Franz Patrick. Research. Cinéphile. Bay Area.
Ph.D. Student. Biomedical Sciences. Cancer Biology.
The University of Toledo College of Medicine.
UC Irvine Alumni. Biological Sciences. Cognitive Sciences.
Imagination. Self-actualization. Transcendence.
© 2008 - 2014 by Franz Patrick
All Film Reviews Are Property of Franz Patrick
All Rights Reserved
Franz Patrick. Research. Cinéphile. Bay Area.
People have forgotten how to tell a story. Stories don't have a middle or an end any more. They usually have a beginning that never stops beginning.
I'm as guilty as anyone, because I helped to herald the digital era with "Jurassic Park." But the danger is that it can be abused to the point where nothing is eye-popping any more. The difference between making "Jaws" thirty-one years ago and "War of the Worlds" is that today, anything I can imagine, I can realize on film. Then, when my mechanical shark was being repaired and I had to shoot something, I had to make the water scary. I relied on the audience's imagination, aided by where I put the camera. Today, it would be a digital shark. It would cost a hell of a lot more, but never break down. As a result, I probably would have used it four times as much, which would have made the film four times less scary. "Jaws" is scary because of what you don't see, not because of what you do. We need to bring the audience back into partnership with storytelling.
I've discovered I've got this preoccupation with ordinary people pursued by large forces.
If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed.
I've always been interested in ESP and the paranormal. In addition to the scientific experiments which have been conducted suggesting that we are just short of conclusive proof of its existence, I'm sure we've all had the experience of opening a book at the exact page we're looking for, or thinking of a friend a moment before they ring on the telephone. But "The Shining" didn't originate from any particular desire to do a film about this. I thought it was one of the most ingenious and exciting stories of the genre I had read. It seemed to strike an extraordinary balance between the psychological and the supernatural in such a way as to lead you to think that the supernatural would eventually be explained by the psychological: "Jack must be imagining these things because he's crazy." This allowed you to suspend your doubt of the supernatural until you were so thoroughly into the story that you could accept it almost without noticing. The novel is by no means a serious literary work, but the plot is for the most part extremely well worked out, and for a film that is often all that really matters.
I do not always know what I want, but I do know what I don't want.
Four people are sitting around a table talking about baseball or whatever you like. Five minutes of it. Very dull. Suddenly, a bomb goes off. Blows the people to smithereens. What does the audience have? Ten seconds of shock. Now, take the same scene and tell the audience there is a bomb under that table and will go off in five minutes. The whole emotion of the audience is totally different because you've given them that information. In five minutes time that bomb will go off. Now the conversation about baseball becomes very vital. Because they're saying to you, "Don't be ridiculous. Stop talking about baseball. There's a bomb under there." You've got the audience working.
There is no terror in the bang, only in the anticipation of it.
Why do they say I hate my country? And what does that even mean? Am I supposed to hate my town, am I supposed to hate all English people, or my government? And if I do hate my government, does that mean I hate my country? It's a democratic duty to criticize the government.
A movie isn't a political movement, a party, or even an article. It's just a film. At best it can add its voice to public outrage.
Yes, women are stronger than us. They face more directly the problems that confront them, and for that reason they are much more spectacular to talk about. I don't know why I am more interested in women, because I don't go to any psychiatrists, and I don't want to know why.
I think decor says a lot about someone's social position, their taste, their sensibility, their work, and also about the aesthetic way I have chosen to tell their story.
My school and the cinema were only a few buildings apart on the same street. The bad education I received at school was rectified when I went to the cinema. My religion became the cinema. Of course one could create one's own belief system, and anything that helps or supports you in life can be seen as covering the function of religion. In that sense you could consider cinema my religion, because it is one of my major stimuli that I have for living. Cinema has that aspect of devotion to saints and idolatry as well. In that sense it is entirely religious.
