In the late 1980s, BBC2 asked me to present a screening of Paul Schrader’s film Mishima in their excellent Film Club slot, probably because I’d spent a year in Japan. And, of course, because I liked the film, which I still think is probably the best author biopic ever made.Looking at it now, I can see I needed to loosen up a little. As for the red cardigan, I like to think I was subconsciously channelling Anna Karina in Jean-Luc Godard’s Une femme est une femme, but Steve Duffy now tells me I, “looked like a severely pretty cadre, sent to re-educate the collective in the ways of cinema.” In any case, I’m glad this was filmed before my dad died in 1989; he said he thought my voice was just right – not too posh and not too sloppy – and I sensed he was proud of me.Of course, when this clip later turned up on YouTube, commentators completely ignored all the hard work I and the producer (the excellent David Thompson) had put into it, nor did they comment on Schrader’s film or even on Mishima himself. They just called me a “snooty bitch”. Fuck em. (Sorry about the small hiccough in the recording around the halfway stage, just as I’m making some comment about good-looking young men in uniforms. That’s what you get when you transfer from videotape to digital tape to iMovie.)<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/48706628″>MISHIMA</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user13063081″>Anne Billson</a> on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>.</p>
6 thoughts on “PRESENTING MISHIMA”
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That Film Club intro at the very start brings back memories. Was it like an earlier version of Moviedrome, the seasons of cult movies introduced by Alex Cox and later by Mark Cousins?
You look an awful lot like Judy Davis in that clip. I hope you take that as a compliment.
That's a rather severe looking haircut. The intro you gave it makes me want to see the movie now.
I think Film Club was indeed a precursor to Moviedrome. It's a shame they don't do anything like that now. And Plastic Retriever? my work here is done!
Neil, you're not the first person to say I looked like Judy Davis! Many have said so through the years (though they're less likely to nowadays as I now have my hair cut very short and blonde.) I've never seen the resemblance myself, but of course am immensely flattered as I can't think of anyone else I'd want to resemble more than her.
I was once sitting in Soho House restaurant, reading Variety while waiting for a pathologically late friend to turn up, when an American theatre producer of some repute stopped by my table and said he'd just come off a plane where he'd been watching me in that film with Clint Eastwood (Absolute Power) and how wonderful I was in it. I insisted I wasn't Judy Davis but he thought I was having him on.
I later thought that if only I'd played my cards right, I might even now be starring in A Doll's House on Broadway.
I vividly recall the first series of Film Club being introduced entirely by Derek Malcolm who looked very uncomfortable throughout. I remember this principally for being the first time I saw Heaven's Gate.
Excellent Philip Glass score.
As with your blog entries, this film clip is densely packed with interesting information that provokes one to relook, rethink or research. Wasn’t George Lucas connected with that Mishima film? Producer? Must check IMDB in a minute. Needless to say you’ve put an almost thirty year old movie on my ‘To do’ list. Gratitude.
I must admit I enjoyed this video ‘mug-shot’ too. Great haircut and specs, if I may be so bold. Geoff