Watch Iggy Pop Talk ‘Repo Man’ for the Criterion Collection

Last week, we got excited for the Criterion Collections new addition of Repo Man with their signature Three Reasons. And to further commemorate the induction of Alex Cox’s sci-fi punk cult classic, they’ve now posted a video of Iggy Pop, the man behind the film’s theme, talking about his experience working with Cox and how the assignment "came at a perfect moment in his career.’ The entire interview is available to watch as part of Blu-ray and DVD editions of the film alongside audio-commentary from Cox, deleted scenes and trailers, conversations between Harry Dean Stanton and Peter McCarthy, plus a booklet full of illustrations and essays.

But for now, watch the brief clip and make sure to add this one to the top of your wish list.

Also, check out the artwork and packaging for the film as well.

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Get Excited for the Criterion Collection’s ‘Repo Man’ Release With Three Reasons

1984 was a good year for Harry Dean Stanton. Not only did he lead Wim Wenders existential romantic yearning masterpiece Paris, Texas, but he also starred as Bud in Alex Cox’s classic Repo Man alongside a young and spritely Emilio Estevez . And whereas Paris, Texas has been a Criterion Collection staple for some time now, Repo Man gets its collection release today, and with it comes Three Reasons why you’ll love this movie. Their reasons are simple: it’s a punk classic, a sci-fi classic, and a cult classic all wrapped in one.

In his article Repo Man: A Lattice of Coincidence, Sam McPheeters writes:

…Like Billy Wilder and so many others, Cox saw Los Angeles through the eyes of a foreigner. Perhaps this perspective helped him gauge the weight of the city’s car culture. There is a boxy, sinister element to all the key autos: Bud’s Chevy Impala, Otto’s heisted AMC Matador, the Chevy Malibu that really did get stolen during filming. Actors auditioned in cars. The film’s only glamorous ride, the Rodriguez brothers’ 1964 Ford Falcon convertible, felt the wrath of Stanton’s baseball bat— during an on-set argument over his right to wield a real baseball bat in place of a prop one. And as a car film, Repo Man faithfully captures the terrors of its era. In Grease—a movie with a similar magic-chariot finale— the paved L.A. River is a private racetrack for gleaming hot rods. Here, it’s Bud’s doomsday escape route.

…I was lucky enough to see Repo Man in its first theatrical run. I was fifteen and just attempting the jump from the illicit grubbiness of sci-fi fandom to the illicit prestige of hardcore punk. The movie seemed perfectly targeted to my demographic. I remember my shock that someone in a position of any authority knew enough about this subculture to make such an uncondescending film, one that so gracefully captured the scene’s fluid silliness. The moment when the sheet is removed from Kevin in the hospital scene was a revelation; I simply didn’t know movies could work like that. Of course, I still don’t.

So if you weren’t already excited for Repo Man‘s release, check out the Three Reasons below, read the rest of McPheeters article, and get your copy now.

 

 

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The South By Southwest Premieres We’re Most Anticipating

For those of you heading down to sunny Austin, Texas this Friday, you’re in for a real treat. The South by Southwest Film Festival begins on the 8th and will boast a week of non-stop events from film debuts, to 150 different workshops, and panels. This year, Steve Carrell and Jim Carey’s new comedy, The Incredible Burt Wonderstone will open kick off the fun, but the festival will also see premieres from all over the world. So in anticipation for the upcoming festivities we’ve compiled the features we’re most looking forward to seeing—from Joe Swanberg’s latest comedy Drinking Buddies to Richard Linklater’s highly anticipated Before Midnight, and all the cinematic gems in between. Enjoy.

Short Term 12 

Director/Screenwriter: Destin Daniel Cretton

The film follows Grace, a young supervisor at a foster-care facility, as she looks after the teens in her charge and reckons with her own troubled past. An unsparingly authentic film, full of both heart and surprising humor.

Cast: Brie Larson, John Gallagher Jr., Kaitlyn Dever, Rami Malek, Keith Stanfield

(World Premiere)

Evil Dead 

Director/Screenwriter: Fede Alvarez, Screenwriter: Rodo Sayagues

Five friends, holed up in a remote cabin, discover a Book of the Dead that unwittingly summons up dormant demons which possess the youngsters in succession until only one is left to fight for survival.

Cast: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore

(World Premiere)

Drinking Buddies 

Director/Screenwriter: Joe Swanberg

Weekend trips, office parties, late night conversations, drinking on the job, marriage pressure, biological clocks, holding eye contact a second too long… you know what makes the line between “friends” and “more than friends” really blurry? Beer.

Cast: Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick, Ron Livingston

(World Premiere)

Loves Her Gun 

Director/Screenwriter: Geoff Marslett, Screenwriter: Lauren Modery

This romantic tragedy follows a young woman’s transition from flight to fight after she is the victim of street violence, but will the weapons that make her feel safe again create problems worse than the ones she is escaping?

