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

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

YouTubing-To-Obscure-Shameless-Self-Promotion Wednesdays: We're Coming Up Around the Bend, This Time Tomorrow

Humor me for a sec. In one of my usual soujourns through the jungles of YouTube, I stumbled upon a random chunk from the amazing party section of Olivier Assayas' Cold Water, which eats up nearly half the film's running time. (Aside: yo, Region 1 DVD maestros! Get on fucking issuing this already. Jesus.) The scene culminates in an epic mass dance in front of a bonfire to CCR's "Up Around the Bend" -- which, in one of the greatest testaments to the awesomeness of CCR, is played halfway through and then, just 'cause it's sad to think the song is that much closer to ending, is stopped and started over again from the beginning.

It's been well over a year since I first saw this film, but this scene looked familiar -- as though I had seen it even sooner than that. In fact, it reminded me of another amazing frügging session, with the camera trained tightly on a messy and borderline unsightly mass of cavorting bodies, namely the "This Time Tomorrow" scene from Philippe Garrel's Regular Lovers, also used as a sort of Last Dance. Did Garrel, the elder statesman, pay homage to Assayas, an obvious protégé? Or is this kind of thing an old Garrel standard? (I haven't seen enough of the latter's films to know for sure.)

So here they are back to back. Like I said, the snippet from Cold Water is a random section (roughly seven minutes), and the dancing doesn't begin till the 5:47 mark (or since, the embedded counter goes backwards only, 1:33), and then doesn't really get into the thick of things till 6:22 (or with about a minute left). If you've never seen the film before (and not many have outside of Europe), then you might want to avoid watching the whole thing. But know that you should see it (it pops up on Sundance now and again) and that this section alone justifies the usually dubious art of pumping in pop songs to convey emotion. Even moreso than with Assayas' other films, Cold Water represents a terrific use of music, particularly the two lovers slow dancing to Leonard Cohen early on in the clip. In fact, having rewatched this section, I'm starting to wonder if Assayas isn't perhaps the true heir to Kenneth Anger (as far as using songs goes, that is).

And now Regular Lovers. (I've shown this clip before, by the way. Sorry about the quasi-recycling.) The action doesn't really begin till the minute mark.

And the PW. A Six Pack on actors cast awesomely against type (Henry Fonda in Once Upon a Time in the West, Cameron Diaz in Being John Malkovich), a review of Manufactured Landscapes, a visually striking doc on still photographer Edward Burtynsky, and a very summery Rep.



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