September 4, 2012

That's a gone era (Scott Walker goes to the movies)


I was going to do with No Regrets: Writings on Scott Walker (edited by Rob Young, The Wire/Orion Books, 2012), the thing I did with a book about Sonic Youth and the book about the Heavenly Creatures girls -- that is, list the movie titles that appear in the text in the hope that it may reveal something. But despite a few sentences like these, negotiating the original paradox of Walker as enigmatic, even unwilling pop star ...
In some ways, Scott was a Swedish film maker trapped in the life of a pop heart-throb. This was a ridiculous position to be in during the UK music industry of the mid-60s.
... and ...
Away from the fleshpots of the West End, the cinema was increasingly a place of refuge, with Scott still actively satiating his appetite for foreign movies.
... there isn't much, not until you get to Walker's song about The Seventh Seal on Scott 4. And then, near the end, a real burst of casual film fandom, from an interview with Rob Young, in 2006:
ROB YOUNG: With European cinema, does anything do it for you now? When you first arrived it was the heyday of Godard, Pasolini, Tarkovsky, Bresson -- that pantheon. Now that that's a gone era, has anything replaced it?
SCOTT WALKER: Well, there isn't a lot. But funnily enough, in the last year, I've seen two great French films and a great Belgian one recently. I saw [Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne's] The Child, L'Enfant ... I've seen [Michael Haneke's] Hidden -- fantastic film -- and I've seen [Jacques Audiard's] The Beat That My Heart Skipped. You get a run, fantastic run, suddenly. Hidden's like an old-fashioned art movie, it's almost back there with those guys. So they do surprise you now and then, just when you've given up. 'Cause the French make, what is it, like 200 films or something a year, and some of them are shocking, compared with what they used to do.
ROB: Have you seen The Werckmeister Harmonies, the Bela Tarr movie?
SCOTT: I've seen it, with the big whale [laughs] ...
ROB: Somehow that came to mind listening to the new album ...
SCOTT: Yes, I've seen that one. It's funny you should mention that, because the [American journalist] I was on the phone with earlier, he's seen the latest one, he said the title [The Man From London], I said, I don't know that. Maybe it's not here yet. He was very excited about that director. But yeah, he's interesting, it's a very Eastern European sense that he has. I like that.
ROB: Slow pace, a lot of space unresolved, and then big startling gestures ...
SCOTT: That's an appealing thing.