Todd Haynes’ new feature Wonderstruck is set for limited release in October, after premiering at Cannes earlier this year. He sat down with The Upcoming at the Locarno Film Festival where he has “been a fixture…since 1991” to talk about his past and present work, along with styles he draws inspiration from.
A few highlights from his interview:
On the premiere of his first film, Poison, in 1991: I don’t remember it particularly well. It was so many years ago. But it was a film that provoked people. It’s an intense piece of work. It was a provocative film. But it was intended to provoke discussion. And I enjoyed that – I bargained for it.
On what’s next: I’m doing my first documentary on The Velvet Underground. It will be a great opportunity to explore this unique period in 1960s avant-garde New York. And this band came out of experimental film and music and a culture that doesn’t exist anymore. It was a band no one knew about, but it has had so much influence in the subsequent years. Brian Eno said: “Everyone who bought one of those records started a band.”
On the intersection of modern culture and film: Contemporary life fascinates me. But I always need to find a corollary in the past, which is why all my films are set then. It’s a way of reading the present through the window of the past, and the present through the genres of film that are ongoing, which we may think have gone away but continue. Melodrama is still active; it’s still part of the culture.