Sunday, October 23, 2005

Conservative PBS

Just when I thought that PBS was getting tame. It's a must see.

Update on angry and sloppy GWB 43: The comatose version. Utterly beautiful. If you happen to have Mozart's Piano Concerto No. 20, second movement (the last track on the Amadeus soundtrack) put it on and watch. Better than most any installation I've seen at the MOMA. Mozart knew our future!!!! You can hear it in each tragicomic ivory tickle.

And a note to PineBluffVariant: You can tell it's not a dead body. A dead body wouldn't react like this GWB. It's just unconscious. That's where the term "dead weight" comes from. There's no tension in a dead body--as far as I understand it. Unless it has rigor mortis.

Speaking of which. Mr. Death by (Herzog protege) Errol Morris is genius movie.

My internet connection has been totally erratic since I got fired. So I post when I can. So let me just ramble a little bit more.

About documentaries I've seen recently. I saw American Movie, Capturing the Friedmans, and then Mr. Death. Mr. Death is the superior of the three, though Capturing the Friedmans was very good. Mr. Death was pitch-perfect--Morris took the exact right tone and had the exact right attitude towards his subject. And yet, you could "feel" his directorial touch. He is a master documentarian. Capturing the Friedmans was very well done. In this case the documentarians were extremely sensitive and skillful about an incredibly wrenching story. But as far as American Movie is concerned I was very much put-off by its tone. If you don't know the movie, it is about a guy in Wisconsin who is trying to make horror movies. He is portrayed as an Ed Wood fuck-up type.

This pissed me off. The dude, his name is Mark Borchardt, is a weird dude trying to make original movies. He lives to make movies. He is a total wacko. Yet the makers of the movie would have us believe that this man is a fool. Well, yes he's a fool.

But who the fuck are you guys? As Werner Herzog said there is nothing dignified about making a movie. Don't judge the process of making a movie. Judge only the result. The whole point American Movie is that Mark Borchardt works his ass off to make lame-ass movies. At least, that's what the filmmakers would have us believe.

Werner Herzog is the biggest fool of them all. Nobody believed in him when he made Stroszek--but there are some among us, not only myself, who would claim it as a great modern film.

I mean, Fitzcarraldo was probably one of the most foolish movies ever made.

I enjoyed American Movie because the filmmakers portrayed a man pursuing a vision. And I learned about his friends and families. And his best friend Mike Schank, who is an endearing character. But we hear the snickering of the filmmakers behind the documentarian's camera. Look at these fools, they said. I laughed too at the ridiculousness of Mike Schank, but I felt bad for laughing. And I think the filmmakers felt little to no guilt.

So, on the one hand, I was glad that the filmmakers made the film so I could learn about Mark Borchardt and his struggles as an artist. (Not that he ever claimed to be an "artist.") So I salute the filmmakers for this. And I recognize that the creation of a documentary is struggle in itself. But with their attitude they will never create a great work of art. They may create a movie like Wag the Dog, or Saving Private Ryan, but they will never create a profound work of lasting value unless they grow up and learn to respect humanity.

Whether or not I have grown up is not up for debate. I have not grown up. But I am trying. And I am learning to see what is productive for society and what is not.

I mean, it might have been a producer who told them to make fun of Mark Borchardt. The tone could have originated in the editing room.

Where's Depeche Mode when we need them? (Oh, they just came out with a new album. Good reviews.)


Jonathan said...

Funny... I didn't realize American Movie was a documentary till an hour or so into it. Or maybe it was after the movie.

Whatever the case, I respected the fact that this supposed-loser filmmaker got some good shots, had some good ideas. There is something really striking about "God loves you. Jesus told me so." that sticks with me, too. Mark's movies aren't as bad as you're supposed to think... and I think that realization was intended, somehow. After all, they included that evidence in the film.

By the way, Mark has been in a couple other films, including "Britney Baby One More Time. " And his friend Mike was in Todd Solondz's "Storytelling"... playing the same character, basically--the friend of Paul Giamatti's character, who's making a movie called "American Scoobie." Cracks me up. Perverse. Puts another interesting twist on the idea of American Movie being a documentary.

I'm not making much sense. Maybe I'd make more sense in person (see foil picture, above).

sarcasmus said...

I've looked at the picture and I'm still confused.