Episode 5: A Brighter Summer Day, SPL 2 and Purple Rain

A-Brighter-Summer-Day1

With Mike on vacation this week Sean is joined by Seattle Screen Scene writer Melissa Tamminga to discuss Edward Yang’s long sought after 1990 epic A Brighter Summer Day, which has just recently been released by the Criterion Collection, and Soi Cheang’s action film SPL 2: A Time for Consequences, starring Tony Jaa and Wu Jing, which will be released here in the US as Kill Zone 2 in a couple of weeks. They also pick their essential Violent Youth films, take a look ahead to what’s coming soon to Seattle (and Bellingham) Screens and talk about Prince’s classic 1984 film Purple Rain.

You can listen to the show by downloading it directly, or by subscribing on iTunes or the podcast player of your choice.

Links:

Adrian Martin on Purple Rain

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Friday April 29 – Thursday May 5

Featured Film:

My Golden Days at the Northwest Film Forum

Continuing this week at the Northwest Film Forum is the latest from accomplished French director Arnold Desplechin. A coming-of-age story, it’s a kind of prequel to his 1996 film My Sex Life… or How I Got into an Argument (which I haven’t seen, yet). Mathieu Amalric plays Paul Dedalus, a middle-aged man who recalls three keys passages from his youth: his abusive mother, a teenage trip to Soviet Russia that involved some low-level spy work, and a lengthy examination of his first major love affair. Packed with Desplechin’s trademark eclectic approach to filmmaking, integrating silent movie irises and other long-abandoned techniques into the modern international art house style, with carefully nuanced and shifting characterizations and a slippery point of view, it’s a worthy follow-up to his great 21st century films A Christmas Tale and Kings & Queen.

Playing This Week:

Central Cinema:

A Hard Day’s Night (Richard Lester, 1964) Fri-Tues
Beetlejuice (Tim Burton, 1988) Fri-Tues

Century Federal Way:

Vaisakhi List (Sumeep Kang) Fri-Thurs
A Star is Born (George Cukor, 1954) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

The Invitation (Karyn Kusama) Fri & Sat Only
Touched with Fire (Paul Dalio) Tues Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Too Late (Dennis Hauck) Fri-Sat, Mon-Tues Only 35mm
Marinoni: The Fire in the Frame (Tony Girardin) Fri-Thurs
Embrace of the Serpent (Ciro Guerra) Sun, Weds & Thurs Only
Yumeji 
(Seijun Suzuki, 1991) Sat Only 35mm Our Suzuki Podcast

Landmark Guild 45th:

Sing Street (John Carney) Fri-Thurs
The First Monday in May (Andrew Rossi) Fri-Sun, Tues-Thurs

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Sing Street (John Carney) Fri-Thurs
Fan (Maneesh Sharma) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Baaghi (Sabbir Khan) Fri-Thurs
A Star is Born (George Cukor, 1954) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Sing Street (John Carney) Fri-Thurs
The Force Awakens (JJ Abrams) Fri – Thurs Our Podcast 

Northwest Film Forum:

My Golden Days (Arnaud Desplechin) Fri-Thurs
Güeros (Alonzo Ruiz Palacios) Fri Only Director in Attendance
Our Last Tango (German Kral) Fri-Mon Only
Chantal Akerman, From Here (Gustavo Beck & Leonardo Luiz Ferreira, 2012) Sat Only
From the East (Chantal Akerman, 1993) Sun Only
Down There (Chantal Akerman) Mon Only
Project Fukushima (Hikaru Fuji, 2012) Mon Only Q&A, Free Screening
Tokyo Drifter (Seijun Suzuki, 1966) Weds Only Our Suzuki Podcast
Carmen from Kawachi (Seijun Suzuki, 1966) Weds Only 35mm

AMC Pacific Place:

Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier Fri-Thurs Our Review
Finding Mr. Right 2 (Xue Xiaolu) Fri-Thurs
Pali Road (Jonathan Hua Lang Lim) Fri-Thurs

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Seattle Art Museum:

Max et les ferrailleurs (Claude Sautet, 1971) Thurs Only

Landmark Seven Gables:

