Film Fest Day Four ALL

Film Fest Day Four

Today I managed one film, which was a special screening of Douglas Sirk’s Technicolor melodrama starring Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson. The print was pretty rough, but what made the night special was that director Todd Haynes, whose Far From Heaven is a palimpsest of Sirk’s film, introduced and talked afterwards about his film and Sirk’s.
The film itself is on the surface a very straightforward “love will find a way” weepie, but you don’t have to search too hard to find all sorts of weird things underneath, and I don’t mean watching Hudson’s performance with what is known now about his sexuality. The sexual wolfishness of the men (apart from Hudson), the awful children–Freud-espousing daughter, asshole son, the bitchy women, the deer that appears at the end. Like many films from the ’50s, it just seems bizarre.
Haynes had some great things to say about Sirk’s film, especially about the use of color. He mentioned how the very complex color schemes in Sirk are a far cry from today. “Now you can see a thriller–every shot is blue. Or a memory sequence. It’s all gold. And that’s it?” He also spoke about Fassbinder’s own take on Sirk in Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (coming out next month on DVD, with some commentary by Haynes), his next project (apparently a rhapsody on Bob Dylan that promises at worst to be fascinating), his move to Portland, his student days at Brown University, and much more. A very modest, affable man, and one of the few truly important American filmmakers at the moment.

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