Friday, July 25, 2008

A Method to Stave Off Madness

I have a close friend who when confronted with a crisis begins to count at a deliberate pace. It helps my friend maintain equilibrium and focus on dealing with the problem at hand. The same thinking is behind an extraordinary new short film being shown at the Jewish Museum in New York City. My review of the film, "Mother Economy," can be found here. The film is, as I said in Jewish Week, well worth a trip to the Museum by itself (and the Museum is always worth a visit, I would add).

Monday, July 21, 2008

Briefly Breaking the Silence

Yes, it's been a long time between drinks, as the old joke goes. (Don't ask, it's not that funny a joke.)
And this hardly constitutes much of a post, but I'll draw your attention to my review of Julian Schnabel's latest, Lou Reed's Berlin, currently on display at Film Forum.

Also, allow me to urge youj to make a trip to the Jewish Museum to see the short film by Myra Zack, "Mother Economy," certainly one of the best Jewish-themed films of 2008. My review will run in Jewish Week shortly and I'll add a link to it when it does.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

80 Years Later, A Real Director's Cut

Part of the fascination of writing about film is that it's an art form whose lifespan is so brief, just over a century so far, that you can see it change before your eyes. If you consider a long-lived and very active filmmaker like, say, Allan Dwan, whose career began around the same time as D.W. Griffith's and ended in the early '60s, you are looking at someone who predates feature films and is still working when the Nouvelle Vague re-imagines film grammar.

The news that triggered that thought for me can be found in today's Guardian, where it is reported that long-lost footage from Fritz Lang's original version of Metropolis turned up in Argentina and has been hustled back to Germany for a crucual restoration. The rediscovered footage supposedly makes narrative sense out of some of the film's conundrums and revivifies the rhythms of the climactic flood sequence. So, is this the director's cut?

The weather is too nice and I'm too busy and too lazy to go into a long song-and-dance about the aesthetics of multiple versions of a film. Besides, that discussion has gotten pretty old. All I will say is that I wish that when distributors do a box-set of a major film, they would include the various alternate cuts. In the meantime, I'm hoping that a restored Metropolis will be available by the time the New York Film Festival rolls around. You see, several years ago the Ira voters had an informal confessional in which we revealed the most embarrassing omissions from our motion-picture viewing. As you may have guessed, I've never actually seen Metropolis in any version. I've been waiting for the lost footage to turn up.