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July 21, 2005


N.P. Thompson

If, as you say, "Van Sant's Drugstore Cowboy and My Own Private Idaho are so ingrained on my psyche that any notion of shooting in the Pacific Northwest is filtered through their already established filmic language," then you need to take your psyche out and have it drycleaned.

Neither of those movies has anything whatsoever to do with the look or day-to-day (or even night-to-night) reality of the Pacific Northwest. This region of the country has a visual identity all its own, one to which Van Sant is seemingly blind. It really wouldn't take much too strike out in a new cinematic direction, unless of course you are hellbent on being an imitator.

AJ Schnack

Dry cleaned? Nah, I'm a strictly tumble dry type of guy.

I spent a good deal of time in the NW (particularly Portland) in the early 90s and I felt (then and now) that Van Sant's portrayal - not just visually but emotionally - fit with many of the experiences and places and people I witnessed. Now, that's not to say that there weren't opposite and concurrent visuals/emotions present. But I disagree with your assessment that those films had "nothing to do with reality" of that place at that time.

That said, most filmmakers work from a palette that includes a variety of inspirations. My notions of a rock film are filtered through what I have seen Pennebaker and the Maysles do long before me. That doesn't mean I would ape their style, but it would be disingenuous of me to pretend they didn't exist.

So, yeah, early 90s in Portland and Seattle makes me think of the music of the time, those Van Sant films, a couple young indie filmmakers who were making videos for Sub Pop and a handful of photographers. And all of those things will be part of the palette. But just a part.

Glanced at your site and looking forward to checking it out further. Thanks for writing.

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