It’s a couple of weeks away from release but it’s probably fair to say that The Canyons has already had a tough ride. The gossip community have deemed it a disaster, citing star Lindsay Lohan as some kind of guarantee for failure, while Bret Easton-Ellis’ contentious persona on Twitter has left a sour taste in the mouths of many who’ve crossed paths with him. But alas, faith be had with Paul Schrader, whose credentials instil the greatest of hope for a project that looks set to be the most exciting of the Summer.
Given Schrader’s interest in the spiritual (note, his academic thesis-turned essential tome on cinema, Transcendental Style In Film) it’s perhaps no great surprise that The Canyons looks to have a certain air about it. It certainly seems to be a much more cine-literate project that anyone expected, with this preview opening with a voice-over ruminating over how they’re no longer sure whether they any longer appreciate movies, speaking over a series of cuts of a number of abandoned cinemas in various states of disarray. Upon viewing the trailer I immediately thought of a passage on Robert Bresson’s Diary Of A Country Priest from Transcendental Style In Film, in which which Schrader writes on the concept of the rejection that occurs between that film’s protagonist and the geographical space which he occupies. Schrader veers from accepting that it is the space that has rejected the man, and instead poses the idea that it is the man that has rejected the space instead. I’m not quite sure what brought about the comparison, but it’ll be interesting to see if the actual film evokes similar feelings.
On a separate note entirely it also looks like The Canyons may make for an unofficial trilogy of sorts with Harmony Korine’s Spring Breakers and Sofia Coppola’s The Bling Ring, with the three riffing either textually or sub-textually on the perils of youth, place and fame.
You can watch the trailer below. Full screen and 720p are recommended. The film is being given a cross-platform release on August 2nd.