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The Brown Bunny - Preview



Preview by: Jack Foley

IT'S been hailed as, possibly, the worst picture to screen for a decade at the Cannes Film Festival and prompted critics to boo its director at the festival press conference, so don't expect Vincent Gallo's The Brown Bunny, to be appearing on UK cinema screens for a long time yet - if ever, in fact.

The movie, which was shown in competition at the showpiece event, tells the tale of Bud Clay, a motorcycle racer (Vincent Gallo), who travels around the United States competing in Formula 11 races, while being haunted by the love of his life Daisy (Chloe Sevigny).

Yet while the plot sounds intriguing, critics apparently openly guffawed at the screening, before groaning at the highly graphic oral-sex scene at the end.

Gallo, who wrote, directed, produced, and starred in the film, has subsequently pledged never to direct again... and even apologised to the movie's distributors and financers for the disaster it has become.

The reaction to The Brown Bunny is a million miles away from the acclaim which greeted his first film as director, the arthouse hit, Buffalo 66, yet continues the love-hate relationship that journalists seem to enjoy with the oddball star.

His last film, the French vampire flick, Trouble Every Day, also courted controversy for scenes of graphic violence and warped sex - it, too, culminated with an oral sex scene, with Gallo feasting on a maid's vagina (literally).

Gallo, though, remains unapologetic for his persona, stating: "I have learned to deal with the fact that I'm not popular. It comforts me. I'm not looking for popularity, I don't even want a career and even less so, a place on Hollywood's power list."

Talking about the film itself, however, he told the Cannes press conference: "When I said it's not autobiographical, what I meant was that this is not a display of Vincent Gallo's idea of sex, Vincent Gallo's idea of a relationship, etc.

"What makes a film personal is that there are points of view that I have personal feelings about. There are experiences that I've shared. There are conflicts that I understand. I build those into a whole character, into a whole narration. (...) I hope the work transcends my reasons for making it.

"So, to sit up here and talk about my film as if I had intellectual control over it, as if I had complete objectivity and a complete sense of what it is I wanted to say, I think it would be dishonest and unrealistic. (...) But, my best work, the best things that I'll ever do in my life will be far more interesting than me and my reasons for doing them."


And on the sexual aspect of the film, he noted: "I was not interested in eroticism or pornography, or anything like that. But, I had a long-time concept that what people do physically in their sexual behavior is extremely contrasting to what they think they're doing, or how the impression is emotionally or in their thoughts.

"When you see the most basic performances, or activities, that people do sexually, I find it bizarre or odd when I look at it. I mean, if I look at it in eroticism or in displays that are meant to be exciting or titillating, it has one reference.

"But, when I see myself accidentally or I look down, and when I look at things, I find it quite unusual. I thought that in making a movie and including this graphic scene, when I wrote the script, I couldn't imagine this scene in any other way. I couldn't understand how I could separate the concept of watching what people do physically and understanding what they're going through emotionally. I didn't see a way to separate them.

"I wasn't motivated to separate them. I never thought about separating them. (...) I'm not personally an exhibitionist. I don't like to be naked or looked at in any way. I don't photograph myself that way. I don't like the idea of men and women together, physically detached from intimacy."

However, given the reaction to the film, and the fact that he was booed during the press conference, he went on to state: "I'll never make another movie again. I mean it...

"Being booed at was not much fun. It's really not very nice that people are so nasty. I'm very disappointed...

"It's a disaster of a film, and it was a waste of time. I apologize to the financiers, but it was never my intention to make a pretentious film, a self-indulgent film, a useless film, or an unengaging film," he said.

Ironically, Gallo had been looking forward to coming to Cannes, stating at the same press conference that: "I've always dreamed of coming to Cannes. I was really disappointed – I don't know why exactly because I'm not the person who wants to be invited to the party – but I really wanted to come to Cannes desperately with Buffalo '66.

"I was very disappointed and very hurt and ashamed in the American indie cinema scene. So, I was very honored to be able to participate in the Festival, especially in France because the level of interest in cinema is so compatible with my own interest in cinema."

Needless to say, The Brown Bunny has not been scheduled for a US or UK release as yet, but we will keep an eye on things and keep Gallo fans informed.

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