Monte Hellman – “Road to Nowhere”

Posted:  April 15th, 2011 - DIRECTOR, FILM, INTERVIEWS, MASTER CLASS ISSUE, MONTE HELLMAN

Rebel filmmaker Monte Hellman, discusses his new film “Road to Nowhere”.

Los Angeles, 2011

 

 

Interview by VIFILL PRUNNER

 

THENEWCINEMA: You have stated in other interviews that “Road to Nowhere” is your first real Monte Hellman film.  Can you elaborate?

MONTE HELLMAN: It’s the first time I’ve been able to realize a project of my own, started by me, and created without any external attempts to influence.

 

TNC: How was working with the Canon 5D different compared to shooting on film? What were the biggest pros and cons, not just technically but creatively?

MH: Well… the biggest difference is, you can put the camera in places you can never put a normal film camera… I mean literally we would be in a booth in a bar and the camera would be taped to the wall in a place where you could never put a regular camera so it made it possible to use real locations in a way not possible with traditional means. I mean that’s one of the big advantages, the fact… that you can put the camera in places you normally couldn’t, and the other big advantage is you can shoot in the street and people don’t know that you’re making a movie.

 

TNC: Did it mean you were able to shoot without permits?

MH: Whenever we were actually shooting in L.A. or shooting in North Carolina, we had to have permits. You know, It was only with a few scenes that you go out with three people… but on a day to day basis you need to get the same permits you need to have the same number of people… it’s not very different.

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Luc Moullet – Filmmaker, Film Critic, Enfant Terrible

Posted:  April 21st, 2010 - DIRECTOR, INTERVIEWS, LUC MOULLET, MASTER CLASS ISSUE

Filmmaker, Film Critic, Enfant Terrible.  Luc Moullet offers his thoughts on cinema past and present.

Paris, 2009

 

Interview by VIFILL PRUNNER

THENEWCINEMA: Let me start by asking about something you once wrote.  “Morality is a question of tracking shots”. What did you mean by that?

LUC MOULLET: Yes, it can be explained… it was written, I wrote a text about the art of Samuel Fuller. It was one of the leading principles of Samuel Fuller, that the sense of the film is not driven from the screenplay but more from the way the film is made.  It gives a very different sense to the story and the film depending on how it is made.  The sense of the film is not in the screenplay, but the way the film is made gives it it’s deeper meaning. I give an example about Romy Schneider who in the film “Le Vieux Fusil” is murdered by the Nazi’s. In 1975 normally we would empathize or feel sorry for her because the Nazi’s are not good people. But since she overplays so much throughout the film we end up hating her. So we agree with the Nazi’s because they kill her and finally she is gone and you are happy for that. So it is a metaphor for the technique of  how a film is made, technique of acting, of camera, the technique of narrating. We have another film “Il Pleut sur Santiago” that is made by Soto who was a Chilean director, about the fall of Allende in 73’. Of course everyone here in France agreed with Allende and was against Pinochet, but the since actors in this film speak French and act like vaudeville French actors, they all seem ridiculous.  Everyone in the theater laughs when they hear the Allende guys, because it is badly made. The tracking shots is a metaphor for that, how a film is made.

 

TNC: It is a broad question and maybe without a definitive answer, but I would like to hear your take on it.  What is cinema?

LM: Well it is a difficult question. For myself I make what I feel. There are some codes in the ‘‘standard cinema’’.  I have to acknowledge them but I try to make what I want.

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David Lynch – The Man Behind The Curtain

Posted:  April 21st, 2010 - ACTING, DAVID LYNCH, DIRECTOR, INTERVIEWS, LOST HIGHWAY, MASTER CLASS ISSUE, MULHOLLAND DRIVE, PETER DEMING

 Photo by MARK BERRY

David Lynch – The Man Behind The Curtain. The legendary filmmaker talks about his work.

Los Angeles, 2010

 

Interview by VIFILL PRUNNER

THENEWCINEMA: Godard once said that the terrible thing in cinema was, that it is so hard to do, what a painter does quite naturally:  He stops, steps back, gets discouraged, starts again, changes something. He can please himself. What are your thoughts on that kind of filmmaking?  Is it possible to work like that in film?

DAVID LYNCH: Yes it is possible and it’s called “action and re-action” in my mind anyways. You do this in every medium. You do something then you look and react to that and it indicates the next move… it happens all the time in cinema, it happens all the time in painting, it happens all the time in any medium. Its action and reaction and it’s going on all the time and then your reaction is another action and your reacting to that one… and it just goes on.

 

TNC: What I was getting at is… that making films is such a big enterprise compared to making a painting.  The luxury of a painter is that he can make a painting, then if he feels like it he can abandon it halfway thru or get back to it later if he changes his mind.

DL: Like I said, I think it’s the same. It is unfortunate that if halfway thru a film you ran out of ideas and you needed to think and therefore stop the production.  I don’t think too many people would be very happy. But it is possible I think.  In ‘Eraserhead’, for instance, a lot of times because we ran out of money, things stopped. But that gave me an opportunity to think deeper into the thing.  I always say, films go so fast it’s difficult to sink in and get deeper into the thing and it’s a sadness.  But it is possible in some instances to go at a slower rate and sink in even with a commercial film… I think it is.

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Lukas Haas

Posted:  April 21st, 2010 - ACTING, ACTOR, CHRISTOPHER NOLAN, GUS VAN SANT, INTERVIEWS, LUKAS HAAS, NICK CASSAVETES, STEVEN SPIELBERG

 

Lukas Haas. The fervently charming actor talks about a career that spans almost three decades in front of the camera.

