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Monday, January 21, 2008

I, THE AUDIENCE: Around the World 

I work late, until around midnight, or a little later, and then I ride my bicycle about eight miles to get home. I ride along a bike path that's beside a desert highway, and, sometimes, to relieve the boredom, I come up with topics for thought to give me something to do for an hour while I ride home, in the middle of the night, beside my moonshadow, beneath the big desert sky.

The last few nights, I have been considering cinema, and foreign films. I pick a country and then I try to think of my favorite movies from that nation and try to pick my very favorite movie from that country.

FRANCE - This took most of the hour. I have made fun of French movies a lot because, when you get stuck in a bad French movie, you are doomed! Well, I feel that way. A really good French movie is another thing entirely. I like old French movies, like "Zero de Conduite," "L'Atlante," "Blood of a Poet," "Testament of Orpheus," "Grand Illusion" and "Rules of the Game." I was also thinking of "Mr. Hulot's Holiday" and "Playtime." (I love "Playtime"! I almost stopped when I thought of "Playtime." What could beat that? What a great movie. But I kept going.)

There's more recent films like "Queen Margot," "A Very long Engagement" (another film that almost got the nod) and "Amelie." Great films.

Then I thought of "8 femmes" and I had my winner. It's also known as "8 Women" and I don't feel like telling you what it's about. The director has been called the French Almodovar. I rented a couple of years ago and watched it every day for a week. I never do that with French films. I seldom do that with any film.

Favorite French film: "8 femmes" ("8 Women")

ITALY - I thought about this on two consecutive nights. I have seen too many Italian films and I really love dumb Italian movies. So I had all these crazy Italian movies running through my head, like "Danger: Diabolik" and "Rome - Armed to the Teeth" and "Modesty Blaise" and I was trying to figure out if "The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" is an Italian film, and I was trying to remember the names of some of the many Italian movies I've seen that had all kinds of goofy crap in them.

I really have seen too many Italian movies.

I narrowed it down to Fellini. I love Fellini, and I thought if I could pick my favorite Fellini movie, then I could just compare any movie I came up with to Fellini and maybe that would me choose. So I was considering "La Strada," "Nights of Cabiria," "La Dolce Vita," "8 1/2" and "Amarcord," and I just could not decide.

Tonight, I had a breakthrough! "Fellini Satyricon"! I don't why I didn't think of it last night. It has been a long time since I last saw it, but I used to go watch it at the New Beverly Theater, the Los Angeles revivial house that is one of the many things I miss about Los Angeles. They used to show it twice a year. I don't know how many times I saw it. I'm sure I've seen five or six times. At least.

My favorite Italian move. No contest.

Favorite Italian film: "Fellini Satyricon"

GERMANY - As soon as I thought to myself, "Now to consider German film," I thought of "Pandora's Box," the silent film, directed by the amazing G.W. Pabst, about the adventures of a doomed girl whose beauty leads everyone in her web into an inescapable vortex of lust, foolishness, greed and tragedy. I have never shaken my Louise Brooks obsession, but I have also never tried. And I never will.

This movie kicks ass.

Favorite German film: "Die Buchse der Pandora" ("Pandora's Box")

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