End of the affair

Alleva, Richard

work of art. Crackling...

...Every shot, every film critic feel like a second-class citsecond in these three movies is izen...
...This is a big temptation nowa- What Hollywood is ready to declare ment than his remarkable Colors trilodays when you know that everybody great art nowadays is something like gy...
...Of course, there is still a mar- cinematography...
...Commonweal 20 April 7, 2000...
...With me, the pleasure prin- good...
...films I consider masterpieces, but For her, such pain was to be dealt the three I keep returning to time with in church while movies were and again are Citizen Kane, 81/2, and made in order to "make people feel Persona...
...videos...
...Formerly, the studio the consumer-driven marketplace where Catholic country in a postmoral age...
...It steadies my soul every time I watch it...
...special effect on the viewer that's caused Black Robe., I shouldn't have...
...turbed, then expanded my adult convoice...
...When I recommended Black that have been asked by readers either book, movie, painting, or musical piece Robe to a very Christian lady, I did so in letters or (more intinudatingly) face to is: "Relax me" or "Caress me...
...The Oscars declare people who live next door to you or inketplace for "product," that is, video, cable what Hollywood wants to produce in side your own skin...
...However, an age of too many minimalists, more about the redoubtable KiesOrson Welles, Federico Fellini, and lowski below...
...TV programming, export overseas...
...and I predict it will win best picture, ac- ing and acting that create characters so Look, there is no movie marketplace...
...But the future, not its real accomplishments These are not moral fables but works there doesn't exist any longer the tried of the past year...
...That's why What's the "high concept" here...
...the dictum, "Character is fate...
...In fact, there are no highlights at all, Krzysztof Kieslowski's Colors triljust gorgeous small moments alter- ogy was remarkable, but only Blue nating with gorgeous big ones...
...just about fitting into the steamer trunk I think this is why many people are Can a movie fuse James Fenimore but only if I use two straps to keep it irritated, even outraged by critics in the Cooper with Georges Bernanos...
...What good did calling Facets at 773-281-9075...
...A more serious problem is that Commonweal 19 April 7, 2000 initial enthusiasm leads a critic (this crit- eral more movies made from gritty Video is now offering, on five video casic, anyway) to ever so slightly overrate memoirs about abysmal poverty, but settes, all ten episodes of Krzysztof Kiesgood movies in order to get people to they weren't about to let that happen...
...Moments like these make a ciple always rules...
...Writers use different voices for These three have taught me what film Not far behind is Black Robe, an advendifferent tasks, and I have can be at its highest flight...
...With your crooked heart...
...Ever since ture story that roused the boy inside grown sick of my fifteen- seeing them, I've kept asking myself me, yet also a spiritual odyssey that disyear-old movie-reviewing why I should settle for anything less...
...But she found the of all time...
...betrayed me...
...First, the inevitable: unreasonable...
...This from bursting), I recall a few questions arts...
...When a because I thought she would be thrilled face...
...may have favored its most commercial- all other American businesses thrive or Right, but I would add that, on the basis ly promising products over more serious fail...
...But nowadays your attention to the fact that Facets from breaking the fifth commandment...
...packed with meaningful detail, vi- Then there is Groundhog Day, tality, mystery...
...For instance, if and, if nothing I've written here you haven't seen Angela's Ashes impels you to rent or buy this seyet, you 1 be able to rent it in about ries, perhaps his article will...
...I ness, irony, and speed of mod- wanted to convey how awful they ernism...
...To wit: have felt obligated to produce sev- "I'll be back...
...So why shouldu t I re- is what the art of film can be at its view it in six months for the great highest flight...
...Crackling entertainments such as In the Line of Fire know their Richard Alleva own weight and destinations...
...Ingmar Bergman were maximalists...
...Yes, one: Gianni Amelio's Open Doors...
...That's why I think of Kieslowski and his script collaborator launches it into big-city theaters, with the industry as operating within a kind Krzysztof Piesiewicz "were interested in small towns and the suburbs to be served of demand economy rather than within examining the relevance of old laws in a shortly thereafter...
...No, it isn't even suit the action to the word by drawing commandment in order to keep a woman a business, it's a racket...
...Nowadays...
...Kane and 81/2 combine the layered Did you underrate any film...
...As in a Mozart opera great entertainment and great minor or a Chekhov story, there is no filler, art, the fun version of Sartre's No no drop in the dramatic pressure, Exit, and a hilarious vindication of no marking time between highlights...
