27 April 2010

Dillinger è morto (Dillinger is Dead)

A film like this really shows you how limited the contemporary idea of film language is. It's hard to say much about this on first viewing, because it's deliberately hard to pinpoint what it's about -- I could tell you what happens, but not what it means, and the fact that it's 41 years old doesn't help. It's not so much that it's subtle as that it's nonliteral and open to interpretation. In fact, it's banal and surreal at once. In that, it reminds me wonderfully of Buñuel and Beckett. Good company to be in! Definitely Theatre of the Absurd stuff, here.

Something weirdly uber-modern about the world (read: interior design) of the story as well. Posters for FUTURISM, strange glowing purple cube furniture which may be a lamp or a high table of some kind. Colorful patterns on every white wall. Dancing with Super-8, characters in a film interacting with characters in the film in the film. Michel Piccoli reminds me of a thinner Dan Hedaya. These are all disjointed reactions. Do with them what you will.

But like I say: a film like this really makes you realize how bland our linear narrative storytelling can be. It makes me remember my stranger short scripts. It makes me long to go back to Pinter and Beckett and Ionesco and Albee. It makes me remember what was so great in those French New Wave films. There is absolutely no audience for a film like this today, is there? If this were made in 2010, it would sit on a shelf for forty years before being recovered by film historians and granted a new perspective. Interesting, provocative stuff.

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