XIXAX Film Forum

The Director's Chair => The Director's Chair => Topic started by: MacGuffin on November 20, 2003, 10:38:28 AM

Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: MacGuffin on November 20, 2003, 10:38:28 AM
(http://cdn.digitalcity.com/mff_takefive/tophaynes)

Disaffected directors like David Lynch study the world through a forensic lens, offering up movies like suburban autopsies. Todd Haynes, meanwhile, attacks social convention with a more viral approach, telling outsider stories from the inside. Perhaps you know his cult short-film debut, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, in which Haynes used a Barbie doll to play the anorexic '70s chanteuse and still managed to craft a more sincere portrait than most live-action biopics. His next three features -- Poison, Safe and Velvet Goldmine -- detonated even deeper beneath our collective skin, daring to puncture audience complacency with the shrapnel of self-examination. In relatively short order, Haynes has proven himself a master at deconstructing repressed identity and artifice, themes he pushes even further in his new film, Far From Heaven. The movie, which stars Julianne Moore as a '50s housewife who seeks companionship from her black gardener after discovering that her husband is gay, is nostalgically styled in the tradition of Douglas Sirk's melodrama All That Heaven Allows, but actually serves as a much more contemporary critique. Now, in his own words, Todd Haynes reveals five films that provoke hisimagination.
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All That Heaven Allows
(1955, dir: Douglas Sirk, starring: Jane Wyman, Rock Hudson)
There's a beautiful film called All That Heaven Allows that my film draws a great deal from. Rock Hudson's a sort of visionary gardener who reads Thoreau, and Jane Wyman's a widow who's older than him, and they strike up a friendship that sort of scandalizes their very pent-up social world. Sirk reached a sort of apex in his filmmaking in the '50s, and there is something different from his stories about women than what we might call "women's films" from the '40s or the '30s that often starred Bette Davis or Katharine Hepburn, who became far more dazzling, charismatic, strong, striking figures than most of us know in life. What's really poignant about the Sirk films is that they're about very ordinary, limited people who struggle with very basic social pressures and prejudices and often don't come out heroic on the other end. They often buckle under the pressures of their worlds, and I love that about these films. What films today would sort of end with is Kathy coming home and saying, "Oh, Cybil, I've spent my whole life in the shadow of the men around me, and I've lost everything, but now I know who I really am." It would sort of articulate what she's learned for you, and these films didn't do that. Their characters were very mute in that way, and I think that demands you to think more about what's going to happen to them. A lot of films that do everything for you leave you with nothing to do at the end, and I think that's robbing spectators of a terrific potential.  

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
(1974, dir: Rainer Werner Fassbinder, starring: Brigitte Mira, El Hedi ben Salem)
Another film that I would put on my list is Fassbinder's beautiful remake of [All That Heaven Allows], called Ali: Fear Eats the Soul in America. He took the same basic ideas and applied it, as he often did, so brilliantly to contemporary German culture, where the woman was actually in her sixties, a female janitor who cleans bathrooms. She stumbles into a Turkish bar one evening in the rain and sees this hugely tall, handsome 20-something-year-old black Turk, and they strike up a friendship that becomes romantic. It's just a really beautiful, poignant movie that follows All That Heaven Allows very closely, more than my film ultimately does, but in a really brilliant way. He turned it into something having much more to do with the sort of repressed and conflicting social realms in Germany in the '70s, particularly with tensions between minority cultures and German working-class cultures at that time. All of his films have those sort of rigorous politics involved even if he almost always uses the melodrama as the form, but this manages to be really touching and moving. It's the only direct adaptation of a Sirk film that I know of that came before Far From Heaven.

Night of the Hunter
(1955, dir: Charles Laughton, starring: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters)
It's just a magnificently radical movie for the period in which it's made. I mean, just simply at the level of the use of the image, the shadows, the lighting, the amazingly evocative scenes on the river with the kids and those animals in the foreground. It has a gorgeous understanding of artifice, that films are allegorical basically, and it embraces that idea fully. It's a story of a little boy and girl whose father gets shot when he steals money, and they're enlisted to hide the money even beyond the eyes of his widow, who Shelley Winters. And Robert Mitchum plays this completely evil pseudo-minister who met the father in prison, so his quest is to get the money out of these kids' hands, and he does it with all the manipulations of love and power and dominance over them. It's just a really exquisite journey that the film takes, and basic binaries are called into question at the end. It's a film about good-and-evil and love-and-hate (as depicted in Robert Mitchum's knuckle tattoos), but I think the way the little kid's feelings for his father end up mirroring his feelings for Robert Mitchum is what completely severs me at the end of that film.

2001: A Space Odyssey
(1968, dir: Stanley Kubrick, starring: Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood)
It's an astoundingly experimental, formally experimental film in every way. It's just shocking when you go to see it again and you realize how much time is spent watching a triangle move into a rectangle or a sphere into a cone. It's almost the most basic geometric reduction of narrative conflict. It's powerful in its restraint, and then in its sort of muscular expanse as well, almost at a philosophical level. I applied a lot of its style and restraint and use of beautiful sustained long shots and controlled zooms to my film Safe, which is about Los Angeles in the '80s and the story of a housewife encountering her toxic intolerance to her environment. To me, it was a really interesting metaphor for a way of dealing with an increasingly controlled environment that we all live in, controlled by technology and by chemicals. Almost the sense of being in an airport where everything is modulated, the air, and the speed that you walk down runways, and every aspect of life is determined by our machines and technology.

Performance
(1970, dir: Donald Cammell and Nicholas Roeg, starring: James Fox, Mick Jagger)
It's just a wonderfully rich use of cinematic language, with the strongest, most provocative and radical aspects of the medium being used through editing and cutting. But also it's a really rich depiction of that cultural moment, that climate of sexual questioning and the mutability of sexual and other forms of identity. It was definitely an inspiration, maybe my prime inspiration for Velvet Goldmine in terms of style, sort of a fusion of experimental film meeting rock culture and drug culture that was beginning to come into mainstream venues in surprising ways in the late '60s and early '70s. It's about the London underworld in the late '60s. James Fox is a kind of a thug connected to the Mob, and he has to go into hiding and finds this exiled rock icon and his crazy entourage of characters, and sort of ends up being indoctrinated into this out-of-time world where drugs and dressing up and constant questions about transformation and identity are sort of the rules of the game. He transforms, and there's this strange kind of psychological bonding that goes on between him and the Mick Jagger character that's both sexual and plays with their opposites. Part of what's great about these movies and what sort of elicits young people's obsessions is they're sort of begging for interpretation and their wonderful blurriness and their provocative allure of ideas.
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: godardian on November 20, 2003, 10:42:11 AM
Oh, Todd... my hero....

All his picks are swell, of course. And so nice to see him finally get his own thread... thanks, MacG!
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: classical gas on November 24, 2003, 08:43:47 PM
I've put off on seeing "Far From Heaven" for quite some time now.  I'm afraid that it will be a sappy melodrama.  I guess it comes from the title and the fact that it's set in the 40's, 50's?  I know I should never assume, because I've been surprised by films many, many times; so can someone reassure me on it's greatness (for lack of a better word, i'm tired...)
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: godardian on November 24, 2003, 09:07:22 PM
Quote from: classical gas
I've put off on seeing "Far From Heaven" for quite some time now.  I'm afraid that it will be a sappy melodrama.  I guess it comes from the title and the fact that it's set in the 40's, 50's?  I know I should never assume, because I've been surprised by films many, many times; so can someone reassure me on it's greatness (for lack of a better word, i'm tired...)


If it's real greatness you're after, see Safe first.

I think Far from Heaven really captures the self-consciousness of the sappy melodrama... it's not "ironic" in its form or content at all, but there's an eerie tension between its very bold use of melodrama and color and its more modern themes.

It has something visual there even if you're not into the kind of story it is. Which is, yes, very melodramatic and based on the "weepie." Mr. Haynes is very aware of the more troubling domain touched upon by the "weepie," though, and he uses great restraint and care in infusing the melodrama with his more contemporary concerns.
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: classical gas on November 24, 2003, 09:14:20 PM
they have "Safe" on netflix, and it's got julianne moore, i'll definitely get it.  it sounds really good, i can't believe i've never heard of it.  i guess melodrama isn't always bad, as long as it isn't a Lifetime movie...
he also did 'velvet goldmine'; my manager at this video store i worked at used to rave about it.
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: godardian on November 24, 2003, 10:22:32 PM
Quote from: classical gas
they have "Safe" on netflix, and it's got julianne moore, i'll definitely get it.  it sounds really good, i can't believe i've never heard of it.  i guess melodrama isn't always bad, as long as it isn't a Lifetime movie...
he also did 'velvet goldmine'; my manager at this video store i worked at used to rave about it.


Safe and Velvet Goldmine are both really good... Velvet Goldmine is maybe more niche-oriented, though. I mean, I think there are really good things there for any film fan, but you might not get as excited about it unless you're familiar with the sociocultural implications of the glitter-rock bands of the 70s (Bowie, Roxy Music, T. Rex, et. al) and the dominant ideologies of eras. He uses the Bowie template from the '70s and contrasts it with the relatively homogenized Bowie template from the '80s as a kind of commentary on that. Don't go looking for biography, either though; it's very fictionalized, very allegorical.

In pure cinematic terms, it's like Performance meets Citizen Kane. Many people apparently found this a wet mixture; also, Miramax advertised it as something much more conventional than it was, so although it may have failed at the box office anyway, it didn't ever get a chance to succeed or fail on its own terms.

Me, I must have gone to see it about a dozen times when it was released. The next movie I did that for was Magnolia.
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: godardian on November 24, 2003, 10:53:52 PM
Quote from: MrBurgerKing
Here's my comment about Velvet Goldmine.. I admit, I'd fallen victim to that film, and I absolutely hated it. It's just not for me though.. Those ridiculous bands and musicians, that whole era.. horrible.. I used to hear the phrase 'you cannot ask an elephant to piss out chocolate.' Still, Safe and Far From Heaven are pretty exciting works, hopefully they represent just the tip of an iceberg.


Yeah... if you really don't like the music, there's little chance you'll like the film. I was always excited by that era in music (that and punk were maybe the two last really invigorating eras of pop- as it went in the movies that decade, so it went in the music as far as expending horizons and becoming more savvy and self-conscious). I really wouldn't characterize it as "ridiculous" at all, Mr. BK, in fact it was quite humorously intellectual and steeped in a real knowledge and love of pop culture. In my opinion. It's not like it was King Crimson or disco, or anything. :)

Still, I'd say Safe and Far from Heaven, and then if you're in love, give Velvet Goldmine a whirl.
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: Ernie on November 25, 2003, 08:19:13 PM
I just recently, meaning like only an hour or so ago, fell in love with Far From Heaven on my second viewing. I had seen it in theatres with an annoying cold on a freezing New York day the first time so that's probably why I didn't connect with it in the first place. Just wanted to reverse any the times I may have dubbed FFH as mediocre or any of that, it is a great film, I gotta say. And I had no idea Soderbergh and Clooney produced it. That just makes me feel good, I don't know why...I could just see Haynes and Clooney and Soderbergh talking about Douglas Sirk together and having fun making this movie...I've never even seen a Douglas Sirk film but I don't know, it still makes me feel good. I will definitely be checking out Sirk now of course as well as Fassbinder, I've always meant to check both of them out.

