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GreenCine Movie Talk
In The Theaters
I just saw it and boy does it...
318

The Brown Bunny
Topic by: erostratus
Posted: September 5, 2004 - 12:26 AM PDT
Last Reply: November 5, 2005 - 9:21 PM PST

page  1  2      prev | next
author topic: The Brown Bunny
erostratus
post #1  on September 5, 2004 - 12:26 AM PDT  
...an expository vehicle of a self-inflicted and rueful malady, bourne of sadness and lament; or, an opportunity to press the boundary between onanistic self-indulgence and intimate aesthetic expression?
Has Vincent Gallo created a film that is worthy of acclaim and accolades for its ingenuity and almost hostile honesty? Or, does he deserve the excoriating and often misdirected criticism that seems obssessed with an act of "communion" within the film, which should not be made as superficial as the critics are creating it to be- by affecting sententious and falsely moralistic attitudes? Indeed, the film is far more concerned with pain, loss, and lonliness than it is with sex.
I viewed the film in San Francisco this past Friday and was quite taken aback by the sincerity and entrenchment of the self- imposition of guilt and the distress of the loss of a beloved. As I watched, I was reminded, by mood and import of interpretation, of Pasolini's "Accatone", with its protagonist's relentless search for his own direction in his seemingly valueless life, which is set in the world of the barren wasteland of "any" modern industrial city. Each character, in either film, are often forced to confront the futility of a lost opportunity or a wasted life (often treadinf water, waiting for something "epic" to happen) and its consequent existential pain. And, both share an oblique realism brought into realisation by an almost unbearably prescient cynical expressionism. Truly, the viewer, in their innate morbidity, desires to watch the misery; but, through the providence of an equally innate humanism, they also wish nothing more than the panacaea for the pains of the suffering. These are a few of the several qualities that causes films such as these to be cherished by anyone willing to invest themselves emotionally in something that could prove to be something of immeasurable subjective value. "The Brown Bunny", despite the ridiculous portent, created by ineptitude, is a true gem of modern American cinema and should be viewed as the inquisition of being human rather than banal linear entertainment.
...what are your thoughts?
hamano
post #2  on September 6, 2004 - 9:23 PM PDT  
Don't people who haven't yet seen this film really just wanna know how explicit the blowjob scene at the end is?
erostratus
post #3  on September 7, 2004 - 8:43 AM PDT  
> On September 6, 2004 - 9:23 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Don't people who haven't yet seen this film really just wanna know how explicit the blowjob scene at the end is?
> ---------------------------------


That scene, and the over"blown" furor surrounding it, has become the stultifying onus that the rest of the film must now bear...regardless of the overall poignancy and intent. Really, in sexual terms, the scene is not that impressive, nor erotic for that matter.
I would find it to be terribly shallow of a person if the only thing that they took from the film was the sex.
Watch the film Pola X, if you haven't seen it, (with Guillaume Depardieu). In it, Guillaume's character has sex with his estranged sister. And, the sex scenes become rather explicit (i.e. penetration, male frontal nudity, labia, etc.). But, the scenes add to the effect of the intent. In my opinion, they were not placed to promote gratuitous onanism.
nunquam
post #4  on September 7, 2004 - 5:00 PM PDT  
He seems to feel the scene is important to focus on...the L.A. billboard for Brown Bunny featured an image of Gallo getting that bj on a white background. Apparently he had designed it and was disappointed that they'd pixelated Chloe's head and his crotch and that it was taken down shortly after.
hamano
post #5  on September 7, 2004 - 7:12 PM PDT  
That's the "climax" of the plot, isn't it? It's one thing to have artistic ambitions, but you gotta get those butts in the seats and those eyes on the screen!
Eoliano
post #6  on September 7, 2004 - 7:21 PM PDT  
> He seems to feel the scene is important to focus on...

Do you mean to suggest that he considers that scene sine qua non to the mise-en-scène?
erostratus
post #7  on September 7, 2004 - 7:55 PM PDT  
> On September 7, 2004 - 5:00 PM PDT nunquam wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> He seems to feel the scene is important to focus on...the L.A. billboard for Brown Bunny featured an image of Gallo getting that bj on a white background. Apparently he had designed it and was disappointed that they'd pixelated Chloe's head and his crotch and that it was taken down shortly after.
> ---------------------------------

