Christian Monggaards blog

Joe Dantes comeback

Der er vel efterhånden ikke så mange, der længere kan huske, hvem Joe Dante er, men nævner man titler som Gremlins 1+2, The ’burbs, Matinee, The Howling, Explorers, Innerspace og flere andre mere eller mindre klassiske film i den fantastiske genre, kan det være, at det hjælper hukommelsen på vej.

Det er efterhånden også nogle år siden, at Dante for alvor gjorde opmærksom på sig selv – 1980’erne var hans store årti – og han har ikke været så heldig med sin karriere gennem de seneste 10-15 år. Heldigvis tegner det til, at han er på vej tilbage med en af den slags gyserfilm, The Hole, som kombinerer hans sans for anarkistisk humor, sympatiske og interessante personer og gammeldags horror af den mere eller mindre familievenlige slags.

Denne film – som har verdenspremiere på filmfestivalen i Venedig i september – og meget andet taler Joe Dante om i et meget langt og grundigt og underholdende interview med filmbloggeren Dennis Cozzalio, der har en blog med det opsigtsvækkende, omend ikke videre mundrette, navn Sergio Leone and the Infield Fly Rule.

Dante er som Martin Scorsese en filmbuff, der kan tale længe og meget om de film, han elsker, og det er ikke så få – det er en fornøjelse at høre ham begge fortælle om film og instruktører, vi andre måske kun svagt kan huske, men som han tilsyneladende ved alt om.

JD: I believe movies are very mysterious, and they don’t give up their mysteries easily. Certainly not on the first viewing. You and I can return to the same movie 11 times or more. My father was a person who would be watching a movie on TV and he’d go, “Oh, I remember I’ve seen this,” and he’d turn it off. (Laughing).

DC: No, I don’t think I could operate like that.

JD: Well, the nice thing I have going for me is, I’ve seen so many movies and I very often can revisit a movie for the 12th time and, although I have all the information stored away—all the plot points, how it ends, that kind of stuff—that’s not how I watch the movie. I always watch the movie like a first-time viewer. Also, I’ll tune in to Citizen Kane in the middle, watch it for 20 minutes and get just as much out of it as I would if I watched the whole thing.

DC: Because you have all the information of the movie stored away and the movie’s images, even ones from an specific or unrelated section, can unlock the rest of that imagery?

JD : I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s an issue of the pleasure center of the brain or what. I just feel that these things are part of my DNA.

Anledningen til interviewet med Dante er, at han i disse dage er vært for en slags filmfestival, Dante’s Inferno, i en biograf i Los Angeles, og den viser både enkelte af Dantes egne film og nogle af de amerikanske genrefilm, han selv er vokset op med og har dyrket gennem et langt liv i filmens tjeneste.

Dante fortæller også om, hvor svært det er for en veteraninstruktør som ham at få lov til at lave film i et Hollywood, hvor studiebosserne ikke ved noget om film.

»We’re all struggling to make movies. I’m making The Hole, a movie set in summer, in Canada during the winter. We’re freezing our asses off trying to make it look like it’s summer. And every so often I’d just stop and say, what are you complaining about? You’re working. You actually have a job. You’re expressing yourself. So many people I know who are my age can’t get work. People you would know who have made movies and TV shows you would recognize can’t get arrested because the studio heads don’t know who they are and their movies didn’t star Tom Cruise. They’re expected to put together MTV-like seven-minute reels that show people scenes from their movies. But if they put together these reels with lots of music and visual pizzazz and there’s still no famous movie star faces in there—“Why should we hire this guy when we can hire this music video guy?” The guys that green-light movies aren’t interested or passionate about movies, they’re interested in the bottom line. They’re interested in tent-pole movies, sequels, remakes, anything people have already heard of. They’re remaking Drop Dead Fred. They’re remaking Adventures in Babysitting. And they’re remaking them because, gee, we don’t even have to read the scripts, all we have to do is watch the movie! There’s nothing literate involved.«

Han fortæller også om The Hole, der er optaget i tidens store dille, 3D.

»When you’re successful in a genre you’re worth a little more to people doing that. They don’t offer me many love stories. So I’ve been reading a lot of horror scripts and, you know—The horror movie is in an interesting phase right now. It doesn’t really quite know where to go. It’s pretty much gone as far in the eyeball-popping direction as it can go, and everybody’s kind of wondering, what’s the next thing gonna be? In the meantime, I think there’s a certain nostalgia for the type of horror pictures that were being made 20 years ago. I was sent the script for The Hole, and it’s a very small film—six characters, five locations, obviously a modest movie. And I suggested to the producers, “You might think about making this in 3D.” Because it’s not a big, expansive film, it’s an intimate film about these kids and their family, and there’s something about 3D that draws you further into the movie when it’s done correctly. It’s not about throwing things and making the audience duck— it’s about making you feel like you’re in the scene with the people.«

Filmen har desværre ikke dansk premieredato endnu, men forhåbentlig kommer den, og indtil da kan man jo passende forlyste sig med nogle af Dantes tidligere film, der for en stor dels vedkommende er udkommet på dvd.

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