While we may not always understand every artistic endeavour taken on by James Franco -- like his attempt at a music career -- but we have to say this one does interest us.
First announced earlier this year, Franco has embarked on two different art installation/film projects, each centered around Gus Van Sant's "My Own Private Idaho." Presented as one piece under the title "Memories of Idaho," the project is two films of sorts: the first, "My Own Private River," is a feature length movie cut together from the hours and hours of dailies Van Sant had sitting around in Portland and the second is "Idaho," described as a “ghost” of a film, with Franco utilizing one of the three scripts used for 'Private' and some of Van Sant's own photography to create a more ephemeral homage of sorts. The project made it's way to TIFF earlier in the month, but if you didn't get a chance to stop by the installation, you're in luck.
Over at the high falutin' Paris Review (of course), they've got footage from "My Own Private River" and we have to admit, it's pretty fascinating. Franco writes about his approach -- and you should read it in full over there, it's pretty fascinating -- but this particularly snippet caught our interest:
We spent two days in Portland watching as much as we could. While we were watching, we discussed how Gus’s movies have changed in the intervening decades. His films now are much more spare in story and dialogue; they involve longer takes and fewer cuts. We were naturally led to wonder what Idaho would be like if he made the film now, and Gus offered to let me make my own cut.
It's actually a pretty astute observation -- something the director has exercised considerably in his experimental works like "Gerry," "Last Days" and "Elephant" -- and in fact, Van Sant cut a silent version of his latest film "Restless" as Mia Wasikowska recently explained to the AV Club:
It was so cool. We’d shoot all the setups, and then the last take of each setup was a silent take. There was something about getting rid of the words and just having the beats that you already established that just simplified it in a way, and made it so natural. Gus cut together a whole silent version of the movie. I think it helped him in editing, because often you don’t need a particular line, actually, just a response, and you can get all these moments without actually having it so written, in a way.
So dear Sony Pictures Classics, please have Van Sant cut together a silent version of the movie as a DVD extra because we'd be curious to see what's like (or we suppose we can just watch it on mute, which frankly, might be an improvement). Anyway, get a glimpse of "My Own Private River" below: