Okely, after a brief but hospitable sojourn in Bordeaux (St Laurent d'Arce) with more quality wine and cheese than is safe to mention without wilting, I chanced, upon my return, on an absurd little televisual nugget in a Simpsons repeat. I could've focused more on quality content here of late, but with all my other energies going into the Slow Review, y'all have to be patient and make do with such little nuggets now and then. Of course, it doesn't make half as much sense unless your hear Castellaneta's intonation and singing attack, and of course's Homer's mildly absurd dance interpretation, and it's all over in a matter of seconds and could arguably be derided as a minor or lo-humour-value gag, of which there are quite a few, on occasion, in the later series, though without reservations I can pledge my own continued and singing allegiance to the show as a non-issue, taken for granted, signed and authenticated as cast-iron-clad solid gold opinion and conviction, the show is simply the greatest of our generation. No ifs nore buts about it. Anyhoo, here it is.
Homer's Safety Dance
You can dance, You can dance, Everybody look at your pants.
Just quickly then, a lucky batch of selections from the well-below-par, not so local video store we joined recently (where it always smells, the service is shite, the movie you want is never available but everything's for sale). Primer is an amazing first film. A beacon of hope for lo-budget DIY filmmaking which is nonetheless challenging, professionally constructed cinema. Basically a team of young garage inventors make a time-shifting device and lose themselves in the paradoxes and cause-effect permutations the shifting incurs. Issues of trust and ego stretch over manifold dualities and little mind-warps; the confusion and miscomprehension of the characters feeding onto the audience. Carruth's commentary track is worth the price of rental alone, not so much to explain the diffuse obscurantism of the plot but to lay bare the simple efficiencies of shooting a movie with one camera, editing on a home computer, writing your own music, ensuring minimal dubs with good sound recording, the hundred minutiae of self-driven, self-funded and self-organised filmmaking etc. I learnt a lot. Also of note was the dense jargon of four tech-wonks talking over one another: capturing the spirit of post-uni research and innovation with an air of naivety and realism. Guys in shirts and cheap ties who don't really know what they're getting into (cutting up the microwave, do you really need that catalytic converter?), not quite perceiving the nature and implication of what they create, that is, philosophically unprepared for the moral imperatives or responsibilities active outside regular time and limitation.
Pacing is the major subset of plot that drives the cinema experience. Now if you can rearrange and massage the plot in service of pace with plenty of flashes backward and forward, there's a good chance your film stands outside predictable plot patterns and expectation. At times a fine mix of Janet Frame novel and a film like The Boys (not in terms of suspense, but in terms of scene/pace-driven narrative), this is one of the better dramas available to rent recently. The peculiarly NZ mix of small-town isolation and mountain-ringed enclosure drive this prodigal son returned / old wounds narrative. Yet not for a single second is the film predictable or familiar in its movements. Maurice Gee wrote the source novel; the film retains sufficient novelistic breadth of perspective. The dialogue lacks clarity at times (I missed whole chunks due to the rapid flurry-mumble of NZ accents) but it's extremely handsomely shot. And that pacing is superb: part mystery and analysis, generously clued yet always unexpected balancing character with audience-minded development. The strength of misinterpetation and incomplete knowledge, long-standing enmity and ideas of worldliness. As well as a grizzly metal party teabagging scene. It feels like I'm writing a review entirely using review-cliches, so I will end there. Four stars.
By the way, Ads, on a completely unrelated note, did you like that Roots track Water?