Monday, September 3, 2012

...and she lived with her daddy in a bathtub...

After I graduated from film school I realized  I was suffering from something like "movie fatigue", a weariness of cinema, or perhaps, as I've mentioned before, a weariness of fiction altogether. Movies seemed stagnant, conceited to me.

The very thing that had once inspired me, independent cinema, appeared chained to the big studios, the next genre, rather than the alternative. The new releases from the auteurs of my generation were mostly maddeningly precocious and quirky (yes, I am talking about Wes Anderson), or vague, or charged with juvenile preoccupations and emotions (Somewhere, anyone?).

Even the sudden burst of women onto the cinematic arena as makers, auteurs, failed to delight me. While I found some comfort in the social realism of Courtney Hunt and Kelly Reichardt, some joy in the nascence of Lena Dunham and other overtly female, outwardly feminist auteur, there was little or no recognition in those works for me.

What I love in cinema, what delights me the most, is an elusive emotional and narrative space somewhere between social and magical realism.  If I could just keep watching Lawn Dogs, Stalker, Matewan, The Virgin Suicides or Limbo, maybe I would still enjoy movies, but each new release we see appears disappointingly predictable to me.

Moving out to the country hasn't helped my disinterest in cinema much. With no papers and movie theater marquees, I barely know a thing about next year potential Oscar Nominees, let alone Sundance winners. Mostly I watch a lot of depressing documentaries from the library. Well, and all eight seasons of The X-Files.

So imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon this trailer somewhere in the dark, murky depths of the internet. 

Sometime tonight, I'll be sitting in a mainland movie theater, the smell of popcorn permeating the air, surrounded by darkness and sound and strangers, happy as can be, I hope.

What movies are you enjoying right now? (Oh and fans of Wes Anderson, I do not mean to hurt your feelings. I know I'm in the minority here.)


  1. I LOVED Beasts. What did you think?

  2. Ooooh it hasn't been released here yet, I'm still waiting!
    I agree with your thoughts on Wes Anderson, for me his films follow the law of diminishing returns a little to closely.

  3. looks very good!

    we don't have tv, so i never know what is out. plus, i only get to go to the movies about once a year :( i'll have to remember to see beasts of southern wild when it comes out on video.

    we have been working our way through 30 rock, which is awesome. we watched american beauty the other night. lots of documentaries...that's about it over here. doesn't that sound exciting?!

  4. forgive me for not knowing, but did you study film at uni? i got my BA in theatre arts, and i had a similar experience after graduating. i couldn't watch mainstream movies, and even independent films needed to be top notch. after studying directing and production, it was too easy to notice that the lighting was bad, the acting forced, the writing or editing poor. i think i missed a whole decade of film.

    we've been to the theatre twice in the last three years, so everything we watch is a download, usually at the end of a long day, when i just want to be mindlessly entertained. so that means a lot of whatever is streaming on netflix. recently, i've been wanting to re-watch "a taste of tea"...a japanese film with lots of magical realism. you might like it. :)

  5. dying to see this! i think we saw the preview before the last movie we saw in the theater ... pre-baby of course .... which was, dadada....MOONRISE KINGDOM! and of course i loved it cause despite his repetitive quirkiness he still delights me. a film doesn't have to do MUCH to delight me (or at least interest me) as long as it tries to do SOMETHING at least. Darin is more picky but that makes me lucky cause he orders the good ones on Netflix. I have to stretch my tastes, for example one late-night-baby-tending film in the early weeks of Lucy's life was Bela Tarr's Turin Horse...hmmmmmm, lucky i was in a sleepy mood!

  6. as a film minor (and lit major who suffered writing fatigue after college), i agree with everything you wrote and then some. (including about wes anderson, though i can and do watch some of his films without wincing all the way.) i wonder if you have ever watched mad men? it's COMPLETELY unpredictable and the most beautifully written and cinematic television i have ever watched. would love to hear your thoughts if you ever do.

    also, please watch (if you have not already done so) the life and times of harvey milk. best documentary ever.


  7. p.s. mad men is primarily written by a small group of women.

  8. i have no idea who Wes Anderson even is? should i? off to google.

  9. oh, and i LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE LOVE mad men. like, i want to have babies with it love it. in fact, i am getting off the net to go watch it right now. i'm halfway through season 4 and getting depressed that netflix only has up to season 4.

  10. i just saw "beasts..." this morning while the kids were in school! i enjoyed it and think it will stick with me, though it probably won't be one that i yearn to watch over and over again. interested to hear what you thought.
    another comment brought up "mad men", which i adore. amc has pretty much been putting out solid gold in recent years--they even have me watching freaking zombies...

  11. you are not a nerd, you are a napkin-less savage. and don't forget it.

  12. Some movies I highly recommend:
    In July, directed by Fatih Akin
    Underground and Black Cat, White Cat, directed by Emir Kusturica
    Micmacs, Delicatessen & The City of Lost Children, by Jean-Pierre Jeunet
    Everlasting Moments, by Jan Troell

    I have been living in Europe for the past five years, married to a French husband so I've been lucky to broaden my scope of foreign films!

  13. Oh, yes... and the Japanese movie Departures, directed by Yojiro Takita!

  14. It's so hard to find good movies these days, so hard. How did you like this one? Strangely, TV series do seem to be improving though. I agree with all the Mad Men enthusiasts. Also, we got really into Boardwalk Empire recently.

  15. p.p.s have you ever seen the films of guy maddin? they are incredible! and different. and bizarre. my two favorites are the saddest music in the world and careful. if you ever watch, let me know!