When I stepped into the lobby of the hotel bar, I spotted him immediately. The man’s name as it turns out is Vlad Kozolv. He is part Russian and part Italian. I was stunned by how much he physically resembled Valentino, particularly when he would tilt his head at a certain angle. I could tell Vlad was very passionate and sincere. He seemed to have so much knowledge and understanding of Valentino, and I was struck by how much it seemed to mean to him. On August 23rd (which is the day of the big annual Valentino memorial) his film “Day Dreams of Valentino” was screened in the cemetery. I was very impressed by it. The film was not a straightforward narrative, but rather a series of flashbacks that Valentino had while he was dying. The film shows depicts Valentino as a gentle, sensitive, lonely, spiritual and complicated man. The astonding feat is that this is almost all accomplished with images and very few words. The film is in black and white and relies on visuals over dialogue, which is a perfect choice given the time in which it is set. I was really touched by the film and by how intimately Vlad seems to understand Valentino. His performance in this film is pitch perfect. On the day of the memorial service, he even arranged to have a plane fly over the cemetery and drop rosepetals, which is what happened the day Valentino was laid to rest there in 1926. He even got the original Shiek costume from 1921 and had it on display. A month or so later, he asked me to speak at the Italian Cultural Institute for a Valentino event he was planning. He had the plane, the roses and everything beautifully coordinated once again. He is working very hard to get it made as a feature film and given his passion and determination, I have no doubt he will succeed. Stay tuned and hopefully we’ll be hearing much more about this project in the future.
Simply put, INLAND EMPIRE is the story of a “woman in trouble.” Obviously with the world of David Lynch it is far deeper, darker and more complex than that. Laura Dern plays an actress named “Nikki Grace” who is in a career rut. She is up for a role in a new film called ON HIGH IN BLUE TOMORROW. She lives in a mansion that is oddly gothic, Victorian and European to be set in Los Angeles. One day a woman shows up at her doorstep claiming to be her new neighbor. The woman is small and elderly with bulging eyeballs and a Eastern Eurpean accent. She indulges in some gossip and then tells Nikki two short parables. This opens the floodgates for the strangeness that follows. Nikki then finds herself on the set of her new film. At this point, fantasy and reality blur as the film becomes a film within a film that fell down a dozen rabbit holes. Lynch plays with space, time, fantasy, reality, horror, beauty and hallucination in a way that leaves you wondering if you accidentally ate some wild mushrooms before seeing the film. It is a trippy nightmare and a fever dream extended to a full 3 hours of intensity. The film is populated by Rabbits who appear in a creepy sitcom, Polish hookers singing “Locomotion” and strung out denizens of Hollywood Blvd.
This film is a great companion piece to MULLHOLLAND DRIVE and gives actress Laura Dern yet another fantastic role. She is always outstanding and this film really gives her an incredible workout. It was all shot on low end digital video and at first it is horrible to look at until you get used to it. When blown up on a huge screen, it really looks scattered and surreal and diffused…which serves the style of this film perfectly.