Skip to comments.Director's dud widely reviled--even by him (Roger Ebert's account of new Vincent Gallo film)
Posted on 06/03/2003 2:01:14 PM PDT by weegee
CANNES, France--The Affair of the Brown Bunny, one of the most astonishing episodes in the history of the Cannes Film Festival, took another turn Friday when director Vincent Gallo apologized for his film and said, "It is a disaster and a waste of time."
Gallo's "Brown Bunny," which screened as one of three American entries in the official competition, was the lowest-rated film in the history of Screen International, the British trade paper that tabulates votes of a panel of critics. It was booed and laughed at during its screenings, there were countless walkouts, and its inclusion as an official selection called into question the judgment, even the sanity, of the programmers. That several French critics liked it was, Gallo said, "almost like salt in the wound."
The film consists of an unendurable 90 minutes of uneventful banality, as Gallo's character travels cross-country toward a motorcycle race in California, followed by a hard-core sex scene in which he imagines he receives fellatio from his lost love, played by Chloe Sevigny. Let it be said that Sevigny, who reportedly cried during the screening, is heroic in the way she finds conviction and truth in her character, in the midst of the general catastrophe. Many minutes of the earlier scenes consist of such shots as a windshield gradually accumulating dead bugs.
Gallo is talented as an actor, and his first film as a director, "Buffalo 66" (1998), was so quirky and free-spirited you not only forgave its eccentricities but cherished them. Nothing in his previous career would predict the disaster of "Brown Bunny."
"I accept what the critics say," Gallo told Screen International, whose panel gave the bunny its record low rating. "If no one wants to see it, they are right. I apologize to the financiers of the film, but I must assure you it was never my intention to make a pretentious film, a self-indulgent film, a useless film, an unengaging film."
"L'Affaire Brown Bunny" has generated so much publicity, as the low point of a dismal year at Cannes, that it may actually find French distribution; there may be a cachet attached to seeing such a universally derided film. Some French critics specialize in defending the indefensible, to show that they alone can understand a rejected work; their explications of "Brown Bunny" may be--indeed, must inevitably be--more entertaining than the film.
Gallo might be expected to leave town quickly after the bunny debacle, but he is also an actor in Peter Greenaway's "The Tulse Luper Suitcases: The Moab Story," which plays in the official competition here over the weekend. That means he will be expected to march once again up the red carpet and into the Palais--where, he said, the "Brown Bunny" screening was "the worst feeling I ever had in my life."
I can easily think of a fistful of titles that are much worse, including a number of opening-night films. The fact is that for all its problems and wallowing self-indulgence, "The Brown Bunny" didn't bore me for a second, which is no small thing, especially considering this year's offerings. I love its glamorized documentary feel and look -- part Frederick Wiseman, part fashion magazine layout -- and I very much like looking at Gallo's mug, which is a good thing, because he's in nearly every shot. If nothing else, the film is unequivocally the work of a man pursuing his own path. I am already looking forward to seeing if I can stand to sit through it a second time -- that is, if anyone picks it up for U.S. distribution. I just hope that Gallo, who before his press screening was walking along the Croisette dressed in all white with his name stamped on the back of his shirt, wasn't sitting in the theater when the cheers and the jeers erupted.
A nation that idolizes Jerry Lewis is capable of embracing any artless piece.
The one crumb for him must be Sevigny's revelation that its notorious final fellatio scene was for real. "It wasn't that bad for me," she said. "I have been intimate with Vincent before."
From an article in the other thread Gallo: I never apologised for Brown Bunny (Conservative filmmaker facing leftist backlash?)
Ahhh... but, do you also get the tune of your choice?
Vincent Gallo, the outrageous actor-director who fired both Winona Ryder and Kirsten Dunst before they even stepped onto the set of his film Brown Bunny...
Gallo goes to all this trouble to get . . . Chloe Sevigny? He coulda had Winona Ryder!
Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls
Beneath The Valley Of The Ultravixens
He also was a contributing writer to the never completed Russ Meyer/Sex Pistols movie, Who Killed Bambi?
Mr. Ebert is now married to one of the stars of Beneath The Valley of the Ultravixens (Junkyard Sal).
I don't know, but I would select the Helen Reddy classic "I am strong...I am invincible...I am woman!"
About the only way such a worthless sounding film could be less "conservative" is if the guy was imagining the same scene but with his lost male love.....
Ok, now I have to wash my mouth out.....hope I don't barf.....
Are you sure? Junkyard Sal was played by Jane somebody and I thought Ebert was married someone named Chaz or something like that.
Of course, Chaz could be a nickname though I hardly see the point of nick-naming a Jane. Or Jane could just have been a screen name or whatever. Not that any of this matters a great deal.
Anyhow, if the Chaz that he married is actually Junkyard Sal she sure has hit the wall in a big way. Actually they make a pretty good match.
Yea, but he might never have gotten his penis back.
Junkyard Sal is the woman in overalls pictured over the word "Beneath"
Yep, they look like a matched set. I guess you're right...
Perfect example of French cultural superiority. LOL!
The Brown Bunny
That was the big buzz of this festival. Vincent Gallo second film was very coldly received here. Mainly this was perceived as some very egotrip from the guy. Well, I admit that first hour and half seeing only Gallo on some road trip, seducing any girls he encounters, riding motobike endlessly or looking for a turtleneck in his van in a 4 minute scene can procure this feeling. As does the last part, where hes given a b***j** by Chloé Sevigny without stand-ins for his **** or her mouth. But where does this magnetism come, this moving to tear feeling of seeing a sad tale of an abandoned man come from ? Yes, Brown bunny is irritating more than one time but it has the same guts of Monte Hellman, Michelangelo Antonioni and John Cassavetes films. Im still not sure if I want to see it again, but Im definitely sure Ive seen with this film a pure moment of cinema.
I suppose that some could say that "Two-Lane Blacktop is a movie about a boring cross country race where there is no real racing and none of the characters even have names. There isn't even an ending!"
Mr. Ebert still hates Blue Velvet.
I can't watch Blue Velvet anymore. I kept getting asthma attacks.
Yes it was... and it was.
"Honey, where's the Billy picture?
I searched FR for the Ebert dispute and didn't find it (it wasn't posted) but the similarity in date led me to question the reason for all the hate lobbed at this film. I still contend that there are some who seem to be taking special delight in slamming this film (and it's creator who did just about everything on this film).
Hollywood is a place that likes to trash the careers of those who don't play ball.
Here are some alternate views.
Mr. Gallo always seems rather unkempt to me as well but then I know I go out every now and then without shaving (or even washing my hair) myself. He's been in the NYC art world for over 20 years. Was "Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind" (by the Looney Clooney) any better of a film?
Maybe Vincent has been there and done that (don't approach an actress about this job that hasn't already shown a commitment to the project?). Since Mr. Gallo's affairs with this woman )(women??)(who are far closer to him in age than the married X42 was to his prey) were conducted prior to employment, I do not seriously believe that he employed the "casting couch" in making this movie. I think that he wanted to tap a list of talent that he already personally knew for his film project (he has enough control that he calls the shots).