“There’s a lot of things in life worth living for, isn’t there?”
Well, they can’t all be winners.
I managed to find this film, only 14 minutes long, posted on YouTube. There were only about 9000 views and just two comments. The first calls the film “brilliant” and the author claims he was a personal assistant of Kuchar himself. He even goes on to say that “few artists are as prolific as George was.” The second comment, with which I am more inclined to agree, simply reads “horrible.”
My understanding of the film is that some visionary director is having trouble producing his art when the actors raise a problem with all the scenes involving nudity. There are scenes involving sexual intimacy, both on and off camera, and also scenes depicting loneliness and frustration. I suppose Kuchar is commenting on how sex is forever changed by the film industry. The title itself seems to suggest a very mechanical, unemotional description of sex, suggesting it has lost its emotional attachment. That’s my take, at least.
While certainly an interesting subject, I believe it is clear why the film never achieved a major following. To begin with, the film is shot in this strange neon tone. Perhaps Kuchar is trying to comment on the flashy artificiality of film. Even so, it’s just not appealing. The film itself is intentionally jumpy with its cuts. It attempts a sort of surreal tone to try and convey “feeling” over story. Many directors feel this makes their work visionary, while I would argue that it comes across as lazy. Feeling is more effectively conveyed through conventional story, which is why it is conventional in the first place. I just don’t see much success in producing a great work here. It’s a short jumpy mashup loosely tied together.
Why was this film selected by scholars? Well, I suppose there are things going for it. I am coming to understand that many films of the 1001 are added as a sort of sampler. After viewing them all, I believe I am supposed to come away with an understanding of all types of film. Yes, you could call this piece an “art film,” though that title is used pretty freely by critics and non-critics to describe anything out of the ordinary. So I’m not sure what you would call it. But it is certainly unique. Using this jumpy narrative and distorted imagery to convey feeling is an interesting technique. Ultimately, I think it fails. But it is noteworthy for the effort nonetheless.
George Kuchar certainly demonstrates himself to be a unique filmmaker with a warped, fascinating vision, even if it doesn’t come across to most viewers. While I can’t say I’m a fan, I will say that I feel more enriched for having seen the film. Now, we press on.
Films Left to Watch: 992