Sunday, September 30, 2007

I'll show you THE LIFE OF THE MIND!

The end of the month is - "traditionally" - the time for me to share a favourite film clip with you. This month I had particularly wanted to post the opening sequence of of Jim Jarmusch's 'Down By Law' - a wonderful montage of B&W travelling shots establishing the New Orleans location, accompanied by the great Tom Waits song 'Jockey Full of Bourbon'. A friend recently acquired this oddball classic on pirate DVD out here, and I'm so envious - it's been on my 'to look out for' list for years, but I've never found it.

However..... this doesn't appear to be available on YouTube. Or maybe it is, but I am once again suffering the annoying localised glitch/pointless censorship that limits me to a single page of search results before the site crashes.

My second choice - something I've wanted to post for a few months, but have again been struggling to find a good version of - is the climactic scene from the Coen brothers' 'Barton Fink'. I think there is a better, slightly longer version of this I've seen on YouTube, but I forgot to record the link while I was looking at it, and now I am restricted in my searching by the glitch again. This will have to do, for now at least.....

For those of you who haven't seen the film (DO!), or whose memory of it has faded, it centres on John Turturro's nerdy New York playwright who, after his first Broadway hit, is transported to Hollywood to write for the movies. Trapped in a seedy hotel and tasked with writing a script for a wrestling movie ("I don't understand this genre."), he goes gradually mad. His only 'friend' is his occasional next-door neighbour in the hotel, a gargantuan travelling salesman named Charlie Muntz (fabulous performance from John Goodman), to whom he whines incessantly about how 'the life of the mind' is all that's really important to him. Charlie, we discover, is an 'artist' of a different sort: a serial-killing psychopath - who, in his final rampage, taunts Fink with his 'life of the mind' obsession..... while the walls of the hotel corridor inexplicably dissolve into flame around him, a vision of hell on earth. A surreal image, which may well all be just be a figment of Fink's demented imagination. One of the scariest sequences I have ever seen on film, yet also darkly - very darkly - funny.

Some people just don't seem to get the Coen brothers - but I love 'em to bits.

1 comment:

Froog said...

God, I love this film. I think I might dig out my DVD of it and watch it again tonight.