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The Damned (#110 of 3)

Interview: Ivo van Hove on Adapting Visconti’s The Damned for the Stage

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Interview: Ivo van Hove on Adapting Visconti’s The Damned for the Stage

Jan Versweyveld

Interview: Ivo van Hove on Adapting Visconti’s The Damned for the Stage

There are no half measures with Ivo van Hove. Whether he’s revisiting modern classics like Arthur Miller’s A View from the Bridge and The Crucible, or premiering David Bowie’s musical Lazarus, you can expect riveting—and in some instances controversial—theater fare from the Belgian-born director. So there’s great anticipation for his latest New York production: an epic staging of The Damned at the Park Avenue Armory, which runs from July 17 to 28.

The production, created for the Comédie-Française theater in Paris, premiered two summers ago at the Festival d’Avignon and is adapted from the Oscar-nominated screenplay for the 1969 film by Italian auteur Luchino Visconti. An operatic tale of decadence and greed, The Damned recounts the internecine struggles and disintegration of the powerful von Essenbeck family as they collude with the rising Nazi regime in 1930s Germany.

Hailed as a visionary, and sometimes dismissed as a provocateur, van Hove is currently in great demand in theater capitals across the globe. His upcoming international projects include the world-premiere stage adaptation of Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, opening in September at the Toneelgroep Amsterdam, van Hove’s home-theater base; a new adaptation of All About Eve, set to premiere next February in London’s West End; and Électre/Oreste, a combination of two Euripides plays that will be presented next Summer at the ancient Epidaurus theater in Greece. And it’s just been announced that van Hove will helm a new interpretation of the classic American musical West Side Story, slated for Broadway at the end of next year.

Recently, I had the chance to sit down with van Hove and talk about the experience of bringing new life to Visconti’s provocative The Damned.

House Playlist Karen O, Paul McCartney, Arctic Monkeys, Frankie Rose, & MØ featuring Diplo

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House Playlist: Karen O, Paul McCartney, Arctic Monkeys, Frankie Rose, & MØ featuring Diplo
House Playlist: Karen O, Paul McCartney, Arctic Monkeys, Frankie Rose, & MØ featuring Diplo

Karen O, “The Moon Song”: After getting a preview of Yeah Yeah Yeahs frontwoman Karen O’s “The Moon Song” in the trailer for Spike Jonze’s upcoming film, Her, the singer has released the full version and is giving away 10,000 free downloads of the track here. O and Jonze previously collaborated on 2009’s Where the Wild Things Are soundtrack. Her will be released in theaters at the end of the year. Expect the soundtrack around the same time.


DOC NYC 2011: Charlotte Rampling: The Look

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DOC NYC 2011: <em>Charlotte Rampling: The Look</em>
DOC NYC 2011: <em>Charlotte Rampling: The Look</em>

In France, she’s known as La Légende. Co-star Dirk Bogarde dubbed her penetrating gaze “the look.” Film critic Barry Norman created a new verb in her honor, “to rample,” which means “an ability to reduce a man to helplessness through a chilly sensuality.”

At 65, Charlotte Rampling is still one of cinema’s great iconoclasts, recently appearing in Lars von Trier’s Melancholia. It’s hardly surprising that the new documentary Charlotte Rampling: The Look isn’t a conventional biography. Director Angelina Maccarone calls it a “self-portrait through others,” explaining that she wanted to explore Rampling’s life “according to content instead of chronology.” If you’re looking for tearful revelations about her personal life, you won’t find them here. The Look gives us a glimpse at candid conversations between Rampling and her collaborators and friends. Each section is guided by a heady concept, such as “beauty,” “death,” and “desire,” and is intercut with clips from her most famous films.

In the first and most potent section of the film, “Exposure,” the still-ravishing Rampling, her heavy-lidded eyes untouched by a surgeon’s knife, discusses a life spent in front of the camera with her friend, photographer Peter Linbergh. Rampling’s observations are unusually self-aware and intelligent, but the woman who shocked audiences in films like The Damned and Max Mon Amour is at her most engaging when stirring up trouble.