Gerry ★★★★

Off the beaten path
Of cinematic language.
All-American boys
Lost in The Desert of the Tarr.
Embrace your gerry.

Obviously belongs in the canon of big screen cinema with Lawrence of Arabia and 2001 (the fact MoMA is doing a Savides retro and not showing this is a crime). Gerry's brilliance comes through in its absolute lack of materiality that defines classical cinema. I would kill to be at the Sundance premiere—a big Hollywood director AND Matt Damon!—full of hacks thinking they're watching "independent" cinema and actually getting this slap in the face. But back to the film. Who these guys are, what they're going to see ("Fuck the Thing!"), and where they are coming from are all left for the imagination, leaving only movement and sound as our major relationship to what's on screen. It's no surprise that Van Sant was inspired to make the film after watching Bela Tarr (and I think Tarkovsky's Stalker as well), and thinking "I should do that!" The landscapes are what fascinate here, as time passes in a surreal movement and Van Sant and Savides seem to be able to be painting the clouds. Damon and Affleck are so effortless in their psychological portrait of existence, somewhere between absurdist comedy and human pathos. Not gonna lie that the infamous rock climbing scene did drive me bonkers by the end in a way I've never felt in Tarr's cinema, though the other Skandies favorite—the zombie walk through the desert—gets my vote for its Tarkovsky-esqe sound design. As for the meaning, I agree that it kind of rejects any classical form of what to make of why this film exists, though Scott Tobias makes a good case. However, I think it works best as a film that appears to be an open movie that's really a closed circuit movie. Biggest issue is they really do gerry the ending.

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I guess I should speak about the film's relationship to a certain other favorite film of mine...Vadim is right to feel disappointed watching Leones and seeing its relationship to Gerry, but they are quite different films for me. For all of the comedy, Gerry is a quite heavy film, while Lopez is a much younger and naive filmmaker, which gives her film a flowing and light quality that I responded to much more than him. There's nothing as rapturous for me in Gerry in the same way of the way character move in and out of the frame in Leones, not to mention the 360 time lapse. My main love of Lopez's film comes out of her ability to make the camera just as much as a presence to the characters, while people like Tarr and Van Sant are using it more as a document (I wouldn't call the camera in Gerry a character like I would in Leones. The point is Leones is very much a coming of age film that also happens to be a film about death. Its naive attitude and tracking shots give it a much more open and free flowing attitude than Gerry's very closed off approach, though a second viewing confirmed that the script is really air tight, and there's not much waste as originally appears, though I feel the same thing will happen with subsequent viewings of Gerry. Both are great, the Lopez perhaps closer to my heart for ways I will hopefully write on when it comes back around.

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