He has delved into 70s slacker culture for his new movie Dazed and Confused, but RICHARD LINKLATER tells Bob McCabe this is more than a nostalgia trip.
aving recently passed the touchstone age of 30, you’d be forgiven for thinking writer and director Richard Linklater is feeling nostalgic for his youth. After all. he is a filmmaker credited with defining a generation in his ﬁrst film. the underground classic Slacker. Now with his second movie Dazed and Confused. he takes us back to the last day of high school 1976, a time when it didn’t really matter ifyou were stoned — everyone still dressed really badly!
To Linklater’s credit, his vision of the past is by no means suffused with a sepia tint. ‘I don’t like nostalgia.’ he says. ‘1 think it’s non- productive and not a good way to be thinking. I wasn’t personally nostalgic for the period at all. I was excising some demon from my past so I couldn’t go back and say “You know. that was the best time of my life.” I was going. “That was a really bad point in my life that I want to touch on and maybe learn something about myself. who I was at that time?" I was mixed. There were fun moments but the overall atmosphere at that time wasn’t a healthy one.’
‘I don’t like nostalgia. I think it’s non-productive and not a good way to be thinking.’
Linklater may well claim his movie is not nostalgic. More truthfully. it is, but without the weight of hindsight-heavy sentiment.
‘The drug choices were simpler,’ he says. ‘There was just pot and I guess that was all anybody could afford. It gets a good groan when one guy buys a whole bag of marijuana and it’s $15. The whole audience just goes. “Oooohh”. That was true at the time, marijuana coming in from Mexico to the US was really cheap. It was actually cheap marijuana too - you had to smoke about four joints just to get a high on it. That kind of got me off the hook, it being a period piece ’cause it seemed I could say it’s a teenage rock ’n’ roll comedy that takes place in the 70s — you know I‘m having to get the studio money here. Then all the drug use and excessive alcohol could be written off to a time and a place. Of course, it doesn’t go on now. Right.’
Linklater began his ﬁrst movie five years ago.
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beyond its humble beginnings in the director’s I i r I I ii i V Dazed, confused nd enjoying every Inlnuto ollt
8 The List 7—20 October 1994