DVD Tales: Fando y Lis to Fifth Element

Following from Fallen Angels...

Fando y Lis (Alejandro Jodorowski, 1968)
I'm about halfway through... It's tough going, not because it's in black and white, and in Spanish, and totally surreal à la Bunuel, but because of Lis' incessantly nagging "Fando, Fando..." And then there are some images that are downright obscene involving a doll... I usually watch DVDs while eating, but this is an appetite supressant. Not to say it isn't interesting, and I want to get through it to get to Jodorowski's commentary track. If I go by the one he did for El Topo, it's bound to be a fascinating.

These movies out of alphabetical order because I frequently spell Fahrenheit, Farenheit. Hey, I use metric.

Fahrenheit 451 (François Truffaut, 1966)
A classic that's dear to my heart because it used to air on some Quebec channel, in French, when I was a kid, on a show called Ciné-Quiz, which I guess asked questions about the featured film that people answered to get groovy prizes like kitchenettes and pharmacy gift certificates. As a bookish lad, the book burning certainly left an impression. Even today, the question of which book to "become" remains a fascinating one. Like Montag, I'd want to be Hamlet. How about you?

Fahrenheit 9/11 (Michael Moore, 2004)
The film came out at the height of Michael Moore's notoriety and I remember seeing it in theaters with a roomfull of left-wing bleeding hearts like myself. Hey, it's Atlantic Canada, what can I say? With Moore's "passionate eye" approach, you take some, you leave some, but from a purely objective point of vue, I have to say how impressed I was by the opening. If you remember, the documentary starts out with clips of Bush, Rice, Chaney, et al. getting made-up just before a televised address or other. This creates the effect of casting them as the film's characters, and at the same time painting them with an air of insincerity. Well played, Mr. Moore, well played.

Fargo (Coen Bros., 1996)
My opinion about Fargo isn't all that different from others'. Though not my favorite Coen Bros. film, it's nonetheless probably the most accomplished, and is a wonderful showcase for both William H. Macey and Frances McDormand. The Coens very often have a scam going, like Blood Simple's fake commentary track or O Brother Where Art Thou's presumption that they'd ever read The Odyssey. In this case, they told people Fargo was based on a true story, but of course, it isn't. Not even a proper urban legend. I think these guys just like screwing over Entertainment Tonight and Access Hollywood for not doing any fact-checking.

Fifth Element (Luc Besson, 1997)
Upon first seeing The Fifth Element in theaters, I could tell right away that comics artist legend Moëbius had done some of the concept drawings, and thanks to the DVD, I can look at them directly. You know, I quite like this film, warts and all. It's got a lot of beautiful ideas, whether religious, satirical or visual. Of course, Bruce Willis' token gun scenes and Chris Tucker's.. uhm... performance... do keep it from being a masterpiece. Ah well. It's still a lot more inventive than 90% of the sf out there.

But what did YOU think? Next: Fight Club to Fog of War.


Austin Gorton said...

When I first saw Fifth Element in the theater, I really didn't...get it, and thus felt it was pretty meh. A knock off sci fi film that didn't quite do it for me.

Each subsequent re-veiwing (my wife loves it, and it's placed pretty firmly in the cable movie rotation these days) makes me like it more and more. As you said, it really is, for all it's faults, quite imaginative and original with a lot to say. When was the last time we saw a good space opera sci fi film that wasn't an established property of some sort?

rob! said...

Fargo holds up extremely well on repeat viewings--Trace and I have watched it 3 or 4 times and its always entertaining. I love McDormand's bewildered speech to the crook at the end about there being more important things than money--"Don't you know that?"

I enjoyed Farhenheit 911 at the time, but i hate the way Moore is viewed and how he allows himself to be contextualized. I dont go to Moore movies for rigid, documentary-style fact-checking; he's a rabble-rouser who tries to get people to discuss a certain subject, and he's excellent at it.

but when the Right finds a discrepancy in one of his films, they go "A-HA!" and then ask as though his entire film can be dismissed. very frustrating.

Siskoid said...

Teebore: Make mine MUUUltipass!

Rob: I so agree. I can't stand the usual, tedious fallout.


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