14 de agosto de 2013

Harlan Ellison: There had been post-apocalyptic movies, but this one was very gritty, very naturalistic, very down to Earth (entrevista)

Um dos contos mais populares de Harlan Ellison, A Boy and His Dog, foi o vencedor de um Prémio Nébula e chegou mesmo a ser adaptado ao cinema em 1975 num filme algo polémico realizado por L. Q. Jones e com Don Johnson como protagonista. O conto, que Ellison assume ser parte de uma história mais vasta e nunca publicada na sua totalidade (intitulada Blood's a Rover; de acordo com o autor, os contos Eggsucker e Run, Spot, Run são outras partes desta narrativa), conta a história de um adolescente, Vic, e do seu cão telepático, Blood, num futuro pós-apocalíptico - mais actual do que nunca, portanto. Recentemente, A Boy and His Dog - o filme, entenda-se - foi reeditado em formato Blu-Ray, e Ellison deu algumas entrevistas sobre a história, as suas influências, a adaptação e as polémicas que rodearam o filme (com algumas histórias mirabolantes ao estilo de Ellison), entre as quais se destacam as conversas com Tasha Robinson, do portal The Dissolve, e com Mike Ragogna, do Huffington Post. Destaques da entrevista ao The Dissolve:
The Dissolve: When “A Boy And His Dog” was published, there was a huge fascination in the culture with post-atomic dystopian films and stories.

Harlan Ellison: Well, we were in the middle of a Cold War.

The Dissolve: Did the other stories coming out at the time influence you in writing it? 
Ellison: Oh absolutely. The sociological aspects of the story, which have been imitated many, many times—I’m not even going to mention the Cormac McCarthy book [The Road] which owes, it seems to me, a great debt to“A Boy And His Dog,” which is unacknowledged on his part. The story and the subsequent movie, now out on this remarkable Blu-ray, was perhaps 25 years ahead of its time. And very few people, if any, were writing about the state of mind of the people in the United States, that we were so abyssally divided between those who lived in a kind of head-in-the-sand Down Under, as portrayed in the movie, full of phony patriotism and prejudice, and those who were above ground and railing against the changing paradigm of American culture and social unrest.


So the irony of the title “A Boy And His Dog” is that it stands that idiom on its head, in the stories and the full novel and the graphic novel. It’s intended to provoke a laugh. And the story itself is a cross between parody and grittiness. The dog is me, of course—I always think I’m the smartest one on the block. Originally, my voice was going to be used, and then I suggested James Cagney. Cagney was retired and didn’t want to do it, so they went with Tim McIntire, who I think is absolutely spectacular.

The story of that section, “A Boy And His Dog” which is preceded by a short story called “Eggsucker” and followed by a story called “Run, Spot, Run” and then the longest part, which is called Blood’s A Rover, which I did as a script for CBS. We were going to do it as a two-hour movie and then a series on television and it never happened, so that has never been published. It’s still sitting here, but it’s a huge long novel, one of my longest novels, and this section of it got written first. I wrote it in London and was contacted by Michael Moorcock of New Worlds and he wanted a story and he gave me the cover story and I said, “Well, I think this part stands alone, but there’s more to come,” and he ran it and the next thing I knew I was getting movie offers left and right.
Huffington Post: (...) Do you feel like there are any other metaphors that you set up back then that still could be considered contemporary?

Harlan Ellison: Well, clearly, the film was at least twenty years ahead of its time. It caused considerable consternation when it first came out because it was the first of its sort. There had been post-apocalyptic movies, but this one was very gritty, very naturalistic, very down to Earth. It was shot the way you would shoot a documentary in some ways and it hit like a bombshell. I remember getting an infuriated letter from a grandmother of I don't know who. At that time, she seemed like a very old person to me, she was younger than I am now, but she was infuriated. She'd gone to a drive-in with her grandson, a little kid, and she thought a perfect movie for him would be A Boy And His Dog, and here's this movie filled with post-apocalyptic degradation and violence and sexuality, and she was furious about it. The irony of the title "A Boy And His Dog," which mocks the Albert Payson Terhune books and is the reason that Blood the dog keeps calling Vic "Albert"--and Vic doesn't quite know why, he doesn't quite get that--was something that worked very, very well on the page, and the communion between the dog and boy, their conversations are a lot like the Frank Capra exchanges of screwball comedies. The two of them talk the way a couple of mates would talk sitting around a campfire all the way through the book.
As entrevistas completas podem ser lidas aqui e aqui.

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