Monday, February 06, 2006

Better than .....

I occasionally stumble across things in life that I really love. Things that just light my fire and make me happy to be on earth. It's been almost a year since I first stumbled across Kieslowski. If I could bring somebody back to life, I think I might just choose him. I'd love to see him work. Krzysztof Kieslowski is my new favorite filmmaker. I love the psychology of everything he does (did). The cinematography, writing, editing, acting all comes together in a way that blows my mind. He seems to have mastered the compassionate omniscient voice that makes epiphanies so easy to come by. Even unlikeable characters are treated fairly, so watching his work I never feel remotely nudged into my personal conclusions. Now, some people can't stand his filmmaking because it can seem indecisive, messy, or even amoral. I admit there is stuff in his films that I wish wasn't there. Yup, pretty much all of them I have seen come to think of it. But his filmmaking voice kind of reminds me of Lautrec's art. Showing the underbelly parts but not endorsing it - not making it look alluring or glamorous. Just pointing out that people are people, no matter how.... anyway. Somebody smarter than me once said that you either get Kieslowski or you don't, and if you get him then you love him.
My favorite example of this is his film Blue (or Bleu or Niebieski, depending on your favorite language). The character Julie is potentially film poison. She's full of unsympathetic choices and incredibly hesitant to expose herself emotionally (due to incredibly traumatic experience glimpsed at in beginning of the film).... she's a little clam that doesn't even open up to the camera when she's alone. She's determined to be thoroughly stoic. But somehow... and I don't know how.... her stoicness reveals this incredibly humanity. This wild struggle to endure the unendurable... There's a scene where she is emptying out her purse and finds a lollipop that belonged to her daughter (recently deceased). She chomps the thing down mercilessly in a way that just speaks volumes. The film is full of moments like this, so that by the end I like (or at least sympathize with) her in spite of myself. Just an example. But his films are also very European, and it follows that there is an abundance of explicitness where I wish there weren't. Struggles.

I bring this up because of my friend Jeff's blog -
(Sorry, I'm not savy enough to do 1 word links). Jeff reminds me a lot of my former-self, the interesting person I used to be, and we share a lot of internal struggles. Why does so much of what is beautiful and lovely in the world have to also be full of undesirable stuff?

Just some ponderings/praisings/questionings for a very pregnant afternoon.

1 comment:

Em said...

Ooh, that's a tough one. I'd almost recommend the 1st film from the Decalogue... I'm not sure if each of those 10 films has a name(10 films, each 50-70 minutes long)... I think only 2 do have their own names.. "A short film about love" and "A short film about killing".... but I wouldn't start with either of those 2, they're both quite intense. (Granted, the Decalogue was low-budget and was shot on video instead of film, so you don't get the same visual quality you do in his later work) The first film in the Devalogue is about a scientist father who calculates that the ice on a nearby pond is thich enough to skate on, so his son goes skating, only it turns out the ice isn't thick enough and... it's an interesting meeting place of scientific thought and its occasional incompatibility with emotive thought... If you're not squeamish about things European then all of the Decalogue AND the 3 colors trilogy are fantastic, but admittedly racey.

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