John has a penchant for off-colour jokes - and a drinking problem. And so, when somebody he met at a party suggests they go on an all-night bender in L.A. he simply can’t refuse. But after falling asleep in a drunken stupor on his drinking buddy’s passenger seat, he wakes up the next morning in hospital, a quadriplegic. Becoming a wheelchair user for life at the age of 21, he now requires every last drop of his sense of humour to rediscover meaning in his existence. He is aided by Annu who brings back his lust for life, as well as Donny, a hippie whose unconventional Alcoholics Anonymous meetings draw together people from all walks of life and help them see things from a whole new perspective. John discovers beauty and humour in the depths of human experience and uses his artistic talent to turn these discoveries into brilliantly observed cartoons.
Gus Van Sant’s biopic is based on the memoirs of cartoonist John Callahan. This is a tender, melancholy yet hope-filled and life-affirming fictionalised portrait of a life of limitations. As in many of his films, here too Van Sant addresses the search for identity in the environs of social subcultures and unusual milieus.
Gus Van Sant
113 min · Colour · 4K DCP
Joaquin Phoenix (John Callahan)Jonah Hill (Donny)Rooney Mara (Annu)Jack Black (Dexter)Mark Webber (Mike)Udo Kier (Hans)Carrie Brownstein (Suzanne)Beth Ditto (Reba)Kim Gordon (Corky)
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1952, he is a director, screenwriter, producer, photographer and musician who studied at Rhode Island School of Design. Since his directorial debut Mala Noche screened in Panorama in 1986, he has been a regular guest at the Berlinale. In 2003, his film Elephant won both the Palme d’Or and Best Director awards at Cannes. He has made films with William S. Burroughs and Allen Ginsberg, and music videos for David Bowie and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. His works include the award-winning Paranoid Park (2007) and the Oscar-winning biopic Milk (2008). His most recent Berlinale Competition contribution was with the drama Promised Land in 2013.Filmography (selection)
1978 The Discipline of D.E.; short film 1979 Alice in Hollywood; short film 1985 Mala Noche 1986 Five Ways to Kill Yourself; short film · My New Friends; short film 1987 Ken Gets Out Of Jail; short film 1988 Junior; short film 1989 Drugstore Cowboy 1990 My Own Private Idaho 1992 Thanksgiving – Thank You America; short film 1994 Even Cowgirls Get the Blues 1995 To Die For 1996 Ballad of the Skeletons 1997 Good Will Hunting 1998 Psycho 2000 Finding Forrester 2003 Gerry 2005 Last Days 2006 Paris, je t’aime; segment “Le Marais” 2007 Paranoid Park 2008 8; segment „Mansion on the Hill“ · Milk 2011 Restless 2012 My Own Private River · Promised Land 2018 Don't Worry, He Won't Get Far on Foot
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