American star Lindsay Lohan failed to show up yesterday at the ongoing 70th edition of the Venice Film Festival. She plays the female lead in Paul Schrader’s The Canyons opposite porn star James Deen. The title is part of the festival’s official lineup.
Less than a month ago, Lohan completed a court ordered 90-day stay at a rehabilitation centre. She is said to be addicted to alcohol.
Ironically, Lohan portrays the suffering girlfriend of a Hollywood producer in The Canyons, a work that has been panned by critics.
However, Lohan’s off-the-screen activities have provided enough fodder for the press and the people to keep The Canyons flame burning bright. A Hollywood executive said recently that “Lindsay Lohan is now like U.S. golfer John Daly. She’s a curiosity who is watched primarily for the side entertainment she offers, not for her professional performance. Her stints in rehab and personal life drama won’t have much effect on how well The Canyons does because the movie has already been ripped apart.”
At a press conference post The Canyons screening here yesterday, Schrader who though began by saying that Lohan’s personal problems were “off the table”, did veer into the subject once or twice. Along with the rest of the film’s cast – which was present – Schrader praised Lohan’s performance, even comparing her to the legendary Marilyn Monroe. "They aren’t the same as actresses, they are very different,” the director averred. “But both have had trouble separating their professional lives from their personal lives."
Schrader also called himself "a free man": "For the past 16 months, I've been hostage, by my own choosing, to a very talented but unpredictable actress," he quipped. "One of her problems as an actor is she has a very hard time faking things," the helmer added.
Schrader in addition to being at Venice to promote The Canyons, is also the president of the jury for the Festival’s Horizons section. Which highlights innovative cinema.
He regretted that the American movie industry was passing through a stormy period with many cinemas closing down. The Canyons was made with the money raised through crowd funding.
Schrader, who wrote Taxi Driver and directed American Gigolo, has unfortunately strayed into what is arguably B-grade stuff. The Canyons seems like a half-hearted attempt. And nobody, just nobody acts with any conviction.
The Canyons purports to be a bleak parable about Hollywood’s tattier outer limits, and the death of cinema as we all know it. Maybe, there is just one power-packed scene in the whole work, and it comes right at the beginning when we see the camera panning across half a dozen derelict film houses.