As you might recall, last year Gallo somewhat contentiously took over the directing duties on a film entitled "The Funeral Director" -- a project he was initially just going to star in -- which was quickly redubbed "Promises Written In Water." The picture stars a cast of unknowns (and somewhat randomly, Sage Stallone, a new muse of sorts for Gallo as he also features in his new short film "Agent 17") and centered on a photographer eager to fulfill the wishes of a dying girl. The film played both Venice and TIFF last year, but was seemingly overshadowed by that other Gallo vehicle, "Essential Killing." That said, the few reviews that hit the web were mixed.
"...risky, limpid, and with a Borzagean delicacy flashing from under its Warhol-Eustache-Garrel grain," said Slant while Mubi found much to like, using the some adjectives and comparison points saying, the Garrel-influenced picture is both "moving" and "funny" as "the delicate, oblique limpidity of the film are part of the same concern, a concern for lasting things and the lasting of things." The San Francisco Film Examiner breathlessly proclaimed, "Gallo shows what new language in cinema can be about. Several of the scenes in the film should become a part of contemporary cinematic history" while The Flickering Wall sighed that its a "bewilderingly vague, plotless drama that looks good but goes nowhere during its mercifully short length."
Basically, it split audiences which is pretty much the standard for Gallo's works.
However, in an interview with the Danish Film Institute last month, who ran a retrospective of his films, Gallo revealed that fans may not want to hold their breath to see "Promises Written In Water" any time soon. "I do not want my new works to be generated in a market or audience of any kind," he said, adding that the Venice and TIFF screenings last year for "Promises Written In Water" were part of an agreement he made with the actress Delfine Bafort. But that's not all. He also adds, "I have just finished a new film and has not made similar agreements with anyone. So this film is allowed to rest in peace, and stored without being exposed to the dark energies from the public." Whether or not that's the aforementioned short "Agent 17" or something else entirely is unknown.
A quick jump over to his Gray Daisy Films page for the film reveals this is no mere provocation from Gallo as it says quite plainly: "Not currently planned for release." As much as we'd love to see a Garrel-influenced Gallo pic, it looks like that may never happen. Though we have to wonder if the "dark energies" Gallo wishes to avoid is the kind of critical mauling his last film "The Brown Bunny" took from critics.
So for now, we'll have to live with the official synopsis and these pics from the film dug up by the blog LyLyBye:
Kevin (Vincent Gallo) is a long-time, professional assassin, specializing in the termination of life. Mallory (Delfine Bafort) is a wild, poetic, beautiful young woman confronting her terminal illness and eventual suicide. She reaches out to Kevin to take responsibility for her corpse once she passes, requesting his protection of her dead body’s dignity until her cremation. Kevin’s acceptance of this request causes uncomfortable self-reflection and changes the lens through which he views death.