Thom Andersen calls his new work, THE THOUGHTS THAT ONCE WE HAD, "a personal history of cinema." Boy, is it ever. It is also, as will come as no surprise to those who love Andersen's work -- his Los Angeles Plays Itself, which I just watched for the second time in preparation for covering his new film, still holds up as the best documentary I've ever seen about my own home town -- so full of ideas, connections and sheer love of cinema that it should prove irresistible to any cinephile. Another terrific film of his, Red Hollywood, along with the rest of his work, will be shown during an Andersen retrospective that opens this Friday, June 3, at Anthology Film Archives in New York City.
Gilles Deleuze, whose work I do not know. (After seeing and enjoying Andersen's film, in which Deleuze is heavily used, I should find out more about this fellow and his writing.)
TrustMovies, makes the documentary most unusual is that so many of the film clips used are new to me. They're not at all what I'm used to seeing. And even when they are sometimes better known, the way Andersen presents and juxtaposes them makes for thought-provoking, troubling and intellectually stimulating viewing.
Maurice Chevalier singing Sweeping the Clouds Away. If only. There's a comparison of Hank Ballard and Chubby Checker and their Twists, and then a good portion devoted to the various types of comedy -- from Harry Langdon to Laurel & Hardy and The Marx Brothers.
Debra Paget (above) best of all. So did I, actually, along with early Joan Collins. (I thought Ms Paget was so gorgeous and sexy that I've often wondered why I didn't turn out a bit straighter.) I'd also never seen the clip he uses of Paget dancing in a costume that seems awfully racy for its time.
Joseph Roth reading in German? And Christina Rossetti gets one of the last words -- if not the last visual. Just as with Los Angeles Plays Itself and my favorite Demy, The Young Girls of Rochefort, I'll want to see this film again in a few years. Probably every few years. What a movie documentarian Mr. Andersen is!
Anthology Film Archives. You can find the complete schedule by clicking here. Los Angeles Plays Itself, by the way, is also available for DVD rental at Netflix. For awhile you could even stream it, though that option is no longer currently open. Maybe it'll come back again at some point. Meanwhile, get to AFA for a very good time in an intelligent, thought-provoking movieland.