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Happy-Making Movie

Shaolin Soccer.
It is sublimely ridiculous. I can’t even find words to describe it.
Something like Farrelly Brothers meeets Kung Fu Bollywood, I guess.
Here are a few terms used to describe it by other critics, all of which
I agree with:

“buoyant goof…”
“lunatic whirl…”
“like live action anime…”
“has a way of lifting spirits…”
“an infectious knockabout…”
“silliest, sweetest…films in recent memory”
“empty-headed treat…”


In more ways than one. I almost didn’t post about this because they’ve booked him into a tiny room that fits about 40 people and has such poor circulation that it gets VERY HOT when the room is half-full, but here goes. Andrew Bujalski will be at BU to show Mutual Appreciation, and Rachel Clift, one of the co-stars and one of my former BU grad school colleagues whom I interviewed about the film here will also be at the event. But even more amazing is the note that he is now teaching film production at BU. Score for my alma mater! Here are the details:

Friday, January 27-AN EVENING WITH ANDREW BUJALKSI-BU proudly welcomes its new film production instructor Bujalski, whose acclaimed “cult” movie, Funny Ha Ha, was named one of the Ten Best Films of the Year by the New York Times. Bujalksi will offer a sneak preview screening of his new comedy feature, Mutual Appreciation, prior to its release, a sublimely eccentric story of a post-grad guy who moves from Boston to NYC and seeks a drummer for his two-person indie band. The chief love interest in the movie is played superbly by Rachel Clift, ex-BU film graduate student. She will be joining Bujalski for the Q&A. 640 Comm.Ave., BU College of Communication, Room B-05, 7 pm.

I Made Another Photo Essay!

Well not really. It’s just a reformatted version of my dumpster movie that you’ve probably already seen. I wanted to see what it would look like as an photo essay now that I know how to do photo essays. And somehow it looks better on flickr. So check it out if you haven’t seen it already, or see the original version on flickr.

Also if you want to see my werewolf movie let me know–the file’s too big to post here, it’d crash the server. Plus it’s sort of illegal because it’s a mashup of American Werewolf in London with my own footage.

I Made A Photo Essay!

It’s called I Hate Travel. I made it from scratch with basic HTML. There’s gotta be an easier way to do this, Tony.


The house was packed for a 4:20 Friday matinee of Cache’, I was shocked. I was expecting to have the theater to myself. And I saw several people I knew. Boston is such a small town. Or rather, it’s such a small film town. Every time I go to an event that is interesting mostly just to film geeks, I see several people I know. There were many I didn’t know though, some of which I wanted to strangle for not turning their cell phones off EVEN AFTER THEY WERE RINGING or for saying stupid things to the screen like “Oh my God what a psycho. Why would he do something like that?”

Despite this, I relished Cache’. Several critics are complaining about the film’s heavy-handed allegorical aspects–a heavy dose of self-satisfying white guilt over ‘the Algerian situation’ in France and the broader issues of Imperialism, the Iraq war and other Arab countries. (The image above is considered the most egregious example–for a very extended take, the couple stands on either side of the frame worrying about their son, who hasn’t come home from swimming practice yet, oblivious to the large TV screen in between them which blares with bloody images and news of deaths and violence in the Arab world.) And while these complaints are valid, I think (or perhaps I prefer to think) that despite this specific allegory, Haneke is always aiming for something more universal than that. I think that in part explains the uncertainty that surrounds the events of the story, to the very end. If he were merely commenting on France’s treatment of Algerians, would he leave it unspoken whether the two Algerians involved were actually involved? In keeping this uncertainty he steps back a bit from specific political arguments and instead makes the film about what all his films are about, basically: destabilizing (or perhaps more appropriately, terrorizing) comfy upper-middle-class intellectual families forcing them to confront The World Out There. In Time of the Wolf he used unspecified apocalyptic disaster, here it is racial tension and Imperialism. Perhaps it says more about me than about the films that I do very much enjoy watching Haneke knock the intellectual upper-crust families off their pedestals.

At any rate, heavy-handed political allegory or no, I was still enthralled by the stunning (DV) cinematography, acting, and skillful sense of dread and uncertainty that is woven into this and every Haneke film. But mostly, I just get lost in his images. His long takes. His decidedly unromantic and spare use of violence that makes it so much more shocking, and somehow so much more ethical, than most cartoonish movie violence that ultimately shields us from its impact. His movies really need to be seen on the big screen, too much is lost on a television screen. You need to immerse yourself in his images, accustom yourself to their rhythm.

I do agree with the critics, though, that this is not Haneke’s greatest film–I reserve that title for Time of the Wolf–but it is a very good film, and very much a Haneke film. But one might also call it a Bergman film, or a Tarkovsky film, or a Kiarostami film.

Upcoming Review

A new Michael Haneke film is just what’s needed to get me excited about seeing movies again. This is where I’ll be tomorrow night. I am both excited and scared. He is in my opinion one of the greatest living directors. Time of the Wolf is my favorite film of all time. You’ll hear about the new one here…

Confirming Netflix Fears

Thanks to Adam for sending me this link: Your postman may be stealing your Netflix.
Mine were definitely taken by a neighbor, as they were taken before the
mailman came for the day. But I have in the past had about 3-4 dvds go
missing after I put them in official U.S. post office boxes on the
street, and I always suspected the mailman…

Funny Quote from a Boring Movie:

“I’d rather be happy than be right, any day.”
“Are you happy?”
“Well, no. That’s where it breaks down then, isn’t it.”

–Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy