torsdag den 3. april 2014

CPH PIX 2014: William Friedkin - guldkorn fra Venedig

Så er der CPH PIX igen! Fra i dag, 3. april, og til den 16. april kan filmfans i København og udvalgte provinsbyer gå på opdagelse i programmets 150 film fra alle verdenshjørner og i alle genrer. De fleste af filmene bliver kun vist i danske biografer ved denne ene lejlighed.

> Se hele CPH PIX' program for 2014

Weekendens æresgæst på CPH PIX er den amerikanske instruktørveteran William Friedkin, bedst kendt for sin fremragende politithriller "The French Connection" (1971) og gyserklassikeren "Eksorcisten" (1973).

William Friedkin | pr-foto

William Friedkin besøger København under festivalen og vil personligt introducere en række visninger af sine film. Friedkin giver desuden en masterclass i instruktionens kunst lørdag 5. april i Dagmar Teatret, hvor Nicolas Winding Refn agerer ordstyrer.

I forbindelse med CPH PIX har Cinemateket valgt William Friedkins "Frygtens pris" (Sorcerer, 1977) som månedens film i april. Den desillusionerede thriller, som tidligere er filmatiseret af Henri-Georges Clouzot i 1954 som "Le salaire de la peur", blev totalt overset ved premieren i 1977, til dels fordi en lille film ved navn "Star Wars" havde premiere samme dag.

Nu får "Sorcerer" en ny chance i en digitalt restaureret kopi, som havde repremiere på Venedig-festivalen sidste år. Her modtog William Friedkin ved samme lejlighed en ærespris, og dem kan han åbenbart ikke få for mange af, for i morgen, fredag 4. april, venter der ham en æres-Robert til gallaforevisningen af "Frygtens pris" i Dagmar.


Biograftrailer for "Frygtens pris" (1977)

At 78-årige William Friedkin er en benhård Chicago-bisse, der ikke stikker op for bollemælk, demonstrerede han i Venedig. Friedkin var i hopla til sin  pressekonference og nød tydeligt både opmærksomheden og muligheden for at provokere den forsamlede verdenspresse. Herunder kan du læse mange af hans guldkorn fra Venedig-seancen på engelsk.

(Og et PS: Min lille aktie i Friedkins danmarksbesøg er, at jeg overleverede CPH PIX' personlige invitation til ham efter pressekonferencen i Venedig!)

NOTE TO FOREIGN READERS: The following are excerpts from William Friedkin's press conference at the Venice Film Festival 2013. Mr. Friedkin is currently guest of honor at this year's CPH PIX festival in Copenhagen.



WILLIAM FRIEDKIN OM AT VINDE EN OSCAR FOR "THE FRENCH CONNECTION" I 1972
William Friedkin on winning an Academy Award for "The French Connection" in 1972:

Yesterday I met a gentleman in passing, who said to me: "How does it feel to have won an Academy Award over Stanley Kubrick?" And I said, "Well, The French Connection was funnier than A Clockwork Orange!" That's how it must have happened. (silent pause) Shall I repeat that? It sounded funnier when he said it.

WILLIAM FRIEDKIN OM "FRYGTENS PRIS"
William Friedkin on "Sorcerer":

If there's one film I'd like to be remembered for, it's "Sorcerer". Because "Sorcerer" is the film that came the closest to my vision. Of any film I've ever made, the result is the way I first saw it in my mind's eye.

"Sorcerer" is a metaphor for the nations of the world that can't get along. And if they don't get along, if they can't find a way to respect one another's culture, and to respect the nature that God has given us, they will explode.

[The making of the film] had a lot of problems, physical problems. About 50 people who worked on the crew, including me, got malaria, gangrene, were sick, ill for months afterwards. So it was a difficult film to make, but I think we're all lucky if we're able to make cinema.

