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Road to Nowhere : Monte Hellman returns from Hell
If If the term cult is far too overused to allow us to use it here, it has to be said the one of cursed filmmaker fits Monte Hellman perfectly. The man of a masterpiece, Two-Lane Blacktop, finally returns after 20 years absence.

Monte Hellman, the man returns from hell. The man who started in the 50s with Roger Corman, who will shoot with Jack Nicholson in 1965 two superb westerns (Ride in the Whirlwind, The Shooting - John Ford with a European sauce) before releasing his masterpiece, Two-Lane Blacktop in 1971. An existentialist road movie, with James Taylor and Dennis Wilson, whose distribution was scuttled by the studio, but over time becomes a true cult object, totally justified. A film dream for many. But the beginning of a nightmare, and a long journey through the desert for the filmmaker. Yet never in lack of projects, the few films that manage to rise will never find a distribution worthy of his name. After Iguana in 1988, more news. His good name appears in the credits of Reservoir Dogs (as one of the producers), but we never imagined one day to see a new movie from Monte Hellman. This means an event.

Road to Nowhere, a title that resounds like the perfect epitome of the career and films of the filmmaker. And the film is just about here. There is no question of that. The story of a young director, Mitchell Haven (the initials MH, obviously him) and his film ... which is cut short following a criminal case. The story is also the fascination of the filmmaker for his lead actress (the sublime Shannyn Sossamon) who looks suspiciously like his character, a bewitching femme fatale. Theme of the double, film in film, pitfalls where reality and fiction intertwine as in a mirror to infinity, Road to Nowhere is presented as a meta-movie where we re constantly placed in an abyss, completely disturbing the viewer. One could think of Lynch, but far from Mulholland Drive, it s much closer to Hitchcock s Vertigo. For as Hellman says himself, he is one of those rare filmmakers who would rather overestimate the intelligence of his audience than under-estimate ... And then, finally, it s unimportant whether or not we grasp the subtleties of this story. What is beautiful to see here is what happens when a filmmaker with a simple digital camera (the film was shot in HD with the Canon 5D Mark II) goes after his fantasy film, openly refers to film noir, allows himself explicit quotations no beginner would dare (the three film clips of Preston Sturges, Ingmar Bergman and Victor Erice) and even

risks finishing his film with a clearly evident but relevant metaphor (to shoot applies equally to a camera and a gun.) "Filmmakers always keep making the same movie," he also says. His is exciting. Note also the release from Capricci Editions: Monte Hellman - Sympathy For The Devil, excellent book of interviews with Emmanuel Burdeau. Which includes, among other things, Warren Oates, the importance of casting, Peckinpah, Sean Connery in an adaptation of RobbeGrillet and a recipe for Margaritas ... what more! By Julien Wautier (08/04/2011 at 11:54)

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