Friday, June 11, 2010

A proposed double-bill: Slava Tsukerman's Liquid Sky (starring Anne Carlisle) and Kathryn Bigelow's The Loveless (starring Willem Defoe), both from 1982. Liquid Sky, to me, is the cooler movie, in that I respond more to its sci-fi signifiers than The Loveless' rockabilly aesthetic, but both are essentially movies looking at subcultures, eroticizing them, and using fairly spare dialogue. Both are really cool, highly recommended, pretty weird, etc. I feel the only real piece of insight I have is noting their similarities to each other. The Loveless looks backward in time while Liquid Sky, while not set in the future, is a science fiction piece set in the time in which it was made. While The Loveless was probably shot somewhere in the south, Bigelow would've recently left Columbia University, in New York, and the fifties bikers look like punks in a lot of ways: Notably, the presence of swastikas tattooed on hands makes me view its nostalgia through that lens. Liquid Sky is made by Russians, but the cast is New Yorkers- Carlisle's other most notable role seems to be a small part in Desperately Seeking Susan.

Another NYC-oriented double-bill would be to watch A Thousand Clowns, directed by Fred Coe and starring Jason Robards, and follow it up with Little Murders, directed by Alan Arkin. Two movies about struggling with male adulthood, both adapted from plays (by Herb Gardner and Jules Feiffer, respectively), both of which are pretty exhausting to watch. All the dialogue absent from the previously suggested double-feature is present here, and while it's all pretty funny, either movie by itself is a bit much to take in one sitting. Both of these movies are really relatable, and while A Thousand Clowns sort of has hope, Little Murders is a bleak point of view to contend with.

While the first set of movies proposed are all about style and subculture, the characters in the second set of movies are alienated from society to such a degree that subculture would not be a respite. Great stuff all around.


Brian said...

As an addendum, if anyone read about The Loveless in an article in the Will Oldham issue of ANP Quarterly, let me offer two corrections to that article: One is that the actress who is the younger sister in Ladies And Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, who also appears in The Loveless, is Marin Kanter, not Jane Berman (who is an extra in The Loveless); and that much of the cast of Near Dark is actors who were in James Cameron's Aliens, not Ridley Scott's Alien.

laura said...

It's too bad that this post followed the one where you write about how you don't want to write the way you have been, because these proposed double-bills could be a thing you do. A compromise that could maybe keep you interested in writing criticism, with the added element of "thinking in pairs" redefining the whole thing.

I wonder if you watched Little Murders recently/more than once. Don't know if I could do that but agree that it's good. A Thousand Clowns looks good too. And the other two, too. Hope you keep writing