Rightwing Film Geek

Welcome to the blogosphere

While I was struggling with this site, I got a note from Martin Harold, an adjunct film professor at John Paul the Great Catholic University (vjm cheers) and a self-described “big fan of [my] work” (vjm gulps), telling me had started a blog. When I restarted, I added him to my blogroll at the right, and here is his site. Some recent items of interest:

— We have different takes with respect to morally dubious acts in movies — I think anything is, in principle, legitimate subject matter. Mr. Harold not so much. I think our disagreement is in his statement: “a sensual aesthetic never reaches its audience on an intellectual level,” which I would amend to “a sensual aesthetic never reaches a sensualist audience on an intellectual level.”

The latter statement is obvious but it underlines that it really matters who your audience is (though in current times, this leads me “practically” to a cultural-political stance probably indistinguishable from his). But I’ve seen unfaked sex in “legitimate” movies and never once been tempted by it — almost always I’ve been repulsed by it, and rarely that I recall to good effect in the context of the work.

— He mentions finding out late about the Fox Faith¹ division and going to the site and being … underwhelmed. His grounds are similar, as noted in his Combox, to Barbara Nicolosi’s glorious rant against not just Fox Faith but also FACING THE GIANTS (“Adult Evangelical Christians watching Facing the Giants is like sex addicts watching the Spice Channel”). Mr. Harold sez:

Apparently the label’s definition of “faith” encompasses anything considered bland and inoffensive like Garfield cartoons and Strawberry Shortcake: Adventures on Ice Cream; there was nothing advertised on its website that seemed worth seeing. Fox wants to cash in on the Christian market, yet still does not have enough respect for Christian consumers to really break the piggy bank open.

decalogue.jpg— He mentions recently having been a bit disappointed by DECALOGUE 4, and mentions that he still has the DVD of 5-7. Oh. My. God. See them soon, Mr. Harold. Soon. I think 5 and 6 are the two best episodes — actually 6 and 5, but what the hey. In fact, DECALOGUE 6 has the distinction of being the only film I have ever watched twice in a single day, seeing it as part of seeing the whole DECALOGUE, all for the first time, in a theater on a single Saturday. I rushed home to pop my DVD into the player for a second viewing and having the same tear-filled reaction to the whole second half reversal as the non-couple meets and hearts and roles change.

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¹ Petty personal aside … I hate, hate, hate, HATE the growing practice of using the word “faith” as a substitute for “religion” or a specific religion. Its blandly ecumenical character manages to be both offensive in its calculated inoffensiveness and imperialistic bad labeling with respect to several major religions.

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June 9, 2007 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Krzysztof nods

THE BIG ANIMAL (Jerzy Stuhr, Poland, 2000, 5)

biganimal.jpgI shoulda saw this one coming, the latest example of unfinished-early-screenplay-by-deceased-great-artist-itis (has this genre ever produced a great film — and no, the first 120 minutes of AI: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE is not a film by itself).

Written by Krzysztof Kieslowski, THE BIG ANIMAL is a modestly diverting film about a Polish man, played by Kieslowski-in-life collaborator Stuhr, who adopts an abandoned two-hump camel abandoned by a circus. Camels are not accustomed to Poland though; nor Poles to camels. There’s some amusing bits of official pettifoggery about such matters as whether to classify it as a horse or a cow, since Poland doesn’t have a “camel tax.” But there’s no bite or anger as in the best Eastern European films about this subject — stuff like FIREMAN’S BALL or LARKS ON A STRING.

This film is light and good-natured as a feather, but only about that deep. There’s the predictable town’s rejection of the camel after Stuhr refuses to pay for the animal by commercializing it (a couple of schemes for which raised a chuckle or two). The novelty of the camel eventually wears out, for both the town and, honestly for me as well, though the final wordless sequence of the final fate of the camel is quietly moving. Not bad by any means, but it would have no interest at all today had its screenwriter not gone on to make THE DECALOGUE, THREE COLORS, CAMERA BUFF, etc., etc.

January 19, 2004 Posted by | Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment