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Thursday, August 12, 2004

The Sorted Saga of Exorcist: The Beginning
The story behind the making of Exorcist: The Beginning is probably more interesting than the film(s) itself. I say film(s) because two entirely different versions of the film now exist -- one directed by Paul Schrader and one by Renny Harlin (the one coming out next week). Scott Foundas recounts the whole saga in this exhaustive article in LA Weekly. What's especially notable is Foundas has actually seen Paul Schrader's version of the film. Here's a few of his impressions:
Rather than worshipfully recalling the claustrophobic, kitchen-sink realism of the 1973 film, Schrader and [screenwriter Caleb] Carr seemed actively engaged in subverting, as best they could, its iconography. Shot by no less a visual poet than Vittorio Storaro (Apocalypse Now, One From the Heart and virtually everything by Bertolucci), the film is visually wide-open, with a dramatic sense of landscape and a marvelous attention to the subtlest tricks of light. Moreover, this Beginning views demonic possession less as a singular occurrence - the terrors visited upon an innocent young victim - than as a contagion born in the hearts of men, able to cross oceans of time and space, infecting entire communities in its wake. It is, by Schrader and Carr's own admission, an internalized piece of psychological (as opposed to visceral) horror. It's also, not incidentally, an epistemological study of faith, set against a world that gives even the righteous many reasons to question their beliefs. In short, just the sort of brooding, introspective piece you might expect from Schrader (who was raised as a strict Calvinist and who has explored similar themes in films from Hardcore to Affliction) and Carr (who, though best known for his novels, has also written extensively about military history, global terrorism and other Zeitgeist matters), but which Morgan Creek would later claim was exactly what it hadn't asked for.
The good news is that it sounds like both versions will eventually surface on DVD. I just hope there's a making-of documentary, or two.
(via GreenCine Daily)
:: posted by Donald Melanson, 8/12/2004 Comments (0)
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Archives prior to April, 2005 are from Donald Melanson's personal film blog.

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