One reason may be that he is indeed a narcissist, and to be fair, I would be hard pressed to find evidence to the contrary. Or, to draw attention (as if it needed to be drawn) to the controversy of the film, as to attract persons who otherwise may not have any interest in his film. Like most healthy and young human beings, he realised that the sex act will initially sell the film, and perhaps, when people witness the spactacle of his story in its entirety, they will place the scene in context with the rest of the story, and realise that it has little sexual or titillating value. As for his opinion of the billboard, in a few interviews he states that, 'I think it's beautiful'; and regarding its removal, 'the marketing agency decided to have it removed as to create further controversy...not because of the implicit lewdness or outcry to have it removed. The idea was to leave it up for a day only, and then remove it.' Mr. Gallo, unfortunately, is known for his revisionist history.
The scene is important, as it seems to be an onanistic purgation of guilt, etc.
To an email addressed to Gallo regarding this very point, I received this reply: 'Thank you for your thoughtful note'...thus I am left to conjecture.
JGerow
post #8  on September 8, 2004 - 7:19 AM PDT  
> On September 6, 2004 - 9:23 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Don't people who haven't yet seen this film really just wanna know how explicit the blowjob scene at the end is?
> ---------------------------------

Yes, that's why I went. The film wasn't really good but it wasn't that bad, either. There are certainly worse ways to spend an hour and a half in the dark, and the "climax" made it worth the wait. For the record, Vincent Gallo has a nice, big cock and Chloe did a pretty good job of servicing it, but there was no money shot. Does that answer the question?

Larry Clark's great "Ken Park" went one step further, but of course it may never be released.
hamano
post #9  on September 8, 2004 - 7:46 AM PDT  
> On September 8, 2004 - 7:19 AM PDT JGerow wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> For the record, Vincent Gallo has a nice, big cock and Chloe did a pretty good job of servicing it, but there was no money shot. Does that answer the question?

Thanks! Now I can't wait to see it!
^_^
woozy
post #10  on September 8, 2004 - 12:18 PM PDT  
> On September 6, 2004 - 9:23 PM PDT hamano wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Don't people who haven't yet seen this film really just wanna know how explicit the blowjob scene at the end is?
> ---------------------------------

What? It's only a blowjob????

Okay, I got nothin'....


(I like the title, good thing I read this board before my 7 year old niece came to visit. "Hmm, 'The Brown Bunny' that sounds like a nice film." Actually, the etymology of the word 'bunny' is kind of interesting. The word "coney" meaning rabbit originally was pronounced "cunny" originally from latin cunilus, which is similar to cunnus. Rabbit (or other soft furry animals) or "cunny" (or words similar to "cunny" but more blunt) have always been used as vulgar slang. So much so that the vulgar association of "cunny" was more prevalent than the rabbit meaning. So they changed it to "bunny". Then after the pronounciation and the vulgar meaning was forgot, "coney" became pronounced "Cone-ee". Coney Island is so named because it was covered with rabbits. Or maybe they were prostitutes. The logs were polite and said rabbits.


...

Okay, I got nothin')
erostratus
post #11  on September 8, 2004 - 1:59 PM PDT  
> Larry Clark's great "Ken Park" went one step further, but of course it may never be released.


But, and correct me if I am wrong...the step further in "Ken Park" would be unsimulated male masturbation replete with ejaculation? Had Vincent allowed a "money shot" in his film, would it have made it complete pornography with a hollow plot in tow to justify it?
I am not an avid Clark or Korine (who flounders in immaturity) fan. I feel that Clark often exploits sex gratuitously...treating it as a gimmick of sorts when the plot or purpose of the film is failing or stalling. Nevertheless, some would say that Clark is quite adept at depicting the lives of discontent and meandering youth, who rely on the passive narcotic of meaningless sex and too often resort to cheap and superficial stimulation. Perhaps, by including as much sex in his films, Clark is emphasising the very thing stated above, but I have my doubts. It is more difficult for me to accept that the 63 year old Clark is that in touch with the disaffected minds of modern young adults.
JGerow
post #12  on September 8, 2004 - 4:18 PM PDT  
>It is more difficult for me to accept that the 63 year old Clark is that in touch with the disaffected minds of modern young adults.
> ---------------------------------

Okay, Larry Clark is a dirty old man, but Gallo is a narcissistic young one. His vision may be as bleak as Antonioni's or Bergman's, but it's self-pitying, not revelatory. The appeal of The Brown Bunny is mainly documentary.
erostratus
post #13  on September 8, 2004 - 7:54 PM PDT  
>Okay, Larry Clark is a dirty old man, but Gallo is a narcissistic young one. His vision may be as bleak as Antonioni's or Bergman's, but it's self-pitying, not revelatory. The appeal of The Brown Bunny is mainly documentary.

