Friday, February 27, 2004

The Movie I Watched Last Night LXXXVII

Now, this is how movies ought to be made. Written by Ben Hecht. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Starring Cary Grant and Ingrid Bergman. This atmospheric 1946 suspense has all the makings of a wonderful watch. And the cast and crew deliver. Grant's debonair secret agent enlists -- and woos -- Bergman's free-wheeling socialite to spy on Nazi agents in South America. With some wonderful aerial views of Rio de Janeiro and the 710-meter high Christ de Redemer statue that tops Corcovado Mountain, the movie is largely an old-house film focusing on the familial and political intrigues of the German plotters and the American songbird in their midst. The scenes in which Grant and Bergman share screen are downright sizzling in that great late '40s/early '50s way -- in which people fall in love at first sight and spend so much time talking about just that. And Edith Head's costume design drapes Bergman quite nicely. While suspenseful and intriguing, the film falls short of so many film noir attempts -- and doesn't totally scream Hitchcock. Regardless, Hecht's script is impressive, as is the movie's pacing.

Wednesday night, Deb and I headed to the Pioneer Theater at Third and A for the New York premiere of Frank Fusco and Jim Muscarella's documentary about the Long Island hardcore scene in the mid-'90s. Having first emailed the director and producer earlier this year after reading about the movie in Newsday, I was happy to be involved in their first New York screening. The movie is an interesting slice of life in a scene that most participants describe as not a scene. Nevertheless, Bellmore birthed a number of bands, including the Eggplant Queens, Not Saved, Zombula 451, Rat Bastard, Spacemaker, and Justified Violence -- and Jim Colletti, former drummer for Agnostic Front, plays a notable role as a scene linchpin and connection to the outside world. While the movie runs a little long -- 30 minutes could easily be edited out, and the documentary drags a little near the end -- the film's biggest weakness is its lack of focus. Is the contention that Bellmore is not a scene stroung enough a hook? Should the filmmakers have further explored the intrascene politics, the reasons so many people don't leave the city, the aspect of aging within the scene, and the "unscene"'s context in the broader hardcore world? Perhaps. Nevertheless, it's a valid project -- more little-known scenes should be as well documented -- and if you're at all interested in punk and hardcore sociology, Bellmore is a worthy watch. The March 16 screening at CB's will feature a performance by the Eggplant Queens, as well.

No comments: