Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
NYFF ’12: Final Cut—Ladies & Gentlemen
is the classic Hollywood story. Everyman
meets everywoman, with everycomplication ensuing. One-upping Chuck Workman, György Pálfi aggregates clips from some of the greatest
milestones of international cinema, as well as two of his own previous films,
into the loose narrative form that is Final
Cut—Ladies & Gentleman (trailer here), which screens as part of the Cinema Reflected sidebar at the 50th New York Film Festival.
Charlie Chaplin, the protagonist wakes up and stretches. As Gene Hackman he shaves and knots his tie
as Leonardo DiCaprio, amongst others. A
chance encounter on the street will lead him to pursue a mystery woman, who
turns out to be a nightclub singer, played by the likes of Liza Minelli and
Jessica Rabbit. Despite the efforts of a
jealous ex-boyfriend(s), they fall in love and marry. Yet, domestic life presents its own
Final Cut is light years
removed from the kind of unpleasant Taxidermy,
Pálfi’s last film to have an American theatrical release—and a good thing
that is. What started as a creative
response to the Hungarian film industry’s economic doldrums became the 2012
Cannes Classic’s closer. However, his
love letter to cinema is not likely to ink a distribution deal anytime soon, since
Pálfi was never bourgeoisie enough to actually seek permission to use his
constituent snippets. Considering Walt
Disney and Lucas Films are well represented in the mix, one would not be
shocked if there are a few cease & desist letters in its future.
no mistake, we all recognize intellectual property rights here, but it is sort
of shame a home DVD release is not likely for Final Cut. It could be quite
the party game for movie buffs, looking for bragging rights for how many more
films they can recognize than their friends.
While many of us will recognize the Kurosawa and Godard excerpts, some
of the Eastern European selections might be a little tricky. The idiosyncrasies of Pálfi’s editorial sensibility
are also sometimes surprising (Angel
Heart, again?). For those wondering,
Hitchcock’s Vertigo did indeed make
the cut, at the risk of drawing another eyebrow-raising statement from Kim Novak,
a la The Artist.
Cut is hardly groundbreaking. There
are several short films floating around the internet based around similar concepts,
but Pálfi takes it further, even tossing in the occasional full frontal for
comedic effect. If nothing else, it
brings back a flood of movie memories and should spur wide ranging
post-screening did-you-ever-see discussions.
Not particularly deep or perhaps even legally defensible, Final Cut—Ladies & Gentleman is
still a fair amount of film geek fun. It
screens this coming Monday (10/1) at the Francesca Beale Theater during the
Labels: Gyorgy Palfi, NYFF '12