

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Roman Polanski Tess (1979)
‘Roman Polanski adapted Thomas Hardy’s novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles and came up with this moody, haunting film starring Nastassia Kinski as the farm girl who is misused by the aristocrat for whom she works and who is then caught in a marriage where her initial happiness soon turns to grief. Fans of the novel may feel unpersuaded by Polanski’s effort to marry Hardy’s Dorset vision with his own fascination with psychosexual impulses toward survival, but the film is an often stunning thing to see, and Kinski’s sensitive, intelligent performance lingers in the memory.’ –Tom Keogh


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Francis Ford Coppola One from the Heart (1982)
One from the Heart is perhaps most famous for being one of the decade’s biggest box office bombs than for the film itself. Coppola went widely over-budget, haemorrhaging away money on the elaborate sets, and the film was a critical and commercial disaster. Coppola fails to grasp that all the best musicals have at least some kind of story anchor and genuine heart at the centre of the songs and style, and his incredible visual panache isn’t enough to rescue One From the Heart from eventual tedium. But it’s a beautiful-looking, intriguing failure, and every great director should be allowed a couple of those.’ — Future Films


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Paul Schrader Cat People (1982)
‘I didn’t agree with the way the film was done. Overall I didn’t like my performance in Cat People at all. I wanted to do the movie in a much rougher way, getting more into the souls and passions of these people. Who cares about blood and flesh smeared all over the place? I blame myself because I listened to the director. I should have rebelled. I followed his path. I sort of melted into what Schrader thought was right. I used to think you had to do what the director tells you to do, but you can’t. You have to put your own individuality into it, your own thoughts. I didn’t. I let myself be trapped. I don’t regret it, except that we didn’t go where we had to go…Schrader should have taken all that other shit out that wasn’t necessary and gone more deeply into the souls of the characters…he lied to me after all we’d been through. He knew exactly what he was doing.’ — Nastassja Kinski


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James Toback Exposed (1983)
‘It is very important to understand that Exposed, more that any other film she ever made, seems to be about Nastassja Kinski. The first hour of the film is a remarkable character study and portrait of a woman very much separated from her own identity, her own persona if you will. One person even says directly to Kinski at one point, “You have the mystery of Garbo, the wit of Lombard and eroticism of Monroe.” What is striking about this isn’t Toback’s mirroring of the critical reaction Kinski always received, but the near disgusted and exhausted look on her face hearing it. Only Nastassja Kinski knows just how close Exposed was to her own self, but I am willing to bet their are few portrayals she gave that were more personal and close to her.’ — Jeremy Richey


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Jean-Jacques Beineix The Moon in the Gutter (1983)
‘Playing the embodiment of an artists dream is a near impossible task, and I am not sure if anyone besides Nastassja Kinski could have played Loretta with so much dreamy dignity and calm. She delivers a surprisingly human performance in what probably could have been her coldest role. Kinski, who gives one of the decades most defining performances in The Moon in the Gutter, was hurt by the film’s brutal reception, but she would bounce back with four of her best performances before the ill fated Revolution would ground her career a few years later. Beineix would return with a vengeance a few years after The Moon in the Gutter with his fierce Betty Blue, but unfortunately his career has never fully recovered from the pounding that The Moon in the Gutter received.’ — Nick Adams


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Tony Richardson The Hotel New Hampshire (1984)
The Hotel New Hampshire, a work centered on the very dysfunctional Berry family, features one of the greatest ensemble casts of the eighties. The core of the film belongs to a really wonderful Jodie Foster as the brilliant but troubled Frannie Berry, a handsome (and I think quite good) Rob Lowe as her brother John, and Beau Bridges as their ambitious dreamer of a father, Win. Also as part of the family are Paul McCrane, Lisa Banes, Jennifer Dundas and a young Seth Green. Throughout the film we meet a large variety of supporting players including most notably Wallace Shawn as a Mr. Freud and Nastassja Kinski as the paralyzingly insecure Susie The Bear.’ — Nostalgia Kinky


