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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 9:09 am 
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Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
colinr0380 wrote:
The thing that immediately stuck out to me in the schedules next week was BBC4 screening Author: The JT LeRoy Story at 11 p.m. on Wednesday 1st February.

I’m a bit torn (bifurcated?) on the whole J.T. LeRoy thing. On the one hand I think the imagination and writing talent on display that people responded to was definitely there (and there is a brilliant sense that it needed the input of, albeit unwitting, outside collaborators to fuel the creation of such an elaborate back story seemingly improvised on the fly), to such an extent that I’m actually more interested in what Laura Albert does as an 'actual' fiction writer now than I ever really was when there was a real figure of J.T. LeRoy just articulately drawing from his ‘real life’ incidents and putting it down in writing! What will she write now that she is not inextricably tied to the persona she created? Will that expand the horizons of her writing into other areas, or did it need that persona to bounce ideas off? I even think it was a wonderful idea to work through your issues ‘safely’ through a proxy. After all isn’t that what all writers do to some extent? (Either using proxies to work through their own issues, or deal with those of the wider society as a whole)

As an audience member I don’t particularly feel deceived by any of this situation (Elephant is still a magnificent piece of work, both writing and directorially however that is apportioned, and that sublimation of filmmakers watching college kids only feels heightened by the real life ‘deception’!), and as a distant observer this really all just adds an extra interesting dimension to Elephant, The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things, the discussion piece on Criterion’s My Own Private Idaho disc, etc. I don’t feel the ‘revelation’ damages the work, and in some ways deepens it in a fascinating way. But then I should admit that in general I don’t think that ‘based on a true story’ holds more inherent worth, or more caché, than a fictional piece (I guess if someone thinks that only a person who has lived the exact life they are describing can talk about a specific social group or situation then I can see why there might be that sense of betrayal arising, but that has always seemed a reductive approach to take to literature!). In both you should be able to discern the hand of an author guiding their narrative, and that aspect hasn’t really changed despite any re-framing going on outside of the text.


On the other hand I think the whole J.T. LeRoy persona spilling into real life was awful and really should have been stopped extremely early on before it deceived people. Gus Van Sant and Asia Argento in particular seem to get horribly badly deceived by this whole situation. Sure I can understand Laura Albert’s attempts to defend her actions by saying that they (and all the other celebrities) were latching onto this evocative ‘hustling trailer park kid’ as much as she was using them, but to have gotten to the point of building up actual friendships (and more), was far beyond the line of acceptable behaviour! Plus when you start actually dragging other people, willing or not, into your deception to playact characters in real life, that should be another warning siren that you are doing something rather problematic! (Not to mention solipsistic in trying to mould real life into your perception and interpretation of it, such that becomes rather stifling and airless. It does make me wonder what Laura Albert thought of Synecdoche, New York though! Or at least I want Criterion to call on Albert to write the liner note essay for their inevitable edition of that film!)

Albert talks about other writers using pen names, but didn’t seem to get the idea that you still retain your own persona while being liberated from all your authorial baggage on the page! It almost inverts here to being constrained on the page by the persona whilst being liberated and fêted in the celebrity, pop culture sphere. Until eventually you have to turn back to being ‘Laura Albert’ to get some respite from that and have your work on Deadwood assessed fairly.

In the end it probably is another cautionary tale piece on 'true artistic expression' and actual talent being co-opted (albeit willingly!) and eventually destroyed by celebrity culture, as well as of the dubious veracity of 'autobiographical' literature, no matter how poetically expressed! Its just in this case that 'co-option' caused reciprocal damage to all sides.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:20 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
Next weeks films are quite eclectic:

As mentioned by jlnight above The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 is on Film4 at 11.15 p.m. on Saturday 11th February. It is probably worth giving a strong warning about how tonally different this sequel is from the grubby, nerve-shattering original. Compared to the first film's relatively bloodless but psychologically brutal film, this one is much more of a gory black comedy that sort of plays into all of the preconceptions that might have been there around how nasty and crude the first film was supposed to have been! Its also made during Tobe Hooper's period of working with Cannon Films and just after he made the (much better!) naked space vampire movie LifeForce (NSFW). Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 fits better into that company than as a sequel (the tonal whiplash between the first Texas Chain Saw Massacre and this one is perhaps the most violent thing about it!) and is very much a Cannon Film, for better and worse!

Its also got Dennis Hopper in it, the same year he was in Blue Velvet! His performance is similarly deranged, but his scenes are the best in the film (he's the only one who seems to be able to nail the tone the film is trying to go for in his performance, especially in this scene!) and his character is actually being used as the 'representative of normality' in some ways, which may suggest just how far gone the rest of the work is into grand guignol!

