Archive for Lou Reed

This was a Train of Death

Posted in FILM, literature, MUSIC with tags , , , , , , , on March 1, 2019 by dcairns

More Bruno Ganz — in THE AMERICAN FRIEND he plays a dying man. The film uses green light, not in any obvious “sickly” way — it’s more associated with Dennis Hopper’s ennui than Ganz’s malady — and also trains. There’s an impressive murder staged on a train, but before that, the Paris Metro and a Hamburg el-train are featured, Hopper holds a canvas displaying a locomotive, and Ganz’s young son has Buster Keaton’s The General on his night-light.

The night-light is also one of many projection devices and photographic toy and motion picture gizmos featured, including a zoetrope, perhaps a nod to Wenders’ approaching collaboration with Francis Ford Coppola. We could also include Hopper’s Polaroid selfies and the tape deck he records his meandering thoughts into. (He’s quite UN-like Patricia Highsmith’s Ripley in these quirks, but still close enough to the essence).

Fiona had never seen it, and was surprised at how much of a thriller it actually was. “I mean, it’s very eccentric, but…” Wenders had succeeded in his goal, using the book to get closer to mainstream commercial cinema, without losing his individuality. Indeed, he never lost that, what he lost instead was his coolness, the confidence he evoked that whatever he concentrated on was really cool. I think it dates to the time the rock stars he worked with stopped being so cool. Lou Reed’s songwriting scene in FAR AWAY, SO CLOSE is probably the first cringe-making moment in a Wenders film. Worse than the guy doing a poo in KINGS OF THE ROAD.

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