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Two Graces at War

It's Julien your French correspondent to pass a bit of a contentious interview your way. After tampering with the ending of August: Osage Country and cutting 20 minutes off Snowpiercer, it seems Harvey Scissorhands is at it again. Grace of Monaco director Olivier Diahan spoke to French newspaper Libération (in an article published today) about his ongoing feud with Weinstein.

The disagreement is apparently the cause of the film's delay:

What’s complicated right now is to make sure that the critics will be able to judge my own version of the film, and not another one. But it’s not over yet, I haven’t given up. (…) There are two versions of the film: mine and his… which I found catastrophic.”

Quite a strong assessment from the guy who directed My Own Love Song, wouldn’t you say?

Dahan went on to comment on the practice of cutting trailers before the editing of the actual movie is even completed, stating that the recently released teaser for Grace wasn’t at all like the film, and that Weinstein was trying to turn the film into something resembling the trailer, instead of the the other way around. 

He goes on to add:

They want to make a commercial, pedestrian film, by removing everything that’s too abrupt, everything cinematic, everything that’s life. A lot of it is missing."

Dahan last foray into biopic was of course Marion Cotillard’s Oscar vehicle La Vie En Rose. If the fight over Grace escalates, those hoping he could pull off the same hat trick with Nicole Kidman might be facing quite a disappointment. Confessing that he was probably done with “a certain luxury”, Dahan went on to expose Weinstein’s notoriously ruthless methods in the interview:

If I’d made a Hollywood film, I would have know what to expect: after the third cut, if it’s not considered suitable, they fire you from the editing room and the producer takes charge. But this is a French film, so this type of problems shouldn’t arise. The American distributor, as powerful as he may be, shouldn’t have access to the rushes. But they assumed that right, unbeknownst to me."

Not being the biggest Dahan fan, I must say I'm ambivalent about which version I'd rather see. Between Dahan's hysteric artsiness and Harvey's gold-plated prestige, which one would you favor? 

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Reader Comments (26)

I always want to see the director's vision, no matter how bad it may be. This particular director doesn't have the best track record, but I still want to see HIS movie. Otherwise what's the point of having a director? I hate it when producers do whatever they want...and usually they are wrong.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSad man

I've said this time and time again - La Vie En Rose may boast a legendary performance by Cotillard, but the film itself is a complete mess. Perhaps some egos need to be set aside to make something work.....imo

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterfilmboymichael

I'm midway through Easy Riders, Raging Bulls and am totally struck by what an old-fashioned producer Harvey actually is.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike in Canada

i'm torn on this one too since I HATED la vie en rose so I'm not sure he's the best judge of a final product.

but that said, i'm not torn. i just figured it out: release them both. This way I get twice the Kidman!

October 18, 2013 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

La Vie en Rose was horrifying! And My Own Love Song was even worse! Dahan is no Godard and if it wasn't for Marion's Oscar nobody would be making a fuss about him, I say let Harvey deal with it, I'm not a fan of his cut of The Grandmaster (I fell asleep through half of it) but again Dahan is no Wong Kar wai either, so I'm sure Wenstein's Golden Age Studio mentality will do much better for his movie and get Nicole some more awards.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJose

This fight symbolizes Nicole well: always caught somewhere between the artist and the Hollywood system.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBia

Also (and this is a pet peeve that made me drop out of film school) I resent how so called auteurs dismiss movies by calling them "a Hollywood film", come on people Hollywood has given us things like Singing in the Rain, Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, The Godfather, E.T., Lawrence of Arabia, The Lord of the Rings and so on and so on...sure, Hollywood exports a lot of crap, but thinking of Hollywood films as a derogative umbrella term under which all American studi productions were included, would be equating everything the French do to La Vie en Rose or the godawful The Intouchables or saying Italian cinema is only Benigni. #rantover

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJose

Re: Jose's rant. It goes with any label. Say Canadian film and you get one image, and not at all representative of the diversity.

So, for me, the label's only indicative of source. I've learned that it is no measure of quality. Maybe I'm in the minority.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPausner

I think maybe harvey has the 'right' to do changes if he's the one putting in the money (to produce, distribute, whatever)... though I think the same in the case of "snowpiecer" and don't quite get the overcry with "I need the director's uncensored masterpiece!".

