The War Back Home: Read Our Interview With Writer of James Franco's Memoria and Creative Polymath Nina Ljeti On Memory, Filmmaking and Ghosts

Nina Ljeti is prolific. She is a writer, filmmaker, actress, and musician. Just a few of her many projects include: starring in films directed by and alongside James Franco; co-writing and co-directing the feature length film Memoria with Vladmir de Fontenay (which is out in theaters now); performing in her band, Nani; and shooting a biopic about Jerry Garcia. She has the creative output young artists have wet dreams about. But Nina Ljeti is prolific in another sense of the word. She is the daughter of Bosnian immigrants (who came to Canada at the start of the Bosnian Revolution) and a high school punk stoner; a film buff who loves Titanic and Coppola alike. Her richness isn't just in practice; it's in spirit and history as well. We got to ask Ljeti about memory, filmmaking, ghosts, and getting to play Patti Smith. Read it here.

James Franco's Band Daddy Releases First Music Video

James Franco and musician Tim O'Keefe (a former classmate of Franco's at the Rhode Island School of Design) have released an EP under the moniker Daddy. James Franco directed the duo's first video, Love in the Old Days, a meditation on romance in the 1960s. Daddy's debut EP, Motor City, hits Sept. 25 and features vocal contributions from Motown's Smokey Robinson, whom Franco met on a flight. The cover art is a polaroid of Franco's Spring Breakers costars Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine. The music video stars Autre's own Adarsha Benjamin, along with Henry Hopper, Lily Donaldson, Nina Ljeti and a host of Franco's merry band of postmodern pranksters. 

[FIRST LOOK] Kurt - A 16mm Film By Adarsha Benjamin

Starring the likes of Henry Hopper, Nina Ljeti, Ericka Clevenger, Avalon Ainsley, Clark Phillips, Alex Levine this trailer is sneak peak at a 16mm feature film by Adarsha Benjamin that explores the life of Kurt Cobain. Currently titled Kurt, watch the cast of characters take on Cobain's characteristic angst and melancholy that culminates with Henry Hopper destroying an old electric organ.


Photograph by Helmut Newton

He gives his heart, Like he gives out bills. Throws his dollars, When they look twice. In the long, dark corridor He sees a light, And he burns, He yearns, For her life. For body sweat, Blood, Pubic hair. She’s unshaven, She is beautiful, So he is beautiful. In the darkness He twists, he screams, He loses control Of his thoughts, his words. Endless, endless, His money’s spent and His feelings are senseless.

At break of dawn, The snow falls in that corridor And extinguishes her. 500 years too young, He has a dream to live that long. He seeks the answer of immortality, So he follows her and finds her In a snow-covered field, In flames. A wild fire, Yellow, Red, Black. Screaming, howling, calling his name As she burns, She burns, Burns to a crisp, Burns to nothing In that fire in the snow.

And the wind carries the flame Ignites her hair her feathers.

The flames reflect in his eyes as He watches her scatter. Sinking to the ground, Becoming nothing. Ashes, The color of the cloudy sea, Her eyes, disappear Into Earth. She is nothing. Nothing is everything. He closes his eyes. Harry cries, and cries. What a beautiful sight, What a heavenly light! What a dream, To be nothing. “I want to be nothing.” His hands clasp his face, His bony knees dig the dirt. Harry looks up: He looks for God. But he is gone. Long gone.

Harry chases the dying flames of the phoenix, And cries, “Ignite me! Ignite me!” But they only burn for the bird. He eats her ashes for strength. He’s hysterical. Endless, endless, His mind is gone, His feelings are senseless.

The grey snow falls around him, A call for new lovers to come to him. And there is silence. Let there be no light. Harry rises. He brushes the dirt off his knees, Eats the snow for clarity, Joins the others in the safety Of the illusion of reality. Harry forgets.

He forgets.

Ashes, by Nina Ljeti

These Days

Nina Ljeti as Krist Novoselic, by Adarsha Benjamin

Eras end, Begin again. Money, lovers, Promises are pretend. 30 is old age -- You plan to kill yourself, Or be far away by then. Try so hard To make a name, But they forget Again and again. Change your mind, Change your style, Your politics, philosophy. A punk, a hippie, A model on the cover of a magazine. Alone or lonely, '91 or '65 A better story. Your Gods are dead, And Jesus ain’t your friend. No one calls. Connection's gone. Looking for the other, Floating past each other, Duck and cover. Empty-headed, absent-minded Lost forever, we are blinded. What it means to hold a hand, What it means to be free,

What it is to see beyond The illusion of reality.

These Days, by Nina Ljeti

Till The World Explodes

Photograph by Bill Ray, Hell Angels

You say, Babe, Don’t ever leave me. Never. I mapped our lives. Rocking chairs, Metronomes, Silver lake, Wrinkled kisses. A cottage, A jungle Overthrown with vines. Or perhaps, We’ll die. Ride our motorcycles Off a cliff In Utah. Arms trapped, Our stars Side by side On the sidewalk Till the world explodes.

Till the World Explodes, by Nina Ljeti

1300 – A Poem by Nina Ljeti

Collage by Matt Wisniewski,Untitled from "Wreckage," 2011

1300by Nina Ljeti

6 months and 13 days, Threw my heart out the window Cause the truth is scary, The future even more, so I Pick up a bottle- Hello old friend- Let’s take off to the moon. It’s a place inhabited by Beautiful men, music, Cigarettes, French films, Laughter, moaning, mumbling Giggles of the idiots, Insomniacs, and finite dimensions Of conversation- your name, your age, Your day, your sign- how are you? I’m fine. Baby, come with me, To my crater on the north side of the moon. I’ve got a rotating bed and a hot tub. It feels good to be loved, no, Desired- to have complete control. I listen instead of speak, and no one asks me questions. I find myself in front of mirrors, talking, philosophizing, kissing, Making love With imaginary man/men. I see their faces, but I won’t say for Fear I’ll jinx the possibility Of true love. Boy, What a cliché. A 20 year old mystery woman, she Dances alone (if you see her call Craig) at 1-3-OOOOO Oh my god, The Earth looks so beautiful from here, So empty, so peaceful. I could live there, when I retire. I could live there when the party’s over. I could live there with--I won’t jinx it, For fear I’ll die alone. I could live there when I remember Where the hell I dropped my heart. From a city window somewhere, long ago. Don’t remember what city. If you see it, call me. It’s red, and small, and I hope it’s still beating.

Stay tuned to Pas Un Autre every Sunday for a new poem Nina Ljeti.