Archive for August 15th, 2009


by Sam Juliano

This life-changing documentary focuses on one Aloysius P. Fortinbras (above), English janitor and caretaker at the Bide-a-Wee-Too-Long rest home in Aberdeenshire in Northern Scotland.  It’s a riveting tale, told over 5¼ rapturous hours – in gorgeous sepia – in which the aforementioned Mr Fortinbras goes about his day to day life, especially the job that he undertakes on Friday; namely to paint and then watch the paint dry in the upstairs toilets.  In the minutest detail his labour of love, inspecting each molecule of gloss as it reaches that ecstatic point where it becomes dry, is recorded by the director, Enzo Lickspittle.  We see him eat his afternoon Mars bar, drink his can of Red Bull, and his specially prepared late lunch of egg and cress sandwiches on Kingsmill bread.  His pride in his work – and thus the pride in the viewer – reaches a spectacular zenith when he realises that he’s used magnolia gloss on the window wall when he should have used emulsion.  He argues with his superiors that the shiny surface give by the use of gloss will be more aesthetically pleasing, until they naturally point out that, in a rest home where many of the male residents can’t aim straight, a shiny wall would disguise from the cleaning flotilla any stray splashes of urine that have streaked the walls.  Utterly crestfallen he returns to start the wall over again, muttering revelatory comments about how Pope Julius II never gave Michelangelo such grief when producing his masterpieces.  Juliano’s Lickspittle’s use of “Here the Conquering Hero Comes” from Handel’s Judas Maccabeus as Aloysius returns with his paint and brushes to the top floor lavatory is truly one of the most orgiastic pieces of transcendental cinema seen since Kiarostami pointed his camera at some driftwood and a duck for half an hour a piece and called it art.  (more…)

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loulou 1

by Allan Fish

(France 1980 110m) DVD1/2

A bit of Gallic fluff

p  Tyves Peyrot  d  Maurice Pialat  w  Arlette Langmann  ph  Pierre-William Glenn, Jacques Loiseleux  ed  Sophie Coussein, Yann Dedet  m  Philippe Sarde  art  Alain Alitbol, Jean-Pierre Sarrazin, Max Berto,

Isabelle Huppert (Nelly), Gérard Depardieu (Loulou), Guy Marchand (André), Humbert Baslan (Michel), Bernard Tronczak (Rémy), Agnès Rosier (Cathy),  

Much misunderstood at the time, Maurice Pialat’s film never attempts to be remotely conventional, either in its central characters or its plot structure, deliberately ending on an ambiguous note that many will find unsatisfactory, and emphasising the seedier aspects of turn of the eighties Parisian life.  His film lifts up a stone to stare at the underbelly of Parisian culture and finds a festering cancer underneath.  Worse still, it finds a blasé, almost nihilistic attitude about it staring back at him.

            Nelly is a middle-class bourgeoise wife who works in advertising in the same company as her rather staid husband, André.  One evening, out dancing in a club, Nelly deliberately provokes André by dancing up to a loutish thug, nicknamed Loulou, and André loses it by slapping her.  Laughing at him as if to view him as impotent and not worthy of respect, she goes off with Loulou and spends a night of energetic sexual activity with him.  Returning home the following morning, her husband at first seems calm, but eventually throws her out on the spot and she and Loulou set up together.  André believes she will come to her senses, but Nelly prefers her loafer lover as, though she has to pay for both of them, he’s better in bed, and this is all that maters to her at this moment in time. (more…)

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