Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Discovery #10

Matthew Dear - Black City (2010)

Grindhouse is a form of exploitation cinema that took its name from the burlesque theatres on 42nd Street in New York during the 1940's where bump and grind dancing was prevalent. Since I now live on 42nd Street and I love the bump and grind aspect of Matthew Dear's new album Black City, it seemed like a perfect time to kick off my top ten. There's a secret sexual energy that we discover in the dark, our eyes open to a full equation of human emotions. Heated and pulsing, everyone who takes a breath to engage in this deep human need gives themselves to another, free from the masquerade. That heightened sensory tale lasts forever and bears the open touch of honesty. We all yearn for that dream to find its way in our hearts but our culture has found a way to devalue it with commercialized perversion. All it takes is a moment, where you give in and accept another open heart into your own. Travel down the shadowy hallway and leave all of the false demons behind. They don't want you to be happy. Only you can find your own path toward that end. I'm not going to say that sex will lead you to happiness but it is one moment in your life that is absolutely free of all restraints. Naked skin on naked skin leaves nothing to the imagination and the erupting arch of a shout from the back of your lungs is an absolute expression of freedom every time.

Wendy And Lucy - Kelly Reichardt (2009)

Road trips are the things of legend...or so it seems when it's revisited in our cinematic culture time and again, and though the blurred essence of the American dream may float past our window, the reality of the event is usually more mundane than we'd like to admit. There's always a dreamy time machine quality to them, the future is what stares you in the face as you move forward and the past slowly disappears into oblivion in the rear-view mirror, but that's all an exotic metaphor we like to tell ourselves regarding the importance of our lives. Sometimes these trips define you in more ways than you'd ever imagine and sometimes they are such a disaster that you will never forget them. For Michelle Williams' Wendy in Kelly Reichardt's third feature film, it's more of the latter than the former. After getting stuck in Oregon on her way to Alaska to find work, Wendy is stuck scrimping and shuffling to get going again. The only problem is that she's lost her faithful companion, a dog named Lucy. She spends the majority of the film trying to find Lucy and get her car fixed. She ends up losing both, one by fate and the other by choice. Her life isn't one of leisure or comfort but she's adrift in a lacking social system that doesn't always provide for those who live on the fringes. Wendy is just trying to find a place in the world that will provide a sense of of place. Reichardt brings this green and lonely environment to life with quiet and stated grace. There's a testament to her film that it doesn't search for melodrama in a dramatic condition of life that so many people are facing in our current climate. She simply brings a human touch to the screen and allows the fine performances of her actors to convey the truth about the world around us. It isn't always pretty and it doesn't always provide opportunity but we keep on moving forward because we have to if we are to navigate the truth behind our lives.

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