Friday, October 7, 2011

Read a Book Instead

I have to confess: I stopped paying attention to this film after 18 minutes and some odd seconds.

I left it running and went in search of what I wrote about Irene Nemirovsky's book Suite Francaise (here if you're interested). And then I went in physical search of my copy of a collection of her other novels (David Golder, The Ball, Snow in Autumn, and The Courilof Affair). And then I started reading David Golder instead of paying attention to the film at all. I looked up at one point to see a skin being shaken/pulled off a dead rabbit, felt justified in my decision, and started to write this. Once the first disc was over, I thought about "watching" the second but it contained just as much footage for me to ignore so I popped the discs back into the Netflix envelope and into the mail slot immediately.

My problem with this film is mainly that it's boring. But, it is boring for a couple of reasons:
1. I couldn't immediately detect an overwhelming narrative. I need an order to all of these things being strung together and I should be able to find that within the first 18 minutes. Part of any effective argument of any sort is to interest and draw in the audience. If I'm not drawn in, I don't see your argument and, worse, I don't care about your argument.
2. I already knew France wasn't the model of resistance to the Nazi occupation so none of this is exactly new information. And, to present information I was already basically aware of in a non-narrative boring manner doesn't lead to great results in terms of my attention span. I'm 100% sure that the film contains something, even if it's tiny, that I don't know already and that I would be interested to know.
3. The length. Yes, I basically gave up after 18 minutes (thank God we made a "have to post something" rule rather than a "have to pay full attention to the whole movie" rule). With a narrative and a less imposing length breathing down my neck, I might have tried to stick it out. But when two discs worth of boring documentary show up from Netflix, I'm daunted.
4. It's French. *Sigh* I know I must have seen a French movie at some point that I liked but so far in this project they're all big snooze-fests in incredibly disappointing ways.

Le livre dit (yeah, I looked that up at the 52 minute mark of the film running in the background) basically we should watch this film because it helped bring to light the inconsistencies of narrative about French occupation: "For over two decades, French society seemed unwilling to examine the moral questions raised by the German Occupation." And, a favorite reason of the book, the film was banned from French national television and had to open in art houses instead.

My thought: read a book instead.

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