Thursday, May 19, 2005

Actually, I Prefer the Term 'Racialist'

The Lower Depths
1957, Japan
Akira Kurosawa

Before I get started on this film, I have some explaining to do. Back in high school, when I first started writing things for newspapers, ‘zines, and websites, I used to get a lot of flak for jokes that people considered ‘intolerant’, ‘xenophobic’, ‘horrifically racist’, and ‘seditious’. It was all made in jest, but among certain dimmer readers, I gained the reputation as a tad, shall we say, right-wing. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. I love immigrants and foreigners of all kinds. They make great food, which I enjoy on numerous occasions, provided of course that there’s a health inspector standing in plain view making sure that the rat meat or whatever they hell they pass off as food at the shwarma place around the corner is properly sanitized. Just kidding, of course. I never eat there. Foreigners also make great music. Not that freaky Euro dance crap, naturally, or those twangy, migraine-inducing ululations from Asia that are just as incomprehensible as their movies, but I’m told they make some music up in Scandinavia that’s in English and just as anti-social as I am. And, of course, they make great movies. Not that I buy into that snobby, anti-Hollywood sentiment that fills film schools to the brim with the stench of pretension and pot smoke, I’m just in love with the subtitles. A guy like me doesn’t have a lot of time to waste. There’s a lot of Dr. Who to watch, and there’s a lot of hate mail to send off to Nicole Ritchie, and not a lot of time to do it in, so I need to cut corners where I can. Therefore, nothing quite hits the spot like fast-forwarding through a particularly long picture and speed reading your way to the end. That way, I get cultured, and still have time to catch a solid three-hour block of soap operas before I nap through the pre-prime time rerun mess and get ready for the 8 – 11 slot of Space TV programming. Plus, I can listen to music while watching without missing anything essential, which is an added bonus when you’re trying to drown out a next-door neighbor singing along to Ashlee Simpson. And, if you’re lucky, every once in a while an album and a movie will match up, not unlike Dark Side of the Moon and The Wizard of Oz, and you’ll get to watch the balloon flight sequence in Andrey Rublyov synch up perfectly with Ice-Shaped God by Rotting Christ. There are few pleasures that match that, though I admit it’s an acquired taste. Now that that’s taken care of, let’s get to The Lower Depths. It’s long, and it doesn’t fit with anything by Peccatum or Emperor. Next week, we’ll try to see how well the entire filmography of Abbas Kiarostami works with the Angry Aryans catalogue. I predict fireworks.


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