Saturday, December 29, 2007

Kinski on the Cover

Here are two very rare magazine covers that just appeared on Ebay. The lovely shot above dates from 1978 and the one below features a rare pic of Nastassja and Francis on the set of ONE FROM THE HEART.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Writing For Kinski: Gerard Brach

Some of Nastassja’s best films from the eighties were the most visually stunning of the period. Films like CAT PEOPLE, ONE FROM THE HEART and MOON IN THE GUTTER helped set a new eye popping standard for the ways films could look. They also all came under fire from critics who claimed that the stylistic strengths of the film outweighed the narrative substance. With MARIA’S LOVERS, Nastassja got a chance to work on one of her most fully developed stories and scripts, so a tribute to one of her most important screenwriters seems in order.
Any fan of Roman Polanski will immediately recognize the name of Gerard Brach. The legendary director will always be connected to the late screenwriter as the late man penned so many of his films. The list of films that Brach wrote for Polanski is extraordinary. They include REPULSION (1965), CUL DE SAC (1966), THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (1967), WHAT? (1972), THE TENANT (1976), TESS (1980), PIRATES (1985), FRANTIC (1988), and BITTER MOON (1992). It is perhaps fitting that it would be the screenwriter for TESS that would deliver another one of Nastassja’s most resonate and haunting scripts for her, and Brach’s work on MARIA’S LOVERS is incredibly strong and noteworthy.
Brach was born in the summer of 1927 in France. A voracious reader growing up, Brach became interested in both writing and film as a young man. He began submitting French scripts in the early part of the sixties and his first paying job came as the dialogue writer on Jean Leon’s DO YOU LIKE WOMEN in 1964. Soon after he met up with a young Polish director named Roman Polanski, who had just scored a major critical hit with the powerful KNIFE IN THE WATER (1962). Polanksi liked Brach (he recalled they were immediately ‘inseparable’ in his essential autobiography ROMAN) and brought him on board to write his segment for an upcoming anthology film known as THE BEAUTIFUL SWINDLERS (1964). This would set off one of the most fruitful cinematic collaborations in film history.

Polanski wasn’t the only famed director that Brach delivered his beautifully realized scripts for though. Claude Berri collaborated with him soon after REPULSION on his award winning CLAUDE in 1967, and the two would end up working together several times throughout their careers. Other famed directors that sought out Brach were Michelangelo Antonioni, Marco Ferreri, and Dario Argento.
In 1970 Brach tried his hand at directing for the first time with THE HOUSE, a film that had a limited success. A year later he would try again for a final time with a more acclaimed work entitled THE BOAT ON THE GRASS starring the beautiful Truffaut muse Claude Jade. The film would garner Brach a Golden Palm nomination at Cannes and is at least notable as one of the only scripts Roman Polanski ever worked on for another director.

For MARIA’S LOVERS, Brach collaborated with the films director Andrei Knochalovsky mainly on crafting the script. Three American writers, Paul Zindel, Floyd Byars and Marjorie David, were also brought in to help with the more American specific aspects of the film. The screenplay would turn out to be one of the most beautiful Brach ever lent a hand to, and the character of Maria one of the most perfectly rendered.
After MARIA’S LOVERS Brach continued to work fairly prolifically. The final film he scripted that was released in his lifetime was Jan Kounen’s BLUEBERRY (RENEGADE) in 2004. Brach would tragically pass away in the fall of 2006 after a brave fight with Lung Cancer. Jean-Jacques Annaud filmed his final script, HIS MAJESTY MINOR, this past year to some acclaim in Europe.
Gerard Brach left behind an amazing legacy of films that will be celebrated for as long as people are watching movies. His work on MARIA’S LOVERS is an important part of that great legacy.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Nastassja On Ebay #13

Here is a brilliant photo of Nastassja and Roman at a 1978 press conference that I haven't seen before. There is a common one available but this one is very rare.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Holidays From Nostalgia Kinky

I hope everyone has a wonderful and safe Christmas, and a great holiday season. Thanks for all the support, and my posts on MARIA'S LOVERS will continue later this week.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Shooting Kinski #14 (Juan Ruiz Anchia)

Nastassja Kinski was perhaps never more beautiful in a film than she was in MARIA'S LOVERS, so it is fitting that it would turn out to be one of the best photographed works she ever appeared. Shot by Spanish born cinematographer Juan Ruiz Anchia, MARIA'S LOVERS is a remarkable looking and lit film that is among the most beautiful of the mid eighties.
Award winning photographer Anchia was born in Spain's Basque Province in the late part of 1949. He became interested in films early in his life and began working towards his dreams in Franco controlled Spain as a teenager. Work started coming steadily as a cinematographer in the early seventies on some shorts and documentaries, and he worked steadily throughout the decade before finally scoring a major film entitled REBORN in 1981. The film was an early work of the great Spanish director Bigas Luna, and it would help secure Anchia as one of the most interesting young Spanish D.P.s of the early eighties.

Anchia would continue working in Spain for the few years following his work with Luna, including shooting the film VALENTINA (1982), before landing his first English language gig with director Frank Darabont on the short film THE WOMAN IN THE ROOM (1983). The picture would turn up on the STEPHEN KING NIGHT SHIFT collection and would garner some attention for Anchia and his director.
Following on the heals of THE WOMAN IN THE ROOM was the award winning television production MISS LONLEYHEARTS starring Eric Roberts. This PBS remake would garner much acclaim and it would even win an award at the 1993 Cannes Film Festival.
Several more films would follow, including 1919 (1983) and THE STONE BOY (1984) before Anchia would be chosen by Russian director Andrei Konchalovsky for 1984's MARIA'S LOVERS.

The war time drama MARIA'S LOVERS is a profoundly beautiful film, and Anchia's photography captures the period of the late forties in American perfectly. Everything from the film's elegant outdoor shooting to the way he photographs Kinski is quite breathtaking. There is also a real bitter sweetness to his photography in this film, as if he is capturing a dream that will quickly fade.
Unfortunately Anchia's great work on MARIA'S LOVERS would not garner him the attention he deserved but it did lead him to another one of his great films, 1986's AT CLOSE RANGE, directed by James Foley. Since then Anchia has worked on many Spanish, British and American productions. He would work with Foley again on the great 1992 Mamet adaptation GLENGRY GLEN ROSS and he has also worked with award winning director Mike Figgis on several occasions. He has continued to work with both Foley and Mamet on films like 2003's CONFIDENCE and 2004's SPARTAN, and he recently just completed work on an upcoming Charlize Theron film entitled SLEEPWALKING, which is due for release in 2008.

While perhaps not a well known name, Juan Ruiz Anchia has had a very successful career as a cinematographer and has worked steadily now for almost forty years in the industry. His work on MARIA'S LOVERS is inspiring, as is the best of his later work with directors like David Mamet, Mike Figgis and James Foley. MARIA'S LOVERS would unfortunately be the only time Anchia would get to photograph Nastassja Kinski but it would prove an unforgettable one.

For a great acrticle centering on Anchia and David Foley please click on this link.

For an interview with the great photographer, please visit this link.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Critical Reactions: Maria's Lovers

Andrei Konchalovsky's MARIA'S LOVERS is one of the most remarkable and beautiful films in Nastassja's canon. It would be among her finest roles, and would be her last great English language role until ONE NIGHT STAND nearly ten years later. Reviews ranged from very good to decidedly mixed, as many critics noticed just how meticulous and tender this very special little film was. Here is a sampling of some critical reactions to the film:

"MARIA'S LOVERS is overwrought when a subtle, restrained treatment of the somewhat suspect material was imperative...still it is a must see for Nastassja Kinski fans everywhere."
-Ken Chanko, New Films In Review-

"An impeccable piece of vintage Americana...special and rewarding...disquieting authentic...Kinski is undeniably sensual...a fresh, liberating perspective and universality to a quintessentially American experience."
-Kevin Thomas, LA Times-

"It gives the impression of having taken years of planning was whisked to completion on a forty-one day's stretched too thinly across uncharted's magnificent reconstruction of the sounds, costumes, vehicles and settings of the period...still it just doesn't ring true."
-Philip Strick, Monthly Film Bulletin-

"MARIA'S LOVERS left me terminally seething..."
-John Coleman, New Statesman-

"MARIA'S LOVERS grows on you...sad and brooding...a fascinating curio...the acting is wonderful."
-Rex Reed, New York Post-

"Here's a pretty mess...disappointing but Kinski is especially good."
-Leo Seligsohn, Newsday-

"The keynote is honest simplicity...the film is justly proportioned...a success."
-John Pym, Sight and Sound-

"MARIA'S LOVERS sweats to become a poignant saga...but this movie is merely stiff..."
-Stephen Harvey, Village Voice-

"Kinski is radiant...she brings an immense vibrancy to the role of a small-town girl with many suitors, including one who becomes her father-in-law, in a rambling and populous story that is eventually less than the sum of its parts. However, as photographed by Juan Ruiz Anchia, Miss Kinski is even able to make a great deal out of a sequence in which she wears a damp, diaphanous housedress and scrubs the floor...Mr. Konchalovsky, who is capable of anything from sweeping emotional overstatement to attention-getting symbolism (a chair representing the Maria-Ivan union sits on that hilltop throughout most of the film) to Altmanesque clutter, has quite an eye for eccentric talent."
-Janet Maslin, New York Times-

