Sunday, August 19, 2007

Jason goes to Dead Channels--day 7

Sorry I'm really late on these posts. I've sorta left all my loyal readers in limbo since Wednesday. I've been very busy, both with movies and work. I have about 4 hours until I leave for Cleveland on business, then I get back just in time to turn around and go to Burning Man. So after I catch up on Dead Channels, this blog might be pretty quiet for a couple of weeks. Anyway, enough about me, on to the movies.

First up Wednesday was "Nuit Noire", Belgian surrealist eye-candy (and Belgians know good candy). I can honestly say this movie is beautiful enough that I loved it despite the fact that I have no fucking clue what's going on. The hero is an entomologist, his psychiatrists jams a metal funnel into his head to look at his dreams, which are acted out by puppets. And, of course, the whole movie is a dream (or nightmare). Stunning visuals, and a befuddling collage of symbols about bugs, family, and racism.

Next up was another befuddling, frustrating movie, "The 4th Dimension". I don't know where I heard it was a time-travel movie (it's not in the guide, but afterwards I discovered I wasn't the only person who expected a time travel). It's not a time travel movie, it's a mind travel movie. Jack was a precocious little boy, prone to trying to explain Einstein's theories to his grade school class. Now he's a loner who works repairing antique clocks. In one clock (which the original owners want back), he discovers Einstein's secret manuscript describing his unfinished Unified Field Theory. Then really weird events happen, but my problem is that his understanding of multi-dimensional curved space-time hasn't really progressed from his frustratingly naive grade-school days. I'm sure if I watched it again in a different frame of mind (especially knowing the ending), I'd be able to give it a better chance. But as a physicist and a science/math geek, it was just frustrating. The moments that interested me most also frustrated me most.

And then the night took a complete turn for a wild, insane, high-octane animated Hungarian hip-hop story absurdist comedy based on Romeo and Juliet, "The District!". The title refers to a slummy neighborhood of Budapest where Gypsies, Hungarians, Arabs, Chinese, etc. all live and fight with each other. Richie Lakatos is a school kid with a crush on the daughter of the warring Csorba family, Jules. In a get-rich-quick scheme (if millions of years counts as quick), they build a time machine, go back to the time of dinosaurs, and bury them where the district will someday be so they'll find oil when they return. And that's a small example of the absolutely brilliant ridiculousness that permeates this movie. I just wish it'd be released dubbed into English, because the visuals are so rich and full that it's hard to see everything and read the subtitles. So I'll just have to find this on DVD and watch it over and over again until I've memorized the lines and can just watch the pictures.

And that was last Wednesday at Dead Channels

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