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Flickering Empire / New Reviews at Cine-File

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“I was sucked in from the first pages — by the subject, by intrigue, and by the authors’ accessible narrative style, simultaneously a tale told by fireside and a cliffhanger. Copious research in newspapers of the day, film archives, museums, personal interviews, other film scholars, and the like inform every page. I felt as if I were walking the lively old streets and eavesdropping on the major players as I read. Villains, heroes, adventurous visionaries, and short-sighted muddlers abound. In case the reader might slip into melancholy over Lost Chicago, though, Smith and Selzer provide two charming epilogues: one an Oscar-night summary of the main figures’ careers after the books’ end, and another on ‘Orson and Oscar’ (Welles and Micheaux) that is worth the price on its own.”

So reads the rather generous pull-quote from film scholar and author Sara Vaux (The Ethical Vision of Clint Eastwood) that adorns the back cover of Adam Selzer’s and my forthcoming book Flickering Empire, which I am happy to report is now dropping via Columbia University Press on January 20, almost two months earlier than originally planned. You can read Susan Doll’s foreword as well as lengthy excerpts from the book itself via amazon.com’s invaluable “Look Inside!” feature. Peep it: http://www.amazon.com/Flickering-Empire-Chicago-Invented-Industry/dp/0231174497

In other news, I have two new reviews at Cine-File — one for Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s Chekhovian chamber drama Winter Sleep and one for Daniel Ribeiro’s gay coming-of-age story The Way He Looks. They open at the Music Box Theater over the next few weeks and I heartily recommend both: http://cine-file.info/list-archive/2014/DEC-14-3.html

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The Last Ten Movies I Saw

1. Grave of the Fireflies (Takahata)
2. Phil Spector (Mamet)
3. One Way Boogie Woogie (Benning)
4. My Neighbor Totoro (Miyazaki)
5. Chungking Express (Wong)
6. We are the Best! (Moodysson)
7. The Firm (Clarke)
8. Bollywood/Hollywood (Mehta)
9. Viola (Pineiro)
10. The Counselor (Scott)


Blu Clementine

“John Ford is an unholy combination of the Boston Strangler, Groucho Marx, Zorro and Mark Twain.” — Stephen Longstreet

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Newly released on Blu-ray from the Criterion Collection is John Ford’s 1946 western masterpiece My Darling Clementine. This highly fictionalized account of the gunfight at the OK Corral — pitting Marshal Wyatt Earp (Henry Fonda at his most iconic) and his right-hand man Doc Holliday (Victor Mature) against the fascistic “Clanton gang” (led by an atypically but convincingly psychotic Walter Brennan) — is a welcome addition to both the Criterion Collection and the growing number of Ford titles available in high-quality, high-definition editions on home video. My Darling Clementine was a pivotal film in Ford’s career for a number of reasons: it was his first western since Stagecoach in 1939 and his first fiction feature since returning from active duty in the Navy during World War II. The conflicts that arose during My Darling Clementine‘s post-production — between Ford and 20th Century Fox production chief Daryl Zanuck (with whom the director had previously enjoyed a long and productive, if occasionally combative, relationship) — ultimately fractured their partnership for good and led to Ford’s exiting the studio and starting his own independent production company, Argosy Pictures. This rupture is explicitly spelled out in Criterion’s excellent Blu-ray set, which features not only the copious supplementary material one would expect but two versions of the film itself: an early “preview version” (103 minutes in length and truer to Ford’s original intentions) and the 97-minute theatrical release (partially re-shot by Lloyd Bacon and heavily re-cut by Zanuck). The result is one of the most essential home video releases of the year.

Ford’s experiences during the war had a profound impact on his art and that is immediately apparent in My Darling Clementine, a film about a cattle man who emerges from the wilderness to “settle down” in the lawless town of Tombstone, Arizona, and reluctantly becomes marshal in the process. The first significant thing Wyatt Earp does upon arriving in town is to disarm and run out of town a drunken Indian, an event that occurs when Earp’s symbolic trip to the barbershop is unceremoniously interrupted. More importantly, Wyatt Earp’s reaction to the death of his younger brother James (and his lament over James’s grave about how their “Ma” will take the news) seems to reflect Ford’s own wartime duty of informing the parents of the deaths of the young men who served under his command in the Navy’s Field Photographic Unit. Finally, Ford stages the climactic gunfight at the OK Corral as if it were, in his own words, a “clever military maneuver.” There is a lot of powerful stillness and silence in the build up to the gunfight, as Earp and his deputies calmly walk up to the corral, which they then strategically infiltrate by cover of the dust kicked up by a passing horse-drawn covered wagon. This strategic maneuvering was undoubtedly influenced by the military maneuvers Ford had witnessed while covering the second world war as a documentary filmmaker, a lot of the footage of which has still never been publicly screened.

