The death of cinema has been heralded countless times over the past several decades, suggesting that we are well into its ghostly afterlife. Martin Scorsese’s Hugo surveys cinema from this postcinematic station, returning to the profound connection between childhood wonder and early cinema.
Later adaptations such as the 1943 musical version with Claude Rains and of course, the Andrew Lloyd Webber stage behemoth, tried to harness this sympathetic dimension overtly, but ended up playing down the horror. This is not something Chaney’s Phantom will ever be accused of.
Martin Scorsese had a terrific time during the production of Public Speaking, his portrait of writer and New York mainstay Fran Lebowitz. I know this not from anecdotal evidence or first-hand experience of the shoot, but from what’s on display in the film itself.
Film festival programming isn’t, and frankly should never be, an exact science.
A compact 94 minutes, Heaven Knows What is a movie with feverish drive, dragged this way and that by Harley’s appetites and Ilya’s whim to carrot-on-a-stick her around with the promise of reciprocal affection. Throughout, the perspective commutes regularly between swooning intimacy and bystander detachment.
The film opened fifteen months and nine furious days after September 11, 2001, when there was still a gaping wound in the ground, when regardless of whatever could be done “to build this city up again,” it was “mightily” and irrevocably changed.
Considering that Perry identifies as a hardcore cinephile, his style is surprisingly performance-driven: his work prioritizes dialogue and the close-up. This isn’t to say his movies, with their staunch commitment to celluloid, aren’t beautiful to look at, but that his voice comes through via the accumulation of emotion rather than flourish.