Monday, June 13

It was a pretty good weekend for viewing. Mostly at home, actually, where I watched my sister's favorite Bollywood film Lajja. It turned out to be fairly interesting and fun, though its supposed feminist message is totally undermined (as my sister pointed out) by the last couple reels, especially the final scenes where our heroine, after travelling in seemingly every stratum of Indian society, uncovering injustice to women at every turn, decides to reunite with her lying, cheating asswipe of a husband on his word that he'd reformed. And this is supposed to be the happy ending. sheesh!

More wholly fulfilling was Blue Snake, a video of the making and performance of the original Robert Desrosiers ballet, which was reprised in Robert Altman's 2003 masterpiece The Company. If that film ever were to begin to approach the reputation it deserves and warrant a 2-disc special edition DVD package, Niv Fichman's documentary about this premiere performance of the work would be the ultimate DVD extra. Seeing the ballet performed in full reveals that it was not just the addition of a Van Dyke Parks musical score that makes the Altman film's version distinctive. It looks like the entire ballet is structured in reverse order, as in 1986 the giant opened the piece and the circling snake closed it! I wonder why such a big change was made.

I also watched most of the shorts on disc one of Kino's 4-disc set of Edison films. No truly jaw-dropping standouts, but I always feel like I get a lot out of watching early early cinema like this.

The two in-the-cinema films I saw were both at the Roxie. I saw the first of a weekful of screenings of Adam Curtis's the Power of Nightmares which was fascinating. Hopefully I'll write more on that one. Also the final screening of Evil Aliens which the guy from the (Yet) Another Hole in the Head film festival menacingly threatened any would-be web-writers against revealing details about, which is enough of an excuse for lazy old me not to write a review of the film. Suffice to say that I was quite entertained despite the fact that I'm not particularly interested in the genre. (the splattery alien invasion movie that doesn't take itself at all seriously but has pretty good production values genre, I suppose you'd call it.) It's not quite as smart as Shaun of the Dead but, at least in this uncut version, has more visceral pleasures. It could be the movie that a lot of folks disappointed in Signs were really looking for. Of course I loved Signs.

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