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My Darling Clementine also feels highly personal and quintessentially Fordian in the way that it eschews plot in favor of a series of vignettes — some comical, some poignant — that Ford himself termed “grace notes.” One watches Ford in general not for plot but for these magic moments: an unexpectedly stunning composition here, a bit of spontaneous behavior that he probably cooked up with his actors while on set there. The fact that My Darling Clementine contains an unusually large number of such moments is perhaps an indication that Ford’s wartime experiences had strengthened his independence and resolve to buck against the constraints of a rigid studio system. Daryl Zanuck, who adored Ford, had always complained about the tempo of Ford’s movies (Zanuck had even wired the director a message on the set of 1939’s Drums Along the Mohawk reading, “They don’t call them moving pictures because they stand still. They move.”). Yet in 1946, Ford was willing to introduce the central conflict between the Earp brothers and the Clantons in his opening scene and then essentially put that conflict on hold for the next 45 minutes. This is absolutely the best stretch of the film, a series of magic moments that everyone remembers but that have nothing to do with the story. Most famously, there is the image of Wyatt Earp leaning back in a chair on the front porch of his hotel and balancing himself on a post with his feet. But there is also the sweetly awkward moment where Earp dances with Clementine Carter (Cathy Downs) at the consecration of Tombstone’s first church, Linda Darnell’s Mexican prostitute singing “Under a Broad Sombrero,” the comical visit to Tombstone of a Shakespearean actor named “Granville Thorndyke” (Alan Mowbray), and Earp collecting poker chips in his hat.

It was Ford’s indulgence of such indelible digressions, and Zanuck’s opposition to them, that ultimately led to the permanent falling out between the two men. This falling out is illustrated in detail on Criterion’s Blu-ray, not only through the two versions of the film included (both thankfully presented in 1080p) but also through the many welcome supplements, including an excellent new audio commentary by Ford biographer Joseph McBride and a visual essay by Tag Gallagher. But, of course, even those not academically inclined will want to snap this up; the real treat here is the movie itself, one of the greatest of all Hollywood westerns, and this version represents a new 4K digital restoration with a linear PCM soundtrack that both looks and sounds fabulous (better even than the superb DVD that was included in the mammoth “Ford at Fox” box set from a few years ago). Ford’s body of work is so rich because the man himself, like other great American artists such as Walt Whitman or Bob Dylan, contains multitudes. As the quote from Stephen Longstreet that opens this review attests (less perverse than it might initially seem), Ford was a complex dude who could be a stern — occasionally sadistic — father figure, a comedian, an adventurer and a master storyteller. One gets a sense of each of these qualities in My Darling Clementine, a film that undoubtedly would be a richer experience could we see Ford’s original version today. However, it is a testament to Ford’s genius that, even shorn of 30 minutes and partially re-shot, the theatrical release is still one of the high water marks of his long and illustrious career.

My Darling Clementine (1946)


Filmmaker Interview: Kris Swanberg

Last October I programmed a pop-up film festival at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, Illinois. The inaugural screening was Kris Swanberg’s Empire Builder, a terrific slow-burn drama starring Kate Lyn Sheil as an alienated mother and housewife who travels with her infant son from Chicago to rural Montana for a vacation at her family’s cabin. Imagine a 70-minute microbudget version of Chantal Akerman’s Jeanne Dielman and you’ll have some idea of both the creepiness and impressive formal qualities that Swanberg offers up in her assured second feature. The following interview took place in Oakton’s Footlik Theater in front of a live audience. Because Kris was running late, I literally met her for the first time onstage for our talk.

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MGS: And here comes the writer and director of the wonderful movie you just saw. Please give a warm welcome to Kris Swanberg! Hi!

KS: Hi! I tried to call you.

MGS: That’s all right. I don’t get cell phone service in here. The film just ended about 10 minutes ago and I was taking questions. I said I couldn’t presume to answer for you. (To audience) I’ve never met Kris before. (laughs) So have a seat and we’ll chat.

KS: Okay, great. Sorry I’m late, you guys. I got confused on the campus here.

MGS: That’s quite all right. It’s like a labyrinth. It took me a few years to figure out my way around. So you’re editing a new film?

