In 1991, Gus Van Sant’s My Own Private Idaho and its central performance by River Phoenix had an enormous cultural impact, not least on a budding young actor named James Franco (127 Hours, James Dean). Now Franco has collaborated with Van Sant to create Memories of Idaho, a meditation on the seminal film in multiple parts. At the work’s core are two new films, projected sequentially.
The first film, My Own Private River, is a feature-length chronological reassemblage of excised scenes and alternate takes from the original shoot, radically foregrounding Phoenix.
The second film, Memories of Idaho, comes from one of three scripts Van Sant used to create the original film, its Super-8 texture meant to be a “ghost” of his original conception. Van Sant contributes ghosts of his own, large-format photographs of actual Portland street hustlers who appeared in, and provided inspiration and source material for, the film.
Presented at TIFF Bell Lightbox Atrium, 350 King Street West. September 8 to 18.
A special discussion to accompany Memories of Idaho: Saturday, September 10, 5-6pm, in the BlackBerry lounge, at TIFF Bell Lightbox. Admittance to the Memories of Idaho discussion will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited.