Show This Week

May 18, 2024

1585.) Vintage: The third and last part of my Deceased Artiste tribute to filmmaker Dusan Makavejev focuses on the film that “halted” his career for a while, and the ones that appeared after his 1981 comeback with Montenegro. The 1974 film Sweet Movie is one of the great “outrages” in film history – a work that combines memorable imagery and sharp satire with strange indulgences and scenes that are included to “test” the audience. His two most normal pics, The Coca-Cola Kid (1985) and Manifesto (1988), found him injecting his trademark concerns (sexuality, the juxtaposition of human and animals, strongly committed women characters) into quite linear scripts, with the result being quite entertaining (but still weird) filmmaking. His final feature, Gorilla Bathes at Noon (1993), is a sad shadow of Makavejev’s best work, reflecting back on the Soviet Union at the moment that the former Yugoslavia was torn apart by violence.

Last week:
1584.) NEW:This week the “You Ain’t Seein’ This Anyplace Else” department becomes the “You Ain’t Seein’ This Anyplace in the Biggest English-speaking Countries” department, as I discuss and show scenes from Roman Polanski’s 2023 farce The Palace. So far, the cancellation of Polanski’s work in the U.S. and the U.K. (and its one-time and current colonies) has denied viewers in those locales three of his films. I’ve shown scenes from the first two on the Funhouse (with J’Accuse being a late-period masterpiece for Polanski) and this time out it’s scenes from his Millennium comedy, which was declared his worst-film-ever by some critics (which is surely wrong, because nothing he’s made will ever descend to the level of Pirates). The film is a *broad* comedy that is far from Polanski’s great work, but it is not as godawful as European reviewers contended. Scripted by Polanski, his old friend Jerzy Skolimowski, and Eva Piaskowska (Skolimowski’s wife), the film follows various inhabitants at an extremely posh Swiss hotel as they prepare to ring in the Millennium on New Years Eve 1999. The stars include Fanny Ardant, John Cleese, Mickey Rourke, and many others, and (like many BIG farces) actually scores more laughs from the toss-off material or tangential gags than the main plotlines. It is still of interest because Polanski is one of the few master filmmakers from the Sixties era working today, and here he evokes the mix of European and American mega-rich people with a proper mix of fascination and disgust.