Martijn has been watching movies. I have not seen Italian For Beginners, and I am not sure that I will check it out; the Dogme principles of handheld cameras etc never having convinced me. Having said that, I make no pretence of the fact that I really do not understand cinema very much. My knowledge is sketchy at best. Film theory and history tend to leave me a little baffled to be perfectly honest. I guess I just know what I like, which is the laziest phrase in the world, but there you go.
I like The Station Agent, which I watched last night (thanks to my brother for the early birthday present). I like the fact that the film picks up stories of characters and then kind of lets them drop at the end. No neat resolutions, just a snapshot of a period and the way in which a few lives intertwine for a while. It looks lovely too, although I am of course a sucker for that part of Americana which lies at the junction of suburban bourgeois, blue collar industrial and country escape. The train interest helps too, of course. Much of the aesthetic of the film owes a debt to Edward Hopper, which is perhaps inevitable given the impact of Hopper on the mediated portrayal of America and the shared motif of loneliness. There is a beautiful shot of Olivia sitting on her bed which could be a Hopper painting. ‘Summer In The City’, perhaps, or ‘Morning Sunlight’.
The film just ends quite abruptly too, which I like. That thing about not having a particularly resolved ending; still so much we do not really know about the characters, which is as it should be. Plus it is an hour and twenty minutes. A proper movie length, like albums being a half hour, forty minutes. Just long enough to fit on one side of a C90 tape, with some space for a few b-sides snuck on the end.