ERROR ON ROUTE 96
The other day someone tried to talk me into seeing Naar de klote!. True, it was badly acted, the music house so not interesting, and the story flimsy—but I had to go see this movie. I didn’t understand. Why would I go see a movie that was bollocks? He couldn’t convince me. We have different opinions when it comes to taste.
Now I have to admit that the most recent movie I saw was Independence day. Let’s face it, that is definitely not a good movie. But the acting is up to a standard, and the music is adequate, so there we have two runs for ID against NDK. The story is flimsy, too, with some really bad turns. What about aliens that apparently have TCP/IP, for how else could Jeff Goldblum download his virus into their computer? What about Jeff and Will flying both in and out of alien headquarters without any resistance whatsoever? It doesn’t matter anyway, that movie wasn’t meant that way. ID is simply entertainment, nothing more, and as such reasonably enjoyable. I knew that in advance, and it didn’t let me down.
What I know about NDK, on the other hand, doesn’t make me want to go see it, certainly not for the price of more than ten Dutch guilders…
Neither ID nor NDK (I dare say without having seen it) will ever make my ‘most favourite movie’. That place has been occupied already, and I don’t expect it to change soon. I should say places, since there is more than one category. In the ‘serious’ department we have Stanley Kubrick’s Apocalypse now. The scene in which Martin Sheen literally cuts through a mirror alone should be on the standard human curriculum.
But I won’t go into the ‘serious’ category, because I’m going into ‘humour’. This category is far more difficult as there are more contenders. I think my favourite is a dance film (hence the link with NDK): Jacques Tati’s Playtime.
I can see the frowns on your faces. ‘Dance? Playtime isn’t a dance film?!?’ Oh, yes it is. Take the opening scene on the airfield. Not a word is to be heard, it is all built around rhythm and movement. Or take the scene in which Hulot is left in a waiting room with an American; see how this man folds his coat, takes out his papers, straightens his jacket. It is pure dance, nothing more, nothing less. No wonder half of the movie takes place in a night club where everybody dances. Not just the customers, the waiters as well, as the work men that are trying to put a finishing touch to the building. There is even a shadow dance with an enormous glass plate.
But Tati does more than just letting people dance. The whole movie dances. The traffic is one giant ballet. Even the huge buildings seem to be ready to burst into a morris dance.
If anyone want to see NDK, let them be happy. I would wait for
Playtime to be shown again.
This text was previously published in the Vakidioot, volume 4 (1996/97)