Vincent Gallo Doesn't Plan On Releasing 'Promises Written In Water'

by Kevin Jagernauth
July 29, 2011 2:54 AM
21 Comments
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Also Says He's Finished Another New Film Which He Won't Release Either



Vincent Gallo has always been a filmmaker and artist who answered to one person only -- himself -- but now it seems the iconoclast is taking it to the next level: he's the only one who's going to be able to watch his movies. But let's go back in a time for a moment, shall we?

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.



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More: Actors, Vincent Gallo

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21 Comments

  • Lisa E | July 29, 2012 12:02 PMReply

    I worked for Vincent Gall0. He was extremely smart, funny, sweet though very very demanding with a tiny bit of a temper. The idiot Pete Red Sky never directed The Funeral Director. There is no such film. Vincent Gallo's film Promises Written in Water was not him taking over The Funeral Director but instead a highly conceptual film Gallo began creating when The Funeral Director was abandoned by Pete Red Sky before it was shot. I know this for a fact.

    Vincent Gallo did not agree to an interview with The Danish Film Institute as they claimed. Instead by email he simply rejected an offer to appear at or to allow his films to show at the Danish Film Institutes festival honoring him. The Danish Film Institute used a short polite no thank you email from Gallo and dishonestly and fraudulently created the interview for their festival guide. I know this for a fact.

    The film posters printed here where not created by or approved by Vincent Gallo. Instead they were made by a fan of Gallo. I know this for a fact.

    So many people wrongly talk shit about Gallo and print false or misleading items about him. The public has no idea whatsoever what he is really like and I feel his work is greatly underrated. One person here talks about how Gallo kicked his dog a few years ago at an LA farmers market. Gallo dog lives in New York and he has not had it in LA for ten years. Gallo is his sweetest with his dog and whomever wrote that is telling a complete lie for whatever sick and jealous reason.

    The best way to understand Gallo's public detractors is to notice his IMDB page. One film listed there (I won't say which) has literally never been seen by anyone. Not one person. Yet it has multiple reviews describing how bad it is and it has been given only one out of ten stars by many many people. People who have never seen it. I know this for a fact.

  • Charles | January 23, 2012 1:26 AMReply

    I doubt this will never seen the light of day. I think this is just talk, the usual provocation. Later on, a year or two from now, I bet it will be out and available for all along with any other film Gallo makes.

  • tc | November 2, 2011 3:03 AMReply

    I don't agree with the last comment. Craig, haven't you ever done something just because you felt like it ?

    It may be true for some artists, or most, that they want to share their work, but it doesn't have to be. If a person wants to do or create something simply for the experience itself, that's their prerogative. Just like going surfing by yourself, or blowing a saxophone alone out in the woods. Everything we do doesn't have to be shared with other people if we don't feel like it. That's what art and self-expression is all about - doing what you feel like doing. If that means sharing it with others then good. Or not, good. It's doing what you feel.

  • Craig | September 26, 2011 11:44 AMReply

    That's a shame. I don't understand his reasoning. I doubt the original investors of Pete Red Sky's "Funeral Director" project are happy with this either if we are to believe it. Unlike most other art forms you can't just make an expensive feature length film and not try to release it. That's one hell of a paperweight.

    Regardless of how people react, if you're an artist who even remotely dabbles in the commercial world, release the damn thing and see what happens.

    The purpose of all art outside of the artist themselves is to provoke or invite reaction or response of some kind, however obvious or innocuous.

  • StringFinger | August 9, 2011 5:52 AMReply

    Vincent Gallo is the very definition of douchebag. I saw him kick his dog, a few years ago, @ LA's Farmer's Market. True story. He's a pretentious hack, and can keep his mopey movies.

  • zxcvb | August 9, 2011 4:43 AMReply

    I also loved "The Brown Bunny" -- raw, ugly, imperfect and deeply affecting (blowjob and all). It's a complete 180 from Buffalo '66, which was sleek and quirky and a great film, too (albeit in a far more conventional way).

    If forced, I'd say it's pitched somewhere between Bresson and Harmony Korine...if that sounds like your cup of tea, you're in for a treat. Otherwise head for the hills.

