Only Theo Panayides Has Wings

This is a blog about Theo Panayides, the cyprustician online critic that writes reviews of movies old and new on his website ( He is very good. In fact, he is awesome. It is also an exercise for my english-writing abilities, as I'm from Brazil.

Location: Goiânia, Goiás, Brazil

Friday, August 19, 2005

There and Back Again And Etc (no lame puns)

The Business of the Festival Going Type Person

So, I was a little bit busy these past few weeks and all, with various types of stuff. Like, for example, I went on a very short trip (two days) to the Brasilia International Film Festival – for the ignorant, Brasilia is the actual capital of Brazil, and not Rio de Janeiro, or Pele (this is a human being) as I have been asked – which it’s about 120 miles from my city. What happened there was: I met with a couple of buds to watch the movies and try to invent new ways of maintaining yourself awake. I’m no stranger to festivals, but this time I decided to crank it up and watched 4 movies Saturday and 2 Sunday. Not a bad choice, as my buds only showed up for the last two sessions of Saturday – because, you see, they are not film geeks – so I would have been pretty bored on a 2 movies-per-day schedule (of which I’m used to).

There was a Kurosawa retrospective going on -- so I catched SANJURO (75) (this movie is so awesome) and RASHOMON (76) (second viewing; also quite awesome) – and a Nelson Pereira dos Santos (this the brazillian type filmmaker) retrospective – of which I saw HOW TASTY WAS MY LITTLE FRENCHMEN (52) (not all that tasty in my opinion), a bizarre Godard-meets-Herzog type thing. But the interesting stuff were the new ones. I saw my first Olivier Assayas motion picture (this dude has not released anything in Brazil outside festivals, specially if it’s a festival I did not attend), the “Maggie Cheung is the most amazing thing on Earth so let’s watch her cry, and yell, and smile, and be hot, and be angry, and use drugs, and sing (very badly) and be a Mother”, also known as CLEAN (58). I enjoyed it, but I guess I had higher expectations. I like the way he shoots; it’s half way between a Soderbergh on steroids and a hollywoodized Dardenne Bros. (hand held, fast and blunt moves and focus changing and etc). Also, dear god, I love Brian Eno but that must have been the worst use of his music I’ve ever seen, always coming off maudlin and cheesy. The buds disliked this one. Post screening dialogue:

Bud 1: That was pretty boring.
Bud 2: Yes, I almost fell asleep.
Me: I don’t know, I kinda liked it.
Bud 2: It got better when she was taking care of her kid.
Bud 1: The songs in this movie were fucking horrible.
Me: Dude, don’t dis Brian Eno.
Bud 1: But they were!
Me: They were badly used, I guess.
Bud 1: Oh, no kidding?
Me: But it’s not Eno’s fault.

So this is basically the amount of discussion this movie generated. I hope you are proud Mr. Olivier Assayas.

My last screening Saturday was the Wong Kar-Wai motion picture 2046 (probably high 40’s or low 50’s) or, as I like to call it, 2046: AN ODISSEY ACROSS ZHANG ZI-YI’S BODY WAS ALL THAT THIS MOVIE NEEDED, THANKS. I’m not really rating it because I, shamefully, fell asleep in the middle half, for about 15-30 minutes, enough for me to consider a partial-viewing. Hey, I was tired. And this played 10 pm. But I suspect that even with a full viewing, I wouldn’t go much higher than I already guessed there. My biggest problem with it seems more of a nitpick than anything else, but I though the type of slow-motion used in this was horrible. It wasn’t the fluid, soft slow motion of the IN THE MOOD FOR MAGGIE CHEUNG, but a low-frame-rate one, where it almost feels like stop-motion. This made all the musical sequences a pain in the ass rather than transcendental moments (as in the first one). Of course, I couldn’t possibly resist “Siboney” playing as Zi-Yi dresses herself, but that was an exception. I don’t wanna go in-depth, but this slow motion problem was not the only one I had: I saw what Wong was going for, with lots and lots of static, close-up shots and half the screen blocked out by a wall or door. It didn’t work though. Neither did the voice-over narration, trying to tie all the various (way too many) plots together – like Wong went way too far and didn’t know how it would all fit. What I did like were the hot women (hi Faye Wong, are you dating anyone, thanks) and the playful bits where Wong would hammer down the theme -- the awesome part where the Faye robot waits like 1 hour on the train, then like 10 hours, then like a 1000 hours(!); you see, she is stuck on the train of the emotionally stilted life. Post-screening dialogue:

