At the 1997 Cannes Film Festival, the directorial debut of Johnny Depp premiered: The Brave. He was wearing a lot less bracelets and rings at the time so handling a movie camera was no problem. Adapted from a novel by mystery writer Gregory Mcdonald (creator of Fletch!), the film is a slow-burning meditation on the importance of family and community and bandanas. To date, it’s the only feature film Depp has directed (he currently has a doc about his spirit animal Keith Richards in the works) and it never played in the USA because Depp was so outraged by the American critical response to the showing at Cannes he vowed never to release it in the states. It’s been released overseas in theaters and on DVD – the version I saw was a rip from the Spanish DVD.
Depp plays Raphael, a Native American who is facing some harsh times, which usually comes with the territory of being a Native. He’s an alcoholic. He can’t provide for his wife and two kids. His rubbish heap community is going to be bulldozed and he can’t do a damn thing about it. Raphael learns of a job opportunity that will put his family on easy street – even if it means he has to die. Marlon Brando is making a snuff film and he wants Raphael to star. *record scratch* Yeah, Raphael agrees to be tortured and killed in a Brando-directed snuff film, in return for $50,000.