Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Click on Link below for "Short Day" ("Scenes of Idolatry and Resentment") Info. and Availability through

Art Film:
Short Day, (Scenes of Idolatry and Resentment):
"Short Day" chronicles the interior stream of consciousness; part anxiety attack, part reluctant confession, and all the seemingly opposing resolutions that are really the alternating rebelling against and conformity to unfulfilled longings for love, respect and peace of mind, of a writer in her early 30's, Natalie, caught up in the consequences of a love triangle and betrayal, while anticipating the impending conclusion in the live-in van of her absent boyfriend, Victor.


Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Posted by Gabriella from the site

LA WEEKLY August 31 – September 6, 2001 FILM

Mrs. Cassavetes
A visit with Gena Rowlands
By Chuck Wilson

THE JOHN CASSAVETES---GENAROWLANDS HOUSE, IN A CANYON off Mulholland, is as familiar to art-house moviegoers as Tara is to those who’ve never heard of these two film artists. The long, steep driveway, the yellow awning over the carport, the window behind the living-room sofa, the dark paneling, even the main-floor bathroom with its witty ladies-in-waiting mural (painted by Gena’s mother, Lady Rowlands), inspire a feeling of déjà vu. They should, for it was in these rooms that Cassavetes shot most of the nine films that made him the father of independent film --- a term that hadn’t yet been coined when he first stretched lighting cable across the living-room floor.
Legend has it that this house was mortgaged over and over as Cassavetes and Rowlands scrimped and scrambled to complete the films that were their life. Sometimes it took two or three years to finish a film, with each going off, as necessary, to work in Hollywood or mainstream theater in order to raise the cash to keep their films, as well as their family of five, moving forward. In this marriage, this collaboration, there was no dividing line between work and life. From this unprecedented fusion came films such as Faces (1968), Husbands (1970), A Woman Under the Influence (1974), Opening Night (1977) and Love Streams (1984), title that were never famous but are clutched dearly to the hearts of serious movie lovers.

If Cassavetes caught Rowlands off guard when he fell in love with filmmaking in the late 1950s (she preferred the stage), she was, before long, happily movie mad --- because she loves to work and because she loves to be tested, and few actors have been tested as Rowlands was by the roles her husband wrote for her. After he died in 1989 at the age of 59, Rowlands threw herself into work, giving performances that would verify her genius, including Unhook the Stars (1996), a film directed by her and John’s son, Nick. She was also the first major actress of her time to recognize that the strongest roles for women are being written for television, as evidenced most recently in Wild Iris (2001), a Showtime movie directed by Daniel Petrie Sr., who gave John his first big break, in the 1950s. That connection to Petrie is typical of the life she and Cassavetes made, where collaborators such as Peter Falk, Ben Gazzara and Seymour Cassel became lifelong family friends.
A few days after sitting across from her, this writer has to fight the temptation to describe Gena Rowlands’ face with ecstatic adjectives, praise she would deem irrelevant; it’s the work that’s important. So. Just this then: She is simply beautiful. Sitting in an elegant gold armchair, Rowlands takes a deep, bracing breath at the first question. The air around her quivers in that pause, as if a torrent of feeling is attempting to rise up in her, the very thing she does not want. Moved beyond measure, her visitor thinks: She’s still in love with him; the real story here is that this is still a love story. And he understands, suddenly, that in this house, love streams.

L.A. WEEKLY: As thrilling as it is that you’ve agreed to talk about John and the movies you made together, it feels funny, as if we’re pulling you back to a place you’ve moved on from.

GENA ROWLANDS: You’re right. I don’t do this very often, because it would be too hard emotionally. But I’m so delighted these pictures are going to come out and that people will see them, especially kids who haven’t seen any of John’s work. I know that a lot of people have seen them on television, but for them to see it on the screen that is was made for and actually sit with other people in a dark room and watch it, I’m delighted.

L.A. Weekly: All these movie posters [of Cassavetes’ films] are great, a collector’s dream.

Gena Rowlands: They were all on John’s office walls and I was about to bubble-wrap them and store them and I thought, “No, it’s our whole life. I’m going to put them all over and just look at them.” Every one of them is a very happy memory.

L.A. Weekly: One gets the sense, from the early days, of this friendship network that was vaialable to you at all times, that everybody eventually passed through this living room for dinner.