KS: Yeah, I just wrapped a feature (Unexpected). Do you guys know who Cobie Smulders is? You guys know that show How I Met Your Mother? She’s the lead in my new movie. We just shot it for 20 days in Chicago and we just wrapped October 6th, so I’ve just been editing that for a couple weeks now. I’m sort of in the trenches and I’m trying to make that movie good. (laughs)

MGS: Excellent. How close are you to completion?

KS: That is a good question. I do not know the answer to that question. Yeah, I think there’s a couple things, I might want to bring her back out and shoot a couple more things. But it’s looking really good. We definitely have a first cut. But, you know, just trying to make it perfect.

MGS: Picture is not locked, as they say?

KS: Picture is not locked, no, no.

MGS: Well, best of luck to you on that film.

KS: Thanks.

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MGS: Before we talk about Empire Builder, I’d like to talk about ice cream. Because I first became aware of you not as a filmmaker but as an ice-cream maker. A few years ago, my wife and I had another couple over to our apartment every week. We’d make them dinner and they’d bring either booze or dessert. And one week they brought over a pint of Nice Cream, which was, of course, your company’s ice cream. It was the best damn ice cream I’ve ever eaten . . .

KS: What flavor did you have?

MGS: Chocolate and jalapeno.

KS: Oh yeah!

MGS: And then I couldn’t buy it anymore. So why can’t I buy it anymore and how did you make the transition from being an ice-cream maker to being a filmmaker?

KS:
Well, this is actually very linked to the film so I’ll just give you the whole spiel. Which is that I went to film school — I went to Southern Illinois University for undergrad for film school — and then I moved to Chicago. I worked with my husband, we shot a movie together. And before this film, I shot my first feature called It Was Great But I Was Ready to Come Home. I shot it in 2009. I was working as a filmmaker but I wasn’t making any money, so I actually had to have jobs. The job that I had at the time was that I was a high-school teacher. I was a high school teacher on the west side of Chicago and I was teaching film and video to high-school kids. So I did that for a couple years. I wasn’t trained as a high-school teacher, they just hired me to do it. And it was great. I turned out to be really good at it and I loved the kids, etc. CPS closed a bunch of schools, as you may or may not know, and I got laid off. All the teachers got laid off at that school. And I sort of was putzing around in my apartment and I took out the wedding present that I got when my husband and I got married, which was an ice-cream maker, and I just started drowning my sorrows in ice-cream making. So I got really good at it and started selling it and that just kind of grew and turned into a pretty successful business. And in 2012 or 2011, right before I shot Empire Builder, the ice-cream company that I had got shut down by the state of Illinois — not because it was poison or dirty or anything like that, we had passed all of our health inspections and we had our business license and everything was legit — but the state of Illinois has these regulations that they wrote for dairy that don’t allow for businesses to do hand-crafted small-batch ice cream, which I wasn’t aware of. So, in order to sell ice cream in the state of Illinois, you have to have factory-grade equipment and you have to work in, basically, a factory. So, they have all these regulations that are written for, like, Dean’s and Oberweis and places that are really, really big that make thousands of gallons of ice cream at a time. And so they came to me and they said that in order to continue I would have to purchase that factory equipment, which is just insanely expensive and I wouldn’t have any place to put it. So, the business got shut down. We wrote a bill and brought it to Springfield and tried to pass it in state Congress. We put a real effort into trying to make it work but it didn’t work. And I had at the time a six-month-old baby and I lost my income from the ice-cream company and we had just bought a house and I found myself as a stay-at-home mom. So my husband, who’s also a filmmaker, had to work a lot more and we had very little money. And I was just, you know, home with an infant and it was not what I imagined for myself. So, even though I think staying home with a kid is a really admirable thing to do and an awesome choice, I sort of felt like I had been forced into it. I remember being on my hands and knees and cleaning my bathtub and listening to the baby cry and just being like, “What happened? How did I end up here?” And I got really depressed. It was a real identity conflict for me. I wasn’t sure where I was at: I wasn’t making money as a filmmaker, I wasn’t teaching high school anymore, my ice-cream company got shut down and I found myself at a loss with what to do with myself and who I was and what I was going to be. So, anyway, I made this film to deal a little bit with the things that I was feeling at the time. So it’s interesting that you brought that up.

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MGS: Well, that’s a perfect segue into Empire Builder! So, obviously, it’s a very personal film for you and I would imagine making it was a somewhat cathartic experience as well.