Oh yea, I'll be renting Safe very soon too, I heard David Gordon Green is a fan which is pretty cool. This reminds me of it.

Hey godardian - do you think that Ali movie would be a good Fassbinder flick to start with?
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: cowboykurtis on November 25, 2003, 08:42:57 PM
Quote from: godardian


If it's real greatness you're after, see Safe first.

It has something visual there even if you're not into the kind of story it is. .


id agree with this statement -- superb visual storytelling. however i feel the film doesnt amount to much. if hes measning to make a statement on our detremental effects on the enviorment, he'd be better suited making a public service anouncment. if he is simply studying this woman's condition/character i feel its a bit benign. the first two acts were wonderful. once she is a patient at the "camp" i thought it fell apart -- it just didn't resonante with me.
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: godardian on November 25, 2003, 09:15:43 PM
WARNING: Possible "spoilers."


Quote from: cowboykurtis
Quote from: godardian


If it's real greatness you're after, see Safe first.

It has something visual there even if you're not into the kind of story it is. .


id agree with this statement -- superb visual storytelling. however i feel the film doesnt amount to much. if hes measning to make a statement on our detremental effects on the enviorment, he'd be better suited making a public service anouncment. if he is simply studying this woman's condition/character i feel its a bit benign. the first two acts were wonderful. once she is a patient at the "camp" i thought it fell apart -- it just didn't resonante with me.


I actually feel that both those interpretations are off the mark, though. It's her docility that comes into question- the effectiveness of the film comes from the tension of her being so complacent, and the marked lack of any real difference in efffect between her suburban "trap" and the New Age "retreat." I see it as a fable about conformity without the expected sneering and diminution of the conformist; instead, it tries to understand her, observe her life and her actions, see how very, very easy and desirable it can seem to give your identity to something outside yourself, to unburden yourself of the responsibility and feelings and doubt you'd have to go through to shape your own identity and question the things around you, regardless of what they are.

The environmental thing is a total Macguffin. Safe is not a public service announcement against pollution or for New Age/holistic thought, not in the least. It's about conformity, identity, and the way our culture discourages people from actively, critically thinking, instead encouraging victims to blame themselves. It's about how there's always someone who will give you words to mouth so you don't have to think and really see your situation and the world around you for what it is, and how there's never any shortage of people willing to do just that, to their own detriment.

The protagonist is not liberated in any way at the end- this is not a movie that is pushing a specific method of liberation. It is an extremely opaque, deceptively concrete film. Because of the style, you're forced to consider everything you're seeing- whether it's her life in affluent suburbia or her life at the retreat- very thoroughly. Without being "ironic," there is a huge distance between the "plot" and what we actually see. The plot is intentionally that of a Lifetime movie; what we actually see runs directly counter to that "here's the problem, here's the solution" kind of storytelling.

This is why it's so chilling when she has her "breakthrough" at the end. Haynes has said that the real moment of breakthrough is in the middle, when she become angry in the hospital; it's the first time we see her actively engaged, asserting herself. But that can't last; by the end, she's given over her identity to something new, she's obeying it down to the last, most ridiculous letter, and... she's sicker than ever.
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: classical gas on February 19, 2004, 02:47:10 AM
I just saw "Safe" and thought it was an amazing film.  I won't embarrass myself by trying to explain the film, as Godardian's post above does it better than I ever could.  I just wanted to give my respect for the movie here.  
I do have to say that the final scene of this movie reminded me of the final scene of "Clockwork Orange".  Although, the two films don't share the exact same themes, I was reminded of the 'Clockwork' scene after the film concluded.

(I could be way off; I haven't seen "Clockwork" in a few years)
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: godardian on February 19, 2004, 11:05:59 AM
Quote from: classical gas
I just saw "Safe" and thought it was an amazing film.  I won't embarrass myself by trying to explain the film, as Godardian's post above does it better than I ever could.  I just wanted to give my respect for the movie here.  
I do have to say that the final scene of this movie reminded me of the final scene of "Clockwork Orange".  Although, the two films don't share the exact same themes, I was reminded of the 'Clockwork' scene after the film concluded.

(I could be way off; I haven't seen "Clockwork" in a few years)


You're spot on, CG: Kubrick was a huge influence on the film, though it was specifically more 2001 than Clockwork Orange.

So glad you found it amazing! Obviously, I completely agree. It's one of my personally most important movies.
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: ono on April 16, 2004, 09:57:34 PM
I just got finished watching Poison.  Spoilers possible.  I think a good way to describe it is fascinating, yet impenetrable and frustrating.  Clearly, Haynes got his start with his themes here (or with Superstar), defining himself as an auteur from the get-go.  All throughout the "Horror" segment I kept thinking over and over again about Safe and Far From Heaven.  Unfortunately, "Horror" started out being most interesting and faded into obscurity as a parody of a parody of yet ANOTHER parody.  First it sends up sci-fi, but then it becomes a joke on itself.  The cinematography in that section, and the use of black and white, were both perfect, and it's a shame Haynes didn't try to say even more than I believe he did, because the obvious route, I think, is to go for the overt satire, and I think that's his prime failing.

I couldn't be less interested in the "Homo" segment.  It was generally just boring, though it definitely a unique look at the hierarchy of prison inmates.  Had I not known Shawshank came after this, I would've thought this ripped it off, but there are no real solid parallels, and only the setting is remotely similar.  The scene outdoors near the end with the inmates forcing one of their own to hold his mouth open while they spit into it from a distance is one of the most overtly pornographic, disturbing, and at the same time compelling I've ever seen.  I can see where there it would lose most of its audience.  It's so incredibly surreal a scene, unbelievable in its feasibility and the fact that Haynes was actually able to film it, and it kept reminded me of the stereotypical Japanese fascination with bukkake.  (If you don't know, don't ask, but if you can't look at that man's face at the end without feeling some sort of churning in your stomach ... well, I don't know if that says more about you, more about me, or more about the fact that that probably was Haynes' point in the first place.)

"Hero" was by far the best segment.  From the get-go I was captivated by the premise - boy shoots his dad and flies away.  It seems like something out of a dream or fractured fairy tale.  And the deeper you get into the story, the more you realize something isn't right here, and the more you begin to draw parallels to the other stories.  And of course, that has to be the point for the film to HAVE any point.

More observations: The young boy was some sort of angel of judgment, sent to judge both the mother and father.  But who is he punishing?  The mother, for being unfaithful, or the father, for beating the mother?  He's also beat his son, a ritual the son reenacts, forcing a classmate at school to spank him in the P.E. equipment room.  That he "flies away" is the most beautiful part of this whole film, something one really can't put into words.  He didn't just disappear.  He did his duty, and left, leaving his mother to know what he was, and to give her some sort of vague clue as to what his purpose was, even if in her telling this to others it does make her out to be crazy.

In "Horror," there are parallels to Safe and Far From Heaven.  The enviroment being a cause for sickness (in this case it's sexual, which is the parallel to "Homo"), and the ostracization one feels from being "different" in society - see Far From Heaven.  There was so much more material here that again, it's a shame Haynes went for sci-fi spoof.  The sexual libido serum was an excellent premise, yet the scientific mumbo jumbo and damsel overacting was not.

"Homo" again is the weak link.  It seems only to be there to express Haynes' own feelings of alienation at being gay, and he does this so astutely that I can forgive him for the section not being more compelling.  The audio was bad in some sections of "Homo", which hurt my understanding of the scenes and plot, and there were no closed captions or subtitles, which is one of my pet peeves as far as DVDs and VHSs are concerned.

Bottom line, check out this film, yo.  Stylistically, it's totally unique, with its weird score, lighting, cinematography, framing of shots, basically everything.  I'm not saying that this is how a story SHOULD be told, but people should take to heart that this is how it CAN be told.  SoNowThen raved about how My Life to Live was special because of Godard's new way of telling a story.  Haynes does one better here, and while it is shaky in some places, and let's face it, a little boring and pretentious in others (two of my favorite buzz words!), it still is important to anyone interested in indie film.  I don't necessarily like this film, but I don't hate it, and definitely admire it.  I probably won't buy it or ever watch it again.  But here's a film about ideas, one of the closest I've ever seen to actually succeed at being so.
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: Ghostboy on April 16, 2004, 10:09:35 PM
Quote from: Onomatopaella
 The scene outdoors near the end with the inmates forcing one of their own to hold his mouth open while they spit into it from a distance is one of the most overtly pornographic, disturbing, and at the same time compelling I've ever seen.


Isn't it, though? There's technically nothing pornographic about it, and yet Haynes has hit upon a perfect visual metaphor and manages to push all the buttons he needs to, to the extent that it's just as disturbing as the rape scene in Irreversible.

Watching it, I was pretty sure that this was the scene that helped bring the NEA to its knees -- which is a sad thing, but a powerful acknowledgemnt of Haynes' skill.
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: godardian on April 17, 2004, 10:36:35 AM
Something that might help with the "Homo" segment:

It's the one part that leans most heavily and obviously on Genet (the entire film is supposedly a take-off, but this is the one that really gets into the Genet line of thinking), so it helps to have a passing familiarity with Genet to understand where Haynes is coming from. Hint: The gay-alienation thing, as surprisingly graphic and explicit as it is, is a means, not an end.

Also, the DVD is pretty bad. It must've been the best they could come up with, seeing as how Haynes and Vachon and Lyons were willing to do commentary, but the sound and picture are no better than VHS, really.  :(

"Homo" was my least favorite segment the first time I saw it, too, but on subsequent viewings it's become clearer that the three separate bits are each intended to be part of the same "story," a story about human culture and society (an ongoing obsession of Haynes's, obviously enough if you look at the rest of his work): The prison is a microcosm, the "horror" segment is a macrocosm, and the "Hero" segment is in between and more direct and "on-the-level" about its theme.  

Anyway, I think Poison is a really good movie, but it's probably my least favorite piece of work from one of my most favorite directors. Velvet Goldmine, as unpopular as it seemed to be with critics and audiences, utilized the gay thing to get at the Haynes thing in a much more satisfying, encompassing, and accomplished way.

But if you could only see one Todd Haynes film, that would have to be Safe.
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: rustinglass on September 04, 2004, 04:28:43 AM
Just saw Velvet Goldmine for the first time yesterday. Loved it, it's a really fantastic film.

I've been reading this whole thread and I'd like to add that I think that Blow-Up was also a huge influence to him. And there are a few shots in the movie straight out of Clockwork Orange  (credits included). Man, I love these London 70's films with all their colours and shit. Can I get some recommendations? What other good films have this colourful look and excentric wardrobe?

I guess I must see SAFE too, right?
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: godardian on September 04, 2004, 11:41:20 AM
Quote from: rustinglass
Just saw Velvet Goldmine for the first time yesterday. Loved it, it's a really fantastic film.

I've been reading this whole thread and I'd like to add that I think that Blow-Up was also a huge influence to him. And there are a few shots in the movie straight out of Clockwork Orange  (credits included). Man, I love these London 70's films with all their colours and shit. Can I get some recommendations? What other good films have this colourful look and excentric wardrobe?

I guess I must see SAFE too, right?


Safe is more 2001 than Clockwork, but since you seem to have so much insight into the whys and wherefores of Velvet Goldmine, I predict you'll like it. Enjoy!! :)
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: modage on September 04, 2004, 11:46:33 AM
godardian, where have you been?  go listen to the thrills album!
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: godardian on September 04, 2004, 11:57:45 AM
Quote from: themodernage02
godardian, where have you been?  go listen to the thrills album!


