September 28, 2003

Doing 1990s Prague Pretty W...

Doing 1990s Prague Pretty Well: Finally took a gander at writer/director Roger L. Simon's Lies and Whispers, which came out in 1998 under the more apt title Prague Duet (the name change was not his fault). Anyways ... it's good! Got two thumbs up in the Welch-Richard household (as opposed to Kill Bill, which received one Gallic thumb pointed straight to hell).

Roger gets a whole bunch of tricky 1990s-Prague detail right -- the (necessarily) non-judgmental and refreshingly informal pub etiquette, the ex-dissident writer straining at the leash of outsiders' interpretations of his plight, the raffish charm of scruffy formerly-underground types with sudden (and absurd) proximity to power, the weird & unresolved mix of a heavily touristic town in the middle of a cataclysmic but often-pleasant system change, the close mental proximity to the geographically distant Yugoslav war, silly American writer wannabes at The Globe, and a whole bunch more. Rade Serbedzija is handsome and terrific (especially for a Croat!), and Gina Gershoil-rich, love-and-historical-heaviness film, that raise factual eyebrows (for instance: the Jewish cemetery has never been that empty!), but they are A) minor, & to be expected in any work of fiction, and B) totally offset by the happy fact that perhaps the worst living character on screen was ... a reporter for the Prague Post! The whole thing made me way nostalgic for Prague in the late fall, and those of you who need that little tug won't be sad you rented it. All the more amazing, considering the hell Roger went through to even finish the project.

Posted by at September 28, 2003 10:54 PM
Comments

What was your take on Kill Bill? I saw a preview on tonight's episode of Alias, and I have to admit, it sure looked sucky, in that sort of Dave Matthews Band/Moby/Hootie-Blowfish/Michael Bolton sort of way.

Posted by: Steve Smith at September 29, 2003 12:03 AM

Eh, as the CZ correspondent for Screen International, I'm interested in what Roger Simon went through to get this movie made. I poked around his website but didn't found much. Did he write anything about it other than that one little blog post? Tell me more and I'll drink some burčak in your name.

Posted by: Scott MacMillan at September 29, 2003 07:46 AM

Great! And have you read Stefan Zveyg "Heart unbearable" I'm not quite sure about the right translation but it seems to be smth like it.

Posted by: Sandra at September 29, 2003 08:04 AM

Steve -- I didn't see it.
Scott -- Send Roger an e-mail! Also, rumor has it that he *may* be on the verge of returning to the CR for a brand new epic! Break news today!
Sandra -- No Zveyg for me, though I'm not a big consumer of novels.

Posted by: Matt Welch at September 29, 2003 08:13 AM

I saw Kill Bill and hated it. You keep wondering: what's the point? What a waste of time! Too little dialogue, too much in your face violence and the mix of horror and humor just didn't work with me. Tarantino tries very hard to blow your mind - but I wasn't receptive (the fact that I didn't grew up watching kung fu movies certainly didn't help.) I was sitting in the press screening room thinking "this is one of these rare moments when I hate my job." The construction of the film and a few scenes are very impressive though. Yet many journalists loved Kill BIll, found it brilliant and clapped. Tarantino said Volume 2 will contain more dialogues and more references to Spaghetti westerns.

I would rather recommend another "revenge tale" by the so-called "Mexican Tarantino:" "Once upon a time in Mexico" is violent but in a cartoonish way (what Tarantino says he tried to do with Kill Bill) and it's also very funny and the mix works much better than in Kill Bill. Even the stunts are way better to my taste.

Posted by: Emmanuelle at September 29, 2003 10:09 AM

What can I say--many thanks! I would like to add that the co-writer and the producer of the film was my wife Sheryl Longin (also co-screenwriter of Dick.) She had as much to do with it as I did. Making the film WAS Hell, described in my novel Director's Cut. THe short form is that I lost all my savings at the time to get the film finished (the GErman producer never delivered the money he promised--an old story in independent filmmaking). Again--thanks to Matt and Emmanuelle for your kind words.

Posted by: Roger L. Simon at September 29, 2003 07:40 PM

Truly loved the film Roger, but I badly wanted to cut Rade's hair, while Matt was counting how many times Gina Gershon would keep her mouth shut. Maybe 3 times, for 2 seconds each. Can't wait to read the Director's Cut book now!

Posted by: Emmanuelle at September 30, 2003 09:26 PM

The most amusing and evocative title I have come across for a novel set in Prague is "On Leaving Prague by a Window" by (I think) David Briers, its archness somewhat undercut by a cover illustration of a screaming guy being defenestrated.

Posted by: Dave F at October 2, 2003 04:01 AM

thanks for writing about this movie. it had escaped my attention.

Posted by: alex z. at October 3, 2003 02:44 PM
Post a comment









Remember personal info?






sive though. Yet many journalists loved Kill BIll, found it brilliant and clapped. Tarantino said Volume 2 will contain more dialogues and more references to Spaghetti westerns.

I would rather recommend another "revenge tale" by the so-called "Mexican Tarantino:" "Once upon a time in Mexico" is violent but in a cartoonish way (what Tarantino says he tried to do with Kill Bill) and it's also very funny and the mix works much better than in Kill Bill. Even the stunts are way better to my taste.

Posted by: Emmanuelle at September 29, 2003 10:09 AM

What can I say--many thanks! I would like to add that the co-writer and the producer of the film was my wife Sheryl Longin (also co-screenwriter of Dick.) She had as much to do with it as I did. Making the film WAS Hell, described in my novel Director's Cut. THe short form is that I lost all my savings at the time to get the film finished (the GErman producer never delivered the money he promised--an old story in independent filmmaking). Again--thanks to Matt and Emmanuelle for your kind words.

Posted by: Roger L. Simon at September 29, 2003 07:40 PM

Truly loved the film Roger, but I badly wanted to cut Rade's hair, while Matt was counting how many times Gina Gershon would keep her mouth shut. Maybe 3 times, for 2 seconds each. Can't wait to read the Director's Cut book now!

Posted by: Emmanuelle at September 30, 2003 09:26 PM

The most amusing and evocative title I have come across for a novel set in Prague is "On Leaving Prague by a Window" by (I think) David Briers, its archness somewhat undercut by a cover illustration of a screaming guy being defenestrated.

Posted by: Dave F at October 2, 2003 04:01 AM

thanks for writing about this movie. it had escaped my attention.

Posted by: alex z. at October 3, 2003 02:44 PM
Post a comment









Remember personal info?






= true; } else { document.comments_form.bakecookie[1].checked = true; } //--> /body> e { document.comments_form.bakecookie[1].checked = true; } //--> /body> ments_form.bakecookie[1].checked = true; } //--> = true; } else { document.comments_form.bakecookie[1].checked = true; } //--> /body>