Monday, May 24, 2010

Cannes you dig it?

Its a great morning, even if its now the afternoon. Got up early, made pancakes from scratch, real Quebec maple syrup. The fumes from the Zaphodiad have fully burned off. Galaxie is playing The Scorpions (you know the one). Wish it was Can't Live Without You. Now its Nickelback -- time to change the channel. Black Sabbath's "Warning", that's better. I'm going to miss my Radio/TV on the TV/Radio. Les Glorieux and Flyers tonight. I don't even mind if the Flyers win. I'm more of a Secondary Twelve guy anyway (or Tertiary 21, to be honest). I'm too young to remember the Bullies, unless you count Pat Quinn's Cup Finalist in 1979/80, post Shero. I remember that team won 35 games in a row that season, or something stupendous like that. They still had Clarkie, Leach, Barber, Mel Bridgeman (whatever happened to Ottawa's first GM -- he blazed like a comet across the sky). And a young Kenny "The Rat" Linseman. No Bernie Parent, though -- Pelle Lindbergh was still in Sweden, so Pete Peeters was between the pipes. Les Glorieux had been knocked out in the first round by the North Stars -- Gilles Meloche stood on his head, and rookie Craig Hartsburg had emerged from the rubble of the WHA. No fifth cup in a row. The Flyers I started to watch were Quinn's, then the Iron Mike editions in the 80s. Now that this is Paul Holmgren's team, I'm seeing some similarities. To get you ready for the game, go youtube "Flyers Canadiens brawl 1987". The pregame skate. Eddie Hospodar, Claude Lemieux, even Chico Resch. I love how Chris Nilan just meanders from the bench, resigned to his role, but ready to rumble. I tried to post the video, but I'm still new to this blog thing.

The Cannes Film Festival wraps up today. Looked to be a lacklustre lineup, unlike last year. There was a Godard, though. That guy's gotta be geriatric, genius or no. Someday, before I die, I'm going to rent a villa on the Riviera and go to every screening, maybe even take a walk down the Croisette, Leonard Zelig style.

I need to get back to watching films, like I did before the Interruptnum. My organic cinema has entertained and edified me for a time, but now its getting a little fucked up. Like a David Lynch doublebill at the drive-in. Only more opaque (but still baroque), more twisted, and even more fucked up. I need the normative nod of a Takashi Miike movie to straighten me out.

Gotta renew my membership at the Bytowne. Should I remain loyal to my $30 DVD player? It plays Divx files, which proved handy during the Grand Piractical days, prior to the Interruptnum. Or should I toss it aside and go Tru-Blu-ray, all the time? Maybe I should show a little more loyalty to the $30 DVD spinner. I'm still mourning the death of my 1979 Panasonic VHS top-loader. I couldn't count the number of movies I watched on that thing between 1981 and 2004. It went everywhere with me -- always the priority (and primordial) passenger in the Idler. We bonded together over many a beer-sodden night. It began to break down around 1999. I took it apart and "repaired" it. Around 2002, it once again ceased to operate. I completely stripped it down and at least got the arcana of the videotape spools to work. Robbed of its exoskeleton, it was almost as entertaining to watch the inner architecture at work as it was to watch the movie. Like a fleshless Frankenstein's monster, stuck between Life and Death, it carried me through to 2003/04, when I finally graduated to the versatile disc. It was deprived of a proper burial. Tossed into an East Vancouver dumpster. It deserved better. What could I do? My Chinese landlord (as ostracized as I was in the middle of the Sikh ghetto) told me I couldn't leave my garbage on the curb. For a year, I had to pack my rubbish into the Idler and drive around Vancouver looking for an unguarded dumpster. "Hey, watchout, the cook's out back having a smoke, let's try the one behind the Denny's". Thanks XXXX, for your altruism and general pity. I wonder what my students that year would have thought of that, if they thought of anything at all beyond "sir, who is the Bishop Rick you've been talking about?" I deserved them, and they deserved me. Simple as that. But the 1979 Panasonic deserved better. Never again would its clockwork hydraulics, by then completely open to inspection, catapult its contents across the expanse of whatever Grub Street garret or domestic den of sin that I happened to live within. I got pretty good at catching the tapes when they were spat out -- at the very least I tried to block the shot, Guy Carbonneau style.

Yes, I need to get the cable out, and get the DVDs in. I hear you, SC, on your film noir and Japanese classics of postwar domesticity. I have a sense of what I'm missing. But for me, 1960 is as far back as I go. When the French really get into the game. Shit, they invented the stuff. And the question I always had to ask myself when I watched contemporary Japanese films was -- "what the fuck has happened to these people". Nothing is taboo. Complete lack of restraint. And I love every minute of it. Hiroshima happened. The lack of the Judeo-Christian ethic happened. With no Original one to perpetually atone for, they are free to make up their own sins. And as far as a filmic answer to Hiroshima, they had to go beyond a man in a suit. But that too, as far as I know, which isn't a hell of a lot, was part of a Gargantuan tradition. The new Japanese horror genre plays around with those traditions as well. Miike's Gozu bored me for while on first viewing, until the end. All I need is one extraordinary image or sequence, and a film is a keeper for me.

Cinema may be dying and/or morphing into other forms. But, from 1960 to around the middle of the last decade, I have enough to catch up on. If I can find a little World Enough and Time.

And I think I'm gonna stay true to my $30 spinner special.


  1. "Radio On". Kick ass British movie from 1979. Got it from the library. Saw it this weekend.

  2. Good post fish - not whether a historian can use "Judeo-Christian" in a non-contradictory sense but we sure can say 1979 Panasonic VHS toploader. I never had one but my parents bought a clunky Panasonic VHS and I christened it with the first VHS rental: It was called "Raw Deal." It starred a younger, husky version of the Governor of Cali.