Thursday, February 11, 2016

Jason goes to Noir City--Closing Night

This is a week and a half ago, but still fresh enough in my mind.

We end as we began, with photography. But a week of non-stop art has left us changed forever.

PEEPING TOM (1960): Carl Boehm plays Mark Lewis, an odd young man. He works on a film set, He has an interest in photography, and makes some money selling cheesecake shots to a shop that sells magazines with "girls on the front covers, and no front covers on the girls." He also lives in his parents old house, and makes ends meet by renting out the rooms. But he keeps to himself so much that his boarders don't even know that he's the landlord. He's just the creepy guy who lives upstairs and sometimes peeks in the windows. Oh yeah, and he kills girls and films it, trying to capture the best image of pure terror. See, his father was a psychologist who experimented on him to write his seminal work on childhood fear. But perhaps I've said too much. A wonderfully sleazy yet artistic flick.

BLOW-UP (1966): And then we ended the festival with probably the most important art film of the 60s. Michelangelo Antonioni dresses up a slice-of-life film about what it means to be an artist in the trappings of a murder mystery. But make no mistake, this is about art, not about a dead body. David Hemmings plays Thomas, a successful fashion photographer in London. His life is photography, parties, fashion, drugs, booze, sex. A nice life, but one that has left him somewhat bored. One day, taking some pictures in a park, he catches a couple of lovers (Vanessa Redgrave as Jane, and who cares who the guy is.) Jane insists she gets those photos back. And he promises, but not until he develops them. He keeps the negatives...just because he likes them. It's only later, when he blows them up, that he finds he might have just caught a murder on film. Or maybe it's just illusions in the grain of the film. Nope, it's murder. He goes back to the park and sees the body. But then...the film just refuses to turn into a murder mystery. He's not some super-sleuth who will catch the bad guys. We never even learn who the murderer is. Rather, it's a way to explore art. In particular, is art about discovering what's there, or is it (as the mimes who bookend the film) would have us believe, about seeing what's not there? A brilliant, fascinating film that refuses to answer.

Total Running Time: 212 minutes
My Total Minutes: 416,580

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