Cast: Trieste Kelly Dunn, Francisco Barreiro, Ashley Rae Spillers, Melissa Hideko Bisagni, John Merriman

(World Premiere)

Much Ado About Nothing 

Director: Joss Whedon

Shakespeare’s classic comedy is given a contemporary spin in Joss Whedon’s film.

Cast: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese

(U.S. Premiere)

Some Girl(s)

Director: Daisy Von Scherler Mayer, Screenwriter: Neil LaBute

On the eve of his wedding, a successful writer travels around the country to meet up with ex-lovers in an attempt to make amends for his wrongdoings.

Cast: Adam Brody, Kristen Bell, Zoe Kazan, Mía Maestro, Jennifer Morrison, Emily Watson

(World Premiere)

I Am Divine 

Director: Jeffrey Schwarz

The story of Divine, aka Harris Glenn Milstead, and how he became John Waters’s cinematic muse and an international drag icon.

(World Premiere)

Harry Dean Stanton: Partly Fiction

Director: Sophie Huber

An iconic actor and passionate musician in his intimate moments, with film clips from some of his 250 films and his own heart-breaking renditions of American folk songs.

(U.S. Premiere)

Lunarcy!

Director: Simon Ennis

Director Simon Ennis introduces us to an unforgettable group of characters who all share one thing in common: an obsession with the Moon.

(U.S. Premiere)

Maladies 

Director/Screenwriter: Carter

A comedic look at the life of a former actor turned writer struggling to cope with reality, his work and interpersonal relationships. 

Cast: James Franco, Catherine Keener, Fallon Goodson, David Strathairn, Alan Cumming

(North American Premiere)

The Wait 

Director/Screenwriter: M. Blash

An enigmatic phone call from a psychic, catapults a family into a state of suspended belief while waiting for their recently deceased mother to be resurrected.

Cast: Jena Malone, Chloë Sevigny, Luke Grimes, Josh Hamilton, Devon Gearhart

(World Premiere)

Before Midnight 

Director/Screenwriter: Richard Linklater, Screenwriters: Julie Delpy, Ethan Hawke

We meet Celine and Jesse nine years after their last rendezvous. Almost two decades have passed since their first encounter on a train bound for Vienna, and we now find them in their early forties in Greece. Before the clock strikes midnight, we will again become part of their story.

Cast: Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, Jennifer Prior, Charlotte Prior

Pit Stop

Director/Screenwriter: Yen Tan, Screenwriter: David Lowery

Two men. A small town. A love that isn’t quite out of reach.

Cast: Bill Heck, Marcus DeAnda, Amy Seimetz, John Merriman, Richard C. Jones

Cinematic Panic: Longing Endlessly With Wim Wenders’ ‘Paris, Texas’

Welcome to Cinematic Panic, a new column in which I anxiously watch all of the Criterion Collection films that have either slipped under my radar or have fueled my film obsession and then share my personal rambling insights as to what makes them so damn good. This week, I take a look at Wim Wenders’s classic Paris, Texas.

There are some films that speak to your heart in ways that words fail to describe. You cannot always articulate just what speaks to you so deeply but when it hits, you know it’s there, and the film seeps into your soul and lingers. It satisfies those tender parts of yourself that you keep under lock and key for fear of vulnerability. But perhaps this inability to describe our undeniable love for these films says something about the greater sense that there are so many things we love and yearn for that don’t even have a face or a name in which to call them—a desperate hunger for something you’ve never tasted, the endless desire for a place you’ve never been, mourning the absence of something never to be regained. The Portuguese have name for it: “saudade,” or the deep emotional state of nostalgic longing for an absent something.

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Andre Breton once said, “All my life, my heart has yearned for a thing I cannot name.” And when I think of the films of beloved German auteur, Wim Wenders, that quote seems to resonate through all of his work. But for all his work—from the black and white existential road movie Alice in the Cities to last year’s 3D ode to his dear friend Pina Bausch, Pina—it’s his 1984 Palme d’Or winning exploration of the love-worn American psyche Paris, Texas that has remained my favorite. In the way that David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive opened up a part of my brain to an absurd world of psychological obsession and perversion that’s become a part of me, Paris, Texas immediately penetrated my heart and managed to capture something that I had always felt but never known. It also happened that around the time I initially saw the film: I was also traveling out west alone for the first time. Flying over the midwest, amidst my own battle with unrequited love, I sat and stared out the window with the Ry Cooder-scored soundtrack twanging away in my ears and couldn’t help understand what made this German man, who grew up amongst the wreckage of World War II, so fascinated with the myth of the American West. Speaking to his fascination with that part of the country, Wenders said, in an interview we did last year, “It was as sort of a utopian place compared to where I lived. All I ever wanted was getting there…there was rhythm and fun—the notion of fun was completely strange to me. Everything I really liked was from this mythical place called America.”

