Monday, July 09, 2007

Accepting Disco Drab...

Wild horses couldn't drag me to see a Bob Fosse movie, it's just not in my make up. The above picture alone is enough to give me nightmares for a week. But when Sarah recommends a film, I listen, since her picks are always richly cinematic and chock full of life lessons. True to form, "All that Jazz" is a most provocative and entertaining slice of time travel. It's smart, fast, raw, confident, cynical, philosophical, and gaudy in the extreme. "A strange but potent cocktail of whiplash choreography, erotica, and open-heart surgery," said one reviewer. It certainly makes a perfect partner (and foil) to another great dance-film-not-about-dancing: Powell & Pressburger's "The Red Shoes."

What really struck me is how well it captures a certain type of "controlled looseness" that was very much in the air in New York City when I was a boy. A time when fascinating, terrifying, and complex humans rose above the din of marketing and consumption. A time just before the streets were done up in super-saturated colors and before the super-rich had co-opted every square inch of Manhattan. Let's call it PBPE - Pre Banana Rebuclic Era.

As a film, I can think of few psycho-drama portraits of dying egomaniacs that can match this one (The Passion of the Christ perhaps?) The bold stream-of-consciousness editing alone is reason enough to watch. And who knew they had thong bikinis in 1979? I thought those were strictly a late 80's early 90's phenomenon. Anyhow, while I can't say I identify with this world personally, I do feel that my country boy roots were well tainted by its aura in my urban adolescence. "All That Jazz" is a hidden gem plucked from the disco ball in your crazy aunt's basement.


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