Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Nastassja On Ebay #6

Here is a shot I have never seen before that just popped up on Ebay. Lovely photo that looks to be from I would say around the STAY AS YOU ARE period...

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Nastassja On Unfaithfully Yours

Unfortunately I haven't been able to locate too many quotes from Nastassja on UNFAITHFULLY YOURS, so I am including some by her director and co-star as well here.
From what I gather, this was a pleasant shoot where everyone appeared to get along. After several incredibly difficult productions, UNFAITHFULLY YOURS probably felt a bit like a breath of fresh air for Nastassja to film back in 1984.

"She has great instincts. She still hasn't cracked the surface of all that beauty and talent. She's going to be a big star."
-Direcor Howard Zieff-

"There is something so ready to run about her. She almost looks like a deer with those big eyes and the sturdy stance she's got. She is always vigilant, receiving these signals, always ready to move away and hide. She is not quite comfortable with herself, but that, again, is a lot of the charm of her, the fact that she really doesn't quite see it, then does, then doesn't. It's like strobe lighting. She goes back and forth with ambivalence about herself."
-Dudley Moore-

"Nastassja is desperately insecure...she'll cry her eyes out on many film sets to come and yet she has never been better."
-Dudley Moore-

"She's becoming more striking and assured."
-Pauline Kael after seeing UNFAITHFULLY YOURS-

"I was convinced after I met her for half an hour, almost a year before we began shooting. She's so surprisingly effervescent, ebullient, full of vivacity....her part is filled with energy, she really has to go, and she's fabulous: everything is happening so easily I am in shock. She reminds you of a 19 year old Ingrid Bergman or sometimes when she's full out-like Sophie Loren in her prime. She's so young, so amazing, with phenomenal eyes. I can't see her going anywhere but to major stardom."

"In this movie I get to curse with an Italian accent. I love slang, but I especially love to curse in Italian you know? WE used to live in Rome when I was little, and my father cursed all day, all the time. He cursed the traffic, cursed about money, cursed everybody. I found out that cursing can feel so good."

"What can you say about him? No one was ever as generous as Dudley. He was so helpful and his support was so uplifting for me! I've never seen anybody who could be so flexible and light in what he does. The great art is to float above the work and he can do that. He can change in an instant. He'll walk off the set and play the most wonderful piece of music and then you'll call him back for the scene and he'll be ready to work at once."
-Nastassja on Dudley Moore-

"It's a joke, it's funny...but at the same time it's more than a joke to me. It's an a way I panicked about each new take, but on the other hand, I want a new one like a drug. I do scenes over and over again, and then when I make sure that no one can do them again, I tell the director what I did wrong and what I should have done. It is perverse. Then I sit back in painful pleasure and think about how much better it could have been. The director laughs, but he is frustrated too. It is the same with many things I do. I make sure it's too late, and the I really attack it. I take pleasure in diminishing what I've done and try to top it with something that can never be done."

"I was trying to clear out everything in that scene, to imagine myself new-mentally and physically...I don't work with techniques; I work to by feel. And an emotion is something alive. You can't say: 'Hold it emotion!'

"I realize that whether you;re making people laugh or cry, you give them something. And the whole thing is to go to a movie, see somebody on screen and communicate with them...sometime, when you're lonely, you go to movies-I like old ones especially-and you feel fulfilled. Somebody is there for you."

Rare Scans #16 (Unfaithfully Yours Ads)

How's this for a great afternoon at the movies? After checking an early matinee of Nastassja in UNFAITHFULLY YOURS you could have swung over and caught an early evening show of Brian De Palma's SCARFACE. And you could have done it for well under ten dollars...forgive the lack of posts over the weekend. More UNFAITHFULLY YOURS is coming soon...

