Actor Brady Corbet on Francophiles, Old-School Filmmaking, and Au Hasard Balthazar
Corbet spoke to New Times about his desire to present the film in 35mm. He says he expects the festival to have a pristine print supplied by Rialto Pictures for the one-night-only event at the Tower Theater in Little Havana this Friday night.
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The 24-year-old actor, who once directed a short film on 35mm that screened at the 2008 Miami International Film Festival (Protect You + Me), might seem young to fully appreciate the 1966 film, but he was indoctrinated into cinephilia as a child thanks to his mother. He also has a knack for having appeared in some well-regarded films by some modern master directors, including Lars von Trier (Melancholia) and Michael Haneke (Funny Games).
New Times: Pardon the question, but what qualifies you to introduce Au Hasard Balthazar?
Brady Corbet: Actually, it's a fair question. I would say that I've been a pretty hard-core cinephile all my life, and I've devoted much of my life to the medium, so I suppose I have as much as a qualification as someone could, at my age.
Why do you think this film is important?
Well, for quite a few reasons. It happens to be from one of maybe ten filmmakers who really shaped the way I sort of saw moviemaking and its potential, its subtlety, and breadth of vision. It also just happens to be a film that I saw at a very young age that really made a big impact on me.
How old were you when you saw it?
Probably when I was 11 or 12. I grew up watching a lot of international films mostly because of my mother, because, first of all, she's a cinephile, but she's also a real Francophile... She lived there for many years. She went to college there, her ex-husband is from there, she speaks French fluently. I don't, unfortunately. I spent a lot of time there, and I worked there before, but my French is just OK. It's not great.
Well, this is a very visual film, so what's great is that it transcends the language.
Oh, yeah, certainly, certainly. I suppose most of Bresson's films do, and to tell you the truth, there were a lot of films about animals that I fell in love with when I was young. I liked animals growing up. So I was also a huge fan of Claire Denis's second movie, which is about cock fighting, called S'en Fout la Mort, which is a very, very beautiful movie. It was made in the early '90s... Sometimes I was attracted to watching certain movies because of a sort of element as base as that [it had animals].