KS: Yeah, it was a really personal film. That’s my real baby that’s in the movie. He’s going to be four next week.

MGS: And that’s some good baby acting too!

KS: Yeah, he’s really very good at acting like a baby.

MGS: Did he take direction well or did he just do whatever he wanted?

KS: No, he did whatever he wanted. We would just put him in the place where he needed to be. He was 10-months-old when we shot the movie so he was super-happy to just sit at a table and eat Cheerios for as long as we needed him to. It was a little stressful and I was conflicted as a mother and a filmmaker. It was a little stressful at the end when he’s naked and she grabs him and is running. We had to shoot that a few times and I think he got stressed out and cried and stuff because why was this person grabbing him, naked, and running? She was, of course, acting as if she was filled with stress, and running, and I think that was stressful for him as a baby. But he’s fine now, he wasn’t traumatized.

MGS: And that’s the kind of thing where it probably helped that it was your own baby, right? You probably wouldn’t want to use somebody else’s baby.

KS: No, because in the film that I just shot, we had a birth scene where we had to have a newborn baby and make it look like he was being born, and I hated it. It turned out really well but it’s really stressful because they literally don’t know what’s going on and they’re crying. You know, if you have a grown adult you can be like, “Well, they signed up for this.” Like, you know, if this is stressing them out, this is their chosen career path. If they want to act or whatever, they have to deal with this. But with an infant, it’s like you’re using that infant. Yeah, it was easier with my own kid, I think, than with another one.

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MGS: I’d like to ask you about the character of Jenny, around whom the narrative revolves. There were a few questions earlier about what exactly is wrong her. She seems very depressed at the beginning of the film and I said one of the things that makes the film so daring is that you show what’s wrong with her rather than have her talk about it. The cinematography in the film is so precise, especially in the early scenes, there are great static shots where the camera is at a distance from the subjects and it has a kind of voyeuristic feeling . . .

KS: Definitely.

MGS: And the sound design is also amazing. I think my favorite shot is when she’s looking out the window and you can hear the traffic outside and it gets louder and louder. There’s something very disturbing about that. How did you work with your cinematographer and also your sound designer to use sound and image to convey her subjective psychological state?

KS: Thank you. Yeah, it really is a really cinematic film. Not to, like, give myself a compliment but the film I just shot, I think, is different in a way and I almost miss what I did in this film because there’s a lot of talking. There’s a lot of people explaining what they’re feeling to other people. And I always liked this film because it’s very quiet and it’s purposefully so and it really makes you pay attention. I always feel about Empire Builder: either you fall asleep or you pay attention. And, you know, some people fall asleep, which is fine. But you never know exactly what she’s feeling or what is going on. So you’re always watching and you’re picking at anything that is said or anything you do see, you’re building together clues to kind of figure out what is the story. And I think that’s (what’s) really interesting about this movie and something I’m really proud of. But, yeah, I think she’s depressed about her situation. In the beginning of the movie, she’s in Chicago, she’s not happy about where she’s ended up in her world. Some of that we learn in retrospect throughout the rest of the film when she does get to Montana, which is where the movie was shot. When she does get to Montana she does seem like maybe she’s putting a life together for herself. She’s cleaning and setting things up and making things and she does seem a little bit happier than she was. But then when she meets Kyle, she sort of gets back into the same situation that she was almost in. And her husband in the beginning of the film, he’s not beating her, he’s not violently a bad person, but I think he’s a little bit of an asshole and he’s a little bit oppressive. You know, I hate melodrama. In my films I’m always struggling to show something without it being over the top. I think she feels a little bit trapped in her situation, just the way the husband’s like, “Oh, you should cut up his meat smaller.” And the way he goes on about his idea for buying a new place. So when she meets Kyle she finds herself in a similar situation where, I think, he’s really attractive. And it’s always kind of a fantasy to go to the middle of nowhere and find a guy who’s like a worker-guy . . .

EMPIRE BUILDER - Thai Food

MGS: (laughs) I called him the “sexy handyman” right before you showed up.

KS: Yeah, I think that’s totally what he is. You know, and he gets a little weird too. He’s, like, forcing her kid to learn to walk before he’s really ready to learn to walk. But he’s not wielding a gun or anything either. It just doesn’t feel safe. It feels a little scary and I think it’s even a little scarier that there’s nothing really intense happening because there’s no sure signs for her to leave. If she came home and he was drinking and practicing shooting a gun, it might be enough of a clue to say, “Oh, let me get the hell out of here.” But I think what’s really scary in life is when you’re faced with a person or a situation and you’re not really sure if they’re bad or not. When you’re walking home from the bus or the train and somebody’s walking 20 feet behind you and you’re like, “Is this guy gonna try and kill me? Should I run? Or will I be ridiculous if I do that?” I think those are some of the more scary moments in life. And that’s sort of what I was trying to portray with that.

