Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Noe Exit: Enter the Void

When I first saw Gaspar Noe’s Enter the Void at Sundance earlier this year, I actually emailed someone immediately afterwards: “This is the greatest [expletive] movie I’ve ever seen.” (The message may have been all-caps; I choose not to remember.) I knew at the time that I was overstating the case a bit, but I can confidently say that the rush of seeing the film didn’t wear off for weeks afterwards. Anyway, it may not be the greatest film ever made, but it is still my favorite film of the year, and will probably be my favorite film of last year as well, once this year’s round of Top Ten Listing is over and it takes its rightful place among 2009 releases (which is when it actually premiered at Cannes).

So, you should see it. And you should also read my interview with Noe, now up on Vulture. I wish I could write more about this film, but the simple truth of the matter is that I don’t think I could do it justice after one viewing, especially one eight months ago. So, maybe I should see it again, too. In the meantime, I have two items to share:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

On Conservative Movies. Sort of.

I recently wrote a piece for Vulture about whether we need more (and better) right-wing movies. (Short summary: Yes, mainly because liberal movies need a good kick in the pants to make them better.) It was pegged specifically to the news of an “upcoming” Ronald Reagan biopic, but it had been percolating in my mind for some time. (BTW, I put “upcoming” in quotes because it currently has no directors or actors attached, and biopics of political figures have a notorious tendency to not happen – see also the Lincoln biopic, the Ataturk biopic, etc.)

It was a tough piece to write on some level, because it’s obviously hard to define what a “right-wing” film actually is. I cite things like Missing in Action and Red Dawn and Rambo, but of course those are specifically action movies – comparing them to, say, Goodnight and Good Luck doesn’t quite feel right. Some extracurricular discussion about what constitutes a serious right-wing film yielded The Lives of Others as an example – a fine film that many conservatives embrace, but in the post-Cold War era, skewering the East German police state doesn’t quite have the bite that it might have had in the 1970s and 80s. (Though, it must be noted that The Lives of Others did prompt some controversy in Germany, with many on the Left disputing its claims.)