I agree completely! Gallo is a shade narcissistic and this film is a bit documentary (although it is not as logical nor as dry as most documentary-type films). But, his talent as a director, and further, as an artist, leaves him in such a lower stratum- far below Antonioni and Bergman and any other important director in their league- as to be almost pitiable. His message is bleak, but only accidentally. I don't think that he intended nihilism, he simply happened upon it by piecing together banal but often beautiful cinematography. Gallo, in his attempts at true artistic expression, comes quite close to something very meaningful, but fails to achieve that level-he stumbles all over himself and, in the end, his attempts at redemption come forth as forced and affected. But, I feel that he has the potential to achieve something quite good. I don't know what it is about the film...but I sense that this person has an idea, a feeling even, that he wishes to express, but doesn't know how to express it subtly and artfully enough as to be convincing or palatable to a sensitive palate.
To use the previous examples: Antonioni achieved that subtlety with his film "Blowup" (the intended empty desperation of discursive nothingness or purposelessness). And Bergman was successful with "Cries and Whispers" (the wretchedness of rueful lament). Incindentally, both of those films use the artifice of deviant or meaningless sex (or sexual organs in the case of "Cries and Whispers") successfully as a means of more profound expression.
brack28
post #14  on September 8, 2004 - 9:37 PM PDT  
I loved Brown Bunny, but I saw it during a critics screening that was a little hastily thrown together. The audience had to wait a while for the projectionist to show. So I just have a technical question: Are the first one and a half to two minutes of the film (the motorcycle race) silent? Due to the way the sound quickly faded in during this screening, I suspect the projectionist simply didn?t have the sound turned on at first.
erostratus
post #15  on September 8, 2004 - 10:34 PM PDT  
> On September 8, 2004 - 9:37 PM PDT brack28 wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I loved Brown Bunny, but I saw it during a critics screening that was a little hastily thrown together. The audience had to wait a while for the projectionist to show. So I just have a technical question: Are the first one and a half to two minutes of the film (the motorcycle race) silent? Due to the way the sound quickly faded in during this screening, I suspect the projectionist simply didn?t have the sound turned on at first.
> ---------------------------------

As far as I know, the sound during the motorcycle race was supposed to fluctuate between silence and the sound of the motorcycles. Initially, the motorcycle race was several minutes longer, before the film was re-edited.
underdog
post #16  on September 9, 2004 - 2:53 PM PDT  
Speaking of this film, you might want to read our new interview with Gallo, conducted by filmmaker Caveh Zahedi.

Talk about provocative (even though he insists he isn't) and surprising...

bpiot
post #17  on September 14, 2004 - 5:36 PM PDT  
> On September 9, 2004 - 2:53 PM PDT underdog wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> Speaking of this film, you might want to read our new interview with Gallo, conducted by filmmaker Caveh Zahedi.
>
> Talk about provocative (even though he insists he isn't) and surprising...
>
>
> ---------------------------------

I read the article and he comes off as a total whack job! And the fact that he is republican just horrifies me. It's almost as if he is too politically lazy to be anything else.
erostratus
post #18  on September 14, 2004 - 6:04 PM PDT  

> I read the article and he comes off as a total whack job! And the fact that he is republican just horrifies me. It's almost as if he is too politically lazy to be anything else.
> ---------------------------------


I will not speculate about Mr. Gallo's mental condition. Yes, from his interview, one may see him as a bit unusual. However, from which arbiter of normal are we taking our measure? To call someone a "whack job" without knowing them personally is quite a Republican concept. As for his political affiliation- that has no obvious effect on his filmwork, thus, is rather irrelevent. If being excoriatingly honest with oneself and others is deemed strange, then please count me in. Another director to note that is equally as "quirky" and brutally honest is Lars von Trier...but, von Trier has learned the subtle art of at least some self-control in his films.
KPman1
post #19  on September 19, 2004 - 10:07 PM PDT  
> On September 14, 2004 - 5:36 PM PDT bpiot wrote:
> ---------------------------------
> I read the article and he comes off as a total whack job! And the fact that he is republican just horrifies me. It's almost as if he is too politically lazy to be anything else.
> ---------------------------------

Does Gallo being a republican horrify you because he doesn't fit into your cookie cutter world or because you thought your political party had a monopoly on "whack jobs"?
erostratus
post #20  on September 20, 2004 - 11:31 PM PDT  
An interesting aside to the rumour that Gallo stated that he would never make another film (which has since been proven untrue by the man himself) is that Gallo apparently sold the camera and various other equipment, used to make "The Brown Bunny", on eBay. This is interesting, especially keeping in mind that the lenses used in the film were also the same type of lenses developed for Kubrick's film "Barry Lyndon", which is memorably striking for its use of pure natural lighting, rather than staged lighting.
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