Monday, November 22, 2010

Saturday Strangeness

Saturday was a "culture day" at Flippist World Headquarters, a day of passive participation with no preconceptions or expectations. With the Weaver in tow, I set off to the second annual Nordic Lights Film Festival, which offered movies from Scandinavia coupled with mini-concerts- one of which was the Finnish-American folk duo Kaivama. They played traditional and modern Finnish fiddle tunes, some of which even featured a harmonium! Not something I run across every day, but very nice, with an excellent violinist:

The film we watched was Country Wedding (Sveitabrúðkaup) a film directed and written by Valdís Óskarsdóttir, which was a major disappointment for me. It was an Altmanesque-style slice of life about the members of a wedding party trying to find a country church and ending up finding out more about each other. It was supposedly a comic film, but ended up just being nasty. A good deal of it was improv, and although the cast was composed of fine actors, they were not very inspired, and certainly could of used more scripting:

After wards, it was just a short walk across the street to the sublime cafe Levain:

Wonderful food in a French-style restaurant connected to a good bakery, with the odd touch of having a very good solo clarinetist discreetly playing in the kitchen.

What better way to end a culture day than to return home for a viewing of Samuel Fuller's pulp masterpiece The Naked Kiss,?

This wild little film from the mid-sixties had just about every thing a pop-culture fanatic could want: a tough-cookie ex-prostitute with a soft spot for kids, a hard-boiled cop, a brittle madam, and a millionaire playboy with a terrible secret. Almost every scene seemed to be lit by a massive hard light; the black and white cinematography was as subtle as a sledgehammer (as was the dialog.) Constance Towers, a talented actress (who is still active in movies and television) had a field day, beating up pimps, singing with crippled children (in a production number which defies description) and generally carrying the film when it threatens to veer into Ed Wood territory. If you are a fan of this kind of schlock, it is sort of in the early Russ Meyer bag, but neither as funny nor as well done- it was just strange.

Scorecard: 2 hits, 1 miss (Country Wedding), and one split-decision (Kiss), not as good as last year, strange to be sure, but ok, nonetheless!

By Professor Batty


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