torsdag den 29. maj 2014

Eksklusivt interview med Lukas Moodysson: "Indeni er jeg en gammel dame, der drikker te"


Efter en stribe kulsorte kunstfilm og romaner har Lukas Moodysson, svensk films enfant terrible, atter vendt sig mod komedien, livsglæden og den medrivende mainstream. ”Vi er de bedste”, som har dansk biopremiere i dag, er absolut instruktørens mest publikumsvenlige film siden gennembrudsværkerne "Fucking Åmål" (1998) og "Tilsammans" (2000).

Med afsæt i den selvbiografiske tegneserie "Aldrig godnatt", som hans kone, Coco Moodysson, fik udgivet i 2008, har Lukas Moodysson skabt en energisk hyldest til ungdommens ukuelighed, firsernes punkrock og seje, skandinaviske skolepiger.

> Læs uddrag af Coco Moodyssons tegneserie "Aldrig godnatt"

"Vi er de bedste" havde verdenspremiere på Venedig-festivalen i 2013, hvor jeg fik en snak med Lukas Moodysson. Den 45-årige instruktør efterlod indtrykket af en melankolsk outsider, som med næb og kløer graver sig frem mod et mere positivt livssyn. Han erkendte i vores interview, at han ofte føler sig som en gammel dame. At mange af hans egne film er for dystre til, at han selv orker at se dem. Og at hans store drøm er at lave en sitcom til tv.

Den verserende debat om kvindekønnets kår i filmbranchen fik også en kommentar med på vejen, da Lukas Moodysson bød ind med et opsigtsvækkende forslag til en kvoteordning for filmskabere. Endelig holdt han 1980'ernes ungdom og musik op mod nutidens ditto og afslørede et noget uventet forbillede, som understreger, at også mørkemænd fra Malmø bliver mere rummelige med alderen ...

Lukas Moodysson | © Memfis Film

Interview med Lukas Moodysson om "Vi er de bedste"
(Interview with Lukas Moodysson, director of "Vi är bäst!"/"We are the Best!")
Brian Iskov, Venedig/Venice 2013

Judging from "We are the best" as well as your previous films "Fucking Åmål" and "Lilja 4-Ever", you seem to have an affinity for telling stories from the female perspective. Is this by design or merely something you just gravitate towards?

In general, it's because I feel like I'm an old lady inside. An old lady who likes to drink tea and likes flowers, wears rings and stuff. This is my wife's grandmother's ring. My wife doesn't like it. She likes it, but she doesn't wear it. It fits me, I have small hands.

In this specific case ["We are the best!"], I couldn't really change it because it was a real story. That was actually one thing that made me hesitate and feel like maybe it wasn't such a good idea to make this.

"Aldrig godnatt" | © Coco Moodysson/Kartago förlag 

One of the reasons was that [the real events] took place in the 1980's. That's difficult to film, because you have to change everything. You can not just walk out into the street and shoot, you have to put the cars there and everything.

But the other thing that kept me away from the project was actually that [the three main characters] were girls. Because I just felt that I had made too many films with girls, and I wanted to make something with boys instead.

But afterwards, I feel that it's a good thing. The punk movement was very masculine, so it's nice to see it from a different perspective. It would be simpler in a way to make it about three boys starting a band, because it was simpler for boys to do that. For three girls to start a band was a bigger step.

"We are the best" would certainly be more traditional if it were about boys forming a punk rock band. Generally, there aren't that many films about young girls or women. Would you agree that it's harder to get finance for a film with female protagonists these days?
Don't know about that. I don't think that's true in Sweden at all. I think it would be the opposite in Sweden. There is a lot of talk in Sweden about trying to find more female perspective in the film industry ... Which is good, I think. More female directors and so on. In Sweden, at the moment it's easier to finance a movie with women or girls in it.

Liv LeMoyne, Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin in "We are the best!" | © Memfis Film

Has there been talk about quotas in the Swedish film industry?
Yes. Talks. It's difficult, but yeah, I think it would be a great thing to try an embargo, actually. For three years, all the money goes to female writers and female directors. Would be nice. Or two years or something. It would be nice to see what came of it. Or to say that maybe for two years, we only give money to OLD directors. For example. There's a lot of talk about young directors, sometimes there are some old directors who are a bit forgotten. Or young directors. I think that would be a great idea: Two years, only male directors. Two years, only female directors. Two years, only over the age of 60. And two years, only under 30.

