Gus Van Sant on Don’t Worry, He Won’t Get Far on Foot

joaquingvsThere’s a scene in Gus Van Sant’s hustler road movie My Own Private Idaho– one of the great American works of the 1990s – in which rent boy Mike’s (River Phoenix) deadbeat, booze-soaked dad is telling a long-winded, probably fraudulent tale of tragic childhood; replete with abusive parents, loaded guns and cowboy metaphors, it’s like a bad country song told with a straight face. “Oh come on, man,” scoffs Mike’s best friend Scott (Keanu Reeves) in response, slicing through the chintzy trailer-park confession. “How corny.” Continue reading

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Get Up, Act Up: An Interview with BPM Screenwriter Philippe Mangeot

BPMReanimating the collective and personal memories of a movement, filmmaker Robin Campillo’s exquisitely crafted BPM (120 Beats Per Minute) looks back on the HIV/AIDS activist group Act Up Paris. The film captures the urgency of the moment – the height of the AIDS crisis – and pulses with the rhythm of the present, even as it conjures spectres of the not-too-distant past. Continue reading

Thunder Down Under: Taika Waititi on Thor: Ragnarok

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There’s a wonderful moment midway through Marvel’s Thor: Ragnarok, in which our hero shares a traumatic childhood memory with his brother and frequent enemy Loki: the time the latter tried to kill him by transforming into a snake. It’s rambling and absurd but also strangely poignant, with a clear rapport between the actors that’s unlike almost anything in the studio’s slickly oiled machine. Unsurprisingly, it was also improvised on set between Chris Hemsworth, Tom Hiddleston and director Taika Waititi, who spun the tale off the cuff like the fanciful father he played in his breakout film, Boy (2009). Continue reading

Flesh Perspective: Garance Marillier on Raw

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Coming of age films have often found fertile ground in horror cinema, but few have done it as memorably as Raw, Julia Ducournau’s breakout hit that’s been thrilling queasy audiences since its Cannes debut last year. The film’s fiercely feminine perspective is the result of an intense collaboration between the filmmaker and her young star, 19-year-old Garance Marillier, who delivers a performance that runs the gamut from shy freshman to unhinged, blood splattered grotesque. As a precocious teenager entering veterinary college, Marillier gets to explore female desire in a distinct and contemporary way — in between munching on severed body parts, dissecting animals and wearing shades of colour that would do Isabelle Adjani proud. We spoke with Marillier over email recently to ask her about the experience. Continue reading