Wednesday, March 15, 2017

THE SCHOOL OF TARKOVSKY PART 7 (NURI BILGE CEYLAN EDITION)

Stalker/Distant
Look...I love these Tarkovsky comparisons (I love all good movie comparisons for that matter). But at a certain point it’s easy to take an image of a horse or a guy standing in a field of weeds and compare them to another similar image of a horse or a guy standing in a field of weeds (especially within arthouse cinema).
In this latest edition of The School Of Tarkovsky we’re going to concentrate on the influence Andrei Tarkovsky had on one specific filmmaker in the form of Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Putting aside the fact that both filmmakers have a similar slow meditative approach, there are certain particular moments, scenes & shots in just about every Ceylan film that could be interpreted as a (subconscious) nod or (intentional) homage to Andrei Tarkovsky.
It seems like the more popular movie comparisons have become the more pushback they receive by cynics & skeptics (like some of the simple-minded folks in the confessions of a cinephile group on facebook). This is understandable in my book so instead of one or two vague references that could be drawn between any two films, we’re going to narrow things down a bit (if you still have doubts about the similarities between Tarkovsky & Ceylan or Tarkovsky’s all around influence after reading this then I don’t know what to tell you).


Enjoy…


TARKOVSKY (LEFT) / CEYLAN (RIGHT)
Andrei Rublev/Winter Sleep

The Mirror/Distant

Nostalghia/Once Upon A Time In Anatolia

Solaris/Once Upon A Time In Anatolia

Sacrifice/Small Town

Solaris/Once Upon A Time In Anatolia

Stalker/Photo taken by Ceylan

The Mirror/Once Upon A Time In Anatolia

The Mirror/Three Moneys

Stalker/Small Town

Stalker/Distant

Solaris/photo taken by Ceylan

WRONG REEL EPISODE #242: EBONY & IVORY BUDDY COP CLASSICS

Check me out on the latest episode of Wrong Reel where James & I discuss classic eboby & ivory buddy cop movies like Lethal Weapon, Nighthawks, The Last Boyscout, Blazing Saddles and so much more.

Enjoy (click the image to go to the episode...)


Wednesday, March 8, 2017

THE WHOLE HISTORY OF MY LIFE PART SIX: UNCLE BOONMEE WHO CAN RECALL HIS PAST LIVES (THE PINK SMOKE)



Check out the latest (and most personal) installment of the Whole History Of My Life series over at The Pink Smoke where I talk about my father, kidney disease and Apichatpong Weerasethakul's Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (click here or on the image above).


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

LA BAS



Agoraphobia:
an anxiety disorder characterized by symptoms of anxiety in situations where the person perceives the environment to be unsafe with no easy way to get away.
Those affected will go to great lengths to avoid these situations. In severe cases people may become unable to leave their homes.



I know this is a stock/cliché statement for just about any Chantal Akerman film but...La Bas is not for everyone. It is truly an acquired taste. If you are not familiar with, or a super fan of Akerman’s work, La Bas could very well be seen as a study in agoraphobia (imagine a film told from the perspective of Robert Crumb’s brothers in Crumb). The entire film, which straddles the line between documentary & fiction, is shot from the inside of an apartment from the perspective of a shut-in (Akerman) accompanied with Akerman’s own raspy voiceover narration. So you can see how that would be considered “boring” to the average person/movie-watcher. La Bas is essentially a film about a person observing her neighborhood from insider her apartment while reflecting on her current existence. It’s totally understandable if that doesn’t sound appealing. However, to a Chantal Akerman fan this is a quietly important film that not only bridges the gap between her early/classic films and her final film (No Home Movie), but it also gives some (possible) insight in to her own psyche.

In no way do I want to over-analyze and/or romanticize Akerman’s suicide but depression, melancholia, loneliness & sadness were all common elements in her work (not every film but still…). And it is my opinion that her (personal) work was a reflection of her own self more than the average filmmaker who sprinkles autobiographical bits of themselves in to their movies. Les Rendezvous D’Anna is about a female filmmaker doing the festival circuit with her latest film (that has to be autobiographical). News From Home is a loose documentary chronicling late 70’s New York City (Akerman had a few stints living in New York City). No Home Movie is a documentary chronicling her mother’s day-to-day life (Akerman’s sister also makes an appearance midway in to the film). She was also known to work with subjects who take their craft quite seriously (Pina Bauch).

