When asked about who his favourite American directors were, Orson Welles replied: “I prefer the old masters; by which I mean: John Ford, John Ford and John Ford.” Ford is often painted as a contradictory fellow, hard to pin down. But his body of cinematic work – and to him, directing movies was a “job of work” – tells a different story. His films present a cohesive whole, a clear vision of the world with each new film in dialogue with the ones that came before.
Falling In & Out of Love with a Narcissist in Listen Up Philip (2014)
Listen Up Philip opens with the eponymous character (Jason Schwartzman) demonstrating his unlikability through exaggerated, unreal, separate meetings with people from his past. These two characters, an ex-girlfriend and a former college ally, play no further part in the film. They exist to facilitate Philip’s narcissistic approach to social relations. Both scenes are soulless battlefields. Philip uses attack as his form of defence; the person that’s not Philip soaks up the pressure until either retaliation or withdrawal can be avoided no longer. Continue reading “Falling In & Out of Love with a Narcissist in Listen Up Philip (2014)”
An Interview with Udo Kier
Once he’s finished talking to me, somewhere on a ranch in Palm Springs, California, Udo Kier will visit his horse Max (named after Max von Sydow) and plant the trees he bought the day before. “I have a lot of land in the desert and I’m much happier working in the garden planting trees and watching animals than being in some stupid commercial film.” And with the quickest glance at his CV, it’s easy to tell he’s not lying – as long as you let his role in Ace Ventura: Pet Detective slide, it’s a sea of weird and wonderful arthouse films for as far as the eye can see. Nowadays though, Kier tells me he just wants to have fun when he’s making movies. Continue reading “An Interview with Udo Kier”
Bad Lieutenant (2009/1992): 2 Films, 1 Thin Blue Line
A snake swimming through post-Katrina floodwater opens Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant. Abel Ferrara, director of the original Bad Lieutenant (1992), led his cop (played by Harvey Keitel) through a spiritual crisis on the streets of New York. The Catholic Church was at the forefront of proceedings as Keitel went through the motions of sinning and absolution and sinning and absolution. Continue reading “Bad Lieutenant (2009/1992): 2 Films, 1 Thin Blue Line”