11 July 2011

Fear City

I'd have to update my blog to adult content just to talk about Fear City, which "was originally made by 20th Century-Fox, but they decided that it had too much nudity, sex, violence and drug references for them, so they sold it to the independent Aquarius Releasing" (although you have to be careful about believing what you read on IMDb).

Be great to see Fear City in high-def. The image quality is of course superior on my television, but it's still not blu-ray, and I think if there's a place that deserves the high-def blu-ray treatment, it's the interior of a strip club in NYC during the '80s.

This was the Abel Ferrara film that followed Ms. 45. Important early Ferrara collaborators were involved, including cinematographer James Lemmo, editor Anthony Redman, and screenwriter Nicholas St. John. Billy Dee Williams is a cop, Melanie Griffith is a stripper, and Tom Berenger is a bouncer. Berenger's Matt Rossi was a boxer who retired after killing a man in the ring; Fear City is about him conquering that guilt and reigniting the flame inside. His challenge, for the prize of self-redemption, is a serial killer who's targeting strippers from Rossi's own club.

It's a gritty, mean, icy cop film with a kung-fu narrative: there are training sessions, and the film culminates with a physical battle between Rossi and the serial killer (who is unnamed and the actor uncredited). But there's no glory here, no heroes, and no celebration of murder. The killings are nasty, repulsive, and unglamorous, and the killer's killer is confused and haunted.

Cinematically speaking, for me, NYC in the 80s has begun to challenge LA in the 70s, and London in the 60s, as centers of weirdness and awesome cinema. The 80s have great, weird NYC movies like Fear City and Ms. 45, Basket Case, William Lustig's Maniac, Scorsese's After Hours, Michael Schultz's The Last Dragon, Lucio Fulci's The New York Ripper, and vibrant, independent, and personal films like Spike Lee's She's Gotta Have It and Do the Right Thing, Jim Jarmusch's Stranger Than Paradise, Variety, Malle's My Dinner With Andre, John Sayles's The Brother from Another Planet, and 1980's Gloria, directed and written by John Cassavetes.

NYC has a well-known and rich cinematic history, and edgy, progressive, and talented filmmakers continue to come from the city. I'd like to see more weird ones. Aren't they running together, these days? My impression is that there's a great worldwide panic about the lack of weirdness in our modern lives. I think weirdness is being purchased and then processed by capitalistic logic. It's horrible to witness mass conformity take place. Culturally speaking, in America, corporations and businesses have a stronger impact on trends and lifestyles than politics, humanities, sciences, traditions, or histories (at least this is my impression, based on my extensive field studies, conducted without supervision, and under periodic intoxication). It's not the government, it's the corporations, and examples of corporations are movie studios. They have to behave like corporations, you are what your nature is, but, by the same logic, people should behave like people, not like corporations. Corporations want to be like people, they want you to think they are like you, and that they, too, if no one else, feels the same way. But that's just a lie. So we should continue to allow ourselves to be different, and continue to express our inner selves, and we have to keep changing and moving and exploring ourselves and our world, at least to stay ahead of the corporations.

This "information" is a millionfold inflation based on my projections rooted in specific paranoias and mistrusts. Probably not entirely though, because don't US multiplexes confirm what I'm saying? Fuck me if our theaters aren't boring now, and fuck me if US cinema hasn't lost its imagination. Like more and more things, the rest of the world is, right now, more interesting, more exploratory. We're importing, from Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Sweden, etc. We're remaking the films we're importing. We're remaking our own films. We're rebooting our franchises. We're sequeling ourselves into cinematic hell, America, we're sequeling ourselves out of relevance.

I'm getting myself really worked up. Take it to the page, you should tell me; you should ask me to take it the page, and write movies, write screenplays, you should tell me to write movies and not whiny diatribes. Seriously will you please call me and say that to me.

1 comment:

  1. I've just downloaded iStripper, and now I can watch the sexiest virtual strippers stripping on my desktop.