Chantal Akerman's movies are also quite intimate...

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL: TIGHT SPACES IN THE CINEMA OF CHANTAL AKERMAN
Je Tu Il Elle
Hotel Monterey
Les Rendezvous D'Anna
News From Home

The up close & personal feel of Akerman’s early work is seen all throughout La Bas. Saute Ma VilleJe Tu Il Elle are shot primarily in small apartment kitchens & elevators while La Bas takes place in a seemingly tiny & darkly lit apartment. In Je Tu Il Elle we see Akerman looking out of windows quite a bit. In La Bas we see a first person perspective of Akerman looking out of windows. Is LA Bas a loose sequel to Je Tu Il Elle? Is Chantal Akerman playing the same “character” from her 1967 film, or is La Bas just a continued exploration of her personal life on film?

looking out of a window in Je Tu Il Elle (vouyerism is a common theme in Akerman's work)
deeper/closer vouyerism in La Bas

While Akerman released some films between La Bas in 2006 and her final film in 2015, I stand by the statement that La Bas bridged her later work with her early work. Half of No Home Movie is set in her mother’s kitchen just like in Saute Ma Ville. No Home Movie brought things full circle and La Bas was simply the arc that connected everything because it shared the same claustrophobic, isolated, intimate feel as the aforementioned films.


Full circle: dining in the first & last films of Chantal Akerman
Soute Ma Ville/No Home Movie

Depression:
a mental disorder characterized by at least two weeks of low mood that is present across most situations. It is often accompanied by low self-esteem, loss of interest in normally enjoyable activities, low energy, and pain without a clear cause. People may also occasionally have false beliefs or see or hear things that others cannot. Some people have periods of depression separated by years in which they are normal while others nearly always have symptoms present. Major depressive disorder can negatively affects a person's personal, work, or school life, as well as sleeping, eating habits, and general health.



It goes without saying that you had to be suffering from depression when suicide comes in to the picture but I truly wonder how depressed she was. There were many speculations surrounding Akerman’s suicide ranging from a failed relationship to her dissatisfaction with how her films were received/criticized over the last decade or so (we’ll never really know). But based on her constant work & output up until her death in conjunction with the more textbook description of what depression is – I see some discrepancies…

No matter how disappointed she may have been with the criticisms of her later films, it still didn’t stop her from putting out work pretty regularly (it should be noted that both IMDB & Wikipedia have her filmography incorrect with quite a few gaps). While working as a filmmaker she also taught film. I know enough from other filmmakers to know that teaching film rather than actually making them can be a little frustrating because it feels like a "step down", but, if I’m not mistaken, Akerman taught and made films at the same time which seems pretty motivated to me. But who knows? People hide their unhappiness in many different ways so there’s no point in trying to get to the bottom of “why?”. But I am fairly certain that La Bas is a peek in to the depressive side of things. I like to imagine Chantal Akerman made it during a depressing yet motivated/functioning period in her life. This is honestly a film she could have made without a crew. The lighting is mostly natural using the sunlight from all the windows in the apartment. And when there is no sunlight things get so dark to the point where you can’t see anything. So I doubt there was a lighting person on this film. A lot of the shots are long & uninterrupted so I don’t see the editing process being to grueling or tedious either. There isn’t even any music. I wonder if La Bas could be “registered”/considered for a dogma95 certification (by the time this film was made the dogma95 movement had died out so I doubt anyone would have taken notice).



WRONG REEL EPISODE 238: GET OUT/ROSEMARY'S BABY


Check me out on the latest episode of Wrong Reel where we discuss Jordan Peele's directorial debut; Get Out and the influential Rosemary's Baby. Is social horror making a comeback? Listen to find out.

enjoy...


