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Entries in Mary Harron (4)


Review: "Charlie Says"

Screened at the Tribeca Film Festival. Now in Theaters. This post was originally published in Nathaniel's column at Towleroad

Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time In Hollywood, arriving in July, isn’t the first Manson Family murders / Sharon Tate-related movie hitting theaters during the 50th anniversary year of those abominable crimes. 

The first out was The Haunting of Sharon Tate starring Hillary Duff, which was largely dismissed as exploitative. The second, newly arrived in theaters, is Charlie Says (Sharon Tate, played by Grace van Dien, is a very minor character in the film). Tarantino’s film will feature Margot Robbie as the doomed actress. And still a fourth picture is coming, a biographical drama called Tate starring Kate Bosworth, though its focus will not be on the actress’s murder.  This true crime story is quite obviously all the rage in Hollywood at the moment. 

Whether or not these films are appropriate in their timing and conception will be up to individual viewers to determine. As ever, how creepy or opportunistic true crime stories feel is largely dependent on artistic ambition and execution. 

Marianne Rendón (reclined), Hannah Murray, and Sosie Bacon are always saying "Charlie says..."

But if you’re going to make a picture like this at all, director Mary Harron and screenwriter Guinevere Turner, the women behind Charlie Says, are the filmmakers to choose…

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Five From Tribeca 2019

by Jason Adams

The 2019 edition of the Tribeca Film Festival, which runs from April 24th to May 5th, announced their Feature Film line-up this week -- you can check out the entire thing right here. Once again yours truly, along with a couple of familiar TFE faces, will be covering, and glancing through what I've got coming to me I can already feel the tips of my toes and fingers tingling with expectation. There are a ton of goodies again! So many, many goodies, actually... there are 103 movies already announced... oh my god it's a lot. So much. Okay okay before I start hyperventilating let's narrow this down. Here are the 5 films I'm most looking forward to right off the bat...

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Women's Pictures - Mary Harron's American Psycho

Anne Marie continues a special horror month on "Women's Pictures"

Fun fact: American Psycho was the single most voted for film for the horror edition of Women's Pictures. Despite that, I almost didn't include it. This isn't because of some sudden onset of squeamishness on my part, or dislike of the film. American Psycho simply isn't a horror movie, at least not by conventional standards. American Psycho is director Mary Harron's dark Juvenalian satire of American consumerism, materialism, and the crisis of masculinity in the turn of the 21st century.

Though set in the 1980s, American Psycho is one of a handful of films from the late 1990s and early 2000s that violently pokes at the concept of modern masculinity. Like American Beauty and especially Fight Club, American Psycho confronts the idea of modern man chained to a desk, unfulfilled and overburdened by contemporary consumerist definitions of success. The titular Psycho is Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale), a music-obsessed Wall Street broker in the decade where everything, from hair to shoulder pads to paychecks, was bigger. Bateman has all of the plastic markers of success: trendy apartment, good haircut, designer cloths, WASP fiance, the right friends, and a killer business card. But under his flashy, fake veneer, Patrick is all id. He wants to kill. He wants to fuck. He wants to possess. [More...]

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Interview: Mary Harron on "American Psycho" & More

The actress Cara Seymour is guest blogging for the day! Please enjoy. - Editor

The following is an interview with director Mary Harron with whom I've had the great honor of working with twice in American Psycho (2000) and The Notorious Bettie Page (2005). Mary has more guts than anybody I have ever worked with and she's a profound humanitarian.  After I did the threesome scene in American Psycho she sent me a bouquet of flowers because she knew just how scary that was to do.

I sent her a few questions and she sent me back these fabulous answers...

Myself in The Notorious Bettie Page (2006) and Director Mary Harron

CARA SEYMOUR: Is there a film you return to as a source of inspiration?

MARY HARRON: I go back repeatedly to the films I saw when I was a child and teenager. Luckily my parents took us to a ton of art house films and old movies with no regard for whether they were suitable for children or not. I saw 8 1/2 when I was ten, and my sister remembers my mother arguing with a movie theater over the phone because they wouldn't let her take us to see Last Year at Marienbad. I think we were 9 and 11 at the time.

Rosemary's Baby and Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoise are two films I go back to. Night of the Hunter is a special favorite. Kind Hearts and Coronets. Anything by Howard Hawks and Sam Fuller and Fritz Lang. Drugstore Cowboy and Blue Velvet had a big effect on me when they came out because they showed me you could tell a really different kind of story in American film. But what I look at for inspiration really depends on what I'm working on at the time.

CARA: Are there any movies you've rediscovered, that you're loving right now?

MARY: The Bill Douglas Trilogy.(My Childhood, My Ain Folk, My Way Home) I saw My Childhood when I was 18 in a church hall in North London and it burned itself into my brain. It was one of the most intense film going experiences of my life. I saw the whole trilogy again a few months ago at Light Industry and it was just as amazing as I remembered. In these three films Bill Douglas recreated memories from his childhood with poetic clarity and such fierce accuracy that they seem more real than life itself. I guess they are a distillation of life. He used the same actors, filming his trilogy over seven years, taking his young hero from a child to a young man, Yes, this was forty years before Boyhood, and it saddens me that no critics mentioned that Bill Douglas did it first. As did Satyajit Ray in the Apu trilogy - I just saw the first film in the series, Pather Panchali at Film Forum in a gorgeous restoration.

CARA: How do you feel about the lasting impact of American Psycho?

MARY: I'm kind of sick of it by now, but at the same time of course I'm grateful that it has had such an effect on people. When something hits the zeitgeist like that it is like winning the lottery. And it's curious because it took many years for it really to become a success. I don't think it made a single critic's top ten list when it was released and Christian didn't get any nominations in the US for his amazing performance. People didn't know what to make of it, so it had a kind of delayed reaction.

CARA: Would you make another dark satirical comedy?

MARY: I would love to but it's hard to find the right material. Good satire is rare as hens teeth. And I never get sent anything like that. I just get endless generic serial killer scripts, which really isn't what American Psycho was all about.

Salvador Dalí & GalaCARA: What are you doing next?

MARY: A film about the last years of Salvador Dalí and his wife Gala. That has some dark comedy in it. They are both so outrageous.

CARA: If there were no financial restraints what kind of dream project would you make?

MARY: I would have an infinite amount of money for production design, wardrobe and locations. I would shoot chronologically, and go back and reshoot anything I wanted!