Monday, February 18, 2008

I'm in Love with [the] Radio On

Click here for author/screen-
writer Rudy Wurlitzer's appre-
ciation of Christopher Petit's

Radio On. Here's an excerpt:

Radio On represents a melancholy requiem from another time, another place. It slides into view with a mut-
ed and yet precise focus, a film exist-
ing within its own definitions, mining its own seam as it
ponders its own mysteries. Despite or rather because of
the film’s relentless and rigorous fluidity, the journey goes
nowhere in particular, at least not in terms of geography
as it circles endlessly around itself, arriving at questions
and emotional roadblocks that, one slowly realizes, will
never be answered. Inside its relentless alienation the bleak
compositions of its ruined and soulless landscapes become
isolating and yet strangely elegiac; a hypnotic and intimate
embrace relating image to language to sound, with no one
expression upstaging the other. The film becomes a circular
spiral turning in on itself, a rhythm that transcends the whole
notion of what it means to go anywhere in particular.

Wurlitzer penned the screenplays
for Monte Hellman's Two-Lane Black-
(1971) and Sam Peckinpah's Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973).

The former is now available in a Crit-
erion Collection DVD
(including a testi-
monial by Tom Waits and commentary by Wurlitzer, Hellman, and others). The latter, an excellent companion piece to Todd Haynes's fractured Bob Dylan fan-
tasia I'm Not There, plays Seattle on 3/12 at the Metro Cinemas
as part of their Metro Classics series. The cast includes Dylan, James Coburn, and I'm Not There narrator Kris Kristofferson.

Here's more info about the series from Metroblogging Seattle:

The second theme for the series is "Three Westerns with
Scores by Folk Rock Musicians". [Robert Altman's] McCabe
& Mrs. Miller
with its Leonard Cohen score plays on March
5. The following week, on the 12th, it's the Bob Dylan-scored
Pat Garrett & Billy the Kid, followed on March 19 by [Jim Jarmusch's] Dead Man, featuring the music of Neil Young.

Endnote: Click here for my review of Radio On. I de-
scribe critic-turned director Petit's 1979 debut as "a mon-
ochromatic road movie that captures a time of Bowie in Ber-
lin, Kraftwerk on cassette, Wreckless Eric on the jukebox
and Police-era Sting as an Eddie Cochrane-obsessed gas
station attendant." Images from Plexifilm and DVD Toile.

7/17 Update: Great interview with Wurlitzer at this site.

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