11 June 2013

So Many Films So Little Time I Try to Catch Up After My Vacation


"I paint objects as I think them, not as I see them." -- Pablo Picasso.

It would be impossible to catch up. Three weeks one film watched. The addict looks to fill the cinematic void in his heart by binging before returning to work. A dozen movies in five days. Here they are sort of recounted. Sort of not. But duly noted. For sure.

Melancholy piano jazz and not able to read because the anxiety adrenalin pumps frantically and heart. Beat. The crows so noisy are they angry or confused or distraught or partying and when will my heart calm the fuck down and how many times will I think of that unsent email. Tendrils of it creep toward my brain and -- conjunction -- there is little left to do but sit in my own think. Let the mind stew. Sort itself out while I whisper

of other times. They just up and go don't they.

I watched movies because this is what I do. The familiar story unfolds but how I see it and what I see of it and what I make of it changes. Rearranges. The great films are multi multi multi dimensional. Often on sunlit evenings of burgundy moons where the stars fall precipitously and clowns linger on the front lawn while I wonder what

here's the period you wanted -- .

Chaplin's Modern Times (1936) watched the day after Lang's Metropolis (1927). The oppression of the worker. The de-humanizing of humans. If they thought they could get away with it they'd bring back slavery. Practically have. They. Appeals to me as a leftist. Such intelligence in their making so great a concern for the what and how of their telling. Modern Times a particular favorite as Chaplin charms and prances and makes us chortle and the stunning Paulette Godard as the Gamin. Yup.

Then there was Frankenheimer's The Train (1964) -- I'm going in a sort of reverse order here of what watched and leaving some out and dancing metaphorically. The ultimate enemy. Nazis. The ultimate good. Fine art. The ultimate hero. Burt Lancaster as a Frenchmen. People just doing they're jobs and their jobs include life risking acts of sabotage. The pacing the editing are superb and The Train is worth a gander now and again. The action evokes something of Bresson. Methodical. Purposeful. But with 'splosions none gratuitous.

Europa (1991) from van Trier and The Seventh Seal (1957) by Bergmann. Vikings direct and how do they. What else would I call these films but masterpieces. I could go hide in them everyday. (Max Von Sydow is the star of one and the narrator of the other. Huh!). So different yet they both have me asking questions and not worrying about answers. Therein lies the rub. The act of questioning is crucial. Answers are just trivia.

Moonrise Kingdom (2012) from Wes Anderson. Second viewing and I think that this is what filmmaking should be all about. The sheer cleverness. The spirit of invention and caring and creativity and color and attention and eccentricity of it. Anderson comes off as a director (story teller) who cares passionately about his art and in having great fun with it takes it seriously and thus transmutes work into  our fun. Recycling. Its a movie to indulge in.

Speedy (1928). A Harold Lloyd film I'd not seen before. I didn't discover Lloyd until a few years ago. Oh what I'd been missing. The bespectacled star of great silent comedies. Adept at the broader elements of physical comedy but specializing in the more sublet ones. What a great way to have fun.

Chaplin's Limelight (1952). Nice moments but...overly sentimental. Scenes that drag pacing off. It's like he didn't have time for brevity. The edge gone replaced by pap. Not many directors even among the greatest end their careers with their best work. Often the opposite. Like this.

Hitchcock's Sabotage(1936) Simple story of a spy in London foreign born chap (Oscar Homolka) with a wife (Sylvia Sidney) who he seems to have a platonic relationship with. Her kid brother lives with them. They don't know he's a spy. They run a movie theater. He is a saboteur manipulated by bad people. British government is on to him and have a dashing good guy working next door and he loves the woman and maybe its not so simple after all. It's a very dark film. Not so much the subject matter as the lighting. Which is just what it should be and that's Hitch for you. It is not a hopeful nor necessarily despairing film. It is. And I appreciate the passive verb of its nature.

You may have heard of a film called Citizen Kane (1941) directed by a lad named Orson Welles. I reckon it had been at least five years since I last saw it. It's better than I remembered it and I remembered it as a classic. I now noticed not just Welles the director but Welles the star. It is enormous. I refer to the magnitude of the performance and not the later girth of the man. Epic stuff portraying a complicated character over the course of a lifetime and giving it such genuine life we don't notice. Blends.

Now I'm back to the old grind which is okay in and of itself but has a lot less Paris or Venice or London in it and somewhat less film watching. (There's a song from the '80s called True by something called Spandau Ballet that includes the following lines:

I bought a ticket to the world, 

But now I've come back again 
Why do I find it hard to write the next line? 
Oh I want the truth to be said 

I admire the hell out of that. Imagine the cheek of someone writing a song struggling for a line and then using that struggle in the song itself. I'd like to see that in a novel: Why do I find it hard to write the next chapter -- oh screw it -- Tom and Mary left the hotel separately hoping not to be seen.....) Like I was saying I'm managing the world as it is with all its people things events sleep and pure terror. But enough about me.

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