Los Angeles, 2010

 

Interview by VIFILL PRUNNER

 

THENEWCINEMA: You have been a professional actor since you were five years old. That makes almost thirty years in front of the camera.  Do you still have a passion for acting?

LUKAS HAAS: Me, yes… yes of course!!!  It’s one of those jobs where… it is a real fortune to be able to do it… I mean acting as a profession.  For one thing it’s obviously a really creative job and there are all sorts of facets to it that keep it interesting and creative… Through my career I have met really interesting people and gotten to go to amazing places and done really interesting things I never would have expected to be able to do.  And at the same time I get to be creative and take on different challenges and different characters. So it’s a great, great job.  It’s hard not to be passionate about it.

 

TNC: You just finished shooting ‘‘Inception’’ with Christopher Nolan. Tell me about your experience working with him.

LH: Chris is great!  He is a really interesting guy and he is so in control of his craft… what he does… he is a real master of film making. You don’t get to work with all that many directors like that in your career.  I have worked with some great directors… but its only once in awhile I get to work with a director like that.  It’s impressive, he knows exactly what he is looking for and that gives you so much confidence in him. You know that he knows what he’s doing and you can rely on his vision. Sometimes you work with a director, especially if it’s a young director, and you… you’re almost trying to help them figure out what they want. But it was the opposite in this case… you had to keep up!

 

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Harlan on Kubrick – From ‘‘Barry Lyndon’’ to ‘‘Eyes Wide Shut’’

Posted:  April 21st, 2010 - BARRY LYNDON, DIRECTOR, EYES WIDE SHUT, FULL METAL JACKET, INTERVIEWS, STANLEY KUBRICK

 

Producer Jan Harlan talks about his work with Stanley Kubrick.

 

London, 2010

 

Interview by VIFILL PRUNNER

 

THENEWCINEMA: What does “Executive Producer” on a Stanley Kubrick film mean?

JAN HARLAN: Very little. In the case of ‘‘A Clockwork Orange’’ for example, the title was given to people who we never even met. But they owned the rights to the book and the credit was part of the sales agreement. In my case it meant to serve Kubrick and to identify with his wishes and be part of what was a multi-tasking team. My role was to negotiate with people for their services or for rights or properties they owned. I researched or proposed music and was part of a remarkably small but efficient multi-tasking team. For example I bought in Venice the masks, needed for ‘‘Eyes Wide Shut’’… not exactly the usual role of an Executive Producer. But working for Kubrick, it was.

 

TNC: Kubrick worked like an independent filmmaker, but within a commercial framework. How did he manage to practically make these films on his own terms?

JH: Warner Bros. trusted him, and for good reason, he was a good trustee and money manager. There was also no point interfering with him, he was not that type of artist. The executives at Warner Bros. were clever people and knew that they either go with Kubrick, or not. Of course he had a contract, and a budget and was expected to deliver a film based on these contracts. But he enjoyed freedom and had ‘‘final cut’’. But he was a reasonable risk to take.

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Lorenz on Fassbinder – From ‘‘Despair’’ to ‘‘Querelle’’

Posted:  April 21st, 2010 - ACTING, DIRECTOR, EDITOR, FILM, IN A YEAR WITH 13 MOONS, INTERVIEWS, JULIANE LORENZ, RAINER WERNER FASSBINDER

 

Editor Juliane Lorenz talks about life with filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder.

Berlin, 2010

 

 

Interview by VIFILL PRUNNER

 

THENEWCINEMA: Tell me about the first time you met Fassbinder.

JULIANE LORENZ: I was working as an assistant to Ila von Hasperg who was editing ‘‘Chinese Roulette’’ for Rainer. They were shooting in the countryside in a village where the family of Michael Ballhaus had a little castle. Ila was already editing, she had an editing table out there and I was in Munich preparing the rushes.  So the first time I met him was when he came to watch a first cut in the Munich editing room. I will never forget that moment… I was horribly shy and he was a person who, everyone said… ‘‘he is a monster’’…but turns out he was not a monster, but a very sweet and calm man. He watched the cut, laughed a few times, then got up and said thank you. That is when Ila introduced us.

 

TNC: What was he like as a person, I mean the man, not the filmmaker?

JL: The person I met… he was twenty-nine at the time and I was nineteen… he had made over 26 films and obviously had a life behind him. What I noticed and what I always will remember is that he was a man who was trying to make a break with a complicated private life and a difficult past.  He longed for something new and to separate from a negative period… things that weighed on him… a man tired to care all the time for other people. So the person I met was someone going in a new direction and you can see that in his work, “Satan’s Brew” for example. But when I met him he was in the process of recovering his confidence and had decided to concentrate on his future and his films. He was famous in France, he was famous in America, but he still had to fight in his own country. There were critics who really loved his work, but he didn’t have that kind of recognition in Germany. He wanted to reach people and also be a normal working director not a public spectacle. In the public view he was still this guy who wore a leather jacket and sits in bars and is a homosexual or bisexual or neither. Public opinion was mostly focused on that, not on him as a filmmaker and artist. Basically he was not fitting the mold of German society.

 

TNC: What is one character trait that defines Fassbinder the filmmaker?

JL: (Laughs) A serious man, absolutely honest, someone that explored the craziness and talents of other people and incorporated them in his work. Someone who gave a lot of work to other people… gave a lot of people an opportunity to be involved in something meaningful.  Generous.

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