videocam The Dead Director’s Society

reviewed by Nick Burton

Published in Issue No. 27 ~ August, 1999

In doing research for this issue, I was struck by the fact that the directors of some of these films – Andrei Tarkovsky and Marco Ferrei in particular – are just barely known by audiences today, if known at all. I
suddenly pictured myself as a Robin Williams-type teacher, imparting my knowledge of film to grumpy Gen X-ers who think Adam Sandler is a film genius. But hopefully, the pop culturistas – who have now
ennobled the mediocre to the point of absurdity – will discover these films themselves. The fact that bookstores now carry more volumes of poetry than ever before (I didn’t know Bukowski and Burroughs
published that many volumes) is an encouraging sign for the future, as is the popularity of poetry on the web. It’s only a short leap then to the kind of films – four of which follow – that represent an artistic drive to
portray the poetry of images as well as words.

Click on the title to read the full review

Orpheus (1949)

Directed by Jean Cocteau

“Shot through with Cocteau’s sense of benign Surrealism … and enhanced by some absolutely
striking and simple special effects, the film has made a lasting impression on a whole generation of directors….”

Nostalghia (1983)

Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky

“Tarkovsky, the
son of a poet, uses an almost entirely poetic approach to filmmaking that
bravely lets the audience decode for itself a good deal of what is shown.
Yes it is difficult viewing and very demanding. But isn’t the function of
poetry to use an almost codified personal language to express ideas?”

Tales of Ordinary Madness (1982)

Directed by Marco Ferreri

“This is magnificent, edgy filmmaking that brilliantly matches the savage beauty of [Charles] Bukowski’s
poetry .. The sex, particularly the scenes with
Tyrrell, manage to capture brilliantly the tone of poems like “One of the Hottest” … [where Bukowski writes] you boys can keep your virgins / give me hot old women in high heels with asses that forgot to get old.

The Color of Pomegranates (1969)

Directed by Sergei Paradzhanov

“Paradzahnov’s film was considered dangerous enough to Soviet ‘realism’ with its relentless Christian iconography that it was not shown outside the Soviet Union until the `70s, while Paradzhanov himself was sent
to a gulag …”

account_box More About

Nick Burton lives in Newport Beach, California. His fiction has appeared in many small press and web publications, inlcuding: Chronicles Of Fiction, Pauper, and of course Pif.