I've been listening to it... it's really good! Love "Curse of Comfort" the most so far, but it's bound to be high in my top ten of '04.
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: bonanzataz on September 04, 2004, 01:14:34 PM
i'm falling in love w/ todd haynes. safe is great, i just saw the karen carpenter story, and i used to not like far from heaven but now i do! i think i have to rewatch velvet goldmine, b/c i disliked that movie when i first saw it.

i actually just really liked safe. that was an awesome movie.
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: godardian on September 05, 2004, 12:30:18 PM
Quote from: bonanzataz
i'm falling in love w/ todd haynes. safe is great, i just saw the karen carpenter story, and i used to not like far from heaven but now i do! i think i have to rewatch velvet goldmine, b/c i disliked that movie when i first saw it.

i actually just really liked safe. that was an awesome movie.


If only there were an emoticon for "squealing with enraptured glee..."

Every time someone else appreciates Safe's brilliance, another godardian gets his wings... :) So glat you're into it, bonanzataz.

I will say that Velvet Goldmine, as truly fantastic and accomplished as parts of it are, is probably Haynes's weakest film overall. Particularly if you don't already know something about oscar Wilde, David Bowie, and the cultural transitions between the '60s and the '70s (and the '80s), it's really not very self-explanatory or involving. As "energetic" as it is, it still probably has the narrowest appeal of all his films, and more for the reasons I mentioned above than for the more blatant pansexuality of the content.
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: Ghostboy on September 05, 2004, 12:36:29 PM
Welcome back, Godardian!
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: rustinglass on September 05, 2004, 04:15:01 PM
Velvet Goldmine is his weakest film?!! I better see all of them soon, maybe it will get better and better and Todd Haynes will become my new favourite director. But I doubt it.
Alright, again, I was totally blown away by this film and frankly I'm surprised that so many people disliked it over here. It might be because of what Godardian is sating, that if you don't get the David Bowie-Iggy Pop- Lou Reed references, it might be sort of an empty experience to you. But still you've got to admire the energy, the production design, the rythm of the whole thing, They set an example.
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: MacGuffin on November 07, 2004, 03:05:57 PM
Quote from: godardian
I will say that Velvet Goldmine, as truly fantastic and accomplished as parts of it are, is probably Haynes's weakest film overall. Particularly if you don't already know something about oscar Wilde, David Bowie, and the cultural transitions between the '60s and the '70s (and the '80s), it's really not very self-explanatory or involving. As "energetic" as it is, it still probably has the narrowest appeal of all his films, and more for the reasons I mentioned above than for the more blatant pansexuality of the content.


I'll agree with that. I just rewatched it after not having seen it since it first came out. But the only problem I had with it was the structure. While it works perfectly in "Citizen Kane," I felt it didn't work well enough to get a better grasp of who the characters are and a better sense of 'story'. And yet, if the film had a linear structure, I think the film would have completely lost the charm that makes the film appealing. I wanted to like this film more because of the music and 'history' of glam rock, and Haynes really captured the look and feel of an authentic 'British' film and that era, but that's what the film feels like, rather than a overall story on Brian Slade.

godardian, who, if anyone, was Jack Fairy supposed to be based on?
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: godardian on November 07, 2004, 07:21:18 PM
Quote from: MacGuffin
Quote from: godardian
I will say that Velvet Goldmine, as truly fantastic and accomplished as parts of it are, is probably Haynes's weakest film overall. Particularly if you don't already know something about oscar Wilde, David Bowie, and the cultural transitions between the '60s and the '70s (and the '80s), it's really not very self-explanatory or involving. As "energetic" as it is, it still probably has the narrowest appeal of all his films, and more for the reasons I mentioned above than for the more blatant pansexuality of the content.


I'll agree with that. I just rewatched it after not having seen it since it first came out. But the only problem I had with it was the structure. While it works perfectly in "Citizen Kane," I felt it didn't work well enough to get a better grasp of who the characters are and a better sense of 'story'. And yet, if the film had a linear structure, I think the film would have completely lost the charm that makes the film appealing. I wanted to like this film more because of the music and 'history' of glam rock, and Haynes really captured the look and feel of an authentic 'British' film and that era, but that's what the film feels like, rather than a overall story on Brian Slade.

godardian, who, if anyone, was Jack Fairy supposed to be based on?


I think Jack Fairy was supposed to represent the truly underground, bubbling under late-'60s metropolitan queer subculture that was then celebrated/appropriated and brought out into the mainstream by '70s glam rock. New York filmmaker Jack Smith (Flaming Creatures), who was a sort of theorist of that period (you can read a snippet of his film writing in the liner notes of the Criterion Scarlet Empress), is often brought up as a real-life Jack Fairy figure, as are the Warhol drag queens. Basically, the one who came up with the very vanguardish, even "dangerous," ideas and then had other people "get" them, celebrate them, run with them, and take them to the masses, for better and for worse.

Speaking of Mr. Haynes, a new DVD release (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/B00031TYIA/qid%3D1099876704/sr%3D11-1/ref%3Dsr%5F11%5F1/104-6961672-4231111) I'm pretty excited about:

(http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00031TYIA.01.LZZZZZZZ.jpg)

..I've never seen it, but it looks/sounds fascinating.
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: godardian on November 24, 2004, 05:04:53 PM
A friend e-mails me this:

Conversation with Gus Vant Sant and Todd Haynes to Appear on My Own Private Idaho



A wide-ranging new audio conversation between director Gus Van Sant and acclaimed filmmaker Todd Haynes (Safe, Velvet Goldmine, Far From Heaven) and will be included on Criterion’s upcoming release of My Own Private Idaho. Also included on this special edition two-disc set will be a new documentary on the making of the film, featuring interviews with key crew members, and many additional supplemental features. Look for My Own Private Idaho in early 2005.
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: Ultrahip on March 27, 2005, 08:59:20 PM
Was grooving out to "Come Up And See Me, Make Me Smiiiiiiiiiile!" the other day and reminiscing on the joys of Velvet Goldmine. Who knows what Todd Haynes is up to these days, anyone?
Title: Todd Haynes
Post by: Pubrick on March 28, 2005, 08:45:38 AM
Quote from: Ultrahip
Who knows what Todd Haynes godardian is up to these days, anyone?
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: hedwig on July 01, 2006, 04:41:27 AM
i saw Far From Heaven and Safe in the past week. i'd seen Velvet Goldmine a few years earlier but i barely remember it. FFH and Safe are, quite simply, masterpieces. so i'm reviving this thread.

Safe is absolutely chilling. i read through some of the reviews/critiques of the film, it's amazing how misunderstood this movie was.. particularly the part that takes place at Wrenwood, which was misunderstood even by some of the film's supporters. for example, i've come across reviews praising what they viewed as haynes' depiction of Wrenwood being "viable and sensible" in helping Carol find happiness. i have no idea what movie they were watching. :shock: everything about the Wrenwood scenes, from carol's initial discomfort when she arrives there to Peter's attempts to convince the victims that they themselves were to blame for their illness, and that deeply moving final shot of Juli Moore's face as she says "i love you.. i really love you.." to her reflection -- it was pretty clear to me that what carol had encountered at wrenwood not only mirrored the vacuity and conformity of her former life but was, in some ways, worse.

i think part of why some critics misunderstood this is because haynes, in both Safe and FFH, subverts convention at every turn, but he does it so cleverly that you almost don't even notice it's happening. he "sets up" the film (safe) as a typical disease movie, yet he constantly (and sometimes, subliminally) reminds you that this is about something else entirely, achieving a rare, awesome synthesis between his subject and style. same goes for FFH, but perhaps with a slightly different set of motivations.

it's funny, the Haynes movie i wanted to watch the most, based on things i'd read, was Poison, now it's the only one i still haven't seen. it's in the queue though, along with VG which i obviously need to revisit.

ps. safe is only 5 bucks on deepdiscountdvd but it's TWENTY SEVEN dollars on amazon!  :crazyeyes:
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: godardian on July 11, 2006, 04:48:54 PM
I meant to reply to the last post long ago, when it was first posted, but I got bogged.... Still bogged, but it's still worth a response:

Anyway, so exciting to see someone discovering Haynes. I remember when I was first floored by Safe.... It would almost be worth never having seen it to be able to see it again for first time (for me, it's that kind of film!).

Please report back on your thoughts on Poison and/or VG.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: samsong on July 11, 2006, 06:58:11 PM
Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story is one of the greatest things in life. 
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: godardian on July 11, 2006, 07:39:09 PM
Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story is one of the greatest things in life. 

Yes, definitely! Though it is hard to come by.... Also of great interest to any Haynes fan (and easier to get--there's a legit DVD edition available) is his PBS short, Dottie Gets Spanked.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: bonanzataz on July 12, 2006, 02:08:36 PM
Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story is one of the greatest things in life. 

Yes, definitely! Though it is hard to come by.... Also of great interest to any Haynes fan (and easier to get--there's a legit DVD edition available) is his PBS short, Dottie Gets Spanked.

nah, karen carpenter is right here on this website:
http://illegal-art.org/video/index.html#superstar

they used to have a dvd quality copy of it but took it down so they could burn it and sell them to the unsuspecting. good thing i saved it on my computer before that happened.

anyway, dottie gets spanked is also quite good, but i honestly don't know how/if a straight audience could really relate to it. i'm curious to know if any other posters have seen it and what their thoughts are on it.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: modage on January 24, 2007, 03:37:15 PM
2 hourlong audio interviews with Todd Haynes from the Museum Of The Moving Image circa Velvet Goldmine and Far From Heaven...

Todd Haynes - November 3, 2002
Far From Heaven is Todd Haynes’s most critically acclaimed film to date. Nominated for four Oscars, it swept the New York Film Critics Circle awards, including Best Film and Best Director. Both an homage to and an update of Douglas Sirk’s 1955 melodrama All that Heaven Allows, the movie stars Julianne Moore as a 1950s housewife coming to terms with her husband’s homosexuality and her own affair with a black man. At a special preview screening, Haynes discussed the film’s astonishing craftsmanship, its political relevance for contemporary audiences, and his desire to make a film that would engage audiences intellectually and emotionally.

Far From Heaven: http://www.movingimage.us/pinewood/mp3.php?media_id=220

Todd Haynes - November 15, 1998

From his first film, Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story, the story of the pop star's rise and early death told entirely with Barbie and Ken dolls, Todd Haynes has been one of the most idiosyncratic anatomists of the culture. While exploring many of the same themes as Superstar, Haynes’s 1998 film Velvet Goldmine is an ambitious large-scale production that borrows the structure of Citizen Kane to chart the rise of glam rock and a Bowie-like star who is the movement's brightest flame. In this interview, the always erudite and engaging Haynes talks about his ongoing fascination with themes of spectacle and identity.

Velvet Goldmine: http://www.movingimage.us/pinewood/mp3.php?media_id=207
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: Heinsbergen on September 24, 2007, 04:30:30 PM
kinda resurrecting this thing here.

since i've seen the brilliant trailer for "i'm not there", which has since climbed enormously on my ladder of most anticipated films, i'd really like to see some other stuff by haynes. i saw "superstar" a while ago on google video and really liked it. you'd expect some spoof but it's heartbreaking with what kind of honesty haynes pulled that thing off.
any recommendations as to which film of his i should check out next?
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: hedwig on September 24, 2007, 05:56:59 PM
any recommendations as to which film of his i should check out next?
i'd go with Safe and then Far From Heaven. those are his two best movies (so far).
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: ElPandaRoyal on September 24, 2007, 06:57:57 PM
any recommendations as to which film of his i should check out next?
i'd go with Safe and then Far From Heaven. those are his two best movies (so far).