Gena Rowlands: It was so like John to bring home an infinite amount of people to feed, and it was like them to all join in. this house seems so strange to me now, to have it quiet, because it was always packed to the rafters, people cooking in the kitchen, people eating in the dining room. We’d always have at least four or five people who were staying with us, and the whole house had lights set up with cameras you’d fall over. The children just took it as a normal kind of thing. It was a feat. The spaghetti pot was always boiling.

L.A. Weekly: The movies are tough for a lot of audiences because the characters are so raw. But your lives weren’t emotionally difficult like that, were they?

Gena Rowlands: It was hard … financially. That’s always hard, making independent pictures, but the camaraderie of our whole group --- Peter and Ben and Seymour, Lynn Carlin, Val Avery --- that carried us through. All the people we worked with again and again, we all became such good friends … well, I still am friends with them. John’s been dead since 1989, yet I still hear from them every week, they all call and we talk or visit. It’s kind of a lifetime wonderment of friendship.

L.A. Weekly: Did you want to do dangerous work even in the beginning?

Gena Rowlands: I don’t think I thought of it that way. I wanted to be a stage actress, I never thought of being a movie actress. If I had projected what I would want to have been, it would have been for John and me to be a stage couple like Lunt and Fontanne. But in the meantime we were working. While I was in the show with Eddie [in the play Middle of the Night, co-starring Edward G. Robinson], John was doing some improvisation with friends. [Bob] Fosse had given him his studio, and they’d go in and improvise, and they got this story going that they all kind of liked. Then he started shooting Shadows [1959], and I didn’t know what he was doing. I just thought it was something he was doing that held his interest and he was having fun, then he just fell in love with the whole thing. He was in love with film. His way. And, really, he kind of dragged the rest of us in. his own vision was so strong that soon we all became one with his obsession.

L.A. Weekly: There’s a documentary by the writer Michael Ventura about the making of John’s last film, Love Streams, called I’m Almost Not Crazy, in which you’re trying to make your husband and daughter laugh. You can see John coming over and sort of whispering in your ear.

Gena Rowlands: All John had written was that she calls the husband and tries to make him and the daughter laugh. And I said, “John, how am I supposed to make them laugh?” And he said, “I don’t want to tell you. Don’t even think about it.” So the day came and we’re there and I said, “John, if you don’t tell me what we’re going to do, I’m going to kill you.” And he said, “Just come on.” So he led me down to this big picnic table filled with all of those things that you find in joke shops, like teeth that clatter and eyes coming out of the glasses and stuff. He said, “All right. Use these to make them laugh.” I said, “Wait, wait, wait! How many shall I use?” He said, “All of them. Okay? All right? Roll ‘em.” So I just went like an insane person around that table trying to make them laugh and doing everything I could and, of course, he had told them not to laugh, which was the whole point to the scene. I’ve never been so terrified in my life. But it was fun.

L.A. Weekly: Did John believe in happiness as a goal?

Gena Rowlands: I don’t think he ever thought about it. He just loved the work. He had a great joy of life. He had no interest in doing anything except working, watching sports on the weekend and being with his grandson. It was a very closed kind of thing. And work was happiness to him and to all of us. He was person with a lot of joy, a lot of anger. He was a high-tempered person. Never depressed. Often angry. Often delighted.

L.A. Weekly: Some think the Love Streams character is closest to who John was.

Gena Rowlands: I don’t know. It’s so emotional for me, since it’s the last movie. I’ve heard people say that, and yet he didn’t plan to play it at all. No, that’s not the John that I knew, a burned-out kind of guy, not in touch with anything important. But that shot where John waves goodbye out the window with that strange hat on, that’s killer. Michael [Ventura] was the first one who pointed it out, because I couldn’t even look at it again, and he said, “You know, Gena, when John waves out the window?” I said, “Yeah.” He said, “I think he was saying goodbye to us.” And I said, “Oh, shit.”

“Gena and John: A Casavetes Retrospective” runs at Laemmle theatres from September 1 through November 11. See Film Calendar for further details.

August 31 – September 6, 2001 LA WEEKLY

Sunday, December 03, 2006

This is Gabriella, now have a MySpaceFilm for promotion, information and vlogs on my Script and DVD Trilogy "SCENES OF IDOLATRY AND RESENTMENT":

Vlogs will appear soon, the DVD "Short Day", one part of the three, will be released through soon.

Review of a rough draft of "SCENES", later merged in ways with "SHORT DAY"and the basis for "IDOLATRY", later still the script and DVD Trilogy "SCENES OF IDOLATRY AND RESENTMENT" by Producer Fred Caruso:

"I read, with great pleasure, the treatment and long version of "SCENES". Your characters and story line are deep and engaging. I like it."

