Your new movie Aimy
in a Cage - in a few words, what is it about?
cinematic circus about a teen girl and the end of the world. It is a new
kind of counter-cultural
- an outsider’s vision brought to a grand stage. I hired a cast and crew
and pushed them off a cliff.
Being an artist
yourself, how much of you can we find in your character Aimy Micry,
is pretty much directly autobiographical, but a nightmarish telling of it.
The film expresses the
loneliness and alienation of my teenage years. I wrote the script when I
was 17, and did
little editing on it. It’s pretty much a time capsule. I would go in the
back yard and smash all
things in slow motion, the same way Aimy smashes the dolls. I just love
how proudly she is
throwing it back in their faces. She doesn’t care one bit that she’s
digging her own
Nothing they can do to her is of any consequence, perhaps, she is
in a Cage does abandon linear storytelling every now and again for
a more associative approach - would you like to elaborate on that, and how
difficult was it for you to not just lose your story in this?
first, there’s sprinkles of associative, expressive editing… then
about half way in, the whole
goes off the rails. I was influenced by the non-linear editing of Nicolas
Roeg films - which
to express on film the abstraction of how we live. Like Scrooge… the
ghost of Christmas
present, future, all inform the action of how the film is cut. Yet we are
not telling this via
gimmicks - it’s just little moments or flashes that key into Aimy’s
inevitable fate, an
self-fulfilling prophecy… Or remind us where she’s been. Or totally
random. I could
quite get on board that I made a midnight movie. I feel there is a little
more to this. I also
Godard’s impatient asshole style of cutting. I think if I had investors,
they would have
me out of the editing room.
Allisyn Ashley Arm
would you describe your directorial approach to your story at hand?
is a film about spaces. It takes place entirely on one set, and when I
wrote it was inspired by
Polanski’s claustrophobic apartment thrillers (Repulsion,
Rosemary’s Baby, The
10mm lens helped as it totally morphs the reality of what you point at.
Suddenly the space is
longer a window into the story, but the space itself becomes the story. A
did a lot of complex blocking, 360s and a cyclical motif. The limitation
was inspiring, and a
to show off what I could do.
I said, the running time is also a canvas. Sometimes we are fast,
associative and over-the-top.
I will let a scene roll for two minutes without a cut while the music does
What it builds up to, I hope, is an honest portrait of its subject and the
We ended up with a kind of horror Dr. Seuss ballet. It’s interesting
because I totally
I would be a wide, medium, close-up director - or if struggling - you can
handheld. But as soon as I looked through the lens, everything became
clear. I do have regrets.
wish I had double the shooting days, two units, and shot it anamorphic.
Though then the
in our little fish tank might have forged an entirely new evolutionary
have grown new limbs or gone full-on
of the Flies.
Theodore Bouloukos, Terry Moore
in a Cage features quite the stellar cast - so what can you tell
us about these people, and what made them perfect for their characters?
And how did you get some of these people, and what was your collaboration
Ashley Arm is like a best kept secret, she is a star from the Disney
Channel. If you are
channel-surfing and come across one of those over-the-top sitcoms, and
wonder, what if that
was put in a Gaspar Noe film, then you approach the spectacle of her
taking this role. The
keeps popping up, is Aimy likable? But to me that’s a very primitive way
of viewing a
It’s rock and roll… The
Misfits, Sex Pistols, this
is our film. Allison’s skill, I think, is to
communicate this character to the viewer, there is intent with every
decision. I think the
performers are storytellers, and use the character and story beats beyond
Bouloukos and Rick Montgomery jr are also excellent at that - the
character work that
is sly and subtle, but pushes the story forward. The craft becomes invisible
and you’re just
attention. Crispin Glover, I can’t even find the words. He is a
torrential whirlwind, or a
hole that sucks the movie in slowly, yet he knows how to reach an end
point that moves it
Terry Moore, who was nominated for an Oscar in 1953. She’s been making
years! She was close friends with Walt Disney and I sense she was almost
witch. Allisyn and Terry Moore are 67 years apart but matched each other
beat for beat.
beyond colors and style, the performance aspect is by far the biggest joy
of filmmaking, and
writing I consider casting to be my passion.
