|Title:||The King of Comedy|
|01.29.14||Marchesa|| This starts Rock Linklater's series of favorite 80s movies for the AFS at the Marchesa. The Marchesa calendar lately has been extremely guilt-inducing as they are showing great stuff that i'd be attending multiple nights a week if i had the amount of free time I had in 2006 or 2007. As it is, I just remember what's playing and grimace that i'm not going for one reason or another. This series however was something I couldn't in any good conscience pass up... so I think my Wednesdays are planned for the next few months.|
This was the first time I'd seen the Marchesa sold out. I'm really glad for AFS and Lars that it sold this well... and it would be nice to see all of these sold out... but (close your eyes, anyone from AFS who's reading this) i have this secret wish that one of these weeks would be kind of empty and the conversation-in-the-round actually works where the 20 or 30 people left afterward talked and shared in Rick's love. But anyway... selling out the theater is great too :)
I saw King of Comedy at some point in or just after college and I remember liking it but moving on. It was very refreshing to see it in a theater with a nice tactile 35mm print and interested crowd. Rick's inro was great, talking about his first experience with the film, some historical context for all involved, and some really specific oberservations on the performances that gave some insight on his director-ness... to me at least. I think a movie would be hard to not like in that atmosphere, but I think the movie's actually good on its own even if you watched it alone in your living room. Certainly DeNiro is in top form, just as intense as a Taxi Driver or whatever but in a completely different mode. And Jerry Lewis gives a wonderful peek behind the curtain as both his persona and celebrity in general. Sandra Bernhardt is hilarious... probably the only time I've thought that. It was great to see again.
Afterward Rick and Lars tried a new thing where they invited everyone out to the lobby where they had a few chairs and mics set up and everyone gathered around to talk to them. I feel like I completely understood the intent which was to make it less a Q&A with Linklater or even an on-stage discussion between Rick and Lars and more of an inviting conversation with them and anyone from the audience that felt like participating. Certainly a circle discussion in the lobby after the film is commonplace after most screenings amongst friends so it's a pretty noble hope to involve Rick and Lars in something akin to that rather than anything that could be perceived as a lecture or dissertation. However I think a few things went wrong.
1) They started too early. People still had those personal conversations after the film, they just had to have it over the muffled speech of amplified voices from the other side of the lobby. Then for the people interested in listening or participating in that public discussion they had a hard time hearing because of everyone else in the lobby who were talking to each other. If they maybe gave people enough time to use the restroom and filter out into the parking lot before staying, people like me who chatted with friends and then listened in to Rick and Lars would've had more luck hearing clearly.
2) It seemed like there was still a mad dash to get front and center for the conversation, so people wound up pressed together or straining to see and hear just to be a part of it. The crowd made for a great photo, but if you look closely everyone is trying very hard to hear what's going on.
3) It was right next to the restrooms. People who had to pee had to press through people listening or talking who didn't necessarily want to give up their good spot.
It certainly wasn't a huge clusterfuck or anything... and I really really applaud the idea of welcoming discussion after the film and think it's really cool of Rick to give his time talking to fellow film fans. I just had several occasions to think that if they just turned the house lights on in the theater then all of these problems would've been avoided. Of course then they couldn't clean the theater... so who knows. Plus this was the first attempt so there's bound to be some streamlining as people get used to the idea and AFS gets used to conducting things like this.
I will say that the lobby of the marchesa has been transformed into a beautiful art-house space. I have no idea where that gigantic Kiss Me Deadly poster came from but it's amazing. As is Rick's collection of Polish posters. The Conformist and Naked in particular are striking and fit the space perfectly. And the wall of soundtracks is great. And the founder's wall is elegant and nice. It's just turned out to be a fantastic space. I love it there.