Thursday, June 19, 2008

Funhouse “find” of the month: a cult quartet on For One Week Only

One recent discovery on YT that has entertained me for a few hours are terrific documentaries from another (see below) Jonathan Ross-hosted series about cult directors. This series, For One Week Only, was only composed of four shows, but they are power-packed for fans of cult cinema. They offer glimpses at a quartet of directors that are definitely hardcore cineastes, and only two of the four can be glimpsed anywhere on our “indie film” networks here in the States.

The first and most “above-ground” of the cinematic deities is David Lynch. He is viewed here while he was enjoying the success of Twin Peaks and had entered his middle period of extreme violence and self-conscious strangeness (I’m very happy to say Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire show him back to the completely independent, unsettling vision that he started out with). He is always an amiable interview subject, and here we are treated to comments from many of the folks who helped work on his initial masterpiece, Eraserhead. And yes, Nicolas Cage does seem like a coked-up drip in his talking-head moments.

The second critically beloved director who was saluted on For One Week Only was Pedro Almodovar, whom I respect for remaining true to his original work and building upon it for his most recent wonderfully scripted melodramas. When this documentary was shot, he was promoting the opening of Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!

The series also profiled the amazing Alejandro Jodorowsky, who gave us the first great cult midnight movie, El Topo. His comments on why he likes violence in movies are truly funny and wonderfully disingenuous. He is one smart and kick-ass surrealist.

Finally, the series paid tribute to the work of one of my very fave filmmakers, Aki Kaurismaki. Aki does his best deadpan in the interview segments with Ross, saying his work is “shit” and he’s sorry for everyone who’s ever watched it. The documentary is a superb introduction to Kaurismaki’s brilliantly subdued oeuvre, offering choice clips (most of AK’s movies are not available on DVD) and suitably circuitous answers from the mighty Finn himself. I am a worshipper of Aki’s work, and this was indeed my “find” of the month….

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

my dearest Mr. Grant..... I am ultra sure that you know Criterion is putting out Aki Kaurismaki's "Proletariat Trilogy": "Ariel", "The Match Factory Girl", and "The Shadows in Paradise" on dvd.... "coming soon".