There’s the story of an American soldier sitting on a toilet in Vietnam, his rifle on the floor. Vietcong walks in. The American pulls up his trousers first, and then goes for his rifle, but by the time he reaches it, its too late, he’s already dead. Because the most terrifying thing of all in this world isn’t death, it’s looking like a horse’s ass, in perpetuity. And yet this is the job of an actor. Every time she gets on a stage, in front of a camera, when she walks into an audition her job is to make a fool of herself, to admit vulnerability, strip herself bare and reveal herself in a room full of strangers and cynics. Like a junkie, she’s addicted to love. She’s willing to kill for it, die for it. I want what she wants but she wants it more, so I buy a ticket and a popcorn to see her suffer, a vision of my own flesh and blood on the screen, and sure enough I turn her fuck ups into my own salvation. It’s just that simple—if she can make me believe that she’s telling the truth, that her words, laughter and tears are real, then maybe, if I’m willing to go far as she goes, she might just save me, for however a brief moment, from my own fears. Can’t think of a single profession that requires more guts, more compassion, more wisdom.
“To me style is just the outside of content, and content the inside of style, like the outside and the inside of the human body—both go together, they can’t be separated.” - JLG The French New Wave changed my life. The first time I watched the movies I was twenty one years old. They articulated my desires in ways I didn’t know how to at the time. They spoke to me directly more than any other films I had ever seen. My life doesn’t have a plot. I’ve never shot anybody. I don’t know any spies. I’m not a superhero. The movies are messy, rude, hungry for the world, simple. A man and a woman misunderstanding each other, being lost by life, falling in love—falling out of love, talking about everything and nothing, the sense of play, the humor, the invention, the freedom and raw beauty, life always bursting at the seems.
In The Passenger, a gunrunner goes on about the beauty of the desert. Jack Nicholson’s character confides that he is not interested in landscapes, that he’s more interested in people. The gunrunner replies, “But there are people in the desert.” The final image of the film is a shot of a beautiful landscape. There is a house in the landscape. In the house, a love affair has just ended, and a man has been killed.
We cannot control the moment and what we cannot control is scary. We can control how we think about past moments, how we try to face the future, but the moment itself eludes us, always. We are always chasing at its heels. Suspense plays upon our relationship to the reality of time, the thrill of the inevitable moment, the threat of being there.
What I love about westerns is this idea that your value isn’t defined by money and power, but by how you wear your hat, how you ride your horse, where you draw a line.
A movie begins when a shark enters the picture, and ends when it’s dead. It’s the greatest dream, invented to provide some form of relief and guidance, offering up a presentation of a problem and its resolution, but disguised as entertainment. A film is an exorcism. Until somebody comes up with a cure for our demons, pain, a broken heart, shame, fear, money problems, sex problems, loneliness, there will always be movies.