Prepare to be stunned: I don’t think I’ve ever read anything by Norman Mailer? He’s suck an American cultural touch stone tat that seems unlikely, but nope.
I’ve read the commentary on this one: It had a really successful run at the Whitney… and then Mailer took it to a midtown theatre, where it bombed worse than anything ever in the history of ever.
There’s something about American art movies… they all suck?
There. I said it.
It’s so weird. The Americans are pretty good at making commercial movies? But there’s such a disconnect to the artier movies? In French cinema, you have commercial crowd pleasers, and you have art movies, and it’s all on a spectrum; no disjunctions: The art movies are made with even better actors and cinematography than then commercial ones.
That’s not the case with American art movies, which frequently look like home movies.
This is one of them there home movie-looking ones.
Only in 16mm, so some money was spent.
Or it might just be that French people sound more interesting when they’re improvising.
But… despite the obvious problems, I’m kinda enjoying this? It’s interesting. Almost despite itself — there’s so many scenes that are totes jejeune, but then you get a scene that actually works, and it’s like THIS IS BRILLIANT.
It’s the look in an actor’s face, and suddenly the scene seems to be hiding all kinds of meaning.
But then Mailer shows up and it’s all snoozeville.
The final scene is really something.
It’s one of those movies that’s hard to throw the die one. The scenes that work are … fantastic, but then there’s all the other stuff. So — I’m really glad I watched this movie, because those scenes make it worth it. I could go with a ⚅…
But let’s go with:
Maidstone. Norman Mailer. 1970.
This blog post is part of the Eclipse series.