Saturday, August 20, 2011


Quadrophenia (1979) - Roddam
Jimmy (Phil Daniels) is a mod. He and his mod friends always don green long army coat, suits and ride crazy modified scooters, listening to the Who and the Kinks and such. They are always up to no good, roaming around and always on the lookout for scoring blues (amphetamines). Working as a mail room boy in some advertising agency and living under a stern working class father, Jimmy is all teen angst.

The rockers with their leather jackets and motorbikes listening to rock 'n' roll are Jimmy & the gang's enemies and they are always on each other's throats. The tensions btwn the gangs finally erupt when they converge in large numbers in Brighton during the Bank Holiday. The huge fight breaks out in the streets of the seaside town and it culminates into to a full blown riot. Amidst all the chaos, Jimmy sneaks into a quiet alley to make out with the girl, Steph (Leslie Ash) that he always had crush on. It's undoubtedly the best day of his life. Soon after he is arrested and detained.

Back home, Jimmy's life is in shambles- he gets kicked out of the house, loses his job, Steph is now with his best friend and his scooter gets destroyed in an accident. He goes back to Brighton to relive the excitement only to be more disillusioned.

The film features young Ray Winston as Jimmy's childhood friend now a rocker and Sting as the sharply dressed mod leader who makes fool of the British court system. Daniels is a typical 70's British youngster- gaunt face, gangly figure, crooked smile, mischievous eyes. I couldn't remember where I saw him before. It turns out he was Bela in The Bride, another movie featuring Sting!

I've never been a fan of the Who and Tommy never did much for me. But Quadrophenia is great. It's full of youthful energy and disillusionment only Brits could produce. I was fully appreciative of the Brit culture scene in the 70s.

Intimacy on Film

Bedways (2010) - Kahl
Is capturing real intimacy on film possible? Does it need to have real sex in order to achieve that? What's the difference between that and a porn then? RP Kahl ponders some of these questions with the graphic new film, Bedways. A raccoon eyed film director Nina (Miriam Mayet) enlists two young, good looking actors, Hans (Mathias Faust, looking like a hunky Jean-Pierre Léaud) and Marie (Laura Cooper) for her new project. There is no script or money for it yet. It's still in a rehearsal stage. Nina is exploring what the film is going to be. For seven days, she and the company discuss the process and have erotic moments with each other.

For me, if a film sets out to be 'about' real sex and intimacy, the result is always dismal. Only a good, balanced film that worked for me, featuring real sex was Winterbottom's 9 Songs. The subject of Bedways is a bit cliché now. Not as shocking or controversial as before. But I like Kahl's approach to the subject. Armed with a small HDV camera, Kahl documents an artist's creative process without being self referential or overly dramatic. In the end what Nina finds, is what she doesn't want- and that's pretty amiable thing to realize as an artist. Does Bedways work as a movie? Not really. It doesn't hurt that three principal characters are very attractive. As far as a film experiment goes, Bedways raises many same questions that I've been wondering about but doesn't really succeed in answering them. I give Kahl credits for trying though.