Sunday, February 26, 2017

GET OUT


Interracial relationships on the big screen seem to be a “thing” right now. Loving, a solid film that went a little unnoticed & under the radar, came out a few months ago and A United Kingdom, the true story about the relationship between an African King & his British wife, is set to be released in the near future. But Get Out is kind of the “anti-Loving” or “anti-United Kingdom” in that it isn’t trying to pull at any heart strings (which Loving did in a natural & organic way) or win awards (sorry, but United Kingdom looks like misfired oscar bait).

Full disclosure – I’m Black and my fiancée is White. We’re also from parts of Massachusetts that are more tolerant of interracial relationships than say…parts of Alabama or Bensonhurst Brooklyn (she’s from Cambridge and I’m from Amherst). Seeing this movie was kind of a fun “event” for us. The lightly twisted humor that we sometimes share with each other (I wont get in to specifics) plays off of some of the stuff in this movie so it only makes sense that we would go see Get Out opening weekend (we’re also both fans of Key & Peele). But I sometimes wonder if seeing Get Out was more of an event for us or more for me. I’ve always felt an above-average connection to director/comedian Jordan Peele. We both have a light fascination with The Shining (see the continental breakfast skit from Key & Peele), we both have a love for cats (I’m a cat parent and he co-starred in last year’s cat-themed Keanu), we’re both Black men in relationships with white women (an obvious source of inspiration for Get Out), and I’ve been told on more than one occasion in my life so far that I “talk white” (an ongoing subject that comes up in Jordan Peele’s work).

And putting aside all the racial/interracial stuff for a second - I was incredibly excited for this film because the art of mixing genuine horror with comedy is damn near non-existent in movies these days (some of you may not find Get Out funny but in my opinion there is a thin layer of humor that laminates the entire movie from start to finish).

Parents

For those of you that don’t know, Bob Balaban’s underrated/underappreciated Parents is one of my all-time all-time favorite movies and the perfect example of what I feel a horror-comedy should be (something that’s just as funny as it is creepy & unsettling). And, in my opinion, Get Out invoked the spirit of Parents because it’s just as funny (in a dark & twisted way) as it is scary (the tone, ambiance, music, etc). In fact, there are some strong yet basic similarities between the execution of Parents & Get Out. While Get Out is a film that plays off of the modern Black man's fears, Parents is a film that plays off of the fear that children have of adults. Both movies contain real social commentary hidden under a seemingly entertaining popcorn movie. Jordan Peele really understands the traditional tropes & pacing that makes a horror movie work. Sure there are predictable jolts & jump scares in Get Out but he also takes his time in certain parts and doesnt rush the story along (the movie takes place over the course of a weekend). And based on certain Key & Peele skits ("Baby Forest Whitaker", "Make-A-Wish" & the final moments of "Continental Breakfast") it’s almost like Jordan Peele was working towards Get Out for quite some time.

This isn’t the first movie to do what it did (convey a message concerning race & racism through horror), but it’s definitely the first (good) movie to do it in quite some time (plus the science fiction behind everything is pretty clever).
I put Get Out in the same lane of “social horror” films as White Dog, Candyman, Tales From The Hood, People Under The Stairs and, most importantly, The Night Of The Living Dead. I'm sorry but no matter how much George Romero has denied this, I am absolutely convinced that race was a factor in that film. Do you really expect us to believe a movie made in the 1960’s that ends with an innocent Black man being murdered by a mob of old white men has nothing to do with race??

Just look at the final moments of Night Of The Living Dead (left) alongside this photo of a real lynching…


