Monday, January 14, 2013


Putting aside the fact that Lodge Kerrigan is one of the most explored filmmakers on PINNLAND EMPIRE (with the exception of Rebecca H, I've written about his entire filmography) this one is pretty personal to me- To this day Clean, Shaven (1994), Lodge Kerrigan's feature film debut, still stands as one of my earliest movie watching experiences where I felt legitimately unsafe. His films may subconsciously remind some viewers of everything from the experimental work of Jonas Mekas to the psychological thrillers of Roman Polanski during the 60's & 70's, while HIS influence on cinema can be found in the work of everyone from David Cronenberg to his peers like Steven Soderbergh (I challenge any of you to watch Clean, Shaven followed by Spider or Claire Dolan followed by G.F.E and tell me Kerrigan hasn’t made an impact on independent & art house film).
The universe of Lodge Kerrigan's is unlike any other in cinema these days. Without the use of ghosts, monsters, supernatural characters, bad/forced performances of someone with schizophrenia or cheap editing techniques, he's able to create a tense, gritty & realistic world where you constantly have to watch your back and characters teeter on the edge of sanity. While cinephiles all over the world have been anticipating the return of recluse filmmakers like Terrence Malick, Leos Carax & Monte Hellman, I've been patiently awaiting the day when I finally get the chance to see his latest film; Rebecca H. (2010).


PINNLAND EMPIRE: What are the last three films you’ve seen?

Lodge Kerrigan: I recently spoke at a Fassbinder retrospective in Berlin organized by REVOLVER Zeitschrift für Film and the Rainer Werner Fassbinder Foundation, and in preparation I re-watched a lot of his work. While I was there, I saw a projection of a 35mm print of Ali: Fear Eats The Soul - one of my all time favorites. It is such a beautiful, insightful and disturbing film on the difficulties of being an individual in society and the destructive, alluring influence of the majority.
Looking forward, I am excited to see Carlos Reygadas' s Post Tenebras Lux and Christian Petzold's Barbara.

PE: Who, in your opinion, are the top three directors working in film right now?

LK: There are so many interesting directors working, it is impossible for me to answer your question, but I'd love to see Lance Hammer ("Ballast") make another film. The quiet, contemplative nature of his work is rare, particularly in American cinema.

PE: You recently directed an episode of Homeland. All of your films are about mental illness in some way. Given that that's an element on the show (especially with Claire Danes' character) is that something that drew you to work on Homeland or was it for the chance to work with Damien Lewis again?

LK: With regards to Homeland, there were a lot of factors - certainly the quality of the writing and cast were big draws as was the opportunity to work with Damian again.
Although I have a long standing interest in mental illness, I'd like to think that I am not defined by it, as a filmmaker. Certainly, Clean, Shaven and Keane deal with the theme, but I don't think Claire Dolan does.

Homeland: Season 2, Episode 3 (2012)
PE: You're one of many modern auteurs to turn to television in recent years (Michael Mann, Scorsese, Spike Lee, Todd Haynes, etc...) Has it just become more difficult than ever to get a film made these days or is directing for television just something new you wanted to do?

LK: It's definitely an exciting time to work in television. There are so many great shows, attracting so much great talent across the board. Ultimately, it was the quality of Homeland that was the determining factor, but as a filmmaker, I was also excited to see what directing episodic television would be like. At the end of the day, it was very similar to independent filmmaking - solving problems creatively, working quickly on tight schedules, etc. It was a great experience and I am very grateful to Michael Cuesta, Alex Gansa, Howard Gordon and Damian for their support in bringing me on.

PE: You’re one of the few directors out to NOT have a regular group of actors that you work with.

LK: It's really not a factor one way or the other. My goal is simply to cast the best actor available for the specific role at hand.

Keane (2004)

PE: Given that Damien Lewis is the only actor you’ve worked with more than once (Keane &      Homeland), does this mean we’ll be seeing another collaboration between you guys in the future?
LK: I hope so - we're actively looking for another project together. I'd also love to work with Amy Ryan again. She is a remarkable actress. 

PE: Besides Polanski, a director you're often associated with & compared too as far as style is concerned, what other filmmakers & films, if any, influence your work or inspire you?

LK: The question of influences is always tough to answer, as they are constantly changing. But to go with the spirit of the question, those filmmakers who show and help us accept what it is to be human -- not only our positive qualities, but also the flaws and weaknesses inherent in all of us. Chaplin, Bergman, Rossellini, Cassavetes, in particular, A Woman Under The Influence, Hal Ashby's The Last Detail, Taxi Driver, Fat City, Frederick Wiseman, Bresson, in particular Pickpocket, Chantal Akerman, Aguirre, Wrath of God, Fassbinder, Mike Leigh’s Naked, Kiarostami, in particular, Close-Up, Tsai Ming-Liang’s Vive L’Amour, Carlos Reydagas... The list goes on and on.

Claire Dolan (1998)

PE: Bonus Question - Since you're part of the criterion family (Clean, Shaven) - what three films would you like to see added to the criterion collection?

LK: Another tough question. Offhand...
Streetwise - Martin Bell
The Hours And Times - Christopher Münch
L'humanité- Bruno Dumont
I'd also love to see Raoul Ruiz's short, Dog's Dialogue, re-released.


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