Natan – Trailer from screenworksfilmandtv on Vimeo.

My colleague Paul Duane has cut together a teaser trailer for our film NATAN — this may raise more questions than it answers…. it’s supposed to.

The voice-over comes from the beginning of the film. I wanted something that lent immediacy to this story from the 30s, and was influenced by the intimacy of William Holden’s narration in SUNSET BLVD and Jean Servais’ performance as the off-screen voice of Maupassant in Ophuls’ LE PLAISIR. I always got a chill when he says he decided to tell us his stories as if he were sitting next to us in the dark…

It was 4am on a freezing Dublin night. I’m habitually insomniac anywhere other than my own bed, so in spite of the world’s most powerful duvet, I was wide awake. Nocturnal thoughts during this period are normally quite useless, but on this occasion a strange set of phrases started circling in my mind, eventually joining together to form the speech you hear. It was sort of like an aspirin dissolving in reverse: fragments assembled themselves magically.

At 2am the same night, Eoin McDonaugh, our editor, was also having trouble sleeping. He came up with a second bit of voice-over. When we met up the next morning — the two pieces fit.

11 Responses to “Teaser”

  1. david wingrove Says:

    Truly fantastic trailer! This looks like anything but your standard ‘talking heads’ documentary. More like a surreal Kafka-style thriller in the manner of Lars von Trier’s EUROPA. Wildest congratulations – and I haven’t even seen the film yet>

  2. We have some talking heads too… but as they include Gisele Casadesus and Serge Bromberg and Natan’s granddaughters and Lenny Borger, I think they’re good value.

    But Paul’s trailer does provide a concentrated version of the overall atmosphere we were going for. You’re not the first to mention Europa, ironically, since Gavin Mitchell our VO artist has a role in Breaking the Waves.

  3. david wingrove Says:

    Well, there are Lars von Trier films and then there are ‘Lars von Trier films’.

    Half an hour into BREAKING THE WAVES, I got motion sickness from the constant swooping, diving and jiggling of the camera. I wanted to get up out of my seat and leave, but felt too nauseous to do so. All I could do was sit there – trying not to vomit – until the bitter end.

    Glad to know Gavin Mitchell has gone on to better things!

  4. Lovely.

    Bromberg was of course responsible for the reconstruction of Clouzot’s unfinished L’Enfer.

  5. David Boxwell Says:

    I’m loving the Decasia-style decomposing film images, and the big scary papier-mache head, like a prop left over from the Carnival-set slasher film Josef Von Sternberg never made.

  6. Thanks! I’ll write a piece all about the Big Head later, I think.

    Serge Bromberg is Great. Although I got into a brief dispute with him about who says “Why a duck?” in Animal Crackers. Could’ve turned nasty.

    His company, Lobster, do an amazing job with their restorations and releases of old movies, and L’Enfer fulfilled my longstanding ambition to see what Clouzot shot for that abortive project.

  7. Nice post, David, though I do recall that I provided a third piece of the puzzle – mine being the “what remains is his reputation” section, I think. This could all get very Raising Kane if we’re not careful…

  8. Loved this too — I’m just nervous I won’t be able to see the final product. Stupid US rights! The masks immediately made me think of Resnais/Marker’s Les Statues meurent aussi, perhaps not entirely inapt given that the film was suppressed in an attempt to re-write or at least cover up history.

  9. Paul, I should’ve kept the original notes to forestall controversy! You definitely contributed in an editorial capacity. — you changed it from “Imagine you’ve murdered a man,” so whether you wrote a sentence here or not you certainly played a key role.

  10. Love it. Music’s really evocative.

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