Despite the piercing pain that springs up in our frontal lobe when we think on the recent work of Lars von Trier, we have to hand it to the guy â€” he’s an irresistible interview. That fearless, imprecise grasp of the English language! That unswerving dedication to the cause of provoking…something! Unfortunately, von Trier tends not to travel, so of the two interviews that have been trotted out for the UK press in honor of "Manderlay"‘s inclusion in the London Film Festival, David Gritten‘s in the Telegraph is actually a remnant from Cannes. Still:
"Manderlay" has raised hackles in some quarters because its black characters are rather dull-witted. Several black American actors declined to join the cast; the slaves (Danny Glover being a notable exception) are mostly played by British actors, who found this characterisation funny. He shrugs: "I’m portraying black people as stupid, as I have whites in other films. I like Grace very much, but she’s stupid too."
Emma Bell in the Independent heads out to Copenhagen for a fresher interview:
"’Manderlay’ is actually based on the prologue to ‘The Story of ‘O’,’" he says. "Pauline RÃ©age’s lover, Jean Paulhan, was a member of the French Academy of writers or whatever, and he wrote a preface to ‘The Story of ‘O” about slavery; the human lust for slavery. The story he told was about slaves who were freed by law in the Caribbean. Because they had no food or anything, they went back to the slave owner and wanted to be slaves again. The owner said, ‘No, I can’t do that or I will go to jail.’ And so they killed him. I thought this quite an interesting story. I’m sure that masochism, as well as sadism, is at the heart of all our psychologies. This story about the freed slaves – that was the inspiration for ‘Manderlay.’"
Actually, the best part of that interview is that von Trier’s producer Peter AalbÃ¦k Jensen is running around naked in the background the whole time. Others to read: Roger Ebert talks to Bai Ling (in her own way, just as quotable as von Trier) about Fruit Chan’s "Dumplings," the expanded version of the segment that starts off Asian horror anthology "Three…Extremes," which comes out this Friday (and which we reviewed a while ago â€” the "Dumplings" segment is amazing and worth seeing the entire film for). Mark Caro in the Chicago Tribune chats with a very BFF-ish Jason Schwartzman and Claire Danes, while Stephen Hunter at the Washington Post is reduced to a giggling fanboy by Steve Martin.
Patrick Goldstein at the LA Times asks Jack Nicholson to revisit "The Passenger," a film that’s now 30 years old and that has been out of print for year, but that will be getting a brief theatrical re-release by Sony Pictures Classics before finally coming to DVD. And, hardly an interview, but an intriguing quote from Bill Murray we plucked off trashy WENN. Of the "Broken Flowers" premiere:
"I had been told that if they don’t like what they see, the room is not just freezing, but downright nasty. Jim [Jarmusch] said that he’s presented a movie a few years before to 2,500 people in the same auditorium, and after the credits ended, there was total silence. A voice from high up above said, ‘Jim, that’s s**t.’ Then the booing started. I thought about that for every minute I sat there watching, despite the audience’s laughter."
We’re assuming "Ghost Dog"? Anyone?
Anyway, we’ve got another all-day company meeting tomorrow, so back Thursday (The IFC Blog: Updated every weekend, except when it’s not.).
+ Are you for him or against him? (Telegraph)
+ Lars von Trier: Anti-American? Me? (Independent)
+ Bai Ling: Slice, dice, smile (RogerEbert.com)
+ Oh, to be young, famous and beautiful (Chicago Tribune)
+ A Happy Feat (Washington Post)
+ Some vintage Jack (LA Times)
+ Murray Feared Premiere Mauling (WENN)