Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Seeing Soderbergh's "And Everything Is Going Fine" was disconcerting; the way the work was edited, it really did seem almost seamless, and so fragments from recorded performances, television interviews, etc. meshed into one biographical portrait of Spalding Gray. I had to admire Steven Soderbergh's skill.

Last week, i watched "Public Speaking", Scorsese's movie about Fran Liebowitz, which was on HBO. Both of these pieces were very well-done, but they point to a certain problem with performance: how are we to judge people when they are presenting themselves?

Just watched "Looking For Eric"; there are so many "new" films being made which haven't gotten distribution, or there are foreign films ("Looking For Eric" is a British film, directed by Ken Loach) that had limited distribution here, and the cable stations are snapping them up, and so there are many chances to catch something you've missed. "Looking For Eric" opened in New York City during the winter, and actually played Berlin about a month later, but i missed it. (Two nights ago, i watched something called "Bedrooms", which was made this year, with Barry Bostwick and Dee Wallace. As far as i know, that one never got a release.) Now i'm watching "La Cucina", an indie about three women trying to cook, starring Leisha Hailey, Rachel Hunter and Christina Hendricks (before "Mad Men").

With both "Bedrooms" and "La Cucina", the "story" breaks down into segments so that there can be scenes between two (or three) people. In a way, it's so that the filmmaking is more manageable, but it's so obvious that it's distracting. This is the essence of what talent is, and what talent isn't. A movie like "Masculine Feminine" or "Before the Revolution" actually did the same thing, but there was such fluidity in the movie, who had time to notice that it was breaking down into two or three character sequences? "La Cucina" also provided one of those nagging moments; i caught the film after the credits had started, and missed the cast list. And the person who played Leisha Hailey's husband seemed awfully familiar, and i couldn't place him... and then i realized it was Osgood Perkins (the son of Anthony Perkins and Berry Berenson).

The problem with so many indie movies is that there really is a certain look, which is sort of the default position, not of limited means, but of limited talent. And both "Bedrooms" and "La Cucina" hit me right in the eye.


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