Dough (John Goldschmidt) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Film Center:

April and the Extraordinary World (Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci) Fri-Sun

AMC Southcenter:

Compadres (Enrique Begne) Fri-Thurs

Sundance Cinemas:

Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Rio I Love You (Various) Fri-Thurs
Term Life (Peter Billingsley) Fri-Thurs

Regal Thornton Place:

Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier) Fri-Thurs Our Review

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

April and the Extraordinary World (Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci) Mon-Thurs
Screenagers (Delaney Ruston) Thurs Only

In Wide Release:

Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater) Our Review Our Other Review

Friday April 22 – Thursday April 28

Featured Film:

Wim Wenders and Chantal Akerman at SIFF

Following up their co-presentation with the Northwest Film Forum of a weeks-long retrospective of the films of German director Wim Wenders earlier this spring, SIFF this week is playing at the Uptown a condensed version of the series, a kind of Wenders Greatest Hits, with four of his best-known films. Paris, TexasWings of Desire and The American Friend are the familiar titles, but the real gem is a second chance at seeing the recently restored five hour Director’s Cut of his 1991 sci-fi epic Until the End of the World. At the same time, the SIFF Film Center is kicking off a two-week series on the late Belgian director Chantal Akerman. They’re playing her final film, No Home Movie, along with a documentary about Akerman called I Don’t Belong Anywhere. next week the Northwest Film Forum continues the series with From the East (D’Est), Down There (Là-bas) and a second documentary, Chantal Akerman, From Here. We talked about Akerman and her film Je, tu, il, elle last fall on The George Sanders Show.

Playing This Week:

Central Cinema:

Pretty in Pink (Howard Deutch, 1986) Fri-Tues
Hot Fuzz (Edgar Wright, 2007) Fri-Weds

SIFF Egyptian:

Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater, 1993) Sat Midnight Only

Century Federal Way:

Sarrainodu (Boyapati Srinu) Fri-Thurs
Vaisakhi List (Sumeep Kang) Fri-Thurs
On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Saving Face (Alice Wu, 2004) Sun Only
Rolling Papers (Mitch Dickman) Tues Only
The Hand that Feeds (Robin Blotnick & Rachel Lears) Weds Only Filmmaker Q & A
Red Wolf Revival (Roshan Patel) Thurs Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Too Late (Dennis Hauck) Fri-Thurs 35mm
Embrace of the Serpent (Ciro Guerra) Sat, Mon & Tues Only
VHS Über Alles presents Rocktober Blood (Beverly Sebastian, 1984) Fri Only VHS
Zigeurnerweisen (Seijun Suzuki, 1980) Sat Only 35mm
Kagerô-za 
(Seijun Suzuki, 1981) Sun Only 35mm Our Suzuki Podcast

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Theri (Atlee Kumar) Fri-Thurs
Fan (Maneesh Sharma) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Laal Rang (Syed Ahmed Afzal) Fri-Thurs
On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Chongqing Hot Pot (Yang Qing) Fri-Thurs Our Review 
The Force Awakens (JJ Abrams) Fri – Thurs Our Podcast 
Fan (Maneesh Sharma) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Northwest Film Forum:

My Golden Days (Arnaud Desplechin) Fri-Thurs
As You Like It (Michael Elliott & Ronald Eyre, 1963) Sat Only Free Screening
The Taming of the Shrew (David Richards, 2005) Sun Only
Elephant (Gus Van Sant, 1977) Tues Only 35mm
Tattooed Life (Seijun Suzuki, 1965) Weds Only 35mm
David Domingo: A Super 8 Odyssey Thurs Only Director in Attendance

AMC Pacific Place:

Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier Fri-Thurs Our Review
New York, New York (Luo Dong) Fri-Thurs
Purple Rain (Albert Magnoli, 1984) Fri-Thurs

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Fan (Maneesh Sharma) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Seattle Art Museum:

Les choses de la vie (Claude Sautet, 1970) Thurs Only

Landmark Seven Gables:

The First Monday in May (Andrew Rossi) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Film Center:

