La Flor ★★★★

I never finished Infinife Jest- it kinda got on my nerves, felt willfully difficult and self-satisfied. La Flor never feels either of those things, but I don't bring it up to compare- I bring it up because this has, like, gotta be the movie David Foster Wallace was writing about, right? The one the title refers to? "The Entertainment"?

Anyway. 10 years of footage, 3 days of watching, 14 hours of movie, 6 episodes, 5 beginnings and 2 endings later, I've finished La Flor. It explicitly tells you from the get go that what we're in for is less a movie than a long-form essay on narrative and genre. It quickly becomes clear that it's also very distinctly about performance. It later tells you this as well. Llińas is not one to keep secrets from his audience- you'll know whether you're in or out pretty much instantly, but if you're on his wavelength this is, much like his prior flick Extraordinary Stories, nothing close to a chore. He's maybe the director out there I trust most with vast chunks of my time, and now that I've spent almost 20 hours with his movies, a particular personality emerges quite clearly. He likes stories, but not as much as he loves storytelling. He's fascinated by prisoners and the things that hold them. He hates endings in a literary sense but seems to linger on goodbyes. He doesn't take his work too seriously. And most importantly, he knows how to see the forest for the trees. The weakest points in La Flor (like the Renoir remake) still seem powered by an insatiable sense of playfulness, which infects every aspect of the film- form, structure, text... even the subtitles get in on the fun! It's genuinely a blast through and through, endlessly creative, wickedly indulgent, genuinely entertaining (in a very uncerebral, personable way), and somehow, despite it all, very low-key. Even though it sports a massive runtime, this makes basically no effort to announce itself as any sort of event. It's far from slow, yet it's never loud. It's just sorta... there. It doesn't demand to be watched or mug for attention. It's just 14 hours of honest movie. Either ya dig it or ya don't. I did.

(Feels wrong to do this, but 3>4>2>6>1>5)

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