Day 9: 18 Sept 98

Claire Dolan

Lodge Kerrigan
USA/France, 1998
95 minutes, Colour
Principal Cast:
Katrin Cartlidge, Vincent D'Onofrio, Colm Meaney, John Doman, Miranda Stuart-Rhyne, Maryanne Plunkett

  Katrin Cartlidge. That should be enough, if you've seen her act. Tight lipped, cool exterior. Fascinating. Unpredictable. The whole film is spare, quiet, clean. Restrained. No orchestral score, no car chases. Colm Meaney embodies a strange mix of menace and apparent compassion. There are questions left unanswered, nothing is spoon fed. Thank you, I am an adult.

Am somewhat unsettled by the way so many films I've seen with female leads are prostitutes. At least that's my impression. A quick scan of the last 25 films doesn't bear out this feeling, but there it is.

Cartlidge speaking American. What a fabulous voice, like the smell of dark coffee.

This was just what I needed this morning.


Interlude: Comparing Notes

  Just spoke to a woman in line to see Apt Pupil. She came from San Francisco to attend the Festival. She said that she nodded off a bit during Claire Dolan. A bit flat and minimalist for her. She was debating whether to see Apt Pupil or a Moroccan film at 4:00. While she'd probably prefer to see the other, she didn't think she was up to reading subtitles on this 5-film day. Can't blame her. She said "32nd août" was worth watching. And that all the Irish films she'd seen this fest (3 of them) were good, including "Sweety Barrett" which I think Mom and Scott were only luke-warm on.


Run Lola Run

Tom Tykwer
Germany, 1998
87 minutes, Colour
Principal Cast:
Franka Potente, Moritz Bleibtreu, Herbert Knaup, Heino Ferch, Annin Rhode

  Moves like a locomotive. Or rather, three locomotives. "If you were among the few who saw 'Wintersleepers', you may have noticed a few differences," Tykwer said after the film. "This one's faster." No kidding. Right from the get-go this moves and moves and doesn't really stop until the credits rolls.

Tykwer were there, dressed in black, and very chatty.

Q: I noticed you wrote the music.
A: I write the music for all my films. I'm too scared to give that to someone else. You end up with the film here, and the music there.
Q: Is the soundtrack available?
A: Yes. It will be when the film opens in Canada. It has been picked up by Behavior in Canada and Sony Classic Pictures in the US.

He said the film has been playing for five weeks in Germany, and reached #1 until "Godzilla" came along. "But for a film like this," he said, "it was extraordinary." He expects it to do ten times the business of "Wintersleepers." It's currently out with 400 prints in Germany.

Q: Can you tell us about the painting in the casino?
A: Yeah. We had this very complicated crane shot that goes over the roulette table, over the crowd, up a wall, and ends on a clock. Originally the wall was empty, but then the camera pans across blank wall. It looked terrible, so I said to my art director to make a painting of the character from "Vertigo." He said he didn't remember what she looked like, so I said just do a painting of Kim Novak. And he said he didn't really remember what she looked like, so I said, paint her from behind. You have ten minutes. And he actually made it in ten minutes! I had through it'd take at least half an hour, but he really did it in ten. Doesn't it look good? In one of the shots you can see that the paint is still glistening because it's still wet.

Q: How many panes of glass did you break?
A: Just one, but we had five cameras. I didn't want to do it again because it was dangerous for those people holding it, and the first take looked good. We had a second sheet there, but we didn't use it. Ironically, we didn't know what to do with it -- had no where to put it -- so they just broke it up with hammers.

Q: If approached to make an English-language version, would you?
A: No. I have been approached, but I'd always be afraid that it wouldn't be as good as this version. I'd be telling the actress, "Remember how Franka did it? Do it like that." Besides, I've already made this film, why make it again? There's other films to make.

A general comment from Tykwer about Germany... There's been a slumping feeling in the country in recent years, a sense that no matter how hard you try, nothing changes. But this is starting to change, and "Lola" was in response to this, an expression of action and hope. You have to keep trying. Tykwer said that it was very important to him that the movie ends the way it does, with Lola succeeding.

Q: Did you film any other endings?
A: No, it would have been too expensive. Besides, what else could have happened?


Apt Pupil

Bryan Singer
USA, 1998
112 minutes, Colour
Principal Cast:
Ian McKellen, Brad Renfro, Bruce Davidson, Elias Koteas, Joshua Jackson, David Schwimmer

  I traded off "Heaven" for this film just on the basis of timing. "Heaven" overlapped the Q&A period for Lola. I spoke to a woman in line who had flown in from San Francisco to attend the fest. Ah -- I've already talked about it.

I'd been looking forward to seeing the next film from Bryan Singer on the strength of "The Usual Suspects". "Apt Pupil" was ok, but not great. It came and went and that's about it. I wonder if its ordinariness is in contrast to "Usual Suspects" or due to it being based on a novella (or short story) by Stephen King. Or because the story plays it safe for the most part.



Michael Almereyda
USA, 1998
91 minutes, Colour
Principal Cast:
Alison Elliot, Jared Harris, Lois Smith, Christopher Walken

  I had such high hopes for this, again on the strength of the director's previous two films: "The Rocking Horse Winner" and "Nadja." But this was a dim and dismal failure for me. It was almost worth it to see someone do an impersonation of Christopher Walken. But not. Harry liked it better than I did, but he was not thrilled either.

A couple of pages back, I wrote something about only being able to understand/see yourself using other people as mirrors. It turns out that I dislike irresponsible parents (featured in this film.) It really bothered me.


Shattered Image

Raul Ruiz
USA, 1998
103 minutes, Colour
Principal Cast:
William Baldwin, Anne Parillaud, Lisanne Falk, Graham Greene, Bulle Ogier
Very unsatisfactory

  Why did I pick this film? It was dreadful beyond belief! The media was there on account of William Baldwin's presence. Part was through, Harry whispered, "Isn't that Anne Parillaud?" I nodded. "I thought she could act, " he mused. Before the film, Baldwin tells of how he got involved with the project, and of a conversation with Ruiz days before he was to go to Thailand to make a move in five days. Not five days hence, five days shooting. After this film, I asked Scott if this film was made in five days too.


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