Tuesday, July 21, 2009

the last of my shilling for criterion for now

seduced and abandoned, fishing with john, lord of the flies, double suicide

another film canon i am actively working on is to see the entire criterion collection. this one is going to take a while. the problem is that criterion has a tendency of releasing discs with a lot of stuff and i need to watch all of it (john laurie commenting on fishing!? WHY NOT!). i am shameless lover of the criterion collection, eclipse, and janus films. in fact, im a total whore for them. i need to buy a shirt. since my netflix queue is ordered into adding bursts (a bunch of j horror, new releases, eric rohmer, etc) i had a crapload of random criterions arrive and here is quick round up ordered from favorite to least favorite:

plot: john laurie fishes around the world with celebrities (willem dafoe, jim jarmusch, dennis hopper, matt dillon, tom waits)
results: hilarity

this is basically watching a jim jarmusch film that wasnt written or directed by the man himself. instead it was all laurie who was an integral star of jarmusch's most celebrated works (stranger than paradise and down by law). this was a TV series that aired on PBS in the early 90s and still holds up as a funny, clever, and original anti-sports sporting show.

also, gotta love that theme song (fiiiiiiiiiiishiiiiiing wiiiiiiith joooooohn. fiiiiiiiiishing wiiiiiiiiith joooooohn, etc.)

im suprised i waited so long to watch this pietro germi italian comedy. i loved his previous film, divorce italian style and greatly admired it for its fellini-lite madcapness. like divorce, seduced was a madcap social satire. equal parts laugh out loud comedy and dry subtle wit, germi is really a great underappreciated director.

corpulent star saro urzi is perfect as a paranoid patriarch of an italian family obsessed with maintained their honor after their daughter agnese is knocked up by their other daughter's fiance. agnese is played with tragic fare by the beautiful stefania sandrelli who also starred in divorce italian style.

i dont really care for the works of mario monicelli perhaps because its too subtle but germi is very accessible and has stood up very well over time

peter brook did an admirable job of adapting this very disturbing novel onto the screen without a gloss or sheen that later hollywood adaptions had. using non professional actors and island shooting the film had a practical realism to it. the de-evolution into savages by the choir is elegantly stated and the death of piggy is adequately tragic.

the film seems short though. not much else to say about it.

i was really disappointed i found this film so boring. after digesting a bunch of imamura and oshima, i was really looking forward to this important film of japanese 60s cinema. stylically, it was admirable and i liked the direction but nothing else really jumped out at me.

and so ends this edition of shilling for criterion