Once a month, I go to the library and peruse the film rentals. Their foreign film section is rather large and you can find films from Middle Eastern, Indies to classic silent films, art, music and documentaries to European standards. (I usually pick up French films to brush up this language I learned years ago and am in fear of losing; possibly my French has waned in years and would like nothing more but an intense three month immersion in Paris. Helas alors, I have other travel priorities!) But often though, I have scored several times by picking excellent films wonderfully filled with content that is deeply satisfying to me.
Last week, I rented a Danish film called The Inheritance by the director Per Fly, Cassavetes' The Killing of a Chinese Bookie and Barton Fink from the Coen Brothers (which I have yet to see.)
The Inheritance was a ritzy showcase of gorgeous visuals with gorgeous actors along with their gorgeous dysfunctions. While it was slick, I enjoyed it; the acting quite good and throughout the show, the architecture shown in several homes with interiors filled with art murals and abstracts excited me and gave me hope for contemporary painters and the art world. That aspect alone sated my film whims, but it was Cassavetes' film The Killing of a Chinese Bookie that stayed with me after several days of viewing it. It starred Ben Gazzara who was the over the top star playing a casual cool, aloof strip joint owner. I loved that it was set in sleazy Hollywood; feeling the wide dirty boulevards of the strip, that balmy fuzzy sea air and elements of the crazy fast life of city freeways made me nostalgia for the west coast. Cassavetes uses random, gritty scenes and jumbles his settings that often seem askew. He films actual situations and lets them fly, usually setting up for funky and disjointed scenarios. Nevertheless, he leaves you thinking about his films and what will happen to the characters in the story. There is really no beginning or ending, but pure living as it is. His films are raw and candid, his characters engaging in their ordinariness.
Films give me a good dose of art; the cinematography and places/countries/cities from where they are filmed are feeders of time for me. This is what I do when I cannot get into the studio and teaching classes becomes all consuming. I watch and study films, do a bit of reading and try to add significant impressions to my blog.