I've never been able to see Safe, but I back Hedwig on Far From Heaven. It's quite something, and with one of the greates performances ever by a leading actress to top it all, IMO.

EDIT: Also, of course, Velvet Goldmine if you're into the kind of music and living depicted in it. It's one hell of a bizarre experience, but for someone with great expectations on I'm Not There, that shouldn't be a problem.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: w/o horse on September 26, 2007, 02:09:47 PM
Watch them all starting with Poison.  That's four films plus a Dottie Gets Spanked.  It's worth making the time.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: Heinsbergen on September 27, 2007, 05:14:11 AM
"poison" sounds so promising, but i can't find it anywhere. can't find "dottie gets spanked", too. but i downloaded "velvet goldmine" and "safe". i'll probably watch them when i get home tonight.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: Pubrick on September 27, 2007, 07:22:54 AM
i don't approve of downloading movies.. safe is beautiful and should be seen in the highest quality vision and audio available. just don't watch Far From Heaven on your iphone for christ's sake!

speaking of shabby treatment, Todd Haynes' wiki page deserves better than this (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Todd_Haynes&oldid=158137011).

anyone up for a make-over? hedwig i'm looking at you, you anonymous-editing mofo.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: Heinsbergen on September 27, 2007, 10:01:51 AM
i don't approve of downloading movies.. safe is beautiful and should be seen in the highest quality vision and audio available. just don't watch Far From Heaven on your iphone for christ's sake!

if you can tell me where i can get "safe" and "poison" here in germany without paying 50 euros for an import, let me know. high-quality-dvd-rips they are.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: MacGuffin on August 13, 2009, 09:52:45 PM
Winslet Game for `Mildred Pierce'
Source: Variety

Kate Winslet is attached to "Mildred Pierce," a miniseries adaptation based on the James M. Cain novel that Todd Haynes is writing and directing. Sources said that HBO is the lead contender to get the mini, but payweb sources said no deal has been struck.

Cain's tale was famously turned into a 1945 film that won Joan Crawford an Oscar for the lead role of a bored housewife who gets into the restaurant business, an enterprise that leads to back-stabbing, romance and murder.

The involvement of Winslet--right after her Oscar-winning performance in "The Reader" and her work in "Revolutionary Road"--underscores how much paywebs like HBO have become prestige venues for films that might vanish as theatrical releases, a fact underscored by the success of "Grey Gardens," which garnered Emmy noms for Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange.

Haynes directed "I'm Not There," "Safe" and "Far From Heaven."
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: New Feeling on August 14, 2009, 01:55:51 AM
holy shit this is good news!  I read the novel, and the other two big ones by Cain (Postman Always Rings Twice and Double Indemnity) earlier this year and they were all amazing.  Haynes and Winslet is a perfect team for this. 

Speaking of which, it was fascinating how much influence those 3 books seemed to have on The Man Who Wasn't There.   
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: MacGuffin on February 11, 2010, 06:57:39 PM
HBO picks up Kate Winslet miniseries
'Mildred Pierce' is being directed by Todd Haynes
Source: Hollywood Reporter
 
Todd Haynes' "Mildred Pierce" is headed to HBO.

The cable network has picked up the five-hour miniseries starring Kate Winslet, which it will co-produce with MGM, Killer Films and John Wells Prods.

Haynes is directing the mini, an adaptation of James M. Cain's classic noir novel, which centers on Mildred Pierce Beragon (Winslet), a proud, single mother struggling to earn her daughter's love during the Great Depression in middle-class Los Angeles.

Haynes and Jon Raymond wrote the script for the project, which is being executive produced by Haynes, Pamela Koffler, Christine Vachon and John Wells. Ilene Landress serves as producer.

Casting for the other roles is under way, with production on the mini slated to begin in April in New York.

This marks the second major screen adaptation of Cain's novel.

The 1945 feature by Michael Curtiz earned Joan Crawford an Academy Award for the title role.

The Haynes/Winslet take on "Mildred Pierce" had been percolating for a month, with HBO considered the leading contender.

Winslet is hot coming off her Oscar win for "The Reader" last year.

Haynes' writing/directing credits include "I'm Not There" and "Far From Heaven."

For HBO, the green light for "Mildred Pierce" follows the critical success of another longform project toplined by feature stars, the movie "Grey Gardens," starring Drew Barrymore and Jessica Lange.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: children with angels on February 11, 2010, 07:14:53 PM
Whoa, that's pretty exciting news. Great film (there's no way Haynes won't be approaching this more from a cinematic than literary viewpoint), perfect director, perfect actress, intriguing format...
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on March 14, 2011, 08:37:25 AM
Making of Mildred Pierce

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf1tUgxMwAA (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zf1tUgxMwAA)
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on March 28, 2011, 03:15:48 AM
Good interview here:

http://artforum.com/inprint/issue=201103&id=27590&pagenum=0 (http://artforum.com/inprint/issue=201103&id=27590&pagenum=0)
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on August 15, 2011, 01:51:41 PM
HBO Reunites 'Mildred Pierce' Team For Drama Project That May Star Julianne Moore
via Deadline

Mildred Pierce executive producer/ director Todd Haynes has re-teamed with the HBO miniseries' executive producers John Wells and Christine Vachon for another period HBO project -- drama series Dope. Just like Mildred Pierce, which starred Oscar winner Kate Winslet, an A-list feature actress, Julianne Moore, is circling Dope, which is based on Sara Gran's novel. Haynes would potentially direct the project, now in development, from a script by Gran who adapted her book. Dope takes place in New York around 1950 and centers on a  woman who reenters her life after being away at the farm to treat her heroin addiction and becomes a private eye. Dope would extend Moore's relationship with HBO. She stars in the pay cable network's upcoming film about the 2008 Presidential election, Game Change, portraying former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin. The Depression era Mildred Pierce is the most nominated program at the upcoming 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards with 21 noms, including one in the newly consolidated best movie/miniseries category.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: Reelist on August 15, 2011, 03:22:59 PM
Dope takes place in New York around 1950 and centers on a  woman who reenters her life after being away at the farm to treat her heroin addiction and becomes a private eye.

way more exciting than Mildred fucking Pierce
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on November 27, 2011, 05:26:26 PM
Two and a half hour masterclass (http://youtu.be/ip45rpbSpqA) Todd Haynes recently gave in Prague.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on June 15, 2012, 03:51:19 PM
Personal Magnificent Obsessions (http://www.movingimage.us/exhibitions/2012/06/14/detail/persol-magnificent-obsessions-30-stories-of-craftsmanship-in-film-2/) which features exhibits on Haynes, Ed Harris, Alfred Hitchcock, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, Ennio Morricone, and many more, is on view at the Museum of the Moving Image through August 19.

Source (http://www.capitalnewyork.com/article/culture/2012/06/6007546/todd-haynes-when-you-dont-try-imitate-reality-something-even-more-re)
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on February 15, 2013, 07:03:13 PM
Haynes directed the upcoming episode of Enlightened (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2318576/), which airs this Sunday.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on May 02, 2013, 12:35:44 AM
An interview with Todd Haynes on the eve of the Persol Magnificent Obsessions exhibition: 30 stories of craftsmanship in film at the Museum of the Moving Image in NYC

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpKjo5sx2TQ

and

Kasia Taras talks with Todd Haynes, the director behind "Velvet Goldmine", "Far from Heaven", "I'm Not There.", and "Mildred Pierce", among many others. The interview was held at Plus Camerimage 2011.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mVj4M_NH2_M
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: MacGuffin on May 22, 2013, 11:38:01 AM
Todd Haynes to direct Carol
Source: Screen Daily

Todd Haynes is newly attached to direct Number 9’s drama Carol, set to star Cate Blanchett and Mia Wasikowska.

The Oscar-nominated director of Far from Heaven will reunite with Blanchett, who starred in his acclaimed Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There in 2007, for which the actress won a Golden Globe.

Number 9’s Elizabeth Karlsen is lead producer alongside Stephen Woolley while Haynes’ regular collaborator Christine Vachon will co-produce the project.

The film is also backed by Film4 and HanWay handles sales.

Haynes and Vachon were in Cannes together in 1998 with Competition title Velvet Goldmine.

Carol is an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s novella, The Price of Salt, which follows a relationship between two women in 1950s New York: a girl in her twenties, played by Wasikowska, who works in a department store but dreams of a more fulfilling life and a wife trapped in a loveless, moneyed marriage.

Playwright and theatre director Phyllis Nagy, who previously wrote HBO drama Mrs Harris, will adapt Highsmith’s story.

Karlsen, producer of Great Expectations and Byzantium, told Screen: “Todd is without a doubt one of the most talented directors working today. His attachment to direct this script and cast is a dream come true.”

John Crowley had been due to direct the project, which was announced at Cannes in 2012, but left the film due to scheduling conflicts.

The project has long been a passion project for Karlsen, who last week spoke to the BBC about the lack of major roles for women in film.

“A recent report from the USC Annenberg School revealed the lack of major speaking parts for women in 2012,” the producer told Screen.

“As a female producer, that report has only renewed my passion and inspiration for this film because there are very few of these roles out there for the likes of Cate and Mia.”

The report found that, in 2012, women held less than one-third of speaking roles in “high-grossing” films, the lowest number since 2007.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on June 17, 2013, 03:59:09 PM
Film Studies for Free video essay on Safe (http://filmstudiesforfree.blogspot.com/2013/06/study-of-single-film-todd-haynes-safe.html), along with an excerpt from a new book on Todd Haynes' films and a slew of other links related to the movie.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on July 26, 2013, 08:49:51 PM
Christian Bale May Reteam With Todd Haynes For Political Drama 'Act Of God'
via The Playlist

It's been two years since Todd Haynes' outstanding HBO miniseries "Mildred Pierce," and frankly that's two years too long. But he's quietly been brewing some projects in the background. Earlier this year, it was announced he was teaming with Cate Blanchett and Mia Wasikowska for "Carol," based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, but not much has been heard since. Now, another project is surfacing and it could find him working again with an actor who has anchored his more musical-based films.

Christian Bale, who starred in the glamtacular "Velvet Goldmine" and the Bob Dylan anti-biopic "I'm Not There," has been offered the lead role in "Act Of God." If Bale takes the part, he'll play a regular Kansas man who gains notoriety across the nation after taking his local government to task following a devastating tornado. This is going be less natural disaster drama and more of a political exploration if it's anything like what Haynes told us about the project last year.

“It’s sort of about the great middle of this country and their sort of suspicions about government,” he told us an interview. “And how that keeps clicking into conservative politics and the way the right makes use of those uncertainties. There’s interesting reasons why people feel the way they do, outside of the coasts and outside of the clear liberal orthodoxy, and that interests me. It’s been too effective, that allegiance, for too many years, and I’m curious about it. So we’re kind of getting inside that process.”

