Monday, November 28, 2005

Film review #2 - Lianna

True to my contrary nature, here is a second movie review.

Lianna is 1983 film by John Sayles that must rate as the most unintentionally funny movie I have ever seen. The story is pure bourgeois breakdown, a professor's unfulfilled wife leaves him and her family for a Female professor. She discovers her new gay sexuality, which results in spontaneous outburst of "I am gay" to woman sitting on washing machine (presumably for clitoris-buzzing spin cycle), she has to suffer the depredation of an intellectual being required to work in a temple of consumerism, the supermarket, and watching soap-operas (yes, there is a fair bit of snobbery regarding popular culture and ordinary lives permeating this film, apparently only campus society offers sufficient dazzle, while beyond is an unending zombie-wasteland), and finds her lesbian professor to be just as hypocritical as her husband when it comes to blurring the lines of the student/instructor relationship, as well as having another woman hiding in the background.

But what makes this film an astonishing joy is the unconscious hilarity of the delivery, the lesbian love scene with whispers and snatches of French and "ooh, lick me" as they make it, the porn-moustached stud who jogs around with the distinct impression he is in the wrong movie, the cutting in of "expressive dance" at a voluntary theatre Lianna illuminates (she does the lighting), that somehow forms such a perfect mirror of her own turmoil. In one scene, Lianna breaks down while watching terrifying modern dance intercut with lesbian romp with professor, while a terrible love song plays. This lasts 5 minutes and manages to feel like six weeks. But the piece de resistance is the incredibly naff dancing and stereotypes of the My Way Tavern, the queer joint where Lianna is introduced to the scene. I know 80s dancing always looks dire, but this takes it to another dimension and is beyond my powers of description. All I can say is "Once seen, never forgotten"

Please try and see this movie if you can, it is a superlative treat.


Blogger HF said...

This sounds excellent!!! Was that on TV or did you rent it? Another unintentionally funny movie is "Paganini" by Klaus Kinski (his ego the size of a galaxy made him write the script, direct and play the main part). In my opinion the worst film ever made.

2:06 PM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

Lianna was on the Independent Film Channel last night

imdb entry

paganini sounds good, i'll add it to the tivo wishlist

2:33 PM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

available on and from about 12 dollars if you have multi-region DVD

2:38 PM  
Anonymous chris said...

"the lesbian love scene with whispers and snatches" *sniggers*

was this deliberate?

5:46 AM  
Blogger kingfelix said...

i am guilty as charged, your honour

4:05 PM  

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