Archive for June 29th, 2009


by Sam Juliano

This is the first post in a brand new weekly column here at WitD that aims at getting readers to talk about what they’ve seen during the previous week, what they’ve listened to, what they might have seen on stage or in concert, or even what they may have watched on DVD or listened to on CD.  This post is also open to ‘anything’ that one wants to talk about, and that includes DVD announcements, politics or recent passings, like Michael Jackson’s which is sure to be brought up here.  This post is meant to stimulate discussion, and each new submission may well bring talk in one direction for a good part of the thread.  Finally, as I often see 2 to 5 films theatrically every week, in addition to some plays and concerts in the mix often enough, I simply am unable to review everything, and feel this is my way to attain accountibility and allow for some discussion and sharing.  I will often use a picture from one of my events to go with this thread, but this week it’s Michael Jackson.

     My own week ended on an excrutiatingly sad note with this terrible news about Michael Jackson, and despite rational pleas to scale back from fellow WitD colleagues Allan Fish and Tony d’Ambra, it’s just my nature to react this way.  As our good friend Movie Man has rightly asserted, Jackson’s death for all of us who grew up with his music have “lost something.”  His bizarre antics of recent years for me have done little to taint his iconic status, and hearing his music over the weekend brought tears.

     I saw two films this week, Food Inc., and Moon.   I saw Moon first on Thursday night, and found this science-fiction opus as heavily cliched, tedious and redundant.  Only Clint Mansell’s score survived the debacle, although I can’t really say that Sam Rockwell isn’t up to the task.  The documentary, Food Inc., makes the contention that just about everything we eat is made directly (or indirectly) from corn.  It also makes the stomach-churning assertion that a humburger we eat may come from 8 different cows.  Lovely.  It also reveals that there are presently only 13 slaughterhouses in the US, and that the food industry has a stranglehold on everything produced and eaten.  Really nothing we don’t already know, but reasonably well presented.

Moon  **   (Landmark)

Food Inc.  *** 1/2  (Montclair Claridge)

I saw two stage works this week:  Delroy Lindo in The Things of Dry Hours at the Theatre Project on 4th Street off 2nd Avenue, and The Little Foxes, a classic play by Lillian Hellman, presnted by the prestigious New Jersey Shakespeare Society on the lovely Drew University campus.  The Lindo play boasted some strong acting by the star and the reast of the cast, but it was extremely dull and forgettable, rarely more than verbal histrionics all to little resonance.  The Little Foxes, on the other hand, was an exquisite production, with wonderful sets, fine use of entrance and exit portals and outstanding performances.  With this play it practically “can’t miss.”

I also finished Rivette’s Out 1 on DVD.  I wish I could say I liked it as much as Movie Man and Allan, but I’ve leave the possibility of discussion here.

So what would you like to discuss?

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by Allan Fish

(USSR 1974 106m) DVD1/2

Aka. Zerkalo

Andrei’s childhood

p  E.Waisberg  d  Andrei Tarkovsky  w  Andrei Tarkovsky, Alexsandr Misharin  ph  Georgy Rerberg  ed  L.Feiginova  m  Eduard Artemyev  art  Nikolai Dvigubsky

Margarita Terekhova (Alexei’s mother, Natalia), Philip Yankovsky (Alexei, aged 9), Ignat Daniltsev (Ignat/Alexei, aged 12), Oleg Yankovsky (Father), Alla Demidova (Lisa), Anatoli Solinitsin (doctor), Larissa Tarkovskaya (Nadezha), Innokenti Smoktunovsky (narrator), Arseny Tarkovsky (narrator poetry),

Tarkovsky’s most personal meditation, Mirror is undoubtedly one of the greatest cinematic poems put on celluloid, as well as one of the most beautiful.  It’s a film that undoubtedly will infuriate as many as it will captivate, but I guarantee that anyone who watches it once in a state of rapture will continue to do so in later life.  Like the dreams and remembrances of its protagonist, its memories haunt you for years to come.

            A perfect example of this is in the first shot in which we see Terekhova.  She is sitting, back to the camera, atop a wooden fence looking out over a meadow at dusk.  In the distance we see a man approaching.  Then the camera cuts into Terekhova’s face as she smokes a cigarette.  Ever since I first saw that shot it has troubled me, haunting me every time I see it.  As if recalling a memory locked deep in the subconscious that I cannot summon to the conscious.  And the conscious and the subconscious play a large factor here, as there is undoubtedly a dreamlike quality to Mirror.  It’s a film that does not lend itself to a plot synopsis, but does lend itself to unprecedented interpretation.  Just as Terekhova on that fence to me represents that which is lost in time, she could signify something totally different to someone else.  It’s this dreamlike quality, intensified by Rerberg’s gorgeous photography (cutting back and forth from the golden bathed colour into which Terekhova’s hair seems to meld to sepia tinted monochrome) in the infamous magic hour that gives the film its soul.  But a soul in itself needs an expression and Tarkovsky is that mouthpiece.  Mingling together contrasting images of his own childhood and archival footage of the wars and revolutions of the 20th century, he manages to capture the very essence of his nation’s soul in its most turbulent century.  (more…)

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