Wednesday, March 15, 2023

The Melancholy Time of Pasolini's Servant

No matter how ingrained it is in my brain that Criterion announces their new line-up on the 15th of every month (give or take) it sneaks up on my every damned time and I'm not prepared when I get the email! I am so wildly unprepared at every single moment - I have said this before but none of you should be listening to me. Run for your lives! Ahem. Anyway. Happy Criterion Announcement Day! The new batch are for the forthcoming June of this year -- they already told us about the boxed-set of Pasolini films coming (see my post on that here) but there are four other titles hitting that month. The first of which comes from that bespectacled hottie seen up top, Moonlight director Barry Jenkins debut film, 2008's Medicine for Melancholy. I have never seen this! have you? I have wanted to since Moonlight so I suppose this marks my opportunity. It hits on June 20th and here is what they have to say of the film:

"One of the great debut features of the twenty-first century, Barry Jenkins’s captivating, lo-fi romance Medicine for Melancholy unfolds against the backdrop of a rapidly gentrifying San Francisco, where a one-night stand between two young bohemians, Micah (Wyatt Cenac) and Jo’ (Tracey Heggins), spins off into a woozy daylong affair marked by moments of tenderness, friction, joy, and intellectual sparring as they explore their relationships to each other, the city, and their own Blackness. Shooting on desaturated video, Jenkins crafts an intimate exploration of alienation and connection graced with the evocative visual palette and empathetic emotional charge that has come to define his work."

Next up there is Joseph Losey's 1963 film The Servant, written by Harold Pinter, which is one I've never even heard of before! But it sounds wildly, wildly up my alley in that they describe it as a "a tour de force of mounting psychosexual menace" and it stars James Fox and "a diabolical Dirk Bogarde." And we do love "a diabolical Dirk Bogarde" haha. I think I should be more familiar with Fox (who is still around and working in things that I have seen) but he really only caught my eye last year when I saw Nicolas Roeg's 1970 film Performance for the first time...

... but clearly he caught my eye there! So this looks like another queer-coded movie from him (not to mention the king of midcentury queerness, Mr. Bogarde) and you can sign me up. Anybody seen it? 

The other two titles for the month of June are 4K upgrades of discs they have previously released -- Jean Renoir's 1939 masterpiece The Rules of the Game and Terry Gilliam's very very different but no less masterful Time Bandits from 1981. Now there's a double-feature that'd make your neck snap. In summation -- well, let's let Pasolini himself get the last word:


Shawny said...

Servant is quite a paralyzing shocker, mostly because it is such a slowly building train wreck. And it is totally gay. Loved it. I didn't even know about the BJ film, gotta see it!

joel65913 said...

You are in for quite a treat with The Servant! It is very dark, very twisted and Dirk is very brilliant in it.

Dirk had such a varied year in '63 starting out as a scientist experimenting with brainwashing in "The Mind Benders", then plunging into the tumult that was Judy Garland's last film-the ultra-fab "I Could Go on Singing", followed by "Doctor in Distress"-a return engagement to the zany Dr. Simon Sparrow series that brought him to prominence finishing up by sliding into the dark corners of "The Servant".