Marc Caro and Alien

leading from

Still collating

a)  News of the Alien production
When Marc Caro did comic book stories for Metal Hurlant (the predecessor to Heavy Metal) a big subject of discussion would have been the Alexandro Jodorowsky's Dune project that involved Chris Foss, Giger, Druillet and Moebius, the latter two being amongst the Metal Hurlant illustrators, but soon this production fell apart and later the Alien film came along which involved once again Giger, Foss and Moebius.

Mark Caro being interviewed by Dennis Lowe
b)  Seeing the Alien film
He was a fan of Tarkovsky films such as Solaris, and he had an interest in George Lucas' film THX 1138. When he saw Star Wars, he felt it was a children's film and he was someone in his twenties. He was impatient to see Alien, he already had a sense of the environments in the film, they were familiar to him. When he actually saw the film he found it very much to his liking and it would become one of the films that would continue to influence him.

c)  Points of interest
He liked the way there that the characters were credible even though they were in outerspace. He liked the grease on the shirt and the fact that they were eating and talking about their problems such as money etc. He found that when one builds a different universe, the more one had to put in some really concrete stuff to make it believable. He liked the idea of perceptual narrativity. For him, Alien was a horror movie in space and so he liked the the use of darkness and light, and things such as the use of the cat. It was also as if all the things that were going to be in Jodorowsky's Dune were reappearing in another way in the Alien movie, with it's unusual production dsign.

  1. Marc Caro (rough transcription): I thought er, in the review in Metal Hurlant, it's well known in Anglo-Saxon country like Heavy Metal, and in this, it's a scifi comics review, and er all the people who worked there, er, you were happy after that, er, Aliens, you know, because, er, before Aliens, it was a very big project in France,  directed, project, direct by Alejandro Jodorowsky, on er, it's an adaptation of Dune, you know, and he make it work, er Christopher Foss, he make it with Druillet, er, Gigers and er Moebius, and we find, er Moebius made all the storyboards, it's a very wonderful work, and er, all this things er reappeared in of course another way in Aliens movie for me, you know. So, er, I was, er, very impatient to see the movies, but er all the environment, all the visual environment was very well known for me, you know.

    I work my own stories and I draw it. I came also from animation, you know I begin er to sculpt puppets for the first movie of Jean-Pierre Jeunet, short movies, and er, er, and er, I made some music too. You know, I, I always, I came from the draw, you know, for, from the sketch but a, it's always missing something to me, you know, oh oh it's good, but it's still, you know, it doesn't move so I made animation for that, and r oh okay it's good but er, that doesn't speak, it doesn't, life, so you know, so I use real person. For me it's more of a, a evocative process than a career

    And er, my kind of movie er before Alien is of course Tarkovsky movie, you know, Solaris and  er the first er er George Lucas movie er THX and er, for me I see it before Alien, I see it of course Star Wars but it's not my taste you know, maybe because I'm too old
    I am in twenties or something like that, er it's too for children for me, but er Alien, it's  er my taste of course. Its influence me in the way the character, even, if they are in er outer space, are very credible and er real, you know, they have er some er grease on the shirt and they eat, everything , it's really ,and there are some problems to speak about, the, the money and everything, you know, er and that's something er influenced me er quite because I think the more you, you built a very different universe, you know, on screen, the more you have to put and er input some really concrete stuff to make it believable you know.

    We did something in er City of Lost Children, to show how we work on a move, you know, at the moment you have a two twin sisters, they make cooking and er one give some salt, one some onions, and it's a kind of thing like that you work in, when we worked together you know, and the other thing what you speak is before, it's erm, I was very proud, somebody at the first screening of the movie say, "Oh, you, you came on my place, no? Because these girl for Delicatessen, these characters live just behind my flat, you know" and it was very funny because, of course, we never go there.

    Every, you know, er all the movie is storyboarded, each, each shot er, I have a book like that each shot and er, sometimes it's very very close sometimes of course, er, we have some er change but er, it's , it's really really precise, you know, and er the main ideas for me as er art director on er Delicatessen, you know I love 'Doisnos" (?)  all the French movie for Carné and "Prevert" (?), things like that

    But all this movie have been seen in black and white and I try to er to get back the feeling I have when I see this kind of movie but in colour, but with the the same er attention to the matters you know, because when we see Brassai or all this this old photography er before the war you know, er, it's er,. the impressions print on the on the shoot and everything are very very erm, er contrasted,  very deep and I try in another way of course to er, to give to the audiences this kind of er feeling 'cause I think er, er,  people , er go to the matters and thinks there is a truth, it's a truth you know, very kind of perceptual narrativity I try to do and er the other er movie I did after that, I, I try to push this kind of er perceptual narrativity, er, with sound, with a, the darkness and some light, you know, we have to and of course in the horror movie, but Alien, it's er an horror movie in space, you play with this kind of also er perceptual and er sensitive, you know the, the black, and you have the cat, its a well known process, you you have to involve the audience you know in your story by this er perceptual stuff. so maybe it's kind of like influence, but it's not the the only one, because er a lot of people like er Kubriks and er lot of people, David Lynch and everything work on this kind of stuff too.

    You know, a movie is er, it's erm, a process between the, the creator and the audience, because, er, the movie, exists only if the audience could take it and er, you have some resonance inside him and if the audience could project something from him in the movie, and so you have to to give, to give the audience some part of er of some place to er, in the black, in the things not too strange you know, there was a the audience could go there, you know. I think its er, some er, something I have inside and I have to, I'm obliged to to go out, to go out, I have get out. I feel I have to show to the audience it's there.

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