There's no word if the project has backing or when it might shoot, but we'd wager this is the kind of movie that lives or dies on drawing a big name. We'd guess if Bale signs—and his schedule seems pretty clear at the moment—all the other pieces will start falling into place.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: MacGuffin on August 29, 2013, 04:48:16 AM
Rooney Mara To Join Cate Blanchett In Todd Haynes’ ‘Carol’
BY NANCY TARTAGLIONE, Deadline

The Weinstein Co. acquired Carol at the tail end of Cannes this year. At the time, Mia Wasikowska was attached to star opposite Cate Blanchett in the story of a burgeoning relationship between two very different women in 1950s New York. Wasikowska is no longer in the mix and Rooney Mara has become attached to the role of a young woman working in a department store and hoping for a better life. Blanchett is playing a wife trapped in a loveless marriage who’s desperate to break free but fearful of losing her daughter in the process.

Far From Heaven helmer Todd Haynes is directing the drama that’s based on the novella The Price Of Salt by The Talented Mr Ripley author Patricia Highsmith. Phyllis Nagy (Mrs Harris) penned the adaptation. Elizabeth Karlsen and Stephen Woolley of Number 9 Films are producing with co-financing from Flim4. Christine Vachon’s Killer Films will co-produce. HanWay Films is handling international sales and also has deals in place with eOne in Canada, Icon in Australia and TF1 in France. Shooting starts in spring next year. Blanchett is coming off of a highly-praised turn in Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine. Mara will next be seen in Spike Jonze’s Her and Stephen Daldry’s Trash. She’s repped by WME.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on June 11, 2014, 04:13:22 AM
Todd Haynes: Interviews to be published July 1, 2014 as part of the Conversations with the Filmmakers (http://www.upress.state.ms.us/search/series/6) series.

(http://i.imgur.com/ALxcIkG.jpg)

Todd Haynes: Interviews - Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Todd-Haynes-Interviews-Conversations-Filmmakers/dp/1617039837)
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on September 08, 2014, 11:53:22 AM
Todd Haynes To Direct Peggy Lee Biopic Starring Reese Witherspoon
via The Playlist

Over four years ago, Witherspoon was attached to star in a biopic of legendary jazz singer Peggy Lee, to be written and directed by "Sleepless In Seattle" helmer Nora Ephron. There's been little news of the project since, and when Ephron passed in 2012, most assumed that the film was dead, but in an on-stage interview last night at TIFF, Witherspoon revealed (via B. Ruby Rich) that the project's back on, and none other than Todd Haynes is going to be directing.

Haynes is no stranger to the music biopic: he broke through with unauthorized Carpenters pic "Superstar," continued the trend with fictionalized glam-rock tale "Velvet Goldmine," and his last theatrical film was Bob Dylan portmanteau "I'm Not There." It's been a long absence since then, with only HBO miniseries "Mildred Pierce" filling the gap, but Haynes will be back next year with Cate Blanchett/Rooney Mara starrer "Carol," and it looks like he's already lined up something after with this project.

Details are pretty thin still, but we've got our fingers crossed that this could be before cameras as soon as next year, ahead of a potential release in 2016.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on October 22, 2014, 05:50:15 PM
80 minute podcast - MCA Talk: Todd Haynes and Sandy Powell (http://www2.mcachicago.org/2014/mca-talk-todd-haynes-and-sandy-powell/#audio)
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on November 19, 2014, 06:53:42 PM
YES (Safe blu (http://www.dvdbeaver.com/film5/blu-ray_reviews_64/safe_blu-ray.htm))

(http://i.imgur.com/3wr48zh.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/W4YMWSV.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/Ue2QTG3.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/TdmyPju.jpg)

(http://i.imgur.com/q0Pc0i4.jpg)
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: jenkins on November 19, 2014, 08:56:19 PM
so pumped for it. after the criterion sale b&n will again have "40% off blu-rays in general" which'll be 50% with a membership number
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: polkablues on November 20, 2014, 01:20:41 AM
Beautiful.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on December 15, 2014, 02:15:01 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EZmjaC8cN10
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on December 17, 2014, 11:55:31 PM
Todd Haynes Discusses ‘Safe,’ Letting Go of the Past, Working With Julianne Moore, and ‘Carol’
by Jack Giroux
via The Film Stage

(http://i.imgur.com/y7wuE5m.jpg)

Todd Haynes‘ 1995 film, Safe, turned the high-life of San Fernando Valley into an absolute nightmare. Some would argue that’s not exactly a difficult task, but never before had perms and manicures been so frightening. The mundane life and home of “homemaker” Carol White (Juliane Moore) is a disease. When White confronts this illness her life, in some ways, gets worse. Even in a warm, sunny and wide-open environment, White’s state doesn’t improve, or maybe it does. It depends on what one takes away from White’s deeply internalized journey, especially with the haunting final shot.

White’s story is finally coming to Blu-Ray, thanks to Criterion. Perhaps one day the company will release two of Haynes’ other films, I’m Not There and Far From Heaven, both of which are sadly only available on DVD. While we keep our fingers crossed for those Blu-Ray releases, let’s just be happy Safe has been given the Criterion treatment, meaning more people will discover Haynes’ unsettling horror film.

Haynes, after recently finishing up some work on his latest project, Carol, was kind enough to make the time to discuss Safe with us, in addition to his body of work, his thematic interests, and, of course, Portland and Cincinnati:

I’m guessing you’ve revisited the film a few times now for the Blu-Ray?

Yes, I did. I was in New York while they were doing color timing and correction. We weren’t able to locate the original soundtracks of the sound elements, but they did the best possible polish they could do on what we had. It was a great process. Everyone involved was so engaged and cared so much.

Are you someone who can watch their work without thinking about what you could’ve done differently? How do you see Safe now?

Oh, yeah. They’re from such distinctive, separate times of my life. There are little things here and there you realize about budget, time, and perspective, and you wouldn’t mind polishing up. For the most part, I try to let them be what they are, even as much as this little movie I threw on [the extras] I made when I was a child in high school. I didn’t have a copy of it in my possession for years and years, but one of the guys who worked on the movie when I was in high school just wandered into Goldcrest Post in New York City, where I was working on this feature. He told me his father passed away, and his father found a copy of Suicide in his attic. I was, like, “Whoa.”

I was working with Issa Clubb on the Criterion release, and I mentioned to Issa this film of my deep past that had fallen in my hands. Isaa was like, “Oh, my god! Let’s put it on the special features!” I didn’t even get a chance to watch it again before I said sure. I did finally watch it on the plane as I came back to Portland, and I thought, “Holy shit.” [Laughs]

You kind of gotta let go, man. It’s your past, you have it all out there, and try not to get too neurotic about correcting the past. Safe is a film completely from a time and place I respect. I do feel it’s weirdly relevant, even with certain changes — at least in the culture of HIV and AIDS, which inspired me to a large degree. Not to say other similar panics around illness or contagions don’t continue to stay with us or return to us as a culture, because we have plenty to look at today. So, yeah, it’s really great to have it out there.

Your depiction of San Fernando Valley remains relevant as well. Sometimes that place makes you feel like you’re on a different planet.

Yeah, yeah, definitely. I felt that way watching it, and I still feel that way about LA: everyone is sealed off in their separate vehicles. There’s a glassed-in feeling about life in Los Angeles, and it’s quite different from life in the East Coast. I remember thinking of the films of Stanley Kubrick and 2001, and trying to infuse suburban life with that weird sense of being in a completely controlled environment, where there’s conveyer walkways, carpeted walls, and where nothing feels it’s been bruised by human soiling. It’s beyond human, in a way. You find this fragile subject, Carol, at the center of this alienated life and world, which really does come through. It speaks a lot to that city.

I was just reading an interview with you where you said moving to Portland, in a way, rejuvenated you. As a filmmaker, do you find it beneficial not living in a place like Los Angeles, where you do interact with people on a daily basis?

I do. I definitely do. What’s funny is, we carry around our own orbital patterns of life, the ways we fall in domestic life, and the way we fall into a pattern of life — and that’s natural and normal, but you kind of carry that with you wherever you go. What’s really great is — and many filmmakers happen to have this built into their lives — you have to move around quite a lot, and not be in one place, even if you have a home base, like I do in Portland. I love it. I still feel a tremendous amount of relief when I come back here, because it’s a beautiful, vital, and exciting city. It’s a bit of peace and quiet. I was just in New York for an entire year for my new film, Carol, and it was great. It’s fantastic to be there. It never felt completely real; it felt a little imaginary. I was there for post-production, but I was in Cincinnati for the first half of the year.

Great city.

It really is a great city. I really, really dug it. I was so surprised where we landed, but once we saw what the city had to offer, it made so much sense for a film set in the ’50s in New York. I really like the people and the place. It’s obviously a city in transition, like a lot of second cities in this country are today. There was surprising stuff, like using non-union extras, local folks out there as our background. Not only did they look so good in the period clothes and hair, but they just looked like real people. They really performed well and felt totally at ease, and I don’t always feel that way with union extras, who kind of do it automatically. These non-union extras had these imprecations and the human blunder of real people, and I just love that because it brings a great deal of life and authenticity to what we were doing.

I imagine that working with those extras is different from the experience of Safe, where Carol is isolated for a considerable portion of the film. How was the experience of working with an actor one-on-one for so much of the production?

Well, it’s great. It’s impossible to overstate the experience of working with Julianne on Safe, and the projects that followed. I don’t think I ever wrote or conceived of a more challenging character on the page for an actor to embody than Carol White, who’s just so absent from herself when you first encounter her. There’s so many barriers set up for the viewer’s access to her that we usually come to expect from movies, not the least of which is the fact she’s not a very fleshed-out or interesting person. Initially, Julianne had total respect for that predicament: the fragility of the interior world of Carol White. Julianne not only respected the character and the person, but also the filmmaking, which really distinguishes her from a lot of actors.

Julianne really thinks about what the stylistic language of the film is and what the frame is, and she really wants to work with directors who have a strong sense of how that process can be articulated in different ways to serve different kinds of stories. She understands that, so she doesn’t try to fill in as some actors, understandably, feel compelled to do, to feel they’re helping the viewer out. Ultimately, Julianne recognizes viewers have incredible intuition, and power of reading information on the screen, and reading narrative form and style.

An audience’s hunger for stories to unfold a certain way are actually opportunities actors and directors have at their disposal to illicit but also betray, play with, or toy with — and we were certainly doing some of that with Safe. She really trusted me and the writing, but, ultimately, it’s the trust in herself that gives her the ability to underplay and let an audience find you in the frame, and not always be waving desperately for their attention. She’s really extraordinary that way. When I saw it again recently she… I’m proud of the film, but it rests entirely on that performance. It’s an inconceivable piece of work without someone as powerful as Julianne at the core.

Is it rare for an actor to ask about framing to inform their performance?

I have to say, the really extraordinary actors I’ve worked with really do care about the frame. Sometimes it’s even just simply… when I was working with Cate Blanchett on I’m Not There, she was playing a man in this role of Jude. She would look at playback. She didn’t look out of a sense of vanity; she just wanted to see how her hips were being filmed and how to place her body in the frame to minimize the broadest curves of her female hips. Sometimes it’s very technical reasons why actors want to see what the frame is. It’s all relevant. It all plays into what is the language and the style, and how is that style informing the interpretation of the storytelling and character. I find some of these extraordinary people I’ve been lucky to work with ask questions about the frame, and it’s always for reasons of how they’re going to interpret their performance accordingly.

