Sunday, May 23, 2010

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Daddy Long Legs

something from Kobo Abe, "The Face of Another"

For me, identifying with the father character as something of a kindred spirit, the film illuminates and plays with a duality between responsibility and fun; suspending me between impulsiveness, chaos, creativity, narcissism, etc. and then this kind of sobre but boring adultiness which I come to recognize as essential and righteous.

It seemed like most people were not like me in that they did not sympathize much with the main character.

At the screening I attended on Saturday, the Safdie's introduced the film; they said what we were about to see had "come from a place of love", showing a kind of pre-emptive defensiveness which tainted the experience for me. The film opens with the announcement of a "special video presentation" - a home video of the brother's Safdie, ages 3 and 5 approximately, dancing with their father, who is shirtless and moustachioed.

Then company credits play.

Then the "film part" begins - a closely cropped, noisy, one hour and forty minute drama about a father's yearly two week custody period of his young sons (aged 3 and 5 approximately). The film is driven by conflict between the audience, the filmmakers, and the father's personality and parenting style.

One of my friends said the beginning is slow, and I guess this makes sense because at this point Lenny seems to be just doing his thing, and his thing seems fairly inconsequential. It is later in the film when the conflict of perspective, between how we feel the father should behave and how he is behaving, deepens - particularly when the father, called into work in the middle of the night, drugs his children to keep them asleep so that they will not wake up to an empty home, and the children end up sleeping for two days, during which time he is arrested, in the funniest scene in the movie, I believe, for spray painting "dad" on a shop gate (I laughed when he said "jesus christ" or something, as the graffiti artist "rambo" sprayed his name on the street).

At the end of the two week period the father surrenders his children back to the mother. Then, motivated by loneliness and regret, he attempts to connect with them again. Eventually he sort of kidnaps the children from their nanny after school, and takes them back to his home and sending them to the store to get groceries (this is another funny scene, when the kids are shopping). When the kids return he is in a fully packed apartment and he is asking them to move.

Presumably his motivations are getting into a bigger apartment so as to spend more time with his children.

This move is poorly planned and comes off very badly, which seems, at this point in the film, "classic Lenny". The film ends with him carrying a fridge onto the Roosevelt island tram with his children, which is symbolic of (I don't really know, "being totally unsure of what will happen next and in constant frantic reaction-mode").

Among the three people I talked to after watching, I think I liked Lenny best and saw myself in him to the greatest degree - one of my friends said he hated Lenny for the whole film.

After the film, in the Q and A session, the brothers said, again, "when our father saw this film he understood that we were just trying to understand him, and that act of trying to understand someone is an act of love"...

also... "there is no narrative resolution because people like my father, 'narcissists' basically do not change"

Is Lenny a fair representation of their real life father? It would not matter if we weren't being encourage to make one substitute for the other, but...

Because of this encouragement, I can view the "film part" skeptically, whereas if it was just presented without all of the backstory I would not; instead of Lenny being put on trial I am now putting the filmmakers on trial for the ethics and motivations in trying their father through Lenny (or if I am to take the position of "it doesn't matter what is real or not real" I am like "then why tell me about your dad in the first place? why not just let the film speak for itself?"). This was distracting for me.

Most of the audience at this film seemed like they were older kinds of people - people from the Safdies' parents generation. I can see this film playing well to an older audience, reaffirming feelings of resignation to responsibility and aging.

I would have liked the film more if they did not include the video with their father at the beginning. But I will remember it, and Lenny, and remember mulling it over, for sure.

what did you guys think

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

adamhump radio show 2: Less Than Zero

Vancouver Divorce - Gord Downie
Clangour and Flutes - Sin Fang Bous
I Phantom - Mr. Lif
I Don't Owe Nobody Shit - Das Racist
Foam Hands - Destroyer
The First Noel - Elvis Presley
Rainbow - Boris
Love Song to Little Trees - Bill Crosson
Clown Joke - adamhump
Traffic - Chad Vaangalen
Free Art Essay Introduction - Jogging
Freestlye - Giggs
Skip The Youth (with intro overdub) - Frightened Rabbit
Fistful of Love - Antony and the Johnsons

radio show 1: from feb. 2010