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June 28, 2005

5/6th Film

I had tickets to see Marco Tullio Giordana's The Best of Youth at the 41st New York Film Festival in 2003. In fact, I ended up seeing almost all of it ...that is, except for the first hour; I decided against writing about it then in my journal. The film was playing on a weekend morning, I was running late and didn't have time to get coffee, and, not surprisingly, the D train was again being diverted through a few stations along the route. An elderly lady sitting next to me had realized that the train had already skipped her scheduled stop and she asked me for directions on an alternate route that would get her to her destination. The 42nd Street station was coming up quickly, so I thought that it was probably better if we both deboarded the train and I ended up walking with her to the F train platform and waiting for the train with her so that she could catch a ride back to her station. As the train was pulling up, she raised her hand to pat my arm, and that was when I noticed that she had a faded, multiple digit numerical tattoo on her forearm, no more than 4mm tall and 35mm wide. I was humbled. I watched the doors close and she waved as she sat down. I smiled and waved too. I eventually made it to Walter Reade and managed to catch the rest of the film. I even figured out for the most part what was happening in it. Today, the DVDs of the film arrived from Korea, so I now have the opportunity to see what I had missed.

Posted by acquarello on Jun 28, 2005 | | Filed under 2005, Quick Notes


Hey, that's a neat little story.
That was very nice of you.

It's a pity but it's too easy to automatically (and not even consciously) turn off one's basic altruistic impulses when running around in the thick of a large diverse metropolis. I'm ashamed to say that I probably did that a lot of the time when I lived in Calcutta or Delhi or Madras.

BTW, the old lady you describe reminds of the one in Emmanuel Finkiel's Voyages (have you seen it? It's a neat film). The same actress (almost 90) was also in Since Otar Left. In the previous film, if I remember, she had a tattoo on her arm as well.

Posted by: girish on Jun 29, 2005 10:55 AM | Permalink

Heheh, yeah, I've wanted to write about that encounter for a while, but there really wasn't a place for it in the way I had structured the journal. I did the same thing when I lived in New York, you learn not to make eye contact.

I haven't seen Voyages, but the information on IMDb sounds quite intriguing (Finkiel was assistant director to Kieslowski's Three Colors? Now there's an impressive CV!). According to Facets, the DVD will be released on 9/20, so I'll keep an eye out for it. The only other film that I've seen with Esther Gorintin is Carnages, but that's a whole nother story. :)

Posted by: acquarello on Jun 29, 2005 11:30 AM | Permalink

You know, I think Julie Bertucelli was also an assistant to Kieslowski, so that's also part of the Gorintin connection, I suspect.

I saw Voyages in the theaters in Canada but for some reason it never got picked up for distribution here. Nice to know it'll be on DVD.

Posted by: girish on Jun 29, 2005 1:13 PM | Permalink

Oh, and what about Carnages?
I don't know the movie.

Posted by: girish on Jun 29, 2005 1:18 PM | Permalink

Ah, interesting! Bertucelli talked about Otar Ioselliani being her mentor at NYFF, but she didn't mention Kieslowski.

If you like Raoul Ruiz or Pedro Almodóvar's densely layered, but tongue-in-cheek approach to storytelling and visual narrative (although Gleize isn't as polished), you'll probably like Carnages too. In some ways, it's what Free Radicals was supposed to be, but wasn't. Carnages is a lot richer and more enjoyable.

The film uses some really creative mnemonics (often visual like similar poses, but also the contextual nuances of the number 5, renaissance, or a "dead duck") to weave themes of interconnectedness, cyclicality, rebirth.

Anyway, Gorintin's role is French in Carnages, she plays a coddling, kleptomaniac taxidermist mother (it sounds ridiculous out of context, but it works in the film :) ). It's an ensemble role, like Since Otar Left, but this one is funny creepy.

Posted by: acquarello on Jun 29, 2005 7:21 PM | Permalink

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