Sunday, March 15, 2009
metropolis. eastern promises . virgil widrich
i really am sorry about these relentless film notes. its just that i am catching up on my film viewing for the cinema cities project. i had never seen metropolis which i know is just unforgivable for an architect interested in film and so i did. considering the glowing tributes to the film i have read and heard about so much is is all right for me to have problems with the laughable plotline about the heart bridging the gap between the hand and the mind or the bordering on comic expressionistic acting, or the silly imagination of technology as a demonic monster corrupting the workers minds against the brilliant but admittedly uncaring thinkers who live in the pleasure gardens below? the visuals though were spectacular- art deco gothic flourishes, aerial shots of shooting bridges, night lights, choreographed movements of crowds like they are all part of some gigantic fascist spectacle. the tower of babel rises over the criss crossing streets and railway lines, the yoshiwara sin city is a mish mash of oriental roofs, below the city is a labyrinth of tunnels and doorwayds that lead to an underground cathedral, in the boiler room men become machines and when the machine erupts it becomes an ancient tribal mouth that eats its slaves. it is incredible. the version i saw had this giorgio moroder soundtrack of 80’s electro art-pop- pat benetar and freddie mercury. you could almost see the big hair and shoulder pads.with so many of the scenes tinted red and yellow the movie became a kind of version of the long form music video that were popular in the 1980’s (remember ‘thriller’?).
david cronenbergs ‘eastern promises’ is a violent thriller about a midwife who gets into trouble with the russian mafia in london. viggo mortenson plays a chauffeur /killer; and naomi watts the midwife. i really enjoyed the film- brutal and gory though it was.
i also saw two experimental films by virgil widrich. ‘copyshop’ in which a machine reproduces a man over and over again until the whole world is merely the same person; and ‘fast film’ in which hollywood films are intercut with each other in a fantastic chase sequence as the fragments of the scenes interchange rapidly- where one actor becomes and other becomes a third. it begins with a kiss and ends with one and in between rushes through all the formulas that form the language of hollywood films.