Bud 1: This is the weirdest movie I have ever seen.
Me: Is that a good thing for you?
Bud 1: I don’t know.
Bud 2: I thought it was awesome, *because* it was so weird. I loved it. What did you think, Folco?
Me: I don’t know, I think I dozed off a couple of times.
Bud 2: You dozed off?
Me: Hey, give me a break, I’m tired, I’ve seen like 15 movies today.
Bud 1: Which part did you doze off?
Me: In the middle, I belive, during the Faye Wong robot sublopt.
Bud 2: You’re retard. You missed it. It was great!
Me: IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE was better.
Bud 2: What is that?
Bud 1: What is that?

Thanks, Wong, you have provided us with thought-provoking discussions.

Anyway, the real ass-kicker of the whole thing was TROUBLE EVERY DAY (77), or, as I like to call it, THE BEST VAMPIRE MOVIE EVER WITH SEX PERVERTS. I generally don’t like vampires as creatures, monsters, or the way they’re portrayed in movies, with all the romanticism and etc, so this was a welcome breath of fresh air, bringing both a more realistic look at vampirism (or cannibalism, which ever you prefer) and also a dreamy, hypnotic, surreal (and occasionally frightening) feel to it. The texture of the image looked beautiful (as Theo said in his review, “creamy”), and the awesome color contrasts – a lovely opening on a roadside field at (a very black) night, lit in a way that made the terrain and grass look yellow, or the blood-and-white-skin shots – and the gentle handheld camerawork, suggesting an erotic and macabre vibe. The “I wanna fuck you but oh no I changed my mind I’m going to suck your blood sorry” scenes are absolutely amazing. And although I can see why some would complain that his movie is essentially shallow and meaningless and an “exercise in style”, I’d have to disagree. It’s about The Difficulty of Monogamy (this is the best term I could come up with): two couples, each with one member affected by the vampirism. Vincent Gallo tries to restrain himself from letting his natural desires interfere with his recent marriage (although he feels it will have to happen eventually, it’s part of his nature to have a desire for blood (aka sex)). Much in the same way, the Doctor locks his girlfriend in his house, stopping her from going on a frenzy and making more victims (aka lovers). This is all pretty obvious but a fascinating subject, I think, and pretty close to what TROPICAL MELANIN was about (Love being a social justification for Wild Sexual Desires (or something like that)). With a streak of black humor and more (and more developed) ideas, this could’ve been a masterpiece. But it’s pretty close, so I won’t complain. Post-screening dialogue:

Me (thinking to myself, as my buds didn’t see this one): This was so fucking awesome, this was so fucking awesome, oh lord.

The Business of the Screenwriter Type Person

So I came back to Goiania and had this idea for a faux-realistic vampire movie with black comedy (“which wouldn’t really be like the Denis film at all”, I though to myself). Then I developed it a little bit, and gave up because I realized this idea would not be shootable on a ultra-low-budget. So I thought of another idea, and another, and another, and another, and they were all fairly developed (with the help from my writing partner) but all were given up. It’s been frustrating. I did finish the script I was working on (yay) and it’s awesome (The Dardenne Bros. do FRAILTY meets THE RETURN) but still pretty difficult to do – believe it or not, ladies and gentlemen, but it requires a goat. So there’s all the tremendous logistics: how do we actually *get* a goat? Do we buy it? How expensive is it? What do we do with it after the shoot is over? Eat it (poor goat)? Do we rent one? Are there any rentable goats? Do we borrow it from a farmer? Can goats travel on the back of trucks? Won’t they freak out and fall off? That would result in a major goat-related car crash. Etc.

And also, I know what you Panayidettes are thinking about this screenwriting business (and in about a year and a half, making that screenplay). “Does this guy thinks he’s actually going to make a movie? Does he thinks it’s actually going to be any good? Does he think it’s actually going to play at festivals? And people will enjoy it?”. Well, yeah. You gotta believe in it. Look at Theo with THE MALGAAT.