"Eksorcisten" (1973) | pr-foto

WILLIAM FRIEDKIN OM STADIG AT VÆRE MEST KENDT FOR "EKSORCISTEN"
William Friedkin on "The Exorcist" still being his best-known film:

I'm grateful that people like any film that I've made. I like "The Exorcist" too! It's a very powerful film about the mystery of faith, and the power of Christ. I think that's the only film I've made that is about such important subjects as the grand mystery of faith and the power of Christ. And it's not metaphor. It's direct. I believe in the power of Christ. And I understand that faith is a mystery, that a man in his early 30's walked the earth in Jerusalem and in the diaspora in a robe and sandals, and he spoke on hillsides and seasides, in the streets and in the synagogues of the day.

He wrote nothing, there's no writing in the hand of Jesus'. There are no pictures of him. We don't know of any paintings that were made of him at the time. His words have come to us from other people. Yet, over the last more than 2000 years, trillions of people have believed in this person. I find that incredibly mysterious and important. I can't say that I fully understand it, but I find it extraordinary.

We know more about the afterlife of Christ than we know about the life of the young man, Jesus. And everything else about Jesus except his birth and death, everything else is part of the mystery of faith. And that's what "The Exorcist" is about. The mystery of faith and the power to heal the sick.

"Jeg syntes, det var uhyggeligt. Det er nok en af de værste oplevelser, jeg nogensinde har haft. Du kan eddermame tro, han er en strid banan" 
Connie Nielsen om at arbejde for William Friedkin på filmen "The Hunted" (2003)

WILLIAM FRIEDKIN OM AT VÆRE HÅRD MOD SINE SKUESPILLERE
William Friedkin on giving his actors a hard time:

Here's what I do as a director. I work very much like a psychiatrist. I've never been in psychiatry, really. But as I understand psychiatry, you talk about yourself to a psychiatrist, and you reveal a lot of yourself to this psychiatrist. I do this with actors. I'll sit with them before we go to make the film, and I'll get from them the things that make them happy, or sad, or frightened, or courageous. Or tragic, even.

> Læs også: Connie Nielsen taler ud om William Friedkin

I was difficult with Gene Hackman [in "The French Connection"], because his character was difficult. He was playing a very hard, tough guy, who was angry. Hackman himself did not have this anger, but he had it within him. And I tried to get to it every single day. He was more angry at me than he was at the drug dealer! This is what I intended. And it's one of the reasons why I think his performance is so good. It's not that I told him how to do it, it all comes from him. But I had to help him get to the sense-memory to provoke that emotion.

Gene Hackman i "The French Connection" (1971) | pr-foto

With Linda Blair [in "The Exorcist"], I asked her, what was the most tragic time in her life. And she said, when her grandfather died. So I constantly used this knowledge this knowledge that I get from them as a kind of sense-memory. Because that's what the actor does. The actor or actress brings forward sense-memories of their own to play their character. And I work with opera singers this way too. They have to remember what it was like to be happy or sad. Because even though they are playing another part, it's still them. It's them being happy, them being sad, evil or good.

So I will use little suggestions like this to provoke them into sense-memories that allow them to portray these characters, when those emotions are called for. Because that's what an actor is doing. Not just reading lines and memorizing them. They are portraying emotions, and you have to provoke these emotions in the character.

WILLIAM FRIEDKIN OM SIN FILMSMAG
William Friedkin's taste in movies:

I haven't seen a new film in a very long time. But I love the films, for example, of the Coen brothers in America. And I love the films that I've seen of Matteo Garrone and Paolo Sorrentino in Italy.

I mostly watch films that I've seen before, on Blu-ray. I'll tell you what I watch a lot now. Still, "Citizen Kane", "All About Eve", "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre", "8 ½", "The Band Wagon", "Singin' in the Rain", "Diabolique". All the films of Antonioni, "La Notte", "L'eclisse". Especially "Blow-Up". I watch these films constantly. I watch foreign films from many other countries.

Ever heard of a film called "A Serbian Film"? You heard of it? You've seen it? It's pretty great, isn't it? You don't like it? I think it's great. Anyone who doesn't like "A Serbian Film" can leave right now!



