Saturday, November 06, 2004

in the beginning was the beginning

thats it, i exclaimed with a light upon and above mine head, this blog shall be bout the pics, so hence this begins, so in a dry and accurate manner, i shall outline every single mooee i see from now on, a promise that i seemed to have been making to myself for longa time now but never completeating:

and remember, no silly nonsense writing, blob, the style shall be as dry as the mohabanabalaba desert.

reign of terror (anthony mann, 1949) *
robespierre went too far, he just bumped danton off, and everyone's getting a bit too nervous. pessoa would complain about the excessive action of a hollywood pic. indeed, we have endless sequences of Tension, and Suspense and Action. mann provides us with a style, a concise one too, a recognisable one that will make hollywood apologists leap in their seats, in this and in anything from raw deal to stories bout glenn miller, in all the mooees he had control of in fact, but is that enough? like hell it isn't, and it only exists because fucking democracies elect their own 'film critics', and because the entire bunch want movies to be a lame mimesis of their primitive desires, as in, ya know, nufin is a gappenink in tom, tom the piper's son...

brand new day (amos gitai, 1987) **
gitai follows the eurythmics band in a tour around japan. the use of just about anything from sound to silence, tradition to modernity and the sounds imbued in each, anything from those shots of trains leaving and songs starting, love songs in the private and in the public, and finding this kitsch has its roots way back in robert johnson. in the desire to be alone of the lead singer, her understanding of the meaning of fame and how hilarious or abstract it seems to be equals or probably surpasses anything by pennebaker on dylan, and if it does surpass it, its either from gitai's skill or the ridiculous messianic complex that infects every frame of dylan and the dubious art of dylanology, or it's prolly coz i dont give a fuck bout clever shits parading paranoya up mine arse. in brand new day, its anything from the lone piano player in the opening shot to annie's angst, of people walking into the frame from left or right and disturbing the private space, or the lightness with which she takes it (unlike, say, dylan, who goes postal). these singers are much more humble and likeable, much more a half life than an inflated one like dylan, so these boundaries are played upon a lot more subtly- unlike for instance v.s. naipul, who unsubtly labels his novel ''half-lives'', what a fucking lame novel by the way, especially the sequence at the party with the guy from the north, but he's still miles in front of plod of shit tom wolfe. gitai is under contract to show pre-determined material, but in a flurry of creativity, a focusing on the group as people and with a number of both formal and moral resources, he seems to try to seem to try to manages, a baptiste piègay has so succintly put it, to ask ''how to do cinema , once again, springing from a public and anonymous image? recover its identity in a confusion of signs, delimit what defines a cineaste in collecting imposed images (journeys, concerts, meetings) and confront the administration of spaces and bodies: all of that seems a lot like an artistic manifesto'', how to obtain authorship or freedom in a collaborative system, and -might i add- a manifesto that mann could only have wished he'd made. this is the only way out, to make a cinema anti-democratic, subventioned from the state and approved by experts, a personal expression and an access to the private (which, as, vicente sánchez biosca points out, is one of the crucial places where avant-garde these days remains) instead of the stupid public. i'd still go to these concerts coz i don't give a fuck, and the band, this one and others, are alright i guess, one as good as the other, but that's what there is folks, that's what aesthetics is. the movie's still shit thou, coz it's a starting line, still stuck in the no man's land of idiocy. but, hell, at least it's a starting line and for that it gets it second well deserved star.

one little worry, tho. brand new day may recieve its third star if i concede to the possibility that music is fine enough where it is, as it is, centred on collaboration technique and rhythm. it's as if there were still space to stick it in a prolongation of bresson's legacy; some of cinema's contemporary finest movies, like beau travail or millenium mambo, have done precisely that, to achieve depth in the image with techno or club music in a way similar bresson or kiarostami did with silence. think of eurythmics dame on the red stage, brand new day isn't that bad at all. in a cinema that falls into anthropocentrism, what is needed is a displacing of the entrance of these bodies (brenez), a reordering of the hierarchies, and for instance a cinema of man's immanence in nature (fergus daly). and for that, techno or disco, has its place.

1941 **
oh me oh my, the 70s were a time weren't they. the americans (or english language film) still hadn't perfected the garbage formula, the star wars crapfest lotr etcetera, and at that time found itself even attempting to make good films by pasticheing what greater european filmmakers were achieving. idiot lucas managed american graffiti, ridley scott the duellists, kubrick made his only decent movie- lyndon, woody allen was praised for the wrong movie, annie hall, but then managed his career peak with manhattan, even arthur penn got something decent done in night moves, albeit being praised for the wrong movie- bonnie and clyde. sure they were never great, perhaps not even good, but they were decent. billy wilder who'd managed a mediocre career, with diarrhoa like the appartment and such, was managing his only decent, perhaps or probably good, films- avanti and sherlock holmes, those times even john cassavetes found time and money to get films done. but none of those were as good as cassavetes, none even got close to an antonioni or a rivette. coppola, for instance, reaching a highpoint (decency) in the conversation dived way below zero with a godfather trilogy that was a pathetic watered down rocco and his brothers meets il confidente. but all this metatextuality has no end does it; i mean, last tango in paris was better than all these american peeps put together, but itself wasnt as good as the phillippe garrel pics i havent been able to see, or the twists and turns of a godard that dylan only wished he'd taken. well anyway, cassavetes did in 1985 the last masterpiece of american cinema and we're left with even more diluted versions of previously mediocre/decent filmmakers. take ridley scott for instance. some are atemporal. for instance scorcese has always been mediocre or irregular or tied down by the system and desiring to make movies like an angelopoulos or an antonioni. de palma is always a laugh i have to admit in anything from carrie to femme fatale, from blow out to dressed to kill. but lets face it blow out is just a watered down blow up, and de palma is merely a watered down chabrol.

spielberg is a retarded git really. the amount of shit i've watched from this guy, of time wasted, of life disappeared into the rubbish bin. i want my time, in anything from e.t. to empire of the sun, from a.i. to that vomitive catch me if you can. and of course that emblematic tripe a la par with star wars, jaws. 1941, trust me on this, is his best film by a long shot.

i seemed to have made 1 of my 2 promises. i have written about today's pics, but i have not done so dryly, concisely. i have meandered like baudelaire or benjamin in a city or like monteiro with a 14 year old nubile. if joao composed the cinema of poetry, i have just excreted poetic criticism.


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