Sayles, a tall man who looks as though he belongs on the land, is receiving journalists
in a suite at the Martinez Hotel on the waterfront at Cannes. His American leisure gear
looks as out of place as do the journalists in their shabby work clothes. This is not the
glamour end of the festival, but it is where the film directors – to whom Cannes pays
homage – get to speak about their films to the ears of the world: us.
"He thinks differently. And he takes risks."
Sayles finds it easy to talk about his film, and points out that he began as a
novelist, not a filmmaker. He thinks differently. And he takes risks. When Limbo screened
for the festival, Sayles was rewarded for his risktaking with boos for its surprisingly
abrupt ending – which is impossible to talk about in detail without giving away the
Admitting he took a risk, Sayles also confesses he is ‘asking the audience to take
a risk. The two risks I am asking the audience to take which are unusual: one is the
structure of the film, which starts out in one direction and with no warning, change it.
The only other film I can think of that did that is Jonathan Demme’s Something Wild,
which starts out like a screwball comedy and ends up as a thriller with people chasing
each other with knives. With no warning."
"If you don't take chances, you remain in limbo."
But it’s the second one that will be the subject of heated debate – the
ending. "What do I have to say about risk? I don’t say ‘it’ll be fine,
folks, as long as you’re good, or you’re attractive or you’re the
hero…but I’m also not saying that if you take a chance you're going to be
punished automatically. What I am saying is that if you don't take chances, you remain in
So, it’s almost a dare, and certainly an invitation: go see Limbo.