July 28, 2003

Life's Better on 70

When we live in Cinemascope, the world's an extreme rectangle. Much more seems to be happening around the edges and we can see all the characters enfolded into one composition, their actions and reactions visible in real time. The American Musuem of the Moving Image in Queens is showing a series of 70mm classics, Eyes Wide Open: The Evolution of Widescreen Cinema, two of which CC caught yesterday in the perfect antidote to a horribly humid Sunday, the double feature.

We headed out to Queens with the inimitable J but of course saw other New York repetory theater regulars there (some friends like W, quasi-acquaintences and even a nemesis). It's understandable because even though the movies weren't what one would think of as the "crowd pleasers" in the series (like last week's Contempt, or the up coming 400 Blows or West Side Story) they were both unusual, hard to see films. The first, a Douglas Sirk melodrama shot in black and white (hence the unusual part for that master of color) with Rock Hudson, called The Tarnished Angels, then a Japanese drama from the '60s by Nagisa Oshima, The Sun's Burial.

For an analysis, let's just say neither movie's a masterpiece and there's a reason why you've probably never heard of them. Yet both had a few really gorgeous shots, or well-executed sequences or intriguing moments with odd characters. CC would not urge you to go out and rent them, because that's the point of a 70mm festival, you should see these movies in their large format glory. Rather, the point to take, from this oddly matched double bill, is that just because a picture's not in the canon does not mean it should be forgotten. And some things just look better projected across a wide screen.

Posted by karen at July 28, 2003 10:25 AM