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Catch-As-Catch-Cannes

Is the medium still the message?

Do you yearn for those days when you could lose yourself completely in a movie?

These days the world is too much with us. Who has the time?

It’s difficult to keep up with what’s happening on the Croisette with all the dramatic narrative that’s streaming out of  Washington. Even as audiences attend screenings at the world’s most famous ode to cinema, most eyes are casting a look over the shoulder; from Ryad to Jerusalem, Rome to Brussels, Manchester to Palermo.

The collective hallucination of the 20th century, red carpets and all, is taking a back seat to the hyper-reality “show,” unfolding early 21st century style.

Where once the movies gave us Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper, we currently have Lieutenant General Michael Flynn.

In the 50s, Roy Cohn went hunting for “commies,”; now, his Insane Clown protege hunts one single Comey.

People cringed when Ellen Burstyn watched her movie daughter Regan’s head spin. Now first daughter Ivanka is the mistress of spin.

We all guffawed at the antics of Moe, Larry, and Curly, but now just 20-feet from stardom, Pence, Spicer, and Conway perform their own theater of the absurd vomiting alt. facts. at an incredulous press corps.

We all know “based on alt. true events” is in our future, so, who beside an already cast Insane Clown President as well as a Spicer w/ his motorized podium, Bannon, Ivanka, and Conway, do you think should be cast as Jared?

We live in an age of sex, lies, soundbites, and photo-ops; welcome to the brave new/old world of entertainment.

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Get On The Bus

Adam Driver plays a character named Paterson who drives a bus for the city of Paterson, New Jersey, in Jim Jarmusch’s film Paterson. Paterson seems perfectly content living a life routinized by work, coming home to his loving, stable marriage. He also leads a more introspective second life as a poet.

Paterson’s stay-at-home wife, Laura (Golshifteh Farahani), fills her days with multiple creative pursuits: interior design, clothing design, baking, and music.

The anecdotal nature of Paterson gives the film a poetic shape of its own as it subtly explores the various ways creativity manifests itself in individuals.

Each day Paterson and Laura awake from their dream world. They go to work; Paterson to drive his bus, all the while listening to the world around him, ciphering this world through his poetic lens.

Laura is a whirlwind of creative energy operating full tilt in the creative laboratory she’s turned her home into. Her hours fly by.

Paterson and Laura’s inner and outer lives co-exist in a richly fulfilling minor key, just across the river from the Big Apple, a magnet city of dreams.

Garden state dreamers tending their distinctive garden of creative delights.

Pedro Radio

As I watched Pedro Almodóvar’s Julieta I found myself listening very attentively to the film. Delivered sotto voce, the dialogue lends the film a heightened feeling of intimacy, taking the viewer more immediately into the confidences of its characters.

It reminds me of how Orson Welle’s soundtracks so innovatively complemented his films in their visuals and in how they were edited.

Julieta seems to mark a new chapter in Almodóvar’s filmmaking, less frantic, the storytelling told with a cinematic clarity.

Visually and thematically Almodóvar’s films suggest the work of filmmakers he stylistically admires: Alfred Hitchcock, Douglas Sirk, perhaps Federico Fellini.

I feel the presence of Fellini in Julieta though I’m unable to put my finger on it. Though Fellinis’ film Juliet of the Spirits shares the name Juliet, the two seem diametric opposites.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YH5_4osOZK8

Full Immersion

Memo from the suits: we suggest full immersion.

If you click on the title of the post you received you will be transported to efstopfitzgerald.wordpress.com where you will get the opportunity to see the complete entry, visuals  and all.

Thank you

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Brou/Ha/Ha

We’re living inside an enormous novel.

What’s unfolding in DC these days has pushed all else to the sidelines.

Even so, I still retain an interest in watching movies regularly.  

Watched The Handmaiden (Park Chan-wook) and Julieta (Pedro Almodóvar) recently. Korean and Spanish “reality” as antidote to the alt. reality Trump/Pence dispenses daily.

Of course, the only woman I watch movies with is my wife.

Do you take your’s slow drip or full immersion?

C’est Moi Sang Froid

Paul Verhoeven’s Elle comes at us like a twisted version of Luis Bunuel’s The Discreet Charm Of The Bourgeoisie. Luckily, he’s assisted in his effort by the performance of his star, Isabelle Huppert. Huppert is as much the auteur of this film as the director. As the film veers from heartbreaking tragedy to comedy to dark social satire, it brazenly defies expectation, unwilling to ever be pc.

Huppert’s performance brings clarity to the proceedings even when Verhoeven loses his way. And that’s no small feat considering that she’s called upon to portray a complex array of psychological shadings, challenged at every turn to not make her Michèle a victim.

Elle is more a provocation than a film, pushing lots of buttons as it weaves its web of moral ambiguity. It leaves you hot, it leaves you cold, it often leaves you perplexed. But every time I was inclined to avert my eyes, Huppert kept me riveted to the screen, holding the film’s center, a screen performance that’s nonpareil.

Genre/flecting

Just watched Ang Lee’s Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk. It’s a well written, superbly acted satire directed by a topnotch director. It’s a picture absolutely worth watching. Yet I felt, even with an A-list director at the helm, that the film had been misdirected. The full bite of the satire seemed off-key. It’s incumbent on directors to make choices. This is what directors do. Here Lee chose a lighter hand when delivering the satire. The characters came off more human less caricature, perhaps at the expense of the satire.

The set-up is brilliant: a look at individual patriotism within the context of the Iraq War set against the over-hyped hoopla and hypocrisy surrounding the NFL’s weekly “circuses.” I’ve felt for a long time that the NFL wraps itself in it’s own self-importance leaving it deserving of a good skewering.

I must confess, I’m comparing Billy Lynn to the gold standard of cinematic satires, Dr. Strangelove and M*A*S*H,  Billy Wilder’s darker than dark Ace In The Hole.

The tone for Lee’s picture seemed off too many times for me to ignore, the pacing too languorous. I wanted more bite, even as I was appreciating the high level of film craft. Tough thing though, conjuring Iraq, patriotism, and the NFL. Bread, circuses, life, lies, and death.

Curious to get your impressions about this worthy film which could easily be overlooked.

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