Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Few thoughts on the East Coast, and HIGH & LOW (24)

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack. Did you miss me?

Got in last night after a whirlwind tour of DC and New York, and I'm already sick after completely abusing my body over the course of the last four days. A few thoughts that I may expand on in the weeks to come:

1. Airplane travel is as hellish as ever. Ugly, old, unfriendly stewardesses, "lunches" of peanuts and Diet Coke and a the realization that not only are small dogs allowed on planes, but they can fit, kennel and all under the seat in front of you. The airlines keep wondering about why there businesses are sloughing towards the shitter, well, Mr. Delta CEO maybe you should put down your diamond encrusted cigar and take a peek in to the coach class.

2. DC is a great city, but New York is undoubtedly the greatest city in America. Huge, bustling, completely and amazingly overwhelming - it is everything that everyone has ever written or said about it, and more. It's dirty and loud and smelly and all the more beautiful because of it. I managed to see as much as I could in two and a half days, and was completely impressed by its every facet.

3. Don't let people tell you that New Yorker's are rude or unfriendly. My every experience as a absent minded tourist in the city was bettered by interactions with random, extremely helpful folk. They're not rude, they're just involved in whatever they're doing. I bet folk in Seattle, Washington are more obnoxious than the majority of folk currently crowding the streets of Manhattan.

4. I'm sick. Yup the combination of NY germs, airplane cabins, and just under 11 hours of sleep in four days left me sore-throated and bitter at 20,000 feet. To say the least, arriving in a rainy, cold, grey Seattle, Washington with a runny nose and the prospect of seven days of work ahead of me has left me a little down. I'll try to pep up over the course of the week.

5. Man, I had so many good observations over the course of my time in NY and now as I sit down to write them, I can't remember a damn thing. Well, I'll pick my brain over the next few weeks and make sure you guys have access to all of my absolutely exciting observations. Wow, now who's excited.

High and Low (24) is my favorite Criterion film I've seen so far. Akira Kurosawa directed this film from a screenplay based on a pulp novel written by noir-god Ed McBain. The film, broken in to three acts (the high, the middle, the low) revolves around a the kidnapping of a child and the very difficult decisions an extremely rich shoe-magnate (Toshiro Mifune) has to make. What's brilliant about this film is the structure - the way we're exposed to the glossy, castle like living of Toshiro Mifune's Kingo Gondo, then pulled in to the day-to-day work load of the everyday police force, before being thrust in to the seedy underworld of Japan's smoky, steamy underworld. Each section is wholly different than that which came before, and each digs deeper in to the morality tale Kurosawa so masterfully creates. So much is going on in this film, so many decisions, so many ways of picking apart the classist issues that plague Japanese society, so many symbols of the ways we view this life and the center of it all lies a rich man with a very difficult decision to be made. If you've ever questioned or wondered why anyone would think of Kurosawa as the master of film, this should put you in your place.

I was going to write about Black Orpheus (48), but I want to leave you thinking about High and Low (24) because it's a movie you need to see. So, get your hands out of your pants and put this on your Netflix.

Wednesday: Alphaville (25) and Black Orpheus (48)

1 comment:

wescoat said...

No shit on the airplane flying. And don't forget that now you get charged for stowing luggage, which means everyone's carrying shit on. On the way to Denver I watched a stewardess move my bag 20 feet down the aisle to make room for all the other bags. It's a good thing I was watching her or I would have had no clue where that thing was upon arrival.