Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Things are things and LE MILLION (72).

My room getting emptier by the day folks. The furniture is almost gone (aside from my dinged by sturdy desk that the good, but pony-tailed folk at Goodwill would have none of). Nearly 3/4th of my possessions have been spread across various music stores, book shops, and thrift stores. I've whittled down the material aspects of my life in to what will fit in to one large blue Eddie Bauer duffel and a cardboard box only as tall as my waste.

To say the least, it's a strange feeling. A strange, but excessively exciting feeling. Up to this point in my life, I've always viewed myself as somewhat of a collector. I collected books and accumulated nostalgia and basically filled the open nooks of my life with a bevy of crap that over the last week of my life I've rid myself of. I always had a place to keep this pile of goods, so, as I think we all do, I did. Now though, I'm moving in to Alex's room. We're sharing a space that affords me a plastic bin and a half, two drawers, and whatever we decide about the newly purchased avocado colored desk. I literally can not bring the three hundred books I'd garnered (at least a hundred of them never read), the stacks and stacks of t-shirts I never wear, the assorted junk my family's annual X-Mas bonanza has afforded me. There just isn't space.

Thus, it's gone. Spread to the wind. What came out of this, aside from a lightening of my material self? The knowledge that I no longer need to own this much shit. There a was a moment when I was standing in Half Priced Books waiting for the book guy to give me an offer, where I actually felt sad - sad that my books, many that I'd never read and probably never would, were being sold. And it kind of disgusted me. Things are things, they should never be that important to us.

One of many lessons I'm learning from this enormous change in my life.

I want to start actually talking about the films, placing them in the context of film history (as much as I know at least) so maybe they'll be more interesting to you. Rene Clair, the director of Le Million (72) was a film director at the beginning of the 1930s, a time when sound was first becoming an actuality in cinema, and like many of the directors of his day, he wasn't excited about the usage of it in film. Film was a visual medium, a collection of images that told a story - sound, music, sound effects were better reserved for cheap theatrics. But, as we all know, time changed and sound became the thing to do, but you can still sense that Clair doesn't see sound as a norm, but more of an experiment.

The film revolves around a poor artist and an hour and half long chase for a missing lottery ticket worth a million dollars. Le Million (72) isn't a huge, brainy film, it's an extended chase scene, but in the hands of Rene Clair it transcends its meager aims. Clair uses sound as a paint brush, eschewing the majority of his typical dialogue, instead choosing to fill the quiet spaces with singing and sound effects, a collage of noise and conversation that helps to build the cobble-stoned streets of Clair's Paris. Everybody always mentions this but there's a Chaplin-esque (Chaplin was actually almost sued for his theft of the general concepts of this film later on) fight scene on a rickety opera stage, that Clair chose to overlay with the bustling sounds of a football game. It was revolutionary, and choices like these are what made this film so far ahead of its time.

The 1930s are long gone, and digging in to the films from that era can be a bit tedious, but Le Million (72) is a gem.

Wednesday: Chasing Amy (75)

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