Get Out is a success in my eyes because everything about it is so on the nose & obvious yet it still cuts deep and gets its point across. For those that don’t know, Get Out is the story of a young Black man going to meet his white girlfriend’s family for the first time and, as you’ve all seen in the trailer at this point, things don’t go well (one of my few criticisms surrounding this movie is that the trailer gives away too much and doesn’t leave anything for the imagination going in). On the surface that sounds like such a predictable & overused storyline. An updated/warped reworking of Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner. But Get Out touches on that elephant in the room that a lot of people don’t want to deal with or genuinely cant see (there are people who really think that because we had two terms of Barak Obama that we’re in a post-racial society which couldn’t be further from the truth). This film touches on the fear that some Black men have living in this country (the opening scene really hammers this home). But, generally speaking, Black men on film are often big, strong, tough and/or stoic (Idris Elba, Mike Colter, The Rock, Denzel Washington, etc). None of these are characteristics associated with fear or weakness. But Black men get scared from time to time.
A (dark) source of inspiration for Jordan Peele in writing Get Out was the Trayvon Martin murder. Based on this country’s history with Black people, it’s understandable why we (Black American males) tense up when a cop car pulls up behind us or beside us. I’ve been in situations before where I’ve literally done nothing wrong and have nothing to feel guilty about but the feeling of a cop near me just made me feel guilty. As a matter of fact, the cops "escorted" me to my friend's house in Beverly Mass not too long ago (by escorted I mean I was literally tailed by a cop car for a good 10 minutes until I got to my destination).


I spent a lot of time in Boston and surrounding Boston suburbs for work for the last three months (I practically lived there during the work week between the months of November, December & January) and I did a little bit of house-sitting for two of my finacee’s sisters while they went away on vacation. I seriously feel like I asked them or their husbands to please let their neighbors know that I would be staying there an excessive number of times. I don’t know if any of you have ever been to Reading, Mass & Woburn Mass but there aren’t a lot of Black people in either of those towns. And that’s fine. That's not a criticism. But an unfamiliar large Black guy coming in & out of a house is going to set of some red flags to neighbors. An unfamiliar person of any race coming in & out of a house that isn’t theirs is going to draw some curiosity & suspicion but it is my personal belief (based on personal experiences) that a big Black guy like myself is going to set off even more red flags & curiosity.

But Get Out is in no way a representation of the first time I met my fiancee’s family either (not only is her family awesome but long before I came in to the picture her immediate family was already very racially diverse). Now…my fiancée & I have certainly had the kind of minor examples of silly intolerance that one might expect a modern-day interracial couple to experience from time to time (strange yet transparent looks from both Black people & White people), but nothing too crazy (I don’t want to present this as a sob story or anything). I’m also a large Black man so I sometimes draw attention to myself – depending on the setting – just by existing or entering a room. So, depending on the situation, a large Black man with a white girlfriend/fiancée/wife can bring on a potential double-take or a quick stare. And that stuff has certainly happened to us but I find that stuff more funny than I do upsetting. I’m too busy being in a relationship with the love of my life to worry about what someone I don’t know/care about thinks.

And there’s a flip side to the negativity that can sometimes come along with interracial intolerance. There’s this strange immediate/on-site comradery that comes up between interracial couples. Trust me it’s real and I’ve experienced it more than once. On two separate occasions – at two different jobs – pictures that I have up of my (white) fiancee have brought on other coworkers to show off their bi-racial children or Black husband which makes me smile. It’s like there’s a secret society of interracial relationships out there that have each other’s back. Actually that kind of sounds like a skit that Jordan Peele would have come up with for the Key & Peele show…

I don't know if I'd give Get Out a 100% rating (there are a few joke moments that validate the stereotype that Black men are easily attracted to white women simply because they're white and I found Caleb Landry Jones' performance as the brother a little annoying). I also dont think a well executed movie about race can ever be "perfect" or even almost perfect because race is a messy subject (I'm sure Jordan Peele is aware of this). But it's definitely a fulfilling movie-going experience at the end of the day

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

THE SCHOOL OF TARKOVSKY PART 6

Tarkovsky, who does not usually drink, got completely drunk and cut off the speakers at the restaurant, then began singing the theme of Seven Samurai at the top of his voice. I joined in, eager to keep up. At that moment, I was very happy to be on Earth. - Akira Kurosawa


In this latest installment of The School Of Tarkovsky we'll be looking at some more "forced comparisons" (Carlos Reygadas is on record numerous times naming Tarkovsky as a major influence) and "reaches" (Lars Von Trier was once quoted as saying he wanted to be like Tarkovsky early on in his career).

enjoy...

