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Déjà Vu

Turns out Zach was already here.

For so many reasons, El is a wonderful movie, a dry-run for Buñuel’s masterpiece of on-again off-again passion and sense (Buñuel, like Lubitsch, is always wondering which one is worse), That Obscure Object of Desire. The problem, probably the greatest a film could have, is that Vertigo does it better. Two films by the surrealist masters of suspense/Catholic guilt: stories of women who are temptations to sin and redemptions from it (Jesus—Nietzsche says it—provides a similar role for Christians, as an eternal, guilty reminder of the sins he’s saved us from, and of the debt we owe him that just increases every sinful day; if Jesus doesn’t remind us, Fritz Lang will). It makes perfect sense to see Vertigo’s museum as Hitchcock’s church, and Scottie’s embrace as a kiss of death; El, at least, can help indicate why.

A few months ago, Kasman and I were getting hot dogs in Needle Park—I think we were talking about Hitchcock. “Yo, you guys talking about Hitchcock?” said a skater, in clothes tattered well beyond fashion (I've learnt the feeling), who was eyeing our hot dogs a few feet away. “I love Hitchcock!” One of us asked him if he had seen Vertigo. “Aw no,” he said, “but I’ve heard that movie—isn’t it, like, about everything?” I think I said yes. I hope so.

Some shots from Vertigo and El—one of the many things Vertigo, I think, is “about”:
that skater-kid dialogue is PERFECT.
Amazing. I really want to check out EL now.
El is superb. My friend Steve gave me a copy once. Really, tho, Bunuel is just plain superb. How come he’s still, um, “niche”? (At least compared to some fatty smarty-pants like Hitch?)
I think that there was something of a dialogue between the two directors. The shot of Kim Novak’s dragged legs also refers back to ‘Archiboldo de la Cruz’ but was then reprised in ‘Belle de Jour’. Someone one said that that both directors enjoyed creating precarious situations for imperious blonds. And don’t get me started on bell-towers! Here ‘El’ was surely influenced by ‘Foreign Correspondent’.

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