giovedì, novembre 16, 2006

People these days (cinema edition)

Figaro, as an artistic type, has an affinity for older movies, particularly older schlock like the Godzilla series and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. He gets a big kick out of seeing how scary or kerrrrr-azy effects were produced with minimum know-how and money - a huge kick. I sympathize but I don't care all that much unless I'm snaked, until it comes to the film noir, which, thankfully, he also gets a kick out of. Last night we saw The Third Man and I was suitably flabbergasted.

The producers really benefitted from having Vienna right there, in a state of what was for the forties quite artful destruction I suppose. Still a fucking beautiful city with just enough rubble to make the chase scenes scintillating and to illustrate a pre-Cold War tension Americans could only get an echo-y chill of (which was quite enough for them, I'm sure). And I suppose they also really benefitted from the caustic but very human wit of Graham Greene, who did the screenplay as well as the novel it was based on. And they were fortunate to have a really capable cast - a fucking lovely cast - though that was obviously more good management or good directing than good luck.

But damn, those huge advantages aside, the film was so fucking good that I really had to ask myself what the hell happened to mainstream American film. The effects of tension and things equally lovely - big fucking spotlights creating the most incredible shadows - low lights shining on Orson Welles' little white fingers poking through a grille. And the creation of conflicting sympathies for at least four characters with opposing interests - it was art, and it was exciting.

I suppose what I'm driving at is that if the American mainstream was producing films that good in 1949 with lousier cameras and low-tech lighting effects, there's no excuse for the rubbishy crap it produces presently, and now I'm even more determined that studios whining about declining profits and cinema attendance should just shove it up their asses and stop expecting us to pay $12 to watch their awful cocking rubbish.

18 commenti:

Melbine ha detto...

The Third Man was British produced, wasn't it? I'm not saying that the American film industry hasn't been in serious decline, but even their films from the 40's can't compare to the British...

I haven't been to the theatre in ages now. At first it was because of Tink, but now I realize I've been having a bit of a boycott. Like you said, why would you pay $12 of your hard-earned money to watch crap.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

You're right, dear, it is British. I guess I wanted to believe that once upon a time American film makers were ballsy enough to make a film with that much foreign-type talking that wasn't directed by Mel Gibson.

Anonimo ha detto...

Hear, hear!

Any why would you bother going to the movies when the popcorn is a rip off, the annoying teenagers are overactive and no one will pause the movie to let you go to the bathroom or to grab another beer or glass of wine?!@! I like that I can control my setting at home. Put my feet up, snuggle on the couch or do whatever the fuck I want.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

I'm not a toy-type woman, but one thing I would love for my flat/house in the future is a smooth matte white wall and a projector so I could watch movies big at home.

Going to the cinema is pointless as a social occasion because you can't smoke reefer in there or pause for beer and conversation.

Anonimo ha detto...

My point exactly. But I'd watch them at yours with a big white wall!

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

That would be lovely fun.

Melbine ha detto...

I absolutely love the theatre experience, but like you guys pointed out, it's not very much fun anymore. Krazy and I are committed to having our own smoking home theatre one day!

Melbine ha detto...

By smoking, I meant wicked-ass, not literally a smoking theatre.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Yes, I know. I can't have it all.

Anonimo ha detto...

You can when it's in your house.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Excellent point. I'm glad Figaro feels the same way I do about burning things, more or less.

Jiri ha detto...

Cinemas are awesome when you're high - and when they play something good. I think that they have something that a TV at home can never have. When you're in a dark cinema with all that screen in front of you, you can get cought up in the movie and feel like you're almost in it.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Yeah - but I'm tired of sucking on spliffs outside of cinemas like a starving raccoon.

That having been said, Mr. H told me about the cinemas in Morocco, where you ARE allowed to smoke, and well, there you are. Why I'm not there right now I don't know. One day I'll answer before God for that.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

BTW, what are cinemas like in Japan?

Jiri ha detto...

They're really expensive (about $18), and so I've been only twice. Otherwise they're pretty much the same as movie theatres in Canada, except that they sell beer.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Mmmm, they sold beer in France too. I don't understand why licensing laws are so retarded in Canada. Didn't prohibition fucking end?

Jiri ha detto...

There have to be stupid licesing laws because people do stupid things when they drink too much. People drink too much and do stupid things because they drunk only to get ridiculously trashed when they were young. When they were young, people drunk only to get ridiculously trashed because drinking for them was illegal, and most of them couldn't drink say in a restaurant or with their family. It was illegal for the people to drink when they were young because of the stupid licensing laws.

As you see, it all works out neatly. I don't see what your problem is.

In Japan they solved the problem better. There are vending machines that sell beer everywhere - some even sell ridiculous-looking two-litre can-things of beer. The legal age to drink in Japan is 20, and there were concerns that people under 20 may buy alcohol from the vending machines. So to prevent that, all the machines that sell booze (and cigarettes) have to stop selling their respective wares at 11 PM. Of course, it being Japan, all the machines know when it's 11, and it all happens automatically, and red lights come on to indicate next to the displayed cans that you can't buy them anymore.

Mistress La Spliffe ha detto...

Sometimes I want to visit Japan just for the vending machines. They sound awesome.

I'd probably start smoking again, though. I loved cigarette machines so much in Italy. They could talk when you made your selections there, and that was back in 2001, so now in Japan I bet they give you hand jobs or something.