What can you tell us about the shoot as such, and
the on-set atmosphere?
festering pressure cooker! It was nuts. A PTSD factory. The overhead dolly
took 25 takes over
days - these demonically possessed maniacs drag Aimy across the entire set
while she is
for her life. The shot lasts for about a minute and they’re all shouting
over each other in
endless stream before they trample her. There are like four or five scenes
like this. It’s all so
Your favourite movies?
Michael Hunter, Sara Murphy
love when the avant-garde fuses with the mainstream. I am influenced by
those works by the
outsider… Ken Russell, Terry Gilliam, Alex Cox [Alex
Cox bio - click here], Peter Greenaway. I love
even James Ivory or anything that bores in its study of social minutia. I
relate to it
I grew up in a culture where bad manners is almost a spiritual attack…
so there is a kind
poise and mannerly quality to this, in contrast to this anarchic figure at
the center. Here is the
though. Those directors I mentioned have universally struggled in the film
business, and if
is something to learn from them, it’s how to realize the entire spectrum
of yourself as an
(a fancy way of saying I’m gonna sell out). I mean, this was the right
film for me, at the
time. General audiences, I don’t know anymore. I hope they like the
freaking costumes. I
if anyone thinks Aimy
in a Cage is
weird they have not seen what I have. In art school they
showed a video artist’s piece - people had electrical devices strapped
to their genitals, with
mouses and monitors glued to their naked bodies, and they were all bashing
over and over frantically. And every key they bashed would send electrical
others genitals. So they’re all shocking each other and miming an orgy,
covered in sweat,
the camera was zooming in and out rapidly and getting right to their face,
is like an industrial jackhammer. The professor made us sit there and
watch this for
hour. That was weird, okay. Aimy
in a Cage is
and of course, films you really deplore?
Feeling lucky ?
any of my partnershops yourself
for more, better results ?
The links below
will take you
feel good crap. I like a movie that really explores its concept. This is
is so great. It’s never half way. Every film he makes is a deep study on
came out a couple years ago saying that film just isn’t interesting
anymore. I think he hints at
larger problem in the film culture, where it’s all intellectual
shortcuts. Directors have learned
don’t have to do the work. If you hint at a theme, it’s the same thing
as exploring the theme.
am not sure who can tell the difference anymore. So why even put the work
in? I think directors
realized the medium has far less to do with what you are doing, than who
you are. I would
to never fall into this trap and give every project a legitimate identity.
Film is weird though,
it encapsulates so many crafts - I am a totally different writer than I am
a director, than I
an editor. It’s three me’s collaborating with no negotiation.
there anything else you wish to discuss?
spoke about British film, but I think the US film culture is moving in an
US loves underdogs, and when we’re given a chance, we love crazy shit.
Make no mistake,
not because we’re superior,
purely accident - we are greedy capitalists through and
eventually things tip so far in one direction they land upon the other
side of the circle. In
they explain this as two avenues for potential success… 1) The useful,
and 2) The
useful. The theoretical has an eye always on the fringe, as it represents
to steal from. Thus the theoretically
the exact same thing as the useful.
is an expanding virus - the accidental validity of the counter-culture. I
believe this is why a
like mine has been given a legitimate platform for release.
a background in business and finance, I find the art world has a lot more
in common with
stock market than they like to realize. Right now the art world heavily
favors a certain
social agenda - and it has to be extremely literal, and overt. If there is
point to it. Cinematically stylized works are dead. You’re better off
shooting hand-held at
walls - as long as you touch upon the politics of the moment. The world I
have been trying
play in is the world of Pasolini or Jodorowsky. While these too are
political works, they
their themes in groundbreaking, cinematic ways. If those auteurs were
starting out today, it
would not be the European art house giving them their platform - it would
be the US genre
can we follow your film?
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for the interview!