In Memoriam 1942 – 2013 “Roger Ebert loved movies.”

RogerEbert.com

Thumb large 7tdpkbfqnayks7ohe9vnflwmz6b

Human Flow

The most monumental cinematic middle finger aimed at the Trump administration to date.

Thumb tbrzhlne8dnplllwee9bwdgnzle

Professor Marston & the Wonder Women

A timely affirmation of feminine power—of the ways in which female wisdom and strength can charge hearts and minds, influence culture and inspire others to…

Other Reviews
Review Archives
Thumb xbepftvyieurxopaxyzgtgtkwgw

Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

Other Reviews
Great Movie Archives
Other Articles
Chaz's Journal Archives
Other Articles
Blog Archives
Primary dicillo

Shooting the paparazzo

After the Ebertfest screening of "Delirious" Thursday afternoon, writer-director Tom DiCillo (pictured above and director of "Johnny Suede," "Living in Oblivion," "Box of Moonlight," "The Real Blonde") recalled sending Roger Ebert an e-mail. He was in despair over the distributor's treatment of his latest film, which Ebert had reviewed quite favorably. Out of frustration, and although he'd never written to a critic before, DiCillo posed five pained (and semi-rhetorical) questions about the injustice of the movie business, the last of which was: "Is this all a Kafkaesque nightmare that will never end?"

Advertisement

Ebert wrote back and answered every question. To the final one, he said yes.

DiCillo accentuated the positive in talking about his film before a packed house at the enormous Virginia Theatre. He said it had taken him six years to make "Delirious," a (mostly) comedy about a low-end paparazzo (Steve Buscemi) who takes on a homeless kid (Michael Pitt) as his assistant. DiCillo wrote the part for Buscemi, but it took him a year and a half before the actor agreed to play it.

In his review of "Delirious," Ebert pointed out that Buscemi has 104 credits on IMDb. (That was in 2006; now he's got nine or ten more.) This is a guy who has only been making movies since 1986, playing an HIV-positive performance artist (still his favorite part) in the late Bill Sherwood's pioneering "Parting Glances." But there's a moment in "Delirious," when Buscemi's character almost breaks down talking about his father, that's more emotionally naked than anything else in his filmography. DiCillo said he suggested, just before the take, that he thought Buscemi was getting close to some issues with his own father. When the actor saw it, he asked DiCillo to take it out. He refused. You can understand how Buscemi might feel a bit vulnerable, but the moment needs to be in the movie.

DiCillo had a word about cinematic violence that I particularly appreciated (see Three Kinds of Violence): "The blink of an eye between two people can be as violent as a gunshot."


Popular Blog Posts

The Fall of Toxic Masculinity and the Rise of Feminine Consciousness

A special edition of Thumbnails detailing the recent sexual harassment cases in the entertainment and tech industries...

"Blade Runner" vs. "Blade Runner 2049"

A Great Movie is hidden somewhere within "Blade Runner" and "Blade Runner 2049."

Man on the Outside: The Films of Willem Dafoe

A look at the career of Willem Dafoe.

Who do you read? Good Roger, or Bad Roger?

This message came to me from a reader named Peter Svensland. He and a fr...

Reveal Comments
comments powered by Disqus