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Exiles of the New York Times
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Author Topic: Movies  (Read 33426 times)
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pugetopolis
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« Reply #1875 on: September 12, 2007, 09:28:47 AM »

But the amazing story line is what without the magic realism?

Well, that's the question isn't it?

What's magic realism without the amazing story line?

Translating literary magic realism into cinematic realism sounds pretty difficult to me.

The former is so solitary and the latter so collaborative...

Like Rodrigo García (son of Gabriel García Marquez) directing Carnivàle...

The HBO boxed set has interviews with Garcia...

Some insights into the problem...

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ponderosa
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« Reply #1876 on: September 12, 2007, 09:40:40 AM »

The magic realism was pulled off by Robert Redford in this...

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0095638/

A more whimsical tale than Love in the Time of Cholera, and the novelist had a hand in the screenplay as well, but I thought it worked well.
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pugetopolis
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« Reply #1877 on: September 12, 2007, 10:39:04 AM »



Eraserhead (1977)

“Oh, I don’t know much of anything.”
—Henry Spencer in Eraserhead

 
Then there's the magic-real world of Eraserhead—poor Henry Spencer finally getting back home from work. Back to his dumpy depressing apartment building—a brooding moody presence waiting for him. Like the elevator—it has a life of its own. Spencer accepts its cranky peccadilloes—riding up a couple of floors inside. It’s obviously seen better days—this faulty shabby dying elevator that jumps and bumps and grinds its way upstairs.



Henry Spencer doesn’t have any snarky sense of superiority—he’s just the opposite of pretentiousness. He’s no Rainer Maria Rilke or George Orwell type—no inflated romantic ego or animal farm paranoia about the world. He waits patiently for the elevator—to do its own thing.

An existential fog surrounds Spencer—like The Elephant Man. Even freaks have feelings—hopes and fears about what’s going on. Even rich and powerful freaks have gut-level feelings like The Floating Fat Man in Dune (1984). I don’t know many Baron Vladimir Harkonnen types—but one notices the similarities between nightmare industrial planet Guidi Prime and Spencer’s neo-noir industrial wasteland. The body impolitic of the future looks grim—turning us all into sci-fi shlemiels of the post-apocalyptic moment…

Then there’s this strange sexy woman next door—whose femme fatale look is like falling down into a Black Hole. If that dirty little hovel of a room could only talk—so much goes on in there. Like Spencer finding his mean ugly scrawny ex-wife—or is it his ex-girlfriend I forget which—waiting for him.

Spencer has these interesting relationships with women—like his wife and her mother, the femme fatale next door, the woman in the radiator. One never knows when the blow may fall—it’s curtains for Spencer after sex. I don’t know why Lynch makes such a big deal out of it—sometimes I think it’s pretty adolescent.

It seems like Spencer is always descending into some kind of weird post-coital fabulation—magic realism gone amok or maybe that’s what it always does? Whatever it is—it makes the right lobe of my brain hurt. I don’t have any left brain anymore—that’s why I write this way.

Then there’s poor Henry Spencer’s mutant ugly screaming son. Poor alienated Spencer—he doesn’t even know if he’s the father. Horrified by this mutant alien-looking screaming little creature—Spencer wonders how in god’s name could he have fathered such a freak? It must be Bad Seed—it must be Henry Spencer’s rotten Family Tree.

On the other hand—there’s Mary his wife’s totally-insane family. The wacko mother, the wacko son—and that crazy dinner over at their place? The squabs’ thighs moving rhythmically—suggesting the pelvic movements of sex and childbirth. And then the squabs begin hemorrhaging on the plate—while Mary has an epileptic fit with her tongue sticking out. And then the squabs start oozing black blood—while Mary runs off to vomit in the bathroom offscreen.

Oh Lordy—no wonder Spencer is depressed…

All this sounds kinda neo-noir lite—compared with what’s next. But then what do I know—I’m just your regular cineaste guy. No different than Binx Bolling in Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer. Bumping into William Holden in the French Quarter—turning it all into Mississippi neo noir. The Moviegoer would make a good movie—Binx Bolling is like Henry Spencer. Problems with women—plus an uncle in drag.

There’s nothing even remotely romantic about Eraserhead—I suppose that’s why it was a slow Midnight Movie creeper. But it built up momentum... mass as exhibitor turned distributor Ben Barenholz put it. It seemed to synch with the Ramones, Blondie and Dead Boys—the mid-seventies punk bands and their “no future” nihilistic sensibilities. Eraserhead doesn't have any nostalgic Hollywood art deco architecture like Lynch’s Mulholland Drive (2001) —but then LA is a different story isn’t it?

Eraserhead doesn’t have any weird Mexican-schlock staircases like Dune (1984)—no nitrous-oxide addicted Dennis Hopper freaking out in Blue Velvet (1986). There’s Spencer’s ugly mutant son—depressingly ugly and freakish like The Elephant Man (1980).

Poor Henry Spencer—a real Eraserhead. His head ends up as pencil-tip erasers—helping others to erase stuff with his stupid ugly existence. Personally I use Eraserhead a lot to do the same thing—every day & night I erase things real good. I know it’s not derigeur—to erase things with a movie. Getting into it so much—that everything else becomes a boring divagation from the film script.

