1982: 2 movies

posted 2015 November 18


Querelle
Directed by Rainer Werner Fassbinder 
Written by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and
Burkhard Driest
Produced by Dieter Schidor
Music by Peer Raben 
Cinematography by Xaver Schwarzenberger 
and Josef Vavra 
Editing by Rainer Werner Fassbinder and Juliane Lorenz 
Production design by Rolf Zehetbauer 
Art direction by Walter E. Richarz
Costumes by Barbara Baum and Monika Jacobs 
Starring Brad Davis, Jeanne Moreau,
and G√ľnther Kaufmann

   This movie was shot as if there were eternally only two times of day, an unbearably hot and humid 3 PM, and an unbearably hot and humid 3 AM. The screen shimmers like gold, or sweat-soaked skin, and the set is surreally beautiful. The look trickles into the tone of the story by making it all feel like a long dream after a debaucherous night. The acting is stoic bordering on camp. The story is negligible except for its themes which brim with eroticism, rivalry, and the search for love. The editing which mixes moments of languid dialogue and surprising respites of holy soliliquys adds flavor to the mix. The end result is a movie that is a classic solely for its strong look and feel, and for the fact that it is so blank in its content, that we are given space to fill in our own desires and fears.
   The title is a reference to Jean Genet's novel of the same name, and is the name of the lead character. It translates from French to "Quarrel".


The Discipline of D.E.
Written, directed, produced,
and edited by Gus Van Sant
Narrated by Ken Shapiro
Starring Frank Birney and Michael L. McManus

   Nice black & white cinematography in this odd short movie. There is almost no dialogue, instead there is a monologue by an unseen narrator. It starts with a mysterious tidbit of a story, and then abruptly shifts into a infomercial about zen-living. Told with humor and drama, it shifts again, at the end, into a western cowboy movie. The sum total is a feeling that our common-place surroundings may actually be a cloak over a metaphysical battleground between graceful living and awkward death. The fun comes from the viewer deciding for him or herself how much irony they read into the movie, or whether it is 100% sincere. Either way, it's great writing framed in a novel and fun way.
   The title comes from the story by William S. Burroughs, which it is based on.

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