Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Michael Mann "Heat" Interview

Click here for one of the best written interviews with Michael Mann on his 1995 film "Heat". For me, the most interesting line out of this, which really highlights why I perhaps find his films so moving is the following observation:

Interview, Dec, 1995 by Graham Fuller

GF: Heat doesn't take sides or moralize about who's good or who's bad.

MM: One of the ex-convicts we talked to during the research period described how, no matter how pathological someone doing life in Folsom without the possibility of parole might be, there's one day every two months at three in the morning when [the lifer] wakes up and says to himself, like a ten- or twelve-year-old boy, "How did I fuck my life up this bad? How did I end up like this?" The point is, everybody has emotions, regrets, expectations. People don't walk around as a personification of moral conclusions. They walk around with the package of who they are. That's real. It's also very dramatic.


That statement by Mann is actually quite profound and reflects something I deeply believe in - that despite how screwed up a life gets, each one of us has the capacity to recognize we are screwed up. Now it is another thing to know what good is, and know what to do about our waywardness. But in recognizing we are screwed up gives way to the fact that there is a plumbline for humanity - a place of order, balance that manifests goodness. There are glimpses of this searching for balance in Heat. Every person comes from a unique background, some are severely emotionally deprived, creating all kinds of sociopaths and emotionally indifferent characters. But can we judge them? Aren't we all searching for balance, for everything to make sense in this twisted world - and yet we often see an image of our world distorted through our own backgrounds and experiences, and therefore make our decisions based on ill founded conclusions. I love Michael Mann's films, because he too seems to connect with this very idea about humanity, allowing his characters to briefly question themselves. We see them connect and wrestle with their waywardness - Mann brings an almost redemptive like quality in some of his protaganists, despite the extreme, destructive nature of their personalities. I like that. The people out there that are most screwed up, are those that think they aren't. But there is hope...

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