Fred Caruso, Co-Producer/ Production Manager on John Schlesinger's "Midnight Cowboy", Sidney Lumet's "Network", Sergio Leone's "Once Upon a Time in America", and John Cassavetes' "Husbands", and many others.

I wrote and directed a digital feature "Short Day", a meditation on the trappings of compromise and the emotional dynamics of resentment sustained in the face of an impending conclusion. The script trilogy "Scenes of Idolatry and Resentment" it is part of, chronicles an artist's creative process, and the ineraction with a challenging rival."Short Day" chronicles the interior stream of consciousness; part anxiety attack, part reluctant confession, and all the seemingly opposing resolutions that are really the alternating rebelling against and conformity to unfulfilled longings for love, respect and peace of mind, of a writer in her early 30's, Natalie, caught up in the consequences of a love triangle and betrayal, while anticipating the impending conclusion in the live-in van of her absent boyfriend, Victor.

The narrative of "Short Day" is as complete, on an interior level, as "Scenes" and "Idolatry" combined, delivering commentary on the past, presence and future emotionally, the whole of the trilogy itself with its' time lapses between stories and breaks within the stories or experiences and recorded according to the non-linear time development of the mind as honestly as possible, revealing more and so differently than just the sum of its' parts an awareness emerging.

From Gabriella,;

Film Site for Entrepreneurial Filmmakers. Independence is not dictated by conformity to security, nor driven by rebellion against conformity, but clarity which is vision. Out of "Sportsmans Films" under which heading I produced a John Cassavetes retrospective in his honor and to make filmmakers more aware of his personal films and innovative working methods, a creatively stimulating film site called sprang forth to put my creative endeavors in perspective, and for the exposure of what my film trilogy project.

My film company Hungry Artist DVD Media is geared towards entrepreneurial filmmakers who, like myself, seek a state of independence not dictated by conformity to security, nor driven by rebellion to conformity, but to find the fine line in between towards a clarity that is vision.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Venice Magazine September 2001


[Editor’s Note: On the eve of a two-month film series entitled “Gena and John: A Cassavetes Retrospective”, Venice Magazine had the honor of interviewing Gena Rowlands, whose three decades of work with her husband, writer/director/actor John Cassavetes, has given us some of the most heart-wrenching moments ever to be captured on film. Self-described Cassavetes junkie Gary Oldman spoke with Gena in the living room of Faces and Love Streams.]

Gary Oldman: There’s a lyric in a David Bowie song and I always think of John Cassavetes when I hear it---“You think this is easy, realism?”
Gena Rowlands: There’s the misconception that John’s films are improvised, which is untrue, apart from Shadows. That was the first one, and then it sticks. Actually, they weren’t improvised after that. Every once in a while there’d be a scene or something that wasn’t working the way we wanted. So we’d stop and rewrite and do something like that. They were very carefully scripted. Even more so after he got older; he seemed to enjoy the form more and more.

GO: When we were talking before we started, I have [a project] I am trying to get off the ground---trying to find some idiot to write me a check. I had to put a considerable sum of my own money in my first film (Nil by Mouth). I’m still somewhat hurt from it financially, but it is what I wanted to do and no one could tell me otherwise. But now I’m considering digital.
GR: I don’t know much about digital, except from what people have been telling me.

GO: The misconception about it is that it’s quicker, but you still have to shoot days.
GR: What’s the great advantage of it? Is it economic?

GO: It comes in cassettes, and you will never have someone come up and say, “You’re shooting too many cassettes,” because they are $30 or whatever they are. On [Nil by Mouth], I got the thing about “You’re hemorrhaging film,” because I shot 550,000 feet. That was quite expensive. But there are advantages [to digital].
GR: Does it compare to film?

GO: It’s getting better and better. I don’t think it would ever, for me, replace celluloid, but do you think John would have embraced the digital age?
GR: I don’t think so---he truly loved film; I mean film itself. He would edit in the garage. And long after people were using more skilled technology for their editing he would use a Moviola. He just loved it. But we always recognized the terrible difficulties of financing your own film. As you say, you’re still hurting from it. But it’s the only way people will leave you alone.

GO: We’ve both had many conversations that start, “God, if I just had the money, I would do this myself.” And you don’t have to talk to those [other] people.
GR: There are so many ways to distribute now. But it’s very, very costly. It was easy for us because we both had a profession before John got into writing and directing. So, when we ran out of money, we’d stop---I’d go make a movie and he’d go make a movie. And we’d bring in quite a bit of money. But mostly people starting out don’t have that.