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Wim Wenders Paris, Texas (1984)
‘The film is perfectly cast, and while Stanton dominates the film, Dean Stockwell is also effective as the brother torn between love for his brother and fear that his return will mean that he and his wife may lose a child that they have raised as their own son. Hunter Carson is that rare thing – a good eight-year-old actor, while Nastassja Kinski is so beautiful that you truly believe that Travis could have been driven nuts with jealous desire. The ending is the probably the happiest possible outcome for these characters, and yet also desperately sad – it reminded me very much of the final moments of John Ford’s The Searchers. Paris, Texas is easily Wenders’ best film, and a masterpiece of loss and regret.’ — Spinning Image


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Andrey Konchalovskiy Maria’s Lovers (1984)
Maria’s Lovers is notable not only in that it marks Konchalovsky’s English language film debut but it also marks one of the first English language films ever to be shot by a Russian director. Maria’s Lovers would mark the end of an era for Nastassja as it would be her last English language film for almost a decade that would garner any real serious critical and popular acclaim. The film was also important in that would garner Nastassja one of the only major awards for her acting she ever received. It remains one of her finest performances and one of the best films she ever appeared in.’ — Gerard Brach


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Lina Wertmüller Crystal or Ash, Fire or Wind, as Long as It’s Love (1989)
‘An American journalist works for a French newspaper. He is writing an article about the reaction against people with AIDS, without knowing he is infected too. Once he finds out, he decides to cut off himself leaving his wife and daughter.’ — MUBI


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Wim Wenders Faraway, So Close! (1993)
‘Of the three films Nastassja Kinski made with Wim Wenders, Faraway, So Close! is the weakest and yet there is something profound and right about it. Faraway, So Close! is a overtly spiritual work that has moments that rank along with the best of Wenders, but it’s hard to deny that the film falters in ways that Wenders work hadn’t before it. Gone is the moody perfection that inhabited so much of his early career, and in its place in Faraway, So Close! is a sprawling over-ambitiousness that is as beautiful as it is frustrating and as poignant as it is flawed. It’s a film that finds the great German director transitioning from one of the shining lights of the art house world into one of the most fractured.’ — Nostalgia Kinky


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Antonio Tibaldi Little Boy Blue (1997)
Little Boy Blue is a difficult-to-review dichotomy of a movie. It continually pairs brilliant film-making with portions that one would expect from a straight-to-video release. The movie starts off quickly establishing its heavy sexual content and unusual family relationships. The alcoholic, Vietnam veteran father played by John Savage is a fierce, detestable character meant to be feared by all but his inexplicably devoted wife played by Nastassja Kinski (what does she see in him?). Savage’s character is effective but could have given us more understanding of why he became who he is. Savage spares no family member his brutality and cruelty. Oldest son Jimmy (Ryan Phillippe) receives even more denigration than his two younger brothers. The tension as Savage and Phillippe both realize that Jimmy’s now reaching the age where he may be able to stand up to Savage and therefore threaten his dominance over the family is brilliantly played.’ — IMDb


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Mike Figgis One Night Stand (1997)
‘The film is narrated by Max Carlyle (Wesley Snipes). Max lives in California, where he has a successful career directing television commercials and is happily married to Mimi (Ming-Na Wen), with whom he has two children. While visiting New York City, Max meets Karen (Nastassja Kinski) by chance after missing a flight; circumstances keep bringing them together over the course of the evening, and they end up spending the night together. The film is directed by British director Mike Figgis. The first draft of the screenplay was written by Joe Eszterhas, who had his name removed from the project following Figgis’ rewrite.’ — Box Office Mojo


