Monday, March 26, 2007

Last blogged on Wednesday, since then, have seen more screenings for the African Film Festival at the Walter Reade Theater (must mention "Cloud s Over Conarky", an energetic and lively feature from Guinea. directed by Cheick Fantamady Camara; this seems a work which might have possibilities for dsitribution, might actually connect with audiences if given a chance).

On Saturday, went to the IRAs; details can be found on George Robinson's and Michael Giltz's blogs ( and ; winners this year included "L'Enfant" as Best Film and the Dardenne Brothers as Best Director. What's always nice is that my ballot is always weighed towards indie/the more obscure foreign films, but invariably someone will have seen it... example would be my choice as Best Actress was Sandra Huller in the German film "Requiem"... and she appeared on someone else's ballot.

The whole idea of consensus is something i'm a little leery of, in the sense that all of these polls can be weighted in terms of popularity as opposed to quality (an example of this is something like the Independent Spirit Awards, where a popular success such as "Little Miss Sunshine" has it all over "Half Nelson"), but it's still fun to be with other people who are also serious about movies. With the IRAs, someone will have seen (and champion) a film like Peter Watkins's "La Commune". (One year, Bill Morrison's "Decasia" actually won Best Film.) Since it's rare for me to have seen most of the big commercial releases this year (if it weren't for DVDs and Showtime and HBO, i'd never see any American studio releases), it's reassuring to be in a group where if you haven't seen "Casino Royale", you don't have to feel as if you've missed something.

Anyway, the only real drawback to the IRAs is that getting home from George Robinson's place on Washington Heights (West 183rd Street in Manhattan) to Bay Ridge after midnight is one real slog! I mean: it took me almost 2 hours! That's because, on the weekends, subway service in Brooklyn and Queens is always difficult: service on the tracks, repair work, etc. D or N trains running local instead of express, D trains not going all the way on their routes, having to change, etc.

Oh, well. That's one of the problems of living all the way out.

Yesterday, watched "Goodbye Again". This is the first time i've seen the whole movie. I enjoyed it. One interesting note: the (visual) ending of "Goodbye Again" echoes the ending of "Bonjour Tristesse". (Both based on Francoise Sagan novels.) You've got the heroine, sitting alone in front of the mirror, slapping on the cold cream as she faces her (lonely) future. In "Bonjour Tristesse", it's the young Jean Seberg, in "Goodbye Again", it's the "old" Ingrid Bergman (the climax of "Goodbye Again" has Bergman screaming "I'm old! I'm old!" as she chases Anthony Perkins out of her life; it's the campiest scene in Bergman's career, and would be a gay-bar classic if the movie were better known). In fact, the endings are so similar, Otto Preminger would have a case for plagarism! But "Goodbye Again" certainly has its appeal. Anatole Litvak's direction really is like mounting: it's rather ponderous, but it certainly is swank.

Watched the final episode for this season of "The L Word". Of course, it's a fantasy, but that's why people watch television. Once again, Katherine Moennig and Kristenna Lokken have a hot-and-heavy sex scene. The hook-up of Jane Lynch and Cybille Shepard was inspired (and very funny). But "The L Word" has some of the most beautiful women on television: Jennifer Beals, Rose Rollins, Rachel Shelley, Moennig, Lokken, Daniela Sea... and Marlee Matlin and Annabella Sciorra have never looked better.

Watched "The Racket" on TCM. Of course, i've seen the remake with Robert Mitchum and Robert Ryan... but it was intriguing to see the 1928 original.


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