'If I could only make a movie as textured and evocative as John Foxx's music I would be a happy man,'
says Alex Proyas, the director of I, Robot , The Crow, Dark City and Knowing - this year's Number 1 Box Office hit in both the UK and the States.
Proyas is the first contributor to be announced for the forthcoming DNA exhibition which celebrates John Foxx's influence on a wide selection of musicians, film-makers, visual artists, graphic designers and even Manga comics. The Australian director's film, GROPING is one of a number of short films that will shown through the week-long event.
According to Proyas: 'The film I made at film school, inspired by John's music - really from a mainly stylistic and atmospheric perspective - is called GROPING. When it was shown at the Sydney Film Festival in the early 80's I used a section of lyrics from the early Ultravox track, 'The Quiet Men' in the programme ... "Waiting, we were waiting, as the traffic moved..." etc, which I found strangely fitting to the narrative... actually I almost called the film Waiting at one point. The film is about the brutal rape/murder of Kitty Genovese in NYC in the 60's but done in a very post-modern style.'
'John Foxx's 'Underpass' is an absolutely seminal inspiration to me,' he adds. 'While making Groping I actually heard 'Underpass' for the very first time - remember it clearly - it was actually on my little bedside radio alarm very late one night - the only source of music I had in my share household room and I used to play an alternative music station here in Sydney while writing my scripts. This incredible piece of music came on and it captured me from the first riff - it seemed someone had made music from the sounds of the city traffic, that struck me immediately. I turned up the radio and listened enthralled and waited to hear who the artist was. The vocals seemed familiar but I didn't at first recognize them. When they announced John Foxx I was so excited as I obviously recognized him from Ultravox, the band I was so impressed with.
'I think there's also definitely a link with John's music to my film Dark City (and probably to anything I make!). Dark City had its origins in an early script I wrote at film school at the time I was particularly enthralled by Ultravox's Systems of Romance. I imagined the opening titles would be underscored by 'Slow Motion'. And 'Dislocation' featured in a sequence where the detective hero is slipped a drug and has an hallucinogenic episode. So while Dark City was not specifically influenced I think the spirit of the early Ultravox and John's Metamatic album is definitely in there.
'I think apart from his incredibly cinematic lyrics - John's music always conjured entire movies in my head when I listened to it - I think it is his mastery of atmosphere that has most stayed with me through the years. If I could only make a movie as textured and evocative as John's music I would be a happy man.'
John Foxx, the man behind Ultravox's first three post-punk albums and his electro solo masterpiece Metamatic (described as 'visionary' by the Klaxons), has provided new music for some of the new DNA pieces. This follows his contributions to a series of collaborative albums due for release this year â€“ A Secret Life (with Steve Jansen and Steve D'Agostino), the debut album by Leftfield's Paul Daley and the critically acclaimed Mirrorball (with Robin Guthrie), which was described as a 'breathtakingly beautiful' in the NMEand by Q as featuring the 'best of both their recent works: Foxx's epic, sepulchral grandstanding and Guthrie's intricate, filmic soundscaping.'
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