|F FOR FAKE
|NEOBYCHAINIYE PRIKLUCHENIYA MISTERA VESTA V STRANYE BOLSHEVIKOV
|The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai across the 8th Dimension
|Frank Miller, Robert Rodriguez
We all know that the best works of art are unrankable, but we can’t help making lists, mostly because lists defines the ones who makes them: they are mirrors of ourselves. These lists of films are about us, cinephiles. But ‘philo’ does not mean love, it means friendship: cinephilia is not ‘love for cinema’, it's a non-exclusivist relationship, where we share with others our film sensibility. Films are our friends, even if sometimes we can make love (or hate) with them.
Most of the films in my list were seen before I started making movies, when I was absorbing everything I saw without my own filter as a filmmaker. They are (some of) the films that made me think differently about cinema and the world. They are films that invite you to revisit them, to have multiple conversations with them. It’s like when you meet someone interesting: you never know everything about that person in the first meeting – you want to meet them again. That’s the kind of cine-conversation I wanted to have with the spectators of my films.
When I was 13, there was a revolution in Portugal and censorship ended. In that summer I would see two films a day with my brother. I saw Fellini’s Roma and Buñuel’s Belle de Jour, two films that made me realize that cinema could be so many different things, and that you don't have to completely understand a work of art to fully admire it.
Since then, Roma, stood for me as the symbol of cine-freedom. After that, I think I learned more about editing from Resnais than Eisenstein, but of course Resnais probably wouldn’t exist without Eisenstein. And Kuleshov is for me the filmmaker from the Soviet period that interests me most, where the eccentric meets the adventurous in a unique way (Kuleshov even made a super-hero movie, The Death Ray).
Buckaroo Banzai is almost the Hollywood counterpart of Mr. West: it’s the quintessential postmodern, low-tech Hollywood feature and, like Casablanca, it has a colorful cast of secondary actors. Buckaroo, They Live, From Beyond and other films from the 80s questioned our perception of reality with irony but Videodrome, being also a film about reality tunnels, is a more complex one, and it made me want to explore other kinds of cinematic textures and levels of interpretation.
After I finished high school, I spent most of my time watching films at the Cinemateca of Lisbon, but there was never another screening like that of Eraserhead: almost no one remaining at the end. I felt electrified after watching the film, not only because of the ‘surreal’ images, but because of the sound. I had never heard something like that before. I started to think about sound as something (at least) as important as the image.
Once, (after the premiere of The Baron) I read that I was “the Portuguese Guy Maddin”. Since I didn´t know his work, I researched it and laughed when I found out that Guy was the “Canadian David Lynch”! Well, some say that Lynch is the “American Buñuel”, and today everyone who has an eccentric or unconventional approach is called a surrealist. But I believe that labels won't stick for long. Labyrinth by Jan Lenica made me feel also in trance, in the animation format.
It was when I saw F for Fake, after finishing cinema school, that I understood that I didn’t have to follow any conventions – not Hollywood’s, not the French New Wave’s, just be me. I could have a dialogue with the spectator and with reality at the same time. I had found my path, beyond the frontiers of fiction and reality.
I chose two films from 21st century as a proof that cinema can (still) be anything. They are examples of new approaches to old problems, and both are in tune with my own aesthetic preoccupations. Holy Motors deals with fragmentation, from the point of view of content and style, and has one of the most beautiful anti-humanocentric endings of all times. Sin City merges cinema with another medium that I love (comics) like no other film (before or after) did.
Well that’s just my opinion, my experience of viewing (and hearing) films.