THE MIRROR/THE RING

THE MIRROR/STRANGER THINGS

ANDREI RUBLEV/FLESH + BLOOD

STALKER/THE ELEMENT OF CRIME

THE MIRROR/PORTRAIT OF THE ARTIST

SOLARIS/BATTLE IN HEAVEN

IVAN'S CHILDHOOD/RED BEARD

THE MIRROR/BARBARA

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

WRONG REEL EPISODE #231: ABEL FERRARA



Check me out on the latest episode of Wrong Reel alongside Chris Funderberg to discuss the work of PINNLAND EMPIRE favorite Abel Ferrara.

enjoy...


Also, dont forget to check out all the Abel Ferrara-related material on this very site...

Friday, February 10, 2017

THE CINEMA OF TERRY ZWIGOFF TOLD THROUGH IMAGES & STILLS



Mr. Nobody. Real life, fake lotus
Break focus. Way too normal to take notice
Women and rage. Sugar, salt, cinnamon, sage
The city throbs. Endless shitty jobs and minimum wage
It’s nonsense. Flashy patterns, polka dots and gold checkers
Cold efforts. Avid collector of old records
Mostly poor. Little things you have to look closely for
I hate kids and standing in line at the grocery store
I’m divorced. Exile enforced. New fears
A few beers. I haven’t had sex in over two years
I've tried to trust. It’s useless. I wallow in my disgust
Why discuss it? No car, I ride the bus
Steel doesn't decide to rust it just does
Words written out with your finger where the dust was
Cliché. He-say she-say. So funny
Forgot to laugh. Go study. Call me Mr. Nobody
-Buck 65


Terry Zwigoff's cinema branches off to many different topics, themes & avenues but that verse from Buck 65's song; "Mr Nobody" - highlighted by the lyrics in bold - have always reminded me of the characters in Zwigoff's quirky universe. Seymour (Ghost World) & Bob Crumb (Crumb) are in fact avid collectors of old records. And there's a strong chance that those old collectible records include music by Howard Armstrong (the subject of Louie Bluie).
I'm almost certain Seymour & his depressed roommate (reminiscent of Bob Crumb's brother) hadn't had sex in quite some time leading up to the events in Ghost World. Willie (Bad Santa) & Seymour definitely hate little kids, and riding the bus is a minor theme/subplot in Ghost World. Bob Crumb's brother definitely wallows in disgust as does Jim Broadbent's character in Art School Confidential. You see what I mean?

There's dark comedy and then there's tragic/depressive comedy which is a label I'd certainly slap on the large majority of Terry Zwigoff's work. There's tons of awkwardly unique comedic moments in all the films covered in this entry but depression & melancholic thoughts are also very prevalent throughout...

Mr. Zwigoff hasn't directed a film in over a decade (although rumor has it he's working on a made-for-television movie at the moment) so use this latest cinema of... entry as a refresher on the career of a filmmaker that hasn't really made waves in a while but has a unique body of work worthy of being dissected & rediscovered.

enjoy...


ART APPRECIATION
Terry is an avid collector/reader of comics/graphic novels (prior to directing Crumb he was already close friends with cartoonist/documentary subject Bob Crumb). This aspect of his life shines through in just about everyone of his films (Bad Santa being the exception). The characters/subjects in his films are either actually artists (Bob Crumb, Enid in Ghost World, Jerome in Art School Confidential, Howard Armstrong in Louie Bluie) or fans of (mature/more adult-themed) comics (various characters in Ghost World & Crumb).
Louie Bluie
Louie Bluie
Crumb
Crumb
Ghost World
Ghost World
Art School Confidential
Art School Confidential

If you look at this collection of images below you'll see that art often plays the background (almost like wallpaper) in a lot of shots in his films...

Art in the background of Zwigoff's films...



