Sunday, October 18, 2009

Viewing Log #16: Flight, he says, from a box [10/12/09 - 10/18/09]

by Ryland Walker Knight

—We all find the flux different, we bloom

As I noted before, things will be changing around VINYL IS HEAVY while we close out the calendar. I'll still try to keep these viewing log posts popping up on the regular along with the Vitti posts, and there will be a few link-thru posts to stuff written for other places (read: Danny), but otherwise I'll be focusing my energy outside the internet and this site in particular. I'm hoping it won't slow down all that much, and that I'll simply be able to integrate it into my life a little better, but I also have the desire—as I rejoin a certain fray—to shuck the whole thing for a while; to unplug as much as possible. We'll see. So, without further ado, here's what I watched as I packed bags and wrote many an e-mail and made phone calls galore this week.

  • A Canterbury Tale [Powell & Pressburger, 1944] Talk about a cathedral. Built around a gee-whiz G.I., there's a host of ideas—about patriotism, about duty, about beauty, about childhood, about faith, about the movies (and their worth in all that)—all working together in cheeky harmony. It's buoyant; it's a fantasy; it's Real Cinema. But I haven't sussed everything: that will require more thought and more viewings and, preferably, I'll meet this rich picture again on a huge silver screen.

  • Meet Me In St. Louis [Vincente Minnelli, 1944] This DVD looks fabulous, like new. What's great is that, in a musical, it plays with that expansion form, and the power of "the voice" and "voicing," so much: it's all about society's will to keep things tacit, that is quiet, until eruption—often into song, as if plain language can't cut or contain it. Also, it's about valuing the home, which is nice. One of those rare pictures that makes me hope I have more than one kid when the time is right.

  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly [Julian Schnabel, 2007] I liked the first reel from inside his head. Then I started to fall asleep again and again, thinking, Why are they speaking English? Why does he spell one word in English, one word in French? Make up your mind, Schnabel. Sicinski nails it. [Insert quip about the babes.]

  • His Girl Friday [Howard Hawks, 1940] # Sometimes you just gotta watch the best movie ever when you settle in for the night and don't want to "think" too hard.
  • The River [Jean Renoir, 1951] # Don't know what kept me from fully embracing this the first time I watched it, but, boy, this sure is a loveably lazy movie; that is, it's patient and seemingly aleatory; that is, it flows irregardless of forces; that is, it goes, onward, always, like life.

—Off I go!

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, I caught up with Canterbury Tale last year this time and was surprised at how strange it was, and how comfortable it was with that strangeness. It's clearest from this one and I Know Where I'm Going the influence Powell and Pressburger had on Bill "Local Hero" Forsyth. This one could be called Local Weirdo.