warning : no, this film isn't entertainment. If
you want time killer cinema, just dont go! No need to buy a ticket
and complain afterward...
Vincent Gallo the actor : well, ok, this guy is a
megalomaniac... he looks at himself acting way too much! he should
relax and free himself from this self consciousness. this is frustrating
because it seems he makes this film for himself above all. aside
from this, and the close ups on himself are not part of this complaint,
Gallo doesnt give himself a flaterring role, even the camera framing
isnt flaterring for his image. and even tho he is the only real
character of the film, he doesnt get half of the screening time.
lots of landscape, cars, motos, or large plans where Gallo is only
a tiny detail, sometimes out of focus.
what debunks all the bashing on his personality is how humble and
profound is this film. after the ego trip of Buffalo '66, Gallo
erases his personality from the film and truly organize the whole
film around the character, and not Vincent Gallo the star. this
road trip into the couple psychology, metaphysic solitude, uncommunicability,
the character is a self-centered prick who hides his feelings if
he has any, and look down on women. this is a courageous self-derision
Vincent Gallo the filmmaker : it is very interesting
to watch the guy who wrote and directed the film, acting in his
own film. a direct bound between the creator and the audience, without
compromises, without go-between. it's like a one-man-made film.
i enjoyed a lot this connection with the filmmaker.
the filmmaker doesnt emphasis on the actor, like i said earlier,
he really create a universe around the character. i dont think there
is much subjective plans, if any. the camera is an outside voyeur
look on this man's intimate thoughts.
there isnt tracking shots either. the camera shifts from place to
place, like a sniper targetting his victim from the most unexepected
angles, through many layers of objects between the camera and the
subject. this doesnt help the readability of the image, because
we dont see what the main character is doing full screen (like we
are used to in mainstream conventions), but it gives us time and
opportunity to think about things that are not rubbed on our face
: diegetic narration : the story told from the outside of the character,
by showing the universe and situations where the character evolves.
the technical/artistic aspect is avant-gardist. the experimental
frame composition is awkward but powerful. the van becomes an interior
of the character, a frame shielding him from the outside world.
this tight space, so familiar to all of us, on the roads, becomes
a world of its own, and the context seem to be meaningless to him,
distant, out of reach. the sound editing is awesome also! a nice
selection of non-commercial music like a playlist of the autoradio
of a long journey. background noises, engine noises, appropriate
references : during the film i was thinking a lot to Gerry, which
tells a different story but use the same angle. and now i'm think
of Lynch's A Straight Story.
It's difficult to talk about the story without spoilers...
and to comment the film without the ending makes it sound very dull
and pointless. the climax makes the whole journey worthwhile and
also much significant in retrospect!
the french release is only 90 minutes, so the films has been edited
and amputed of 29 minutes from the original world premiere in Cannes
last year... I wonder what was left out. For instance the cute pic
with Gallo on motorbike racing toward the camera on the Salt Lake
race track is not in the version i've seen. the scene is there but
this plan is cut...
I assume the shorter editing helped to make the film
smoother. i wasnt bored one bit. but that's because during the long
silent fixed shot, my mind was running many reflexions on the film
itself, the message of the filmmaker, and cinema in general.
The end credit is almost a typical Dogma95 un-crediting
list, in fact the film could fit in... i wonder what Gallo thinks
of this anti-hollywood movement from Scandinavia.
apparently some people didnt know what kind of film they came
to watch... a dozen people left the theatre before the first hour!
some were laughing hystericaly on the way out.
and i heard somebody who stayed untill the end complain : "there
is not even background music on the end credit!" lol
the urban legend : seriously, i dont understand why this film
would be booed by a cinephile crowd at a festival, and flamed
by the critics... maybe only for the arrogant personality of its
filmmaker. i doubt it had gotten this much (anti-)publicity if
the filmmaker was a nobody from an unknown country, in fact it
would have been praised for a fresh vision and another new wave
of the next cinema to come.
This film is very sensible and deeper behind a very boring surface.
yes it fucks up with every mainstream cinema rules of narration,
pacing, and plot cues! and i bless it for that. personaly i find
this kind of demanding research much more interesting than a dandy
walkthrough with the regular mainstream film.
the flaws : ok, i admit the film isnt flawless, there are many
issues with some shots if we look in details, but the overall
impression is coherent and these flaws are part of the ensemble
to create a certain mood in the viewer's attention.
yes there are overlong close up's of Gallo's ear, yes there are
long shots through a dirty windshield, sometimes unfocused, yes
there is very few dialogue, yes there are pointless scenes. but
all thi is only detrimental if what we want is a formated cinema
sanitized by the mainstream stereotypes.
i think these flaws belong to the film, like some kind of cinéma-vérité,
improvisation, amateur truth. it is a careful stylish art direction
building up a powerful atmosphere.