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Neil LaBute Your Friends and Neighbors (1998)
‘Neil LaBute’s Your Friends & Neighbors is quite possibly the meanest film I have ever seen. These characters are some of, if not, the worst I have ever come across. What makes them worse than, say Hannibal Lecter, is how they stealthily move behind each others backs to wound each other in the worst and most emotionally damaging ways. You should not be treading lightly when you sit down to view this picture. It’s a nasty piece of work.’ — Steven Carrier


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Aruna Villiers À ton image (2004)
‘In order to put a painful past and a terrible sense of guilt behind her, a sterile young woman named Mathilde (played by Nastassja Kinski) uses extreme cloning methods to give birth to Manon (Audrey DeWilder), and is comforted by her obstetrician husband Thomas (Christopher Lambert). The child’s growth is abnormally rapid and she becomes the splitting image of her mother. Gradually, the relation between them evolves in an odd manner as Manon takes over her mother’s role in the family.’ — Wikipedia


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The making of …

 

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David Lynch Inland Empire (2006)
‘Nowadays, Nastassja Kinski is rarely seen on the screen and it is not a matter of being not in demand. With age, the actress learned how to choose roles. After the disastrous comedies Fathers’ Day and Town and Country, the actress refused to star in mainstream films concentrating on low-budget, art-house and television cinema. Her last on-screen appearance was an episode in Inland Empire by David Lynch in 2006. When asked about Inland Empire, Lynch has responded that it is “about a woman in trouble, and it’s a mystery, and that’s all I want to say about it.” When presenting screenings of the digital work, Lynch sometimes offers a clue in the form of a quotation from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad: “We are like the spider. We weave our life and then move along in it. We are like the dreamer who dreams and then lives in the dream. This is true for the entire universe.”‘ — All rovi


