My Week in Film (11/9 - 11/15)

L'Important c'est d'aimer (1975)
(Directed by Andrzej Zulawski)

A bunch of emotionally/professionally exploited characters find out what it means to love, and what they're willing to do for that love. Goddamn, this dude is intense. It segues from an emotionally heart-wrenching opening scene that climaxes with this incredibly closeup on Romy Schneider's face to this weirdo fist fight to gay bodybuilder porn and, then, later on, it blindsides you with an orgy. Oh, did I mention that Klaus Kinski plays Karl-Heinz Zimmer, a bisexual (?) actor who randomly beats up people. He also plays Richard III in the film. Zulawski's greatest asset as a filmmaker might be his freewheeling attitude toward the grotesque and how he coordinates the grotesqueries of the content with some weirdo tragic attitude all while creating beautifully kinetic scenes. It's not just movement, it's some kind of demented beauty. Something so over the top and insane that all you can do is just sit back and kind of feel slightly beat down, and once that happens, Georges Delerue's incredible score comes on and you're left wondering what kind of fucking film you're watching. Jesus Christ.


The Limits of Control (2009)
(Directed by Jim Jarmusch)

so, the lone man goes around Spain, enjoying the architecture, enjoying the art, enjoying something. He's sharply dressed and perfectly still and all that stuff. He's the epitome of self-control. Then he gets some kind of assignment, relayed to him through codes and signs and all this bunch of other nonsense. He goes around Spain looking for these people that have the instructions for him. They find him sipping two expressos. They go on at length about whatever subject interests them. The Lone Man hardly responds to them, but he seems to internally digest what they say. Even if they don't speak the same language, they're the same kind of people, even if The Lone Man doesn't have a people. He's still part of some kind of larger world community that's against people who think they're bigger than everyone else. Basically, AMERICANS, who are ugly and not creative bohemians or something. It's pretty cute and idealistic in a way and interesting in all the usual roujin ways, but I guess the reason I like it is because it feels like Jarmusch has basically stripped pretty much everything but the repetition and the variations on the theme from his repertoire. The only new tool is Doyle's cinematography, which is amazing, duh, but come on. Well, I guess Boris' score is awesome, too. Boris is awesome. I am awesome. You are awesome. Gossip Girl is the greatest TV show of ALL TIME.


Modern Romance (1981)
(Directed by Albert Brooks)

wow, so goddamn painful. There are parts that are really funny, like the whole Quaaludes bit that goes on forever and a half, each second pitiful and hilarious, and then there are parts that are so sad and pathetic that it makes you question on what level Brooks is working on. Basically, Brooks plays this film editor d00d, and he breaks up with his girlfriend at the beginning of the film for like the millionth time. But, Brooks basically goes crazy in the next days as he can't forget about her and he has trouble remaining in his apartment and he thinks she's fucking someone else (of course). Brooks' jealousy and anxiety is so creepy and broad and needling and hilarious that it's hard to identify with him a bit, but then it gets to a really, really funny part and then you're on his side again. So, basically, Modern Romance is just this totally self-deluded cycle that's both painful and funny. Yay. Perfect saturday morning viewing :(



The Power of Nightmares: The Rise of the Politics of Fear (2004)
(Directed by Adam Curtis)

Basically, Islamic fundamentalists and neoconservatists balked at the shallowness of American culture as directed by liberalism and decided to change it/fight against it. This show basically tracks the progress of both groups, and how they've evolved and occasionally intersected (as they did during the Afghan/Soviet shit in the 80s). Curtis traces the neoconservative thought back to some dude named Leo Strauss and how he said that people needed myths and narratives to believe in order to be incited to action (it didn't matter if these were true or not), and the film shows how these ideas were implemented during the Cold War (and now the War on Terror) by people who had been influenced by him. As for the radical Islamist movement, Curtis traces its beginnings to the theories of Sayyid Qutb, who believed that Egyptian leaders had been so poisoned by Western beliefs that they had ceased to be muslims and therefore could be killed. Ayman al-Zawahiri takes Qutb's theories even further to conclude that regular people had also been corrupted by their leaders and could be killed as well. Curtis makes the argument that politicians no longer promise dreams of a better future, but instead act like harbingers of greater atrocities. To me, this is all fascinating stuff and I really dig Curtis' organizing of history to try and make sense of it. I don't really buy some of this more outlandish claims (such as that Al-Qaeda was basically made up by American officials in order to have an organization that could be tried in US courts in January 2001) but all the stuff about the lies and simplifications that neoconservatives have tried to put over us (regarding sleeper cells, dirty bombs and the actual level of threat in which we are in) are fascinating. It kind of makes me hate myself and it kind of makes me want to read a bunch of books to get a more comprehensive view of things. Only complaint, really, is that the film was made in 2004, and, as such, doesn't cover the end of W.'s presidency and doesn't get into Iraq and the London bombings and all that stuff. YAY!


Jhon's Movie of the Week is... L'Important c'est d'aimer

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