VINCENT GALLO'S THE BROWN BUNNY
Vincent Gallo's The Brown Bunny is: a nostalgic mood, a weird student film, boring, beautiful, shocking, thoughtful, sad, innovative, blurry, art, truly independent, tragic. Oh! And also Choë Sevigny totally gives him a blow job.
It's difficult for me to be objective about The Brown Bunny after having what felt like a deep conversation with Vincent Gallo for over an hour after the IFP fundraiser screening. Lori and I left feeling like we really experienced... something. Wouldn't you expect Vincent Gallo to be an asshole? We were told that "Mr. Gallo doesn't want any photographs taken of him during the Q&A." Oh my. But when the Star Tribune's Colin Covert introduced Vincent as the many-faceted artist that he is, Vinnie (as I like to call him) shrugged it off and said "I'm just a greaseball from Buffalo."
He really was a greaseball, too, although he's obviously adept at making himself the hunkiest greaseball around. He was holding his keys in his hand the whole time. He's taking the film on the road across the country, to independent-ish venues, with the idea that he'll put the film behind him when he reaches California. (Fun fact: The scene with Cheryl Tiegs and the pet store scene were filmed in the Twin Cities.)
Gallo can certainly be a little pretentious and, well, artsy-fartsy. At some point he mentioned his "conceptual work" – I've been meaning to do more conceptual work, haven't you? His ego did make several cameo appearances. But the overwhelming impression I have is what a generous, funny, self-depracating rebel he is. He made exactly the film he wanted to make, and he did it almost all himself without studio/union/celebrity bullshit. Amen to that. He did have super funny stories about how both Kirsten Dunst and Winona Ryder wanted a role in this film, but he ended up just finding a girl on the street who was utterly natural and real.
Oh, and the whole Roger Ebert thing? After spending 3 hours with Ebert and his wife, the hex has been lifted and they're cool-n-tha-gang. But not quite as cool as Gallo's cameo in the new Jay-Z video.
Vincent Gallo discusses The Blue Bunny and Beyond [MPG, 35 MB, 23 min.]
(Sadly, my camera battery ran out less than halfway through Gallo's storytime.)
See also: whatevs.org on the Gallo Experience
Buy The Brown Bunny soundtrack - only $52!
After the Vincent Bunny Experience, Lorika and I shifted gears. Heavily.
City Pages 25th Anniversary party. Happy Birthday, you cool cats. Brother Ali pumped me up, and The Hold Steady blew me to smithereens. It rocked a camel's ass. I am so inspired by the incredible creativity I witnessed tonight.
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Hey, Chuck. We were there too, and saw you two up in the front! We cut out just before everyone else did, b/c preg me couldn't hold it any longer.....
His film was very different and I completely respected it. It was boring at times and some of those internal-torment scenes he did reminded me of B66, so it wasn't anything fresh-per se. But as the film progressed i started feeling like, wow he NEEDED to do this and get his energy out of his head and realize it.
I never had much interest in Chloe Sevigny (Brian does-haha) but I have absolute new found respect for her supporting VG and not giving a flying flip about hollywood. I mean, she's always done cutting edge stuff, but damn. Full-On head in a hole-in-the-wall art film says something. I too, found the KD and WR stories quite funny and absurd. The whole "I wanna be in your art film" crap is so cheese--I have new visions of these women actors as well. Chloe just agrees, does, and that's why she's respected and gets the parts and does them quite well. VG has an interesting mind, and couldn't believe there was SO MUCH behind this film. I felt bad he had horrible reception at Cannes and Toronto and he brought up interesting points: Not that many people like him, and he has no major funding. But VG is so amazingly funny and I enjoyed finding out about his NY Undergrd scene, Rappin' past and immense music collection. Major props to IFP:Minneapolis, the Lagoon Cinema and Mpls Star/Tribune for allowing to let this artist be heard!!!!!!!
Posted by: Rena at Aug 5, 2004 9:33:13 AM
Oh! I wanted to go to both of these events last night (tho' I forgot about the Vincent Gallo one), but I was so tired I was feeling physically sick. Like I was going to cry if I didn't get some sleep. So I went home and went to bed. But I'm glad you went and wrote about it; sounds like it was awesome.
Posted by: spacewaitress at Aug 5, 2004 11:45:00 AM
follow your passion and do it yourself even if everyone says your fucked.
I left refreshed, inspired, and challenged by a film that played so different from anything I've seen in a long time.
At the beginning I felt uncomfortable with the length and stillness of the scenes and then I found great depth and pleasure in the "subtle moments" that really told the story. It took a bit to look past the surface which almost all modern media works off of. Meaning and context were not written in bold graphics on this screen, but found in the ordinary context of life and human emotion.
If only someone could intelectualize my informational sleep disorder doc. Perhaps it would be the scene where the leading doctor talks about making a lesion in a living cats brain to remove REM sleep and study the effects. A big teethy grin comes over his face and he says, "IF the cat lives..."
