'Offbeat’ is the most overused noun in non-mainstrean American cinema; but Rushmore is offbeat in the truest sense of the word, and director Wes Anderson isn’t being self-consciously oblique. At the heart of the film are two fabulously distinctive comic creations: fifteen- year-old schoolboy Max Fischer (Jason Schwartzman) and his best pal, school benefactor and steel tycoon, Herman Blume (Bill Murray).
‘We have feelings for these characters; we're not glib, not ironic,’ responds Anderson to the suggestion that he and co-writer Owen Wilson have a real love of messed-up people. ‘There’s definitely something wrong with Max, but it’s a condition I tend to admire.’ A wannabe boffin at Rushmore Academy, Fischer is, in reality, a hopeless underachiever. Likewise, Blume is a failure; a millionaire, but one with a loveless marriage, two sons he can‘t stand and mid-life crisis depression.
There's plenty of autobiography in Rushmore. For a start, it was filmed in Anderson‘s old school in Houston, Texas. ‘It was primarily the outrageous lies Max tells and the equally outrageous plays he produces that came from my experiences,’ confesses Anderson. The young American also admits to numerous film influences; not the pop culture stuff of Tarantino, but rather: ‘Hal Ashby, who directed The Last Detail; Roman Polanski; the French New Wave. Lindsay Anderson‘s [no relation] If. . . was a also a big influence,’ says the director.
The film’s soundtrack - a retro mix of 605 British rock
a, .v, 3' 4.. .-§t.>....‘ ........ xx: .................. ,.
and Wes Anderson (right)
Cartmen: Owen Wilson
featuring The Kinks, The Who, The Faces - is as distinctive as its characters. ‘Originally, I wanted to use just The Kinks,’ explains Anderson, ’but that didn't work, so I opened it out to include what we call the British Invasion.’ Not that the soundtrack isn’t a sonic pleasure (it is), but why old Brit rock? ’lt’s just what felt right,’ replies Anderson, vaguely. ‘Anyway, Max wants to be British, he wants to go to Oxford, so it fits.’ Anderson is currently working on his third feature. ‘It‘s about a failed genius in New York,‘ he says. ‘Maybe I’ll do another film about Max. Who knows what happens to him in the future?’ (Miles Fielder) I For details, see Hit list, right.
..4§*‘”§% a- '
, .0 --; x- .
~> . ...,-;-.~,
“A; 55* .. -. "v.
Cammell's brand: Christopher Walken and Steven Bauer in Wild Side:
thriller interrogating the relationship between sex and capitalism starring Anne Heche, Joan Chen and Christopher Walken.
So, how different are the two cuts? ’Well, extremely,’ says Mazzola, speaking from his edit suite in Los Angeles. ‘l’ve added an additional twenty minutes and re-edited practically every sequence in the film. There were also things we were never able to finish that I’m putting in. NU Image took out all the nuances of style that Donald and I did together and replaced it with straightforward narrative - they ripped the heart and soul out of the film. It’s been labour intensive just digging up the
REEL LIFE PREVIEW Wild Side: The Director's Cut
Scottish-born filmmaker Donald Cammell (Performance, Demon Seed, White Of The Eye) committed suicide in 1996, after completing his last film, Wild Side. Except, he never really completed that last movie. Denied final cut by Wild Side's producers, NU
82 Ill! LIST 12-19 Aug 1999
The Director's Cut
Image, Cammell quit and had his name removed from the film, which was subsequently rough cut into a trashy exploitation flick and released straight- to-video.
But the story doesn't end there. With UK distributors Metro Tartan and FilmFour, Cammell's longtime editor Frank Mazzola has wrestled Wild Side from NU Image and has been re- creating Cammell's artistic vision: a
negatives, because NU Image threw everything out. What material there was we dug out of a vault in downtown LA that was like the warehouse in Citizen Kane. It's the most challenging thing I‘ve ever done, but it’s a Donald piece, his signature's all over it.’
Mazzola gets into the nuts and bolts of the Wild Side salvage operation following the film's Edinburgh premiere. (Miles Fielder)
I For details, see Hit list, right
I I h Itl I ﬁt \
If you only see seven ﬁlms this Film Festival, make A La Place Du Coeur Robert Guediguian's feelgood, but not sentimental, celebration of working class spirit set in Marseilles. See review on following pages. A La Place Du Coeur, Filmhouse 7, 77 Aug, 9.30pm; 79 Aug, 5pm, £7 (£4.50). Limbo John Sayles, the Ernest Hemingway of cinema, takes a trip to Alaska for a story wherein romance reckons with the forces of nature. See review on following pages. Limbo, Filmhouse 7, 78 Aug, 9.30pm; 79 Aug. 2.30pm, £7 (£4.50). A Man Escaped Although his output was as sparse as Kubrick’s, Robert Bresson, the subject of this year's retrospective, earned the admiration of Bertolucci, Scorsese and Wenders. Why not start with one of his best? See preview on following pages. A Man Escaped, Filmhouse 7, 79 Aug, noon, £4.50 (£3). Ratcatcher Glasgow filmmaker Lynne Ramsay follows her award-winning short films with this hauntingly beautiful evocation of childhood. See review on following pages. Ratcatcher, Odeon 7, 75 Aug, 9.30pm; Glasgow Film Theatre 7, 77Aug, 8. 75pm, £7 (£4.50).
.' ,; Rushmore See preview, left. Rushmore, ABC 7, 78 Aug. 6pm, £7 (£4.50).
Wild Side: The Director's Cut See preview, left. Wild Side: The Director’s Cut, Filmhouse 7, 77 Aug, 5.45pm, £70 (£4.50). Wonderland Michael Winterbottom's ironically titled portrait of life in London. The director and cast are expected to be on hand for a Q&A, 16 Aug. Wonderland, Cameo 7, 76 Aug, 8pm; 77 Aug, 3pm; Glasgow Film Theatre, 79 Aug. 8.75pm, £7 (£4.50).