But if you can get through the ickily drawn out radio station scenes of a lady being menaced by someone wielding an improbably large chainsaw as a phallic symbol (I get it, its meant to be like a penis!), then you should be fine!

Then if you haven't had enough gruelling torture and punishment after that, M. Night Shyamalan's notorious flop adaptation of an anime series The Last Airbender is getting its first screening on Channel 5 at 5 p.m. on Sunday 12th February.

After enduring the above you may wish you were unable to see, and luckily BBC4 have you covered with the premiere of the dramatised-documentary Notes on Blindness at 9 p.m. on Thursday 16th February. (This seems timed to coincide with the BAFTA Film awards ceremony the previous Sunday, in which Notes on Blindness is nominated in both the Best Documentary and Best British Film categories)

In terms of repeats, there are a couple items of note. The Horror channel is screening the Hammer film Night Creatures (aka Captain Clegg) at 12.50 a.m. on Sunday 12th February. And most excitingly at 3 p.m. on Thursday 16th February, Film4 are screening Phil Karlson's film noir Kansas City Confidential.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 10:07 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:49 am
How to Get Ahead in Advertising, Sat 18th February, London Live.
Stevie, the 1978 Glenda Jackson film, Sun 19th February, London Live.
Other films coming up on this channel include Intimate Games (!!), Privates on Parade and Nuns on the Run!

Life Animated, Mon 20th February, BBC4, part of the Storyville strand.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 11, 2017 11:31 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:49 am
A Private Function, Thu 23rd February, London Live.
Intimate Games, Fri 24th February, London Live.

The screening of Notes on Blindness that Colin mentions is apparently available with the audio description and "heightened soundtrack" as well (BBC red button).


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 14, 2017 8:03 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
Only one really notable new film showing next week, but its the premiere of Christian Petzold's Phoenix at 11 p.m. on BBC4 on Sunday 19th February.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 9:52 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:49 am
12 Angry Men, Sun 26th February, Film4.

Wild Tales, Thu 2nd March, Film4.

Alternatively: Privates on Parade, also Thu 2nd March, London Live.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 17, 2017 1:33 pm 
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Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK
It sounds as if they are doing a Handmade Films season on that London Live channel!


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:51 am 

Joined: Tue Oct 22, 2013 10:49 am
You could be right. All we're really waiting for is a screening of Shanghai Surprise or whatever it's called! In the meantime Nuns on the Run is scheduled for Sat 4th March (in between A Private Function and Privates on Parade).

London Live also has Sex with the Stars the night before (Fri 3rd March).


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 22, 2017 7:31 pm 
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Ah, Nuns On The Run! I love that film (and remember watching it with my dad as a kid!). I even think its a bit better than Sister Act, which came along a couple of years later and which followed many of the same beats (convent under threat of closure being saved by an unorthodox scheme) but was a bit more pious than "Nuns", in the sense that Sister Act involved mentoring a choir while the closest our opportunistic criminals turned undercover nuns got to female bonding was that steamy scene in the showers! It is one of those films in which it is refreshing that our ne'er do well lead characters don't really become better people for their culture clash experiences, and in a way the audience ends up celebrating their attempts to escape, well, everyone at the end! I don't think it was an accident that I saw it on Channel 4 back in the early 90s in a season of films that also featured Bill Murray's Quick Change, which it pairs up quite nicely with! (Siskel & Ebert hate it by the way!)

And while I'm not Catholic I'm grateful for the unforgettable profane mantra on how to perform the sign of the cross "Spectacles, Testicles, Wallet and Watch!"

Plus Janet Suzman is great in the same kind of Mother Superior role that Maggie Smith would have in the later film! Not to mention the fantastic line from one of the nuns shouted at a truck driver blocking the road during the final chase sequence: "Get out of the bloody way!". Or the perfectly appropriate use of Yello in his opening and ending credits!
___

Some other stuff next week:

The big film is the premiere of the Dardennes Brothers film Two Days, One Night on BBC4 at 9 p.m. on Sunday 26th February. That is immediately followed on BBC4 at 10.30 p.m. with the 100 minute documentary Hockney, about the painter.

On a similar documentary vein, BBC1 on Tuesday 28th February at 10.45 p.m. has the 95 minute documentary Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise, featuring the final interview with the writer.

Other than that there are just a couple of curios: at 10 p.m. on Sunday 26th February BBC2 are showing Life of Crime, based on an Elmore Leonard novel The Switch (the premise actually reminded me a lot of that Danny DeVito and Bette Midler film Ruthless People! I wonder if The Switch inspired that film?). At 9 p.m. on Sunday 26th February the Horror channel are showing the 2010 remake (with Amber Heard) of the 1970s British film And Soon The Darkness. And then Film4 picks up the horror baton at 9 p.m. on Monday 27th February with the first screening of Parisian catacomb exploration found footage piece As Above, So Below.


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