X Films: True Confessions of a Radical Filmmaker

X Films: True Confessions of a Radical Filmmaker

by Alex Cox
     
 

Filmmaker Alex Cox's thoughtful autobiography examines his craft and influences, as well as providing his insights into many of his favorite films. Sometimes called a radical, Cox is a quintessential auteur, as well as an internationally focused, insightful critic and writer whose passion for film has gripped him since childhood. In addition to being a captivating

Overview

Filmmaker Alex Cox's thoughtful autobiography examines his craft and influences, as well as providing his insights into many of his favorite films. Sometimes called a radical, Cox is a quintessential auteur, as well as an internationally focused, insightful critic and writer whose passion for film has gripped him since childhood. In addition to being a captivating look into Cox's process, this book also encourages and instructs would-be independent filmmakers, guiding the next generation of film pioneers through the arduous journey of creation. Cox weaves his own "confessions" with his notes to the new guard, including thoughts on new forms of digital distribution and his radical views on intellectual property — the result is a readable, startling treatise on both the film innovations of today and the thrilling potential of future filmmaking.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Starred Review.

Veteran West Coast indie filmmaker Cox examines ten of his films in this frank and refreshingly impartial retrospective. While readers will probably be most familiar with Repo Man, Sid and Nancy and Straight to Hell, Cox's at-times bizarre perspective is reigned in with a funny, conversational style and eye for detail that propel all ten of these fascinating nuts-and-bolts essays. Behind-the-scenes stories about actors being mistaken for real-life bank robbers, executives sleeping through screenings and the many moods of underpaid talent will give readers a deeper appreciation for the role of director (and the virtue of patience). Cox's honest, detailed account will appeal to anyone with an interest in his work. Cox covers in-depth each movie from start to finish, covering everything from the writing, location scouting and casting to the minutiae of postproduction and release, focusing on the unglamorous (copyright intricacy, shot location logistics, dealing with financiers) without losing steam or his sense of humor. Cox's war stories will also benefit eager up-and-comers, as well as anyone who appreciates the fringe-dwelling, indie-film tradition.
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Kirkus Reviews
An iconic independent filmmaker looks back on his career. Cox has spent nearly 30 years in the movie business as a director (Sid & Nancy), screenwriter (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) and journalist. This book documents the production of ten films. Fresh from UCLA film school, Briton Cox made Edge City for less than $10,000 and internalized the first four of many dictums about low-budget filmmaking sprinkled throughout the text: Don't shoot where you live (you might cause damage); there are benefits to casting yourself (one less mouth to feed); leave actors' disputes to their agents; befriend the rich. In 1982 Cox set up a production company and wrote Repo Man, a teen comedy inspired by an acquaintance's side job and by Southern California's rowdy music scene. (The book can also be read as a parallel history of L.A. punk.) A friend passed the Repo Man script to former Monkee Michael Nesmith, who brokered a production deal with Universal Pictures. Creating a studio picture, even at moderate cost, was a struggle for the indie-minded director. "If you think this movie's going to have a punk rock soundtrack, Cox," Nesmith told him, "think again." Assertive co-star Harry Dean Stanton unfavorably compared the fledgling director to Francis Ford Coppola, who "let me do whatever the fuck I want!" Cox survived to work on Walker in 1987 with the equally challenging Ed Harris, whose visible hangovers didn't befit a teetotaling 19th-century revolutionary. The author gives a thorough account of his evolution as a filmmaker, from single-camera projects to transatlantic locales, legal vetting for Sid & Nancy and support from the Sandinistas for the controversial Walker shoot in Nicaragua. Indeed,his overstuffed narrative could stand to lose a few of its agreeable but sometimes tangential anecdotes. They could make room for explanations of technical terms like a split-diopter shot, since the book is clearly aimed at general readers. Suggests that director commentary is best left to the special-features disc.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781593761936
Publisher:
Soft Skull Press, Inc.
Publication date:
09/01/2008
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.90(d)

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