a seemingly random journey through cinema's heart of darkness. so to speak.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

YouTubing-to-Obscure-Shameless-Self-Promotion Wednesdays: Plodding Along

As you well know, Cannes is in full swing, and by now you've doubtless found a couple bloggers to habitually read. (Regardless, here's a no doubt needless shout-out to Mike D'Angelo's contributions to Nerve's Screengrab.) Premiering this week is Bela Tarr's latest, The Man From London. So once again, I'm posting a random selection from his brilliant 7 1/2 hour epic Satantango, in which two characters stroll down the windiest, most garbage-strewn street in cinema history. To the unitiated: no, it doesn't spoil anything and yes, it gives you a good idea of what it's like without taking up too much of your time.

Weekly!! Weekly!! Reviews of the dull omnibus film Paris Je T'aime and Hal Hartley's comeback film Fay Grim, as well as mucho words in Rep on an Alejandro Jodorowsky double feature descending upon Philly this weekend. There's also another edition of The Six Pack, this time belittling the MPAA's decision to start considering cigarettes into the rating of movies.

The lack of a "best of" or "greatest" in the semi-regular "Six Pack" feature works two ways: one, it eliminates any arbitrary ordering (who cares why In the Mood For Love is a slightly better smoking movie than The Man Who Wasn't There, just to make a hypothetical example?); and two, I (or anyone else writing it) can completely forget obvious examples and brush off carps by saying, "Well, it's just a sampling!"

Which is to say that I forgot (or just felt compelled to leave off) a couple really obvious examples. I very nearly threw Michael Curtiz's 1950 Gary Cooper vehicle Bright Leaf (as seen in Ross McElwee's Bright Leaves) on there, as it's about turn-of-the-century tobacco growers. Ditto The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, of which I squeezed in a mention. And had film noir not been well represented by Out of the Past, I certainly would've mentioned Double Indemnity, which has that great bit where Fred MacMurray's relationship with Edward G. Robinson is charted through the lighting of the latter's cigars. Similarly, had I not already had two R-raters on there, I surely would have mentioned Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, in which Johnny Depp rocks an off-white cigarette holder. And I'm just appalled that I neglected to remember Jean Genet's almost-gay porn classic Un Chant D'amour, which features the memorable bit of blowing smoke through prison walls through a phallic piece of straw.

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