GO: I’m doing something in September. You know, “I’ve got to go and earn some money.” But I do have the ability to do that.
GR: It’s a great advantage. John did some wild ones! People would say, “What is John doing?” I would say, “We’re making a picture, we’re getting it out of the way.”

GO: Of course that was the oxygen he breathed.
GR: It was funny, it’s so quiet here today---this house has always been packed, full of people. We were shooting here; there were cameras here. There were never less than 40 or 50 people in here. People cooking in the kitchen. And I look at it once in a while, it does look like a set. We’ve shot so many things. And we had all those posters in John’s office. When he died I just thought, “I’m not going to put them all away. That’s our life.” I hung as many as I could on the wall.

GO: Some of the things I recognize, where you say, “Oh my God, that hasn’t changed. It’s still there [things in the house]. Were there two stars in the marriage, if you know what I mean?
GR: I don’t think there were any. John loathed anything to do with stardom, or people thinking they were stars. Because they are put into technical dashed-off kind of movies. In order to keep their minds off of it, their agents and manager divert their attention to the money and the billing and grosses on the weekends. And they are really not actors at some point because they have hung so much baggage on the end. So even when they want to be free and just act, people won’t leave them alone. There were certainly no stars in our family. The people we worked with just felt like a repertory group that we liked.

GO: When you first met John, or first started working with him, did you get it right away---where he was coming from?
GR: No, this didn’t happen right away. I was at the Academy of Dramatic Arts; he had just graduated the year before. He came and saw a play and we fell in love. But I thought he was going to be actor and I was going to be an actress. In fact, I never thought of movies; I thought just of the stage. If someone could have asked me what my idealized position would be, I would have said for us to be an acting couple. And it was like that for quite a few years. Then, when I was doing “Middle of the Night”, my first big break on stage with Edward G. Robinson, which was pretty exciting---it ran 18 months, and John and some guy started improvising and doing stories and then I don’t know how they ever actually got into shooting film. One friend, who was the cameraman, worked on the [Gene Shepard show]…

GO: It was a radio show?
GR: Yes. They got talking about this story and John said, “God, if I had the money, I wish people could just throw in some money and I could make a movie.” There was a great actress---I was doing “Charlie Rose”---and I came out and she said, “You know, we didn’t have a lot of money, but my father heard John talking about that first movie with Gene Shepard that night. He wrote him a check out right there.” It was so funny. I didn’t know anybody that remembered that. John just got into films and became obsessed with it and just drew the rest of us into it. It was his concept.

GO: It’s a little like he kidnapped thespians. Because the idea for that time, what he wanted to achieve, it was like he just wanted to smash all conventions. When you stand on a set and basically say to people, “For the first time, let’s just throw the rule book out of the window. I’m not going to worry about this or that. We’ll use source lighting; if we haven’t got enough lighting, we are going to do this.” There were a lot of people who looked at you like you were crazy.
GR: Oh yes. It’s not a creative environment for everybody. A lot of people are very uncomfortable with it. We just happened to love it. You get used to the freedom and it’s very hard to go back to anything else. The idea of looking for a mark on a floor? Which used to be very common when I first started acting because they needed to light precisely. You kind of find yourself taking a sneaky little look at the floor because you know you had to get to that point. You can’t really act and keep your mind on where that mark is, you just can’t do it. The freedom was just dizzying and it was certainly his idea.

GO: When I have a good experience as an actor, it recharges you and you just say, “Oh, now I remember why I wanted to do this in the first place.” Those experiences are few and far in between, sadly. People do have an idea that it is collaborative, and it rarely is. I mean, I believe in one voice, one vision. I’m sure John knew what he wanted and what he didn’t want, but within that framework it must have been an incredible experience.
GR: I think what made it so exciting for the actor was that [John] was the writer and the director, it was his vision, but one he gave you the part, from that point on, he wouldn’t even answer a question about it. He would not speak of it. If you said, “You know, John, I don’t know if [the character] would say this.” He would say, “You have the part; it’s yours. You own it. You know more about it than anybody else in the world. Now you just do what’s right.” That concept was very foreign. Peter Falk nearly went crazy, he didn’t understand a thing. Also John wouldn’t let you talk to any actor about your character, which is very different from the way people were acting. John didn’t want any interchange of ideas that way, so that you felt very left on your own. And many people really liked it. You’d do your part; they’d do their part. Half the time the people are not doing what you think they are going to do. It was very exciting.

