Ted Rall
Manhattan


HIPPITY FUCKIN' DO DA
Re Nathan Lee's review of Flanders [ 'Oh, the Humanité,' May 16–22]: "Asinine Euro-hippie, anti-capitalist, pseudo-exploitation freak-out"? Would you prefer a genre film? I think Lee just described all of Makavejev's work, too. If Dumont likes to bump uglies, Lee makes it a threesome with his zinger-prone write-ups that cram in too many hipster sound bites. Open yourself up to the poetry of the thing, man. Sure, I can categorically reduce the character Barbe to "the village slut." Or I could consider that she is sacrificially giving herself to the two, for the imminent tragedy that awaits them (only one reading). There may be some superficial comparisons between Dumont and Bresson ?—such as the use of nonprofessional actors, long, contemplative takes and existential torpor—but isn't that a perfect description of Carlos Reygadas? If I'm not mistaken, Dumont did time before Life of Jesus making industrials about machinery. I see some of that time-wasting, conveyor belt, attention-to-automation more as an influence than any failed attempts at Bressonian purism. Flanders uses tiny charges of abstract communication and barely-there gestures to tell its story and build mood. I did have problems with the film and actually agree with some of Lee's points, but c'mon, don't give in so easily to the backward momentum that forces critics to contrive reasons for why they don't like films.

Christopher Zorker
Manhattan

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