No Home Movie (Chantal Akerman) Fri-Sun, Tues & Thurs
I Don’t Belong Anywhere: The Cinema of Chantal Akerman (Marianne Lambert) Fri-Thurs

AMC Southcenter:

Compadres (Enrique Begne) Fri-Thurs

Sundance Cinemas:

Green Room (Jeremy Saulnier Fri-Thurs Our Review
Louder than Bombs (Joachim Trier) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Fireworks Wednesday (Asghar Farhadi, 2006) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

Francofonia (Alexander Sokurov) Fri-Thurs Our Review
April and the Extraordinary World (Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci) Fri-Thurs
The Glamour & The Squalor (Marq Evans) Fri Only
Paris, Texas (Wim Wenders, 1984) Fri & Mon Only
The American Friend (Wim Wenders, 1977) Fri & Weds Only
Wings of Desire (Wim Wenders, 1988) Sun, Tues & Weds Only
Until the End of the World (Wim Wenders, 1991) Sun Only Director’s Cut

Varsity Theatre:

Precious Cargo (Max Adams) Fri-Thurs
Sky (Fabienne Berthaud) Fri-Thurs
On the Waterfront (Elia Kazan, 1954) Weds Only

In Wide Release:

Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater) Our Review Our Other Review

Louder Than Bombs (Joachim Trier, 2015)

Isabel

“The best weapons are the stories, and every time the story is told, something changes. There are no photographs to be introduced as evidence[.]”

“All we can depend on are slow-motion replays of our lives.”
                                                                          ~Sherman Alexie, “Captivity”

Joachim Trier, in his newest and third feature film, is interested in story-telling and in the peculiar power of stories, a theme he explores by way of a particular family, a man and his two sons, struggling with the loss of a wife and mother.  Each survivor constructs and reconstructs their memories of the dead woman, reconstructions that reveal the particular viewpoints and obsessions of each, perhaps more than they reveal the woman’s own story and identity, for each character, we see, is adrift in his own life, alienated and unsure, and the reach back to the past, to the memories of this woman, is a way of coping with the present, a way of constructing a sense of self.  Continue reading

Fan (Maneesh Sharma, 2016)

fan 3

One of the interesting things about actors who have worked for a long time (and have a recognizable on-screen persona) is that when they get older, they begin to interrogate those personae, and what they mean. Clint Eastwood has been doing this since the 70s. In Fan, the latest film by director Maneesh Sharma, the subject is Shah Rukh Khan, arguably the most famous Indian actor of the last 25 years.

Shah Rukh Khan is a great ham. He’s a shameless entertainer, doing anything to ensure that the films he’s in work. SRK is great because you can see the effort behind his work, the flop sweat. It’s been that way since the beginning. SRK began acting in films in the early 90s in a series of villainous roles (BaazigarAanjam) before becoming more of a romantic hero. His iconic role in Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge  paved the way for a new type of hero (and film) that directly addressed the Indian diaspora. The films in this period with SRK in the Swiss alps, his arms outstretched waiting for his love, often fell into cliched territory, but SRK always gave everything to the role. He’s branched out from these roles to become an action hero, a comedian, all while finding time to work with prestigious directors (Mani Ratnam, Kamal Hasaan). While the last few films have seen him make a few lazy choices (his work with Rohit Shetty is pretty uninspired), Fan acts as something of a rejuvenation for him. He hasn’t been this engaged in quite a while.

Fan stars Shah Rukh Khan in a dual role. He plays Aryan Khanna, the biggest Bollywood star in the world, as essentially himself. He also plays Gaurav Chandna, Aryan’s biggest fan, in a performance aided by visual effects that transforms him into a slightly askew version of his younger self. Gaurav moonlights as an Aryan impersonator, and it’s his dream to one day meet him. So, one day he sets out to the big city in order to accomplish this. Things get complicated from there.

