October 22, 2010

What would be Utopian enough?

What would have been Utopian enough for him?
The closing down of the mines. The ploughing under of the vineyards. The disbanding of the armed forces. The abolition of the automobile. Universal vegetarianism. Poetry in the streets. That sort of thing.
-- from Summertime, JM Coetzee.
Why would you want to feel the agony of existence? (A user quote from the Metacritic page for Bresson’s Au Hasard Balthazar, pictured).

October 9, 2010

Convincing people

A lot's been talked about the visual aspect of the film, but the audio side is also fascinating. It reminds me -- and I know you used Coil on the soundtrack -- of John Balance's Time Machines project, in that there's this throbbing, pulsating stereo effect that --
What's that?
You know the band Coil? He [the band's late founding member John Balance] did an album called Time Machines --
I don't know that record. I used another one called ANS, where he used a Russian synthesiser. And I met him [he means Peter Christopherson], he came to Paris and not only did he give me the rights to use that record ANS, but he also called his ex-partners in Throbbing Gristle and said, "Gaspar wants to put Hamburger Lady in a scene of his movie." And he convinced the other partners in Throbbing Gristle to let me use the music for my film.
His music for Coil and Throbbing Gristle was trippy. Sometimes just a drum can put you in a hypnotic state, and there aren't many musicians that play with drums and frequencies that can hypnotise you, and put you in a dream state.

How important do you think the audio is in achieving that, with the strobing and pulsating that you have all the way through? It almost creates an altered state in itself.
Whatever helps to make the audience feel stoned was good. [laughs]
In fact, some people, when they came out of a screening, because there are no end credits, said it was just like being on a rollercoaster. And it's like zoom! And whoosh! And people come down shaking from the screening room, and say "what a trip!" and it takes them five minutes or so before they say anything else!

Gaspar Noe, interviewed in 2010.

October 5, 2010

A question every film-maker must be asked

Q: One last question, which animal would you want to be?
A: It's difficult to imagine wanting to be an animal, it would be necessary to want to descend spiritually lower, the soul would need to be paralyzed. I'd want to be the animal least dependent upon man. The existence of such an animal is strange to imagine. I don't care for any kind of romanticism, which is why I can't tell you I'd wish to be an eagle or a tiger. Perhaps I'd like to be an animal that caused the least harm possible. Our dog, Dark, is very human, he understands words, he truly feels human emotions. I fear that the dog suffers on account of this. When I had to leave Russia, he sat motionless, he no longer even looked at me.
-- Andrei Tarkovsky, interviewed by Herve Guibert, La Monde, 1983. Collected in Andrei Tarkovsky Interviews, edited by John Gianvito, the University Press of Mississippi, 2006. Image: a Tarkovksy polaroid (thanks to Giovanni Tiso, who alerted me to this page).