The framing of Carol, especially when she’s alone in her oppressive home, is haunting. Home usually plays a major part in your films: In Velvet Goldmine Christian Bale’s character has to hide who he is in his home; there’s an isolation to the home in Far from Heaven. The ideas or themes that tie together your work, are they an intentional exploration on your part or is it all subconscious?

It’s a good question. It plays in very different ways in very different films. The two examples you mention are almost on the opposite poles from each other. In Safe, Carol’s introduced almost as one of the objects of her house, almost competing for a sense of importance or presence with the objects in her house. She ultimately comes to realize there’s tremendous danger within the walls of what would otherwise be described as the American dream home: full of all the material comforts we covet as a culture.

It’s very much like the Sirkian homes, from Douglas Sirk‘s films, which are these magazine images of idyllic dream interiors. The clothes, costumes and stylings of those films only contribute to that sense of an almost unbearably perfect domestic life, that none of the subjects in these films can quite live up to. Their limitations as subjects or characters is what’s so poignant about those films — that they’re not nearly as gorgeous, heroic and victorious as they look. There’s a sense of loneliness and despair living amongst perfection.

In Velvet Goldmine, it’s a very different moment. It really is the secretive moment: he has to lock and wedge the door shut before he explores something that is wholly available at the record store down the street. He unlocks a channel of discovery, erotic surprise, and danger that, you know, one would think has no place in that suburban house. As it turns out, it precipitates into him having to leave his house, which threatens his domestic relations. You know, I love how that sense of danger and the unknown exists next to the absolutely domesticated and familiar objects we’re surrounded by.

With Carol White, I didn’t want to create a perfect life her illness begins to undermine, because I actually wanted something to be wrong about this life. If anything, the illness leads her to an opportunity to see there’s a discrepancy between this life and something else. The illness alerts her to a hint of danger that is signified by the world around her, in a way that’s the beginning of some crucial discovery about her own despair, grief, and own distance from that life and herself she otherwise never would’ve had the opportunity to encounter.

Are you a writer who thinks about themes and what a film is saying?

I have to say, I do, without necessarily putting it that way — like, what the film is saying. I do have some questions about the world around me that I feel the setting, the place, or genre can help me expose or get deeper into — or, in some ways, just teach me more about. It’s not necessarily so much the story but the occasion that inspires me as a writer or director. In some ways, I feel like the story can be a masking over the real core issues in films, and the ways those issues break through the story or upset the story or interrupt the story are the best chances for us to learn something new or say something different.

I like genre, because it sets up expectations in how stories should move. Ultimately, I think it’s about the ways in which some films take those expectations and twist them that take us to a different place. There’s something about Safe where I wanted your own narrative expectations to first drive this woman out of a certain kind of oppression, and then ultimately drive her back into it. The Renwood world is suppose to be this place of answers and cures for illness, but it puts her back into a place of total inclosure, which is very much how we found her at the beginning of the story. We want resolution. We want movies to wrap themselves up. It’s that very desire for resolution that can often inflict a kind of torture or abuse on the characters themselves. I love that you can follow those steps to the “happy ending,” and yet Safe is anything but, because it raises all these kinds of questions.

It’s funny, when I watched Safe I thought of Far from Heaven, because Sirk is famous for his happy endings that aren’t really happy endings. You don’t really trust the absolute wrapping up or the solving of the problem. In a way, my ending of Far from Heaven is not exactly a Sirkian ending, because it’s kind of full of despair and loss. When I saw Safe, I thought, “That’s a Sirkian happy ending.” Carol follows all the steps and says she made herself sick and says all the things people are telling her to say, but you know, in your heart, that’s not really what you want for her, but it’s sort of what society tells us what we’re supposed to do. I got my Sirk ending in there somewhere. [Laughs]

That’s great. Before I let you go, I have to say we’re very excited for Carol at the site. How is it coming along?

I’m so happy. It came out beautifully. We literally just finished completing all the deliverable requirements for it. It’s weird, because it’s so late in this year, but there was no way to make any festival’s deadline for it. We all thought it would benefit from a festival launch, so we decided to wait. It’s not going to come out until next year, and it’s going to be torturous to wait that long.

You know, it’s set in the ’50s, and it’s a very different kind of ’50s film than Far from Heaven was. The feel of it is much less inspired by ’50s cinema, and more by, I guess, photojournalism and a lot of the art photography we were seeing at the time, which has much more gritty… it’s a very poised film, because it has a real sense of control to it. The look of it is much more distressed.

It’s set in the early ’50s, before the Eisenhower era had really taken hold. It was a really transformational and unstable time from the war years into the beginning to what would become the ’50s as we know them. The historical imagery and references we uncovered showed New York was really like an old-world city in great duress: very dirty, very dingy, and very neglected.

I thought it was such an interesting place to mount this, ultimately, very pure and simple love story between a younger woman and older woman at the most unexpected cultural moment and place. For me, the look of it is very unique. The performances from everybody are just lovely. I’m dying for it to come out, but it looks like we’ll have to wait a little longer.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on December 20, 2014, 10:44:05 PM
'Safe' Director Todd Haynes Talks About Julianne Moore's Early Greatness
By Ethan Alter
via Yahoo Movies

(http://i.imgur.com/IDPaeWS.jpg)

It’s been a great year for Julianne Moore. In May, the actress picked up a Best Actress prize at Cannes for her role in David Cronenberg’s Hollywood satire, Maps to the Stars. And there’s been lots of Oscar talk surrounding her performance as an early onset Alzheimer’s patient in the new drama Still Alice. So it’s only appropriate that the Criterion Collection picked this moment to release one of Moore’s earliest — and best — movies on Blu-ray. Arriving in theaters in 1995, the Todd Haynes-directed Safe unnerved audiences at the time with its chilling depiction of a woman so allergic to the contemporary urban world that she retreats to an isolated desert community where residents live in plastic bubbles. Speaking with Yahoo Movies about the long-overdue Blu-ray release of Safe, Haynes says he’s excited that Moore seems to be the current awards season frontrunner. “If this is her year, man, I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’m her first fan.” The director also told us about the first time he met Moore, how Safe was inspired by the AIDS crisis and the cult surrounding his 1998 glam rock opus Velvet Goldmine.

Among the bonus features on the Criterion disc is a recent interview between you and Julianne Moore that includes footage of her first audition for Safe. What do you remember about meeting her that day?

I don’t know if I’ve ever had a more singular kind of shock of discovery in another creative person. And in this particular case, the character, Carol White, was created without all of the expected ways audiences can latch onto the protagonist of a movie. She’s someone who is so passive and just barely fits in to the codes of her world, because I wanted to see how someone with that fragile sense of self would play in the viewers’ minds. All that’s fine when you’re thinking of it abstractly, but suddenly I needed her to also be real!

And what I didn’t realize is how much an actor needed to respect that distance and mystery and not try to fill in the gaps and make Carol this sensible person right away. That was the most amazing thing about Julianne: her understanding that the actor doesn’t have to do all the work to reach out and pull the viewer into the story. That’s a way of describing what some of the movie stars in the Golden Age of Hollywood did — whether it was Greta Garbo or Marilyn Monroe, there was always something about them that was just out of reach. And Julianne somehow has maintained that in a culture where everything has become more accessible and familiar.

Safe was one of her earliest leading roles and the first that made a lot of people sit up and take notice. Have you noted any specific ways in which the experience helped shape her subsequent career?

I think it was maybe one of her first roles that sort of necessitated a certain amount of research into a particular condition and that was interesting to watch. Julianne and I spent time with people who were chemically sensitive and then there were all these tapes of interviews and testimonials we watched. We also spent some time going to clubs and restaurants in the San Fernando Valley, studying the culture and the way people spoke and dressed and moved and all of that. I grew up in L.A. and my parents lived in the Valley, so I knew the tenor of that voice, and it was something I had never really seen in a movie before. Julianne doesn’t come from L.A., but she completely tapped into it. She’s somebody who thinks a lot about the film as a whole and doesn’t like to do a lot of analyzing and talking and yapping about it on set.

She’s gotten so much acclaim and awards attention for her roles in Still Alice and Maps to the Stars this year, and it’s striking just how different those performances are.

I haven’t seen Maps to the Stars yet, but I’m dying to. Her comic abilities are so remarkable; people forget that she’s an amazing comedic actress. She was so surprised by her [Best Actress] award at Cannes. I’m very dear friends with the Still Alice directors Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland and I couldn’t be happier for everybody involved. And, you know, she’s playing another person in Still Alice who succumbs to a devastating and mysterious illness. That character is completely different from Carol White, but you watch the calibration of her performance and, as a starting point, it’s not dissimilar to Safe in how you observe the degeneration of a person.

In your interview with Julianne, you mention how Safe was inspired in part by the AIDS epidemic, but seen today it also seems to presage the current survivalist movement, which often espouses a profound distrust for government and modern medicine.

Absolutely. The survivalist thing may dovetail with aspects of popular conservative and libertarian instincts, which also have deep roots in the American idea of self-reliance and mistrust of government and of power. It all plays into that. At the time I made Safe, I was really intrigued by the whole culture around AIDS, which was turning to people like Louise Hay and these other West Coast New Age thinkers. They were doing their best to cope with this new era of illness and uncertainty, but I found it troubling that it was all about blaming yourself and not the society or culture around you. It was about loving yourself more and “don’t trust the government, don’t trust medicine.”

The line that really stands out to me now is when the leader of the retreat admits to no longer reading the news. That sentiment feels especially strong these days  within certain circles.

I [actually] heard about the environmental illness on tabloid television and these little news capsules on TV. There was just starting to be some journalistic awareness of it in the early ‘90s and they called it “20th Century Illness,” which immediately got my attention. What was so freaky and interesting to me was that, instead of finding some kind of natural response like using natural cleaning products, these stories described taking women into silicon-coating igloo enclosures in the middle of the desert as a recourse. It felt like their lives became more and more like science-fiction; their desire for achieving a kind of material purity is almost not possible in our modern world. I found all of that to be evocative, and it definitely registered at the time because of HIV and the panic around that. I feel like it plays out in each generation — there’s never a lack of other panics around the corner, Ebola being the most recent.

Until Criterion got their hands on it, Safe had been a hard film to track down. Why was it out of circulation for so many years?

I don’t really know exactly what happened. It was released by Sony Pictures Classics and I think they just didn’t have enough prints. It really was extremely hard to find for awhile; I’d have retrospectives of my films at festivals and it was always the one that was hardest to find a good print of. It was always a specialty item, so I think it slipped through the cracks. But SPC has been incredibly generous and worked very closely with Criterion in the release of the Blu-ray.

I’m just happy that Criterion finally released two hard-to-find ‘90s gems this year, Safe and Steven Soderbergh’s King of the Hill.

I haven’t seen King of the Hill since it came out! I really dug it at the time and it was already a different direction for Soderbergh from his other films. I’d love to see it again. I feel like in this era of diminishing 35mm projection and people watching movies on their phones, we have Criterion Collection and Turner Classic Movies and those are two extraordinary resources that shouldn’t stop. It’s important for us film nerd types to keep them going.

Is it more challenging to secure financing for your films today than it was in the era of Safe?

Each production is its own experience. We just completed a film I’m incredibly proud of, Carol, starring Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. We shot it on 16mm, but it was a tight budget for a period film set in the early ‘50s. But you figure it out — we got through it and everybody involved really cared about it. I feel lucky and fortunate. I have a whole slew of things in development now; you never know which is going to bite when. I do think what’s happening in cable television is providing a lot of energy and healthy competition for works that are tough and that take risks.

