Saturday, February 25, 2006

Tried to blog but a computer malfunction knocked out two previous attempts to post.

Some notes. "Palais Royal" at the Rendezvous With French Cinema screenings was a star-studded (Catherine Deneuve, Lambert Wilson, Mathilde Seigner, et al) "comedy"; left me of two minds. One: could see why it's "popular" and why it's considered a crowd-pleaser; two: it's the kind of "cute" French comedy that makes you know why people no longer bother with French movies. Then onto Anthology for two films by Alexander Kluge: "Yesterday Girl" and "The Patriot". Aside from the merits of the films, some immediate impressions. 1) When "Yesterday Girl" was shown at the NY Film Festival, it was one of those ubiquitous movies that one saw and instantly thought, "Godard"! 2) Kluge has struggled to define a truly personal style, but, though he's highly intelligent, often his movies seem like a thesis rather than a work of art. 3) The 16mm prints were really in such poor condition, and it made me wonder about the times i would see some really shoddy prints at places like the Thalia, Theater 80 St. Mark's, the Elgin, etc.

Finally (on Friday, Feb. 23) saw a really strong entry in the Rendezvous series: Laurent Cantet's "Vers le sud". Cantet has done some of the stronger movies from France in the last decade, such as "Time Out"; usually his focus is on labor. This one is different: it's not set in Europe, it's centered on women, it's about sex. But it's a very tough movie with good performances.

Was going to catch two more Kluge screenings, but got hysterical messages on my cellphone from Larry: the boiler went out. Instead of trying to take care things, Larry's first response is always hysteria. We have a Keyspan serviec contract; all he has to do is call Keyspan. He did, but i decided i'd better get back. Such are the joys of home ownership.

But Keypsan wasn't able to come until after 6; i had to leave, but Larry was willing to forego one evening of art openings. I had to get to the Cave Canem poetry reading at the Studio Museum in Harlem. It was my first audit for the New York State Council on the Arts in about three months! Audits have become few and far between, and i'd already committed to this one two weeks ago, and i couldn't back out at the very last minute. But i was glad i went: turned out to be quite enjoyable. And (for a poetry reading) a huge audience: over 100 people.

Today watched "Mrs. Harris" on HBO. Haven't really made up my mind about it, because it was so over-the-top in many scenes, and that seemed deliberate, but was it successfully stylized or just too much?

Tried to cram in as much screenings as possible; next week shall be out of commission, on a grant panel for five days. That's all i can say, am sworn to secrecy otherwise. But should mention that reading Michael Giltz's blog makes me feel like so out of it. This season, haven't been watching "American Idol" or "Dancing With the Stars" or "Skating With Celebrities". I have no idea which four got eliminated this week from "American Idol": i don't know if i'll ever catch up.

But have taken the opportunity afforded by TCM's 31 Days of Oscar to catch up on some truly hideous movies. Last night, watched "A Song to Remember". Truly terrible! 31 Days of Oscar is always the worst programming event on TCM's schedule, and a sure way to prove that the Academy Awards are useless, because if most of the films shown during 31 Days of Oscar are any indication, "quality" has nothing to do with it.


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