Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Beauty and The Beast

its so rare these days for me to find a movie that sticks with me. it seems like most of the films i've seen lately are mostly derivative fluff that wastes about two hours of my time, floats through my consciousness, and leaves not a ghost of an impression. i can't tell you how often i watch a movie these days only to be unable, hours later, to recall even the premise. its not that i'm drug addled, or ADD. its just that in the film industry, where the same stories are told over and over again but in different forms, it seems like it has become more and more difficult to  invent something truly original. something interesting enough to leave a stain.

the other day i was having lunch with my dear friend rebecca who recommended a severely odd sounding movie. she turns to me and says, "you've got to see 'searching for the one eyed jesus'!" 

"the one eyed jesus?" i repeat. "like a cyclops jesus? i suppose that sounds pretty rad."

"no, chloe, WRONG eyed jesus."

"ok, doesn't sound any less strange, but i can dig."

she goes on to explain to me that its this documentary about a film maker that receives a unique album as a gift and goes on a quest to find the source of such original music. in a no-man's land of trite, commercial muzak getting a record that makes you stop and think is an inexplicably precious gift. documentary may be a misnomer for this film. travelogue? vision? nightmare? whatever the case may be, this film had me inching closer and closer to the screen with every passing frame, so difficult was it for me to conceive of how sumptuous and strange the whole thing was. jim white, the artist who created the album that started the whole long, strange trip, is not only a gutsy, visionary musician but a constant fountain of colloquial poetry as he guides the filmmaker through the strange southern wilderness that engendered his gothic, eerie roots music. the film, dotted with outstanding impromptu musical performances by contemporary bluegrass, alt-country and soul musicians, is a jewel box of unbelievable cinematography. after seeing it, "searching for the wrong eyed jesus" instantly skyrocketed to my top ten movies of all time. that's how good it is. highest recommendations. 

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