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Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Adrian Martin's Dream - Starring Brad Stevens and Monte Hellman (Reposted and adorned with Adrian's permission)

Adrian Martin
Editor’s Note: On Adrian Martin’s Facebook page he often reports on Last Night’s Dream. Many of these are cinematic and cinephiliac in their content, to say nothing of some little drollery. But this one was something special…

Adrian writes: Last Night's Dream was an elaborate one starring Brad Stevens & Monte Hellman! On the eve of Brad [this bit is happening in reality] presenting in Croatia, for the Film Mutations Film Festival, a retrospective of Monte's film work, Monte decides to hire Brad as a special, personal assistant.

It so happens that Monte has an entire, unused fleet of buses that he keeps idle in his large backyard. Brad's job is to test-drive each vehicle, one by one, over and over, to make sure they are still in working order. Brad takes to this task with such boyish enthusiasm and precision that Richard Linklater considers making a charmingly lo-fi digital documentary about it ...

But that's not all. In Croatia, Brad has some big news for Monte: in the dusty archives of the British Film Institute, Brad has uncovered a whole season of STAR TREK from 1969 that was never broadcast. And every episode is written and directed by Monte! It came about when Gene Roddenberry, in a spot of legal trouble, briefly sold the rights to the TREK franchise to a very young Paulo Branco (19 years old at the time), who then made a series as a Spanish-French-Russian-Portuguese co-production.

The young Paulo Branco
Brad has even found multiple 16mm prints of certain episodes dubbed into all these different languages for various markets. In Croatia, Brad interviews Monte at length about this amazing find, and SIGHT AND SOUND devotes a 6-page feature to it (5 pages are Brad's introduction), with a digitally mocked-up photo on the issue's cover of Monte circa '69 with his arms around a green-coloured Spock.

Brad Stevens
The interview begins:
BRAD: Let's work through the episodes. Ep 1 is called THE RETURN - the Trek crew returns to earth because of certain group-psychological problems.

MONTE: I'm sorry, I don't remember this at all.

BRAD: It's a masterpiece, I can assure of that, Monte. Episode 2 is THE VACATION - the Trek members go on therapeutic holidays, but they do so as a group, thereby maintaining all the simmering tensions you have so far set up ...

Monte Hellman
MONTE: I have no recollection of this whatsoever. Maybe it's Monty Bellman, people are getting our credits confused all the time on IMDb, it's really annoying. A nice guy, that Monty, but stupid. Couldn't direct his way out of a paper bag. Maybe that's why the series was never broadcast ... Are you sure it's my name on the credits, Brad? I know you have problems with your hearing. [Monte yells:] Is your eyesight going, too?

BRAD: No need to shout, Monte. The credits are clear. Remember, I'm the researcher who discovered, in a vault in the former Yugoslavia, a version of ROAD TO NOWHERE re-edited chronologically, which made perfect narrative sense ...

MONTE: I had nothing to do with that travesty of a version. Burn it! It was that Paulo Branco guy who did that cut ...

BRAD: Whatevs. The archival evidence doesn't lie. The re-cut of ROAD even contains full versions of scenes that appear, fleetingly only in the trailer ...

MONTE: I don't care. Burn it, man. I'm paying you to drive my buses, remember.

BRAD: Back to START TREK. Episode 3: THE APPEAL. Kirk is brought to trial on sexual harassment charges. An incredibly prophetic episode, in the light of current events ...

MONTE: I don't remember any of this. Really.

BRAD: It, too, is a masterpiece, as are all the episodes of this extraordinary season. Moving right along to the next episode ...

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