Here I am a couple of weeks ago, sitting on my back porch with Robert Towne as he smokes a Cuban cigar and we talk about things. America. What is happening vs What has happened. He's lived through all this shit before, but as he put it, it's never been this bad. I wish I could say the wounds have healed a smidgen since this picture was taken, one week after the election results, but that would be a lie. Every day brings a new horror, wild confusion and a tsunami of rage.
I have been making this documentary on Hal Ashby for going on three years now. We are in the final stages of post-production, the 20th mile, the last trimester. I have learned an immense amount about Hal, and filmmaking and film history – but mostly I have realized the power of art and culture as it relates to the human condition. Hal made political films. They were not didactic tales of woe, but he commented on the frailties of mankind. Championed the underdog but never let the viewer 'hate' the bad guy, as we all know now, bad guys are the most compelling to watch. Instead, he just shows you what institutionalized racism can do, what the thumb of authority can do, what a narcissistic culture can overlook in the reflection of their vanity, how everyone needs and has a right to love whomever they chose. I could go on and on, but that's where I am at with this whole current nightmare of an administration. Trying to remember that people are complex, chaotic and (hopefully?) inherently good, just confused and easily scared.
If anyone wants to form a radicalized super PAC and make some short films to wage a video war on The Koch Bros or reach the hearts, minds and empathy of middle America, please contact me immediately. I am completely down. Until then, I'll be wrapping up this awesome little Hal movie. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. xo Amy