Posts Tagged ‘Bergman’

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Criterion Paranormal Intervention

March 19, 2010

Claude and I have noticed that there is a plethora of paranormal shows on (formerly) respected channels such as A&E, Discovery, History, etc.  Paranormal State, Paranormal Cops, Ancient Paranormal, Paranormal Intervention. That’s my favorite one because the title suggests that it would combine paranormal with another favorite of ours, A&E’s Intervention.  But it doesn’t.  I digress again. (I do that a lot.)  Intervention is, of course, about addiction and the intervention process.  They have three interventioners that they round-robin, and they all have the same pat phrases.  Our favorite is “There’s just a heck of a lot of love in this room,” which is the opening line for one particular interventioner.

Well, I’ve been thinking lately about calling Intervention.  Claude has a little bit of a “problem”.  He is addicted to Criterion Collection DVDs.  For those that don’t know, Criterion is a company dedicated to taking the finest in film and DVD extras and putting out extraordinary DVDs of the finest movies ever made.  Unfortunately, they are also now trying to skew to a younger crowd and have started putting out titles such as “The Aquatic Life of Steve Zizzou” and “Dazed and Confused” and “The Rock” and “Armageddon.”  Yeah.  Thanks, Criterion.  Anyway, Claude’s goal is to own every Criterion ever released.  The current count in the catalog is well over 500, and we have about 100.

Every weekend, we have to make a trek to the local used book/movie store to “hunt down Criterions” like some wildebeest.  I usually sit in the car, sometimes for an hour or more, while the hunter seeks the hunted.  Claude has this unusual behavioral change when he is around books or DVDs in a store – he becomes very excitable, sometimes his forehead shows beads of sweat, and he runs from aisle to aisle like a silver ball in a pinball machine.  I often worry.

So how does one break this Criterion addiction, especially since Claude, who is a graduate student, is secretly competing with a very bright young undergrad who has about 350 Criterions.  He’s even taken to buying these off his friend, like a dime bag, surreptitiously, after class, and sneaking the Criterions into the house in his bookbag.  Funny, his eyes are usually red, too, when he does that.

I can see the scene playing out in my mind from Claude’s Criterion intervention:  We’ve all gathered at some non-descript hotel – myself, Claude’s parents who have never watched a movie more high-brow than what you find on the Sci-Fi (or Sy-Fy) channel; his smug undergrad friend who, of course, doesn’t want to be bested, and our favorite local band, just for support and possibly a tune or two.  His parents are crying.  “Claude, why can’t you just be content to watch Mansquito? Or even Black Hole?  You know Judd Nelson plays an ASTROPHYSICIST (now there’s a bit of casting) and he SAVES Minneapolis!” wails his mother, clutching a handkerchief and her rosary beads.  “Yeah, don’t you remember 2012?  All those EXPLOSIONS!  It was so GREAT! And all you want to watch is this black-and-white crap that no one can understand!” booms his father.

Interventionist:  “There’s a heck of a lot of Criterions in this room….”

Letter reading begins.

Dear Claude,

Your Criterion addiction has affected me negatively in the following ways.  First of all, I never have any money anymore.  You watch every Criterion you get like the Zapruder film, and all the extras and all the commentary tracks, which leaves like zero time for me, personal hygiene, help with a chore or two, or reading my Facebook posts, and most importantly of all, it keeps you from looking at my ICanHazCheezburger cat pictures which I hold so dear.  You need to know if you do not accept this gift of help today, there will be consequences.  I will stick objects such as silverware and half-chewed gum in the DVD player.  I will erase all the stuff you’ve had taped for 2 years on the DVR.  I will no longer accept your emails that say things like “Watched Empire of Passion, an Oshima film that forms an informal diptych w/ In the Realm of the Senses, which you bought for me here awhile back. Very different in execution but equally fascinating.”  Mainly because I can’t understand what you’re saying, so I’m just sayin’.  What is a diptych anyway?  (Claude’s mother wails in agony).