Experience it like a walk in the countryside. You’ll probably be bored or have other things in mind, but perhaps you will be struck, suddenly, by a feeling, by an act, by a unique portrait of nature.
You must find the note, the correct key, for your story. If you find it, everything will work. If you do not, everything will stick out like elbows.
I think predictability has become the rule and I'm completely the opposite--I like spectators to be disturbed.
When I did "The Age of Innocence," the critics said, "Is it wrong to expect a little more heat from Scorsese?" I thought "The Age of Innocence" was pretty hot. So I said, "Alright, I'll do 'Casino,'" and they said, "Well, gee, it's the same as 'Goodfellas.'" You can't win. Yes, "Casino" has the style of "GoodFellas," but it has more to do with America--and even Hollywood: the idea of never being satisfied.
"L'avventura" gave me one of the most profound shocks I've ever had at the movies, greater even than "Breathless" or "Hiroshima, mon amour." Or "La dolce vita". At the time there were two camps, the people who liked the Fellini film and the ones who liked "L'avventura." I knew I was firmly on Antonioni's side of the line, but if you'd asked me at the time, I'm not sure I would have been able to explain why. I loved Fellini's pictures and I admired "La dolce vita," but I was challenged by "L'avventura." Fellini's film moved me and entertained me, but Antonioni's film changed my perception of cinema, and the world around me, and made both seem limitless. I was mesmerized by "L'avventura" and by Antonioni's subsequent films, and it was the fact that they were unresolved in any conventional sense that kept drawing me back. They posed mysteries--or, rather, the mystery of who we are, what we are, to each other, to ourselves, to time. You could say that Antonioni was looking directly at the mysteries of the soul.
The cinema began with a passionate, physical relationship between celluloid and the artists and craftsmen and technicians who handled it, manipulated it, and came to know it the way a lover comes to know every inch of the body of the beloved. No matter where the cinema goes, we cannot afford to lose sight of its beginnings.
Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne
In "L'enfant," we have a main character, Bruno, a man who cannot be a father, who is never able to be a father, and it feels like at the end of the movie he at last became a father. Well, I’m not sure things will be OK afterwards. But it seems like when they’re in the prison, where people can speak with their families, I think he says, “How’s Jimmy, how is he doing?” Well, he never said the name of the kid before. It means that he has changed. Because of the kid that he has saved from the water, Steve, he became someone else. It takes time. So we felt that it was the right moment to end the movie. Our movies are like portraits.
We haven’t found any place or room for music in our movies. Maybe because we are not able to find the right music, I don’t know. And when we’re shooting, I think that’s where things happen actually. When we’re building our plans, et cetera, the rhythm of that construction is partly based on the sounds, not only the dialogues, but touching the objects. And rhythm is based on the sounds that we can hear on the set, the noise of the bodies moving, the breathing of the characters, that’s our music. We just don’t see the need for music. When we’re shooting we just don’t think about it.
I think one of the big wishes of the human kind is to transform things, to work on things to construct, to destroy, to sometimes construct again. And not only to look at the world, let’s say, passively. I think that’s the aim of humankind, being a man, a woman, is to change things. And cinema is about showing things that are changing.
If you're a film fan, collecting video is sort of like marijuana. Laser discs, they're definitely cocaine. Film prints are heroin, all right? You're shooting smack when you start collecting film prints. So, I kinda got into it in a big way, and I've got a pretty nice collection I'm real proud of.
The exploitation films were made in such an artless way with these big wide shots of Sunset Boulevard or of Arcadia or downtown L.A. or wherever. In mainstream films, especially in the 1980s, the Los Angeles you saw wasn't the real one; it was a character with this backlot sort of atmosphere. They tried to luxuriate it. In exploitation films, you see what the place really looked like, you see the bars and mom-and-pop restaurants.
I've had people write that I've seen too many movies. In what other art form would being an expert be considered a negative? If I were a poet, would I be criticized for knowing too much about Sappho? Or Aristotle?