Monday, February 27, 2006

Thanks buds

I'd like to thank those who wrote in regarding my last post about getting a gym membership. In retrospect, I just pushed myself too hard that first day (I'll lay off doing the front crawl stroke for a while) and now that I've gotten a better handle on my limits I can work on gently nudging them rather than obliterating them. I've been back since every day save yesterday, when the gym's abbreviated hours coincided with my movie-road-trip (see below). Sadly, the pool is closed through this weekend for heating system repairs, so I have to compensate in other ways. I did half an hour on the treadmill today, followed by twenty minutes on some skiing device and another twenty on the bike. And I was going pretty fast on all three, so I think I did pretty well. I've decided I like using the treadmill at the gym more than walking on the track, not least because nobody gets in the way on the treadmill. I'm happy with my routine of going during the daytime- it's not nearly as busy, and there are fewer preening, strutting gym jocks and more elderly folks, which helps my own body image. Also, I've come to the conclusion that locker room modesty exists in inverse proportion to age- the younger folks are more likely to change discreetly, while it seems every old guy feels the need to hang out with his wang out.

And now that I've gotten that out of the way, let's move on to the real business at hand...

CACHÉ (2005, Michael Haneke, seen in theatre)- in some ways this is Haneke's most mainstream effort (the relatively large number of shot-countershot dialogue setups took me by surprise), but the master has hardly gone soft. For one thing, this mofo is really insinuating- I recently read a comment that nearly every still you could take from CACHÉ is mundane-looking, but it's exactly these boring-looking images that make it tense, as they situate the action within a recognizable real-world space. Haneke, among other things, is a master of shot duration, and every shot in this film is held precisely as long as it needs to be to attain full effect, and no longer. Consider the film's opening shot- a daytime view of an upper-middle-class Parisian home, seen from down the street. The opening credits roll, and the shot continues. Then the credits disappear, but the shot remains onscreen. Nothing happens, and the audience gets to thinking- something is afoot. Finally, we hear Georges and Anne Laurent (Daniel Auteuil and Juliette Binoche, both excellent) in voiceover, talking about what we're watching, which turns out to be an anonymous video of their home that was left on their doorstep. Only then does Haneke cut away. They receive a number of other videos within the course of the film, and Haneke is canny in his use of digital video to shoot the entire movie, not simply the footage that is sent to Georges and Anne (this is the closest I've ever seen video emulate film, which makes me think the death of celluloid may be nigh after all). I also liked the way that, once we see a setting in one of the videos, Haneke will show it later from this angle. So whodunit? Click here and see... (Warning: SPOILERS) Rating: ***1/2.

Also, I recently watched Rohmer's TRIPLE AGENT on UK DVD, but it really didn't register. Well-made, with the typical Rohmer touch, but perhaps it was a tad too low-key to register when watching at 2 AM. I'll catch it again in the future, I'm sure. Rating: **1/2.

1 comment:

Jason_Alley said...

Awesome that you loved "Cache" - I've got my own pseudo-interpretation that I'll bounce off you at a later date (when it's not 5:30 in the morning).