A man attempts to evade observation by an all-seeing eye.
A man attempts to evade observation by an all-seeing eye.
Viimeinen rooli, Samuel Beckett's Film
It's always interesting watching a film directed by/with heavy contributions from a celebrated artist from another medium. Samuel Beckett's absurdism is on full force here, with a fittingly incomprehensible plot and experimental format.
For what it's worth, Film does feel like Beckett's written all over it; there's no logical explanation for anything, and things sorta... happen with no precedence or pattern. It's all part of the charm, mind you, and I had quite a bit of fun watching this short. Art is inherently voyeurism, many say, and no other short film fits with that quote more than this one. Buster Keaton's character (a thematically appropriate casting since the actor himself has never known solace from the world's eyes since at…
Keaton drew an influence on Beckett; this film drew an influence on Lynch; Lynch drew an influence on Tsukamoto. I mentioned three transitions, but I missed a lot of names in those transitions. It is wonderful how an inspiration can acquire a mutated form when it is passed on to another auteur mind, but an influence is not limited to one single ramification.
Film is Beckett's and Schneider's notorious venture into the world of cinema, disguised as an an avant-garde project, but it is more experimental in its narrative and aesthetics without being fully abstract. We begin with an escape sequence from a surrounding city in ruins where a man does not want to be perceived, therefore trying to neglect…
Playwright Samuel Beckett’s only film is an experimental short starring Buster Keaton. Sadly it comes off a bit like a student film and if it weren’t for the bonus of watching the legendary Keaton, there’s not much else of interest for me.
However, I just watched the deep dive documentary Notfilm which gave me some insight into the intent of the piece as well as some bonus Buster background. So cheers for that.
Equal parts weird and wonderful, Film has to be the strangest Buster Keaton short I’ve ever seen. Its eccentricities did have a tendency to leave me in the dark at points, but not more so than any of Lynch’s greatest hits. For someone who’s fundamentally a playwright, Samuel Beckett‘s surrealistic deconstruction of filmmaking is more accomplished than those of the most experienced directors, the power of Buster’s eye in extreme-closeup giving the iconic eye-shots in 2001 and Blade Runner a run for their money. This is quite possibly the silent film titan’s last great stand, and what a bizarre and beautiful exit it is.
Certainly a film. In all seriousness, legitimately thought this was really cool. There are films that feel "ahead of their time" that are worth watching just based on that aspect alone, and while Film has that going for it, it's also just interesting as its own short film removed from the concept of time. It's obsessed with gaze while focusing on someone who can't even bear the mere sight of himself, and whose appearance seems to shock and terrify the few people he encounters. As always, Buster Keaton absolutely thrives as a silent performer, his body language so precise and meticulous. It's a concept that benefits from near-silence. We have to sit focusing intently, our mind naturally dedicating itself…
I’d say it’s amazing that this hasn’t been ripped off by every upstart no-budget horror filmmaker but you just know most of those guys don’t know who Beckett is
Samuel Beckett is a god. My favorite playwright, at least from the stuff I have read and experienced. Waiting for Godot actually was an incredibly experience for me, and after seeing the play I immediately bought a paperback copy and have read it over a hundred times. I am not too familiar with a lot of his other works, besides Endgame and Act Without Words, but even from the small body of his work I have consumed he has fascinated me.
This short has been on my radar for quite some time, but I wanted to become a bit more accustomed to Buster Keaton as a performer before seeing this. And I am very glad for that. It's fascinating how…
Reminds me a little of David Lynch in the way it creates a completely disturbing and fleshed-out world with only a few simple ingredients. In this case, an aged Buster Keaton, a probing "camera" that seems to have an unfortunate side-effect on those it records, and minutes upon minutes of empty silence. "One-of-a-kind" probably gets thrown around too often but it fits this movie perfectly.
"A little darkness, in itself, at the time, is nothing. You think no more about it and you go on. But I know what darkness is, it accumulates, thickens, then suddenly bursts and drowns everything." *Samuel Beckett
since the first shot, I had a feeling that it was you and I wanted to see your face, but, when I actually did see your face, I cried, something died inside of me! I'm not talking about the "film", I'm talking about you.
There's an obvious Lacanian reading you can do here, but why would you settle for obviousness? Lacan would never.
You can tell this was made by a man with nothing but the most acute contempt and ignorance for how movies move. The best moment is when Buster Keaton shifts his shoulders as he's destroying the Fish-Eyed Christ (one of the hoary totems of the Imaginary that makes him feel the gaze a-workin'). Everything else is horribly literalist twaddle, an archaic triumph of machine mentalities over the ripples of physical experience.
"In February 1965, when on a trip to West Berlin, in deference to his recent work with Buster Keaton, Beckett went to see Keaton again in his 1927 film The General, finding it, however, disappointing."
Elizabeth Bishop, in a letter to Anne Stevenson: "I don't like heaviness. I think one can be cheerful AND profound!—or, how to be grim without groaning—"
Intriguing, mesmerising, unnerving. It was also unfortunately a painful reminder of a stage I went through (and had forgotten about) around the age of twelve when I loathed myself so much I went out of my way to actively avoid seeing my own reflection or being looked at: it got so bad I couldn't even have any photos or pictures (even painted) in my room of people looking at the viewer.
It also made me think of a Larkin poem I love, about being able to be his true self only when completely alone in the comfort of his room. But, this film seems to say, we must still reckon with ourselves.
Buster's timing is perfect as usual. He acts with his beautiful hands.
Some people say this film is pretentious nonsense. They might be right. I liked it.
On one level, Samuel Beckett’s single embattled foray into filmmaking lends itself to an “easy” philosophical reading. It’s almost an ultraminimalist restaging of the last line of Sartre’s No Exit, “Hell is other people.” But Beckett takes the existentialist bumper sticker one step further to propose that “Hell is the Gaze itself.” This gaze, in the Sartrean sense, is that which fixes our identity in the field of the Other and detaches and alienates it from our “authentic” sense of self. In other words, the “I” that I experience myself to be is not the same as the “me” that others see, assess, and judge. The ultimate horror that the film pinpoints is the inevitable realization that there is something…