×

Lumière Festival: Michael Mann, Guillermo del Toro talk Michael Mann

Guillermo del Toro and Michael Mann analyze Mann’s oeuvre, auteurist traits in Lyon

LYON, France —   Director Michael Mann, a guest of the Lumière Festival, discussed his decades-long career and creative process on Sunday before introducing a restored version of “Heat” never seen before in France.

Speaking with Institut Lumière director Thierry Frémaux and fellow filmmaker Guillermo del Toro, Mann said he saw himself as an auteur, adding: “It’s not about self reflection, it’s about responsibility. Everything, good or bad, the creative choices, whether it’s an actor, the folds in the curtains, the fashion, the music, the cut, it’s all my fault, my responsibility. And that’s what’s always so exciting to me about cinema.”

Turning the discussion to the characters in Mann’s works, del Toro pointed out that his films, whether “Heat” or “The Last of the Mohicans,” often dealt with men struggling as relics in their own time as history leaves them behind. “And they seem to be holding a very intimate set of values.”

Del Toro also said Mann’s works were indelibly linked to the United States. Describing them as masterpieces of American cinema, he added, “I cannot imagine these stories happening anywhere but America. The sense of destiny and history is in every one of your movies, whether ‘The Last of the Mohicans’ or ‘Heat.’”

Popular on Variety

Speaking about characterization, Mann said: “Drama to me is conflict. Someone in a state of contradiction is always interesting. Someone who is having to fight against a social value system is always attractive.

H went on: “So whether it’s Hawkeye facing an uncertain future and his family already facing the inevitable annihilation of the Mohicans or whether its Frank in ‘Thief’ fighting against a kind of corporatized notion of what makes a crime, these kinds of conflicts are what interest me.”

Mann also discussed the differences between television and film. “It’s very different. On the ‘Miami Vice’ television series, I was executive producer, which is like being the director of 22 hours. Because of the nature of storytelling, you impact socially and culturally in a very effective way. It’s 22 hours that are seen twice, so 44 hours of impact on an audience.”

Mann added that he hated disco at the time he started with “Miami Vice,” a key factor that shaped the series. “I hated the vanities of the ‘70s, the me, me generation, so I wanted to return to a kind of rock ‘n’ roll, harder, mythological value system that wasn’t transitory. And that formed the whole first two years of ‘Miami Vice.’”

Turning back to “Heat,” Del Toro asked the audience for a show of hands from those that had already seen the film, prompting an overwhelming majority to signal that they had.

“If I may say one thing: It contains the most amazing heist scene ever committed to film. … It contains one of the most amazing close-ups in the history of cinema. It’s the final close-up of [Robert] De Niro making a decision.”

The scene, with its complexity and cerebral execution, made Mann a modern master of American cinema, del Toro added, resulting in a standing ovation for Mann.

More Film

  • No Time to Die Trailer

    Bond Film 'No Time to Die' Cancels China Premiere, Tour Due to Virus

    Due to the coronavirus epidemic, the new James Bond film “No Time to Die” has cancelled its Beijing premiere as well as a promotional tour with talent in April, according to Chinese reports. The film, which marks star Daniel Craig’s last turn as the iconic spy, is set to debut in North America on April [...]

  • Honest Candidate

    Korea Box Office: ‘Honest Candidate’ Wins Weekend as ‘Parasite’ Returns to Chart

    Opening on Wednesday (Feb. 12), comedy “Honest Candidate” topped the South Korean box office, ahead of “Little Women” and Bong Joon-ho’s “Parasite” which returned to the charts eight months after its original release. “Candidate” earned $6.52 million from 909,000 admissions over five days. Directed by Chang You-jeong (“Finding Mr. Destiny”), “Candidate” is the story of [...]

  • Sophia Loren

    Netflix Takes Global Rights to Sophia Loren's First Feature Film in a Decade

    Netflix has acquired global rights to drama “The Life Ahead,” which marks Sophia Loren’s return in front of the camera for a feature film after a decade. Directed by her son Edoardo Ponti, “Life Ahead” sees the iconic Italian Oscar winner playing Madame Rosa, a Holocaust survivor who forges a bond with a 12-year-old Senegalese [...]

  • The Book of Sun

    Oliver Stone to Head Saudi Arabia's Red Sea Festival Jury, Lineup Announced

    Oliver Stone will preside over the main jury of Saudi Arabia’s nascent Red Sea International Film Festival, which has unveiled its inaugural lineup. The fest will feature the Middle East premiere of Harvey Weinstein-inspired workplace abuse drama “The Assistant” amid a fresh mix of feature films and docs from Europe, the U.S., Asia and Africa [...]

  • Aerial View of Jiangxia temporary hospital

    Virus Kills Chinese Film Director and Family in Wuhan

    A Chinese film director and his entire family have died from the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. Chang Kai, a film director and an external communications officer at a Hubei Film Studio subsidiary, died in hospital on Feb. 14 from the virus now called COVID-19, according to a statement from the [...]

  • Remi Bonhomme

    Marrakech Film Festival Taps Cannes Exec Remi Bonhomme as Artistic Director

    Remi Bonhomme, a leading force behind Cannes’ Critics Week, has been appointed artistic director of the Marrakech Film Festival and its industry conference, the Atlas Workshops. In recent years, Bonhomme successfully headed the Atlas Workshops, a platform dedicated to supporting the cinema of the African continent and the Arab world, where he was also part [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content