Director Hellman in Venice with puzzling picture

Fri Sep 10, 2010 8:46am EDT
 
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By Mike Collett-White

VENICE (Reuters) - Even the cast has admitted to not fully understanding cult director Monte Hellman's latest movie, so audiences may be forgiven for being perplexed on their journey along a "Road to Nowhere."

The veteran U.S. filmmaker's first feature for more than 20 years centers around a film-within-a-film, and constantly unsettles the audience by blurring the "real" plot and the plot of the movie being made by the cast.

One of the main mysteries is the identity of the leading actress, played by Shannyn Sossamon, who is believed to be a new discovery but turns out to be a femme fatale with dark secrets that threaten to derail the production.

"The audience completes the movie, because we leave the question unanswered," Hellman told reporters at the Venice film festival where Road to Nowhere is in the main competition.

"I love riddle stories ... This movie is an impossible riddle and the only possibility is for the audience to solve it for themselves."

The 78-year-old, best known for his 1971 picture "Two-Lane Blacktop," said that Sossamon's character had clear parallels with Laurie Bird, who starred in two of Hellman's movies during her brief career.

Once romantically linked to Hellman, according to online biographies, she committed suicide in 1979 in her mid-20s.

"We didn't think about that when we were making the movie, but as an afterthought we realized how close this character was to her character," Hellman told Reuters in an interview.   Continued...