Just Above Sunset Archives
October 19, 2003 Reviews
Some notes on what seems to be out there, and what some of us have sampled....
I haven't seen it yet, even if four million French folks saw it last year. I am, however, fascinated
by what one reads in the promotional interviews Claude Chabrol has been doing.
I haven't seen it yet, even if four million French folks saw it last year. I am, however, fascinated by what one reads in the promotional interviews Claude Chabrol has been doing.
"The thing that makes me despair the most is when people say after a film, 'Oh, it was great. I forgot my problems for two hours.' I would like that a film helps people to resolve things, on the other hand."
I'm still thinking what that could mean. Well, the guy is seventy-three years old, with an odd sense of humor. He may be called "the Hitchcock of France" but the Hitchcock had an odd sense of humor too.
Apparently his latest book, How to Make a Film - a series of interviews with the French journalist François Guérif - is where he points out that he has always said, and still believes, that it takes about four hours to learn all the necessary skills to make a movie. Cool. I hope he doesn't say that too loudly here in Hollywood. Here everyone is a genius of depth and vast technique. Jusk ask them.
It seems, like Hitchcock, Chabrol does prepare meticulously. Hitchcock had a real low cutting-ratio. He didn't waste film stock - he planned.
For Chabrol planning is a different thing. Everything is "thought out but never planned" - he hates storyboards and once wrote that he quit trying to imagine his films years ago.
The point about making a movie, he says, is showing up on set knowing what you want to say. What a concept!
"Even films that are based on sensation pass by the head. But I've seen films in which manifestly the guy making it didn't know what he was doing. Like Independence Day. That guy had no idea what he was doing! He didn't realize what he was saying - I will say, it's rather Bush-esque." Now that's funny.
And Chabrol doesn't like conventional endings for his films, or any sense of ending at all. "To finish things means that things are resolved. And nothing ever is."
That's so damned French, and so not-American. I love it.
I shall catch the new film, but even now I'm smiling.