Lili Taylor - Regis Dialogue with B. Ruby Rich - 04 February 2006
Dubbed the “first lady of the indie cinema” by Variety and “irreplaceable” by Roger Ebert, actress Lili Taylor has helped shape the American independent film movement. During a career encompassing nearly 40 films as well as notable TV shows and plays, she has worked with today’s most innovative independent directors, from Abel Ferrara and Emir Kusturica to Robert Altman and Nancy Savoca. From the start, Taylor would only accept roles she believed in—compelling characters in films with a measure of artistic integrity. As critics endlessly debate the definition of “independent film,” her work embodies the spirit of the term with an astonishing range and vitality. Taylor and film critic/cultural theorist B. Ruby Rich illustrate their discussion about the actress’ creative process and career with clips from her films. Presented in conjunction with the film retrospective: Lili Taylor: Independent Spirit. This program is made possible by generous support from Regis Foundation.
Lili talks about Dogfight and River during the interview, and scenes from the movie are also shown - Starts at around 19.00 mins.
Gus Van Sant Exhibition - Cinematheque: 13 April - 31 July 2016
Translated from French
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Gus Van Sant's films (photographic, pictorial, musical unpublished in France) and his artistic collaborations (William Burroughs, William Eggleston, Bruce Weber, David Bowie), the exhibition explores the world of this director cult, emblem of an anti-conformist cinema, radical and daring. An exhibition designed by La Cinémathèque française, in co-production with the Museo Nazionale del Cinema in Turin, the Musée de l'Elysée and the Swiss Cinémathèque in Lausanne.
GUS VAN SANT / ICONS
The cinema of Gus Van Sant is the sensitive plate of this time of postmodern American History (post-Pop, post-New Hollywood, post-militantism). Head of the renewal of cinema across the Atlantic says independent, that the French public discovers in 1989 with the release in theaters of Drugstore Cowboy, he is the instigator and the defender, in secret, gently, of an artistic freedom that radiates from the margins. Without standard and without manifesto. Taken one by one, independently, the films of Gus Van Sant arouse astonishment. Their complex narrative structures (in the form of mosaics or collages), as well as their tonal changes, distract the viewer: a dissonant cinema where melancholy and humor are never thought in opposition. Taken together as a whole, its sixteen feature films, because of their extreme diversity, create a deep satire. As if, film after film, Van Sant reinvented all his cinema all the time. One wonders then whether it is the same director who stopped the time of the massacre of Elephant(inspired by Columbine) and accelerated the life of gay activist Harvey Milk. If it is the same director who filmed youth with gravity ( Elephant , Paranoid Park ) and the Fathers of the Beat Generation as terrible children. Son of this protesting poetic movement, Van Sant has retained the taste for an aesthetic anti-conformism, in which political, sexual and spiritual demands are mingled. Thus, William Burroughs interprets Drugstore Cowboy as a drug addict priest, whose replies were written by him. His poetic writings were also the inspiration for two short films made by Van Sant, including The Discipline of DEin 1977. A few years later, the filmmaker reiterated the exercise with Ballad of the Skeletons , film-collage in the tradition of video art, in which Allen Ginsberg, the other herald of this movement, reads his eponymous poem, an endless pamphlet against the vanities of contemporary society.
A MULTI-FACETED FILMMAKER
With his rich and heterogeneous filmography, Gus Van Sant forces us to rethink what a cinema author is. The American director with multiple faces blurs the tracks and entangled the red threads, drawing in the end a canvas with unpublished patterns. Until he tried to evaporate and absent himself, when he took the bet to turn a plane copy by plane of the mythical Psychosis of Alfred Hitchcock. As with any author, there are indeed themes and recurring faces (Matt Damon in turbulent gifted in Will Huntingin 1997, a drifting explorer in Gerry in 2002, then an employee of an oil company in search of " an ethic in Promised Landin 2012). But above all a capacity to start from scratch, at each stage, to re-elaborate a new dream of cinema. At some point in his career, the dream was to find a shelter in the Studios (Universal, Miramax, Columbia) to imagine stories in a superstructure where the hierarchy and rules protect the obedient craftsman, he is. At other times, on the contrary, this dream will be the quest for unconditional freedom: experimental films (culminating with Mala Noche) self-produced with the fervor of the beginner, and later the Tetralogy of Death : Gerry , Elephant , Last Days , Paranoid Park), series of radical formal experiences that gracefully redefine the American space (desert, high school, forest and skate parkhave never been more worrying, respectively, since Raoul Walsh, David Lynch, Terrence Malick and Larry Clark).
