Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Post 100 and THE MAGIC FLUTE (71)

Wow. One hundred posts. That has to be something to celebrate. It's taken me nearly four months of almost-daily posting to reach this point and to say that I'm a bit proud of my tenacity and actual dedication is an understatement. I've started quite a few blogs in the past (Haiku Filth, an unnamed blog that Tom Cruise Sanders and I started about local shows in Portland, and, uh, other ones) but all of them have careened to the wayside after a while, victims of laziness and self-conscious, and very true fear that no one was reading them.

Criterion Quest is different though, and I'll tell you why. Every day I wake up and I know that no matter what I'm doing for the day, be it writing, making coffee, running, dressing up in a golf outfit and shaving a mustache and then throwing a frisbee blindfolded, I have a movie that not only I want to watch but I need to watch. I have a goal, a dim, dim light at the end of a very very long tunnel and I can't help but be excited to at least have a few faceless friends (that's you guys) joining me on the journey. And I know, people aren't always excited about my dissection of an early French silent film, or my bitching about my cold, but I get the feeling that those who read this little endeavor of mine are actually enjoying it and that, coupled with my obsessive and near life-long need to watch every Criterion film before I die has kept me going.

I hoped you've enjoyed reading these first 100 posts, because I've certainly enjoyed writing them. Here's a tip of the hat to the first 100, and a delicate curtsy to the next 100.

Thanks for sticking around.

I always connected Ingmar Bergman with dark, weird films about the intricacies of relationships, filmed in stark close-ups with some of the great Scandanavian actors of their time. I always imagined that his movies would be difficult to plow through as they'd be so emotionally wrenching you couldn't quite bear to go on. I've always thought that Ingmar Bergman (the absolute darling of The Criterion Collection) was a brooding man, his works filled with fucked up people and their terrible decisions.

I certainly never imagined that Ingmar Bergman was in the field of making smiley, silly adaptations of Mozart's The Magic Flute (70). But, it turns out, he is.

The Magic Flute (70) was put in the old computer last night when I had a bit of free time between shirking responsibility, packing, and drinking and boy oh boy was I surprised. For some reason, I'm sure I'll never figure it out, Bergman decided to film an actual theatrical version of the opera, with all the cheesy, hammy facial expressions, bargain bin costumes and overdone light work, we've come to love out of theatre. Thus, this tale of a Prince searching for his unknown lady love with the help of a bird-catcher and a pair of magic flutes and a trio of smiling boy spirits is almost humorous in its adaptation. I found myself actually this film as it progressed, drawn in to the odd theatricality of it, laughing out loud at some of the choices made by the actors, especially Papageno (Hakan Hagegard) and his strange, strange facial padlock.

It's why I love the Criterion Collection, they bring to light these films from directors you pigeonhole in to one category, films that utterly change the way you think about the film, the director and his whole filmography. For a giant film nerd like myself, it's actually very exciting.

I've got no idea where this film is going, but for the first time in two weeks I'm actually fairly excited to find out.

Thursday: The Magic Flute (71)

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