Thursday, February 08, 2007

In the last three days, have seen Tsai Ming-liang's "The Wayward Cloud" ("problematic" but exciting, an uneasy mixture of camp, pathos and porn, but certainly adventurous), Kirby Dick's "This Film is Not Yet Rated" (amusing and informative) and the Israeli drama "Close to Home" (ultimately affecting and illuminating). Tonight will see "Starter for Ten" a British comedy.

Am still thinking about the conversations of the past few days. Tony Pipolo's comments about "Two Wrenching Departures", his feelings of intense emotion during parts of Ken's piece, especially the shots of Jack Smith behind the fence, with the close-ups of his face when he was a young man... and how truly handsome Jack was in the 1950s (before any of us knew him), how vulnerable and open he was.

Ronnie Scheib and i talked about different expectations... she was saying how Variety was having her review a number of the low-end comedies that are coming out, the ones that don't get press screened. So she had to go to a theater packed with kids, to see "Epic Movie", and the audience is attuned to the movie in a way she is not, because her frame of reference is not just limited to TV, yet the preponderance of immediate pop culture references can be alienating if there's nothing else going on. My problem with "Little Miss Sunshine": if it had been a studio picture, i probably would have felt it was bright and charming and funny, but as an "indie" picture, it seemed horribly shallow and slick and empty. Does that mean that i assume that studio pictures are supposed to be shallow and slick and empty, and that that's fine if they are? Why do i assume that "indie" films should be "personal expressions" and not just slick entertainments? I don't expect Gregory LaCava's movies to be "deep", and i certainly don't expect Preston Sturges's movies to be deep, so what's wrong with "Little Miss Sunshine" (which i've heard described - by people i know - as an updated Sturges comedy, and with good reason)? This is a real question.

"The Wayward Cloud" restored some of my sense of film, i.e., Godard's comment about cinema being an art where we praise a work for opening doors. For suggesting new possibilities. "The Wayward Cloud" may be a mess, and it may be "uncomfortable" (what is the line between art and exploitation? when it's porn you know it's exploitation but you also know people have signed up for it) but it was the most exciting film i've seen since "Inland Empire".


Blogger Michael in New York said...

Hmm, I've never understood why people got caught up in worrying about what constituted an "indie" film and what was a "studio" film and what to expect from each. Who cares where the financing comes from? Who cares whether the person who greenlighted the film was the head of a genuinely independent tiny film studio or an art house brand of a major studio or just someone who put the whole budget on their credit card? A film is a film is a film. Surely Terence Malick is as independent a filmmaker as they come, despite working with big budgets and big stars. And Tony Scott is a studio director, whether or not his latest fluff is bankrolled by the weinsteins of warner bros. Either you like Little Miss Sunshine or you don't. How can the hsitory of the financing or the quick logos that appear at the beginning matter in the least? Does it matter if it was made independently but distributed by Fox Searchlight? Would you like it even less if it was distributed by 20th century Fox? Would you like it MORE if it was distributed by...(I struggle to name an actual independent distributor) Zeitgeist or whatever constitutes an active indie label? By the way, I did like how the movie avoided ANY happy resolution [SPOILER ALERT] -- the son doesn't get to fly jets, the daughter doesn't win a prize or even get applause and has to end her apparent love for beauty pageants, the dad doesn't make a deal for his book and I don't think he will, etc. But Preston Sturges? I wish. The last movie that made me think of him was Citizen Ruth.

6:50 PM


Post a Comment

<< Home