Continue reading

Episode 4: Youth of the Beast and Sonatine

This week, to mark the on-going Seijun Suzuki retrospective at the Grand Illusion and the Northwest Film Forum, we discuss the idiosyncratic Japanese director’s career and one of his more famous and influential gangster films, 1963’s Youth of the Beast. We also talk about the Yakuza film in general, and all the crazy things Suzuki did to it, and take a look at actor/director Takeshi Kitano’s own take on the yakuza film in his 1993 film Sonatine. All that plus more goings on around town, including an upcoming tribute to a great director at the Film Forum and the novelty of the Cinema showing something on film.

You can listen to the show by downloading it directly, or by subscribing on iTunes or the podcast player of your choice.

Friday April 15 – Thursday April 21

Featured Film:

Seijun Suzuki at the Grand Illusion and the Northwest Film Forum

Beginning last week, Seattle’s best art house theatres launched an eleven film retrospective of the works of Japanese director Seijun Suzuki, featuring several of his classic 1960s films as well as a handful of later works. Growing out of B-movie cops and gangster pictures in the 1950s, Suzuki by the mid-60s took to abstracting his generic tales with wild flourishes of color and framing, not so much eating away at the conventions of the studio system as Hollywood termites like Samuel Fuller did, but rather outright obliterating conventions of realism, exposing previously unfathomable, ludicrous beauties in the crime melodrama. By the late 60s, his excesses got him banned from the studio system, only to resurface a decade later with his acclaimed Taishō Trilogy. This weekend the Grand Illusion presents two of his 60s films, Gate of Flesh and Fighting Elegy, with all three Taishō films to follow over the next two weeks, all on 35mm. Meanwhile, on Wednesdays from April 27-May 11, the Film Forum is showing 60s classics Tatooed Life, Tokyo Drifter, Carmen from Kawachi, and Branded to Kill. This week on The Frances Farmer Show, we’ll be talking about Suzuki and his Youth of the Beast (which played this past Wednesday at the Film Forum), along with Takeshi Kitano’s 1993 yakuza film Sonatine.

Playing This Week:

Central Cinema:

Bridget Jones’s Diary (Sharon Maguire, 2001) Fri-Tues
Shaun of the Dead (Edgar Wright, 2004) Fri-Tues

Century Federal Way:

Theri (Atlee Kumar) Fri-Thurs
Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater, 1993) Sun & Weds Only

Cinerama:

The Hateful Eight (Quentin Tarantino) Fri-Thurs 70mm Our Review

Grand Cinema:

Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Other Review
Marguerite (Xavier Giannoli) Fri-Thurs
Cambodian Son (Kosal Khiev) Fri Only
Mustang (Deniz Gamze Ergüven) Tues Only Our Review 
Landfill Harmonic (Brad Allgood & Graham Townsley) Thurs Only
A Hologram for the King (Tom Tykwer) Thurs Only

Grand Illusion Cinema:

Too Late (Dennis Hauck) Fri-Thurs 35mm Director in attendance Fri
Gate of Flesh (Seijun Suzuki, 1964) Sat Only 35mm Intro by Tony Kay
Fighting Elegy 
(Seijun Suzuki, 1966) Sun Only 35mm Intro by Tony Kay Our Suzuki Podcast
Embrace of the Serpent (Ciro Guerra) Weds Only

Landmark Guild 45th:

Marguerite (Xavier Giannoli) Fri-Thurs
The Empire of Corpses (Ryôtarô Makihara) Tues & Weds Only

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Other Review
Theri (Atlee Kumar) Fri-Thurs
Fan (Maneesh Sharma) Fri-Thurs
Dazed and Confused (Richard Linklater, 1993) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Chongqing Hot Pot (Yang Qing) Fri-Thurs Our Review 
The Force Awakens (JJ Abrams) Fri – Thurs Our Podcast 
Fan (Maneesh Sharma) Fri-Thurs
The Witch (Robert Eggers) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Other Review

Northwest Film Forum:

By Design 2016 Fri-Sun Only Full Program
Heartburn Highways (James Szalapski) Fri Only
Following Kina (Sonia Goldenberg) Sat Only
My Brooklyn (Kelly Anderson, 2013) Mon Only
Hausu (Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977) Weds Only 35mm, Live Score
A Space Program (Van Neistat & Tom Sachs) Thurs Only Director in Attendance