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Shooting Kinski #13 (David M. Walsh)

While many critics had problems with the film UNFAITHFULLY YOURS (1984) few had issues with the work of cinematographer David M. Walsh. In fact, some went out of their way to mention the fine job he did on the film, specifically the great location shots of New York City.
Walsh got his first professional break as a young man in the fifties, when he was hired on as an assistant camera at Walt Disney Studios. After a decade or so of learning the ins and outs of behind the camera activity on Disney TV productions, Walsh graduated to feature films in the mid sixties as a camera operator, with an early assignment being the great James Coburn political satire THE PRESIDENT'S ANALYST (1967).
After a few years as a camera operator, Walsh finally got his first cinematography assignment with the Lee Marvin western MONTE WALSH (1970). His first great film came just later that year when he did some splendid and evocative work on John Frankenheimer's vastly underrated WALK THE LINE.
Walsh would work steadily throughout the seventies with his most notable films being Woody Allen's EVERYTHING YOU'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT SEX (1972) and SLEEPER (1973), he would also shoot several films for Arthur Hiller and Herbert Ross including Hiller's SILVER STREAK (1976) and Ross' THE GOODBYE GIRL (1977).
Walsh excelled in urban settings using a lot of natural light photography, and any of the films he shot that involved street scenes of any kind greatly benefit the from the bright and naturalistic look generated from his lens. This is especially notable on the delightful Goldie Hawn-Chevy Chase production FOUL PLAY (1978) for director Colin Higgens where Walsh's great shooting of the streets of San Francisco and the surrounding community made the charming film all the more memorable.
It is Walsh's great eye for the streets that makes the shooting of UNFAITHFULLY YOURS something special. This film is one of the most perfect snapshots of the Manhattan streets ever caught on film, although it is rarely noted as such. Walsh and director Howard Zieff stage many of UNFAITHFULLY YOURS most memorable and humorous moments directly on the streets of New York and it is really sublime to watch.
Seeing Kinski on location in New York in this film is particularly special and Walsh really captures the warmth she was projecting so strongly in the period. It is also wonderful to watch all of the location work with Dudley Moore and Albert Brooks, as some of their best work together happens while they are out walking through the busy city sidewalks.
Walsh's photography of the film within the film that Nastassja is in is really special as well, as he is able to capture the glossy look of several of her seventies productions, especially the Richard Suzuki shot BOARDING SCHOOL.
Unfortunately Walsh hasn't been used well since UNFAITHFULLY YOURS, as most of his films since have been just a shadow compared to his greatest work in the seventies. I would blame this more on the decreasing quality of mainstream American movies being made rather than on Walsh himself.
David M. Walsh isn't a name most film fans would know but for two decades he delivered consistently solid work as an American cinematographer. With UNFAITHFULLY YOURS he got to shoot Manhattan before Rudy Giuliani's makeover and 9-11, and he got to photograph Nastassja Kinski during one of her most beautiful periods...a city and actress have rarely looked better together.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Critical Reactions #10 (Unfaithfully Yours)

Nastassja followed up her most controversial film, THE MOON IN THE GUTTER, with one of her most low keyed and charming. 1984's UNFAITHFULLY YOURS, despite being a very funny and sweet film, suffered from the same thing that had plagued CAT PEOPLE. Namely that as a remake it wasn't viewed on its own terms, and was only compared (mostly negatively) to the classic Preston Sturgis original.
I like the remake of UNFAITHFULLY YOURS very much, and think it is one of the brightest comedies of the mid eighties. Unfortunately critical reaction was mixed at best. Here is a sampling of some of the reviews.

"The remake of UNFAITHFULLY YOURS is just a shadow of its source, using the basic plot and characters, but diluting Sturgis' ideas...Dudley Moore gives a nice low key performance...Kinski is appropriately elegant."
-David Sterritt, Christian Science Monitor-

"a cleverly written, very derivative concoction...the romantic pairing of Moore and Kinski doesn't generate a chemical reaction...these generally minor criticisms should not deny the true comic expertise exhibited here..."
-John Nangle, Films In Review-

"opens with charm and confidence...sad to say, the charm runs out long before the film does...Moore's puckishness makes him seem much younger, Kinski's sophistication lets her seem any age...the picture's photography is exceptional."
-Sheila Benson, Los Angeles Times-

"Successful...commercially astute...a product of considerable merit and distinction."
-Nick Roddick, Monthly Film Bulletin-

"Kinski is entirely out of her element in this trifle. Called upon to act fey and breathless, she seems merely strained. It is difficult to tell whether she is too intense a personality-or untalented an actress-to act against her grain...her screen presence is heavy and less dexterous."
-Daphne Merkin, New Leader-

"Hollywood (has) forgotten how to make comedies..."
-John Coleman, New Statesman-