Carol takes place in the early ‘50s, chronologically in between your HBO adaptation of Mildred Pierce and Far From Heaven. Coincidence or is this part of an unofficial trilogy?

It isn’t really, it’s quite different. Carol takes place in the really early ‘50s before Eisenhower has taken office. It’s based on a Patricia Highsmith novel, her second and most autobiographical book and the only one outside of the crime milieu. What’s so interesting about it is that it turns on the idea of this unknown and unspoken love, which is ultimately the love between two women, and that was a part of [the author’s] own life. But it’ also explores the idea that falling in love turns the lover’s mind into the criminal’s mind, which is always seething and creating various scenarios and obsessing over certain details. There’s this sense of danger and criminality at the centerpiece of the novel and we’ve opened it up a little bit in the film, but it’s still ultimately the story of the young woman’s point of view.

Going back to the beginning of your career, will your banned Karen Carpenter film Superstar ever find its way into legal circulation?  [The movie — which depicts the singer’s life story using Barbie dolls — didn’t have proper licensing for the Carpenters’ songs.]

There’s been solid resistance on the part of the estate and Richard Carpenter. It’s unfortunate, because it’s a film that only ever meant to bring Karen Carpenter back into the discussion for younger generations with incredible love and respect, even if my method of telling the story was unconventional. And if I take some shots at the family dynamic that was a factor in the conflict she faced as an emerging pop artist, it was always meant to honor her and bring that voice back into peoples’ ears. I never had any other intentions than that, but I understood that it could be misconstrued. I’d love for more people to be able to see it and Criterion would be thrilled if I’m ever able to get it out, so I know where I’d go with it!

The film of yours that really seems to have found a second life is Velvet Goldmine. Have you enjoyed seeing the cult that has sprung up around that movie, particularly online?

It makes me really happy. It’s a film that was inspired by the kinds of movies I would get obsessed with when I was a teenager, those sorts of trippy movies coming out of drug and music culture from the late ‘60s and early ‘70s. I felt like no one was making those kinds of head-trippy movies anymore and this was a perfect subject to celebrate in that way. It wasn’t something that maybe got the thorough theatrical distribution we hoped or the attention that we hoped; that was the year that Miramax was pretty occupied with some of their biggest heavy hitters from that era like Shakespeare in Love and Life is Beautiful. So we got a little bit lost in the shuffle, but it’s gained this whole new life since it’s been out on video and DVD that parallels with the emergence of the Internet. A lot of teenage girls click into that story even though it’s about all those pretty boys, and I find that to be so cool and surprising as well. When I screen the film somewhere, teenage girls come up to me and I always know they have a copy Velvet Goldmine they want me to sign.

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Todd Haynes on the unsafe world of Safe
By Scott Tobias
via The Dissolve

Released this month on Criterion Blu-ray, Todd Haynes’ 1995 science fiction masterpiece Safe was voted the best film of the 1990s in a Village Voice poll, and it’s lost none of its relevance today. Where Haynes’ intended allegory about the AIDS epidemic—he set the film in 1987 for a reason—doesn’t register as strongly now as it did then, the vague “environmental illness” contracted by his lead character, Carol White, does well to stoke 21st-century paranoia about the damage modern life is doing to our planet and ourselves. Safe also marked the first collaboration between Haynes and lead actress Julianne Moore, who plays Carol as a wealthy, passive cipher who boldly attempts to upend her seemingly comfortable life when the world around her proves increasingly toxic. The two would reunite seven years later to equally devastating effect for Haynes’ Douglas Sirk homage/re-working Far From Heaven. Haynes recently spoke to The Dissolve about the shoestring making of Safe, its changing significance, and the similarities and contrasts between Moore’s performance here and in the new Alzheimer’s drama Still Alice.

The Dissolve: Your 1991 feature debut, Poison, won Sundance, and was a substantial arthouse hit, but it took a few years to get Safe made. Do you carry any momentum from Poison into Safe, or was it kind of like starting over?

Todd Haynes: It was still so much the beginning for me in those years. Safe was such a different kind of film than Poison. I always had fairly narrow expectations for the kind of audiences that my films might generate. If anything, I was always sort of surprised that they garnered more attention than I expected, often through circumstances that went beyond the films themselves, like the controversies surrounding “Superstar” and then the very different controversy surrounding Poison. Of course, we were hoping to get the film made more quickly than it ended up getting made in the ’90s. When I look back on Safe, it’s a miracle that it got made at all in my mind. I don’t how it could have possibly been made today in any regard.

The Dissolve: You feel like it’s more difficult now to get a film like that made than it was then?

Haynes: Yeah, for sure. Definitely. It’s an experiment, that movie. It was very much so at the time, and it remains so. It’s the kind of film that people didn’t really know what to make of initially, and it probably took a little longer…Well, all my films take a little time for some people to appreciate, and that was certainly true with Safe. Maybe that came somewhat from expectations coming out of “New Queer Cinema,” as it was called at the time, and really taking a very different course from the kind of stories and settings of films that were associated with [that movement]. But it was definitely something I conceived of fairly quickly after Poison. That it got made is really a testament to [producer] Christine Vachon’s persistence. It wouldn’t have gotten financed without her. I really was interested in doing it, and I really believed in it. It was a tough call to get the financing. All we needed was $1 million to make Safe. Even that little amount back then was tough. She just wouldn’t stop, and she was fearless, and the film owes its very existence to that tenacity.

The Dissolve: A lot of the story of Safe is told in the compositions, which are impeccable. Was it difficult to be that meticulous under the budgetary restrictions that you had?

Haynes: It was, but it just meant that like most of the films I’ve made, every single frame—and certainly every single day of shooting—had to be incredibly well-planned. We were still drawing on and exhausting all those favors that burgeoning feature filmmakers exhaust from family and friends at the beginnings of their careers. I shot some of the film in my uncle’s house in Malibu. I shot some of the film at my grandparents’ house at Laurel Canyon, and we exhausted all the possible resources that we could around us. But mostly, it just meant really careful planning and discussion with [cinematographer] Alex Nepomniaschy and myself, the designers of the film, and everybody involved. That’s really what was accomplished. I knew I really wanted that pristine, almost Kubrickian austerity to the look of the film, and the way that Carol White is set up as almost part of the mise en scene, or one of the objects that she inhabits in the film as much as the central character at the beginning of the story.

The Dissolve: Do you feel like the film reads differently in 2014 than it did in 1995?

Haynes: No doubt, it does. Certainly, everything was being interpreted around the specificity of AIDS and HIV at the time that Safe was made. That was on my mind quite specifically when I was conceiving of the film. At the same time, I wanted to bring up the behavior that we all exhibit around illness, particularly in the way we try to attach meaning and personal responsibility to illness, and how much illness and identity are mixed up with each other. Those were definitely motivating interests of mine that I felt were absolutely and totally being played out in the AIDS culture around me at the time. Since then, AIDS has faded as a No. 1 health emergency in this country, due to extraordinary developments in treatment and the great fortune of those developments for many people. I still feel like we are a culture that is continually reminded of our vulnerability to contaminants and illness. Ebola is only the latest version of that, but it’s certainly one that sparked such extraordinary and immediate panic. It was summoning up memories of the AIDS era for many people in the way it was being hysterically described at the beginning. It brought up a general sense of our fragility, even as we become more fortified by technology and knowledge, and our fragility as human beings on the planet, and the status of the planet and the lower regard the sciences are being held in nowadays. They’re all contributing factors to the sense of vulnerability and insecurity with our bodies, and that certainly hasn’t gone away. In that sense, Safe feels like this allegory about all kinds of indeterminate and imprecise notions of health, well-being, and immunity in peril.

The Dissolve: Are you comfortable with that? You set the film in 1987. As an AIDS allegory, it comes through strongly in the conception, but now as you say, it’s sort of faded.

Haynes: Oh sure. I still feel like it’s a very contemporary story. I don’t think the ways we signify or apply meaning and causality to illness, and the way it sort of undermines our sense of autonomy and freedom has gone away. I’m happy that [Safe] still triggers that, and feels like it’s maybe ahead of its moment slightly in discussing those themes in a more philosophical way, even though it also draws from very popular traditions of “disease movies of the week,” or a psychological horror film, in its structure. Those are things that hopefully make it more accessible as a film to younger audiences today. At least, the themes I think are relevant. I feel proud to have the film come out [on Blu-ray]. You know, it’s my first official Criterion release. They did a gorgeous job as they always do, and I thought Dennis Lim’s essay was spot-on and fantastic, as his writing always is. The whole thing was a great experience.

And come on, it’s funny how Julianne Moore—I’m very dear, good friends with Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland, who directed Julianne in Still Alice, which is again a film about illness, early-onset Alzheimer’s, and it’s getting so much great attention, and it may be singling Julianne out in the awards shuffle, which for me is something long overdue. I just feel real excitement for all those guys in Still Alice. Safe gets mentioned from time to time in the reviews for Still Alice, and I’m just very proud of all of them. It’s a nice time to have Safe coming around.

The Dissolve: The thing that’s interesting with regard to Julianne Moore in both Safe and Still Alice is that she has illnesses in both, but her characters have such contrasting reactions. Carol is such a passive character and Alice is a character who does everything she possibly can to hold on to her memory, to the point where she’s able to cover up how rapidly she’s deteriorating.

Haynes: They’re almost mirror images of each other as characters and in narrative trajectory. In Safe, you find this women who’s almost a cipher, even though she lives the American Dream and this life of luxury. She has the lifestyle and material things that are valued in our world, but in many ways her encountering of illness is the thing that triggers her worry that maybe something is not quite right in her life. It was always true for this character, but not something that she was motivated to challenge or look at deeply until her illness. In many ways, her illness is the very thing that shakes her free from her comatose state. And obviously in Still Alice, it’s exactly the opposite. Alice is an extremely intellectually advanced and productive and professional subject at the beginning of the movie, and the horror of Alzheimer’s is the slow degeneration of all of that in somebody so vital and so intellectually engaged. Yeah, it’s completely the opposite direction. I just don’t have enough good things to say about Julianne. Of course, I’ve continued to work with her after Safe. Every experience has been extraordinary. That’s to say nothing against the other amazing women I’ve worked with throughout my lucky career, but I don’t know that there’s a better living actor than Julianne Moore. She deserves everything.

The Dissolve: How did your conception of Carol change once Moore got the part? What did she bring to it that you didn’t imagine in the writing of it?

Haynes: That’s a good question. Whether or not you write and originate your own material as a director, I think it’s always a mystical, mystified kind of process from page to screen, and how concepts on the page become embodied by real people and real actors. It’s hard to overestimate the importance of casting in films, and finding the right person for the role, but in this particular case, I don’t know if I had a bigger eureka moment than when Julianne auditioned for me for Safe. I had just been getting to know her [on screen]. I had just seen an early advance screening of Short Cuts, but I hadn’t seen her work on soap operas like some of my friends did, and didn’t really know who she was. She was starting to be discussed as someone who had a bit of buzz in the industry, and then I saw Short Cuts, and I was sufficiently blown away by her in that. It was an extraordinarily brave performance. But still, this role was so transparent. And I was impressed with how she could make somebody who is that much of a cipher into somebody who you believe is a real person, but not over imbuing it with too much editorializing or second guessing, or kind of winking to the audience.

