Saturday, October 10th, 2009
Ellen and I went to see Comme Toujours Here I Stand last night, and had a good time. It is a fun show, though without being a masterpiece or a great work of art -- I may have gone in hoping a bit for a masterpiece based on the Cléo de 5 à 7 connection... What seemed to me like the big limitation of the show, what kept it from being great, was that although it was billed as a dance production, and the players were dancers, there was a lot of time spent on dialog, when they were not moving. The dialog was OK -- some of it was taken directly from the movie, some of it was funny twists on what was in the movie... but the players were not actors, and their delivery of dialog left a lot to be desired -- I would much rather be watching them move.
The show's conceit was fun and self-referential -- rather than trying to do a straight remake of the movie, the narrative was of a group of film students or art students trying to create a work of art derivative from the movie. The woman who was playing Cléo was also supposed to be the director of the piece, and she was portrayed as a narcissistic prima donna, and there was a lot of broad humor about her being difficult to work with; I thought this worked pretty well, Ellen thought some of it got old.
When they did shut up and dance, they were gorgeous -- and maybe the very best bit of the show was the interplay between the director's need to be in charge and the movement of the dance -- there were complex bits where she would criticize another player while they were dancing, stop, rewind, take 2... They could have pruned the dialog quite a bit and still gotten their storyline across, and there would have been room for a lot more dancing.
Saturday, September 5th, 2009
This is kind of exciting to hear about: Big Dance Theater is presenting a new show called "Comme Toujours Here I Stand" based on Cléo de 5 à 7, featuring an original title song by Robyn Hitchcock -- a confluence of two of my very favorite artists! (And of an art form I'm not familiar with at all...) It will be premiering next month at The Kitchen in NYC; I'll certainly be there.
Speaking of Hitchcock, here are a couple of things I've seen in the last few days and been meaning to link to:
Sunday, January 14th, 2007
Last night I watched "Vagabond" (originally "Sans Toit ni Loi") by Agnès Varda, who directed "Cléo de 5 à 7" -- I had watched "Cléo" back in November and been utterly fascinated by it. "Vagabond" is very nearly as powerful a movie. The two movies have a lot in common -- are recognizably the work of the same hand -- and are completely different from one another. Where "Cléo" is whimsical and madcap, "Vagabond" is bleak. There is a deterministic thread running through both movies that would be worth puzzling out. I need to watch "Vagabond" a few more times to get past being totally in thrall to the beautiful camera work. Also I need to rent "Le Bonheur" and "Jacquot de Nantes". It seems to me like Varda is in the same league as Hitchcock in terms of her command of the visual composition of the movie.
Sunday, November 12th, 2006
This movie "Cleo from 5 to 7" is making me think about subtitles (and wish, wish I understood French better than the very minimal amount I do, so I could understand the cross-talk and the background noise). It is subtitled very well, actually -- I seem to sense a certain self-consciousness on the part of whoever did the translation, about the limitations they faced. Two elements of filmmaking that I don't think are recognized as art forms in themselves, are subtitling and colorizing.
At one point Angèle asks Cléo something like "But I thought he adored you?" and she replies, "Il m'adore!" which is translated as "He does!" -- I picked up on this and was wondering why the translation isn't "He adores me!" and then I realized French doesn't have a verb which could be used in a reply like English "does", so the translation is probably correct idiomatically.
Saturday, November 11th, 2006
I watched it again tonight, and I am hoping to do so tomorrow as well. So many little bits are catching my attention! I want to make observations about it here but i fear they would mostly just be on the order of, "and then that scene, the one where the Cléo broke her mirror and
AngèleDorothée was trying to reassure her [or whatever the content is of the scene that I am talking about], wasn't that just amazing?" and not have much to say about it that would help if you haven't already seen the movie. So see it, then we'll talk.
Friday, November 10th, 2006
I am watching this movie right now and it is just stunningly good. Check out this lyric:
With all doors open wide
With the wind rushing through
I'm like an empty house
Like a derserted isle
Invaded by seas
My sands slip away
With beauty unseen
Exposed to cruel winter
My soul cannot dream
Gnawed away by despair
My body decays
In an open bier
If you wait too long
I'll have been laid to rest
Ashen, pale and alone
(This sort of reminded me of Syd Barrett's performance of "Golden Hair" by Joyce -- I'm not sure why though.)
There is a sort of interesting thing going on too, with a sort of hedonistic or romantic refusal to engage reality, I'm not sure if it is exactly a criticism of that tendency, it might be a self-criticism or a derogatory description of an other, or something else.
Also: Pee-wee Herman's inspiration must be the character in the film shown during the "Projectionist's Booth" sequence. (Wow -- just looked at IMDB and realized that the actor I am saying is Pee-wee's inspiration, is Jean-Luc Godard.)
(Here is a pretty interesting post about this film.)
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