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November 8, 2004

I've managed a handful of two hour naps in the past four days, and I feel so revitalized. A lack of sleep does wonders for my sense of self-worth.

Seeing Fellini Satyricon was a pretty remarkable experience. It was like some sort of magical nightmare (and indeed, I had some pretty vivid and intense dreams about it afterwards). The 'plot' makes sense only in the most primal sense, and it reminded me instantly of this quote from the fellow who got me into Fellini in the first place, Tim Burton:

The thing I liked about Fellini was that he created images that even if you didn't know what they meant literally, you felt something. It's not creating images to create images. And even though I didn't fully understand a lot of what he was saying, I could feel a heart behind it. That's what his work meant to me, that things don't have to be literal, you don't have to understand everything.

I imagine he was speaking for most of Fellini's work, but it's an almost perfect description of how Satyricon works -- excpet that it doesn't seem to have much of a heart behind it; it's almost entirely lacking in his usual compassion. In fact, the film reminded me of a great many things, least of all any other film by Fellini; if I had seen it without knowing what it was or who directed it, I would never have guessed it was one of his works. It seemed most similar to Jodorowsky's work, particularly El Topo, which was made the same year -- although even that was more coherent than this. And there are other signs of future allusion as well; I know Julie Tamour most have watched this a few times before making Titus, and I have a feeling George Lucas might have let it seep into his subconscious as well. I'd throw Matthew Barney's name out there as well, but I've got a feeling any similarities between this and the Cremaster Cycle are purely the result of unintentional creative trespassing. Oh, and it reminded me too of Fritz Lang's adaptation of The Oddysey from Godard's Contempt -- the few shots we see of it, at least.

While I heartily endorse the film, I also I have a feeling that, had I seen it on the small screen, I wouldn't have reacted so positively; it's mythical qualities demand a large canvas, and its elliptical, nearly impenetrable narrative demands utmost attention -- something that might be hard to deliver in any environment less enveloping than a cinema. I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone unfamiliar with Fellini, either; there's a chance it could turn a person off to the rest of his work (just for the record, I always suggest starting with Armacord). Indeed, a few of the friends who joined me at the film didn't think too highly of it at all.

This reminds me -- La Dolce Vita returns to the big screen in Dallas for one week starting December 3rd. Another addition to my list of things to be excited about.

Some friends through a Dios De Los Muertos party the other night. It was a swell time until the cops showed up. Then the cops left and the swellness began again and continued until 5 am, at which point I had to drive home to grab a catnap before going to the filmmaker panel Yen was on at the Outtakes Film Festival. I'm sure he'll write about how he ended up owning the discussion on his own blog.

Posted by David Lowery at November 8, 2004 2:17 AM