Anne Philippi meets Bill Murray

©artwork by Charles Bals / Another Slang

I saw Bill Murray and how the camera man lit his face from the front with a spotlight. Bill reacted like a wild animal, in this case, a deer that suddenly finds itself in a car’s headlights. Bill was silent, he was deathly pale, I suspected that he might faint at any second, maybe it was just an attack of bad jet lag.

That night Bill had come with Wes Anderson and his friends from the set of Grand Budapest Hotel to Berlin and Anke Engelke asked him a lot of questions in front of a huge audience, or at least it felt like it. Perhaps it was also only one of these intensive Anke Engelke questions, but it was enough to bring Bill to the aforementioned point of fainting. He said nothing and sipped a glass of water.

One shouldn’t get too close to Bill Murray, only then will he stay Bill Murray. Nor can one expect much “communication” from Bill Murray. There’s that story of Murray meeting people in an elevator and Bill asking them if they find it as hot in the elevator as he does. With Bill, it’s never about getting answers to these kinds of questions. Someone like Murray doesn’t seek out contact.

Whenever I see Murray somewhere, I have the feeling he plays – until someone interrupts him. He asks, until someone turns away, he plays crazy, until one accepts it. Bill reflects characteristics in ourselves that we don’t like: our own celebration of detachment, absence, distance to the other – until it hurts the people around us.

That’s why Bill Murray is so alone in the new film, A Very Murray Christmas, from Sofia Coppola, yet we can still barely muster sympathy for him. Why is that? Bill Murray shows us how he creates his own loneliness, this funny nerd loneliness that causes wrinkles and grief. It’s not expressed the same way in men, because we’re already accustomed to it from them. At any rate, I know it from my father and therefore have long observed Bill Murray.

I hope that soon there will be a film released with Bill Murray, in which he doesn’t play the sad clown. This would make me really happy.

 

Starting today, throughout the year, or every year at Christmas, A Very Murray Christmas is exclusively available on Netflix worldwide!

SPECIAL THANKS TO OUR FRIEND CHARLES BALS FROM ANOTHER SLANG FOR THE ARTWORK
Translation: Alicia Reuter
Portrait Anne Philippi

Anne Philippi contributed to the Berlin pages of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Vogue and the German issue of Vanity Fair until 2009. She moved to Los Angeles, with a focus on interviewing Hollywood personalities. Today she partly lives in Berlin and published a book called “Giraffen”, a story that deals with the consequences of a so called existence of glamour.