Neil Young’s Film Lounge – The Twenty-Nine Points


Bruno Dumont on Twentynine Palms

unfairly excerpted and jumbled-up, from an interview by Mark Peranson in CinemaScope (Winter 2003 / Issue 17 : p16)

  1. People are way too set in their ways. They have to be woken up. What I expect my expectation from a film, a book, a painting, or any work of art is to be awakened. I don’t want to fall asleep.
  1. You can never definitely say you are human; you have to be regularly confronted by something, to remind you that you still have a lot to do as a human being.
  1. If you’ve been driving for a long time, you sort of tune out. I really wanted to do a movie that was about atmosphere, I wanted to create this kind of atmosphere.
  1. I wrote this very quickly: my idea was to make a movie without actors. And so I chose the actors very quickly. They were secondary, they were not really important, they would be just there.
  1. [The actors] were bad. I didn’t want them to act, and I very quickly stopped them from acting. And then after that I took my lead from them.
  1. I basically chose two psychological profiles: she is neurotic, and he is an introvert, a nice guy, maybe, but a bit pathetic. They are opposites.
  1. I wanted to to something that was in fact an essay.
  1. I had no specific idea or intention to start out with. I didn’t have characters as such on my side.
  1. I don’t believe in composition. I can’t say to an actor this and that, I don’t believe in that.
  2. [In painting] we went from the pictorial to the abstract, and that’s what Im interested in. Im interested in the exact essence as opposed to the form.
  1. I want to explore different avenues, and this time it was this type of film, but I certainly don’t want to be labelled as a nut.
  1. Whats insulting is if someone stays, watches the movie, and is laughing. Thats an insult.
  1. Im not a sociologist. I don’t have anything to say about America because I don’t know anything about it.
  1. Its like my other two films: its not true, its not precise and exact, its not a sociological film at all, its totally anachronic in that sense. Its about sensations, that’s what Im doing in this film.
  1. Im not an intellectual. I feel much more like a painter.
  1. What I am really worried about is repeating the same type of things, so I tried this type of film-making now.
  1. Im very interested in working with stars. I want to work with them because its them, and because its me. I want to reach the public, so never mind the stars, they’re just a way to get the public into the film.
  1. Its not about thinking that bores me. Its sensation and its poetry.
  1. Political problems are way too complicated for the cinema, which is a personal experience. Cinema is for your own self, and its quite modest.
  1. There was never a movie that changed the world. But, of course, a movie can shake things up a little bit.
  1. I hate civilized films. You can watch a good movie that’s not going to make you a good person. Goodness is an awakening, an apprenticeship.
  1. It seems that cinema the world over is creating a narrow sensitivity for people; its a nice little package, they go to bed at night with no problems.
  1. My next film will be a war film about the wat that has not yet happened. So as painters like Bracque and Nicolas de Stael have done, I want to go to the abstract and then back to the figurative.
  1. My mise en scene is very basic, I don’t add, I just take out.
  1. I don’t choose. For example, for the motel, if I had to figure out what it would look like, I would say white. Or when the set people would ask me what colour for the car, red, I would say, Ill just take what you give me.
  1. When she cries, I didn’t ask her to do that. And when she laughs, too, she laugs. I didn’t ask her, she just did it.
  1. Thats what cinema is for me, a three-legged dog. Every time I see the dog in the film, I say, Thats what cinema is, its a three-legged dog.
  1. You can’t go against the audience if you want your film to succeed.

Sunderland, 2nd January, 2004

For the Twentynine Palms review click here
For SPOILERS click here

by Neil Young