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Christian

Tchoupitoulas

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Tchoupitoulas is a nonfiction film covering one night in New Orleans. Its three young protagonists roam the city and encounter all types of people. There's no narrative. Some find this approach to filmmaking boring, and it can be. It can also be fascinating.

The boys encounter street evangelists. One boy is heard in voiceover expressing his beliefs in, and hopes for, heaven.

This is a small Oscilloscope release. If you're a critic who receives screeners, make a point of watching this one. You might also make a point of watching Only the Young, also in the Oscilloscope batch. I was less enthusiastic about that film, but it certainly has its fans. Both films strike me as notable in their matter-of-fact approach to expressions of faith.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Twitter reminds me that this film is now out on video. I need an excuse to watch the film again, so if anyone wants to discuss Tchoupitoulas, let's set up an Arts & Faith Movie Club and do this thang.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Finally watched this last night, and, wow, it's good. I've probably mentioned this around here before, but one of my favorite experiences as a cinephile is to sit down with a new (to me) director and discover, five minutes into the film, that I can trust him or her completely. Bill and Turner Ross are now high on my to-watch list. I'm planning to catch up with 45365 this weekend.

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This thread never got much traction, but I wanted to pull it back up after mentioning during tonight's A&F Zoom call that I'm interested in the new film from the Ross Brothers, Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets. The few folks on the call weren't familiar with the film, or with the earlier Ross Brothers movies. (I asked if anyone had seen Contemporary Color, which I struggled to finish a few years ago and now think I might enjoy more, having seen Stop Making Sense; but maybe that's an unwise connection to make). These guys also made Western, which I've not seen but have heard good things about, and which I figure I might enjoy if only because the first IMDB user review on the film's page at that site is titled, "A Boring Slice of Life on the Texas Border."

Bring it on! 

Back to Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets, which is now streaming. It sounds like a curious hybrid of fiction and nonfiction. From Alissa Wilkinson's review: "Is the movie fiction? Yes, technically. Is it nonfiction? Not exactly. Is it 'real'? Absolutely."

One caution: The only negative thing I've heard about the movie was from Anne Thompson, who said on an Indiewire podcast that she (I think I heard this correctly) walked out of her screening because she grew up with alcoholic parents, or alcoholics in her family, and she simply couldn't enjoy a portrait of bar culture. Fair enough. Me, on the other hand - I've never been anything close to a "regular" at a bar; in fact, I've been to so few bars that, when I walk into one, I'm still unsure of where to go, where to sit, what/when to order. It's basically foreign to me. However, in my 40s I read, or purchased via cheap e-editions, two or three books about drinking and the pleasures of being a barfly (if not a drunk, exactly). I'm curious to know if this movie lands on the side of the bar experience being pleasurable or toxic - or, more likely, something in-between. But I'm mostly interested in tracking the Ross Brothers.

If anyone's up for watching Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets, let me know. We can discuss it here, of course, or maybe - as I suggested earlier tonight, very tentatively - we can talk about it during our next monthly Zoom call.


"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I've just finished watching Bloody Nose, Empty Pockets. It's a film that I can already tell gets more intriguing the more you learn about it - and I'm basing that mostly on the post-feature interviews that come with the stream/rental. Simply listening to the actors be clear that they were giving performances and that the film isn't a documentary was interesting, although you may come to the film with that knowlege already if you've read reviews of it. Still, what sells the extras - which despite a few good insights aren't exactly gripping - is the finale, which, for me, came out of nowhere.There's a connection to the Ross brothers' Contemporary Color and to our own A&F Top 100 for 2020. That might give it away, but I hope it spurs some folks to see the film. While I'm not sure it's one I'd comfortably recommend (for a variety of reasons), it's one I admired and even enjoyed at different moments. But that closing extra put the whole thing in another light - a broader light - that has me already reassessing what I saw and what the filmmakers might have been wanting to convey. I realize I could be reaching in the moments right after concluding the film (and its bonus materials), but I'm genuinely moved. 

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Christian, I'm glad you nudged me towards watching this; it really is a curious gem of a film.  And yes, the after-party is a must-watch as well.  As a hemi-documentary slice of life, I appreciate that it doesn't pass judgment on dive bar culture, showing that yes on the one hand it does enable alcoholics, but on the other it provides a home (as the Vietnam vet put it, in a re-working of the Cheers theme song, it's where you go when "nobody else wants your ass").

My review also offered a first for me:  its lead actor (Michael Martin) graciously gave me notes via Twitter, which I went back and incorporated into an updated version of my review.  That interaction alone made my day.

 


To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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