Saw two films at the Cinematheque this weekend, a 1906 Edison short directed by Edwin S. Porter called The Adventures of a Rare Bit Fiend
, about a glutton, who imbides a little to much alcohol, and then has an almost surreal recovery. The film is playing as part of a continuining early avante-garde series, and by watching the film you can see why, except for it's rather clear narrative, is resembles later Dada and Surrealist shorts from the 1920s (as well as looking at contemporary trick and fantasy films by such filmmakers as Georges Melies), using superimpositions, matte painting, stop motion photography, spinning and rocking cameras, and puppetry to convey the drunken, hangover induced fantasy of the main character. Also, saw a reconstructed print of Maurice Tourneur's (father of Jacques) 1918 feature The Blue Bird
, while rather dull, IMO, it is pretty to look at, and proves that Peter Greenaway was not the first person to make a film principally out of photographed lists.
At the theater I also saw two films, Kissing Jessica Stein
. Kissing Jessica Stein
is a pleasant, entertaining film, a romantic comedy in a similar vein to a Woody Allen film (a romantic comedy, featuring a neurotic, intellectual Jew looking for love, mostly in Manhattan), well atleast a Woody Allen film featuring young, bi-curious/gay/straight (????) women in their late 20s. It never hides it's theatrical origins, and though it is directed with the flair of an average TV drama, the characterization, acting, and dialogue are pretty smart and funny. It kind of dodges the issues of sexual identity that it brings up, but mainly the film is about taking a chance with your life, and doing what makes you happy.
is a Canadian film about a bunch of alienated, twentysomethings who live and work in the skyways and interconnected malls of Calgary's downtown. It's day 24 of a bet to see who can stay inside the longest, and over the course of a lunch hour, the various characters begin to crack and strain, leading to an examination of (on the part of some of the characters) how destructive and alienating this sort of life and environment can be. I thought it was funny and inventive, if not particularly deep, and continues my streak of Canadian fiction films that feature profoundly unhappy people, who hide behind masks of geniality and dead-pan irony.
Tomorrow, off to see Frailty