06 May 2008

Kevin Shields - City Girl

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("Oh no, not another ode to this movie.")
Having enjoyed the good fortune to open my mind to scenes of life in other countries, the most recent being Japan, I felt a keen curiosity revived in the far-off and distant not really held since we were kids.  I once read an article in National Geographic in which the author tried in vain to describe his brief experiences in urban Japan as "peeling back the layers of an onion." By that he meant that he he was at odds with his desire to summarize it so easily and his realization that his ability in doing so was strangely limited.
So there's this cult hit, "L.I.T."  My co-workers are like, "Oh, please bring this in so we can watch it sometime."  I'm still looking for the best reviews on Lost in Translation. In the same vein as my wine advice, the most exquisite language is necessary to describe this transcendental cinematic work.
I found the experience in complete foreign immersion to be the most meaningful after wanting to learn about the psyche, the soul of the city.
On Kevin Shields: http://www.billboard.com/bbcom/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1931234On Lost in Translation: Review by Peter Rainer. Excerpt: "The movie, which was shot by Lance Acord in lustrous nocturnal tones, presents Japan as an outsider might see it, without apology. The night-worlds both within the hotel and without are equally odd and forbidding. Everything seems hushed—suspended in time."
On the soundtrack: Review by amazon.com. Excerpt: "Sofia Coppola has, with two elegant movies, proved herself a talented director with a keen eye for interior life. She's also got great ears. For Lost in Translation, the story of a May-December friendship in Tokyo between two displaced Americans, the score is a tonic for jetlag. Coppola prescribes a dose of shoegazer pop, from My Bloody Valentine's chiming "Sometimes" to Jesus & Mary Chain's fuzzed-out "Just Like Honey." The music nails the hazy conscious state of actors Bill Murray (as a movie star with a midlife crisis) and Scarlet Johansson (as an emotionally marooned twenty-something). It also provides a safe, warm envelope in which they can enact their overseas adventures. Working with producer Brian Reitzell, whose band Air scored her previous Virgin Suicides, Coppola lured Valentine's Kevin Shields into providing several slices of dreamy indie-rock and sonic wallpaper, as stylish as it is formless. There's a welcome bit of Japanese goofiness, a funhouse-mirror reflection of U.S. folk-rock courtesy of early-1970s band Happy End. And a "hidden" track provides the audio of Murray, in the film, doing his sleepy karaoke version of Roxy Music's "More Than This." --Marc Weidenbaum

Films with Westerners stumbling into new experiences are instructive as we can laugh at ourselves "having a moment" and relying on wits that have dulled from our lives of rote and convenience.  Recommended: Walt Stillman's "Barcelona".

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