Erased James Franco
Carter, Erased James Franco, 2008
image courtesy Carter and Yvon Lambert. Photographer: André Morin
New York-based artist and filmmaker Carter (b. 1970) introduces the UK premiere of his most recent film, Erased James Franco (2008, 63 minutes), and takes part in a post-screening conversation with its star, James Franco. Recalling the intellectual gamesmanship of Robert Rauschenberg's 1953 drawing Erased de Kooning, from which it derives its title, Erased James Franco is simultaneously a study of the craft of acting and of the fracturing-and reconstitution-of narrative and identity.
While filmmakers in recent years have attempted shot-for-shot remakes of existing films-most notably Gus Van Sant with Alfred Hitchcock's Psycho and Michael Haneke with his own Funny Games-the emphasis here is on a single actor, alone on stage, recreating iconic film performances that have been stripped of their original context.
In addition to re-enacting scenes from several of his own past film roles, Franco also reinterprets a pair of haunting portrayals of psychic disintegration and renewal: Julianne Moore's role in Todd Haynes's Safe and Rock Hudson's in John Frankenheimer's Seconds. Denied the charged interplay with other actors, Franco adopts a strangely flat affect, imbuing the film with a quality that Carter describes as 'like bloodletting or a kind of cleansing…a building up and tearing down, simultaneously.'
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