Panelists at the press conference for Ana Lily Amirpour’s Venice Film Festival competition title Mona Lisa And The Blood Moon today said they have experienced feeling like an outsider, a theme that runs through the story.
The film follows a girl with unusual and dangerous powers who escapes from a mental asylum and tries to make it on her own in New Orleans.
The titular Mona Lisa, Korean actress Jun Jong-Seo, was not in attendance today, and Benny the dog, who was present, did not comment on the question of being an outsider.
But for star Kate Hudson, “Creative people intrinsically always feel like an outsider, if you’re very right brained. People who get weird and create, feel weird and like they’re on the outside.”
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Craig Robinson noted, “My entire life I’ve felt like an outsider,” from the third grade to joining The Office in episode four, or, “even on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. I’m not there all the time, so it’s kind of followed me.”
For Ed Skrein, “Imposter syndrome is a part of us all. I’ve felt like a weirdo most of my life, but I embrace it now and I ain’t gonna apologize for it.”
Asked about her film’s characters, Amirpour (director of A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night and the upcoming female-led reboot of Cliffhanger) said, “I want to see the type of weirdos that I want to see and Mona Lisa is my hero weirdo. One of the wonderful things she gets to do is to continually change form, reinvent herself. She’s like a feral beast, then a child, then a girl, then a monster — and that’s freedom, that’s exciting.”
She added, “I’m driven by a deep thirst for personal freedom and to figure that out is a constant process of examining what is stopping you from feeling free… I made this movie before this world we are all experiencing together. It’s like some mystical thing. (Mona Lisa) is locked up and she gets to break free and I think we all want to just get the fu*k out of the box.”
Amirpour called her cast “spirit warriors” who went on a “vision quest.” Hudson said her character Bonnie, who is a mother and exotic dancer on New Orleans’ Bourbon Street, “is very much a warrior even though in an unexpected type of shell… There’s a part of my soul that has a lot of Bonnie in it.”
Robinson, whose Officer Harold is “a serious person who doesn’t stop until his mission is complete,” chimed in that there was “warrior spirit” on set, “for sure.”
When asked about her ability to make elegant and precise films, Amirpour summed up, “I know my own creative boner, I need to feel that and I know when I’m faking it.”