Busan: Mike Figgis Says Boris Johnson "Wants to Be Donald Trump, But Is a Complete Fool"

Mike Figgis at Busan film festival - H 2019
Courtesy of Busan International Film Festival

The Oscar-nominated director also argues that Brexit adds to "global confusion."

Oscar-nominated British director Mike Figgis believes Brexit — and Boris Johnson — have left life in the United Kingdom feeling like a "surrealistic, hyper-realist film."

“We have a prime minister who wants to be Donald Trump, but is a complete fool, and everyone is in a weird state of not knowing what will happen next,” the Leaving Las Vegas director said Friday.

Figgis was speaking on the sidelines of the Busan International Film Festival and was responding to a question from local media about how he was experiencing life in the U.K. these days.

Figgis said he believed the populace were at a loss when it came to knowing what to expect as an Oct. 31 Brexit deadline looms and as the country prepares to withdraw from the European Union. "To me it was always clear that the technical challenge of leaving Europe was so complicated and it was never going to happen in a simple way," said the 71-year-old.

“There’s also the possibility of bringing about big social change," he argued. "Nothing will ever be the same again. The effect on Europe will also be very large and adds to this global confusion that is everywhere. Normally in political situations, we can be predictive, but this is a complete mess."

This year’s New Currents section of the Busan festival, for which Figgis serves as the jury head, features a field of 14 films from 10 countries. The director is joined on the jury by Malaysian actress Lee Sinje, Karlovy Vary International Film festival artistic director Karel Och, Korean production house Finecut’s CEO Suh Yongjoo, and Kazakhstani actress Samal Yeslyamova.

"There is something about cinema that is like music where afterwards it touches your heart," Figgis said Friday about what he is looking for in the New Currents movies. "Usually it’s because there is a good cinema sense in the filmmaker. Not everybody can be good filmmaker. Not everybody can be a good musician. You could be OK, but when you are looking for the exceptional filmmaker, usually it’s because they have something you can’t define. That’s what we are looking for here."