But then you'd only make a film every eight years.
Yeah. Actually, I'd really like to do a couple of sitcoms. But I find it's very difficult for me to decide that now I have to be funny. Sometimes there is humour and laughter in life, but it's more something that comes out by accident.

Which sitcoms do you enjoy watching?
"The Big Bang Theory" is my favourite of the moment, and if you go back, I think "Friends", that's the one I really like.

"Sometimes I can feel that some of the movies I've made, I'm not sure if I could watch them myself." 

This is a bit theoretical, but I think it could be interesting also to work within specific genres. I would also like to make a rather conventional romantic comedy, but it's difficult to work within genres without changing it too much. I would like to make some really simple things.

How come?
It might have something to do with getting away from a kind of snobbism. Sometimes I can feel that some of the movies I've made, I'm not sure if I could watch them myself. Not because they're bad, but ... Quite a lot of the time, I have very simple taste. When I go with my son to the video store, or when I go to the movies or something, I just want to have fun for two hours. Most of the time, I just wanna see something funny that will make me laugh and have a good time. Especially if I'm with my children. I'm not a father who tries to make them watch Bergman or something.

Lukas Moodysson at Venice Film Festival 2013 | © press photo

My idol of the moment is actually Rihanna. She's really an example of someone with complete power and strength, and at the same time, you feel like there's a lot of sadness in her voice. She's really been the most important thing for me this summer, trying to ... survive.

Something like listening to Rihanna would be impossible for me when I was much younger. I would never listen to that kind of commercial music at all. But then you get older, and you realize that there's a wide spectrum of things. You can actually like both Northern renaissance art and Rihanna at the same time. When I grew up, I was actually listening to exactly the same music that you hear in the film ["We are the best!"].

> Hør sange fra soundtracket til "Vi er de bedste" (Spotify)

What was the 80's punk scene like in Sweden?
I think it was quite a big scene, but like in the movie it gradually became smaller in '81-82, which was of course difficult. You would meet a lot of people saying "Punk is dead" in '82. I listened to punk from 1981 when I was around 12 years old. By then, it was already too late. In 1982, it was more or less over. The big bands in Sweden, like Ebba Grön or KSMB, they split in '81 or 82. That feeling, of coming too late for something, is in the movie as well.

Liv LeMoyne, Mira Barkhammar, Mira Grosin in "We are the best!" | © Memfis Film

Being young in the 80's, what were the good things, and what were the bad things?
That's a big question. It's difficult to compare, because I haven't tried being 13 years old now. But one thing that my actresses say, when we talk about the 80's, is that there was less stress. Now, and this is something I can relate to as well from my own children and their friends, that there's a stress to always be updated, always be in touch, always know what's happening.

Phones, social media and everything, it's a lot of stress. And especially for people who are sensitive to stress, I think it's really difficult. Some people like stress, but some people - especially children and young people - really react badly to stress, and I actually think that's a big problem in the world today. That there's such a high, fast tempo.

But at the same time, there are things that are really much better today. Growing up and feeling lonely in a small town somewhere in 1982 was probably more difficult than doing it today. Because it's easier today to find someone somewhere else that likes the same clothes or listening to the same music. I think there was a bigger risk of being isolated in '82.

You and Coco have three children. How do you teach them to cope with the world?
You cannot protect your children from the world. The world is there, you can talk about it and try to minimize some things, but you can't ... It's like trying to force children to never eat candy. It's a theoretical thing, it won't happen. Sometimes you can put it in perspective, but I'm not the perfect father, so I cannot really give any advice! I just try to do my best.

