How often, when you listen to music, do you listen to a playlist that you, yourself, created? Maybe it’s because you drag-and-drop your music into it on a whim, or maybe it’s because particular transitions speak to you, giving the music more texture than it had before. Either way, the fact is that, as far as music goes, we have that freedom to expand upon the creation of others by creating stories of our own.
And perhaps, starting with Francis Ford Coppola’s upcoming movie “Twixt,” we will begin to have that unique freedom with film. The film’s story follows a has-been writer and his involvement with a small town’s investigation of a murder, which he is assisted with by a strange ghost girl named V, who visits him in his dreams. On paper, this sounds like a simple, rural ghost tale, but watching the trailer paints it as more of a Stephen King-meets-David Lynch experience, with its incredibly weird, (quirkily) quiet characters caught up in incredibly weird, (eerily) quiet events. Of course, this is only a taste of how odd “Twixt” is looking to be.
Last November, Coppola talked with The New York Times, detailing the origin of the film:
“[It] grew out of dream I had last year – more of a nightmare. But as I was having it I realized perhaps it was a gift, as I could make it as a story, perhaps a scary film, I thought even as I was dreaming. But then some loud noise outside woke me up, and I wanted to go back to the dream and get an ending. But I couldn’t fall back asleep so I recorded what I remembered right there and then on my phone. I realized that it was a gothic romance setting, so in fact I’d be able to do it all around my home base, rather than have to go to a distant country.”
Without a doubt, this dream-inspiration will show in the film in bizarre, scary, and perhaps confusing ways, but it’s also apparent in Coppola’s unique presentation of the film. With its premiere (at the Toronto Film Festival) and immediate subsequent showings, Coppola says that he will be editing and scoring (using material created for the film by composer Dan Deacon) the film on-sight, based on audience reaction. The full details of such an approach are not known (very little is known about the film, in general, at this point), but there’s no denying its potential to evoke feelings that are entirely new to movie-goers.
When we go to sleep at night, we have only the knowledge of our feelings and thoughts; we never know exactly where they’re going to take us when we forfeit ourselves to them in the night. After 30 minutes of watching “Twixt,” we will also know how we feel about the film’s characters and events – but so will Coppola, who, becoming dream-master, will take those feelings, evaluate them, and craft a variable story driven by our deepest interests rather than our simple expectations.
And while Coppola may have his particular “track list” in mind for the film, i.e. the collection of scenes that he chose to create (there are only so many alternatives he can provide to the experience), he is essentially allowing us, as audience members, to create our own “playlist,” to allow the things that resonate within us to manifest themselves in a free sequence, of sorts. “Twixt” will give us our first interactive cinematic mix-tape.
Of course, this is all a bunch of excitement regarding the film’s unique structure more than the film, itself. Given the oddity that “Twixt” wears on its sleeve, there are a number of ways that it could leave people unsatisfied. Still, with a cast including Val Kilmer (a better actor than his reputation may indicate) as the writer Hall Baltimore, Elle Fanning (an incredible actress more than just an incredible child actress) as the ghost V, and Ben Chaplin playing the hitherto mysterious role of Edgar Allen Poe, there are a lot of ways that the film could go delightfully right.