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Outtake

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. ** Keatonpalooza, Hi, man. LA was fun. The flight was tolerable, I suppose. Escorts are good at restoring the human soul. Maybe. I hope you’re feeling less sick. I’ll trade you my jet lag. Maybe. ** Misanthrope, Thanks, G. I can see you again barely thanks to my lag, but better than nothing. How’s stuff? ** h, Hi. Nope, I’m back in Paris. I’m good, just, predictably, sleepy. But hey. Good to see you! ** David Ehrenstein, Hi. That’s the band. I may have said this already, but I watched a Bresson film (‘4 Nights of a Dreamer’) right after we finished editing PGL, and I was very relieved that our film is actually not overly Bressonian apart from the performance strategy, but, yeah, Bresson echoes in everything I’ve ever done, so of course that’s more apparent in our film. Thank you so much! ** Bill, Hi, B! I know, right? The escorts’ guestbooks have more trolls than Rashida Tlaib of late. Glad the Zurn post hit home. My lag is … we’ll see. Inauspicious start. Flight movies: ‘McQueen’ (Interesting because I realised I hardly knew anything about Alexander McQueen). ‘Venom’ (shitty, watchable). ‘Deadpool 2’ (not my thing, okay-ish, I guess). ‘The Darkest Minds’ (meh low budget attempt to start a new ‘Hunger Games’-meets-‘Maze Runner’ franchise, I think). ‘Incredibles 2’ (fun, okay). I’m with you on the head and blood fountains, in my daydreams. I do know about Kenneth Atchley’s fountains, but I’ve never seen them or any evidence. Huh. ** kier, Hi, Kierolossal! The Bookworm thing was good, I think. Yeah, I’ll link you. Shouldn’t be too long. On Oslo, well, the good news is it’s happening for sure plus a reading by me. The bad news is that it has been delayed until October to coincide with a ‘Jerk’ performance there, so that kind of quite sucks. But at least it’s locked down. I can’t sleep on flights, not a wink. I’m too tall, scrunched, so I watched movie after movie (see: above list) and waited and waited. But it’s over now. Oh, yeah, don’t get stressed about your essay. Stress is the ultimate enemy. I don’t know how to suggest de-stressing, though. It’ll be great, or, even if it ends up being something you don’t think is great, I’m sure it will serve its purpose, you know. Great to see you, buddy! More soon! ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Yes, I remember your essay on Zurn. I don’t know why it wasn’t linked in the post unless the post is older, which seems quite, quite possible. Everyone, If you haven’t yet had your fill of Unica Zurn, and how could you (?), the honorable Ben ‘_Black_Acrylic’ Robinson wrote a fine, fine piece on her back in 2012 called “FRIENDS FEAR FOR UNICA: The abridged life of Unica Zürn” that is must reading and exists here. Oh, awesome about the short story class’s return! ** James, Hi! My travels seem to have been safe, thank you. My favorite LA restaurant, Mexico City, closed down before I got home, and I had to look at its hollow shell a number of times, which was sad. But I did hit others: the godlike Poquito Mas, Massa (great Chicago-style deep dish pizza), Flore (great vegan), etc. I’ve never eaten at Mel’s, strangely enough. We have a billion things we have to do very quickly (stuff for the PGL French press release, stuff for the American PGL DVD, ARTE TV show meeting), but, after that, the first thing that will happen is finishing the new film script. I’m going on strike re: everything else I’m supposed to write or do until that’s nailed down because it’s been waiting to be finalised for over six months, and I’m hoping mad. How’s your novel and everything else going? ** Aaron Nielsen, Hi, Aaron! It was really nice to see you too, albeit too briefly, of course, Thank you about the film. And again for the Bret hookup. I think the show went well, fingers crossed. What are you up to and working on? ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. Thanks about the fountains. Yeah, the Ray is god. It’s quite possible you learned of ‘Compact’ here, and I’m very happy you’re reading it. Hm, you know, I don’t think I’ve read ‘Moravagine’, unless I’m spacing, which is possible given my jet lagged head at the moment. Huh. I’ll find out. If not, I definitely will very soon. Thanks! Sure, let’s chat. Just give me a few days to get my sleeping patterns realigned so I’ll be good company. But later this week? ** Dominik, Hi, D! I’m good other than the, yeah, lag. It’s always hard to rate my jet lag on the first day. It usually takes three days to know if it’ll be murderous or not. Today it’s about an 8, I would say. Unfortunately I need to jump back into work starting tomorrow. But that can be good to force my brain back into place, maybe. Yeah, let your tooth sit and see if it bothers you. Mine don’t bug me at all. But I might be lucky? Fantastic news about the SCAB coming together! I’m already twiddling my thumbs excitedly! You have a great week too! And I look forward to mutual speaking with a better brain. ** Steve Erickson, Hi. Me too, about the next days, thank you. And thank you too so much for the email and your kind help. I’ve passed the info along to the powers-that-be, and we’ll see. Ha ha, wow, weird to imagine that Cars remix. Is it easily hearable? ** Quinn Roberts, Hi, Quinn. How nice to see you again! I’m good, just back from traveling and showing the film, but quite jet lagged as an immediate result. I’m sorry to hear Berlin didn’t work out. Where are you now? Yes, I’d still love to coffee, and hopefully we can find a way. Well, on the MFA question, first, my aforementioned jet lag is an issue re: my thinking, and, second, I never went for an MFA myself. I quit university after one year and just developed my writing on my own by writing, reading, and sharing work with other writers I trusted. I think an MFA program can be very helpful at least in terms of meeting peers, the regular attention to your work, the forced discipline, etc. But, based on any experience and that some other writers I know, it’s certainly not a make or break thing, and I wouldn’t take the rejections, if you get them, as any kind of meaningful judgement on your work at all. What they’re looking for is not necessarily evidence of real talent or originality per say. They all have agendas and quotas and things. I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I never had any problem devoting myself to my writing. And, should you not end up going the MFA route, finding writer peers, either in the real world or online, can be totally sufficient. I’m happy to offer any more encouragement and advice that would be helpful, so don’t fear asking. Take care, and hopefully we’ll talk again soon. ** Nik, Hi, Nik! The US trip was great. The screenings went really well, and being out West was a pleasure. That’s totally fascinating about your ‘recreation’ of ‘RiaGE’. Wow. That’s very interesting. That’s very cool, and such a good idea. Well, on the imitation thing, this may not be in the area you’re asking about, but for my novel ‘Closer’, I wanted to find/develop a series of voices for the different chapters that had a strong resemblance but with variations. And what I did to find them was I selected a number of texts of different kinds that I liked, from SE Hinton to Baudelaire to … I forget. Then I did a kind of cut-up of the texts, not in the programmatic, slice and dice way of Burroughs, but kind of intuitively, and then I revised and edited those texts using my own voice of the time, and it worked to create a series of voices that were mine and yet different and a bit far afield of mine, if that makes any sense. So that was a kind of learning by imitation, I think. I don’t think doing imitations as Ann suggested is a bad idea at all. I think it’s easy to worry about being overly influenced by other writers’ work, but, in my experience, it’s actually very rare that the writer’s own sense of voice and literary/real interests don’t overwhelm the ‘imitation’ and make that aspect moot. So, yes, I think doing that can be a totally legit and helpful way to learn new skills and tricks as a writer. You gonna try it? ** Okay. We are caught up. Why don’t you spend your local time today dwelling in my select filmography of Nastassja Kinski? See you tomorrow.

7 Comments

  1. D.! Hey babe. LA, fun, noo. Haha, I miss flying. I will be on a plane for Christmas hopefully. Inside of every flight I feel like there is a twisted 911 fantasy. Like what if there was someone joining the “Mile High Club” on one of the planes or something, I don’t know. Im experimenting with something and its giving me a full-time headache, so it is time to pay it and reintroduce the sweetleaf back into my lief. They have cards for people who can’t take pills you know, haha. “But mother will I always live by the microwave?” “You live by the microwave, then you die by the microwave.” My diet is total shit too, but Im having some fun with it. Did I ever tell you that I cant hear after I get off a plane for like two hours. The world has been cracking me up lately. I sometimes think things like, “That’s why Ween exists.” Spring here in FL soon. Reaty for the Summer! It’s kind of like Roman, “Eternal Summer”. Happy youre back home. Love to you and love to Paris. I have seen this girl so many times. I grew up in the 80s. I know Russians you know. Seriously Cat People was one of those, “What?” kind of kids movies for me. I would hug your leg and bite it if I could. Just one of those moods, its the Keatend haha. xoxo

  2. I met Nastassia once. It was the year the Los Angeles Film Critics Association honored “Tess” and our awards ceremony was broadcast on “The Merv Griffin Show” (there’s a story and a half about that in and of itself) We were served dinner on the set and Nastassia sat at my table along with Dustin Hoffman. He said absolutely nothing to me, but Nastassia was as charming as the day is long. She was very upset that because of “le scandale” Roman wasn’t there to get his Best Director of the Year award. I like her enormously. She’s not an actress in the usual sense. She’s a personality that canny directors (Polanski, Schrader, Wenders, Coppola) can use to do all sorts of things conventional actors can’t.

    Meanwhile Karl Lagerfeld has bought the farm!

    Here he is in Paul and Andy’s “L’Amour”

    If you can manage it DO go to the funeral, Dennis. I’m sure it’ll be in Paris at Pere Lachaise.

  3. As I’ve mentioned here before I watched “Wrong Move” a few weeks ago. It’s really great if you’re in a brooding kind of mood. She plays a mute juggler who isn’t very good at juggling and busks around with an aged Nazi. She’s the catalyst that allows all the self-absorbed moping going on around her to somehow coalesce into a movie.