MGS: I think you’re absolutely successful. If this were the Hollywood version, he’d be waving the gun around. And if this were the Hollywood version, in the beginning there would be a scene where she would go out to lunch with a friend and she would say, “I’m so dissatisfied with my life. I need to escape from this.”

KS: Totally.

MGS: But you show it instead of having her talk about it. Okay, I think now would be a good time to open this up to questions from the audience.

You can rent or purchase
Empire Builder as a digital download via Kris Swanberg’s vimeo page:


The Last Ten Movies I Saw

1. Bernie (Linklater)
2. The Babadook (Kent)
3. Exhibition (Hogg)
4. Selma (DuVernay)
5. Carancho (Trapero)
6. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya (Takahata)
7. McCabe and Mrs. Miller (Altman)
8. Zero Dark Thirty (Bigelow)
9. The Blue Room (Amalric)
10. Gremlins 2: The New Batch (Dante)


Mathieu Amalric’s The Blue Room

I’m pleased to announce that I’m now contributing to Cine-File, the definitive guide to independent and underground cinema in Chicago. My first review is for Mathieu Amalric’s erotic thriller The Blue Room, which I was quite taken with and which I describe as being “both free of flab and capable of sticking to one’s ribs.” It opens at the Gene Siskel Film Center for a week-long run beginning tonight. You can read my review here:

http://www.cine-file.info/list-archive/2014/DEC-14-1.html

If you live in the greater Chicago area, you should sign up for Cine-File’s weekly mailing list here:

http://cine-file.info/mailinglist/join.html

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Celluloid Flashback: The Cannibals

One of my favorite living filmmakers, Portugal’s Manoel de Oliveira, will celebrate his 106th(!) birthday on December 11th. To commemorate, today’s post is adapted from a lecture I gave about his film The Cannibals as part of Facets Multimedia’s Night School series “The Masters’ Session” last year. The premise of this particular session was that the most regular Night School presenters, including yours truly, were given carte blanche to present whatever films we wanted.

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Thank you all for being here, I know you could be at C2E2 right now. When I was given free reign to pick any movie I wanted to show for this session of Facets Night School, The Cannibals was my first choice because, when I first saw it last year upon illegally downloading it, I said to myself, “This is so strange I don’t even know what to think about it.” So I’d like to start off by talking a little about Manoel de Oliveira’s career in general and about Surrealism, a tradition to which I think The Cannibals belongs. Oliveira is probably best known in the U.S. for having a freakishly long career: he directed his first film in 1931, which was then still the silent era in his native Portugal, and he’s currently making a new movie right now at the age of 104. What I think is especially interesting about Oliveira’s long career, however, is that, while he’s managed to be a very prolific director on the whole, that’s mostly because of the films he’s made in the past 25 years alone. (His career had stalled for decades when he was a young man due to lack of financing and political turmoil in Portugal.) I think that The Cannibals is, in many ways, an ideal introduction to his work because it actually kickstarts the prolific “late phase” of his career: since making it in 1988, he has managed to make an average of one feature film a year for a quarter of a century. The Cannibals can also be seen as inaugurating the most recent phase of Oliveira’s career in that it marks the first of many collaborations between him and his favorite actress, Leonor Silveira, who was only 17-years-old when this was made. When you see her, you may notice she looks a lot like a young Brooke Adams, the lead actress in Terrence Malick’s Days of Heaven.

So how does The Cannibals relate to Surrealism? Whenever we hear the word “surreal,” I think we tend to think of art that is somehow aggressively bizarre and dreamlike in nature. But I think it’s important to remember that the original Surrealists, in the 1920s, represented something of a return to more conventional aesthetics following other, more radical artistic movements. Cubism, for instance, was more radical in the sense that it had destroyed the concept of traditional perspective; think of Picasso’s painting Les Demoiselles d’Avignon in which you can see different sides of the subjects all at once, and there’s no sense of separation between the foreground, middleground or background. When Surrealist painters like Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte came along, their idea was to present landscapes that did return to the concept of traditional perspective but they would then put things in the middle of those landscapes that absolutely did not seem to belong. And I think this is what gives Surrealism its power — the feeling that one is experiencing something that is very familiar and yet, at the same time, very strange because there’s usually one element that feels completely out of place. So I think the subversive way in which the Surrealists “defamiliarized the familiar” is what makes their work so funny and unsettling. And this is true not only of Surrealist painters but also of Surrealist films, such as those made by the great Luis Bunuel: a film like Un Chien Andalou (1929), for example, is surprisingly similar to Hollywood filmmaking in terms of how it’s shot and edited. It’s the irrational happenings within Un Chien Andalou‘s conventional film language that make the movie seem so bizarre.

