Hey, as a fellow Jacques Tourneur fan, I was wondering if you'd share some thoughts on Appointment in Honduras, a film I liked quite a bit, yet feel as though I missed something. Tourneur's elliptical, unknowable violence remains intact, the moral uncertainty of the protagonist is compelling.
As Fujiwara puts it, it's "at once one of the most minor of Tourneur's films and one of the most profound". The very straightforward plot - mostly getting from one point to another while meeting already-dead animals and soon-to-be-dead people - as well as Tourneur's usual subdued & slack (as in "slack water") tone make the whole thing feel like a dream-like initiatic journey to the heart of darkness and back again. Just like in Dwan's or Ulmer's movies, the obvious lack of $$ and its various formal consequences - artificial settings, slightly off or stiff actors, "aquarium lighting", stock-shots... - serve as precarious yet often sublime means for spatial, moral or even metaphysical explorations. Case in point : when somebody dies in "Appointment", it's always in a blunt and unexpected way that makes you feel like shit but doesn't belittle you as a spectator for having speculated on it (Fujiwara : "death strikes as a spatial illogicality"). While, during the first 20mn of Haneke's last film, you can't help but wait for Riva's coming death because every fucking shot is "carefully" designed to make you feel so.
Having rewatched it prior your response, I have to agree with all of what you said. Particularly important, for me, was articulating why it isn't a Haneke-esque act of manipulation, despite the "distance" of Tourneur. Also, I feel this is one of his most complex films, incredibly mysterious. I get the nagging feeling that something about it has eluded me.
Hey so I see you did see Jolly Fellows and liked it! There is something about the visual rhythms of its movement that I love. (Btw I have gotten really piqued by the general dismissal that By the Bluest of Seas, that Barnet gem, has elicited on MUBI. Its being shown free on MUBI in America and all these people who have seen it there leave comments on the page that really leave me gritting my teeth! Thought Id share because I see you have rated it a 5 as well)
Yeah, thanks for recommending it, loved that antisocial "groucho-marxist" feel. As for Barnet, I suppose he is doomed to the amiration of the (hopefully increasing) happy few for not matching general pre/misconceptions about soviet cinema (not sure if this a correct english sentence but it's getting late here).
Il n'y a aucun erreur. Tu t'exprimes avec beaucoup d'éloquence en anglais, mais malheureusement mon français boite ... Yes! Soviet cinema is approached with so much baggage... People constantly talk about its propaganda aspect as though the entire star system were not one massive propaganda machine. I'm watching his Miss Mend right now and thoroughly enjoying myself...
Have you seen Alexandrov's Jolly Fellows? Given your other tastes I think you might like it. Its a completely crazy early Russian musical. Here is a link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chDRXQ77IgA
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