Inspired by Chris Marker’s acclaimed short film La Jetée (which is included on the DVD Short 2: Dreams), 12 Monkeys combines intricate, intelligent storytelling with the uniquely imaginative vision of director Terry Gilliam. The story opens in the wintry wasteland of the year 2035, where a virulent plague has forced humans to live in a squalid, oppressively regimented underground. Bruce Willis plays a societal outcast who is given the opportunity to erase his criminal record by “volunteering” to time-travel into the past to obtain a pure sample of the deadly virus that will help future scientists to develop a cure. But in bouncing from 1918 to the early and mid-1990s, he undergoes an ordeal that forces him to question his own perceptions of reality. Caught between the dangers of the past and the devastation of the future, he encounters a psychiatrist (Madeleine Stowe) who is initially convinced he’s insane, and a wacky mental patient (Brad Pitt in a twitchy Oscar-nominated role) with links to a radical group that may have unleashed the deadly virus. Equal parts mystery, tragedy, psychological thriller, and apocalyptic drama, 12 Monkeys ranks as one of the best science fiction films of the ’90s, boosted by Gilliam’s visual ingenuity and one of the finest performances of Willis’s career. –Jeff Shannon (Amazon.com). Terry Gilliam directs.
Robert Adams says, “At our best and most fortunate we make pictures because of what stands before our camera, to honor what is greater and more interesting than we are.”
Whenever I photograph, the detail of a scene attracts me to a subject and helps me locate within it the core of experience, evoking the mystery and drama of its light and inherent beauty. That beauty can be provocative and demanding, requiring one to see it all while at the same time loosening emotion and retaining control.
I thus seek those still moments in what is generally thought to be a frenetic environment – that leave a memory shadowed with intent to re-explore; that inspire a curiosity of what remains. Not memento mori. Rather past, present, and future as they exist to be seen and experienced today. My search is for that iconic element of ordinary experience – a presence – that defines the whole.
“About” best describes a specific portfolio. With respect to FINDING CHINATOWN, here is only a small selection from the decade-long project. Please contact me should you wish to see more.