GO: When actors chat at rehearsal or over a cup of coffee and they discuss their role or the interchange of ideas about [it], [for instance, in Woman Under the Influence], there are things that Mabel wouldn’t know about Nick unless he told you as an actor over a coffee. So if you don’t have that…
GR: It creates a certain dynamic. I remember when [one actress] said, “I’m afraid to go to the bathroom. I might miss something.” I could see how confusing it would be. But she was quite used to it by the end. If you had shot for 30 years in one way…

GO: This might seem like a strange question, but did you ever feel that working with John as much as you did, did it ever narrow your options? Did other directors see you as his actress?
GR: I’m sure they did. But I didn’t know what direction we were going in the early beginning. Many people who thought they knew what you would like to do more than you did, would say, “You’ve got to do this picture.” And I would say, “You know, I guess I’m the luckiest actress who ever lived, I’ve had maybe eight or nine great parts…and the man who wrote them and directed them loved me. And I can work with this group of extremely close friends every year after year after year. And you mean someone wants me to do something else?”

GO: The one thing that I most miss is the camaraderie of doing theater. Because you would be in rehearsal doing what you most loved from 10 am until five at night. You’d basically be acting all day as opposed to being on a set and acting for maybe 30 seconds. You all congregate for the evening for this event, and invariably you go out to dinner…
GR: We’d all make lunch, and we’d all go back to shooting. And anyone who wanted to, would go to the dailies---John would let anyone watch dailies---someone sweeping the street outside. He loved to get the feeling they had; rather than in the more traditional setting with people who know a lot about movies already. What I found so hard about movies is that once you’ve done the acting part, that’s it. It was all a lot of fun up until then, and then it’s over and the director and editor disappear.

GO: Some of these people you never see again. [laughs]
GR: John would say, “We’re all in the picture.” Since we didn’t have the money to have publicity, we would do these wonderful posters. We would all take our cars and put them up at night, in New York or Los Angeles. It never ended, it was so much fun. It was wonderful.

GO: It’s a rare experience. You’ve done tons of work, you’ve got family and commitments, running after the children, but there was a real consistency. You were engaged; you [both] were busy. Did you talk a lot after the day’s work?
GR: We said we weren’t going to; we had the children. We would have to just be human beings and talk about daily things. We’d go to bed and, sure enough, a couple of hours and I say [whispers], “John, you know that scene when we were coming down the hall? Did I step decisively enough before I get to the hall to carry that scene right, before I get to the hall?” And he’d say [whispers], “Yeah, you did; it took you about ten takes, but you did it.” It was definitely an obsession.

GO: Was it hard sometimes though? There must have been days when you disliked him.
GR: It’s a very hard way to live financially; to bring up a family and keep everything going, as it is for everybody. Except that we didn’t have to be doing that---we thought of that too. We fought about a lot of things. The other day I was thinking, I can’t remember [for the life of me] what we fought about, but we did it a lot.

GO: I think I read somewhere---I mean there are so many quotes and over the years people take things out of context---that at some point he said he couldn’t think of a better woman than you that he would love to hate or argue with.
What was your own cinema education?
GR: It was just seeing yourself---you went from one thing to another. And if you saw things that were more real and less real, you saw things you didn’t like.

GO: I think it’s knowing what you don’t like that’s important.
GR: Yes. If you know what you don’t like, it’s hard to go wrong.

GO: Some people believe that in some way John was in an ivory tower, that he was a snob about movies, but he loved movies.
GR: Yes. He loved movies; he saw everything. Science fiction movies, everything. We’d watch everything. In fact, my mother would be appalled at some of the things we were watching, like The Blob. He was anything but a snob.

GO: [Cassavetes] movies challenge the viewer---
GR: As a person or a viewer?

GO: As a viewer. I get so much from watching them because they express and reflect my deepest feelings.
GR: We had an office above the Fox Wilshire Theatre when we showed Woman there. So we’re on the second floor, hanging out, seeing who’s going. Inevitably, several people, who come out and stand in front of the theater, would be very upset. But most of the time, they’d stand outside and have a cigarette, then turn around and go back in. we knew what we must be putting people through to get them to act like that. You know everyone takes his own life with him into the movies and you don’t know which experiences you are touching on. But, yes, we required a lot of the audience.