"Maria's Lovers is a splendid film. It looks beautiful, it is well made in every aspect, it is well acted, it has a strong theme (which is a bit slow to develop, admittedly), and all of the film's elements support that theme. This wonderful kind of fusion is, of course, also possible in American films, but the style of Maria's Lovers is totally different from such films. Konchalovsky does things that no American director I know of would try, or likely even think of. Thus, in addition to being well made, Maria's Lovers is refreshingly different...Nastassja Kinski, for me at least, always seems to carry around an slight aura of both perversion and perversity. She tones this down, but doesn't completely eliminate it, in her role as Maria. While she is very strong in the part, it might have been better served by a more classically All-American girl. On the other hand, when Mitchum or Carradine talk about the beauty and mystery of her eyes, you know what they mean.
-Peter Reiher, Ficus-

"A compelling drama about the many terrible wounds, both physical and emotional, caused by violent social conflict."

"...Well performed....Konchalovsky's storytelling proceeds at a smooth pace..."

"A solid-looking piece of erotic drama that focuses on what’s going on below the surface (and below the belt)."
-Ryan Cracknell, Apollo-

"It may be Konchalovsky's own exile which makes some scenes waver on an edge of uncertainty, but there is still much to admire: filming the American heartlands so that they look like the Steppes is no mean achievement, nor is conjuring a very moving love scene between Mitchum and Kinski."
-Time Out-

"The photography is a treat and the film is well-made in general. Kinski is superb in this film. Carradine did an outstanding job as the guy who hustles his good looks and dubious musical skills into cash gigs in bars and into ladies' beds. Robert Mitchum as Savage's father rounds out a very good cast, which also included John Goodman and Vincent Spano. The plot is interesting as well, but not always pleasant to watch."

Friday, December 14, 2007

Maria's Lovers: U.S. Lobby Cards

There is an interesting story behind these cards. I found them earlier this year at Schwabs Drug Store in Memphis, Tennessee.

This is the same drug store that Elvis Presley shopped at when he was a teenager. In an interview around the time of MARIA'S LOVERS it was mentioned that Nastassja really liked Elvis.

These cards had been sitting in a box with other cards since this film was released over twenty years ago...I could tell because of the 1984 date on the price sticker.

It was an odd bit of kismet, and I was thrilled to find them. I haven't seen them online before and I hope everyone enjoys them.

Odds And Ends: Paris, Texas

PARIS, TEXAS, alongside TESS, would provide Nastassja the best reviews of her career. It would also re team her for the second of three times with the man who first directed her, Wim Wenders, and it remains among the greatest films she ever appeared in.
Her long scene with Harry Dean Stanton towards the end of this film is my all time favorite, with the long close up of her face being my favorite particular shot. I hope everyone has enjoyed my small look at it here, and will accept my apologies for not writing a full review for it yet. I am just feeling a bit too close to the film right now to really write on it. I will return to it eventually and do a full write up on the film.

PARIS, TEXAS and the film that I will be covering next, MARIA'S LOVERS, would close the most famous part of Nastassja Kinski's career. The disastrous REVOLUTION would effectively end her time in the States for several years, and in a way it is this period of her career where she went back to Europe that I look forward to covering the most. It is the most underwritten about and produced some of her best work.
For now though, it will be MARIA'S LOVERS...a film that is in its own way as powerful and as effective as TESS, MOON IN THE GUTTER or PARIS, TEXAS. I hope everyone will enjoy my upcoming look at it.

15. Paris, Texas

It is among the loneliest opening shots in film history. After a red on black credits crawl set to the eerie strains of Ry Cooder's haunting score, we are suddenly given an impossibly bright and soaring long wide shot of an abandoned planet.
The camera pans quickly over the dried up and destroyed caverns of rock and dust as though it is flying without wings. This landscape might be a destroyed earth in the future or perhaps just some sad forgotten land deserted by a very angry God.
In the distance we see a figure moving. The camera moves in closer and we see it is a man. He is walking. He is alone. The aching slide guitar that fills the soundtrack becomes louder as our point of view switches to a lone eagle perched on high. Like us, he is watching this strange and solitary figure who is walking over this very barren landscape.
Then we are given a close up of the man. He stops as if to let us study his face. We've seen him before in many other films...but never like this. He's clearly exhausted, bearded and impossibly thin. His clothes are tattered and only a sad bright red hat on his forehead separates his figure from the ruins around him. The hat stands out against the bright blue sky behind him as he struggles to find a drop of water in an empty milk container he is clutching onto. Near Motionlessly he puts the cap back on it and drops it on the ground. The sound seems to signal the music to get louder and even lonelier, as our lost figure who is now in the distance again continues walking.
Where he is from we don't know. Where he is going we don't know...but we have to follow. Not because we want to necessarily, but perhaps because we have to. For, in these striking opening moments of PARIS, TEXAS director Wim Wender's photographed not just a desert landscape but the interior of loneliness itself...and we understand that to truly escape it, we must follow it...

