The Last Command is the 1928 silent movie staring Emil Jannings as the Grand Duke of the Tsar’s army and tells the story of his last battle, his capture, escape, and eventual demise in Hollywood as an extra in a film close to his own life.
It is the best silent movie I’ve seen – I genuinely enjoyed it, and I rarely connect to older films, let alone silent ones.
Part of the magic was the performance of the Alloy Orchestra – they are really exceptional and it was a treat to hear their score.
A Pervert’s Guide to Cinema is not as promising as the title would suggest. It is a wonderful collection of clips of various movies that are far more effectively tied to together cinematically than they are philosophically. Slavoj Zizek narrates a discussion of his apparent discomfort with sex, shame at being male, and hatred of his parents as if they were universal neurosis somehow illuminated by cinema. I found his critiques and comments on the films and directors generally interesting and compelling. His generalizations about the motivations for sex, arousal, libido, etc were pretty silly. Comparing the marx brothers to the Id, the Ego, and the Superego… hmm… I found Bataille’s Erotism: Death And Sensuality better thought out, if equally inapplicable to people not plagued with some serious issues.
(Friday, Aug 29 2008 Telluride Film Festival)