Saturday, September 5, 2009

Live! From the 66th International Venice Film Festival! MY SON MY SON WHAT HAVE YE DONE

(Venice, Italy) It is a bit difficult to work when 99.9% of one's earthly possessions -- including one's computer -- have been locked inside one's apartment since June 10th by unknown entities who keep changing the locks, but let's give it a go, starting with the world premiere of Werner Herzog's film MY SON MY SON WHAT HAVE YE DONE, inspired by a true story. That was the Surprise Movie yesterday -- we had no idea what we were seeing until the film started, and as soon as "David Lynch Presents a Werner Herzog Film" rolled up on the screen, the industry audience burst into applause. This is the second film by Werner Herzog at the festival, the other being Bad Lieutenant, Port of Call New Orleans (which I really wanted to see but missed with all these apartment shenanigans) so Herzog is competing against himself.

At the press conference Herzog said that when Marco Mueller, the Artistic Director of the Venice Film Festival, insisted he had to have My Son My Son at the film festival as well as Bad Lieutenant, Herzog said, "If you are going to go so wild, then go ahead and take them both." Herzog said that film festivals get to be so bureaucratic after time, and then here, in Venice, you realize "all of a sudden there is this wild life out there."

So, if you are wondering why I, personally, stay and suffer through all this absolute insanity it is because despite the many and repeated efforts to impose a rigid structure upon Venice, it is not possible. They can use force, manipulation, intimidation, violence and obstruction, but Venice will never fit into a mold -- nor will she reveal her core to the undeserving. With like-minded people like Marco Mueller and Werner Herzog wandering around Venice on a regular basis, as well as the enlightened phantoms of the past, to me, it really feels like home.

From the production notes:

Inspired by true events, My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done is a story of ancient myth and modern madness. An aspiring actor performing in a Greek tragedy, Brad Macallam commits in reality the crime he is to enact in the play: he kills his mother.

I won't get into details about the film except to say that I thought it was wacky, wonderful and weird. I don't know Werner Herzog's work, so it reminded me a lot of David Lynch, whom I adore. According to Herzog, Lynch did not have much to do with the film except that he read the script and loved it, saying it was "really tight," and that if he were executive producer "you can probably sell the film more easily to France."

To read what is up on Wikipedia, please click here:,_My_Son,_What_Have_Ye_Done


When asked if he were afraid of being typecast for playing characters with mental disorders, Michael Shannon, who stars in the film, said he was talking about the notion of sanity at dinner last night. He said you cannot prove what is sane or insane, but that we need to make a construction that allows us to share the world together. He likes to play characters that exist outside of normalcy because "normalcy is a prison." (I can relate to that:) Werner Herzog paid Shannon a huge compliment and said he has a phenomenal gift.

Herzog made a surprise announcement that he was starting his own film school starting today called, "Rogue Film School," and that he loved the name so much he was in the process of patenting it; I love it, too, being a great fan of rogues myself:)

When a journalist said that Herzog was the only one who had been able to work with Klaus Kinski, Herzog said that he did not consider Kinski a madman. Then Herzog said: "I am the only one in Venice right now who is clinically sane."

After the press conference I went up to Herzog and said, "I have lived in Venice for eleven years, and I have a medical document that states that I am clinically sane. That makes two of us:)"

More about that in the future.

Ciao from the 66th International Venice Film Festival,

Venetian Cat - Venice Blog

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