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In May 1979, during a break from filming Lightning Over Water in collaboration with Wim Wenders, Nicholas Ray granted an interview to Kathryn Bigelow and Sarah Fatima Parsons.  It was to be Nick’s last interview before dying of heart failure about a month later.

A conversation with Nicholas Ray shortly before his death, which associates small memory pieces about his life and films.

Nicholas Ray:  You know, I hate watching Johnny Guitar on television.  But I really appreciate what Andrew Sarris wrote in the «VillageVoice»:  “With ‘Johnny Guitar’ Nick Ray reaches the absolute criteria of the auteur theory.”

Question: What did you think when you went to Europe and noticed how filmmakers, especially, the French ones, were influenced by your work? Truffaut, for example?

NR: And also Godard, Rohmer.  Yes, I did have a strong influence on their work.  I’m not sure if it was always for the best.  I remember one evening I was driving home during the filming of “Rebel Without A Cause.”  We shot a scene between Jim and Plato.  I was whistling.  I was really thrilled thinking, “My God, the French will adore that scene.”

Q: Your films have also influenced the new German and American cinema.

NR: I hear that Wim Wenders is going to start a new film soon, “Hammett.”   He’s a great guy.  I think he’s had a hard time with the screenplay.

Q: He originally wanted to write it with the author of the book, Joe Gores.

NR: He tried but it didn’t work out.  It seldom does with the author of a book.  A lot of filmmakers have failed.  I myself thought I could do it, but it was a failure.  Authors fall in love with their own words, and you have to be pitiless as a director or screenwriter.

Q: So that it won’t become literature?

NR: Yes, that’s right.  I mean it’s another kind of literature.  They tend to get excited about one sentence, visualize it, and then it becomes really monotonous.  You should never talk about something you can show, and never show something you can talk about.

Q: Doesn’t it have something to do with what actors bring to a film? Continua a leggere/Continue reading

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