GO: How much of you both is in [the films]? Are they very autobiographic in spirit?
GR: I can’t imagine anyone who hasn’t seen two or three of our pictures who doesn’t know a great deal about us. You can’t hide on film.

GO: I’ve heard it said somewhere that woman was your favorite movie. But it’s an extraordinary creation. I imagine it wasn’t fun every day, but I think it’s one of the great female performances on film.
GR: Thank you.

GO: It must have been like going into a sort of tunnel or something. Do you know where it came from?
GR: I don’t know where anything comes from.

GO: right. Yeah. I mean that’s the good thing. It’s sort of bittersweet because you sometimes go to a place as a performer and tap into something---find something. But, to go back---if you knew how you got there…
GR: You’re certainly never the same person you were starting a picture. The one fear I have in my life is that some young people might not see them and might not know about them. However, they are great on television, and I am extraordinarily happy for that. But I would love to have them on the big screen where they were meant to be.

Venice Magazine October 2001 Photography Jesse Hill


[Editor’s Note: This month, dear readers, you have an opportunity to see on the big screen nine films directed by the late great John Cassavetes, (besides Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky and Charles Kiselyak’s documentary A Constant Forge), starring (in six of them) his favorite actress, who was also his wife and muse, the magnificent Gena Rowlands. Now in the second wildly successful month of a 12-week series, “Gena and John: A Cassavetes Retrospective” was put together by Cassavetes enthusiasts (Sportsman’s Films’ Gabriella Bregman and Mario Luza) at Laemmle Theatres and sponsored by IFP/West and Venice Magazine. To coincide with this program, Venice sought to present a two-part discussion with Gena about her life with John and the remarkable films they made together. Gena graciously agreed.
Self-described Cassavetes junkie Gary Oldman happily accepted the honor of speaking with Gena at her home in the Hollywood Hills where she and John made many of their films. On a warm, sunny afternoon in late August, Gena sat down with Gary in the living room of Faces and Love Streams, a pitcher of fresh, homemade lemonade on the table, surrounded by European film posters and family photo’s on the walls.
At the end of Part I (, in case you missed it, /*this interview is not on the web any longer as far as I know, G.B.), Gena says: “You’re certainly never the same person you were starting a picture. The one fear I have in my life is that some young people might not see them and might not know about them. However, they are great on television, and I am extraordinarily happy for that. But I would love to have them on the big screen where they were meant to be.”
Here, then, is Part II.] TO BE CONTINUED

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Intelligence will never have much value

Intelligence will never have much value
in the collective judgment of this public's opinion.
Not even the blood of concentration camps

could draw from a million of our nation's souls
a clear judgment of pure indignation.
Each idea is unreal, every passion unreal,

in a people who lost their unity centuries ago
and use their gentle wisdom
only to survive, and not to gain freedom.

To show my face -my leanness-
to raise a single, childlike voice,
makes sense no longer.
Cowardice accustoms us
to seeing others die atrociously,

locked in the strangest indifference.
So I die, and this too causes me pain.

Pier Paolo Pasolini features exposure of my DVD Trilogy project "Scenes of Idolatry and Resentment", of which one part, "Short Day", will be available through IndieFlix and GreenCine soon.
Moreover the site has inspirational essays on production methods based on values, not budgets, distribution venues as part of one's creative process, financial power structures as viewed from a philosophical point, other inspirational role models, from the Italian Neo-Realists to Jack Kerouac, and specifically John Cassavetes and a Retrospective I produced several years back in his honor, and to spread awareness particularly amongst younger filmmakers out there of his vision and working ways.
Please check out the site (I'm still adding more stuff), and if you like it, spread the word; the artist needs to stay inspired!

Gabriella Bregman/ Hungry Artist DVD Media
Independence is not dictated by conformity to security, nor driven by rebellion against conformity, but clarity which is vision.

Kerouac's "Desolation Angels" Intro, by Joyce Johnson, (about Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassidy):

"Between 1947 and 1950, as the two made a series of marathon cross-country trips together, with Cassidy at the wheel, Kerouac discovered his great subject: post war America, seen from the perspecive of the two young men, who had opted out of the American dream and who, in order to "know time", exposed themselves to the risks, hardships, and ecstasies of life with no safety net."

Jack Kerouac, On Spontaneous Prose:

"What I'm beginning to discover now is something beyond the novel and the arbitrary confines of the story... I'm making myself seek to find the wild form, that can grow with my wild heart... I'm writing this book because we're all going to die... My heart broke in the general despair and opened up inward to the Lord."

