Neil Jordan & Joseph CottenFriday, March 16, 2007
Globalization is homogenizing just about everything. But there are some people who manage to live in isolation and they appear upon us as a complete surprise. I felt this when I listened to my first recording of Cuban pianist Gonzalo Rubalcaba. His brand of jazz was, as Americans are fond to say, "out in left field". I believe that Irish director Neil Jordan's early films had this same flavour. In particular I would cite his adult fairy story In the Company of Wolves, 1984. I was able to photograph him in 1989 at the Meridien Hotel in Vancouver and I forgot to ask him if he played the guitar as his fingernails were cut long. He was interviewed for the Georgia Straight by John Armstrong who was also "out there..."!
I haven't heard much of Jordan of late and that made me think of movie actors who seem to disappear without a trace such as Joseph Cotten who died in 1994 but had faded many years before. I sometimes think that my mother took up smoking so she could do it in the effortless style of Cotten. It was my mother who first took me to see The Third Man and I too fell for the charms of this actor. Many years later I lined up with Les Wiseman outside the Bottom Line in New York City (waiting to get in to see Lou Reed), I remember smoking (the idea was to keep warm as it was a very cold Manhattan winter evening) those awful Mexican Delicados (oval-shaped) and trying to close my eyes just enough to look like Joseph Cotten.