Friday, March 30, 2012

First Impressions

Recently I watched Buster Keaton in Free and Easy (1930), a film I'd never seen before, and which despite its conventionalisms and shaky early sound design (this doesn't strike me as one of the "inventive" 1928-1931 films), it's really quite lovely, and it's so unfortunate that Keaton's career fizzled soon after, as I think he transitions well to a voiced cinema.  Though we can see the ending come from miles away, it nevertheless remains heartbreaking.


Though the Jackass films are puerile, they are more inventive, riskier, and more philosophically trenchant than most films that get nominated for big Oscars.  (That polemical thrust made, I wish someone would do a Durgnatian Mirror for England-style defense of the middlebrow Hollywood film.  That is, a middlebrow defense from a brilliant, freewheelin', nobrow critic.)


Pietro Marcello's La Bocca del Lupo (2009) is the real deal - where some filmmakers, even very good ones, occasionally make "festival films" that appear a bit hermetic, a bit predigested, somewhat incapable of really ruffling any feathers, Marcello (like Pedro Costa) comes off to me as more a mere fellow traveler to that world.  (I mean this as a compliment.)  My feeling is that the world of his films bears a robust linkage to the world external to the theater, external to production companies.  And the use of Buxtehude is Tree of Life-level good.


Nathan said...

Agreed on Bocca del Lupo, which is staggering from the very first shot onwards. I wrote about it about a year ago, in February 2011. Along with Film Socialisme, it's one of the only European films to have truly, deeply impressed me in recent years (though there are many I need to revisit).

Zach Campbell said...

Hi Nathan - I think that your blog was one of the first places I read about this film, actually. It's superb, definitely cream-of-the-crop.

Jake said...

Zach, you may find nobrow fondness for Hollywood middlebrow with Red Letter Media, specifically the online series Half in the Bag:

They seem to at least treat middlebrow movies as objects worthy of lengthy discussion.

Zach Campbell said...

Thanks Jake - I'll check that series out.

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