CIRCA 1995: Director Henry Jaglom poses on the set of the movie “Last Summer in the Hamptons” circa 1995. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
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Oral History: The Esoteric Henry Jaglom Goes to Venice

For over 40 years the HFPA has recorded famous and celebrated actresses, actors and filmmakers. The world’s largest collection of its kind – over 10,000  items – is now in the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences Margaret Herrick Library. In 1992 we interviewed uber-independent actor/filmmaker Henry Jaglom about what he calls his “esoteric movies”. Born in the UK in 1938, Jaglom moved tp the US in the 1960s. After a stint in New York at Lee Strasberg’s Actors Studio, he moved to Los Angeles and worked on the editing of Easy Rider. Two years later he premiered his first movie as writer-director-producer, A Safe Place, starring Jack Nicholson and Tuesday Weld.  In 1992, Jaglom was promoting his Venice/Venice, filmed at the Venice Film Festival.
“I make esoteric movies for a small but devoted audience, playing only one theatre for an entire year in each city.I grew up with critic Peter Bogdanovich, who talked all the good movies were made in Hollywood.His hero was HowardHawks. My heroes were Bergman, Fellini, Truffaut.When I spoke at Columbia and NYU, students wanted to be Steven Spielberg and make big deals and big money.No interest in the intellectual and abstract. My film New Year’s Day was the official 1989 film representing America at the Venice Film Festival.

I’ve always wanted to make a film at a film festival. I called it Venice/ Venice. There’s an atmosphere at a film festival that’s unlike anything anywhere else.It is full of romance and dreams and illusions and, of course, at the end of the festival, everything is back to a very different kind of reality. It’s not exactly normal. It’s kind of the abnormality of daily life.I thought that if we set a romantic story at a film festival making clear that it is another kind of movie,another kind of illusion, it would be the perfect setting within which to look at this whole issue of what is real and what is a movie. You can shoot cheap if you get a great atmosphere. I had 1,000 extras,I had all of the journalists, I had director John Landis walk by because he was a juror. We had the sets of the entire Lido and the Hotel Des Bains, the Excelsior and so on which normally my kind of budget could never afford.

That was the original idea, to try to explore movie romance andreal romance at a place where people inthe movies themselves are constantly not sure what is real and what is an illusion.”