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“The Only Sane Person on Rumble Fish

On Film / The Daily — May 17, 2019
Matt Dillon and Mickey Rourke in Francis Ford Coppola’s Rumble Fish (1983)

We’ll be all over Cannes through the weekend, but let’s take a quick break to catch up with some of the other notable reads of this past week:

  • In a remarkable, career-spanning interview, Francis Ford Coppola opens up to Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. about how the Palme d’Or for Apocalypse Now (shared with Volker Schlöndorff’s The Tin Drum in 1979) saved not only the film but also his family’s solvency. That you probably knew, but did you know he wanted Martin Scorsese to direct The Godfather: Part II? The studio scoffed. Coppola managed to steer clear of the mafia during the making of all three Godfathers, but evidently not while shooting The Cotton Club. “There was a murder,” he says. Then he lays out his big, big plans for Megalopolis, a sci-fi project that’s been on his mind for decades and is now finally back on track. “Genetically,” says the eighty-year-old director, “I could have twenty years and I will need that long to do everything I’m excited about wanting to do.”
  • As it happens, American Cinematographer has posted Anthony Reveaux’s 1984 conversation with Stephen H. Burum about working alongside Coppola as they shot two adaptations of beloved books by S. E. Hinton “back-to-back” in 1983. “The style of The Outsiders was very romantic and passionate because kids think that way,” says Burum. “The compositions were classical and pictorial with the camera removed and stoic. Rumble Fish was exactly the opposite; we wanted to shove the camera into the faces of the characters and become more of the psychological storyteller. It gave a certain tone to the continuity. Rumble Fish was far more abstract than The Outsiders.” Over the weekend, Hinton tweeted, “Steve was one of my best friends on set. And practically the only sane person on Rumble Fish.
  • The Wandering Soap Opera, “a mock anthology of fragmentary episodes from preposterous telenovelas,” as A. O. Scott puts it in the New York Times, is the result of a workshop that Raúl Ruiz conducted with actors in Chile in 1990. Valeria Sarmiento, Ruiz’s wife and frequent collaborator, completed the project in 2017, and now, thanks to Cinema Guild, it’s begun to roll out into U.S. theaters. Ruiz enjoyed conducting workshops because they “allowed the open intermingling of theory and practice,” writes Adrian Martin in the Notebook. “‘Pure’ theory was a discourse-game he could play—better than most people, in fact—but he was more at home in the impure mix of thinking and doing.”
  • Cinephiles have been raving about Joanna Hogg ever since her 2007 feature debut, Unrelated, and they kept at it through the releases of Archipelago (2010) and Exhibition (2013)—to no avail until this year, when The Souvenir won the grand jury prize at Sundance. Now Hogg is everywhere. She tells our own Hillary Weston about her influences (“I’m completely obsessed with Bob Fosse”) and talks to Rebecca Mead in the New Yorker about her plans for The Souvenir: Part II. Julie, something of a stand-in for Hogg played by Honor Swinton Byrne, will need to be “assessing her responsibility for who she is.” Meantime, you can watch Hogg’s first three features on the Criterion Channel.
  • In Review Online editor Sam C. Mac has launched a special feature on the work of Chinese director Lou Ye. In his introduction, Mac suggests that Lou hasn’t yet caught fire in the west because “he is neither the kind of auteur that fans of Asian genre movies tend to gravitate toward, nor the emotionally accessible filmmaker that fans of indie Asian cinema embrace. Instead, he’s something of an idiosyncrasy, a director capable of blending genre and arthouse sensibilities into a hybridized formalism, and one who, if he was European (like Olivier Assayas, or Jacques Audiard), would be much more likely to find an audience.”

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