Saturday, April 12, 2008

A busy week, and strangely nostalgic. The Film Society of Lincoln Center will be having a series titled "1968: An International Perspective"; the title is a misnomer, it's not about films that were made and/or released in 1968, but it's about films which reflect the revolutionary aspirations of the late 1960s. On Monday, the films screened were Haskell Wexler's "Medium Cool", and Jean-Marie Straub's "The Bridegroom, the Comedienne and the Pimp" with Rosa Von Praunheim's "It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse, But the Society In Which He Lives". Tuesday: Alain Tanner's "Jonah Who Will Be 25 In the Year 2000" and the Brian De Palma-Robert Fiore split-screen transcription of the Performance Group's "Dionysius in 69". (The print of "The Bridegroom, the Comedienne and the Pimp" was terrible, all faded and fuzzy; i haven't seen the Rosa Von Praunheim in decades, and my question about the print is: was the film always shown here in that English-dubbed version? I have a feeling it was, and that was how i first saw it during "Das Neue Kino" at MoMA.) Seeing "Dionysius in 69" was freaky, and not just because the attempted Artaudian theatrics are so particularly of that period. What was freaky was that i had seen that production, and it was strange to see it filmed from several angles at once: when you were sitting there (in one spot), you could only see the action from one perspective. Other freaky things: the first audience member that is shown entering the theater is... Tovah Feldshuh! Priscilla Smith (who would go on to work with Andrei Serban on his "Fragments of a Trilogy") is listed as "Ciel Smith". The attempted anachronisms (mixing the William Arrowsmith translation of "The Bacchae" with modern slang; having the actors play themselves and the characters, so that William Finley introduces himself as Dionysius and as William Finley) are sometimes effective, sometimes "quaint".

Wednesday, watched "Loss of Innocence" (UK title: "The Greengage Summer") on TCM; still a charming film. I was surprised because i hadn't remembered that Jane Asher's role was as large as it was (and she was utterly beguiling as a teenager). But that's a movie i remember seeing at the Thalia, i think on a double bill with "Black Narcissus" (the Thalia always had themes for their double bills, and that was "films based on Rumer Godden novels"); the strange thing was that the theme for TCM on Wednesday morning was "rape" and the other movies included Ida Lupino's "The Outrage" and Jack Garfein's "Something Wild".

Thursday Larry and i first went to the reception for the Noho artwalk: a number of the stores around Broadway above Houston Street were showing art. Then we went to the reception for the NewFest (a major-donor pitch for the 20th Anniversary). The board has changed (a lot) and i think that's good, but i didn't know the people there... finally, Terry Lawler, Rose Troche and Irene Sosa showed up. But those were people who were on the board when i was there.

Later that night, on TCM, King Vidor's "H.M. Pulham, Esq." was on (part of the Star-of-the-Month Hedy Lamarr lineup every Thursday). I remember that King Vidor once saying that he felt it was one of the better films he had to make under his MGM contract: he actually liked the material (John P. Marquand's novel). It has one of the livelier performances by Hedy Lamarr: she actually seems to be trying to act, and not just pose. But her accent is something that the film can't work around: she's supposed to be a mid-Western American girl, a "New Woman" (the film is set during the 1920s), the all-American career girl. But it's still a fairly good film... i'd say that it's more personal to Vidor than "The Citadel", but "The Citadel" doesn't suffer from a fatal central miscasting.

Friday: watched Edward Yang's "The Terrorizers" on CUNY-TV. One of my favorite Yang films... i still think his masterpiece is "A Brighter Summer Day" but this film is very close. John Anderson (late of Newsday) was the guest speaker, and had some good points to make about the film.

Saturday: finally saw "You Can't Have Everything", a Fox musical starring Alice Faye, the Ritz Brothers, Don Ameche, and... Louise Hovick! It's actually quite pleasant. And stayed around to watch "The Memory Keeper's Daughter" on Lifetime. Was surprised to see the name of John Pielmeier as the teleplay writer. I wanted to see it because of Emily Watson, and i must say she didn't disappoint. Gretchen Mol was pretty good, but Dermot Mulroney was ok, but somehow was a little bemused.


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