Artist first and foremost is the appropriate definition for Bruce La Bruce. For more than 20 years he has produced an impressive body of work defining a uniquely personal territory not only on film but also in writing and the visual arts including photography, video and installations. His films are open to multiple approaches, but for the sensitive and thinking viewer, what is most at stake while watching a Bruce La Bruce film is nothing less than what real art should talk about today.

How would you like me to approach this interview ? Should we talk about the new movie or about you in general?

Well, that’s the thing, you see. I have been interviewed so many times, which makes it so much more difficult to make an original and new interview. I had the same problem with Karl Lagerfeld yesterday, whom I interviewed, and I find a very interesting person, but he has spoken so many times, to so many people, that it’s almost
impossible to come up with something of your own.

Then why interview him at all?

For the money, of course! (Laughs) No really, I find him fascinating and I wanted to meet him. For gays, it’s like meeting the Pope!

Your films seem to provoke an equally fundamentalist and faithless society to define a taboo that would still be fearsome enough for the constant apocalyptic mayhem that is our contemporary
reality.

People nowadays are being mistrustful of anyone being a polemicist or a revolutionary, as we are living in an age of conformism. Don’t get me wrong – I would love to have bigger budgets for productions, but Hollywood is not so interesting to me anymore, since everyone has too easily accepted to work within a corporate reality, discarding this idea of the avant-garde or being a revolutionary. At the same time, the porn industry does not really want
an outsider messing with their concepts and introducing any artistic element because it interferes with their way of doing things. This is the main reason why the narrative and character-driven porn movie is vestigial, going to obsolete. Big porn producers don’t even film complete movies anymore; they just shoot
individual scenes, which they stream live on the internet.
Tell me about your new movie . How is it different from the previous
one?

LA Zombie is a whole different beast. It’s a summer project, something I wanted to do partly to keep in practice shooting, and partly as a good excuse to work with Francois Sagat, the super sexy porn superstar du moment. I almost cast him for a fashion story I did for Tetu magazine four or five years ago when he was represented by Citibeur, a porn company with a stable of Arab models, but I decided not to at the last minute because I didn’t think his signature head tattoo was right for the concept. (It was a gay tribute to Godard’s Breathless, using the same locations in Paris where the movie was shot. Francois would have been cast in the Jean Seberg role, obviously.) I’ve been kicking myself for not casting him ever since, particularly as he has become an international icon. Lightning rarely strikes twice in the same place, so when a second opportunity arises, you should always grab on to it. Even though we have an extremely modest budget (tiny for an indie film, that is, albeit huge for a porno), I figured I better go for the gusto.

Could your work be understood in the tradition of people like Kenneth Anger, Jack Smith, and George Kuchar, even early experimental homoerotic cinema like Jean Cocteau or Jean Genet ?

The people I admire and whose work influences me have been complete outsiders, subversives even to the point of being seditionaries, like Wakefield Poole or Kurt McDowell, or Peter De Rome, all of whom used pornography in
their work but in a very different and unusual way.

Do you find solace in your forays in the art world?

Actually, if you want to know the truth, I had originally intended to make LA Zombie as a cheap art project for a solo show I had a couple of months ago at my gallery Peres Projects, Los Angeles. The idea was to make artifacts from a hardcore alien zombie splatter porn movie – production stills, props, screen tests, etc. – entitled LA Zombie starring Francois Sagat, and make it seem like it all came from an actual movie which never really existed or ever would exist. But somehow when I wasn’t looking the concept turned into reality, the budget started burgeoning, and really big porn stars started to become attached to the project: Francesco D’ Macho, Matthew Rush, Erik Rhodes, Wolf Hudson… Suddenly, this summer, I was embroiled in an epic porn shoot. Oh well, I
usually spend August twiddling my thumbs anyway.

brucelabruce.com

Interview: Panagiotis Hadjistefanou