My full review of PARIS, TEXAS will be posted here sometime in the future...

Nastassja On Ebay #12

These two very rare covers just appeared. I don't believe I have ever seen either one of them before.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Nastassja On Wenders, Paris Texas and Some More Favorites

Even though PARIS, TEXAS is the finest film Nastassja ever made (although an argument can be made for TESS) it is very hard finding quotes by her about it. There is a pretty logical reason for this, as she had her first child shortly after the production wrapped so she didn't give the same number of interviews she had on her other films.
I did manage to find the rare French clipping above which isn't directly related to PARIS, TEXAS but it was made around the same time. It is basically Nastassja naming many of her favorite things, and I hope it is of some interest. Nastassja has been very forthcoming about people she admires over the years, and I plan on compiling a list at some point for here.
Below are two quotes focusing on Wim Wenders that Nastassja gave to interviewers that I think shows that he is among her favorite filmmakers and people. If I can manage to come across any more quotes by her on the film in the future, I will post them.

"I look back at my life then...and I feel how lucky I was to encounter certain people and have the chance to get to away from where I make my own life, build it from scratch. It's thanks to people who believed in me and helped me-like Wim, like Roman Polanski, like Francis Coppola..."

"I remember when Wim and his wife asked me to do WRONG MOVEMENT. Wim was so calm, he was almost slow motion-he's less so now than he was then-and I thought that was so different and so nice. He was imaginative when he spoke to us, and everyone really go along...he treated me with a lot of respect, and Hanna Schygulla was like that too. They created an atmosphere that was like a nest for me, very very warm. I felt Wim really cared. We didn't speak much in the next few years, but when he told me the story about this character in PARIS TEXAS who had a child and how her relationship with her husband had fallen apart, it really touched me, because I had my baby growing inside of me. Wim said, 'I want you for this role because I fell we really know each other. I know you're waiting for your baby, and it's a special moment for you.' I'm truly lucky that he saw me and believed in me and truly lucky to have worked with him three times..."

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Join Nostalgia Kinky At MySpace

In order to hopefully alert some more people to this site I have set up at MySpace profile page for Nostalgia Kinky. I invite any readers here who are MySpace members to send a friend request to help the cause. This is the link to the new profile page which I am still working on, and it is also linked to the side along with my other pages.
Thanks to the people who continue to visit here. I really appreciate it.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Francis Lai's Passion Flower Hotel Appears Online

Francis Lai's incredibly rare soundtrack to PASSION FLOWER HOTEL (BOARDING SCHOOL) has appeared online as a free download. Here is the link to the site offering it for those interested. It is presented in extremely good sound quality from a clean original vinyl copy.
This album is extremely hard to find, so I am thrilled that it has appeared here. Hopefully it will get a proper reissue one day, but for now this is a good way to hear it.
My article on the album can be read here.

It has also come to my attention that the album is available song by song here at the always fantastic Nastassja Kinski JP site. My apologies for not linking this sooner.

Nastassja On Ebay #11

Here are three lovely black and white shots that I haven't come across before.

Click on each for bigger size versions.

Nastassja On Ebay #10

This photo that I don't believe I have ever seen before just popped up on Ebay. No information on it, but I thought it was more than worth posting.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Rare Scans #19 (Film Comment Paris Texas Feature)

Here is an article frrom the May/June 1984 issue written by none other than L.M. Kit Carson on the shooting of PARIS, TEXAS. Please enlarge to read.

Rare Scans #18 (American Cinematographer March 85 Paris, Texas Feature)

I apologize for the poor quality of these scans, but this article on Robby Muller shooting PARIS, TEXAS is essential. Please enlarge to read.








Rare Scans #17 (Sight and Sound Paris, Texas Feature)

Here is a great feature from the Autumn of 1984 issue Britain's SIGHT AND SOUND MAGAZINE.

It is a fascinating read and faeturss lots of valuable input from Wenders.

Please click on each thumbnail for enlargements.