Saturday, November 13, 2010

Notes on last night, enthusiastic yes for Out of the Blue

Wow... so it turns out that Out of the Blue is actually a really interesting film! Tom Lavin, who did the Q&A with Tony Bardach last night, commented that the film was better than he remembered it, and I have to agree. Even scenes that I specifically recall finding lame and unconvincing in past viewings (years ago) - like that of a very pudgy Raymond Burr trying to counsel the young Cebe (Linda Manz) - actually seemed entirely credible, well-acted, and - despite a persistent improvisatory vibe that makes the film somewhat unique - involving as cinema. Manz's performance - which I'd sort of watched as an outsider on previous attempts to take in the film, neither buying nor trusting the film's attempt to encapsulate punk - became involving, believable and poignant; and while I'd always remembered certain images being striking - like the seagulls reflected on the windows of the whatchamacallit that Dennis Hopper drives in the garbage dump, to the tune of Neil Young's "Thrasher" - my overall impression of the film had been of something rough, dark, and sloppy, based perhaps on the crappy VHS tapes I had initially watched it on. Instead, I saw care and craft in almost every composition and was constantly surprised by the beauty of its images (of Vancouver circa 1980!). About the only thing that didn't actually change much was my reaction to Hopper's performance; as an over-the-edge drunk playing an over-the-edge drunk, he's both fascinating and terrible to observe, primarily raising the question of how a man THIS out of control could be making a movie THIS good; he seems so sincerely gonzo that it actually buys him some slack for the films weaker moments (and there are a few - like the rather lamely dispatched murder/theft scene). Best of all, this is a new print of the film, and looks utterly great. Tonight's the big night, when a bunch of the people involved in the making of the movie are going to be there. If I still lived in Vancouver, I would go again; anyone who hasn't seen the film is advised to check it out. (A big thankyou to the VIFC's Tom Charity for programming this film!).

It was also very pleasing to hear people laughing at Straight To Hell Returns... Thanks to Tom for programming that one, too!

1 comment:

kurt walker said...

Hi Allan, I believe I was sitting in front of you at this screening and overheard you saying that this was film was no good! It's great to hear your opinion revised, as this film has really startled me and stayed with me even a week or so later, i'm not so sure the difficulty of Cebe's characterization (specifically: the expository improvisational scenes which frame manz alone w/monologues) in the first third of the picture is deserved and/or necessary, but what the film manages to culminate to is something really ravaging and might even justify some of the grungier approaches to its means. Anyways, the shift to Straight to Hell really added a special sheen to the night and I really appreciated your introduction! cheers.