My blog neglected the Cinematheque movies last week. I didn’t feel compelled to write about them, but last night I overcame some trepidations and saw and enjoyed This Must Be the Place, a 2001 film directed by Paolo Sorrentino, with a whacked out performance by Sean Penn. He’s an aging Ozzy Osbourne type, complete with teased black hair, pale makeup, ruby lips, and black eyeliner; he speaks in a spacey, high voice, in gnomic phrases. It’s an art film, to be sure, with a dreamlike plot that people stood around trying to figure out afterwards, an effort John and I continued later that night. The movie’s probably coming back to the Cinematheque, and I recommend it, if you don’t mind a certain degree of incoherence. Here’s another tip–the article about This Must Be the Place in Sight and Sound, April, 2012, is very helpful.
This movie affirmed two of my opinions. 1) Sean Penn is great. 2) I do not care for Frances McDormand.
On to this week’s offerings. I’ve never seen Solaris (Thursday at 7:00, Friday at 9:00), which John is very high on. Its director, the Russian Andrei Tarkovsky, is known for dense, philosophical films. He was Ingmar Bergman’s favorite director. Tarkovsky scares me a little, but I may screw up my courage for this one.
Zorn’s Lemma (Friday at 7:30), a 1970 experimental film by Hollis Frampton, is also a little scary. What is a Zorn’s lemma, you ask? Well, suppose a partially ordered set P has the property that every chain (i.e. totally ordered subset) has an upper bound in P. Then the set P contains at least one maximal element.
A lemma, it turns out, is a mathematical statement that serves as a stepping stone to further statements. Zorn was a mathematician. Maybe you already knew these facts. If you didn’t, like me, you might be intimidated, or you might think that this weekend at the Cinematheque is the only chance you’ll ever have to see this movie.
The noir option this week, part of the current film noir series, seems relatively accessible and appealing. Odds Against Tomorrow was made in 1959, directed by Robert Wise (director of The Sound of Music), and stars Harry Belafonte and Robert Ryan. I’m a fan of both actors. It shows Saturday at 5:15 and Sunday at 8:50. It’s billed as a thriller and is reputedly “hard-edged,” but it seems less scary than those other movies.