My Dinner With Vincent

The end comes too quickly in the trim cut of Gallo's 'Bunny'

My film is about the beginning of the process of healing, in a sense--of moving past grief. Because I think that grief and guilt had gotten so heavy for the character that he sort of bottomed out. The film is about his bottom, in a way. And from his bottom he's going to slowly...move forward.

Gallo, I gather, is having a hard time moving on himself. He has come to Minneapolis on a cross-country PR tour that reads as a compulsive repetition of his Bunny man's own wayward search for love. The blow job that...uh, climaxes our hero's journey in the film goes on and on and on--extending beyond the frame, you might say, to the one-on-one service that Gallo has been enjoying from his recent interviewers. The difference is that, in the film, the fellatio turns out to be a figment of the poor fellow's imagination--that is, all in his head. Thus The Brown Bunny--provocatively, even poignantly--is an act of mental masturbation for the character and maybe the filmmaker as well.

Flashback: Gallo is meeting the press at Cannes, 2003, in the wake of what he called the "single worst experience of my life"--the most disastrously hissed and hooted screening in festival history.

Here he comes: Writer- director- actor- editor- producer- cinematographer Vincent Gallo in 'The Brown Bunny'
Here he comes: Writer- director- actor- editor- producer- cinematographer Vincent Gallo in 'The Brown Bunny'

Early in elementary school, I was Mr. Popular. I had a little moment where I got a lot of response from adult women--my mother's friends--and young girls my own age. Then at some point my hair got darker; it got curly. Before that my hair was straight and blond, my nose was little. But when I transformed into a less Scandinavian-looking type, my reaction to it was to protect myself: I chose not to be open to friends, to love--so as not to be rejected. It's sort of like the way that I'm always late for an appointment--because if I come early and the person doesn't show up, it's really upsetting to me. So my approach is always to get there a little late. These are the basic behaviors of a small-minded, petty person.... The reason I never directed anybody else's screenplay is not because I'm narcissistic or whatever it is you all say behind my back. It's because I don't have the energy to get familiar with something that's foreign to me. I've never read a book in my life. I try to do the best I can with what I know. So yeah--it's a very personal film.

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