Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A few nerd-related things, ALPHAVILLE (25) and BLACK ORPHEUS (48)

If the idea that I'm writing a blog about watching every film in the Criterion Collection doesn't paint me as enough of a dork (and it certainly does, at least that's what the ladies tell me) I'm currently writing said blog, whilst wearing my brand new asphalt gray Criterion shirt and drinking a steaming cup of joe from my brand new Criterion mug. You may remember me drunkenly purchasing these items a few weeks back and I've literally been checking every entrance of my house each afternoon to see where our wily mail man may have hidden them. Well they arrived and aside from a strange bubble in my Criterion mug, I couldn't be happier.

Oh wait, I actually can be happier, because Criterion just completely changed their website. A website? Who cares about a website? I care about website you cynical cockwanks. I've spent probably more time sleepily cruising the catalog of Criterion on their old, beautiful website than anything else. Their new website steps up the dork-related game a bit, indulging in the more internet saavy opportunities currently offered to a giant film company like this. You can buy films directly from them, indulge in free online "film festivals" and join forums to surround your (my)self with those of your/my ilk. It's said to say that I literally posted myself in front of the computer Monday night and just geeeeeeeeeeeeked out over the whole damn thing. If you're interested whatsoever in the films I'm talking about here, you should really check this site out, it'll get you even more excited, or at least get you more ammunition at which to smear my good name with:


Alphaville (25) is my first exposure to an absolute staple of both The Criterion Collection and film in general, Jean-Luc Godard. He's a Frenchie that helped to create the French New Wave and is an absolute legend across the pond. I'd bet you a handful of pennies that one out of a thousand Americans have even heard his name. Alphaville (25) is a science-fiction movie but unlike what we know today. There's no Keanu Reeves, or giant monsters, or sweaty-bosomed girls fighting giant robots. Nope sir, this is a bizarre take on the world of consumerism as funnelled through film-noir and the early kernels of pop art. The main character Lemmy Caution (Eddie Constantine) is sort of bedraggled noir detective who arrives in the Ford Galaxy to solve, well, a mystery? It eventually turns in to a strange battle between man, shark-toothed women, a computer with seemingly a pack-a-day habit, and to be very honest, though I don't remember the plot lines or conclusions, I remember the mood, the strangeness, the occasional interaction between man and idea and in my beliefs, that's what this film was asking from me.

Black Orpheus (48) is a beautiful, and times poignant movie that, well, bored the shit out of me. I tried to watch it on both airplane rides from NY and had to stop and start the damn thing twenty times or more as I kept slipping off in to the sweet abyss of sleep. The story is that of Eurydice and Orpheus (Greek tragedy, they fall in love, death takes Eurydice, Orpheus goes to the Underworld to try and find her, stuff happens, he dies, everyone cries) but set in Brazil's Carnival. What struck me the most about this movie is the music, the constant beat that permeates the entire film, and when Orpheus realizes that something has happened to his beloved Eurydice (in a train car station) that music stops, and it brings an almost reckoning weight on to the film. It's interesting to see how Marcel Camus translates the myth to the setting and I especially enjoyed the hellish Bureau of Missing Persons, a place not populated by the dead, but by stacks of paper, each seemingly bearing the name and soul of the dead. The film ends, as does the myth, tragically, but a group of small children, the rising sun, and the continued rhythm of Carnival make it seem almost alright. A complete and total classic, just one that I was that endeared to.

Have a Happy T-Day! Drink a lot! Eat a lot! And fight with your family! That's the best thing ever!

No posts from me until Monday, don't cry, it's the holiday season! Just immerse yourself in guilt!

No comments: