Odie Henderson: An Anniversary Celebration | Chaz’s Journal

Pride

“The title ‘Pride’ comes to mean different things for the film’s characters. For some, it’s pride in their achievements; for others, it is pride in who they are or what they have become. Each actor gets to play a riff on this, with the standouts being West, Nighy, Schnetzer, Staunton and MacKay. They all contribute to a movie that is a lot of fun to watch and, for me, was profoundly moving at numerous intervals. The last scene, at the 1985 London Gay Pride parade, is as good an emotional moment as any I’ve seen this year.”

Elmore Leonard, 1925-2013: An Appreciation

“Since I was 17, Elmore Leonard has been my favorite writer. I told him so the one time I met him. It was at the now defunct and long-gone Waldenbooks on Exchange Place and Broadway in Manhattan. He was there to sign copies of ‘Rum Punch,’ which was eerily prescient since it was the basis of my favorite film adaptation of Leonard’s work. He was a very nice man, patiently listening to the 22-year-old aspiring writer whose excited rambling violated Leonard’s fourth rule of writing (‘Keep your exclamation points under control!’). When I was done, he verified the spelling of my name, signed my book and wished me luck with my writing.”

Colorless green ideas “Sleep Furiously”

“Filmmaker Gideon Koppel returns to Trefeurig, where his parents were refugees from Germany during World War II, but he is not there to interview anyone nor is he there to mourn or celebrate the changing of the tide. He’s just a fly on the wall as the residents go about their daily routines armed with the knowledge that they may be the last to perform them. We meet the townsfolk, all of whom remain nameless, and follow them through a year of seasons. School events and county fairs are shown. Scenes are cut abruptly, and they are sometimes scored (by Aphex Twin) and sometimes silent. There is no explanation for any of this, and I had to be told by another reviewer that one of the people Koppel follows is his own mother. Viewers may find this narrative minimalism frustrating, or even pretentiously arty, but remember: It’s only pretentious if it doesn’t hold your attention. ‘Sleep Furiously’ held mine; I was lulled by its meditative quality and taken aback by the director’s occasional use of the entire canvas of the screen.”

A lover of film noir, musicals, Blaxploitation, bad art and good trash, Odie Henderson has been a Far Flung Correspondent since 2011. He has written for Slant Magazine’s The House Next Door blog since 2006. He is the troublemaker responsible for the Black History Mumf series at Big Media Vandalism. His work has also appeared in The Village Voice, Vulture, Slate, Cineaste Magazine, MovieMezzanine, Movies Without Pity, Salon, and of course, at RogerEbert.com.

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