"isn't all that bad, but it's a depressing experience for those of us who love the original...the new film is a sweet, ingratiating, conventional romantic comedy...Kinski's bouncy, volatile, even funny...we feel for her."
-David Denby, New York-

"exceedingly funny...piles talent on talent on talent...give yourself a treat with UNFAITHFULLY YOURS."
-Archer Winston, New York Post-

"Kinski is vacuous...Funny? Yes and no."
-Joseph Gelmis, Newsday-

"Kinski reveals the comic bubble between her solemn sultriness...a full head of comic steam...a good chuckle is not to be scorned in any era."
-David Ansen, Newsweek-

"Amiable but half-baked remake of what was anyway one of Preston Sturges' least satisfactory comedies. Moore plays the old Rex Harrison role of the egocentric conductor convinced his beloved (Kinski at her most coquettish) has been cheating on him with the devilishly good-looking lead violinist. The mood here is far less menacing or unsettling than in the original. Instead of the sleek and murderous elegance of Harrison, we have to put up with cuddly Dudley's gooey, Arthur-like grimaces. He's trying so hard to ingratiate himself that it's impossible to believe he could ever really entertain the idea of killing Kinski."
-Time Out Film Guide-

"scores a clean win over nostalgics sentiment for the old master's original...consistently inventive staging and better dialogue (than the original)...Kinski too is back within her best range, cheerfully sexy instead of glumly sultry."
-Richard Schickel, Time-

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Nastassja On Ebay #5

Here are a couple of more charming German clippings that recently featured on Ebay. I apologize for the small scans but the rareness of the photos seemed to warrant posting.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Odds and Ends: The Moon In The Gutter

Shortly after the release of Beineix's film, legendary Australian artist Nick Cave paid tribute to the film on his debut solo album FROM HER TO ETERNITY with his own THE MOON IS IN THE GUTTER. The song, much like the film, isn't one of the best known songs of a controversial career but it is one greatest.
The usual amount of worldwide promotional material was released for the film and there are many beguiling poster designs, lobby cards and clippings available for fans who are willing to look.
The film itself remains unavailable in this country at the present moment. The original out of print VHS can be tracked down but it is missing close to ten minutes of footage. A recent special edition French DVD has apparently come out and it is said to have a commentary by Beineix. Hopefully one day the film will be more accessible in the States for people who would like to see it.
Nastassja Kinski, who gives one of the decades most defining performances in THE MOON IN THE GUTTER, was hurt by the film's brutal reception, but she would bounce back with four of her best performances before the ill fated REVOLUTION would ground her career a few years later.
Beineix would return with a vengeance a few years after THE MOON IN THE GUTTER with his fierce BETTY BLUE, but unfortunately his career has never fully recovered from the pounding that THE MOON IN THE GUTTER received. He remains one of the most talented and visionary directors on the planet, but unfortunately he is rarely credited as such.
Earlier this year though something surprising happened when the great British magazine Sight and Sound paid tribute to 75 great undervalued films. The great writer and critic Nick James used THE MOON IN THE GUTTER, a picture of Kinski, and the film's "Try Another World" to kick the tribute off. It was one of the first times I have seen the film mentioned in a very long time. It was a very welcome surprise, and who knows maybe one day this brave film and director will finally get their due.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

12. The Moon In The Gutter (1983)

During a recent look at EL TOPO (1971), Roger Ebert lamented the fact that the film, although clearly a masterpiece, was nearly impossible to write about. I think the same can be said of THE MOON IN THE GUTTER. The reason for this is that Beineix's film is a celebration of the visual, so attempting to write on it is a bit like writing on a Egon Schiele or Francis Bacon painting. I can describe the colors, textures and lines but the menace, eroticism and rather mournful nostalgic nature can't be hit upon without seeing it.

