Showing posts with label Film & TV. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Film & TV. Show all posts

6.11.21

Fall Teaching Diary: After a Quarter of the Year Teaching (On the Hinge of the Covid-19 Pandemic)

I am a high school English teacher. But, in this post, I don't talk at all about teaching. But if you want to check out my store on Teachers Pay Teachers — it's lit! I took a selfie while waiting for a burger at the Five Guys on Fifty-Something street in Manhattan. Then I went to see a French film at the Museum of Modern Art — L'amour Fou, directed by Jacques Rivette. I knew nothing of the movie, except that it was an artifact of the Nouveau Vague — and its running time was well-over four hours. The movie's images and set-up captivated my imagination. I only once became anxious about sitting in the theater for that long. The movie is about the break-up of a theater director guy and his girlfriend, an actor (performed by by Jean-Pierre Kalfon and Bulle Ogier). The film cuts between life in their Parisian apartment, scenes from rehearsal of the play Andromaque, and a documentary film crew filming the director's rehearsals. Lots of talking. And improvisation. So it feels natural. Something that a long-run movie does for the viewer. And the scene where the couple has a Dionysian tear-up of their apartment was fantastic. And then the moments when the guy was a total masculine unsympathetic man — I didn't care for that much. The focus on the female character was my go-to source of enjoyment. Hooray! I watched that long French movie. And then I went home and became anxious because I was looking to move to a new place. I move on December First, and I have no idea where I will end up or with who. Long story short — I decided (and my current roommate) agreed that our time was up. We divorced. Amicably. Kind of like in the French movie — except my roommate is not my lover. *Laughing out loud* I plan to move to another place in the neighborhood — in Jackson Heights, Queens. I like the environs even though it is a tad boring. So wish me luck and let me know in the comments if you have ever seen a French film that you liked and why.
Film Still from Jacques Rivette's 4-hour long film L'amour Fou

18.7.11

When Seeing the Devil is Not a Matter of Good Versus Evil

I Saw the Devil
(2010) Directed by Jee-woon Kim
Starring Byung-hun Lee, Min-sik Choi and Gook-hwan Jeon
Film Still from Korean Film "I Saw the Devil" Directed by Jee-woon Kim

    It was an incongruous pairing for me this weekend: Jim Hensen's muppets and a Korean film depicting gory revenge. After previewing Hensen's charming eight minute exploration on resisting time (at the Museum of the Moving Image in Astoria), my buddy Airplane and I took in the last film showing offered in the museum's theater. I Saw The Devil is most certainly not a sight for Miss Piggy. Or for Kermit.
    If one takes Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment to the next level it might be close to this movie. At the outset I knew it would be bloody and disturbing. The first few minutes is a graphic abduction and beheading of the protagonist's fiancé.
    Protagonist may be too strong of a word. The film calls into question the concept of villain and hero. The narrative runs revenge style. Man kills man's love so man seeks out to destroy man. The movie takes us on this horrific journey but twists it to the extent that at the end we are not sure who is good or who is bad.
    Neither apologetic nor dogmatic, director Jee-woon Kim's impeccably filmed story of sadism and torture is not a movie for the faint of heart. Hoping to rest on a human ending, this tale ends with questions disturbingly left unanswered about man's inhumanity to man.
    Revenge is bad is the film's mantra. The typical good versus evil movie usually ends with evil overturned by  the good. Not this movie. [spoiler alert] While evil does get vanquished by the plot's end, so does good.
    It seems to me after a couple of hours of maiming, blood lust, and chopped up corpses, all we are left with is the question why?
    The gist seems to be a Chinatown addendum where the path down the rabbit hole leads to only one place: a seizing, inescapable void.
C-
Image credit: filmdeviant