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Archive for April 19th, 2010

                   Keir Dullea, Matt Servitto, and Marsha Mason<br> in <i>I Never Sang for My Father</i><br> (© Suzi Sadler)

                        Keir Dullea, Matt Savitto and Marsha Mason

by Sam Juliano

      When the film version of Robert Anderson’s stage play I Never Sang For My Father opened in the first year of the seventies, the response was muted but respectful.  The Broadway show’s director Gilbert Cates, was on board to helm the screen version, and he was seen by many as an unimaginative and cautious director who would do little to open up the claustrophobic confines of the material.  As it turned out Cates didn’t demonstrate any particular cinematic propensity, despite the advantage of film in utilizing exteriors and drmatic flashbacks, but his two lead actors were so electrifying, that today this film has built a rather impassioned and deserved cult reputation, despite studio indifference that has blocked a legitimate American DVD release.  An excellent widescreen German print, however, with the title Kein Lied Fur Meinen Vater, has been mastered in region 2 and is presently available.  But what Melvyn Douglas and Gene Hackman did (Pauline Kael said at the time they fueled ‘bargain basement dramatury to suprisingly powerful effect) to peel away the surfaces of their troubled characters was setting the bar too high for subsequent stage productions, where that level of artistry could never be even approached, much less equaled. (more…)

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by Sam Juliano

With the coronation of Carl Theodor Dreyer’s The Passion of Joan of Arc as the greatest film of the silent era, WitD has now turned it’s attention to the most recent period, for the final decade countdown from Allan Fish.  Still, other ‘genre’ polls are being planned, even with this one standing as the final time frame project.  With another massive Top 100 just underway, this latest poll will take us deep into the summer, so voters can deliberate before submitting their own Top 25 for a poll that is sure to attract the highest number of voters of any polling to date.  Meanwhile, Dave Hicks’s Film Noir countdown has entered it’s final phase: the golden ten.  As I now write here, Dave’s #8 choice, the American masterpiece Sunset Boulevard is leading the way.  Jeffrey Goodman has now reached 1996 as of Saturday in his popular ‘Annual Countdown” as well.

Here at WitD James Clark continues with his David Lynch series, with this week’s coinsideration of Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me garnering great traffic and numerous responses, Joel Bocko’s superlative Best of the 21st Century series moving ahead with a masterful review of Tropical Malady, and Bob Clark’s never-say-die Attack of the Clones review now moving closer to 200 comments, in what is now one of the three most successful posts ever at the site.

This has also been a busy week for me on the cultural scene as well, as I managed a stage play in Manhattan on Wednesday evening of Robert Anderson’s I Never Sang For My Father that was interesting if rather tepid, and in no league with the celebrated 1971 film that starred Melvyn Douglas and Gene Hackman.  A review of course appears above the diary.

On the film scene I saw the following:

Kick Ass  *** 1/2   (Friday afternoon)  Edgewater Multiplex
The Secret in Their Eyes ***  (Friday evening)  Angelika Film Center
Death at a Funeral **           (Saturday afternoon)  Edgewater multiplex
La Mission  *** 1/2                 (Saturday evening)
The Big Clock  (Sunday afternoon)  classic ‘newspaper’ film series Film Forum
Park Row        (Sunday afternoon) classic ‘newspaper’ film series Film Forum

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by Allan Fish

(France 2000 77m) DVD1/2

Aka. Rape Me!; Fuck Me!

Where are the witty lines?

Philippe Godeau  d/w  Virginie Despentes, Coralie Trinh Thi  novel  Virginie Despentes  ph  Benoit Chamaiilard  ed  Ailo Auguste, Francine Lemaitre  Varou Jan  art  Baudoin Capet

Raffaëla Anderson (Manu), Karen Lancaume (Nadine), Delphine McCarty (Severine),

It’s a film that has me shuddering as I put fingers to keyboard.  I watched it first on DVD several years ago – before indeed it made it to the UK minus seven seconds of footage. It appalled me then, so that, though I was proud to own it, I couldn’t bear to watch it again.  Cut forward several years, and the expected fallout has never happened.  Many thought it would open the floodgates that had already been pried ajar by Breillat’s Romance and a whole host of angry, violent films with extreme violence and hardcore sex would infiltrate our screens.  They haven’t.   Still, however, it’s a film that’s hated, reviled and cast adrift by the vast majority of critics.  So how is it that I am writing a piece on it?  (more…)

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