At this juncture, Claude runs out of the hotel room and away from the intervention in angry protest.  He has to smoke a cigarette (he doesn’t smoke).  He’s not getting on that plane to whatever rehab center Intervention has in mind.  90 days, no Criterion, no way.  Claude runs outside the hotel and begins rolling around in the grassy area, wailing.  I try desperately to console him by pulling out a copy of Criterion’s Lola Montes and rubbing it on his face, soothingly.  It doesn’t work.  “It HAS to be a BUNUEL!” he shouts at me, angrily.  I stop to think what films of Bunuel’s might be on Criterion…honestly, I don’t know.  I would think Discreet Charm would be on Criterion…just not sure.  I struggle with how to placate Claude sans Bunuel.  People are stopping in the parking lot to stare at this spectacle.  “Will Bergman do?” I ask in my sweetest, meekest voice.  “BERGMAN??? NO!!!  Wait…YES!!”  His choking sobs start to subside as I give him Smiles of a Summer Night. The interventionist approaches.  “I think you’re on the wrong A&E show,” he says.  We look at him, puzzled.  “Have you ever heard of a little show called ‘Hoarders’?  It comes on right after I do, on Monday nights.  Ten o’clock.”

We nod our heads as if we’ve just received the key to Enlightenment by the Buddha himself, just to get the interventionist off our backs and keep us off A&E, which used to be “arts” and “entertainment”.  We won’t be watching Hoarders.  We’ll be watching Criterion.

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How I became the wife of a film snob

February 21, 2009

I really have to blame Yahoo Messenger for this one.
Ok, ok, I was on the Internet. Which, that night, amounted to closing pop-up windows from names I couldn’t pronounce saying “Hey, wanna see my pics?” and a link.
Then Claude appeared with a simple “Hello.” Very Dave-like, if you know what I mean. “Hello, Claude,” I’m sure I replied. A minute or two passed. Claude was parsing words. “How are you tonight?” “I’m fine, Claude, and you?”

“I see you like Welles.”

And there’s where it started.

Yes, I like Welles, I like what I have seen of Welles very much, and was proud of the fact that my profile listed such an obscure film as “The Third Man” (which wasn’t even directed by Welles, as Claude has pointed out numerous times) as one of my favorites, along with a couple of Kubrick films.

Apparently, that’s what deemed me worthy of eventually ending up at Claude’s apartment with a bottle of rum. The first night, well, we didn’t watch any movies, but after a few visits to Claude’s “lair”, I began to notice the shelves and shelves and shelves of videos, many unmarked, and DVD’s. Soon our conversations became an endless series of “Have you seen (fill in the blank)” and “but have you seen_____???”

I learned that my self-image of someone who was educated about film, hip to film, knowledgeable about film, and maybe even knew a little something about film was completely wrong. Having 2001: A Space Odyssey as your favorite movie does not put you in the Claude crowd.

Soon, conversations were going like this: Claude: “Oh, sure, you LOVE Kubrick – you’ve only seen four of his films! FOUR! And not even his best ones! And what about Bresson? And Kurosawa and Truffaut and BERGMAN, for crissakes, BERGMAN???”

So I agreed to be a pupil in Claude’s version of Film School 101. Whiteboards appeared, and I had to listen to long, wine-fueled (which I was providing the fuel, like an idiot) diatribes about the transcendental yet ethereal oeuvre Bresson and his use of non-actors as actors.

Yeah.

I tied the knot with Claude, for better or for worse, which in the case of film, in the beginning, I often thought meant for worse, but it has actually turned out better.  However, now Claude has taken to “sic-ing” his friends on me about film – particularly Steve, who teaches film on the west coast.  Steve comes for a visit in 2 weeks, and he has suggested a steady diet of Bresson for me, which I’m hoping, for my sake, he’s kidding about.  I’ve procured one of Steve’s all-time favorites (on Criterion, of course) in hopes of steering him away from that tsunami of depression and suicidal endings.

So, Claude, I may make fun of your Bresson and Ikiru, but I love so many other films and directors you’ve intro’d me to.  And I’ll stay in 101 until probably the day I die.