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The Best Work You May Never See: Bret Easton Ellis' "Figaro" For The Paris Opera


Robert Goldrich
Monday, Mar. 7, 2016


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Bret Easton Ellis of production house The Devil You Know wrote and directed this short film, Figaro, for the Paris Opera which was released on its online platform Troisième Scene (Third Stage). 

In this short, a singer loses his voice during an opera rehearsal. He then loses himself in a night of debauchery featuring heavy alcohol consumption, carnal encounters, even gunplay--all accompanied by music from The Barber of Seville. The next morning, after a night of no sleep, our singer stagger and swaggers back to the scene of his embarrassment--only this time delivering in fine voice a virtuoso operatic performance. It’s as if the evening of bad behavior got him to somehow confront his demons--or at least take them out for a spin--and return to his artistic best.

Director/writer Ellis said, “I was very flattered to be approached by the Paris Opera--and surprised that they gave me so much freedom. I wanted to do something slightly humorous and to play with the film medium against an opera track. I don’t think it’s very dissimilar thematically from what I’m usually attracted to--there’s a bit of decadence at play here but the film doesn’t take itself too seriously.  There was an energy on the set that was infectious and funny and hopefully you can get that from watching Figaro."

Ellis is a lauded writer whose literary fare includes “Less Than Zero,” “American Psycho,” “Glamorama,” “Lunar Park” and “Imperial Bedrooms.” Over the past few years he has also been involved in numerous feature film projects as a screenwriter including the experimental thriller The Canyons, directed by Paul Schrader. In the last year, Ellis has embarked on a directorial career, turning out a series of short films, including Figaro. He also recently wrapped a short brand film for Persol out of Publicis Paris. 


Creative/Production The Devil You Know Bret Easton Ellis, director/writer; Simon Wallon, producer/partner; Don Block, partner; Keith Pikus, DP; Sean O’Conner, assistant director. Editorial Nightshift Post Xavier De Nauw, editor.

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