Thursday, September 18, 2008

Monday, we woke up to find that the world had changed: all the morning programs (The Today Show, The Morning Show, Good Morning America, etc.) were agog with the news of the collapse of Lehman Brothers and the imminent collapse of AIG. Larry said, the banks are failing, what's next?

Well, it's the new depression. (Why people won't say it's a depression is something i can't understand.) It's very scary and it's obvious that the Republicans have no idea what to do. In fact, the President has been remarkably absent in the last three weeks. When Hurricane Ike hit Texas, nada. Supposedly, it's his home state, yet he made NO public appearance. He is showing his true colors, his total lack of concern and his utter contempt for everyone except his cronies. And FEMA failed yet again! Two days after the storm, no food, no water, people were just left stranded. This is what the Republicans have done, yet there is the diversion of Sarah Palin. With the economy on the verge of a total meltdown, and areas of our country ravaged by storms, is Sarah Palin really someone anyone with sense wants near the White House? But then, America voted for George W. Bush, and look where it got them.

Back to the movies. This week was the first week of the press screenings for the New York Film Festival. It's a bit scattered: the screenings are taking place in different locations. So far, i've made it to a film a day.

Actually, Friday (Sept. 12) there was a screening of James Benning's "RR". Then Monday, Laurent Cantet's "The Class"; Tuesday, Hang Sang-Soo's "Night and Day"; Wednesday, Ari Folman's animated "Waltz With Bashir" (short: "I Don't Feel Like Dancing" by J. Dollhopf and E. Goldbrunner); Thursday, Lucrecia Martel's "The Headless Woman" (short: "I Hear You Scream" by Pablo Lamar).

Observations: a solid festival. James Benning's "RR" continues his career revival, which was brought about two years ago with "10 Skies" and "13 Lakes" and "One Way Boogie Woogie 27 Years Later". Jim Hoberman said that, with these movies, Benning returns cinema to its primordial roots, and these films do exert the same fascination that (say) the early Lumiere Brothers films do. Here, the length of the takes are determined by the length of time it takes for the (recorded) trains to complete their trajectory across the screen. (One of those all-frieght trains seems to be endless, stretching out for what seems like miles of attached cars.)

Opening last week was Godfrey Chesire's "Moving Midway"; in the New York Observer, Andrew Sarris (in what was the best review of Godfrey's film that i read) called it "a well-modulated masterwork of affability and good manners". I do hope that more people see it: it's really quite a lovable movie!


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