AMC Leows Oak Tree:

Fan (Maneesh Sharma) Fri-Thurs

AMC Pacific Place:

New York, New York (Luo Dong) Fri-Thurs

Regal Parkway Plaza:

The Force Awakens (JJ Abrams) Fri – Thurs Our Podcast 
Fan (Maneesh Sharma) Fri-Thurs
The Witch (Robert Eggers) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Seattle Art Museum:

Stolen Kisses (François Truffaut, 1968) Thurs Only

Landmark Seven Gables:

The First Monday in May (Andrew Rossi) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Film Center:

Embrace of the Serpent (Ciro Guerra) Fri-Thurs
A Space Program (Van Neistat) Fri-Thurs

Sundance Cinemas:

Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Other Review
Sold (Jeffrey D. Brown) Fri-Thurs
Hail, Caesar! (Joel & Ethan Coen) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Born to Be Blue (Robert Budreau) Fri-Thurs
The Preppie Connection (Joseph Castelo) Fri-Thurs

Regal Thornton Place:

Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Other Review

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

Francofonia (Alexander Sokurov) Fri-Thurs Our Review
April and the Extraordinary World (Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci) Fri-Thurs
Sync Music Video Festival 2016 Fri Only

Varsity Theatre:

The Adderall Diaries (Pamela Romanowsky) Fri-Thurs
One More Time (When I Live My Life Over Again) (Robert Edwards) Fri-Thurs
Kill Your Friends (Owen Harris) Fri-Thurs
Fastball (Jonathan Hock) Fri-Thurs

Friday April 8 – Thursday April 15

Featured Film:

Everybody Wants Some!! at the Sundance and the Lincoln Square

Richard Linklater’s latest film, a sequel in all but name to his 1993 masterpiece dazed and Confused opens this week at the Sundance Cinemas in the U-District and the Cinemark Lincoln Square in Bellevue. The film has dramatically split the staff here, with Mike finding it crude and obnoxious while I think it’s one of Linklater’s very best, a delightful and insightful look at a subculture that, while maintaining a frustratingly dominant position in the culture at large (though less so now than in 1980, when the film is set), is nonetheless often misunderstood. Check it out for yourself and see if it earns those exclamation marks.

Playing This Week:

Central Cinema:

Ocean’s Eleven (Stephen Soderbergh, 2001) Fri-Weds
Point Break (Kathryn Bigelow, 1991) Fri-Weds Our Podcast

Century Federal Way:

Ambarsariya (Mandeep Kumar) Fri-Thurs
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (Stanley Kramer, 1963) Sun & Weds Only

Grand Cinema:

Remember (Atom Egoyan) Fri-Thurs
Meet the Patels (Geeta & Ravi Patel, 2014) Sun Only
Internet Cat Video Festival Mon Only
The Wave (Roar Uthaug) Tues Only
Straight Outta Compton (F. Gary Gray) Thurs Only Our Review

Grand Illusion Cinema:

The Invitation (Karyn Kusama) Fri-Thurs
Passport to Darkness (Seijun Suzuki, 1959) Sat Only 35mm
Drone Cinema Film Festival 2016 Sat Only
Positive Force: More Than a Witness (Robin Bell, 2014) Sun Only Director in Attendance
Corn’s-A-Poppin’ (Robert Woodburn, 1956) Tues Only 35mm

Cinemark Lincoln Square:

Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Other Review
Oopiri
 (Vamsi Paidipally) Fri-Thurs In Telugu
Ki and Ka (R. Balki) Fri-Thurs
Kapoor & Sons – Since 1921 (Shakun Batra) Fri-Thurs
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (Stanley Kramer, 1963) Sun & Weds Only

Regal Meridian:

Chongqing Hot Pot (Yang Qing) Fri-Thurs Our Review

Northwest Film Forum:

Notfilm (Ross Litman) Fri-Mon Only
Work in Progress (Adam Sekuler) Fri Only
Bleak Street (Arturo Ripstein) Fri-Sun Only
Youth of the Beast (Seijun Suzuki, 1963) Weds Only 35mm
A Space Program (Van Neistat & Tom Sachs) Thurs Only Director in Attendance