Gus Van Sant is not only a filmmaker in perpetual synchronicity with the state (real or not), but also from Europe, from Béla Tarr to Chantal Akerman, Bernardo Bertolucci. unconscious) of his country. America's violent declassed and excluded, America's scrapbooks and media invasion, America's scorched earth and endangered ecology. America that invented folk and psychedelic, a way of being in the irreverent world and on the road : the metaphysical and matrical road from which one comes ( Idaho ); and labyrinthine, which leads nowhere ( Gerry ). The Road That Will Free Will Huntingin the last plan of the film (to assume for the first time her choice to leave), and that taken by Marion Crane (Anne Heche), at the same speed as her alter-ego Janet Leigh in the film of Hitchcock, of which Psycho de Van Sant is the double sick, twisted, uncontrollable: they are the same or almost the same plans, fear in the belly, driving rain and the inquisitive policeman with his big black glasses. Van Sant likes to venture on new lands or on the contrary to the center of usually untouchable empires. The interest is to play the latitude that pleases him, as a pure filmmaker, as if to do it always prevails on seeing him. The cinematographic writing on the reception.
Gus Van Sant likes to interrogate cinema, without capital C and without sacralization, positioning his discourse by the yardstick of his personal practice. With a passion to describe the tools that allow him to create: the camera objectives and the typologies of films, the pictoriality of the grain (which brings him back to his first passion for painting, whose exhibition will show some twenty large unpublished paintings in France, created mostly especially within the Los Angeles Gagosian Gallery in 2011), the work of spatializing sound, and the exercise of mixing. His work process flourishes as part of a team that is linked by trust, generating paradoxically complex and effective staging devices: in particular, his complicity with the chief operators Christopher Doyle, and even more Harris Savides, who made the magical light of six of his films. Van Sant does not hide his obsession with abstraction, even when his films are based on real facts (Milk ), Miscellaneous ( Ready for All ), or autobiographical narratives ( Mala Noche , Drugstore Cowboy ). Even his most politically committed films never have a mission to denounce. They are thought to touch, as if they were, above all, tangible, tactile, sensory ( Milk , mounted with the imperious energy of a cine-tract, where the archives become the echo chambers of enjoyments and the cries of his heroes). The dimension of the manifesto, which evolves in its work according to modalities that are renewed each time, is never antinomic with an emotion, which inhabits its characters in their most familiar or incongruous gestures:Elephant ), dancing with ice skates on a dead ( Ready to do anything ), falling from a giant rock without scratching ( Gerry ), disguising as a woman, a rifle in hand ( Last Days ), drawing the limits of her body with chalk on asphalt ( Restless ).
A gesture that supports his photographic work, central in the exhibition, undertaken spontaneously in the 80s with, in particular, his series of hundreds of Polaroids. Everything is played on the balance, within the frame, between shadows and lights, with a disarmingly obvious. Gus Van Sant does not catch anything. On the contrary, it frees, puts all these crossed individuals together when preparing their films (actors, dancers, writers, singers), a metonymic sample of the American people. He is not afraid of figuration, the most direct and the most raw. On the contrary, he believes in the appearance of the body, and assumes there (as before him Mapplethorpe or Warhol, on which he had the plan to make a film) his homosexual desire. A desire that, beyond a theoretical formalism,
In the background, it is as if each of his films showed the eternal adolescent he was, allowed him to relive, in cinema, fragments of his life before, his original encounters, his fascination for the painting of Matisse ( Will Hunting ) or the music of the Velvet Underground ( Last Days). In Van Sant there is a need for images to relate or simply to be. As if each film was a deep reconciliation with itself and the dreamer that it is. In him, the real, made of light-obscure, ellipses and poetic stalls, flirts irremediably with the fantastic and the fatal. A pagan beyond. At Gus Van Sant, death still breaks. On the one hand, those who leave; on the other, those who remain and resist. Gus Van Sant is one of those: an artist who is reborn every time and embodies the most human part of American cinema.