Posted by: brian at Aug 5, 2004 11:53:14 AM
yes, i was watching Brown Bunny i thought, "most people wouldn't have the patience for this. but i do." it's sort of like the cinematic equivalent of Low.
however i thought the recurring girls with names of flowers thing was a little obvious and tedious. funny that he was worried people wouldn't get it. i'm like, "dude, you're hitting us over the head with it!"
Posted by: Chuck at Aug 5, 2004 12:13:58 PM
When Brian read my blurb, he thought I was saying that the entire film wasn't "fresh". In fact, it totally was. What I was trying to convey was that VG being 'internally tormented' was the Same type of dude portrayed in B66. So at first, I was kinda....oh, same depressed-inner-demons-fighting character. That's all.
Posted by: brian at Aug 5, 2004 5:09:15 PM
y'all might want to read this.
it's a series of roger ebert columns about The Brown Bunny and the Cannes premiere. and then the ensuing war with VG and ebert. i remember all this from last year. i thought that the movie had disappeared. i guess it's back, just in time for VG to hang out at the republican convention.
Posted by: lane at Aug 5, 2004 6:28:26 PM
*plugs ears* lalalalalala!
Posted by: Chuck at Aug 6, 2004 1:03:27 AM
Here's a good profile of Gallo from the Guardian. Makes me wonder how much of his Brown Bunny character is autobiographical.
Posted by: Chuck at Aug 6, 2004 1:33:55 AM
Funny, now when people "praise" Brown Bunny it *still* sounds unbearable to me... I wonder if Gallo will release a 'Director's cut' on DVD, consisting entirely of the blowjob at the end with everything else excised.
Posted by: desrosiers at Aug 7, 2004 8:12:11 PM
Ha ha, I was there too. I was the one who told him that his
cd "when" went over good at dinner parties, and asked him when
he had new music coming out. I was half asleep when the Chloe
blowjob scene came on, but holy smokes did I wake up then!
Posted by: Our Trinitone Blast at Aug 10, 2004 2:27:35 PM
Oops. mistyped my URL in the last one.
Posted by: Our Trinitone Blast at Aug 10, 2004 2:28:38 PM
i think it's funny how people want to be so "art'sy" that
they let gallo's film make them think that it is new and meaningful.
i think gallo is fuckin' punk and we are this big inside joke to him.
i think he made the most fuct up film he could and see
how many people would agree that it's great and
"this wonderful film". sure it's better than most of the shit out now, but
anyone really reading into this film is dumb and a huge tool.
this is why i totally respect him. not because of his film,
but because of who he is. just remember you are already
dead and andy warhol, just like VG is marketing on your
stupid ass. doesn't feel good? thank you vincent for what you
have done. by the way BUY JOHN FRUSIANTE'S NEW ALBUM
"THE DC EP" OUT SOON. i love america,[joshua]
Posted by: joshua at Aug 31, 2004 1:15:31 AM
I think Vincent Gallo is an unsolvable rubix-cube. An enigma, wrapped up
in a conundrum...and he Rocks! But as we all know, Art" is highly subjective. I Looove what you hate and vise-versa. That's what makes people who are a little contrary so darn interesting. I have listened to Gallo's album "When". I have seen his movies (I recommend "Buffalo 66", "Palookaville", and "Truth Or Consequences". "Get Well Soon" also has a good performance in it by him). And I have seen his paintings...none of these expressions have displayed to me someone who is not serious about what he is doing as one of the former posts stated. It boils down to two things, either you are moved by something, or you aren't. If you ARE moved by any of Mr. Gallo's work, then no one will be able to tell you different. If you aren't moved then why waste your time pissing on an artist who obviously has a following, and whose supporters aren't going to listen to you anyway! Mr Gallo is not "commercial", and he CAN be provocative. But if you look at his previous work, it is not sexually provocative at all. In buffalo 66 he barely touched Christina Richie! And the highly publicized BJ in The Brown Bunny was at the very end of the film, and was used to reference the characters mental distruction...not to titillate. If Mr. Gallo wanted a more commercial "people friendly" career than he has had, then he could have it, considering that he has been in the business over 17 years. But it would probably call for him to compromise who he is. I'm glad he is brave enough to show us who he is, warts and all. It is very inspiring. It is evident that he is not part of Hollywoods "yes" crowd who lets the line blur between profit and substance. Look into his history and you will find a true renaissance man with a mind of gold that keeps everything interesting. He's an original and very refreshing...Rock on Gallo!
Posted by: Kimberley at Oct 23, 2004 4:13:58 PM
the video link of the interview is no longer available? is there another link for it?
Posted by: jimi patterson at Jan 16, 2008 6:02:41 PM
the video link of the interview is no longer available? is there another link for it?
Posted by: jimi patterson at Jan 16, 2008 6:06:11 PM
oh dear. nope, i'm afraid it's likely lost
or very hard to find in my offline archives.
Posted by: chuck at Jan 16, 2008 7:04:08 PM