  • Ed D. | August 8, 2011 5:33 AMReply

    Gallo doesn't want people to see his movies? That was already happening even when they did get released.

  • Wrye Sententia | August 6, 2011 3:08 AMReply

    I skimmed this article; not wasting my time on more "Gallo" behavior. I fail to understand why my husband, Richard Glen Boire, remains a fan. This most recent self-assertion, together with Gallo's characteristic "back to the audience" musical performances in underground SF hipster clubs (last time we "saw" him this year was off Market?) makes me quintessentially distainful. But then again, that's what I think he wants--his own self loathing breeding either incipid fawning (which he must gleefully distain) or rejection (which confirms his own self-loathing mirrored in the public).

    I don't think (as many do) that this is a "PR gimmick"--Gallo is too smart for that. I do feel an acute repulsion at his (all too yawn) "creative integrity" and artistic auto-mastrubatory self-indulgence. May my husband read this and find a better target of his appreciation--perhaps Disney?

  • Rob | August 5, 2011 8:10 AMReply

    The Brown Bunny is a truly mesmerizing film. I think I prefer it over Buffalo '66.

    I certainly hope that was just a lark of a comment at the fest. I was highly looking forward to Promises Written in Water.

    Whatever one thinks of Gallo, he is a fascinating character and certainly knows how to make very good and original cinema.

  • hi | July 30, 2011 10:57 AMReply

    I used to work in an art theater here in my town and I must have watched the strip club scene in Buffalo '66 at least 30 times while it played. Great movie and I will always think highly of Gallo because of it. I have never seen The Brown Bunnybecause I missed it at the theater, and I see enough huge dongs on my TV at home.

  • Mary | July 30, 2011 4:16 AMReply

    Vincent Gallo is the most original filmmaker and original person living. Though I would make a giant effort to see any of his work anytime I respect his position of not needing or wanting to connect with the public in any way. I remember when I saw The Brown Bunny the first time. I had heard so many negative things about it and so it was extremely difficult for me to openly respond to the film. Since The Brown Bunny is so odd in its nature and rhythm the negative hearsay confused me and the film went over my head. Two years later I watched the film again. I was not recalling the public when I sat for the second viewing. The second time The Brown Bunny moved me more than any film ever has. I consider it by far the best film I has ever seen. I think Gallo wants to avoid primitive responses to his work and focus instead on making new works. Gallo's life is like the Ugly Duckling in the Hans Christian Anderson's story

  • Kevin Jagernauth | July 29, 2011 6:56 AMReply

    Random thought: It's kind of interesting no one acknowledges (or least not that I've seen) that Sofia Coppola's opening for "Somewhere" is pretty much identical to the opening of "The Brown Bunny." Just saying.

  • jimmiescoffee | July 29, 2011 6:55 AMReply

    wow. this guys made two films. one average. one awful. both not worth anyones time.

  • zatopek | July 29, 2011 6:55 AMReply

    This sucks. Gallo is one of the most original directors out there. I love both Buffalo '66 and The Brown Bunny.

  • gonad | July 29, 2011 6:18 AMReply

    I really want to 'span time' with this film.

  • Ken Lacky | July 29, 2011 5:37 AMReply

    Wow Gabe NotToro, you must really not have a life.

  • hhhh | July 29, 2011 4:08 AMReply

    Gallo is a refreshing character. I always look forward to his films. They may not be the best, but they're always interesting.

  • Gabe NotToro | July 29, 2011 3:53 AMReply

    This seriously fucking sucks. I can only hope that Cinefamily or one of the other repertory houses in Los Angeles can talk him into a one-time screening. I'd seriously fly anywhere in the US to catch this.

  • Erik | July 29, 2011 3:38 AMReply

    Reminds me of Javier Bardem's father in Vicky Cristina Barcelona, who refused to share his poetry with the world because it didn't deserve it.

    Personally, I can do without Gallo's work, so fine by me.

  • Ken | July 29, 2011 3:34 AMReply

    While it'd be nice to see the film, I don't think Gallo realizes that it's more his loss than ours

  • CRS2 | March 1, 2012 9:17 AM

    +1

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