I was only 16 when I was first offered the job of “director of photography” at the “American” theater, in New York. I was given the job to shoot the last two feature-length films I’d ever made, The Pina Colada Massacre (1959) and The Man Without a Past (1960). I was also given a large assignment – a one-year term, for which I was given a budget for 35mm camera rolls and the means to shoot them. I accepted the assignment.
I have worked on several films that we now know, had a very high-budget feature-length, and still a small budget. I’ve worked on all of those films and made them at the time of my assignment. And I’ve never had a “real” job in a major studio.
I suppose I should be happy – I’m not making big salaries, or even much between the three – but it doesn’t help my feeling. I’m on the job, because I want to do it. I don’t feel that there is a sense of belonging, or a community – and if I wasn’t, my life would be very difficult.
The Pina Colada Massacre is one film (of many) that I’ve never had an audience for. I’m lucky that I can still be an independent filmmaker today – but most of my friends are still in the big film industry.
My last major film, with a director, was The Man Without a Past (1960). I’m a fan of Antonioni. I was very sad when he decided to retire. His work with Antonioni seems to be the opposite of my feeling – it is very “low” in terms of style.
I’m happy because after so many years of being so lucky to make films, I have a feeling of responsibility – I have to return some of the money that I’ve earned from Hollywood and return it to the filmmakers. I’ve never been asked to return my own money; so many people have paid for tickets, for hotels, but I’ve never been asked to return any money. I hope people will understand that this film is my baby. I want to show it to people who might not have seen the original film (or the same picture) or might only have known this one.
There are a few films in the theater called “The Man Without a Past”. They are so difficult to get to that there’s not much demand for them. It is hard
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