...The The Remains of the Day or Nobody's Fool, American Beauty was released twice, each Ten Commandments...
...And what special admirable movies both, but if I made time accompanied by the best advertis- effects are delivered...
...and Stanley Kauffmann (the two And now I must finish up my toughest movie critics in New packing so that I will have time York) do for the movie if the re- to practice my Austrian accent...
...of these films, Kieslowski seems to bemovies with extra PR and the widest re- If a film critic really wants to be a con- lieve that those "old laws" hold up pretlease patterns, but this was understand- noisseur of his art form the way a liter- ty well...
...And that's why Beauty will win many of by images that burn themselves into the major Oscars this year (I'm writing your brain, editing so skillful that it turns Can the art of film survive the mar- three weeks before the Oscar ceremony a series of shots into visual melody, writketplace...
...Let me ond commandment episode breaks that aiu t an art, it's a business...
...Did you see any films of the caliber END OF THE AFFAIR of Kane, etc...
...era of modernism to its climax...
...Why do we always mass of people instead of the few settle for so much less...
...movie production isn't so much a In the August 15, 1997, issue of racket as a stalking horse for the Commonweal, Joseph Cunneen exreal business of producing videos amined The Decalogue in detail and cable TV rights...
...cubus is implanted, it can never be si- "0 stand, stand at the window Packing up my critical equipment lenced...
...during your tenure at Quitting the movies, for now Commonweal...
...Its last unforgettable scene last column for a while and, though I not every movie even aspires to be a recalls the Auden lines from "As I may return to Commonweal's pages in the masterpiece, but once the critical in- Walked Out One Evening": near future, it won't be as a film critic...
...lowski's The Decalogue, a greater achievesee them...
...Tell me when were, but my ingrained kindness and seems to me to bring the entire the heartwarming part is over...
...Here six months...
...Well, any critic You shall love your crooked and sarcasm easily sliding into the thin might say, "I am the Spirit Who De- neighbor manila envelope, smug knowingness mands...
...realistic detail of the nineteenth-cen- No, but I overrated Life Is Beautitury novel with the elliptical edgi- ful, The Matrix, and The Piano...
...Movie should be a video reviewer, not a re- of morality, as when the hero of the secmogul Harry Cohn used to bray, "This viewer of movie-house releases...
...views, released in late December, Why Austrian...
...The entire series is the perfect refuwould rather stay home and watch American Beauty-slick, smarmy, sneer- tation of the whole Hollywood ethos...
...I was quite right to praise, say, ing at social institutions...
...There is no didacticism because, of a feature film with boastful advertis- to make financial success conform to ide- as Time's critic, Richard Corliss, put it, ing and sensational previews, then ological climate...
...However, a good critic priest learning how to love even the knows enough not to expect a glossy "pagan savages" who had outraged his What are your favorite movies work of entertainment to be a major idea of civilization...
...Persona is pure modernism " I can't watch...
...They deserve some answers be- critic demands, "Enlarge me," " he seems by the movie's lucid depiction of a fore I depart...
...Merely the one them sound as great as Open Doors or ing and the shrewdest sort of circulation...
...Time to move on...
...In Hollywood, despite of refined, elliptical realism in the tradiand true agon of theatrical exhibition in the need to make gazillions of dollars, tion of Anton Chekhov's fiction and which the studio trumpets the greatness true capitalism doesn't rule but a desire drama...
...prejudices in the big crate, snideness Spirit Who Denies...
...Details of millions who got to see Ashes in six purchase or rental can be had by or seven big cities...
...Because my ediare so far ahead of the movie's na- tors want me to keep repeating a tional circulation (in March...
...ary critic is a connoisseur of his, he like awareness of the inner contradictions Well, let me put it this way...
...Not tress, original screenplay direction, and real that they are as recognizable as the anymore...
...Mephisto told Faust, "I am the As the tears scald and start...
...In approached greatness...
...So this is my That's not a reasonable question since sciousness...
...But he also has a Graham Greeneable business practice...
...What most people demand of a one does...
...movie unbearable because it conI've seen roughly twenty-five tained agonies of body and spirit...
...or the rave reviews of John Simon visiting www.facets.org...
...line made immortal when spoIf Ashes had made zillions at the ken by a robot with a curious box office, the studio heads might Austrian accent...

Vol. 127 • April 2000 • No. 7


 
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