SIFF Cthonically SpeakingÖ
posted by June 14 at 10:45 AMon
Ahh. The sweet, sad sunset of SIFF! And so itís begun. Tragic. Like waking up from a warm and wonderful dream to a cold and ugly woman. The movies all go away. The booze dries up. The parties pitter out. Life plods on.
But no chunky chicks have sung quite yet (as far as I know), so we all still have a few glorious days left to snatch what SIFFiness we can. And tonight, for me, itís Cthulhu!
As David has already explained below, Cthulhu is happening this very evening at the Neptune Theater (6:30 sharp!), and Eric has already informed yaíll about the big Chthulhu party afterwards. (They both forgot to mention that Iím in the damn thing, but since Iím just an extra, Iíll forgive. But Iím an awesome extra. The fucking king, yo.)
But Cthulhu isnít the only option for those whose tastes run to the dark and peculiar, as do mine. There is also One Day Like Rain, which is screening at Harvard Exit tomorrow night and defies synopsis. The SIFF catalogue gives it a valiant attempt, however, and calls the film, “A pleasantly confounding, dreamlike combination of Donnie Darko and Ghost World, with a little bit of Twin Peaks thrown in for good measure.” Indeed? I watched the film’s awesome trailer six hundred million times and have come to two conclusions: something about this movie seems to capture me, and I canít even begin to figure out what the hell is going on. So I asked the writer/director, Paul Todisco, and this is what he told me:
How did this movie happen? And WHAT is it ABOUT??
This story just kind of poured out of me during a couple weeks in June in 2005. It had been brewing in my head, though, in some form or another for ten years. It was birthed from a decade of metaphysical readings and mystical studies and practices…I pursued those things because I was compelled to and was fascinated by them. I knew a movie (or several movies) was going to come out of it somehow, but I didn’t know what. I don’t think I really knew what it was going to be even when I sat down to write. But there it was, a story about teenage girls, suburbia, and elevating consciousness. All the elements I’m familiar with were there - I grew up in a suburban neighborhood - North Syracuse, New York - and understood the angst that can result from childhood years in such a place. Alchemy, metaphysics, and the evolution of consciousness were also major themes. And I guided the story along, of course, as it unfolded. Many things that I had always wanted to put in a film found a place in this story. It was like putting puzzle pieces together - I had the pieces all ready…they had been ready for years. I think my subconscious just pieced them all together for me.
Which of the characters do you personally identify with?
Definitely Gina. Gina has a unique way of seeing the world; she has a clarity of vision. She is both obsessively inspired by and burdened by the responsibility of this vision.
Additionally, there is a bit of me in every character. I think it’s impossible to write anyone (that is, to make them a believable character) without identifying at least a bit with some element of them.
Does “One Day Like Rain” have any connections with your earlier work?
Although it’s quite a big departure from my first feature, which was mostly two guys talking, was very character-driven, and was about the inter-personal relationships between people, this movie is very visual, and is about transpersonal relationships, meaning, the relationship between a person and the cosmos - or the soul. It’s very unique in that way, and a huge challenge. But there are still connections between the two films. They are both about suburban malaise; and in a way, David Keenen (main character in “Freak Talks About Sex”) struggled with a lot of internal dilemmas and ultimately, I believe, experienced a shift in consciousness. So the themes that were just barely being birthed in “Freak…” are now the forefront of the entire film in “One Day Like Rain.” And there are stylistic similarities. I shot both films with the same visual style. I just had much more visual, non-dialogue scenes in “One Day Like Rain.”
Before I made “Freak…” I made a conscious pact with myself that I would make a film that avoided any “cheese.” My goal was realism, and to get natural performances, yet to still direct it carefully and with beauty. I am pleased with the outcome of “Freak…”, and with “One Day Like Rain” was ready to layer on the next step, which was to try to put more of the text into the visuals themselves, to tell the story visually and stylistically, to make the film less realistic and more atmospheric, more surreal, and more of a visceral experience. This is a bigger challenge and I knew creatively that I had to have a film like “Freak…” behind me before attempting this territory. Of course, there is still a long way to go with future films…
What’s your favorite thing about this film?
I love most of all that it is a visual journey and, hopefully, a kind of transcendental experience. I want it to transport the viewer into a new way of looking at things; everyday things that may be very familiar to us. And I love that it is the kind of movie that reveals more to the viewer the more a viewer thinks about it or the more times he/she watches it. These are the kinds of movies I love, and I really think “One Day Like Rain” is rich enough to offer this as well.
People bring themselves to this film. Every interpretation is different, but within specific parameters. I tried to find the right balance between mystery and message.
Well, I’m still confused. But I’m eager to riddle it all out.