Six Moral Tales: Claire's Knee

This outing I think Eric Rohmer may have been trying to make a parody of Lolita by introducing a woman with a predilection for underaged men who convinces her male friend to try to seduce a couple underaged young women, but like as a goof. He gets a little too involved.

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You all don’t know this, but this is our first recorded episode in about six weeks and I’m so glad we have Equinox to take that blow. Equinox is two films, the first made by a bunch of kids who would grow up to be the best visual effects artists in American film, the second sold to Jack Harris with additional footage shot by Jack Woods. It’s a ridiculously bad film in either cut, but one with astonishingly good visual effects.

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Le Cercle Rouge

Jean-Pierre Melville's Le Cercle Rouge (1970) opens with a nonsensical and overwrought (and fabricated) quote from the Buddha. It sets a tone for the entire film. Nothing really makes sense, everyone makes decisions against their barely establiched character and motivations are at best unclear.

But it does let us reflect on all the other gangster films we've watched that we loved or hated! Good times!

The Honeymoon Killers

According to Wikipedia The Honeymoon Killers is Francois Truffaut's "favorite American film." Wikipedia cites a 1992 New York Times piece, which pops off the quote without any solid attribution. Pat digs deeper and discovers the truth for this week's episode, though you probably could have guessed that Wikipedia isn't quite on the level.

Anyway, Leonard Kastle's 1970 ultra-low-budget true crime film is one of those where we spend a good chunk of time wondering just why it's in the collection anyway. The answer may solely be that a young Martin Scorsese was originally hired to direct, shot at least one scene, then was fired for taking too much time. The end product comes off as shades of John Waters without being purposeful or self-aware. So bad it's bad, and unhelped by its shocking use of violence.

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The Hari Kondabolu bit Pat references can be found here and is great.

Bed and Board

We next meet Antoine Doinel in 1970's Bed and Board. This time director Francois Truffaut has his character slightly more married but just as restless as ever before. Unfortunately, this manifests in some pretty demeaning tropes about Asian women in general, and Japanese women in particular. C'est la vie, as the French say, but perhaps more apropos: C'est la vie quand vous comptez sur les stéréotypes raciaux.

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Gimme Shelter

The "death" of an "era". This week we watch Albert and David Maysles and Charlotte Zwerin's documentary following the Rolling Stones on their 1969 US Tour culminating in the disastrous Altamont Free Concert. Along the way Pat and I talk about the nature of Baby Boomer history and how there just isn't a "biggest band in the world" anymore. At least to our philistine understanding of pop culture.