Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Something to sing about

I haven't paid much attention to Maureen Dowd, one of the more pestilent pundits, in years. I don't know why anyone gives any credence to her glib harangues, and politically I'm more or less on her side. So I was glad to see her squelched in the Letters page of the Times today. Comparing the stumblebum leader of the free world to the graceful and delightful Gene Kelly, one of my favorites, was a low blow, if likely an accident--Dowd's grasp on the arts extends only to the prior Sunday's culture section, a failing common to most of her ilk as they reach for the latest hot button and ignore the past.

Thinking of Kelly got me thinking of The Young Girls of Rochefort, which reminded me, however briefly, of Love Songs, which IFC Films opens today. It's also available on IFC on Demand, but I wouldn't demand it. It's one of those movies I was forgetting as I watching it, much like writer-director Christophe Honore's Dans Paris, part of the City of Light glut at arthouses last summer. I only went to see it because it's a musical, which is to say, one of those things where the actors talk-sing their way through foggy, cluttered lyrics, and there is no choreography outside of some artful bedroom permutations involving the lead, Louis Garrel. The actor is being fobbed off as some sort of hottie, but I'd say only if you go for the kinds of masochistic narcissists he's played since The Dreamers. If Honore could get over his attachment to the French New Wave, he might amount to something. As for me, if I want a French musical, I'll stick with Rochefort or Jacques Demy's even more exquisite The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

Gene Kelly, folks--now, that's entertainment!

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