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo


October 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

I'm interested in the director's cut. The film maybe an utter failure no matter what version sees the light of day. But at least the curiosity of what the director wanted wouldn't be a constant watching the sanctioned compromise release.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

Following up what Jose said, it's important to remember that the term "auteur" was invented IN ORDER to characterize certain HOLLYWOOD directors who worked within the studio system. Alfred Hitchcock, John Ford, Howard Hawks -- all described as auteurs by the critics at the Cahiers du Cinema who coined the term and later made films we now know as the French New Wave.

The whole point is that these directors managed to imprint their own distinctive artistic stamp on films that were at least as heavily regulated by the studios of the day as they are now, probably more so.

For a so-called auteur to dismiss Hollywood films en masse is to miss the point.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSam

I like bia's comment.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

people are putting words into this director's mouth. it's easy to understand what he meant (and I didn't read as "every movie made in hollywood is crap"), and it's something many have complained before - even very recently... (with better words, perharps)

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

You know who the real victim is here? Nicole Kidman!!! This petty feud has crushed her Oscar hopes and mine.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterRM

Harvey loves movies, but first and foremost he is a businessman with hundreds of employees, contractors and movie theater owners to answer to. My hunch is that this movie is awful, just like the one with Rene Zelwegger that went right into the toilet. Didn't he buy this when he was drunk and could throw $5 million into the wind? I love Nicole but she is not exactly hot stuff right now. As in she has been over for about 10 years. When you combine that with filmmaker incompetence, you will get a major fight. What has he decided to do with August: Osage County, does anyone know? I read the the playwright and the director want the original stage ending, which would probably be the best course of action for longevity. Hugs.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda Carlisle

Belinda -- Nicole Kidman isn't over until Nicole Kidman (and/or Auteurs) decides that she is.

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNathanielR

Auteurs or bad directors?

October 18, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJason

the haters are out in full force.

but nicole has a werner herzog movie aligned, and maybe (though not probably) someday she'll do that lars' "wasington" movie! lol

October 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commentermarcelo

Belinda, the movie was screened in August/September in NY and word is that it is great all round even though it had no music to it and still looked rough. Kidman may never have been a box office magnet but she is hardly over. And this is a problem Kidman has always faced, a whiff of bad PR for the film and the bad buzz starts about the film being bad. If this film was being handled by another distributor, I would have go with thst conclusion myself but this is Harvey so who knows how it will go down.

I don't understand why Harvey has all round final say since he is only the US distributor. It must mean the producers are allowing him to dictate what the film should be. I think even the writer Arash Amel is backing him.

October 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

Thank you, Amy

October 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda Carlisle

This is not the first film to ever be edited by a studio chief. Didn't this sort of thing go on all the time in the 30s and 40s. This is why so many directors release their own versions years after the initial release. Sadly the directors version is not always an improvement. for eg. the directors cut of The Excorcist wasn't really necessary - was it?

October 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBette Streep

I hope Weinstein can infuse some movie magic into it and make it watchable, because La vie en rose was not.

October 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSeisgrados

this is what I feared when Weinstein cam onboard. That he would turn what I gather is meant to be a very European art house flick into a standard Hollywood biopic which it's clearly not meant to be. If Harvey gets his cut Nicole will more likely get slaughtered then if he promoted Dahan's version.

October 19, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterleigh

I don't understand why La Vie en Rose is claimed as "unwatchable". I was fine with it.
It's not a masterpiece (except Cotillard's performance), but not bad either. Guess I'm in a minority... but that's okay.

*lol* Harvey Scissorhands!

October 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSonja

I don't consider myself a Dahan fan, but if all Weinstein is paying for is distribution, than he should have to distribute whatever cut Dahan gives him. It's the same with Snowpiercer, if he's not paying for production of the film, he should have no say in the final cut.

Since Weinstein is so good at marketing, why doesn't he just concentrate on that aspect? Market Grace and Snowpiercer any damn way you want, but leave the films to their respective directors.

October 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSean

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