Xiu Xiu at Reggie's Rock Club: My 4th Xiu Xiu show
I’m scared of China Town at night. Why does Reggie’s have to be there? I mean, a guy wanted for the murder of his wife and step-son was arrested yesterday! A block away from Reggies! JESUS! He was like a Taiwanese gang-banger!
When we got there, a line of people was curling around inside. They eventually made the line go out the door and we had to wait outside in the cold. But we got in eventually.
The place reminded me a lot of an old place I use to got to in Indiana called Club Logos. The insides are gutted and the rafters and insulation is visible in the ceiling. There was an elevated level where you could go and have a seat in these big comfy chairs.
Anyway the first opening band was Bird Names. They reminded me a little bit of Animal Collective and the Beach Boys only they were off-key a lot of the time. They had some really great stuff. They played music instruments…I mean…they traded back and forth between their instruments…you know? Some times the bass player would play the drums or sometimes he’d play the guitar and so on.
Next was Thao with the Get Down Stay Down. Female vocalist and acoustic guitar player backed with drums, bass, and electric guitar. It was alright. Nothing spectacular…kinda got boring after the first couple of songs.
Finally, Xiu Xiu took the stage. Their goal for this tour is to use as much live percussion as possible. They have a strong rhythm section now. Ches Smith and Devin Hoff. Ches is unbelievable. He’s the fastest drummer I’ve ever seen. So amazing. Ches triggered some samples from a little machine with his sticks. It was like an extension to his drum kit. He had gongs and all kinds of stuff. Caralee used one of those key-board flutes and she had big synth this time and she had that pump-organ thing. Jamie had his assortment of gongs and cymbals. He had that snare and two guitars and that beautiful voice of his. They played a lot from Women as Lovers. They played “Suha” and that was probably the best of the evening. It sounded amazing with the live percussion. They also did “Apistat Commander” as their closing song. SO GOOD!
Take everything you know and understand about humans and their relationship with violence in entertainment. Take it and look at it. Take it and step away from it. Take everything you know about movies. Take it and look at it and try and step as far away from it as possible.
This movie was made to be seen with large groups of people…like in a theater. The idiots along with the geniuses are supposed to share the same experience in the same theater. It’s a film that goes beyond the screen. It’s a film that does what it’s supposed to do. Before you enter the theater you need to pay attention. You have to see how people respond during the film and you have to pay attention to how they respond after it’s over while everyone is walking out the door.
When I went to see this film, people got up and left. Some people laughed. Some people sighed and whispered to their friend. And almost everyone was squirming in their seats.
Funny Games is there to assault its audience. It exists to fuck you in your presumptuous face. It breaks the 4th wall in the traditional ways and it does it in a way that I’ve never seen before. You’ll be let down and let down and let down and you deserve every second of that disappointment.
In one scene, we’re forced to watch a NASCAR race on a television with a fresh coat of blood splatter for an ungodly amount of time and I loved every minute of it. And other scenes are static for minutes upon minutes with no cuts. The film tortures us with our own preconceived ideas of how violence should be played out on the big screen. The pace, the composition, presentation of tits and ass, the killer’s motivation, the lack of swelling orchestra to let the audience know what’s about to happen…all of those things have been twisted and/or thrown out completely.
The violence is carried out off screen. This is not a gory film. You make the gore. Are you pissed that you don’t see people being murdered or tortured? Great! That’s perfect! You’ve said so much about yourself. The director has proven his point.
There are so many layers to this film that it requires re-watching. There are so many things that can be looked at and put together to make this a truly great American film…
Which it wasn’t the first time around. It was an Austrian film. Funny Games 2008 is a shot by shot remake of the 1997 version only now the film is in English with a new cast. Why would a director want to do this?
Ask him. But I think it has something to do with the fact that his first attempt in 1997 didn’t quite reach everyone. More importantly, it didn’t quite reach America with full force. I think, in my opinion, the director, Michael Hanek, thought it was crucial that he get an American response; what with all that’s been happening in the past 10 years or more. Funny Games addresses so many important American assumptions in violence and filmmaking. It’s in the same place as Blue Velvet. It’s very American. Oh, and by the way, if a director wants to remake his own fucking movie, don’t give him shit. It’s his movie. Fuck you.
This movie will thrive on both positive and negative reviews because from both sides of reception we’ll learn something; whether about the reviewer/critic, the art of filmmaking, or ourselves. That’s what a movie is supposed to do. If you don’t want to fight about a movie’s integrity or meaning then go watch fucking Witless Protection.
P.S. Always remember to suspend your disbelief.
P.P.S. Always remember movies are pretentious by nature.
Yesterday was my day off from classes and wasting time so I got in this really domestic mood and started cleaning and re-organizing things. I also started organizing my pre-production packages. I think I have maybe 3 strong ones that I’m focusing on.
Another bad part about writing screen treatments is that you’re not sure if what you’re writing would work better as a short story or something.