Derik Badman's Journal

2022-06-02 11:05

On the Beach Alone at Night, a rewatch, looking back at what I wrote after my first viewing, I feel like I only wrote negatives, despite really liking the movie. Like a lot of Hong's movies, it leaves a lot unsaid, has some narrative mysteries, and of course wonderful work by Kim Min-Hee.

Mulholland Falls, a neo-noir, that tries to engage with the horrors of the atomic age, but really doesn't do as well as Kiss Me Deadly (was it this movie that briefly showed a clip from it, or was it Blue Velvet, it's blurred together now) to bring in a sense of horror and mystery, instead it feels all very rote and expected. The protagonist is a cop who breaks the rules, the victim is a woman he was having an affair with, there's nothing outright bad about the whole thing, but it just doesn't really get beyond genre tropes.

Blue Velvet, which I have never really warmed to, and once again felt mostly meh about it. I feel like everything good about it, is better done in Twin Peaks and Mulholland Drive.

Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn is an audacious movie, both formally and thematically interesting. It's divided into multiple parts. The first shows a teacher and her husband filming themselves having sex. The second finds the woman walking around the city, doing errands, answering telephone calls, and during it we discover that the video ended up being posted online and that it has come to the attention of parents from her school. Throughout this section we see a lot of scenes of the city, looking often in decline, as well as a number of scenes of people behaving badly toward each other. Many shots of signs and advertising and buildings in various states. The third part is a a dictionary of sorts (not unlike Flaubert's Dictionary of Received Ideas) where words are defined satirically along with associated images. A number of those reference Romanian history and politics, but the general concepts and themes are accessible enough. The next part is the parent teacher conference (outside, as the whole movie was made during covid restrictions) where the teacher and the parents debate education and sex and ethics. Once again the satirical content is high (a lot of the parents are truly awful hypocrites, many racists too), then the final section offers three possible endings for the vote about whether the teacher gets to keep her job.

Lost Weekend, a rewatch I think, though I don't really remember it. Like Under the Volcano it follows an alcoholic and his female significant other (in this a girlfriend not a wife) and his brother (though the brother in this has a much smaller role to play), but it is much less subtle, much less tragic. The ending is so pat and dried, with the man somehow magically deciding to write a novel about his drunk weekend, and somehow we are to believe everything will be all right, when that seems perfectly absurd.