I must say, I went against your rule and actually smoked pot the first time I saw it.
Oh really? I haven’t heard the drug reports yet.
Yeah, it was actually almost better without.
Yeah, I think it would be. I’m pretty sure…
Yeah, and it’s all theoretical stuff that kind of trips you out when you’re out of it but it doesn’t necessarily benefit you to not really get it. By the way, do you know what the original definition of slacker is?
The original definition? Someone who evades duties and responsibilities.
In wartime. What do you think about that right now, what do you think about this generation?
That was a big 1918, World War I definition.. What do you mean about right now?
I mean, what’s going on with the war.
Well, we have an all-volunteer army so no one’s evading anything. In the U.S. anyway. They have other means of coercion to get an army.
Right. There’s some interesting stuff in Waking Life about guns.
That gets a good response depending on what part of the country you’re in.
How does that scene go over in Texas? It’s kind of a pro-gun monologue with two people getting shot for no reason at the end.
Well, it’s both sides of the issue. You know, if there are guns everywhere there are gonna be, more likely, odd homicides that shouldn’t have happened, that wouldn’t have happened without guns around, so I agree with that, but at the same time, if our government’s gonna be militarized, all the federal employees are gonna have guns, there’s a part of me that goes, ahh, you know. People are very picky with their freedoms. Yeah, we should all have our freedoms that we want, the things we like, you know, freedom of press, freedom of speech, pornography, but they want to restrict other people’s freedoms. Americans have been dealing with this for at least 150 years.
Yeah, somewhere in there you’ve got the whole anarchy thing. It’s been sneaking around your films, but since “Slacker” it hasn’t really been so front-and-centre.
Yeah, that’s true.
How come that’s come back?
(Laughs) Well, I think I have a narrative form to put it in, again there’s not really a place for it in “Before Sunrise,” you know, I dunno, I think “The Newton Boys” has kind of a spirit of outlaws and anarchy. Oh, I dunno. It’s not like it came back in my thinking or anything. It’s probably present, fairly present.
And you’ve got the circle-A in “Suburbia.”
I dunno. Each story is very different. Some things fit in there, some don’t. But Waking Life was a good chance to throw in… it was a good kitchen sink movie.
Well “Slacker” was kind of a noncontinuity, “Phantom of Liberty” kind of thing, but this one, it sort of seems like the animation makes it hang together in a way that you can almost go crazier. Because it’s all animated in a sort of similar style, it’s almost like things are forced to be coherent.
Yeah, well, Waking Life does have a story. It creeps in there, but it’s always there. You know, if you see it a second time you’re like oh, it’s there from the beginning. Pick up on it quicker, But, I mean, you become aware of it, it’s there. But yeah, like some of it’s weird.
This one seems a bit more like “Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie”?
(Laughs) So now we’re in Bunuel territory. I dunno, I mean if you say so.
I mean in relation to “Slacker” = “Phantom of Liberty,” where it’s just sort of things lead to other things, whereas in this one, it’s more like there is a throughline narrative, although still not structured the way a regular film is.
Yeah, probably, there’s definitely kind of a throughline, that’s just imperative, the way the craft is. The Bunuel reference, yeah, I guess there’s kind of a throughline,
What do you think of Bunuel? He’s obviously someone who’s influenced you…
I dunno, he’s one of the masters who actually could pull off the kind of dream logic, or dream-state imagery. He could pull it off live-action like no one else. I think he kind of captures more through light. You don’t change the lighting, you just show – that’s how your brain processes them, it’s taken as real.
Right. Was there sort of an attempt with this one to get to Bunuel territory or no?
Ha ha! No. I didn’t sit down and say, oh, I’m gonna make a Bunuelian film. He’s not the only one that does it.
Yeah, it felt a bit like Svankmeier at times.
I dunno man, that’s your job to, like, put it all together and pattern-seek, render comprehensible.
The Guy Debord stuff is interesting too.
Yeah, yeah, it was a good movie to kind of stick that in there.
Where does that fit in for you? That’s sort of the 1968 stuff, where we’re back to now, almost, with the Seattle, Quebec City, WTO and anti-globalization stuff going on now.
Yeah, I mean that never really went away, and that precedes that pinnacle. After that, there’s always gonna be … something very different coming in to play then. In 1968 I think he was crucial… I’ve kind of an intimate interest in Guy Debord, I think the whole point of the Situationist notion is that it’s kind of never-ending.
Do you see this film as a bit of a detournement?
Yeah, especially, definitely the four guys walking, that whole notion, the dream or whatever, the drift, … the name of my production company is Detour Productions.
Ha ha. Right. And that whole scene is about theory versus action, and that was a big theme in “Suburbia” as well.
Well, I think it’s probably the theory of all our lives if you think about it. It’s not very active, I’ve been criticized for like, oh you have a very passive protagonist; he doesn’t do that much. I’m like, most people don’t. Most people are receptors. We’re recepters, we’re like, breathers and receptors.
What about you, though?
I dunno. I like the active process of actually making a film. I’m not the kind of guy who would march or go to a protest.
Get the rest of the interview in part three of LINKLATER ON LIVING THE “WAKING LIFE”>>>
Posted on November 23, 2001 in Interviews by Patrick "Flick" Harrison
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