When the creative spark has been stomped out and you need to quickly find the motivation to keep on going. It's been exactly 10 years since I watched Bergman's "Persona" for the first time, and like the mysterious, sometimes subliminal images that open the film, my subconscious keeps it at the forefront, not as a whole coherent film though, but as bits and pieces. One day the spider is on my mind, another it's the broken glass outside the cottage, and one day the revealing monologues will be rattling through my brain. "Persona" is an unforgettable experience, whether you're watching it for the first or 50th time.
"Written on the Wind" is an enjoyable piece of melodrama, though admittedly, for me, one of Sirk's weaker entries. Rock Hudson is billed as the lead, along side Lauren Bacall, and while they're the star power, the film rides on and belongs to Robert Stack (anxiety ridden, insecure, drunk-with-love best best friend of Hudson's character) and Dorothy Malone (sister of Stack's character).
Stack comes off strong, wearing his heart in his sleeve in some respects, but incredibly reserved in others; with repeated viewings and knowledge of the character given to you along the way, every decision the character makes is perfectly aligned with his past, considering his state of mind. Dorothy Malone is the single most exciting part of the film, flashy, promiscuous, speaks her mind, but holds out hope that Hudson's character will fall in love with her.
Hudson and Bacall, two terrific actors, weren't given great or even interesting roles, which ultimately weighs down on the film. Of course Sirk's films are all technicolor events, colors that pop, luscious music, so speaking negatively about well-rounded characters or performance is kind of a moot point (though still an important ingredient); it's all about heightened and physical emotion, taking an intimate or social issue, removing formality and exposing it for what it is.
"Love (in 3D)" is a real tough, emotionally draining film. Often exciting, at times frustrating, but you get a real sense of the sort of harmonious and total destructive nature of love through the kinetic structure and the characters; exploding with truth and pain, adventure and straight up douchebaggery. It's the kind of movie that demands a second viewing, but maybe you just want to mull over the bits and pieces for a while, then revisit. It's some of the best looking and most justified 3D I've ever seen -- the camera so still and composed, the added dimension acts as intense voyeuristic goggles as we gaze over some truly fantastical sex scenes that only Gaspar Noe could imagine up to put on screen. The movie is incredibly self-indulgent, but 100% fascinating. [3 out of 4 stars]
The first filmmaker discussion I ever attended was the Jerome Hill Centennial at the Walker Art Center with Todd Haynes, which was ten years ago on the 19th of this month. I've always held onto that- Todd's insights and his overall friendly and cheerful demeanor. It's been incredibly special and meaningful to me as I've pushed through my own path to "become a filmmaker". To meet Todd Haynes ever so briefly on November 5th, and to talk with him on November 6th on a personal level was another moment that I will never forget. [Also, Todd's newest film Carol is astonishing, pure and simple. Be sure to check it out Christmas Day at Edina Landmark]