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Baker's Dozen

Films for Big Eyes: Charlemagne Palestine’s Baker’s Dozen
David Moats , August 22nd, 2019 15:52

Former Film Editor David Moats is brought out of retirement for Charlemagne Palestine’s Film Bakers Dozen They discuss his Jewish heritage, lucky breaks and vomit vision.


Spartacus - Stanley Kubrick, 1960
The music to Spartacus always makes me cry. Also, people have told me the enormous Roman army manoeuvres in the film were the most correct and sophisticated ever done until then. Those scenes of the Spartacus rebellion, their attack against the Roman armies were fabulously choreographed.

So, with Spartacus, one famous aspect is that Kubrick was given the job because the original director was fired.

Yeah, that's right. That was his first very important film as I remember, it brought him into a New Hollywood.

Did you receive any lucky breaks like Kubrick received: where you got to do something, because someone stepped aside?

The most important one is my friend and "nemesis", the artist from California, Mike Kelley, who… Well, there was a war about stuffed animals. His stuffed animal pieces were very expensive whereas I had to fight to get mine done and he didn't like them being done: he said I was presenting them too close to Los Angeles. He also was a musician and we brought his group, Destroy All Monsters to Rotterdam. But again, my stuffed animals were a very contentious problem between us. He committed suicide [in 2012] and with the wealth of the sales of his work, his foundation gives several hundred thousand dollars a year to art projects. Last year, they gave the prize to me, and I did an enormous project with 18 thousand animal "divinities" [as he calls them] in Los Angeles, which lasted for three months. And it was paid for by Mike who, during our both lifetimes, was more prone to sabotage my works than to help them. So that's kind of, as you say, somebody stepping aside but I certainly did not wish that on him and I was terribly surprised.