Monday, July 30, 2007

Cassette Culture and Weekend Movies

I'm not really one of those people who overly fetishizes cassette tapes and cassette tape culture. I like tapes, especially mix tapes, just fine, and I'm glad to have somewhat recently salvaged a bunch of them from my childhood home, but there's no part of me that harbors too many romantic feelings about their extra-musical significance/signifiers. That being said, however, finally listening to Voxtrot's self-titled full-length album made me kind of wish I'd encountered it first on tape. There's a kind of slick 1980s listlessness to it that would have felt and sounded perfect on the plastic-smelling clackety-clack of a cassette. I think I mean that as a compliment?

Caught up with both Once and Broken English this weekend, two movies that made me pine for the simple joys of just hanging out with someone new and special whose company intrigues and delights you. Of course Once also folds in the thrill of actively doing something creative with a group of like-minded (but not too like-minded) individuals, which is its own kind of seduction, but it was those shots of the couple just wandering through the city streets, chatting, or sharing music and a meal in someone's dingy apartment that seemed most compelling in their simplicity. Broken English loses points for lifting, basically wholesale, the explosively dramatic final two or three lines from Before Sunset ("you are gonna miss that plane") and using them for essentially the same purpose--but the same purpose without ten additional years of backstory and tension and longing. Some of the dialogue is plenty stilted and some of the scenarios strain credibility, but the casting was impeccable (though I do wish they'd given Michael Panes--one of the best and most memorable and sexiest things about The Anniversary Party--more to do as Glen, instead of just being the dorky/schlubby coworker), and its preoccupations with how hard it is to find and keep and sustain romantic love seem right.

As much as I enjoy his work, why does it seem like Romain Duris is suddenly everywhere right now? The posters for his movies Dans Paris and Moliere were practically hanging side by side at the theater this weekend, and there seems to be a real publicity push for Moliere in particular, based on how often I've seen the trailer by this point. It seems especially suspect to me that these French movies are being more or less actively promoted in the U.S. Why has this handful of movies, specifically, been annointed as appropriate for Amurr'can consumption, and what is it about Duris that has turned him into the new go-to leading man for crossover appeal? It's probably a tricky stew of his looks, talent, and charisma and the surprise (?) stateside success of L'auberge espagnole, Russian Dolls, and The Beat That My Heart Skipped (my review here), but it is something to be pondered at any rate.

New rock and roll photo crush! Kirstiecat is Chicago-based, apparently goes to a lot of the same shows that I do, and keeps a totally groovy music blog. Be sure to check out her sets from this year's Pitchfork fest (day one, day two, day three) to get a better sense of the personality of the weekend than I was able to manage with my (relatively) crappy point-and-shoot.

Shit, I'd just assumed he was dead already. Anyway, RIP, Ingmar Bergman.

UPDATE: Also RIP, Michelangelo Antonioni, who apparently died on the same day as Bergman. I'm bummed that I pretty much missed this summer's Antonioni retrospective at the Siskel.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I miss tapes. And I miss Chicago. And you.

I don't think I can come visit until the smoking ban goes into effect. Is that weird?

I would relapse. That would be not good. So maybe, maybe I'll see you in 2008. Is that lame?