    I think it’s interesting that the source you quoted said Wenders’ wife spotted Kinski at the nightclub. I could swear that I remember him saying in one of the Criterion bonus features that he spotted her but told his wife to make the approach out of some sense of propriety/shame. Seems somehow related to the misunderstanding/misattribution of her “I f– all my directors” comment and the sad belief that many people hold (irrespective of politics and religion) that eros always equals fucking.

    I’m glad you had a fun return to your native home. Most exciting news from my front is that my boyfriend and I are dead-set on buying the best tickets we can get our hands on for this May’s Eurovision Song Contest in Tel Aviv and if that doesn’t drive us totally broke go to Athens soon after.

  4. I’d previously always known Ms Kinski as a beautiful film star face, but it’s interesting to read her words and think about the real life actual person in there too.

    Lately there’s a cool and bittersweet YouTube channel that I’m in the habit of dipping into – Man Parrish Stories, which is just the renowned and somewhat hard-done-by electronic music producer Man Parrish telling us stories about his adventures in the underground 70s and 80s NY disco scene. The 10 minute episodes are guides around a different world.

  5. Hi. You’re so very wecome! I am glad it worked out. Looking forward to hearing it.

    I’m getting over a pretty nasty cold. Stayed home from work today. Hopefully I’ll be well enough to go back tomorrow. Been cooped up in the house for a few days now, kind of going stir crazy.

    Past couple years I’ve been working on a series of short stories that I think will work together as a collection. I have one more to write. It’ll probably take a while to finish it. It’s a story I started a few years ago but abandonded because I wasn’t sure where to go with it, but I think I’ve figured it out. But, I feel like it’s going to be a long one. We’ll see once I go over my notes and start writing it. Once that is drafted then I am going edit everything. I use to edit as I went along but that eats up so much time and I never feel like I am making much forward progress when I do that. I can get super obessive when I edit. What I’ve been doing lately is finishing a draft then moving on to the next story just to get them down on paper. I’m thinking I like this method better because it gives the stories a time to rest and then I’ll have some distance from them when I go back to finally edit so I’ll be looking at them with a fresher set of eyes.

    Other than that I was briefly writing books reviews for Maximum Rock N Roll. But they’ve stopped the print publication and it’s still up in the air if they will be doing book reviews on the website. So that’s sort of in abeyance at the moment. Last book I reviewed for them was KK’s memior, Fascination. I can email you the review if you want to read it.

  6. Welcome back, Dennis! Hope you’re less lagged by tomorrow. You saw McQueen on your flight? Wow, that’s pretty impressive.

    Natassja Kinski hasn’t been on my mind in ages. Of your interesting selection, I’ve only seen Inland Empire and Hotel New Hampshire, and it’s hard for me to remember what she did in either (other than the bear). Will keep an eye out for rentals etc.

    Just saw Isabella Eklof’s Holiday; she was one of the co-screenwriters for Borders, which I loved. I’m still trying to decide what I think of it. Certainly not a pleasant experience.

    Bill

  7. Arthur Baker did the Cars remix, which appeared on the original 12″ of “Hello Again.” I heard it c/o a friend who is launching a blog that will feature MP3s of out-of-print remixes and unreleased music. (He wanted to run some songs he transferred from scratchy vinyl by me to see if I thought any were noisy enough to be unlistenable.) When the blog is up, I’ll post the link here. You’ll be able to hear a song from MARRIED WITH CHILDREN actor David Faustino’s hip-hop album, produced by members of the Pharcyde!

    I saw the late Chinese director Hu Bo’s only feature AN ELEPHANT SITTING STILL today and was very impressed. It struck me as the closest Chinese equivalent to SATANTANGO I’ve ever seen while watching it (it’s 4 hours long, not 7), in terms of its style, use of duration and sense of monumentality, and afterwards I learned that Hu studied with Bela Tarr and made a short under his supervision the year before. It’s really sad that he killed himself during the post-production on ELEPHANT; he was an enormous talent (who also wrote 2 novels.)

    Have you seen that Lina Wertmuller film Kinski acted in?

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