Sexta-feira, 1 de Agosto de 2008


Once a Punk, Always a Punk : interview with F.J. OSSANG

F.J OssangThe first films of this child of the 80s created a universe often compared to that of Marc Caro’s Bunker de la Dernière Rafale (Bunker of the Last Gunshot) and of Lars Von Trier’s Element of Crime. Indeed, in L’Affaire des Divisions Morituri (1984) and Le Trésor des Iles Chiennes (1990), we find the same post-apocalyptic horizons, the same modern gladiators dressed in Gestapo coats, and most of all, an esthetic and a narrative style that borrow as much from the silent films of Murnau as from the New Wave, or even from the surrealistic literary imagination of the likes of Ballard or Burroughs.
However, in contrast to his illustrious fellow filmmakers, Ossang didn’t simply turn the accumulation of references into a forceful concept for one or two films. Ossang makes this kind of cinema because he can’t do otherwise. He is fed by cinematic references that sometimes obsess him and reinjects them into his films with a surprising naiveté and frankness. For example, in Docteur Chance (1997), the characters find themselves in an unlikely setting deep in the Chilean desert standing in front of a movie theater showing Murnau’s Sunrise. Unlike Von Trier and Caro, Ossang, in a few – too few – movies, has continued making the same type of film, while the other two directors have taken more “modern” paths, in line with changing times. As a poet, Ossang has sustained his love for literature, and has even made certain sacrifices in his filmmaking career to keep writing poems, as well as homages to writers who have impressed him. His latest work, WS BURROUGHS vs FORMULE MORT, has just recently been published. Similarly, FJ Ossang is one of the last great punk cavaliers and still plays in his band M.K.B. (Messageros Killers Boys) Fraction Provisoire and more recently in BMW (Baader Meinhof Wagen), with its brilliantly cold and generous punk sound reminiscent of 1970s Germany. It is no coincidence that music is closely linked to his filmography: l’Affaire des Divisions Morituri includes the all members of the legendary band Lucrate Milk; and in Docteur Chance, FJ Ossang takes the liberty of having Joe Strummer play the character Vince Taylor. Such authenticity inevitably takes its toll and FJ Ossang hasn’t shot a feature film in 10 years. Let’s hope that his project La Succession Starkov will come out soon on the big screen.

How does someone born in France’s Massif Central become an artist?
I grew up in a no-man’s land. I was born in Cantal, thus with the fog and the mountains, and that’s why, very quickly, I got interested in the planet. At 14, I was passionate about mechanics and then I had a motorcycle accident at 15 that ended my career as a future driver. And oddly, I went from mechanics to poetry. I began publishing rather young, around 17, and then put together a literary review called la revue C in 1977. At the same time, the punk movement was under way. I put together a first band called DDP, De la Destruction Pure, and then in 79-80, I began MKB Fraction Provisoire.

You said somewhere that you were interested in pre-1967 cinema… Why 67 ?
After 67, it seems to me there was a break. But pushing it a bit, you can go up to 78-79, the complete cinematic works of Debord, Eraserhead, Apocalypse Now. And that’s when I began calculating time, between that year and the birth of cinema, the arrival of talkies, and 1978, and I said to myself that it was really time to go into the third act. A third act still to come.

In your short film Silencio, the title seems like a misnomer, since the music by Throbbing Gristle is extremely important. How did this choice come about?
Actually, I had the opportunity to go back to Portugal with a 16mm camera nearly 10 years after my previous movie. I don’t like to work with video. And I filmed a little at random, with a particular interest in windmills. I couldn’t quite figure out how to make a movie out of these images. Then I was invited to mix music one evening in an event called “the Cinema of Poets” at the Cinémathèque with Lydia Lynch, and I put on “Convincing People” by Throbbing Gristle. And coming back home and thinking about it, I understood that TG’s shamanistic industrial music would fit perfectly.

Could you tell us about your next project, La Succession Starkov ?
It’s a kind of cross between Eurydice and water skiing. Yes, a little like Orpheus and Eurydice. Orpheus who goes to the underworld to find Eurydice and bring her back from the beyond. I’ve water-skied a lot and found that there were no good scenes with water-skiing, even in James Bond movies. So I decided to put in water-skiing.

By Jean Jacques Rue.
publicado por Aufgang Luz Nebulosa às 03:35
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