Burroughs NYC apartment in the 50's copies the exact colors of places like this at this time. The particular shade of green used on walls, hallways, countertops, almost brings back the smell of them. The dull browns of peeling wallpaper, the dirty cream of window moldings and doors locates that pervasive depression one experienced in these spaces. And yet the slanting light of an afternoon sun in winter along the wall makes you catch your breath with its beauty. You are looking at an Edward Hopper painting.
This is due to his cinematographer,
Peter Suschitzkywith whom he has worked since the 80's. It seems once Cronenberg has worked with someone, that someone becomes a permanent member of his support crew, and if an actor or actress, becomes a focus for Cronenberg's artistic plans for the future. Cronenberg has said a number of times that an actor or actress has become someone he wishes to work with and has found his own screenplay reveals his interest in that person in a particular part.
For the reasonably minor but important role of Kiki (Joseph Scorsiani) in Naked Lunch, actors from all over the world were considered and then he found Kiki right at home in Toronto. Such a nuanced face and body movement for the queer Arab young man, breathtaking. Not until John Lone does M. Butterfly for Cronenberg will we see the like. That a director takes such artistic interest in just the right person for a minor role illuminates his choice of Rob Pattinson for the role of Eric Packer in his upcoming Cosmopolis. He has not chosen Pattinson for his huge media splash, but for deeper artistic reasons beyond his beautiful face; his seductive intelligence and wit reflected in the camera perhaps? Certainly not as a beautiful prop as Francis Lawrence used him in Water For Elephants.
here. (July 23-11 posting) Thank god I don't have to download them here. They are slow slow slow. Now you are warned. But they are lovely, and make Breaking Dawn look less so.
|Paul and Jane Bowles|
Characters Ian Holm as Paul Bowles and Judy Davis, who plays Burroughs wife Joan and Jane Bowles incite you to know more about the work of each of them if you don't already. Jane Bowles is an unrecognized genius and fanfic could learn much from her perverse exploration of character in her stories. She is a dark read. A similar to Lovecraft read in fact. And the evil, beautifully evil Julian Sands.
|More Julian Sands images from Naked Lunch|
Badmouthing CGI Cronenberg turns to puppetry. Burroughs recurring characters, the Mugwumps, Cronenberg's Talking Typewriters are real, the actors can relate to them, as they cannot to a green screen. The Arabic tyewriter feels like a precursor of eXistenz's (1999) Module. The Mugwumps (youtube link) are so beautifully detailed that being told only two of them remain makes you want to scream. Preserved and shown as art and auctioned on ebay would bring a hunk of money for the next Cronenberg film. Evidently he disregards the commercial value of his beautiful puppets. They are not used as props as Benjamin and Pirandello deplore, which Francis Lawrence extolls, but are real entities in his films. I could find no gifs and would even upload against my preference to their slow page loading if one were available. But here is one from youtube. Anyone who has ever seen a performance of Bread and Puppets will immediately understand what I just wrote. And damn I forgot to mention the cenipieds.
And it cannot be overlooked how Cronenberg in his screenplay, in just a few sentences in a diner, encapsulates the crucial influence Burroughs, Jack Kerouac and Ginsberg have had on American writers. How does Cronenberg do it!
a filmmaker, do you want critical acclaim or splash? Very rare to get both. Here's hoping Cosmopolis will do that for Cronenberg.