THE MOON IN THE GUTTER began life as a novel by American writer David Goodis. It was published in 1953 and Beineix, along with collaborator Olivier Mergeault, spent over half a year working on the script for the film. The story for THE MOON IN THE GUTTER is fairly simple. A lonely and bitter dockworker's sister is raped and murdered. He is mad with rage and anger, and wants revenge. He views everyone with a suspicious eye and he comes to hate everyone in his life, including his finance Bella. He meets a mysterious young woman named Loretta, who literally promises him another world. He then has a decision to make, stay in the life he has for himself, no matter how miserable, or brave the unknown.
Beineix cast famed French actor Gerard Depardieu in the lead role of Gerard. Their relationship would be fairly solid on the set of the film but shortly after the disastrous Cannes reception, Depardieu turned on Beineix and joined in with the critics and savaged the film and director. I suppose in a way you can't blame Depardieu, although his behaviour was still in poor taste. He signed on to make a modern noir, but instead of a classic character study Beineix delivered a mesmerizing new cinema that seemed at times only interested in characters as extensions of his striking visual ideas.

For Bella, Beineix cast a fiery young Spanish actress named Victoria Abril. She would of course later become an international icon with her work for director Pedro Almodovar, but in 1983 she was probably best known for the strange Spanish 3-D picture COMIN AT YA (1981) than anything else. She gives THE MOON IN THE GUTTER perhaps its sharpest classic characterization, which is a major tribute to her as an artist. One scene with her that is particularly memorable has her near manic character alternating rapidly between rage and unadulterated love for Gerard, while she is literally going back and forth seductively on a swing. It is just one of the many deliberately self defacing moments in Beineix's film, and under any other directors eye it probably just would have collapsed.
The key to the film though is Kinski's Loretta. She is the symbolic pull that leads everything that is happening to its natural end. She is the embodiment of every dream, and nightmare, that is plaguing Gerard...and finally his reminder that the idea of getting out can only be a very distant dream, or in the case of THE MOON IN THE GUTTER, another world entirely.
THE MOON IN THE GUTTER is crammed with cinematic allusions, everything from 1950's American melodramas to 1970's Italian giallo's are referenced, but it feels entirely new. If one was to describe THE MOON IN TNE GUTTER as the equivalent of a dream, then it is one very much from an imagination we haven't seen before or since.
One thing Beineix does so well in all of his films is correlate the most mundane aspects of every day life with the electric near surreal possibilities of fantasy (or perhaps more importantly cinema itself). Whether it is the strange fight sequence in the warehouse in THE MOON IN THE GUTTER, which may or may not be part of a nightmare Depardieu is having, or the spiritual solice Jean Hughes Anglande literally finds while inside Beatrice Dalle in BETTY BLUE. Beineix is extraordinary at capturing nighttime dreams in daytime situations, and it is something he has successfully done in all of his films.
Speaking on dreams, I suppose it could be argued that the entire running time of THE MOON IN THE GUTTER might be the fevered vengeful dream of Depardieu. I like to think of it more as the fevered dream of cinema itself by Beineix. As in any dream state, certain rationalities will fall to the side, but Beineix relishes these lapses and it is this relishing that probably most alienated the critics who bothered to watch it back in 1983.
Despite the dreamlike trance the work is told in, and finally induces, it is still very much a film. One that was planned, scripted, budgeted, filmed, edited, and finally projected. The critics' merciless attack on this film back in 1983 seemed to forget that actual people were involved in it and I think its reception hurt both Beineix and Kinksi. Not that I am arguing against the right to hate this film, but the fact that walk outs began happening just a few minutes into the film at Cannes is unacceptable. To this day, this film has never gotten the proper critical attention it deserves.

Everyone involved in THE MOON IN THE GUTTER delivers fine, if not career best, work. Yared has called it his best music score and I agree, as it adds an incredible extra layer to an already multi-faceted film. Everything from the photography to the set designs to the performances is exceptional. No matter how much Depardieu went out of his way to criticize the film and Beineix after the Cannes reception, it doesn't take away from the fact that this is one of his greatest performances. He is totally grounded and believable, even in the film's most extreme and over the top moments. I have already noted how extraordinary Abril is which brings us to Kinski, in what is one of the key roles in her career.

