Fazil ★★

Oof (In his Bogdanovich interview, Hawks only says, “I’m not very fond of the picture.”). I called this film “problematic” on Twitter, which led to a back and forth with Michael J Anderson, who recently completed his dissertation on Early Hawks at Yale. He countered, “The film's exoticism actually directly communicates the era's progressive (read: fully post-Victorian) sexually politics, and the rise of the female consumer - develops I can't imagine you'd oppose. Not that these make Fazil good. So problematic, no. Not when you understand what it's racial typage portends from the standpoint of the postwar decade.” I get what Anderson is certainly pointing to, and he’s not making the case that the film is good, so that’s fine. There are sequences that I found myself quite fond of, notably a very tender love scene in Venice that’s quite unlike anything Hawks ever did in his canonical works, which often feature a much tougher, rough around the edges love. There’s also a long sequence where the female protagonist enters a room full of the prince’s harlots, which at least aesthetically—a series of edits between the different views of her and the various women—is fascinating. But I’m much more curious to read Michael’s chapter on the film than actually watch it again.

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