Just found out about this great interview with Ralph Bakshi that appeared in BOMB magazine. It’s available to read on-line. Smart questions throughout, like:
Morgan Miller: You seem very attracted to garbage! The Billie Holiday music montage sequence in Fritz the Cat when the camera pans slowly across a trash heap in an abandoned lot in Harlemâ€¦ at first you see broken bottles, syringes, and then it becomes more personalâŽ¯old photos, then entire old photo albums, people’s memories just sitting in the trash. Later, garbage becomes the introduction of Hey, Good Lookin’ where personified pieces of garbage talk to each other about life after death. Even when you moved into the fantasy realm in Wizards, you maintain bleak futuristic worlds built on garbage, where things are rediscovered, like the Nazi remnants that are in that film. It occurs to me that it’s a metaphor for mortality, but not just that; maybe also a metaphor for what a generation throws away and what might be discovered by the next. Or what might just be forgotten.
Ralph Bakshi: I like that, Miller! I’m dead serious about this: who we are, who we used to be, what we’ve been through, what we’ve becomeâŽ¯it’s very important. We’re all part of a long trail. The scene in Heavy Traffic where the mother is walking through the photographs looking at her unclesâŽ¯my family’s up there. My ancestors. Faded walls, old wood, old paintâŽ¯every fleck of paint is another story, not to be discarded. Stuff like Kindle is so cold. It’s great for reading I guess, but texture and being able to touch stuff is so important. The past is to be learned from and to respect. Too much of it is thrown away out of shallowness or for things that are new and cheap. That’s the thing about this country: money became God. It doesn’t matter how you get it. It’s the reason for lying, cheating, and stealing. In Hey, Good Lookin’, this poor garbage thinks it’s going to go speak to God, but it’s just going into an incinerator. You know what I’m saying?
The interviewer, Morgan Miller, is also a filmmaker. Here’s his delightfully NSFW Vacuum Attraction: