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Peace and love
The critic and me
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The critic and me
On the walk back to the hotel I purchased a copy of the ‘LA Weekly’ where the story of “Scott and me” continues, following our meeting in January which I described in the middle of my rather long blog entries for Mexico City. Scott had told me there, at a breakfast meeting which I had proposed, that nothing in his writing career to date had excited as much wrath as the scathing review he had written about YES during the Telluride film festival and which was published in ‘Variety’. I was gratified to hear that people had expressed their anger and dismay to him as the review had been, as one well-known one publicist said: ‘vicious’. But I had been determined not to counter-attack, but to open out the debate about criticism in general and its role (and responsibility) in relation to independent film in particular, as a review such as his can potentially push financiers even farther away from any risk-taking venture.
Following this discussion in Mexico, Scott had proposed that he interview me for the ‘LA Weekly’, and after some discussion with friends and allies, I agreed. I talked on the phone from London, a little dry in the mouth and a little dry and guarded in my responses to his questions, as I guess I feared further attack. When I opened the newspaper, standing in the evening sunshine on the street in Santa Monica, I was relieved to read an accurate, if edited, version of our conversation, in which he wrote honestly about the story from his point of view, including a candid account of the criticism he had received, and provided space for me to refute some of his claims. It must be one of the first times that a reviewer and the filmmaker who has been subject to his extreme critique then have a constructive conversation in print. (Follow this link to read the article.)
In keeping with the Californian obsession with grooming (sometimes taking an extreme form, such as cosmetic foot surgery and armpit augmentation, both advertised in pages adjacent to the ‘LA Weekly piece’), I decided to have - for the first time in my life - a pedicure. The in-room foot beautician was Milla, originally from Lvov in the Ukraine. We talked about the former Soviet Union as she tended to my feet and painted my toenails a colour called ‘chilled champagne’.
The next morning, feeling suitably bubbly, I sat by the pool and admired my non-surgically enhanced feet (which, in truth, have never really recovered from the battering they received making The Tango Lesson, where high-heeled shoes filled with blood and – sorry - pus, were a regular occurrence during the shoot, especially whilst filming the ‘Libertango’ sequence which took ten hours of dancing a day whilst partnering three men and required me to look joyful as well, despite the pain. Not that I can really complain…after all it was my idea and the dancers were three of the most inventive, energetic tangueros in the world.)
Pool and pedicure
Text © Sally Potter. All pictures © Adventure Pictures unless otherwise indicated