Archive for December 5th, 2011

Conducted by Joel Bocko

What does a serial killer do when he’s not killing? In M.O., first-time feature director Mitch Rouse hopes to answer that question, taking a neorealist/documentary approach to the daily life of a killer. His influences include the work of the Dardennes brothers, traditional neorealism, and the new crop of young filmmakers shooting in the neorealist tradition. His subject, however, will be quite different from theirs.

The following conversation (as you’ll see, not all of my questions were short!) focuses on the themes Mitch hopes to explore and the stylistic approaches he plans to employ; it also addresses some of the practical aspects of this venture. M.O. will be financed via a Kickstarter campaign, which is going on right now (Kickstarter is a website set up to promote funding through multiple donors). Mitch will be dropping by the site later today, so if you have any questions for him, leave them below as comments.


Hi Mitch, hope all is well. I know you were out this afternoon – were you working on anything related to M.O.? How much time does this project take up for you these days?

I was actually working at my full-time job today. I edit for a living, so all of the work I do for M.O. is done in my free time. I usually spend a least two or three hours a night working on the film, whether I’m revising the script, coordinating schedules with actors, or otherwise getting things ready for production. We’re scheduled to start principal photography in six weeks, so we’re right in the middle of pre-production and we have a lot to do before that can happen.

In a few words, how would you introduce people to this film, your intent behind, and the process for creating it?

It’s tough to be concise! But I’ll give it a try:

M.O. is a realistic look at the life of a serial killer. The main character in the film is a seemingly average, ordinary guy. He’s married, he has a daughter, and he has a job and a house like any middle-class family. But in secret, he’s a pathological killer.

The intent behind this film is to treat this subject matter without sensation and to leave viewers asking more questions than they came into the film with. On my end, I wanted to make a film that addresses questions I’ve never seen answered in a film before. Questions such as: What does a serial killer do before and after a murder? How does he plan a murder and then live as if everything is normal, and that he hasn’t committed a terrible crime? How does the family of a serial killer not know what he’s up to?

The process for creating this film so far has been for me to put myself into this character’s shoes. So I’ve had to imagine what I would do if I had just committed a murder, and then driven home and had dinner with my family as if it were just a regular day. Rather than simply studying the psychology of serial killers, I asked myself what they do when they aren’t killing and what their everyday habits are. Do they watch TV like everyone else? Do they spend time with their families? In the main character of M.O.‘s case, what is his relationship with his wife like? How does he treat his daughter? So I wanted to know how this character attempts to live like a regular person, and not simply what he does when he’s in the process of committing a murder.


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A stage cap from HD broadcast of Handel's opera "Rodelinda" taken form Metropolitan Opera transmission

by Sam Juliano

Christmas shoppers and home lighters have begun their annual rituals aided by unseasonably moderate weather.   Meanwhile film critics’ awards groups have begun giving out prizes, with both The Artist and Hugo getting the nods from the New York Film Critics Circle and the National Board of Review respectively.  Here in Giants territory, fans are mourning this evening’s crushing 38 to 35 loss to the undefeated Green Bay Packers here on home turf.  The Jets, however, won a crucial game against the Washington Redskins to stay in the playoff hunt.

Maurizio Roca has made his return to the writing ranks with a stupendous avante garde entry in the “Fixing A Hole” series, while Jamie Uhler’s incomparable “Getting Over the Beatles” series has reached it’s 52nd installment with another banner post.  Jaime Grijalba’s masterful and moving feature on the late Shingo Araki represents one of his most eloquent and passionate pieces to date, while the Fish Obscuro series continues in splendid form.  On the horizon are the Ford and Kubrick series and the comedy countdown and science-fiction countdowns.

To say that Lucille and I were active on the cultural scene this past week would be quite the understatement as all told we saw five films in theatres, one stage play, an opera from the Met in HD at the local multiplex, and a ‘Renaissance Christmas 17th Centry English music concert at the Madison Avenue Presbyterian Church.  In addition to this, I saw two reviewings of The Descendants and The Artist to see if both films held up to fullfill a personal commitment.  That made for a total of 1o ‘events’ over seven days.

Handel’s RODELINDA is an utterly captivating and rapturous baroque opera written by George Frideric Handel in Italian, and the work received ‘A’ plus staging at the Metropolitan Opera, who opted to include this in their 2011-12 HD series schedule.  (It began at 1:00 P.M. on Saturday afternoon)  Handel, the ‘Messiah’ composer who Beethoven once said was “the greatest of us all” wrote 40 operas in his lifetime, along with a number of English oratorios, and he now being re-evaluated and seen as one of the greatest of all opera composers, one whose music for the form is both infectiously rhythmic and refreshingly spontaneous.  The two counter-tenors were marvelous as was world famous soprano Rene Fleming.  RODELINDA is a joy for nearly every minute of its four-hour running time. (I am planning a full review) ***** (more…)

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