19 Jul 2009

Beauty & The Bird

Alone in the land of the Pontiac tonight. And with nothing on the tv I watched a film.

Now the great thing about my V+ box is that I can hit the red button at anytime and it will record. With 90 hours of space on the hard drive running out of room is never an issue. However, that strength is also the V+ weakness. I continually choose to record a variety of weird and wonderful sounding films. But with little time to watch them and Mrs Pontiac's aversion to the sound of them (if not the actual viewing experience) they just sit there.

I recorded Robert Altman's Brewster McCloud last August and finally watched it tonight. The most fun and randomn film I have seen in a long time.

It bares all the common traits of themes of Altman's early ouput like MASH, Nashville, The Wedding and the Long Goodbye. Overlapping & conflicting dialogue, improvisation, a dis-jointed narrative, absurdist humour, parody, a disregard for a normal filmviewer relationship and highly individual characters who appear distant from those around and who all have their own quirk.

Brewster McCloud is bascially about a young misfit whose belief in the power of flight draws him into murder and obsession. Around him he has a mysterious guardian angel and a young tour guide he meets and falls for. With murders across the city hapless police chase the killer, a self serving local politician brings in a supercool detective from San Francisco who obsesses with the case. Around them are a host of bizarre and odd characters who ultimately revolve around the actions of Brewster.

From the the first few seconds of the film I was hooked as the film unravelled like a story scrumbled into tiny balls and thrown at the audience. There is a constant parody of Steve McQueen's Bullit throughout the film culminating with a Altman-take on the famous car chase. Sally Kellerman's guardian angel is mysterious and jester like. The horror of Brewster is masked by his growing love the a sensational Shelley Duvall. Sensational in her sweet-subversive and incredibley sexy performance. See the pic above. If you aint in love then I don't want to know what love is.

As it all climaxes the absurdism reaches a fitting finale with the cast taking their bow to the audience dressed as assorted film and circus characters (see below). This is what 21st Century fairy-tales should look like. Inspirational, unsettling but sweet as candy.

No accompanying music track with this post but I will say that I listened to the soundtrack for John Carpenter's Assualt On Precinct 13 while writing this.

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