Teenagers with no one to turn to: Gus Van Sant does it again

22nd May 2007, Comments 0 comments

CANNES, France, May 21, 2007 (AFP) - Portraying young Americans is "a calling" for US film-maker Gus Van Sant, and the teenage hero of his newest movie is in deep trouble after accidentally causing a man to be sliced in two.

CANNES, France, May 21, 2007 (AFP) - Portraying young Americans is "a calling" for US film-maker Gus Van Sant, and the teenage hero of his newest movie is in deep trouble after accidentally causing a man to be sliced in two.

"Paranoid Park", named after the legendary skateboard venue in Portland, Oregon, premiered at Cannes Monday, winning plaudits from critics and setting it in line as one of the front-runners in the race for the film festival's top award, to be announced May 27.

It was at Cannes in 2004 that Van Sant, who notably made Oscar-winning "Good Will Hunting", won the coveted Palme d'Or for "Elephant", a re-make of the tragic Columbine school killings.

*sidebar1*As in "Elephant", Van Sant turned to amateurs to make his new movie, with youngster Gabe Nevins debuting as the skate-board loving teen who accidentally causes a security guard to tumble under a train, his torso still alive and eyes wide open minutes later, though his bottom half lies far away.

Despite this difficult-to-see if brief scene, the film is more about teenage life in the United States and the difficulty of finding someone to talk to than about the actual drama.

In the film, based on a novel for young adults by Blake Nelson, 16-year-old Alex's parents are busy splitting up and have little time for him. So he drifts off to Paranoid Park, which in real life was built by homeless kids and drifters who now build skateboard parks on commission in other countries.

"I've been attracted to characters that are young for a while," Van Sant said. "It's my calling I guess."

"I really like working with non-professionals, because you can bring out things that are natural to them, instead of just giving them a script," he added.

"A visual feast, the film blends scenes of skate-boarders in Super 8, dreamlike slow motion (photography is by Chris Doyle who has shot with Hong Kong's Wong Kar Wai) and original sound, including Portland's own Ethan Rose and music by Nino Rota, Fellini's favourite composer.

"These kids may be emotionally lost but they're ordinary middle-class kids suddenly facing something extraordinary," Van Sant told AFP.

Van Sant's 5.5-million-dollar film was his first that was entirely French-produced.


Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, Festival de Cannes

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