>Have mercy!

January 26, 2009 § Leave a comment

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The picture above was taken only a couple of hours before Joe and I watched the worst movie of our lives, the movie which stole almost three hours from our lives. As if we were needing convincing of the excruciating claustrophobia that is the banality of 1970s-housewife-domesticity, Jeanne Dielman took care of any doubts. For the record, I can take slow-moving films (two beautiful examples: Silent Light and I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone), but I have my limits, particularly when it comes to repetition. Like many other people in the audience, we ended up leaving the theater half an hour before the film was finished. This 201-minute film could have been edited to 45 minutes. Or, even better, this film should have been projected in a gallery space where I would have had the freedom to stop, view, and walk away. Everyone around us took turns checking their cell phones, retreating to the bathroom, or napping. I don’t think I’ve ever napped at the movies before Jeanne Dielman. The man sitting to my left took a nap, then woke up and shushed me because I was whispering to Joe, and then fell back to sleep.

Finally, we fled.

The New York Times raved and Time Out NY gave this film six-out-of-six stars, a write-up that is unheard of from the film critics at Time Out. What gives? Torture is not the answer. Tedium and suffering are not necessary devices in order to create an effective film. The film was effective: this was the most amount of time that Joe and I have been bored to the brink together.

Maybe it’s time for a break from all this movie watching. Is that even possible?

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