Friday, February 20, 2004

A few films. Crimson Gold by Jafar Panahi. A good but minor film with a script by Kiarostami. Wonderful evocation of the highs & lows of Iranian society: working-class pizza men, upper-class Iranian-Americans, sophistic con-men. An inept but frightening Iranian police force. I wonder what Iranian pizza tastes like? Hues a bit too close to the Hollywood circular narrative for my taste, though. The Return by Andrei Zvyagintsev better evokes recurrence in that it is not so literal. Yes, there are Tarkovsky signifiers (dead animals, heavy rain, whispering vegetation) but the cinematography is colder, the narrative more acute. And while there are religious references (Abraham & Isaac, Christ even), the film is somehow more secular than Tarkovsky ever was. And halfway through, we get to see the best Robinson Crusoe scenario ever filmed (not that there’s much competition. Cast Away? Swept Away?). A different kind of castaway is Jandek, who is the subject of the documentary Jandek on Corwood. Disclaimer: I’ve been a fan of Jandek’s music for, hmmmm, 8 years now. I’ve become so used to its strange folksiness, its meandering yelps and yodels, that I can’t hear what’s not to like. Lots of lonely, late-night listenings. Franklin, you were there too? Did you see Beck in the back row, hiding his face?

Some Jandek links:

A Guide to Jandek

Jandek: The Great Disconnect

Mystery Man-The Jandek Story

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