Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sunday night saw Steven Soderbergh's Che. Better than any film biography deserves to be -- and better than I expected, given Soderbergh's past offerings (of his many films the only one I can stomach is The Limey). Benicio del Toro as Che Guevara is pretty perfect casting to my eye -- better, at least, than the too thin & pretty Gael Garcia Bernal in The Motorcycle Diaries. Soderbergh's Che is stipped of most typical biopic tropes -- no swelling music, no ironic dialogue, not even re-enactments of historical events, like the march into Havana -- instead, the action is very naturalistic, as though Soderbergh's been overdosing on Kalatozov and Bros. Maysles. Four hours long and released as two movies, which means I had to pay twice (not a very revolutionary marketing strategy I'd say). The first half follows Che up to the end of the Cuban Revolution, the second is one long guerrilla war in Bolivia, marred only by Lou Diamond Phillips and Matt Damon cameos. Would've loved to have seen Terrence Malick's take.

Monday night met up with a group of folks at a Mexican restaurant in Los Feliz called Malo for artist Kerry Tribe's birthday. Kerry just finished a movie called H.M., "the true story of an amnesiac known as 'Patient H.M.' In 1953, at the age of 27, H.M. underwent experimental brain surgery intended to alleviate his epilepsy. The unintended result was that he could never form another lasting memory." So says the casting call. I was an extra. Look for the back of a doctor's head as he walks down a hospital corridor. That would be me. The real H.M., Henry Gustav Molaison, coincidentally died this past December. As the New York Times obit says, "each time he met a friend, each time he ate a meal, each time he walked in the woods, it was as if for the first time." Until it was the last time, I guess. Kerry has a collaboration with poet Nick Moudry in the next issue of Area Sneaks that incorporates some H.M.  film and production stills. Extremely jealous that one of Kerry's birthday gifts was a copy of Fiona Banner's The Nam, "a compilation of total descriptions of well known Vietnam films Full Metal Jacket, The Deer HunterApocalypse Now, Born on the Fourth of July, Hamburger Hill and Platoon" all written out for 1000 pages as if it were one long movie. Also saw a preview of a Mungo Thomson multiple in which he remade several copies of Art Forum, the content of which is solely composed of advertisements that appeared in its pages during the 1970s. 

Ate Malo's deliciously spicey chipotle & cream salsa as well as three hard-shell tacos: chipotle potato, ground beef & pickle, and lobster.

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