But my Anima makes me do it—she knows how to give a guy a mean psychosexual colonic. She be my Rotor-Rooter Woman—she be definitely a high maintenance bitch. She straps on a mean dildo—like that Queen Bee in the hissing Radiator. Like last weekend to please her—I splurged and got her a Flatscreen TV. It’s got high-definition and stereo—with a convenient jack for her deadly electric humming dildo. The flatscreen's got this huge mind-boggling 100” screen—it hogs up my whole pastel bedroom wall.

My bedroom has been taken over by Eraserhead—sometimes I freeze-frame an especially disturbing scene. It’s my way of rebelling against the world—the world full of George Romero brain-eaters out there. My bedroom is where I plop my sorry ass when I get home—I’ve even got a little refrigerator in there too.

I’ve got my coffee-machine on the nightstand—all I have to do in the morning is lean over and push that fucking little button. That gets rid of my horrible throbbing caffeine headache pretty quick. Then my neo-noir Anima says “Time for Eraserhead, honey!” Gee whiz, ain’t magic realism neat?
« Last Edit: September 12, 2007, 10:41:24 AM by pugetopolis » Logged

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oilcanboyd23
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« Reply #1878 on: September 12, 2007, 10:45:27 AM »

The Moviegoer would make a good movie...

I think there's some unwritten code or rule or whatever, understood and complied with by anyone involved in the movie-making process on any level, that under no circumstances should anyone ever make a movie adaptation of The Moviegoer or The Catcher In The Rye.

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barton
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« Reply #1879 on: September 12, 2007, 11:00:18 AM »

"My bedroom has been taken over by Eraserhead...."

Must it also conquer the film thread here at Melba?  Sigh.





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oilcanboyd23
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« Reply #1880 on: September 12, 2007, 11:05:41 AM »

I find that movies really only take over my den (or "TV room" or whatever), whereas I pretty much just use the bedroom for sleeping. 
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barton
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« Reply #1881 on: September 12, 2007, 11:28:16 AM »

Finally rented Apocalypto.  Thumbs up for cinematography and a kind of simplicity of storyline that moved along nicely -- together, the result was something rather spellbinding.  I did question the need to have everyone learn their lines in Mayan, especially when the subtitle would occasionally be a modern clanker -- in one place, a guy is mortally wounded, and someone says, "He's fucked!"  Really?  Is that how Mayans would express that?  On the whole, though, the film is too kinetic for dialog to be that much of a concern.

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pugetopolis
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« Reply #1882 on: September 12, 2007, 11:31:26 AM »

I find that movies really only take over my den (or "TV room" or whatever), whereas I pretty much just use the bedroom for sleeping. 

Well, aren't you just a little prima donna snot...
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Dzimas
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« Reply #1883 on: September 12, 2007, 11:33:31 AM »

I think you can do a movie of Love in the Time of Cholera if you focus on the more salient scenes in the novel, and not try to encompass the whole book.  But, with Mike Newell at the helm, I imagine another bloated epic like House of Spirits, told in retrospect like Titanic, with elements stolen from Fitzcarraldo.  Judging by the casting, he seems like he is going to focus on the younger versions of the characters,

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0484740/
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pugetopolis
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« Reply #1884 on: September 12, 2007, 11:34:36 AM »

On the whole, though, the film is too kinetic for dialog to be that much of a concern.

Yawn. Another prima donna...

Still driving that dumpy Dodge Dart, bart?
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Dzimas
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« Reply #1885 on: September 12, 2007, 11:36:54 AM »


I think there's some unwritten code or rule or whatever, understood and complied with by anyone involved in the movie-making process on any level, that under no circumstances should anyone ever make a movie adaptation of The Moviegoer or The Catcher In The Rye.


I thought that was the case with On the Road until I found out that Coppola had been holding onto the screen rights since 1968.
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kitinkaboodle
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« Reply #1886 on: September 12, 2007, 12:10:12 PM »

Hi, Barton --

Recently enjoyed Apocalypto as well -- after reading about some of the more graphically violent scenes I was initially hesitant -- thought the primary acting roles were (surprisingly) good -- also the story-line not too drawn out, unlike 300 which seemed to go and on with such repetition ...
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« Reply #1887 on: September 12, 2007, 01:02:02 PM »

Dzimas,

Am I missing something about Catcher in the Rye?  Maybe I was just too sophisticated when I sat down and read everything in The New Yorker that Salinger ever put into it? 

But Percy was the uncle.   

Coppola of course lucked out; everybody is now dead. (Except possibly Mrs. Dean Moriarty/Neal Cassady?)

But..."speaking of Magic Realism". For my money,Oscar and Lucinda was a rather good example. 

Ps.,the elder shots are in there, I understand your Fitzcarraldo take since I like German cinema, but yes the photography told me this was a fantasy on the order of Oscar and Lucinda. Real people have fantasies, and if they turn it into a book or film, so? as Mrs. Glass would say,It's a good day for Bananafish. Since phantasies star real people.
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barton
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« Reply #1888 on: September 12, 2007, 01:16:56 PM »

Pug, where lies your disagreement?  Apocalypto is strong visual storytelling -- movies can do that, you know?   In most films, dialog is more important and I wasn't suggesting it shouldn't be.

I don't get your snarky tone, today.

 
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madupont
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« Reply #1889 on: September 12, 2007, 01:17:55 PM »

I was hesitant too,kitinkaboodle; with several good reasons. But, I now have nothing but praise for the director, who has created his epic poem on screen; and, in fact, somebody should invite him for dinner tonight.
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