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It only makes sense that the story of Paris, Texas came from the greatest Pultizer Prize-winning tortured American playwright, Sam Shepard. And what makes the film so emotionally and cinematically rich is the juxtaposition between he and Wenders—the German with a fantastical pastiche obsession with Americana and the rough-tongued “rock and roll Jesus with a cowboy mouth” himself, whose words are engrained in the sprawling western landscape. The two have collaborated many times since, but this holds as by far their best work—creating something that speaks to the human condition so effortlessly in a way that few films have been able to. No one does melancholic American isolation like a misanthropic German. 

Paris, Texas is a heartbreaking character study of longing and lacerations of the heart. The film follows Travis (Harry Dean Stanton in the most profound performance of his career), a silent and weathered drifter who reemerges after a four year absence to reunite with his son Hunter (Hunter Carson), who has been in the care of his brother Walt (played by Dean Stockwell) in Los Angeles. Upon reconnecting with Hunter, Travis sets out to find his estranged wife, Jane (played with soft perfection by Nastassja Kinski). When it comes to Shepard’s writing, his world has always a bit hyper-realistic and things just happen—like Travis leaving for years without a trace and with no one chasing after him. But because of his command of narrative and language, the story unfolds in a way that feels extremely real and the emotion so raw and genuine that it doesn’t matter. You don’t need to question it because you can feel it, and that’s so much more powerful.The plot is simple, stripped to bare elements of narrative, but in its sparseness lies a tale about the myth of the American family and opens questions about love’s ability to fix the void within us all.

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The most stirring moments of the film come when Travis and Jane finally reunite at the peepshow parlour that Janes has been working, where customers sit on the opposite side of a one-way mirror, observing the woman on the other side, instructing them via a telephone-intercom. Separated by glass, Travis can see Jane, while she remains unaware of who is watching her. Picking up the phone to speak with her, he begins to tell their story. “I knew these people,” he begins, and continues to deliver one of the most beautifully written monologues ever delivered on film. In this 8:41s monologue you gain more emotional insight into the characters and their relationship than you could possibly have gained from actually seeing these moments played out. Perhaps a lesser director would have taken these words and morphed them into montage or flashbacks, but Wenders’s brilliance lies in the way he’s directed the delivery of these speeches, intercut with shots of Jane’s face as she begins to realize who is speaking to her and the implications of that. When Travis returns the next day, it’s Jane’s turn to speak as she sits with her back to the wall and explains how she "used to make long speeches to you after [he] left." "I used to talk to you all the time, even though I was alone," she says. "I walked around for months talking to you.” This physical separation between the two speaks to the notion of feeling alone even in the presence of someone else, even in the presence of someone you love. Jane and Travis both feel an incredible sense of isolation yet long for connection and in finding one another that longing turned into a painful attachment. This reunion begins to rip them apart from the inside out. When Jane finally turns to Travis as they touch from opposing ends of the glass, his is relfected in hers—reminscent of the Ted Hughes line from "Lovesong": 

In their dreams their brains took each other hostage
In the morning they wore each other’s face.

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These scenes have no tricks, no cheap ploys for emotion. The shots are simple and the weight lies in the heaviness of their words and devastation that resides on their faces. The subtly of the acting creates such a natural essence to the scenes that make them even that much more painful to watch. Harry Dean Stanton once said, “The painful part, with Sam’s writing, was to understand how to do it. Because you don’t have to act his writing. Finally, Wim said, ‘Don’t act these lines. You just say them, like poetry, say it with a meter,’ and that’s what Natassja and I tried to do at the end, just say the lines. That’s the problem, I think, with people who do Sam’s plays. They try to act it, and his writing you don’t act. You don’t even have to motivate it if you can just be simple, because all that needs to be said is in the writing."

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What makes Paris, Texas and all of Wim’s work so special is that it is filled with so much yearning and so much restlessness; people aching so badly to find what it is they’re looking for. They’re all so hungry for love and connection and something to make them feel alive. Some of them find it in others and then some of them realize even if they did—would it even make them feel better? Or are they destined to eternally feel that hole inside? Travis leaves Jane and Hunter in the end because he knows putting together the pieces of the past won’t put him back together. He’s ripped apart we’ll never know why. None of us do. Wenders’s also expressed that, “hotels room have a real magic because you feel yourself, who you are in a different way and in an anonymous hotel room than you would ever be able to at home.” His films all live in transient places like motels where everyone’s face changes from moment to moment—and in a way that’s more comforting than feeling sorrow in the comfort of stability. In the end, Travis isn’t escaping (as he and Jane once dreamed of doing), he’s relieving—finally freeing himself.

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