1353.) Part three of my ongoing tribute to the work of pioneering Czech filmmaker Vera Chytilova focuses solely on her 1980 chaos comedy Panelstory. The film revolves around the residents of a housing project that is going through massive renovations and being enlarged. Nothing works, everyone (including the inhabitants) get easily lost, and if the residents aren’t screwing each other, they’re being screwed by the management. Yes, it’s a comedy but it’s also a social satire that rates as one of Chytilova’s tighter films.
1354.) Providing an update of sorts on the work of the great British comedian Stewart Lee, I present the second and last episode discussing and showing scenes from his recent standup show “Content Provider.” In this part, Stew ponders being a collector in the age of the Internet, when everything a person wants or needs is available at the click of a mouse, and older diehard collectors and fetishists can muse about how difficult (and fun) it *used* to be to pursue your particular fascination. Stew’s show closes out with a modern twist on Caspar David Friedrich’s 1818 painting “Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog.” (It can happen.)
1355.) Going on a glorious tangent off the work of Jacques Rivette, this week I present a discussion of and scenes from the debut film by Argentinean filmmaker Eduardo de Gregorio, who co-scripted The Spider’s Stratagem with Bertolucci and Celine and Julie Go Boating for Rivette. The film discussed here, Surreal Estate (1976), is a sort of odd spin-off of Celine and Julie, as it finds stars Bulle Ogier and Marie-France Pisier in an old mansion that seems to be spawning its own narratives. Corin Redgrave stars as a blocked novelist who discovers the house and figures that he can write a novel about its occupants (including a dominant servant, played by Leslie Caron) – but soon finds that the house controls its denizens, rather than the other way around. de Gregorio made four later features, but this one is the most intriguing, as it deals with storytelling and sexuality, and is itself a sort of “hallway” running alongside Celine and Julie.
1356.) The second Pasolini film to be discussed in detail on the show is his 1969 act of subversion Porcile, aka “Pigsty.” It’s a bizarre and thoroughly transparent allegory, which interweaves two unrelated tales of unsavory practices. The first is cannibalism committed by a Spanish soldier (Pierre Clementi), which leads him to a confession that is the pivot of the end of the movie. The other plotline concerns the son (played by New Wave icon Jean-Pierre Leaud) of a German businessman who makes money off of pigs (in case you don’t get the metaphorical level, he sports a Hitler mustache). The businessman is visited by a sympathetic friend, played by Funhouse favorite Marco Ferreri; those two are then joined by a rival businessman (played by the great Ugo Tognazzi), as the errant, rather perverted son rejects his socialist protester girlfriend (played by Leaud’s partner in Godardian frenzy, Anne Wiazemsky).