Friday, 5 February 2010

Commercials for the Status Quo

So far my biggest discovery of 2010 has to have been German New Wave cinema - a sort of hangover from the French New Wave that lasted well into the 80s, with its own unique blurry vision. Until now my knowledge of the genre has been limited to a handful of Werner Herzog and Wim Wenders films, and not even the best ones at that.

Walter Salles, one of my favourite (Brazilian) directors, once described Wenders’ Alice in the Cities as having “altered my perception of cinema”. After seeing Alice a couple of weeks ago I felt exactly the same: it's now right up there in my top films of all time. At the skeleton of the story, a journalist with writer's block goes on a roadtrip across 70s America, and ends up parenting a little girl who's mother abandons her at an airport.

As for the rest, you'll have to see for yourself. This three-scene medley (not in the order of the film) went some way into snapping me out of whatever compelled me to delete my entire blog last year – specifically the line “you treat your stories and experiences as if they were raw eggs” (6.50).

At the same time, the second scene from 2.40 expresses to some extent where my head was at with the internet in the first place. "The inhuman thing about American TV is not so much that they hack everything up with commercials, though that’s bad enough, but it’s that in the end all programmes become commercials. Commercials for the status quo. Every image radiates the same disgusting, sickening message; a kind of boastful contempt. No one image leaves you in peace: they all want something from you."

They all want something from you. Maybe it sounds simple, but it was true then just as is it is now. Only now, there's no escape...

Krauts to watch: Volker Schlöndorff, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Alexander Kluge, Edgar Reitz, Margarethe von Trotta. And probably many more I've never heard of either.

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