"The actual format of my mind, as I learned to probe it in the modern spirit... Shame seems to be the key to repression in writing as well as psychological malady. If you don't stick to your first thought, and the words the thought brought, what's the sense of foistering your little lies on others. Stupefying in its' unreadability is this laborious, dreary lying called craft and revision; sheer blockage of the mental process... Drawing a breath and blowing a phrase til running out of breath, and the statement's been made. That's how I separate my sentences, as breath separations of the mind. Theory of breath as measure, in prose and verse."

"Revealing the full cirle of the hiighest high and the lowest low, in the language of passion, signifying a confluence of sexual excitement and religious fervor, the pleasure and pain of love a symbol of inconstancy and reflection of ultimate despair. Each novel goes over material already expressed, restated at a different level of consciousness of perception, restructuring again for greater personal and aesthetic clarity. Digging, piercing, becomes the goal of the quest, the language is that of an emerging consciousness. Own persona retreats from worldly distractions to the inwardness of writing, telling the true story of the world in interior monologue. The character develops and the enlightenment must be understood."

"Begin not from preconceived idea of what to say about image but from jewel center of interest in subject of image at the moment of writing, and write outwards swimming in sea of language to peripheral release and exhaustion. Write without consciousness in semi-trance. Satisfy yourself first, then reader cannot fail to receive telepathic shock and meaning-excitement by same laws operating on their own human minds."

"To Record the Flow as it already exists Intact in the Heart."

"Visions of Cody" is a 600-page character study of the hero of On the Road, "Dean Moriarty", whose name is now "Cody Pomeray". I wanted to put my hand to an enormous paean which would unite my vision of America with words spilled out in the modern spontaneous method. Instead of just a horizontal account of travels on the road, I wanted a vertical metaphysical study of Cody's character and its relationship to the general "America". This feeling may soon be obsolete as America enters its High Civilization period and no one will get sentimental or poetic anymore about trains and dew on fences at dawn in Missouri. This is a youthful book (1951) and it was based on my belief in the goodness of the hero and his position as an archetypical American Man. The tape recordings in here are actual transcriptions I made of conversations with Cody who was so high he forgot the machine was turning. Dean Moriarty becomes Cody Pomeray, Sal Paradise becomes Jack Duluoz, Carlo Marx becomes Irwin Garden and so on in all of my work from now on, published and unpublished (with the exception of the 1950 fictional novel The Town and the City). My work comprises one vast book like Proust's Remembrance of Things Past except that my remembrances are written on the run instead of afterwards in a sick bed. Because of the objections of my early publishers I was not allowed to use the same personae names in each work. On the Road, The Subterraneans, The Dharma Bums, Doctor Sax, Maggie Cassidy, Tristessa, Desolation Angeles and the others are just chapters in the whole work which I call The Duluoz Legend. In my old age I intend to collect all my work and reinsert my pantheon of uniform names, leave the long shelf full of books there, and die happy. The whole thing forms one enormous comedy, seen through the eyes of poor Ti Jean (me), otherwise known as Jack Duluoz, the world of raging action and folly and also of gentle sweetness seen through the keyhole of his eye."

Sunday, November 05, 2006

What's Wrong with Hollywood, by John Cassavetes.