Playing the embodiment of an artists dream is a near impossible task, and I am not sure if anyone besides Nastassja Kinski could have played Loretta with so much dreamy dignity and calm. She delivers a surprisingly human performance in what probably could have been her coldest role. I have no doubts that it was a performance that she was very proud of, and the lynching of the film probably started the wheels in motion that would move her to drop out of high profile films almost completely after 1985. The ironic and tragic thing is that Kinski lives up to every legendary actress that she had been compared to throughout her career in THE MOON IN THE GUTTER. It's one of the great unheralded performances of the eighties, and THE MOON IN THE GUTTER might be the lost film of the decade.
The European Art Film didn't totally die after THE MOON IN THE GUTTER was gutted by the critical establishment, but it took a heavy beating. In much the same way Michael Cimino's brilliant and misunderstood HEAVEN'S GATE pretty much closed the open door to so many young American directors in the seventies, THE MOON IN THE GUTTER'S reception hit every young director willing to push the form away from the standard square in the jaw. The next time anyone in France quite so innovative was given the budget to do what he wanted to do was Leos Carax with his astonishing LES AMANTS DES PONT NEUF. Ironically that film would be greeted initially with the same kind of derision that THE MOON IN THE GUTTER was, although it has since undergone a critical reconsidering.
THE MOON IN THE GUTTER is one of the great forgotten films. It is also one that influenced many other films, directors, artists, fashion designers, advertisers, musicians and yet it usually goes un-mentioned. Since its release it has been like a very vivid, wonderful dream that you have at night, but the morning sun and day's problems quickly take it away...
So close your eyes again and try that other world...

Monday, October 15, 2007

Rare Scans #15 (Beineix in Film Comment '83)

Here is an extraordinary interview I found with Beineix from a 1983 issue of Film Comment (perhaps ironically RETURN OF THE JEDI was the cover story). Beineix sums the film up incredibly well here, as well as his feeling towards Nastassja, Depardieu and the critics.
A must read.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Kinski and Beineix At The 1983 Cannes Film Festival and Thieves LIke Us Track

Wow, I just located this amazing news report on YouTube from a vintage French TV Broadcast. This is actual footage from the premiere of THE MOON IN THE GUTTER at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival. These clips of Nastassja and Beineix are really incredible to see, and they really make me wish I could speak French.

Also, here is another clip off YouTube featuring some clips from the film set to an instrumental by a band called Thieves Like Us. They have some really intriguing song samples and other videos here. I like this song a lot and it is very nicely set to Beineix's images.

Shooting Kinski #12 (Philippe Rousselot)

The key to the cinematic puzzle that is THE MOON IN THE GUTTER is in its incredibly evocative and daring look, much of which is owed to the astonishing work of cinematographer Philippe Rousselot.
Rousselot was born in Lorraine, France in 1945, just as the most devastating war of the century was coming to an end. Rousselot became interested in photography at a very early age, and he got his big break in his early twenties when he was hired by legendary Eric Rohmer as an assistant camera-man on MY NIGHT AT MAUDS (1969).
After his first successful collaboration with the brilliant Rohmer, Rousselot quickly graduated into one of France's busiest cinematographers of the early seventies. He would work a handful of times with director Guy Gilles as well as Diane Kurys, but his big leap into acclaim came when he met a like minded French director by the name of Jean-Jacques Beineix around 1979.
Beineix had seen, and been impressed, with much of Rousselot's work in the seventies and hired him on for his breakthrough film, the still controversial DIVA, in 1981. Beineix was just a year younger than Rousselot when they shot DIVA, and the two quickly found out they had many common ideas and thoughts towards cinema and its place in popular culture. Both were interested in a pure visual cinema, one that would alienate many and prove massively influential to others. The dizzying and wildly electric DIVA would set the film world on fire and would make the unknown Beineix one of the most talked about new directors of the eighties. His work would quickly ripple into a group of audacious younger filmmakers, including perhaps most notably Leos Carax and Luc Besson.
Rousselot was honored with a much deserved Cesar for his eye popping photography on DIVA, as well as an NSFC award. The acclaim given to both Rousselot and Beneix would soon give way to derision with their follow up work, which would place some of the innovative ideas they had begun on DIVA on a much more intense canvas.
Rousselot's work on THE MOON IN THE GUTTER was one of the only things that critics didn't attempt typically attack upon the film's release. In fact Rousselot's brave and unforgettable photography would garner him another Cesar nomination, although it didn't garner him another win. The look of THE MOON IN THE GUTTER would quickly sink its teeth into popular culture, although it isn't typically credited with doing so. Many films, ranging from Besson's SUBWAY (1985) to Carax's LES AMANTS DU PONT NEUF (1981), to advertisements and music videos owe much to the innovative look that Rousselot and Beneix delivered on THE MOON IN THE GUTTER. DIVA might be more fondly remembered and highly regarded today, but it is THE MOON IN THE GUTTER where one kind truly find the beautiful blood soaked genius of Philippe Rousselot.