Regal Parkway Plaza:

Kapoor & Sons – Since 1921 (Shakun Batra) Fri-Thurs
Ardaas (Gippy Grewal) Fri-Thurs
Love is Blind (Jason Paul Laxamana) Fri-Thurs

Scarecrow Video:

Framing Pictures Fri Only
Matango (Ishiro Honda, 1963) Sat Only
Hamlet (Franco Zeffirelli, 1990) Sun Only
Russian Ark (Alexander Sokurov, 2002) Sun Only Our Podcast
April in Paris (David Butler, 1952) Mon Only
Lifeboat (Alfred Hitchcock, 1944) Tues Only
Jefferson in Paris (James Ivory, 1995) Weds Only
Masque of the Red Death (Roger Corman, 1964) Thurs Only

Seattle Art Museum:

Classe tous risque (Claude Sautet, 1960) Thurs Only

Landmark Seven Gables:

Marguerite (Xavier Giannoli) Fri-Thurs

SIFF Film Center:

Embrace of the Serpent (Ciro Guerra) Fri-Sun
April and the Extraordinary World (Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci) Sun Only

SIFF Cinema Uptown:

Francofonia (Alexander Sokurov) Fri-Thurs Our Review
April and the Extraordinary World (Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci) Fri-Thurs
Storefront Hitchcock (Jonathan Demme, 1998) Thurs Only with Robyn Hitchcock in Person

Sundance Cinemas:

Everybody Wants Some!! (Richard Linklater) Fri-Thurs Our Review Our Other Review
Mr. Right (Paco Cabezas) Fri-Thurs Our Review
Born to Be Blue (Robert Budreau) Fri-Thurs

Varsity Theatre:

The Mermaid (Stephen Chow) Fri-Thurs Our Review
One More Time (When I Live My Life Over Again) (Robert Edwards) Fri-Thurs
Kill Your Friends (Owen Harris) Fri-Thurs
Fastball (Jonathan Hock) Fri-Thurs

In Wide Release:

The Witch (Robert Eggers) Our Review
Hail, Caesar!
 (Joel & Ethan Coen) Our Review
The Revenant 
(Alejandro González Iñárritu) Our Review
The Force Awakens (JJ Abrams) Our Podcast
Spotlight 
(Tom McCarthy) Our Review

Knight of Cups (Terrence Malick, 2015)

Bale stairs

Here, Sisyphus meets John Bunyan’s Christian.

Or something like that.

Terrence Malick, for me, is a bit like T. S. Eliot, a forager through resonant, mythic fragments, pieced together into something that, while offering a reader a whole Thing and an often intensely emotional experience, also spins that reader off into multiple directions at once.

With something like “The Hollow Men,” for example, I first trace the Fisher King threads, and then I follow a Dante and Beatrice path, and then I’m sent to re-think Kurtz in Heart of Darkness, and then to grasp at remnants from Julius Caesar. All of these literary references are in “The Hollow Men,” and knowing them enriches my experience of the poem. But then, I also find that the poem works on a level that doesn’t seem to need any particular literary knowledge. Many of my students who’ve never read any of those other works love Eliot’s wasteland vision, those hollow whispering men; they can take the line “not with a bang but a whimper” and savor it. Just for itself. That line reaches directly into the feelings.

And so there’s meaning and there’s meaning and there’s meaning. Eliot is someone I will read my whole life and still find dark corners – that will very suddenly light up. Even Eliot himself, when a reader noted that he must have taken the “shadow” lines in “Hollow Men” from a poem by Ernest Dowson, agreed, “This derivation had not occurred in my mind, but I believe it to be correct, because the lines… have always run in my head.” It delights me to understand that even an artist cannot know everything contained in their own work. Eliot was an artist who was a receptacle who then poured himself into his work, at a conscious and unconscious level.

Malick is like that, I think, an artist, giving himself to his work utterly, and the result is a rich work that grows only richer. It is a richness that will make watching and re-watching and re-watching his films a life-long pleasure.  Continue reading