Hollywood is not failing. It has failed. The desperation, the criticisms, the foolish solutions, the wholesale cutting of studio staffs and salaries, the various new technical improvements, the "bigger picture", and the "ultra-low-budget picture" have failed to put a stop to the decline. The fact is that film making, although unquestionably predicated on profit and loss like any other industry, cannot survive without individual _expression. Motion pictures can not be made to please solely the producer's image of the public. For, as has been proved, this pleasure results neither in economic or artistic success. On the other hand, the audence itself, other-directed and mass-minded as it is, may condemn pictures such as Twelve Angry Men or The Goddess. These pictures may lose money, but they have inspired applause from those who still think freely and for themselves. These pictures have gone beyond Hollywood "formula" and "ingredients", and will affect strongly the future of American motion pictures. More often than not, the mass audience will not accept a new idea, an unfamiliar notion, or a different point of view if it is presented in one or two films only, just as it will not immediately accept new ideas in life. However, the new thoughts must eventually lead to change. This is not to say that individual _expression need only be so called point-of-view films or films that stimulate thought. Certainly the standard of the musical can and must be improved too; the treatment of comedy should reach in other directions; the "epic" and "Western" pictures and the "love story"must also search for more imaginative approaches and fresher ideas. However the probability of a resurrection of the industry through individual _expression is slim, for the men of new ideas will not compromise themselves to Hollywood's departmental heads. These artists have come to realize that to compromise an idea is to soften it; to make an excuse for it, to betray it. In Hollywood the producer intimidates the artist's new thought with great sums of money and with his own ego that clings to the past of references of box office triumphs and valueless experiece. The average artist, therefore, is forced to compromise. And the cost of the compromise is the betrayal of his basic beliefs. And so the artist is thrown out of motion pictures, and the businessman makes his entrance. However, in no other activity can a man express himself as fully as in art. And, in all times, the artist has been honored and paid for revealing his opinion of life. The artist is an irreplaceable figure in our society too: A man who can speak his own mind, who can reveal and educate, who can stimulate or appease and in every sense communicate with fellow human beings. To have this privilege of world-wide communication in a world so incapable of understanding, and ignore its possibilities, and accept a compromise--most certainly will and should lead the artist and his films to oblivion. Without individual creative _expression, we are left with a medium of irrelevant fantasies that can add nothing but slim diversion to an already diversified world. The answer cannot be left in the hands of the money men, for their desire to accumulate material success is probably the reason they entered into film-making in the first place. The answer must come from the artist himself. He must become aware that the fault is his own: that art and the respect due to his vocation as an artist is his own responsibility. He must, therefore, make the producer realize, by whatever means at his disposal, that only by allowing the artist full and free creative _expression will the art and the business of motion pictures survive.

Cassavetes in his Own Words:
"You have to fight every day to stop censoring yourself, and you never have anyone else to blame when you do. What happens to artists is that it's not that somebody's standing in their way. The compromise really isn't how or what you do, the techniques you use, or even the content, but really the compromise is beginning to feel a lack in confidence in your innermost thoughts. And if you don't put these innermost thoughts on the screen, then you are looking down on not only your audience but the people you work with, and that's what makes so many people working out there unhappy. These innermost thoughts become less and less a part of you and once you lose them then you don't have anything else. So many people have so much to say and there are so many really worthwhile things to say that it seems impossible that we cut ourselves off from this whole avenue of enormous excitement." "Most people don't know what they want or feel. And for everyone, myself included, it's very difficult to say what you mean when what you mean is painful. The most difficult thing in the world is to reveal yourself, to express what you have to... As an artist, I feel that we must try many things - but above all, we must dare to fail. You must have the courage to be bad - to be willing to risk everything to really express it all."

(As listed on Film Site for Entrepreneurial Filmmakers.
Independence is not dictated by conformity to security, nor driven by rebellion against conformity, but clarity which is vision.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Excerpt from "Escape from Freedom" by Erich Fromm.

“Spontaneous activity is not compulsive activity, to which the individual is driven by his isolation and powerlessness; it is not the activity of the automaton, which is the uncritical adoption of patterns suggested from the outside.
Spontaneous activity is free activity of the self (and implies, psychologically, what the Latin root of the word, sponte, means literally:) of one's free will, the quality of creative activity that can operate in one's emotional, intellectual, and sensuous experiences.
One premise is the acceptance of the total personality and the elimination of the split between "reason" and "nature"; not repress essential parts of the self, only if become transparent to oneself, only if the different spheres of life have reached a fundamental integration, is spontaneous activity possible.

We catch a glimpse of spontaneity through individuals whose thinking, feeling, and acting are the expression of their selves and not of an automaton. These individuals are mostly known to us as artists, the artist can be defined as an individual who can express himself spontaneously.
Expressing in an objective medium, the position of the artist is vulnerable, though, for it is really only the successful artist whose individuality or spontaneity is respected; if he goes not succeed in selling the art he remains to his contemporaries a crank, a "neurotic". The artist in this matter is in a similar position to that of the revolutionary throughout history, the successful revolutionary is a statesman, the unsuccessful one a criminal.

Small children have an ability to feel and think that which is really theirs; this is expressed in their faces. It appeals profoundly to everyone who is not so dead themselves that they have lost the ability to perceive it.
There is nothing more attractive and convincing than spontaneity whether it is to be found in a child, in an artist, or in those individuals who cannot thus be grouped according to age or profession.

Moments of our own spontaneity are at the same time moments of genuine happiness. The spontaneous perception, the dawning of some truth as the result of our thinking, a sensuous pleasure that is not stereotyped, or the welling up of love for another person—in these moments we all know what a spontaneous act is and may have some vision of what human life could be if these experiences were not such rare and uncultivated occurrences.”