All rights reserved © Brian Iskov for Bries Blog-O-Rama

Lukas Moodysson and the cast of "We are the best!" | © Memfis Film

fredag den 16. maj 2014

Eksklusivt interview: Danny Trejo fylder 70

At man skal ikke skue hunden på hårene, er Danny Trejo et godt bevis på. Den mexicansk-amerikanske birolleskuespiller, som fylder 70 år i dag, har ellers fremragende forudsætninger for at illudere barsk latinobørste. Danny Trejo tilbragte store dele af 1960'erne bag tremmer for væbnet røveri, og hans karakteristiske, hærgede fjæs skyldes dels et heftigt stofmisbrug, som han lagde bag sig i 1969, og dels alle de tæsk, han indkasserede i sin tid som fængselsbokser.

Ved en tilfældighed havnede Danny Trejo i filmbranchen i midten af 1980'erne. Siden har han i mere end 100 biroller udfyldt nichen for latinamerikanske bøller så overbevisende, at han i dag hyldes som en kultfigur – især i kraft af hans samarbejde med instruktøren Robert Rodriguez, der gerne caster Danny Trejo som en slags maskot i sine film. Det var også Rodriguez, der i 2010 gav Trejo hans livs første hovedrolle som den fåmælte machohelt Machete i filmserien af samme navn.

> Læs også mit interview med Robert Rodriguez

Jeg sad til bords med Danny Trejo i Venedig, da ”Machete” havde verdenspremiere, og jeg måtte sande, at Danny Trejo bag sin garvede læderhud og bistre apparition er en lun, venlig, ydmyg og jordbunden bessefar - eller som Jessica Alba udtrykte det, en rigtig ”softie”. Især husker jeg, hvordan Danny Trejo under gruppeinterviewet skulede fascineret over mod min notesblok og spontant afbrød et svar for at udtrykke, hvor imponeret han var over denne danske journalists pertentlige, gnidrede håndskrift:

”That's amazing, that writing! Wow.”

Tillykke med de 70 år, Danny Trejo!

Danny Trejo at Venice Film Festival 2010

Danny Trejo
(Venice 2010 – all rights reserved © Brian Iskov)

Danny Trejo on being typecast as a heavy:
I've always worked, but always as the bad guy. And people say, arent you afraid of being stereotyped? Come on, look at me! I dont look like a good guy (laughs).

I've watched guys sitting in gyms wasting their life waiting for that good guy part. Me, I wanna work, and Robert [Rodriguez] knows that. I'll play a tree if you want me to. And if you want me to put fruit on it, maybe I want more money. But I don't really pick and choose. Bad guys are easy for me, I just show up.

Danny Trejo on his violent background:
[Film violence?] None of it is real. Maybe the facial expressions are, but if it was real, someone would be dead. I've been exposed to violence. I always say, the first half of my life was a character study.

I was lightweight and welterweight champion [in San Quentin prison]. When I came out, I couldn't get a boxing licence because of the violence that I had on my record. So I became a drug counsellor.

Danny Trejo's film debut as a boxer in "Runaway Train" (1985)

Danny Trejo on his way into the movie business:
My first movie was ”Runaway Train” with Jon Voight. I got on by accident. I was a drug counsellor, and one of the kids I was working with asked me to come down and hang out with him because he was afraid he was gonna use. And I ran into a really good friend of mine from my past in the penitentiary called Eddie Bunker, who was a writer. Me and Eddie knew each other since 1962. My uncle bought a robbery from him in '62, that's where I met him. Then I met him in San Quentin, and again when he'd written the screenplay to ”Runaway Train”. He adapted it to American cinema because it was [originally written by] Aiakawa [Akira Kurosawa]. He asked me if I wanted a job training Eric Roberts how to box, and Andrei [Konchalovsky, the director] saw me and put me in the film.

Danny Trejo on taking Robert De Niro to a prison:
I always ask the leads in my movies whether they wanna go to juvenile hall or penitentiary to talk, because we always do that. [Robert] De Niro [who played opposite Trejo in ”Machete”] has been the only guy to go to the pen with me. He drove 60 miles to talk to a bunch of kids in prison. And it's amazing because he is not a public speaker. The interview guys know! And he talked for maybe a minute and half, and then he waited to shake everybody's hand. These guys, from 14 to 25, all murderers. They were so quiet and respectful, it was unreal. The prison guards got scared. Robert just captivated them.

Danny Trejo in "Machete" (2010)