MUSIC APPRECIATION
Terry Zwigoff has the same appreciation for certain specific genres of music (mostly blues, swing, old jazz, ragtime, and just about any form of music that's commonly played on an old-timey record player). He even had a lesser known career as a musician (he was in a group, along with friend/cartoonist Bob Crumb, called The Cheap Suit Sudoneers). 
Artwork for Zwigoff's band; The Cheap Suit Sudoneers
Louie Bluie
Crumb
Ghost World


CRITICISM OF THE ART WORLD
But his appreciation for comics & music doesn't transfer to all artforms. Zwigoff is quite critical of the "high art" world and he doesn't really try to hide that in his work...
Howard Armstrong criticizes a piece of modern art in Louie Bluie
A pretentious art teacher praising a pretentious piece of student art in Ghost World
A parody of art house cinema in Ghost World
the sensitive art school filmmaker sells out and becomes a major studio filmmaker in Art School Confidential
making fun of the modern art creation process in Art School Confidential


This art appreciation (and sometimes criticism) brings about an under-appreciated quality in Terry Zwigoff's universe...



ZWIGOFF'S UNINTENTIONAL COLOR PALETTE
For such a seemingly gloomy & grumpy guy, Zwigoff's films are pretty colorful (much like his cinematic cousin/peer Todd Solondz) which offers an interesting contrast. This is probably a subconscious touch possibly brought on by his love of comics.
Depression, wallowing in sorrow, dark thoughts aren't often associated with colors like bright orange, loud yellow & fire truck red but Terry Zwigoff makes it all work somehow...
Art School Confidential
Art School Confidential
Bad Santa
Crumb
Ghost World
Ghost World
Ghost World




RECURRING SHOT: SELF REFLECTION
Terry Zwigoff isn't the kind of director known for a "signature shot" like Kubrick, Lynch or Spike Lee but he does often include a scene of self-reflection (I know that isn't very unique but it should still be noted)
self reflection...





VARIOUS RANDOM VISUAL SIMILARITIES...
Ghost World
Ghost World/Rite & Sue & Bob Too
Louie Bluie/Malcolm X
Bad Santa/Trading Places




DEPRESSION
As I stated in my introduction, depression plays a major part in the Terry Zwigoff universe. His characters are full of anger, annoyance, cynicism & hatred for themselves and some of the people around them (note the quotes in the images below)
Ghost World
Ghost World
Crumb
Art School Confidential
Art School Confidential


naturally the depression in Zwigoff's work brings about miserable people (some of which are deserving of sympathy while others aren't)...


UNLIKABLE/MISERABLE CHARACTERS
Terry Zwigoff may be pretty vocal about what he hates but he isn't above poking fun at/criticizing himself and his own world of sometimes lonely miserable record collecting comic book community (many of the characters below have shades of Zwigoff's own personality). Even Willie from Bad Santa fits in perfectly as he's a mean-spirited miserable human being (he may not collect records or read comics but you could easy take Willie out of Bad Santa and place him Ghost World or Art School Confidential without any hiccups).
Crumb
Bad Santa
Ghost World
Ghost World
Art School Confidential




THE WORLD ACCORDING TO TERRY ZWIGOFF
To further emphasize Zwigoff's willingness to criticize & poke fun at himself, he often puts bookish, introverted, awkward, shy and/or "nerdy" characters that are reflections of his own personality & style...
Art School Confidential
Ghost World
Ghost World
Bad Santa




DYSFUNCTIONAL FAMILIES
Dysfunctional families aren't just relegated to abuse, misery & depression (which is still something seen/heard loud & clear in Crumb). It should be noted that Robert Crumb's brothers completely steal the show even though the documentary wasn't even really supposed to be about them.

Miscommunication (or no communication at all) and neglect (Bad Santa) are also red flags of Dysfunction. Enid & her father barely speak in Ghost World, and when they do speak it's cold & unfamiliar. And while it's supposed to be humorous, Herman (Bad Santa) is still under the supervision (...neglect) of his mentally unstable grandmother which causes him to find a male role model in the form of a mean-spirited criminal like Willie.
Ghost World
Crumb
Crumb
Bad Santa




QUIRKY/AWKWARD HUMOR
To be completely honest - the unique humor in Zwigoff's films are really mostly highlighted in Ghost World. Sometimes no one even needs to say anything. You can just look at some of the characters in the movie and laugh. The way he captures hilarious details and funny real life situations always makes me laugh.

