Heaven Sent

Todd Haynes and Julianne Moore Reopen Douglas Sirk's Melodrama Fakebook

One likely side effect: heightened expectations for his next project, a Bob Dylan movie that he describes as "an untraditional biography, where the multitude of changes that he's gone through are literalized by separate characters whose stories are being told simultaneously." He elaborates: "There's a Dylan quote that best describes it: 'You've got yesterday, today, and tomorrow all in the same room, and there's very little you can't imagine happening.' None of the characters really are him; they don't look like him. One's an 11-year-old black boy. The closest I'll come is a woman who'll play Don't Look Back-era Dylan and look the most like the real Dylan."

On the subject of what-nexts, both Moore and Haynes report that post-screening discussions have revolved around possible future scenarios for the film's heroine. "It's so funny how people want to talk about what happens after," Haynes says. Moore, who once again dons mid-century domestic drag in December's The Hours, notes, "People have told me, 'It'll be OK—the '60s are just around the corner!' " Haynes says, "Movies today have to show the cathartic articulation of what a character has learned. It's the Aristotelian thing. But these melodramas are in some respects pre-psychological. The characters are moved around by the society, and there's never a point where they master those experiences and articulate them. That burden passes to the viewer, and I think that's why people are almost possessed by it. You have to do something with what she's experienced, on her behalf, and in a way it's really moving, just to be her articulation."

Artificial ingredients: Haynes and Moore cook up a Techni-color weepie.
photo: Ted Soqui
Artificial ingredients: Haynes and Moore cook up a Techni-color weepie.

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J. Hoberman's review of Far From Heaven

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