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 Art House/Indy Films: Going too far

 Author:  Topic:  Posted:
Jul 07, 2001
This evening I had a stunning revelation. I realized that, without notice or fanfare, I had crossed over the line. Any hope for normality I once possessed has been shattered and left forgotten like an empty popcorn bucket, rolling around under the theatre seats amidst the adhesive goo deposited by thousands of cinematic philistines.

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Movie snobbery started out harmless enough. One evening watching Eraserhead while on acid, another bragging about loving Tarantino before he made Pulp Fiction - it was a game meant only to impress the easily impressed. A sad (and usually failed) attempt to get laid by that way-trendy chick with the ironic, horn rimmed glasses and faded Velvet Underground concert shirt.

But no longer.

Today I received my imported DVD copy of Wong Kar-Wai's Days of Being Wild. This almost completes my Kar-Wai collection, and brings it to par (at least in quantity) with the Peter Greenaway side of the shelf. I bring it over to a friend's house - he has a big screen TV and a tolerance for these sorts of movies - and watch closely, absorbing as much detail as I can.

We later sit smoking cigarettes, seriously discussing things like pacing in Jim Jarmusch films and debating which of Darren Aronofsky's two movies was the better. There is no one else around, and no one else cares. We are doing it because we enjoy it. Nobody is impressed.

This caused me to mentally review which films I'd recently seen, and the results were a bit surprising. Of the past dozen, 7 were foreign, 4 were subtitled, and none were what one would call mainstream. Worse, it dawned on me that I had absolutely no desire what-so-ever to see anything that I, as a good US citizen, was supposed to be watching, and had lacked this desire for years. I had crossed a line. Permanently. Irrevocably.

This enlightenment is in and of itself frightening enough, but worse lies just over the horizon. First is the dreaded historical angle: What if I come to appreciate something previously loathed like Citizen Cane? I already have a Fritz Lang fetish, but could a deep understanding of Fellini be lying in wait as well?

And after a history of film, then what? The dreaded term experimental threatens to rear its ugly head, and has in fact already made overtures upon my psyche. I have been witness to an unfinished "work" that involved live performance by the artist enacted in front of two screens whilst her partner scored the avant garde films in real time. And yes, god forgive me, I enjoyed it!

I am lost upon this most slippery of slopes, and I greatly fear what will greet me at the bottom.


I too suffer from this (none / 0) (#1)
by Anonymous Reader on Sat Jul 7th, 2001 at 04:15:13 AM PST
I come from China, and have increasingly found myself coming to reject the rot pumped out by the major studios here - croutching tiger, hidden dragon, 'Dae Gon Sok' by Hoo be Mando, 'suncho ghia' and all the Shiuratsi films show the drivel produced in my nation.

Recently I have found myself turning towards more arty, deeper, foreign films, classics such as the Die Hard trilogy and that epic, the Police Academy series.

Police Academy is fascinating for the native Chinaman to watch. Here we too have to tackle a totalitarian regime intent on the destruction of the private individual. Police Academy, reaching its zenith with the 5th film, dealt with the difficulties of keeping your identity against the pressures of those above, those below and those sideways with sublime pathos.

The Die Hard trilogy, possibly the best series of films ever produced, showed a man suddenly seperated from society, and yet he had to save that society, and his wife. The existentialist treatment of contemporary America is true to life and convincing, and the tears ran down my cheek as I watched Bruce Willis battle against the revolutionaries without sacrificing his independance or dignity.

Dumb & Dumber is another classic of modern cinema. A poignant tale of how even those mentally challenged in the complex modern world can be successful, this multilayered, complex tale can be difficult to follow at times, but concentration is worth it just for the epiphany one feels at the end as they overcome those smarter and sassier than them by sheer dint of good luck.

Foreign American film is wonderful, true, but I fear that my fellow Chinese consider me something of an 'Art Fag'. They are all to busy watching such trash as 'Considerations of a Tree' by Mang ku Mak and 'I sat down and wept by Beijing Grand Central Station' by that scoundrel Wo Ping.

Not that I care, American cinema has taught me how to stand up for what I believe in.

--bc, who doesn't want to log into the authoritarian control structure.

The Remedy: (none / 0) (#2)
by osm on Sat Jul 7th, 2001 at 01:03:41 PM PST
You are Invited to Mary-Kate and Ashley's School Dance Party


Back to the Beach

Teen Witch

Toxic Avenger

You'll thank me later.

I am a bit confused (none / 0) (#3)
by zikzak on Sat Jul 7th, 2001 at 03:29:12 PM PST
Your comment would seem to imply that the profound works coming from Tromaville are something other than imporant, artistic works. While Toxic Avenger may lack some of the more subtle social commentary and refined æsthetic sensibilities of Surf Nazis Must Die, it still stands on its own as one of the most important cinematic events of our era.

There is hope... (none / 0) (#4)
by Electric Angst on Mon Jul 9th, 2001 at 06:46:46 PM PST
As a former theatre student, I share your pain. I once watched a dramatic reading of lesbian poetry combined with coreographed yoga for two whole hours. Two hours that I sat, considering the statement on racial relations made by the African-American performer who sat in the background, silent, the whole show. But I'm better now...

Here is what you must do: go to your local community college (or whatever college you attend if already a student) take a few english composition classes. Don't tresspass into the realm of creative writing, the more bread & butter the class the better. (Hell, take a journalism class if you must). Start writing papers with deadlines, the closer the better. Have to produce work when you know that it's the last thing you want to do. Write when you're not feeling creative... It will turn you into a cynical writer, and becoming a cynical writer is the only hope you have left. Good luck.

In the dark times, will there still be singing?
Yes, there will be singing. There will be singing about the dark times. -- Bertolt Brecht

Nonsense! (none / 0) (#5)
by zikzak on Tue Jul 10th, 2001 at 12:02:25 AM PST
Admit it, you run to the Dobie/Arbor/Alamo Draft House every chance you get, just like the rest of us pretentious pricks. I bet you even rent from Vulcan on a regular basis.

Damn! (none / 0) (#6)
by Electric Angst on Tue Jul 10th, 2001 at 09:31:34 AM PST
I swear, I just do it to see the gratuitous nudity!

In the dark times, will there still be singing?
Yes, there will be singing. There will be singing about the dark times. -- Bertolt Brecht


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