Take this quick exchange from Ghost World...

Masterpiece Video Clerk: Hello, welcome to Masterpiece Video. How may I help you this afternoon, sir?
Masterpiece Video Customer: I'm looking for a copy of 8 1/2.
Masterpiece Video Clerk: Is that a new release, sir?
Masterpiece Video Customer: No, it's the classic Italian film.
Masterpiece Video Clerk: Yes, sir. I'll just check that on the computer for you, sir...Yes, here it is. 9 1/2 Weeks with Mickey Rourke. That would be in the Erotic Drama section.
Masterpiece Video Customer: No, not 9 1/2, 8 1/2. The Fellini film?

During the heyday of Blockbuster & Hollywood Video, I know a lot of you have had a similar conversation with a clueless video store employee. And please note - I'm sure you've had issues with movies that aren't even as "obscure" as a Fellini movie. In fact, in college I almost caused an entire Blockbuster to shut down, just for asking if they had a copy of Raging Bull ("HUH?! WHATS THAT?!).
Ghost World
Ghost World
Ghost World
Bad Santa
Bad Santa
Art School Confidential




(LIGHT) RACIAL COMMENTARY/ISSUES CONCERNING RACE
Like a lot of specific older White males obsessed with old records, graphic novels, khaki pants, button down shirts & old Laurel & Hardy movies - the idea of minstrels, black face & the soulful lively blues lovin' old Black man is a complicated and sometimes strange obsession. Some of the characters/subjects in Zwigoff's films are the types of older/middle-aged White males to hang an image of a Black face minstrel character in their apartment for everyone to see not because they're racist or want to be provocative, but because to them it represents history. While that is in fact very true and shouldn't be tucked under a rug or forgotten - Black face imagery doesn't hold the same significance/history to a White person as it does a Black person, but I don't think people like Bob Crumb & and certain characters from Ghost World fully understand that.

But there is a flipside to that...

Throughout time it has been mostly White people to express anger towards Crumb's racially questionable drawings more than actual people of color. 
In Ghost World there's a scene of a room full of White people about to riot over a Black face image being hung up in an art gallery. Without even asking about the context or history behind the image they panic and immediately ask for it to be taken down. I am by no means a conservative or a politically right person, but that kind of sometimes silly behavior is specific to annoying White liberals. I'm willing to bet that if the characters in Ghost World saw Howard Armstrong's art (seen all throughout Louie Bluie), without knowing Armstrong himself was black, they would immediately call it racist...
Crumb
Ghost World
Louie Bluie





AN APPRECIATION FOR THE FEMALE BODY
Terry Zwigoff is certainly not the first director to highlight curvy, full-figured, voluptuous or "realistic" female bodies. Everyone from Russ Meyer & Roger Corman to Bruno Dumont have brought realistic leading ladies to the forefront long before Terry Zwigoff made his first fiction film (Ghost World).

There's a section in Crumb that delves in to his (sometimes problematic) depiction of curvy women but that mild fascination didn't start (or stop) there...

Similar to Bob Crumb, any piece of art drawn by Howard Armstrong shows round & curvy women in tantalizing positions.
And you would have to be blind if you didn't notice Thora Birch damn near bursting through just about every article of clothing she wears in Ghost World.
And while Lauren Graham isn't exactly a prototypical Bob Crumb woman or Ghost World-era Thora Birch, her body type still isn't petite (and that isn't a criticism)
Crumb
Crumb
Louie Bluie
Ghost World
Bad Santa
Bad Santa





EROTICISM/SEXUAL PERVERSIONS
It is my belief that the sexually driven work & personalities of Zwigoff's early documentary subjects rubbed off on his later fictional work (see the previous category).
Cleavage, hints & implications of raunchy sex & erotic art are all prevalent in the fictional films of Terry Zwigoff and I truly think that is due to his personal relationship with Howard Armstrong & Robert Crumb who are both very sexually driven...
Louie Bluie
Crumb
Crumb
Ghost World
Ghost World
Art School Confidential
Bad Santa
Bad Santa


LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...