That took a kind of bravery on her part, and an intuition that I never fully appreciated until she was there in the room doing it for me. All of a sudden, it really was a flesh-and-blood person who was speaking these lines, and that felt like a revelation. She said something similar about having read the script saying she was very excited about it, and she had never read something like it. She sensed that she had an understanding of the script that was her own, and if she didn’t jibe with the director, there’s nothing she could really do. All she knew is that she had some intuition about it. And as it turned out, she couldn’t have been more on the mark. I continue to watch that amazing ability of hers to know how to maintain restraint, and to really trust the viewer that you don’t have to do all this extra footwork to cajole the sympathies of the audience. They have tremendous powers themselves that you can respect, and you can elicit through all kinds of means. She really understands the complexity of that contract.

The Dissolve: What’s your favorite memory of making the film? Is there a moment that really stands out?

Haynes: It was a tough shoot. I’ve told this story before, but we lived through the L.A. earthquake on Safe, and it really did send shudders through the production itself. So we found ourselves shooting scenes with aftershocks still happening. in fact, this was true of all of the scenes at Wrenwood, which we shot at a Jewish day camp in Simi Valley, which was close to the epicenter of that earthquake in January of ’94. Literally, we were shooting through aftershocks, like the scene were Julianne gives that amazing, rambling speech at the end on her birthday celebration at Wrenwood. The reaction shot of Peter [Peter Friedman] and Claire [Kate McGregor-Stewart] and James Le Gros all looking at her—an aftershock actually occurred on camera, and they were just acting through it. The sense of existential uncertainty that the film does convey was only strengthened by the actual seismic conditions we were experiencing at the time. And it made everything just feel like we were really hanging from this apocalyptic edge where Christine and Lauren Zalaznick and I were all living, right off Cahuenga and Hollywood Boulevard. It’s in a really seedy part of Hollywood in a very cheap and seedy apartment house we could afford. The car wash across the street became a service center and water-resource center for people after the earthquake. Everything that was at work in that film was being played out externally around us in a trippy way. That didn’t make it easier, but it sort of resounded in what we were doing as filmmakers.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on May 13, 2015, 07:10:11 PM
All the songs in Carol (http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/all-the-songs-in-todd-haynes-carol-including-billie-holiday-gerry-mulligan-the-clovers-jo-stafford-and-more-20150513)
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on May 16, 2015, 04:44:15 PM
Carol to be released December 18, 2015

and

Todd Haynes Is Working On A Limited TV Series About The '70s 'Source Family' Cult
via The Playlist

Haynes is planning a return to television in a similar format to “Mildred Pierce.”

“There are other things I've thought of that could only be handled in that way, with a bigger palette and more extended shape," Haynes said. "I'm conceiving a limited series based on events that really occurred in the early '70s in L.A. based on the ‘The Source Family' documentary (http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/review-the-source-family-documentary-20130604).”

In case you haven’t seen it, our review here (http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/review-the-source-family-documentary-20130604), the ‘Source Family’ was essentially about a cult and cult leader. The doc’s official synopsis reads:

“The Source Family was a radical experiment in '70s utopian living. Their outlandish style, popular health food restaurant, rock band, and beautiful women made them the darlings of Hollywood’s Sunset Strip; but their outsider ideals and the unconventional behavior of their spiritual leader, Father Yod, caused controversy with local authorities. They fled to Hawaii, leading to their dramatic demise.”

The Source Family - Vimeo (https://vimeo.com/58953915)
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on May 18, 2015, 12:38:53 PM
Todd Haynes To Direct Adaptation Of 'Hugo' Author's 'Wonderstruck'
via The Playlist

Screen Daily reports that Haynes will write and direct an adaptation of "Hugo" author Brian Selznick's award-winning "Wonderstruck." The book itself is ambitious stuff, telling a story split in two different time periods, one described in words, the other completely in pictures. Here's the book synopsis:

From Brian Selznick, the creator of the Caldecott Medal winner THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET, comes another breathtaking tour de force.

Playing with the form he created in his trailblazing debut novel, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick once again sails into uncharted territory and takes readers on an awe-inspiring journey.

Ben and Rose secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother's room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing.

Set fifty years apart, these two independent stories--Ben's told in words, Rose's in pictures--weave back and forth with mesmerizing symmetry. How they unfold and ultimately intertwine will surprise you, challenge you, and leave you breathless with wonder. Rich, complex, affecting, and beautiful--with over 460 pages of original artwork--Wonderstruck is a stunning achievement from a uniquely gifted artist and visionary.


Apparently, the script is already finished, but it's not certain when Haynes might get to tackle it. In case you forgot, he's also attached to helm a Peggy Lee biopic that has Reese Witherspoon slated to star. Meanwhile, the filmmaker's Source Family show could actually get bigger. “It has an elasticity to it so it could expand or contract accordingly but has more of a series rather than a mini-series concept to it,” he told the trade.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on September 30, 2015, 04:44:06 PM
Watch: One Hour in Conversation with Todd Haynes at the San Francisco Film Society (http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/watch-spend-over-1-hour-in-conversation-with-todd-haynes-plus-lots-of-new-images-from-carol-20150930) (from September 24th)
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on October 07, 2015, 01:17:51 PM
Director Todd Haynes Gets The Spotlight In Upcoming Walker Retrospective
via CBS Minnesota

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – The focus of the Walker Art Center’s next cinematic retrospective is the work of ground-breaking director Todd Haynes, whose films (such as “I’m Not There” and “Far From Heaven”) are known for being controversial, complex and genre-breaking.

“Todd Haynes: 20 Years of Killer Films” runs from Nov. 5-14, and a dialogue with the director and top Variety critic Scott Foundas will be held on Nov. 6.

The works featured as part of the retrospective include “I’m Not There,” “Far From Heaven,” “Velvet Goldmine,” “Safe,” and the filmmaker’s latest, “Carol.”

A critical darling at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, “Carol” tells the story of forbidden love between two women in 1950s New York. It’s the second film in which the director has teamed up with actress Cate Blanchett. The first was the experimental biopic “I’m Not There,” which examines the life and work of one of Minnesota’s most famous sons, Bob Dylan.

Retrospective screenings will be held in the museum’s cinema, and individual tickets cost $9.

Admission to the dialogue is $20, and it grants one free admission to the screening of “Carol.”

For more on “Todd Haynes: 20 Years of Killer Films,” click here (https://gallery.mailchimp.com/676886a9cd25ef4fe0e56c868/files/Walker_Dialogue_and_Retrospective_Todd_Haynes.pdf).
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on October 09, 2015, 07:46:21 PM
A Haynes retrospective (https://www.filmlinc.org/daily/our-todd-haynes-series-in-november-is-a-dream/) is coming to Film Society of Lincoln Center in NY this November. The movies will be paired with films by other directors that influenced his career.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on October 23, 2015, 04:06:54 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zRAJybIWdCU
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on November 12, 2015, 09:49:36 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-Y1JQ22BLo
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on November 16, 2015, 03:32:31 PM
Julianne Moore Reteams With Todd Haynes For 'Wonderstruck'
via The Playlist

While Todd Haynes is likely already wading through scripts, given the rapturous reception and awards season heat his latest film "Carol" has earned, the director already seems to be ready to take on his next gig. Following the premiere of "Carol" at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year, the director signed on to direct an adaptation of "Hugo" author Brian Selznick's award-winning "Wonderstruck." And now the project has added a longtime Haynes collaborator.

"Safe," "I'm Not There," and "Far From Heaven" star Julianne Moore will reteam with Haynes on the movie. The script is already completed for "Wonderstruck," telling a story split in two different time periods — 1927 and 1977 — that follows the interconnected lives of deaf children, Ben and Rose. Here's the book synopsis:

Ben and Rose secretly wish their lives were different. Ben longs for the father he has never known. Rose dreams of a mysterious actress whose life she chronicles in a scrapbook. When Ben discovers a puzzling clue in his mother's room and Rose reads an enticing headline in the newspaper, both children set out alone on desperate quests to find what they are missing.

Set fifty years apart, these two independent stories — Ben's told in words, Rose's in pictures — weave back and forth with mesmerizing symmetry. How they unfold and ultimately intertwine will surprise you, challenge you, and leave you breathless with wonder.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on December 01, 2015, 01:01:28 AM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7BOtUz5ChKw
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on January 07, 2016, 02:39:12 AM
Todd Haynes on WTF (http://www.wtfpod.com/podcast/episodes/episode_670_-_todd_haynes_sarah_silverman1)
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on January 21, 2016, 12:08:53 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZ60i_pAEMw
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on April 21, 2016, 03:23:46 PM
Half Of Todd Haynes' 'Wonderstruck' Will Be Presented As A Silent Film
via The Playlist

For most of his career, Todd Haynes has specialized in intimate dramas and character studies, films that might be small in scale, but ring through with large emotion. However, his next feature, "Wonderstruck" promises to be his most ambitious outing yet. While he's once again put some tremendously talented actresses in key roles — Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams — the story revolves around children, and even more, is split between two time periods. If that wasn't enough, Haynes has one more trick up his sleeve.

Based on the book by "Hugo" author Brian Selznick's the film will be set in in two different time periods, and focusing on two children — Ben in 1977, who runs away from his family in Minneapolis and heads to New York City, and the deaf Rose in 1927, who also plots an escape from her home in New Jersey to the big city, to see her favorite actress, Lillian Mayhew. And for the latter setting, Haynes will be shooting it in the style of a silent film, according to Deadline. Deaf actress Millicent Simmonds has been cast as Rose for that portion of the film, and the director will use a number of other deaf actors for this section of "Wonderstruck," to better capture Rose's perception of the world.

"Wonderstruck" is being produced by Amazon Studios.
Title: Re: Todd Haynes
Post by: wilder on August 07, 2017, 03:07:56 PM
Todd Haynes To Direct Documentary On The Velvet Underground, Prepping Amazon Series
via The Playlist

Todd Haynes has had a long running interest in the world of music and the personalities that populate it. The director’s early short film “Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story” made him one to watch, he explored the ’70s glam scene with “Velvet Goldmine,” and tried to capture the enigmatic Bob Dylan with “I’m Not There.” All of these projects were cinematic visions of their subject, but now Haynes is taking a more straight-ahead approach to one of rock ‘n roll’s most influential acts.

The director is taking a walk on the wild side with a documentary about The Velvet Underground. The project is in pretty early stages, but Haynes says it will “rely certainly on [Andy] Warhol films but also a rich culture of experimental film, a vernacular we have lost and we don’t have, we increasingly get further removed from.” Extensive research is being planned along with interviews with the surviving members, but the absence of frontman Lou Reed, who passed away in 2013, will certainly be a big hurdle to overcome.

Meanwhile, Haynes is putting another pot on the stove, and heading back to TV with a new project at Amazon. The filmmaker would only reveal that the brewing series will “re-examine a figure who maybe we forget how radical they were in their thinking because they were so incorporated into our culture and outlook as a modern society.”

Could this be The Source Family project (http://theplaylist.net/todd-haynes-is-working-on-a-limited-tv-series-about-the-70s-source-family-cult-plus-first-carol-reactions-from-cannes-20150516/) that was announced a couple of years back? It seems to fit, given that they promoted natural health, vegetarian diets and more in the 1970s, when those ideas were a bit more outside of the mainstream.