From my vantage point on the less-esteemed side of the velvet rope, I saw my quarry, Panos Cosmatos, posing for innumerable photographs with various industry and festival bigwigs just before the Canadian premiere of his new movie, Mandy. I had been shuffled around no fewer than four times before being planted right underneath a bright spotlight a few feet from the director. Eventually, he came over—and I got my four minutes.
366: I’m with 366 Weird Movies, and we’re a big fan of your previous movie, Beyond the Black Rainbow. It beat out 63 contenders in a readers’ choice poll to be certified on our list–
PC: A list of “weird movies”? Nice.
366: Yup. We’re looking for 366 of best, weird movies we can find, one for each day of the year including leap-year.
PC: Love it.
366: I have a few questions for you. In Beyond the Black Rainbow, we saw some Kubrick and Ken Russell influences; I was wondering if you might remark on some of the directorial influences specifically for Mandy?
PC: Honestly, for this film, I felt more that I was just tapping into myself, just following my instincts a little bit more and seeing where that took me.
366: In Beyond the Black Rainbow, there’s a melancholic, sort of space-y feel. Obviously it’s a very different tone from Mandy.
PC: Yeah, it’s more “melancholic and barbaric”.
366: Nicely put. Now, tapping into yourself, I know that your father was involved in any number of motion pictures. I was curious personally in regards to your mother, who was a sculptor. Did she influence you artistically in any way?
PC: Very much so, yes. She nurtured my creativity from the beginning and had an incredible way of looking at the world, and that’s a big part of me.
366: Now your previous movie and this one, they both take place in 1983, and you’ve indicated in a number of interviews your reason for that. [efn_note]1983 was the first year that a young Cosmatos went to the store “Video Addict”, during which time he would imagine the stories behind the box covers of horror films he was not allowed to rent.[/efn_note] Obviously it might be too early to ask about future projects, but do you think you’ll be sticking with the year 1983 in the future, or do you think you might eventually go forward or backward?
PC: *laughs* I think the next film will probably go forward — but never the present. Never the present.
366: Your previous film was largely self-funded–
366: –This was a larger production. Were there any problems with “strings attached”, or were you able to maneuver things?
PC:Amazingly I was given basically complete freedom, that’s why I got involved with SpectreVision, because they vowed to protect my vision and nurture it all the way through, and they lived up to that.
366: That’s excellent. I’m from the United States, and I’m fearful I might not be able to catch this movie again; do you know anything about wider distribution?
PC: I think it’s getting released on about 300 screens in the US on September 14th. Where in the US are you from?
366: Upstate New York.
PC: Cool! I always romanticize that area in my mind, having never been there. But I do have that romanticized version of Upstate New York in my mind.
366: Well, Upstate New York is very flattered.
366: In regards to Mandy specifically, where in Heaven’s name did that “folk song” come from?
PC: The lyrics were written by me and Dan Boeckner from the band “Operators”. He wrote the verses, I wrote the chorus. And then Milky Burgess wrote the instrumentation and Randall Dunn produced it and we kind of just threw it together in the recording studio in a day or two.
366: It is, in its way, a very good song–
366: –and it certainly conveys that fellow well. And one question I like to close all my interviews with, what’s your home town and do you have a restaurant you can recommend?
PC: Where I live now? Vancouver, and I would recommend “Kingyo”.
366: Thank you very much for your time. Fantastic movie, and I wish you the best of luck.
…and with that, mere minutes before the film’s start, he was summoned for further photographs.
One thought on “WEDNESDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: THE MAKER OF “MANDY””
Wow cool interview! This director and his films are extremely inspiring. Thank you!