Rumors were circulating that the fellatio featured a phallus pilfered from the set of Claire Denis's Trouble Every Day (in which Gallo starred). "How could I possibly do that scene without really having sex with Chloë? How could the intensity and honesty have been there, and how could it have also been juxtaposed against the complexities of the narrative? I'm supposed to show landscapes in real time, but when it comes to the sex scene, I'm supposed to fake that?"
The confrontational Gallo also sank into ironic self-hatred. Ebert et al. later gleefully reported that the director had called the film "a disaster and a waste of time." Gallo did "apologize" at the roundtable, but taking his words out of context is the real scandal: "This is a place where merchandise or tangible objects are brought and sold to be marketed as entertainment throughout the world," he said. "I made one of these things that's supposed to entertain people. To criticize a movie because it's unsuccessful in that purpose, I accept that. They're right. If no one wants to see the movie then it's a disastrous film and a waste of time. And I apologize to the financiers."
With all this publicity, you can't say nobody wants to see The Brown Bunny. One American distributor has already expressed interest. A day after this "apology" was misrepresented, his gallows humor continued in Le Monde, as he came out as a conservative Republican (alienating even his French supporters), while denouncing a new artistic McCarthyismI assume Joe, though Todd (as in Variety's chief hatchet man) applies. By awards time, Gallo had become the festival's emblematic crusader. Danish Camera d'Or winner Christoffer Boe (Reconstruction) expressed his solidarity: "Vincent Gallo, please don't give up. You're a one-man army, and we should all fight conventional filmmaking. Keep up the war!" Over on the IFC telecast, Ebert's vacant nattering made these combative words impossible to decipher.
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