Derivation

Aug. 7th, 2006 08:29 am
[personal profile] seamus
This week, everything I see looks derivative. Derivation, all is derivation (sayeth the preacher).

Example: I saw Johnny Depp in the Libertine at the weekend. A good film, taken in isolation - Johnny Depp is one of the finest actors alive (oh why no Oscar for Jack Sparrow? Fool of an Academy!) and paired nicely with John Malkovich as a predictably brilliant Charles II, but for me it was just Withnail and I set in the Restoration. Inebriate bohemains wander around London with a vague, dilletantist interest in acting, occasionally retiring to the country in the forlorne hope of drying out a bit and enjoying the fresh air as a wealthy but too-often slighted patron has his good nature drunkendly tried beyond endurance? I kept waiting for the cry of "are you the farmer?" to round things out. He even looked like Richard E Grant for most of the film (until his nose fell off).

Example: I've been reading Jasper FForde's "The Big Over Easy", kindly leant to me by [personal profile] terriem- it's a murder mystery set in a recognisably Ffordian world of realistic nursery rhyme characters, quite a bit like the Thursday Next stuff but also more whimiscal and silly by dint of the nursery rhyme angle. But in what sense is it not simply a rewording of Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Dear reader, I could not count the ways.

Example: Kidulthood. What a load of wank. They pulled the same allegedly controversial trick with Kids more than a decade earlier, and then again with Thirteen last year. Hey, kids grow up faster than they used to! No. Kids grow up faster than the absurd but parentally-popular fantasy that they are children until 18, at which point becoming overnight adults, might lead us to believe. Kids grow up a lot less fast than they did two hundred years ago, when the boys would be digging in the fields or up chimneys before they were ten and the girls would be married off to syphilitic half-uncles at the first signs of puberty. So, yes, sixteen-year-olds fuck a lot and if not properly supervised will revert to more-or-less animalistic dominance rituals. Well spotted that man. Think we've seen it before.

So in my jaded state it was nice to spend Sunday at the Angel Film Festival and see some shorts that, while not all completely original, sometimes suprisingly were. "Deadline" may as well have been marked "Homage to Tarantino", and "Tess" "Homage to Jeunet et Carot", but three of the animations were brilliant ("Bus Kong" I think a clear audience favourite for its Ken cameo, and "End of the Ice Age" an exceedingly lovely piece of whimsy). "Second Class Male" was witty, well-executed and genuinely clever with an honest-to-goodness unexpected twist; "Stealth Lunch" (another very quick animation) made me giggle; and an honourable mention goes to "Faith in Chaos" (better than average tale of student drug abuse and sudden romance), "Faultline" (nicely represented mental breakdown weakened only by the attempt at a moral at the end) and "Take Your Shoes Off" (brief, touching, sweet). I didn't understand "The Year of Memories" or "Lifeless"; I didn't enjoy the alleged twists in "Endgame" or "Before Midnight" (both would have been stronger without). And the fact that all of the films were showed on a PS2 just added a frisson of edgy bucketiness to the whole affair that I'm sure the audience appreciated more than their jeers at the occasional technical hiccup belied - it was friendly and unpretentious and nice, in which circumstanes one simply rides with those sorts of things.

In other funs...Friday was sushi with Arkan and Terrie (Sunday lunch was also sushi in the same venue; I like sushi) and Saturday was a rather torpid Benaresing in Welwyn. So...yeah. Fun. And films. And I'm re-reading Martin Amis' "Money", which isn't half bad, and I can't even work out yet who it's ripping off.

Date: 2006-08-07 08:26 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lisekit.livejournal.com
"Kidulthood" - did this term not previously refer to grown adults behaving like teenagers, rather than teenaged young adults? I'm sure it did. It says so in my Hello Kitty notepad, here.

Date: 2006-08-07 08:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] rickbot.livejournal.com
"rather torpid"

God, I'd forgotten that had even happened...

Date: 2006-08-07 08:52 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] terriem.livejournal.com
Thank you for coming to the film festival and glad you enjoyed it! I like the phrase "edgy bucketiness" and will be using it in my next radio interview.

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