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[DVD review]

My Son My Son What Have Ye Done

Directed by Werner Herzog, written by Werner Herzog and Herbert Golder, starring Chloë Sevigny, Willem Dafoe, Michael Shannon, Udo Kier, produced by David Lynch, 2009.

My Son My Son What Have Ye Done


Coverage by Reviewer Rob

Looking for a movie to rent I saw this box on the shelf. It was a crime drama with Willem Dafoe so it had potential. Then I saw Chloë Sevigny’s name and rented it. Halfway into the movie they’re showing scenes outside of the house where the murder takes place and I think, “Wait, I recognize that street!” It was filmed just up the hill from where I live in Point Loma. This movie is based on the true story of Mark Yavorsky, a graduate student at UCSD inspired by Aeschylus’s Oresteia who stabbed and killed his mother with an antique sword on June 10, 1979. Yavorsky at the time had recently been cast in the lead role of a production of The Eumenides. He was tried and found not guilty by reason of insanity, spending many years at Patton State Hospital before his release. Herzog describes the movie as “a horror film without the blood, chainsaws and gore, but with a strange, anonymous fear creeping up in you.” Written in 1995, Herzog and Golder didn’t begin on it until 2008 when David Lynch got interested. At the time Herzog was filming Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, so filming began around San Diego in March 2009. Nominated for the Golden Lion at the 66th Venice International Film Festival, this was the first time in the festival’s history that two Golden Lion nominations were given to the same director in one year. There’s no dwarf in the movie but in a strange way one scene may show producer David Lynch’s influence. In the market scene shot in Kashgar, Xinjiang province, China, Herzog took his crew to Kashgar on tourist visas to shoot the scene “guerrilla film style” so they could avoid the hassle of getting a Chinese film permit. They brought a small video camera which they used to film Michael Shannon wandering around in a crowded outdoor market. The scene has no narrative ties to the rest of the story. Chinese men in the scene look by turns quizzical and annoyed, mostly annoyed. Weird, strange, amazing.

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