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10/29 (Fri) Competition Section "Brighton Rock" Press Conference and Q&A: Notes & Quotes

10/29 (Fri) Competition Section "Brighton Rock" Press Conference and Q&A: Notes & Quotes

A press conference and a Q&A session featuring Brighton Rock from the Competition section was held as follows:

Date & Time: October 29th (Friday), from 14:15 @Movie Café / Q&A from 13:21 TOHO Cinemas Screen 6
Appearance: Rowan Joffe (director)
©2010 TIFF

Here are some notes and quotes from the both Press Conference and Q&A session:

Rowan Joffe (RJ): This is my second trip to Japan. I've had a wonderful time at the Tokyo International Film Festival. I promise you that this is my favorite film festival ever!

Q: How did the project to make this famous novel into a film?

RJ: I was approached originally by Studio Canal who are French distributors and investors who asked me if I was interested doing a remake of Brighton Rock, and I said, "No"! I don't like remakes and I don't think many people do either. But I do love the novel with all my heart and I thought to myself that maybe, just like the literary classics of Shakespeare plays, there was a chance to do another version.

Q: When and where did you first read the original novel?

RJ: I first read it at school when I was about 15 years old. It was the first piece of Graham Greene I had red. I didn't much like it back then—I found it a very cold, dark, and difficult book. But when I was approached by Studio Canal, I got my original school book copy with all my notes in from back then. It occurred to me then that it was one of the most interesting love stories I've ever read. This is because it's the story of a murderer and the witness to that murder. The toxic but powerful relationship that they have makes it a dark love story but to me it's an interesting love story.

Q: Pinkie has a terrible death in the end. Is this a kind of punishment?

RJ: This novel was written in 1938 by Graham Greene who was catholic. Rose is redeemed because of her faith but Pinkie is not redeemed, perhaps because Pinkie believes more in hell than in heaven. Also, another way to look at it is that Pinkie believes that he will be redeemed in the end. In a way he has a very corrupt view of Catholicism; that you can do many bad things but that at the very last minute, you can ask for forgiveness and be saved.

Q: The original novel is set in 1939. Why did you decide to set in 1964?

RJ: 1964 was the last year the death penalty was carried out in England. You can't talk about the film without knowing this since it's the motivation of Pinkie's repeated murders. Another fact is that there was a huge wave of organized crime referred to as "youthquake"—a surge of power from the young people against the old generation in 1964.

Q: How influential is the 60's mode culture? Also, were there any difficulties shooting a film set in the 60's?

RJ: I think mode fashion and culture is still pretty much alive in Britain today, especially when talking about bands such as Blur. Not much music was used although the 60's was a big time for the music scene with bands such as Beatles and The Who. The reason is because the film tries to honor the novel. Pinkie despises music. As a psychopath, music attempts to make emotional connections to human beings and he can't bear that. Therefore, if I had used loads of music in the film to make it more commercial, I think I would have been dishonorable to the book. As for shooting a film set in the 60's, it's very expensive to make a period film especially when it is set in a very iconic city, not in a studio. Obviously Brighton does not look like it did in 1964. So we had two solutions to this. One was to shoot in Eastbourne, a much older town that hasn't changed as much as Brighton. The other was that we used 278 visual effect shots in the film, almost all of which were imperceptible thanks to the great technicians.

Q: Did you ever consider setting the film in 2010?

RJ: In the very early stages of developing the script, it was set in present day. But the reason why it doesn't work in 2010 is because the whole story relies on the innocence of Rose. In a world of Twitter, internet, and cable television, it is almost impossible imagine a character as sheltered and naïve as Rose.

Q: Did you discuss about Rose with Andrea Riseborough?

RJ: Andrea changes completely, almost unrecognizably from part to part and I haven't seen any other actress with that ability except for Meryl Streep in the 1970s. Another thing about Andrea is that she's from New Castle, in the far
north of England. So she is what we refer to as a 'geordie', which makes her incredibly practical and sensible. It
keeps her feet on the ground and she is very easy to work with.

Andrea Riseborough is also in the film, Never Let Me Go, featured in the Competition Section at TIFF.

Brighton Rock
©2010 StudioCanal S.A/UK Film Council/BBC
Film Information

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KEIRIN.JPThe 23rd Tokyo International Film Festival will be held with funds provided by Japan Keirin Association.TIFF History
22nd Tokyo International Film Festival(2009)