It’s been a while since my last Scorsese film Taxi Driver (1973) which blew my mind with what was built up on-screen. Here I saw the pairing of Robert DeNiro again and the skilled director in The King of Comedy (1982). a disturbing portrait of a fanatic fan, real emphasis on the fanatic.
Following the live and day-dreams of wannabe stand-up comic Rupert Pupkin (DeNiro) which often said and pronounced wrong, has a fascination with stand-up comedian Jerry Langford (Jerry Lewis) who is tired of the attraction of fame, just wanting to do his job without harassment. Something that constantly plaques him in the form of the adoring public that sometimes never keeps its distance for long enough.
We are invited into the screwed world of the fanatic and the extremes that they go to. First we see the casual fan trying to catch a glimpse of a the comedy star Jerry Langford, which soon turns into a more dark a serious tone when one fan saves him from another Marsha (Sandra Bernhard) who personifies the other extremes that we associate with the unstable characters who stalk the rich and famous. As we learn this is all part of a carefully worked plan to get to the comedian who wants to be left alone, whilst an aspiring Pupkin wants to learn and get near to him. We are let into his dreams and the sad life he really lives. Harassing Langford’s team, all to get his big break. A careful balance between reality and fantasy is on display, throwing the audience into confusion, just as Pupkin tries to make his fantasy a reality, a goal that is slowly slipping away from his grasp. DeNiro is taken a break from his heavy gangster roles to gives us another intense performance which sees him become what he may indeed fear himself at times, the super-fan, who has for some famous people has cost them their privacy or even lives. Playing opposite Sandra Bernhard who strangely suits her role down to the ground, on a different level of delusion, wanting other things from the comedian.
A symptom of modern western life, that for those who want and achieve fame comes the darker side, those who are loved by the fans can become some dark and dangerous, as the seemingly sad man who stalks Langford seeing him as more than an inspiration, but the way to fame and fortune. To access him is to achieve his goal of being a stand-up comedian. Going to extremes that most would never dream of. Of course we all have moments where we would want to meet a famous person, even do more, but then dreams can take on a more dangerous form, reality for those who want only to do their job.
A very contemporary film that will never lose its edge, with serious performances by DeNiro and Bernhardwho together paint a dark picture of modern life, how fame can create desires and mental instability that is fuelled by the media, that used to be good for the famous, even protect them. Which now has taken a new form to be able to communicate on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, we want to know more, to know what they are doing. Magazines dedicated to what they eat, wear and go on holiday. The final touch in the whole film is turned on its head, becoming a fictional account of the film we have just seen. Making a fictional biopic of a fictional account, a false fact, a confusing and intelligent thing to do at the end.
- The King of Comedy (1982) (myfilmviews.com)
- Top Ten Robert De Niro Roles (billstoptenlists.wordpress.com)
- Top 10 Martin Scorsese Films (jordanandeddie.wordpress.com)
- Sandra Bernhard Glee-fully disses hit TV show on her way to Miami for shows at Prelude by Barton G. (miamiherald.typepad.com)
- The 5 best movie cameos (atlmalcontent.wordpress.com)
- Robert De Niro: At 70th birthday, he remains a man of many facets (cnn.com)
I wasn’t to post anything apart from almost daily film review, until I checked my Facebook feed and found an awesome from my mate and fellow artist Richard Taylor who posted me a fascinating article on artist Jeff Desom who recently exhibited his work as part of the Video Art and Experimental Film Festival (2013). Taking the exterior shots from Rear Window (1954) and crafted a superb panoramic installation that combines all the action that occurs outside of L.B. ‘Jeff’ Jefferies’s (James Stewart) window. Already a carefully constructed piece of work by the director Alfred Hitchcock. For those who couldn’t make the festival there is a little video on Vimeo, in time-lapse form that allows you to see all the action of the 20 minute looped video in just over 2. You have to sit still to take in all the excitement that whizzes by you in no-time at all. So sit back and enjoy for yourselves
- Vimeo / / Symmetry // Rear Window Timelapse (farisyakob.typepad.com)
- Happy Birthday to James Stewart (brockingmovies.com)
I don’t think I’m missing out on the Instagram phenomenon that fills my Facebook feed somedays. Its the same for media Kelly Angood who has produced her own cardboard pin-hole cameras to produce photographs. The cameras are called Videre, that allows for medium format film to be used.
The idea is not all that new to her, having discovered it on her illustration degree in Brighton. ‘It goes back to the basics of photography and teaches you the very fundamentals,’ she said. Going to to take photographs of those who have helped her out.
Three years later she’s got the bug to make more cameras, setting up a fund on Kickstarter, with a deadline later this month.
It seems if you have the know how but not the cash you can still achieve the results using your own improvised cardboard kit that produces the same results, Showing that recycled material can be just as effective as all the kit you can save up and buy.
- It’s flat-pack photography: Pop-up camera beats Instagram for retro pictures (metro.co.uk)
- IMSO Interviews Kelly Angood: the Pop-up Pinhole Camera Project (prweb.com)
- Videre: A Medium-Format Pinhole Camera with a Twin-Lens Reflex Design (petapixel.com)
- Flatpack pinhole camera made from cardboard (gizmag.com)
- Make your own Hasselblad pinhole camera thanks to the very clever Kelly Angood (itsnicethat.com)
I have just this moment found out the news, through my Facebook feed, its both good and bad, Most will immediately scream and run and hide. The legend that is George Lucas has sold LucasFilm to Disney Studios. As he says in the video, he’s getting old and wants to step down as the head of LucasFilm. I can understand his reasons for allowing Disney acquire the film company that probably has one of the smallest production output, which is made up by the financial gains they make.
Looking at Disneys acquisition of Marvel a few years ago, they have worked wonders on the company, they know what they are doing when it comes to entertainment. Fearful fans who think that Disney will soften the Star Wars and Indiana Jones worlds shouldn’t worry.
In the past they had Miramax films on their books. They are well of aware of diversity in entertainment. Their fan base may start young, but they understand how to keep them now, Through Touchstones mainstream films, and Marvel for the young teens to young people who love their superheros. We must remember that The Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy is a Disney product. Pixar is by far and away their greatest success, first striking a deal for distribution rights. Now owning the company, but not creative control. They take on an advisiory role, the support and nurture their catalogue of companies.
I can see the giant corporation side, but most of the American film companies look the same. Disney just has a better image, and more money to play with.
On a more fearful note, when will the company learn, the news of 3 more Star Wars films. Didn’t they learn from the luke-warm to poor response to the last three instalments of the franchise. Of course kids will flock to see them. Die hard fans will line up, but with a heavy coat of caution. I don’t think he knows when he has a good thing. He continually upsets his fans by altering his films and holding back older versions and the original prints. However I can see where he is coming from, wanting to finally imagine his vision of that world. But then the art is in the original, he needs to let the fans decide where he stops.
Also he did get a fair check for nearly 4o years of cinema history and innovation, coming in at $4 billion dollars.