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Today, a little over an hour was spent proving once again that Francis Ford Coppola is one of our greatest living filmmakers.
Since its inception and announcement, TWIXT has been something of a mystery. Purported to be an intriguing nightmare from Coppola, who's been engrossing himself in smaller, more personal films as of late, at the very least we expected a beautiful, gothic work of art. As he took the stage in Hall H earlier, Coppola showcased something way more than anyone expected.
At its core, TWIXT is as described. Val Kilmer stars as a schlocky writer telling tales of witchcraft who's caught up in a murder mystery in a small town. The rumors of Edgar Allan Poe appearing in 3D dream sequences are quite true, and Kilmer seems to form a bond with not only the classic writer, but the ghost of a young girl named V (Elle Fanning). As a film itself, the ten minutes we saw show off a weird, pulpy, playful story; one that's possibly reminiscent of TWIN PEAKS.
But as a visionary, Coppola is determined to forge new ground. In Comic-Con's events program, the panel was referred to as a dress rehearsal; something that began to be clear once the audience received our 3D glasses, nay masks. The 3D glasses were, in fact, embedded in an Edgar Allan Poe mask (see below) and the first indication of what the APOCALYPSE NOW director wants to achieve with TWIXT. That goal is a totally unique, theatrical experience.
Firstly, the filmmaker explained his interest in 3D as something not be to spread across a whole film. "I don't like 3D with glasses," he said. "I enjoy very much AVATAR but I took the glasses off during much of the movie. Whenever I saw the images start to show that was going to be 3D, I'd put them on and then take them off again. I'm in the camp that maybe the whole movie shouldn't be in 3D, but some good scenes should be in 3D." His opinion was then emphasized in the footage presented by glasses on screen indicating when to wear our souvenirs (only adding to the buzzing, shlock vibe).
But that was just a warm-up.
After introducing composer and electronic musician Dan Deacon, the two began discussing musicians playing along with films, before recorded albums and sound and how it's intrigued them into crafting something new; a tour before TWIXT's theatrical release that sees Deacon and Coppola road showing the movie and performing it live. The performance extends beyond musical accompaniment, however.
As a presentation, we must have seen the entire clip around three times as Coppola and Deacon (with many quite funny technical hiccups that they played off beautifully) showcasing how they intend to effectively remix the film on tour, distinctly providing that unique experience night after night. In each presentation, scenes were shown in different orders, with different takes, with Dan Deacon providing different, live music (one such song saw Coppola singing his chanting jam, "Nosferatu") and were often different lengths. Coppola even did the narration himself at points. It's positively incredible seeing an American 72 year-old filmmaker with such vigor and personal enthusiasm and a pioneering attitude normally reserved for French auteurs like Rohmer and Godard.
Will TWIXT be great? It's hard to tell. It has a dreamy, timeless quality, with heavy accents of goth and the surreal and even hedonistic rockabillies, but it also was made for very little money and shot digitally, so it doesn't look quite as eloquent as it maybe should. It's also hard to tell just what cutting and shuffling these scenes will do to its narrative, most likely providing several outcomes and interpretations.
It seems certain though that TWIXT will be a great experience, one that will be worth attending two separate nights. Coppola remains ambitious and riveting, literally jazzing myself and Hall H and almost absolutely making TWIXT the film to see in 2011.
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