Kiss or Kill - Rated - HOT HOT HOT!
I saw Kiss or Kill at the 1997 Sydney Film Festival. Here's what I
wrote about it:
"I think this Bill Bennett film is the best Australian feature film of
the festival. It is a taut and stylish thriller that keeps you guessing
right to the end. It is visually fascinating and it is technically
inventive as well. It is also very funny in parts. The South Australian
landscape looks both beautiful and menacing. The 2 stars, Frances
O'Connor and Matt Day, do well with good material, but you can't help
wondering how great the film might have been if there had been stars
who were anywhere near as good as Chris Haywood and Andrew S Gilbert
were in support. A well crafted and well-thought-out film that should
do well on release. "
There was a Q & A session with Bill Bennett. My notes of the
Bill Bennett's Q & A
This is a version of the Q & A, which I recreated from my notes. It
is not always verbatim, and is often condensed, but it shows the thrust
of the discussion.
Q Can you explain something about your cutting style?
A I used it for 2, no, 3 reasons:
(a) it is emotionally appropriate
(b) we were short of money - the film was shot in 36 days
(c) I wanted to have fun, to play with cinema.
Q Chris Haywood mentioned in his introduction that there was a lot of
improvisation by the actors. Can you tell us more about it?
A There was always a clear framework, and the finished result is very
close to that script. Clever actors know the characters really well, or
respond to the location.
This is the only film I've done without doing any homework at all.
Usually I've worked out all my shots in advance. But here Iwas
determined to let the environment guide me, and be spontaneous. The
cutting style is a result of very careful planning. You have to shoot
in a very particular way to do that cutting style.
Q Was the 'bacon' scene written or improvised?
A The bacon scene is my favourite scene. It was my idea. I wrote this
screenplay in 3 weeks. After I'd finished a draft, I realised it needed
something eliptical, something which said something about what the film
was all about. I was inspired by the shouting man in Paris Texas,
because that's what Paris Texas is all about. I love that scene.
Q What's next?
A Jennifer [Bennett, his wife and co-producer] & I are working on
something that needs more money. A big period piece. I don't like to
talk about stuff until it's definite.
Q Can you describe the specific shooting style for the cutting in "Kiss
A I looked at a lot of films to see how you do it. You shoot down a
particular axis and then go again slightly off that axis. Or you can
use a slightly diferent focal length, or choreograph the action
slightly differently to achieve the same result.
Q What was the budget?
A The budget was $2.6million. The editing style didn't make it any more
or less expensive. But the decision to throw out the whole soundtrack
and start from scratch was a really expensive process. It was
enormously physically and emotionally taxing, to post-synch the whole
thing, bring the actors back, and do all the performances over again.
Q Has the film been classified?
A It is classified 'medium levels of course language'. Contractually, I
had to deliver an MA film. I didn't want to make a particularly violent
film - I struggled with that in the script. Of course the scene with
the woman being burned is very shocking. It attracted a lot of interest
from distributors, and that disturbed me.