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I mention Bunuel not only because he’s widely considered the greatest Surrealist filmmaker but also because he’s Oliveira’s acknowledged master. Oliveira even made a sequel to Bunuel’s Belle de Jour (1967) entitled Belle toujours, starring Michel Piccoli, in 2006. But I think Bunuel-style Surrealism is also very much the approach Oliveira has taken in a lot of his own work and I think this is more true of The Cannibals than any of his other films that I’ve seen. So how exactly does Oliveira subvert the conventions of traditional narrative cinema here? The first thing you need to know about this movie is that it’s a musical — well, more of a filmed opera really, because there’s no dancing but every single line of dialogue is sung. The first time I saw it I thought, “Wow, this is so conventional as an opera that I can easily imagine seeing this performed onstage,” although it never has been performed onstage because it was created by Oliveira specifically for the screen. Oliveira wrote the screenplay based on a novel by the Portuguese writer Álvaro Carvalhal and then had a contemporary classical composer, João Paes, write the music and the libretto. The plot concerns Marguerite (Silveira), a high-society woman who marries a wealthy Viscount (Luis Miguel Cintra, Oliveira’s favorite leading man) over the objections of her jealous ex-lover, Don Juan (Diogo Doria). On their wedding night, the Viscount reveals to Marguerite his darkest secret, which leads to a devilish, uproariously funny climax that you have to see to believe.

Adding a layer of self-reflexive fun to all of these goings-on is an omniscient, singing narrator (Oliveira Lopes); at one point, the narrator hilariously complains about the protagonists’ use of the “sententious language of poor melodrama” in the previous scene. So, if you can imagine an unholy, self-reflexive mash-up of Bunuel’s The Exterminating Angel (1962) and Jacques Demy’s The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964), you might have some idea of what is in store for you tonight. I don’t want to say anything more about what happens in this movie on a plot level but I do want to point out that about three-quarters of the way into the film, something happens onscreen involving movie “special effects” that, in the best Surrealist tradition, could never happen onstage; and I think this highlights one of Oliveira’s clever formal strategies — to kind of lull viewers into thinking that we’re seeing something that could be performed onstage before pulling the rug out from under us. In doing so, I think he wants to get us to actively think about the differences between cinema and live theater. The other sneaky thing that I think Oliveira’s up to here is the way that he uses the form of opera specifically, which is the art form most closely identified with wealthy patrons, in order to attack the upper class (in other words, the very people who are most likely to end up seeing this movie).

The last thing I’d like to say about The Cannibals is that when it had its U.S. premiere at the San Francisco International Film Festival in 1989, the festival’s director, in his opening remarks, begged the audience to stay for the last 15 minutes, assuring them that those 15 minutes would make the entire experience worthwhile. I would like to echo that sentiment tonight: please stick with this movie until the very end. The last 15 minutes are absolutely worth it. Enjoy the show.

The Cannibals has regrettably never been released on home video in North America. You can, however, see excerpts of it in the very lovely video tribute to Manoel de Oliveira below:


The Last Ten Movies I Saw

1. The Long Goodbye (Altman)
2. Gremlins (Dante)
3. Cold Fish (Sono)
4. Basic Instinct (Verhoeven)
5. L’avventura (Antonioni)
6. The Spirit of the Beehive (Erice)
7. Persona (Bergman)
8. The Holy Girl (Martel)
9. Citizenfour (Poitras)
10. Why Don’t You Play in Hell? (Sono)


Happy Thanksgiving from White City Cinema!

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The Last Ten Movies I Saw

1. Animal Kingdom (Michod)
2. Finding Vivian Maier (Maloof/Siskel)
3. Foxcatcher (Miller)
4. Mr. X, a Vision of Leos Carax (Louise-Salome)
5. Before Sunset (Linklater)
6. Badlands (Malick)
7. Locke (Knight)
8. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Wiene)
9. American Sniper (Eastwood)
10. Breathless (Godard)


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