His photography of Kinski in the film is particularly breathtaking. Kinski never looked as powerful or as alien as she did in Beineix's film, and Rousselot's photography of her is searing and hypnotic. Kinski doesn't just leap off the screen under the eye of Beneix and Rousselot, she absolutely devours it.
The monumental savaging that THE MOON IN THE GUTTER received soured things between Beineix and Rousselot and the two would not work together on the director's follow up film, the legendary BETTY BLUE (1986). Rousselot would go back to work as a cinematographer for hire and his credits immediately following THE MOON IN THE GUTTER are mostly not noteworthy.

Rousselot would meet director John Boorman a couple of years after THE MOON IN THE GUTTER, and the intense DELIVERANCE director began a collaboration with him that included THE EMERALD FOREST (1985) and HOPE AND GLORY (1987), which would garner Rousselot his first Oscar nomination. He would later finally win one for the 1992's A RIVER RUNS THROUGH IT, a film about as far away from THE MOON IN THE GUTTER as possible.
Rousselot would never work with Beineix, or photograph Kinski, again. Starting with the Boorman collaborations he has often worked in Hollywood in big budget productions that don't even hint at the beautiful depth his work with Beineix held, even though one shouldn't dismiss his work with directors's ranging from Milos Foreman and Neil Jordan. Although one of his most forgotten works, THE MOON IN THE GUTTER is the most incredible film Rousselot ever shot and Nastassja Kinski proved to be his greatest subject. Recalling the film's catchphrase, "Try Another World", Rousselot's shooting of Nastassja is indeed one of the most different and distant worlds ever presented in cinema.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Jean-Jacques Beineix on The Moon In The Gutter

The following quotes are from various publications around the time that THE MOON IN THE GUTTER came out. They are available, along with many others, in the valuable book JEAN-JACQUES BEINEIX by Phil Powrie. It is a really fine look at Beineix's fascinating career and is highly recommended.

"The only thing I owe to Coppola is Nastassja Kinski. I knew her from the Polanski film, but when I saw her in ONE FROM THE HEART I had a stroke of the heart."

"It is a totally negative story, very black, it was a dark journey with flashes of light, shimmers, is the myth of the Femme Fatale at its purest...In short, lots of things that affect the unconscious."

"I sought to make the real a bit unreal and vice-versa so as to place the whole thing halfway between dream and reality."

"The camera should convey internal agitation, stress, expectation."

"The entire film is an attempt to stop time. Man is an eternal moment in time, and the way one experiences the intensity of life makes time pass either quickly or slowly. This is what an artist does-freezes a moment in time and explores it."

"Absolutely everything appears crucial, dramatic, tragic; the smallest gesture, the slightest look, the smallest movements of the camera."

"I couldn't give a shit about truth."

"I asked myself what the essence of cinema was, what was the language of the image. I sought another dimension of this language. The cinema is not necessarily at the service of a story, in other words chronology and reality; it is perhaps also at the service of matter."

"By accumulating realist, even hyper realist elements, you end up escaping from reality."

"The depths of the night correspond to the depths of the unconscious."

Powrie's fine 2001 study of Beineix is available from Manchester University Press as a part of their FRENCH FILM DIRECTORS series

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Nastassja On The Moon In The Gutter

Nastassja has unfortunately not spoken much on THE MOON IN THE GUTTER since it was booed at the Cannes Film Festival back in 1983. Reports say that the film actually began receiving hisses and cat-calls before it even started playing which pretty much lays out that it didn't stand a chance, no matter its merits.
Here are a couple of short quotes by Nastassja on the film:

"It starts at night. Vaguely, it's about...a man starts staring at this gutter and he fantasizes about this girl-that's me-who got stabbed there. He looked all over the place for her murderer. Every man he meets, he accuses of her murder. They all start to believe his accusations. In the end you figure out that he is the real murderer. Depardieu is the guy. There's lots of plot and it's pretty hard to explain."

"It touches something they don't want to have touched."

Monday, October 8, 2007

Nastassja On Ebay #4

Lots of rare Nastassja items have been popping up on Ebay recently. One German selling is offering a series of two page magazine clippings that have some really remarkable and rare shots. Here are two recent favorites, featuring both photos of Nastassja I have never seen as well as some rare ones with her family. I wish the resolution was bigger but they are still a joy to see.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Nastassja On Ebay #3

Currently on Germany's Ebay site is a series of rare Bravo magazine covers from the seventies that Nastassja is featured on. Kinski JP has some Bravo covers but I don't believe these are featured over there so I thought I would post them here.

Rare Scans #14 (Roger Ebert's Piece On Nastassja)

Here is Nastassja's chapter from Roger Ebert's now out of print A KISS IS STILL A KISS from 1984.

The book is worth seraching out and can be found used through most online book dealers. I apologize for the quality of the copies, please click on each thumbnail to enlarge.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Jean-Jacques Beineix on Nastassja

I will be posting more quotes from Beineix on his THE MOON IN THE GUTTER throughout the next week. I did think these two were worth posting separately as they sum up nicely how essential she was to his film. This first one is taken from the Playboy cover story in 1983 just before THE MOON IN THE GUTTER was released.

"In my movie, she's a queen in the trash, dressed by Dior and driving a red Ferrari, and with a world of dirt, despair and ugliness around her. She has to be perverse, tender, sweet and cruel-the eternal feminine. It's complex, but Nastassja is a dream and totally professional, demanding a lot from a director and never quite satisfied, because she gives you everything from herself, every time...until you have to stop her, finally, and ask her to save something for the next take. She's a star, which in any language means more than being an actress or having technique. It's that something special, a gift from God. Like Garbo, like Monroe. She's one of them."

This second one was after the film had come out to its disastrous reception and is taken from an article in Time magazine.

"Nastassja was perfect for the part. I was completely seduced by her. I caressed her face on my editing table. But I found that she requires a lot of care, love and work. She makes great demands-and woe to the director who cannot satisfy them. You have to be strong with Nastassja. Otherwise she will devour you."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Soundtrack #6 The Moon In The Gutter (Gabriel Yared)

Oscar winning composer Gabriel Yared was born in Beirut in the fall of 1949. After quitting a law career in his twenties he switched his attention to music and became one of the most in demand French orchestrator's and arrangers of the seventies. He would work with the great Francoise Hardy among many other legendary French artists in this period.
His first major film score was with none other than French New Wave icon Jean-Luc Godard on his mind blowing SLOW MOTION. Yared's work was memorable and it led him to a variety of assignments before his next major work, Jean-Jacques Beineix's THE MOON IN THE GUTTER in 1983.
Yared's work on THE MOON IN THE GUTTER is quite remarkable. At times overwhelmingly romantic yet with a sly sinister undertone that kept it from ever being syrupy, Yared himself has called THE MOON IN THE GUTTER his finest score. The soundtrack album itself is unfortunately out of print but the music can be heard on Yared's Film Music Volume Four which is an import from England.

He would work again with Beineix on the majestic BETTY BLUE in 1986, which would garner him a Cesar nomination. His collaboration with Beineix would continue on IP5 in 1992.
Many more scores followed and in the late nineties Yared gradually began working on more and more Hollywood productions, with a string of directors who had been influenced by his work with Beineix. Some of the most notable English language films he has lent his talents to have been directed by British born Anthony Minghella, these include THE ENGLISH PATIENT (1996), THE TALENTED MR. RIPLEY (1999) and 2003's COLD MOUNTAIN. Yared would in fact win his sole Oscar for his moving score to THE ENGLISH PATIENT.
It is hard to imagine THE MOON IN THE GUTTER without the expressive, surreal and at times touching score Gabriel Yared composed for it. It is one of the most intoxicating and even dizzying scores of the period and deserves a domestic re-release (as does the film, but more on that later).

The Moon In The Gutter by David Goodis

I unfortunately haven't read the original book that inspired Jean-Jacques Beineix's most ambitious film, so I cannot comment on it. Here are a few of the various covers that have graced it over the years, including the movie tie in version from 1983. All of these and many more can be found here:

For more on David Goodis, may I recommend a site that is scheduled to open sometime this month. It can be found here