WILLIAM FRIEDKIN OM NUTIDENS HOLLYWOOD
William Friedkin on Hollywood today:

I think the studios have a problem, yes. But the point is, everything implodes. Even ancient Rome. Everything implodes. I think there will be some sort of studio system for a good long time to come in Hollywood. The studios today are primarily distribution organizations. They originate and make very few films in the Hollywood studios.

To them, it's about, making money. And they're making a lot of money. They spend a lot, but Hollywood today is like a big casino. It's like a big place where you gamble, and you put all the chips on one number, one card, one turn of the card. Hollywood studios could make a thousand films for what they spend on one.

I couldn't make a film like "Bug" (2006) or "Killer Joe" (2011) with a Hollywood studio. You have to have somebody wearing a spandex suit with leather on his chest, flying around the world, saving the world from evil. You have to have somebody who can kill vampires or zombies, you know. I don't want to do that, I don't even want to watch it, to be honest with you. The kind of stories that attract me cannot be made for a major studio. No way. You'd be surprised in the days of "The Artist" (2011), most of the studios didn't want to make that. It's too far out, too edgy.

WILLIAM FRIEDKIN OM FILMKUNSTENS ROLLE I SAMFUNDET
William Friedkin on the role of cinema today:

It was Bertold Brecht, the German playwright, essayist and poet, who said: "Art is not a mirror to be held up to society. Art is a hammer with which to reshape it." That's the role of cinema. To help people find a way toward acceptance of who they are, and who everyone else is, and to respect that.

There's no doubt in my mind that the world right now, today, is on the edge of extinction. Just open your own newspapers or websites or whatever. America threatens Syria. Iran threatens Israel. Russia threatens anybody else. Everybody's threatening everybody today in a way that I haven't experienced since the second World War. Only now, the weapons are nuclear, and all it takes is one madman to end the whole thing.

Everything's not okay. There is nobody flying around in a spandex suit with a letter on his or her chest and saving the world. There is nobody. There is no Superman. There is no Batman. There are only ordinary human beings, like me, like you. And I think the only real solution that could possibly come along is if the world again comes up with a Gandhi, or an Anwar Sadat, or a Martin Luther King junior. Or somebody who is ready to stake their lives on peace and compromise. Without that, you know ...

We all need leadership, because we all have governments. We can't just do what we want to do; we have a government that makes laws about what we do. When I see our government provoking or threatening another country, I'm ashamed. So I think it is a major, major role for cinema to search for a way for people - even people who don't necessarily like one another - to find a way to come together.


Cary Grant & Eva Marie Saint i "Menneskejagt" (North by Northwest, 1959)

WILLIAM FRIEDKINS RÅD TIL UNGE FILMSKABERE
William Friedkin's advice to young filmmakers:

What is my advice to young people? If you're in a cinema school, leave immediately! Leave cinema school, go out, get a small camera, make your film, edit it at home, put it on a website, and do it yourself. Don't worry about criticism. Just let the audience see your work, free of any critical appraisal. This is the great gift to young cinema people today, and that's what I would advice them to do. Nobody can teach you how to do cinema. It is something that you learn by doing, and by seeing. Because cinema begets cinema. My films are passable because of what I have seen in the works of others.

All a young person has to do to learn how to make a film is watch the films of Alfred Hitchcock. Just see his films, not just the suspense films or "Psycho", but see how he handles every kind of scene. Comedy, romance ... He made the most romantic film I've ever seen, in "North by Northwest". The scene with Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint, they just look at each other, [and] the chemistry between them is so powerful, so beautiful, and it was provoked by Hitchcock. Hitchcock was asked by James Stewart when he made "Rear Window", "Hitch, what do you want me to do when I see the guy murdering his wife in the apartment across the way? How do you want me to react?" And Hitchcock said, "Oh, do what you always do!" And that's what he did.

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