Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Genre Films (2)

As I noted before, a problem with the study and appreciation of contemporary genre films is that a lot of them are absolute drivel. It doesn't help when even the "names" among the ranks are inconsistent. Paul W.S. Anderson makes futuristic films with, a think, some identifiable "concerns." But I watched some of Soldier (1998?) a little while back--I had seen it before--and found little of interest, even though it 'fits' in a certain auteurist sense. I know some people think Event Horizon ('96) is a good film, and I'll have to go back and look at that, but really my esteem for the most commercialized young Anderson in movies today is based on Resident Evil ('02). Has anyone seen his first feature, which I think is called Shopping? It has Jude Law and I think Bill Krohn once plugged it ... but keeping track of the movies Bill Krohn recommends is practically impossible.

Let me suggest a different model here than the 'smuggler' of auteurist genre cinema. There is also a 'surfer,' someone of a little or a lot of talent, though probably less "personality" than a smuggler, who doesn't wrestle a vision into a project, but who rather tries to temporarily harness a flow or a series of flows, to sculpt something of beauty and control out of the great Zeitgeisty wave. And it doesn't have to correspond only to today's Hollywood cinema: it might be best applied to any director who seems to make one or two or three bizarrely impressive films that seem to be, on one hand, total products of The System, and yet are unusual enough to exist well outside the mainstream of The System. We need a theory of 'surfers.'

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