Ken, wearing some schnazzy white shoes that he stole from a Donny Osmond
doll, expressed anger over his film “The Brown Spittoon’s”
reception at the 56th Annual Cannes Film Festival last week.
“People just don’t want to understand filmmakers who are 80
years ahead of their time,” said the disgruntled Ken at a press
conference in the Palais de Festival.
The seven-hour film consists mostly of a point-of-view shot of Ken riding
his rickety bicycle from Shanghai, China, to Beijing, China. Unfortunately,
because Ken’s parents banned activities that might encourage his
overt homosexuality during his childhood, he was never allowed to ride
a bicycle and is thus a very poor cyclist. He falls down 78 times during
the film, adding to its already hefty length. Why his character chose
to ride a bike in the first place is a mystery.
“It’s called art, moron,” said Ken when asked about
the ride during the press conference. “Riding the bicycle is like
a simile—wait…yeah, simile—as to whether I am fated
to ride a bicycle or if it’s my choice. So the audience has to decide
if they’re fated to watch the end of my movie so that they can boo,
or choose to walk out like a bunch of assholes..”
Also contributing to the length, Ken goes on a futile existential quest
to get his shoes spit-shined after the bicycle chain dirties them. “I
didn’t explain why the shoes needed to be clean because I thought
the audience could add their own experience and imagination to the interpretation
of the film,” Ken said. “It’s also a comment on the
Chinese tradition of spitting and how the SARS epidemic has permitted
yet another censorship—the freedom to spit.”
still looking for someone to shine his shoes, enjoys the Cinema de
la Plage at Cannes before the negative public response to his film,
"The Brown Spittoon," spoils his trip to Cannes and gets
him arrested for spitting.
In the film, the repression of China’s glorious spitting legacy
takes a front seat as Ken can’t even find someone to spit-shine
his shoes, let alone to have a distance spitting competition, a theme
Ken described as “another simile.”
Six hours in, Ken decides to take matters into his own hands and spit
shines his shoes himself. This inspires the first bit of action in the
film. In an act of defiance, Ken’s character, played by Ken, stops
in front of a battalion of military officers all getting their shoes shined
sans spit and proceeds to spit-shine his own shoes. He is then bludgeoned
and thrown in jail.
“The best part is when they actually beat him,” said Variety,
“because if you stick it out that long, you’re really rooting
for the cops.”
According to Ken, he threw a running camera into a dozen brutal military
officers. “It cost me $3 million for that scene alone,” he
said. “But that doesn’t make any difference to you jerks.”
Once in jail, Ken’s character sits around for 45 minutes, all alone,
occasionally saying “Why’d you have to leave me, Amaryllis,
why?” Then, a man, played by Donald Sevigny (Chloe’s brother),
suddenly appears in a prison and gives Ken a blow job through his skin-colored
underwear. When the man spits afterwards, the cops arrest him and Ken
makes a run for it on bicycle, only to ride off a cliff. Near his body
is a brown spittoon.
One of the most outspoken booers at the screening sat through the entire
credits in order to boo everybody involved in the film. “He made
the key grip cry,” Ken said.