If you recognize the image, then you can guess what my next Foreign Region DVD Report will be; if not, well, Tuesday's only a couple of days away anyhow. I find in this frame a nice distillation of the wit of this particular, often misunderstood filmmaker.
In other news, as the Oscars approach, I see that Jeff Wells has used the imminence of the awards ceremony as an excuse to hit the laudanum early. I now really and truly hope that The Hurt Locker wins Best Picture, so that on Tuesday morning I can get the paper and read the headline "Film Blogger" Arrested In Trendy Bistro Fracas or some such. Funsy!
As I'm here, I'll remind you that my own liveblogging of the Academy Awards will start here, God willing, at about 7:30 p.m. Eastern time. I will be unassisted by any mind-altering substances.
The horrific yet supremely satisfying finale to Chuck Jones' brutally brilliant 1951 tale of animal exploitation, Chow Hound. One of the toughest cartoons ever, really. The Eisenhower era was an interesting time for Looney Tunes/Merrie Melodies. Not bland at all, but rather, piquant, cynical, sardonic; wise-guy-ish in a very different way than the madcap surreal stuff of the '40s was.
Busy day today, so there will likely not be much blogging beyond this. But this is a salient image upon which to chew, is it not?
Or, to be more accurate, Heaven's town hall/courthouse and Hell's outer office. From Powell and Pressburger's 1946 A Matter Of Life And Death and Ernst Lubitsch's 1943 Heaven Can Wait, respectively. Such whimsy and imagination, no? Tomorrow I'm seeing The Lovely Bones, directed by Peter Jackson from his and Fran Walsh's and Phillipa Boyens's script, from Alice Sebold's novel. The picture's been getting some critical stick for its own depiction of heaven, but I'm looking forward to making up my own mind. Was I more excited about the prospect of this picture when Lynne Ramsay was set to direct it? I cannot tell a lie: yes. But I am a long-time admirer of Jackson's and am eager to take in his vision.
I will also be conducting an interview with Jackson, soon, for The Auteurs', and I won't be asking my own stupid questions: I'll be asking the best of questions that readers have suggested on a forum that you yourself can access by going here, if you're interested, and a registered member, which you definitely should be. Don't leave questions on THIS thread, please. Instead, why not discuss your own favorite cinematic depictions of heaven, and hell, thus far?
A ballsy Georges Marchal gives his greetings to the local authorities in Death in the Garden, a 1956 Luis Buñuel oddity from right before his second great period. Why oddity? It's a French-Mexican coproduction shot in Mexico, from a French-language script in part by the great Raymond Queneau. Not a great favorite of the maestro's: "The production was torture," he tells De La Colina and Turrent in the indispensible interview book Objects of Desire, and then he elaborates. I haven't been able to watch this in its entirety yet, and I'll have more to say about it when I do; in the meantime, I sure do get a kick out of this shot.
Do you know the film? No, it's not Where The Wild Things Are. Or Law-Abiding Citizen, for that matter. A surprising Blu-ray choice, to be sure. I once considered the title the most morally reprehensible thing I'd ever seen. Silly me, with To Be Twenty and Night Train Murders and so much more ahead!
From The Golem, 1920, Paul Wegener and Carl Boese.
Which reminds me, I gotta get in gear and write up the Coens' fabulous A Serious Man soon. Not at all a self-hating Jew contempt-fest, but rather a cartoon Book of Job set in a (among other things) burgeoning counter-culture milieu. One of their richest and most profitably mischievous films.