thu 17/10/2019

Skolimowski film reignites Gallo controversy - genius or twat? | reviews, news & interviews

Skolimowski film reignites Gallo controversy - genius or twat?

Skolimowski film reignites Gallo controversy - genius or twat?

Veteran Polish director's new film divides audiences

Personally, I thought it was stunning and poetic, with an astonishing lead role by Vincent Gallo as a terrorist on the run in the snowy northern wasteland of an unnamed country and something of the epic beauty and enigmatic fairytale quality of a Tarkovsky film like Stalker. Almost. Or the mystery of a Paradjanov film. Dreamlike flashback sequences of a Middle Eastern country dramatically break up the white wilderness. Gallo says nothing the entire film, but the cinematography is tremendous. Skolimowski himself gave a Q&A after the screening and thinks it is his best film. “I was responsible for every second,” he said. The trailer (see below) must be the most misleading one in the history of cinema – implying some action-packed, political thriller.

Watch the trailer for Essential Killing

In fact, nearly all the action in the film is in the two minutes of the trailer – the rest is a meditative piece about, as Skolimowski put it, “man descending to the state of an animal”. Despite the arguments that it was political, he felt it was “timeless - a story that could have been told at any point over thousands of years”. He explained the genesis of the film. He lives in the forest, he said, and there was an American military base in the vicinity that apparently held terrorist suspects (and, assuming from the film, tortured them by waterboarding). He began to develop a film idea from the scenario that one of the suspects might escape and what would ensue.

'Vincent Gallo: a man who loves people to hate him'

 

Skolimowski seemed pleased that numerous interpretations of the film were already being discussed – he felt its lack of information gave it a maturity and the quality of fable. The only thing it hadn’t been called was a comedy. This was my idea for Skolimowski – a comedic sequel. The terrorist, who we last see on a white horse, escapes on a train to Oslo, finds a mosque and slowly integrates. Then he meets a cute Norwegian blonde and tries to convert her to Islam. It could be a laugh-a-minute comedy of manners. He hasn’t got back to me yet on this one.

Part of the negative reaction to the film is that the lead is Vincent Gallo, a man who loves people to hate him. A Republican in New York, he was in a rock band with painter Jean-Michel Basquiat, was a hip figure around town and is, by all accounts, including Skolimowski’s, an egotistical pain in the ass. The film-maker described how he managed to alienate everyone – but as he was Method acting in minus-35-degree temperatures, he was forgiven, almost. Gallo is becoming a director's favourite - Coppola used him last year in his art-house film Tetro.

Part of the Method acting was his insistence on getting a real lactating woman for one scene (he’s super hungry, after a few days eating bugs in the forest and needs some protein). On Gallo’s site, he offers his sperm for one million dollars, using his large member (as seen, for real, in his film The Brown Bunny, on many Worst Films Ever lists) as a selling point that children bred from his sperm, and equipped with his gene pool, will have a chance at growing the same massive member. He refuses to sell his sperm to "people of dark complexions" because he doesn’t want to be “part of that type of integration”. You get the idea why people hate him. When asked about his website, he said, “That stuff was very high-level, conceptual, philosophical prose, you see. I believe we’re all earthlings, and if we’re all earthlings, it's already a microcosm because we’re already all connected to the universe.” Translation: I’m a genius and have a giant cock and you don’t.

Yet his performance is compelling and convincing in Essential Killing and he also created Buffalo 66, which I happen to think is one of the best American films of recent times. Empire magazine voted it the 36th best ever independent film. He may be an egomaniac with dubious political views who probably has Himmler's greatest hits on heavy rotation on his iPod but, hey, no one's perfect.

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Comments

I didn't even read the article because once I got over the shock of the vulgarity of the title I doubted it could actually be printed and had to look it up to see if I was mistaken. Mr. Culshaw might as well use the "c" word here. It's disgusting to have him use a vulgar term which denigrates women and then call it journalism.

great article on a film I enjoyed, if that's the word, and thought had a lot more to it than meets the eye. I agree that the trailer has got to be one of the most misleading ever. Happily, I found the movie much more substantive than I would have expected based on that.

No-account, couldn't-make-it-to-print, second-rate journalist...this is the epitome of liberal propagandna.

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