Sunday, April 06, 2008

Some fast notes. (It's always fast notes.)

A few weeks ago, got an e.mail from Peter Hargrove, he's finally going to try to get a release for that animated Spanish movie he acquired after the first Tribeca Film Festival; the title is "A Dog Called Pain". Turns out Larry and i were just about the only people who actually wrote about the damned films that were shown at the festival. But the strange thing was that in looking up the article (which was in PAJ 73 in 2003), i realized that a lot of what we had written (about the situation of downtown film, nonprofits, etc.) turned out to have happened. Many of the organizations that we had cited (such as the Association of Independent Film and Video, and Film/Video Arts) have, in fact, proven unable to weather the financial crunch of the last few years. (For some reason, the "recession" seemed to hit nonprofits before it hit the general economy.) So we've been very serious about writing about the Tribeca Film Festival, and always trying to determine the context of what Tribeca is doing (how does it affect the other film organizations around the city? what effect does Tribeca have on distribution?). Anyway, we suddenly got a phone call, telling us that our applications for press accreditation were approved. So more films....

(And i was prepared to spend the time seeing other things.)

On April Fool's Day, when i was getting ready to go to the screening of "My Blueberry Nights", Larry insisted that i leave my umbrella, that it wouldn't rain. Imagine my surprise when i notice that it's starting to sprinkle as i get into the subway after the screening.... and when i get out of the subway here in Bay Ridge, the rain is light, but the streets are flooded! It turns out that a near-tornado suddenly rolled through New York City. Another April Fool's surprise.

Charlton Heston died. A very strange, contradictory person. But as Cahiers du Cinema once declared, Charlton Heston is an axiom. (What was so funny about him was that he was one leading man who never had to be ingratiating: the more obstinate and grimly determined he was, the more magnetic he was. Just as Richard Widmark was always at his best when he was playing mean or sleazy, so Heston was at his best when he was the angry solitary American eagle, yet, in real life, Widmark was a modest and educated man, and Heston was very much a family man. That's why it's called acting. Early in his career, Heston did have some interesting romantic leads: Jennifer Jones's lover in "Ruby Gentry" and opposite Susan Hayward in "The President's Lady", but even then, those were rare, and rarely ingratiating.)

A lot of the work from the 1960s is resurfacing: Film Forum is doing a retrospective of 1960s Godard films (complete: they're even showing "Made in USA") and the Walter Reade Theater will be having a series they're calling "1969: An International Perspective". One film that is central to both series is Godard's "La Chinoise" (one of my favorites).

Ok: last night, did watch "La Mome" (or, in its US title, "La Vie en Rose"), and i don't know what to say, Marion Cotillard's performance is some sort of feat, it's reminiscent of Robert De Niro in "Raging Bull" in that, yes, she goes all the way and there's a total transformation. But i just wanted to get the hell out of there (and i was sitting at home watching this).


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