Larry Clark’s “Another Day in Paradise,” a Film Sculpted from Outtakes

While photographer/director Larry Clark‘s Another Day in Paradise (1997) was shown all around the world uncut, the “Mavericks and Outsiders” series offers New York audiences one more unique chance to see the complete version of Clark’s film this afternoon by presenting a French subtitled print. On Saturday night, Positif editor and series curator Michel Ciment talked with Clark about qualities that distinguished this James Woods/Melanie Griffith Hollywood production from other films Clark has made over his career.

MAKING A FILM IN HOLLYWOOD.

Kids was a NY movie, an indie movie. For this film, I was out there in Hollywood working with a Hollywood crew. The toughest task for me was retraining the crew. ‘Well, we aren’t going to do things that way,” I would have to say. “We are going to do it backwards. Well not backwards, more like sideways.”

It was difficult getting the lighting people not to over-light everything. They’d want to use every light on the truck, like Hollywood movies where people in dark closets have hair lights. On set, I constantly say “There’s too much light, take this light out and take that light out.”

A FEATURE FILM SCULPTED FROM OUTTAKES.

There is more improv in this film than any other film I have made. Kids was scripted. On this film, when the script wasn’t working, I’d see one little thing that was working and say, “Let’s start there and take off.” I would keep the camera rolling.

When I put the film together with an editor, I told him: “Take this, that, put this here, and I’ll be back.” The editor worked a while, but when I returned there was nothing on the screen that I told him to put in. I said, “What happened? I told you I wanted this, this, and this.” And he said, “I thought you were kidding. You can’t do this, this is stuff for the gag-reel that you show to the crew after the film.” And I said, “Pal, that’s the film.”

Many of these scenes were done after the “scene” was over: this film is made up of mostly outtakes, but that was the way I saw the film. The performances feel more immediate because they are actually happening for the first time. When the cast saw the final film, they were very surprised and liked the film a lot, were kind of amazed by it.

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