Speaking of THE MALGAAT, Theo recently provided me with the screenplay for this short movie, and he allowed me to post a small bit, which I thought was quite awesome and effective. So here’s a quick look at THE MALGAAT screenplay:


It is a cloudy-type day. PAGAPOLOS, a short, blonde, twelve-year-old feeds the hyenas with hyena food. He takes a bit of hyena food (whatever that may be) with his palms and takes it to the hyena’s mouth.

A tall, bulky man approaches the kid. It is his father, ANGELOPOULOS, in his 40’s.

Hey bud.

Hey dad bud.

Hey what you doing there with all that hyena food, son?

I’m feeding these hyenas. They are animals. In a farm. You own a hyena farm. Did you forget?

Yes I guess I forgot all about this hyena farm, since I had the amnesia and all.

That is ok. Now you know. I forgot you had the amnesia and forgot about this.

That is also ok. Sometimes we choose to forget the past, because it is too painful.

That is true.
Dad, do you still have the Malgaat? What did you do with it? Did you get rid of it?

… I still got it.

Do you remember what it is used for? I mean jesus.

I have a faint type recollection.

What are you going to do with it?

Angelopoulos stares at his son, worried.

I’m going to do what you normally do with a Malgaat type thing…

And what the fuck is that, dad?

Watch your language.

And what the fuck is that, dad?!

Angelopoulos hesitates, and continues.

I’m going to use it as a book holder.

CUE: Ominous music. A thunder roars in the sky. This scene is supposed to be awesome.

That is an awful waste of a Malgaat, considering it’s potentials, in my opinion.

Angelopoulos turns around to see a short, hooded man standing behind him.

It is film actor PAULY SHORE.

C’mon, let’s put your Malgaat to good use. Now.

Pagapolos, run to your mother. Tell her that film actor Pauly Shore is here and get the fuck out of dodge.

Holy fucking shit. Can I get his autograph. I mean jesus.

Get the fuck out of here. Now! Goddamn you, Pagapolos! Now!

That’s all I’m going to give you guys so far but you can tell how great it is. Maybe next time I’ll post another part of this screenplay, but I don’t know if Theo will let me (he does not want THE MALGAAT to become THE SPOILERAAT). I was actually planning on posting something else related to THE MALGAAT today, but computer problems have stopped me from doing it. Don’t worry, I will be posting this “something else related to THE MALGAAT” in the next few days, possibly. This is all to build up the hype for this revolutionary short motion picture that will be coming soon.


*Yes, John Ford's THE HURRICANE *is* quite great. It was there on DVD at my video store and the first time I saw the cover I thought it looked lame. So the lesson is like "Don't Judge a Movie By It's Cover" and "Trust Theo Most of The Time".

*I'm halfway through the book "The Blind Watchmaker", which is going pretty great. Who knew biology could actually be interesting (!), let alone mindblowing (!). I'm also starting (one of the great brazillian writers) Machado de Assis' "Posthumous Memories of Bras Cubas".

*Also, Daft Punk Is Playing At My House, My House! All the furniture -- is in the garage! Great stuff.

*Brazillian filmmaker Glauber Rocha is a retard. I mildy dislike BLACK GOD, WHITE DEVIL but holy shit ANGUISHED LAND (or whatever it's called in the US) is crap. It's like a Pasolini movie made as if Pasolini had never actually *seen* any movie, ever. It's really bad. I gave it a 20. I may expand on request, but stay away from this in my opinion.

*I'll be posting my Top Ten of 2004 soon, but first I have to catch up on some stuff like THE HUCKABEES movie and THE LIFE UNDER WATER and RED LIGHTS and DUCK SEASON and THE KEANE and some other stuff. You see, Brazil sucks. The first two movies played in São Paulo and Rio, but not anywhere else. The next two played at last years SP Fest but they weren't scheduled while I was there. God knows if that last one is ever gonna play in here (though it sounds right up my alley). Also the new Mike Leigh motion picture.

*This post has gone on for too long. And I thought I wouldn't have much to say. What the fuck.

*I hate this Vern-acular type language. It is like awful. I mean, It's awful. No like! No type! Goddamn it.

*Are you happy Bruce Willis?