21 November 2018

THE TARKOVSKY EXPERIMENT




I am not the biggest fan of what one might label "art house" films but not because I have not put in many long hours trying to be. Especially during my ten years in Seattle I watched quite a few such films as they were so readily available there. Saw some in the cozy little theaters they have there that seat maybe 20 or 30 desperate souls. Many I even rented on VHS from the legendary Scarecrow Video store. A lot of stuff I liked, such as SOME films by Fellini, Truffaut, Bergman, and Kurosawa. I emphasize the word some, because I did not like a lot of stuff by those guys and the films I liked tended to be more linear in narrative style. Some other directors like Jordorowsky, Terrence Malick and Wim Wenders did not appeal much to me though they have at least one film I liked. However, longer is the list of these "avant-garde" auteurs that I have never seen a single film by. One person on that long list of filmmakers, whom to many is the epitome of high brow cinema, is Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky.  I often find him to the fist name dropped by people who can either be called, flatteringly, film connoisseurs, or, insultingly, film snobs. These are people who know and appreciate "real" cinema. Like a foodie know good food. Of course one has to be honest that there exists a type of reverse snobbism as well. Where people who tend to like more popular or even low brow fare like to insult and ridicule people who favor the "finer films in life". I guess I would have to fall into this latter category, but I want to point out I served in my time in the art house trenches. I tried my best and yet in the end found myself often trying to attach meaning and significance to films that really seemed simply like poor film making in the end. Bad camera work for the most part, poor acting and poor editing. Not in all cases. But in quite a few. Gilded lilies at best. And in the end many so called art house films to me have a big problem in that they lack a linear story line that is somehow or another resolved by the film's end. This is important to me, especially if a film is like three fucking hours long! And two hours of that is hot in one room!!!  When the film connoisseur tries to defend the work they can reveal their near misanthropic disdain for the common film buff's lack of philosophical and intellectual depth. They may say something like "each scene is a metaphor for something deeper" and the common film buff may be left wondering, rightfully, what the hell that even means. It means nothing of course. It means they don't know what it means either. But in "art" something can have no meaning and yet mean something.

Okay, this is not a real Tarkovsky qoute. This is one of my clever, witty little memes that really pissed off a couple film snobs in a Facebook group. Truth can be painful folks.

So I have decided to watch three Andrei Tarkovsky films I downloaded from the film site Karagarga because I want to little by little close out my account there. It is too hard to maintain a good ratio on just seeding alone and I no longer rip DVDs and upload them like I did years ago. This begins my process of getting some films from there regardless of the impact on my once good ratio. I have actually never seen a Tarkovsky film and I will try to go into the viewing with an open mind. Like trying a new food. One has to put  the new food in his mouth and chew it and try a couple swallows first. Unless you live in China like I do, and sometimes the food comes flying out quickly. I will try the films Solaris, Mirror and Stalker. My wife just watched Stalker and I will wait to share her opinion on it until I have seen it myself. I did watch some of the film with her and my curiosity was piqued a little. I did not watch the film with her as she is Chinese and so she watched the Russian version with Chinese subs. I may well be at a time in life when some of these film may appeal to me a little more than when I was younger. But I equally may well not like them in the least. One way or the other I will write up a post here when the Tarkovsky Experiment is finished, in a week or two. I will not claim I liked them if I do not just to appear smart or refined, and conversely I will not dismiss them if I liked them just to sound hip and cool.

This quote however is real. But I think it is basically saying the 
same thing my wise ass meme above is saying. 

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