XAVIER POULIS: DIRECTORS WEAR HATS

Many people think that directing is all about under standing the text of the script, having an individual visual style and motivating actors. All that’s bullshit. It’s about wearing the right hat. Proceed resident Swiss Cinema Expert and millinery muffin, Xavier Poulis:
Charlie Chaplin always directed films in his favourite hat which was loaned to Alfred Hitchcock, or Hitch – as he preferred to be known – while directing The Birds, to huge acclaim.  


 Marty Scorsese never wears hats these days and spends thousands of dollar a year on his wiry locks, but in the free and easy days of the seventies and under the influence of Roger Corman, Martin wore this little man from Delmonte number.

Steven Spielberg has no money and so often has to resort to advertising his own films on the top of his head and just above his petulant face. Look at how bitter he is. An angry disappointed man, what in Switzerland we would call a ‘man’. 

Howdy there! Mr David Lynch, no Eraserhead he! But rather a full on Stetson that the crazy squirrel sandwich eater sports with a happy go lucky grin as he prepares go ape shit at a ho-down. Yeee-Ha!

What a Maverick! When he’s not busy criticizing films he hasn’t actually seen, Spike Lee rocks in this erm… What the fuck is that? To forsake his usual baseball cap for this is bizarre get up is truly the act of a rebel but on the other hand, well, it is very, very funny. Go for it, Spike! Just for once, Do the Wrong Thing!

And finally Kathryn Bigelow shows that it isn’t only the boys who can have fun. One night in Baghdad and no head gear to hand, the Bourne-like Bigelow steals into a local carpet shop and Voilà! No Muslim need feel offended at her Western decadence! And let the torture commence!

XAVIER POULIS WRITES… ARE THERE TOO MANY FILM AWARDS?

Yesterday evening in London, the London Critics Circle announced their awards at a ceremony attended by text messages and emails from the actors and directors so honoured.

This comes after the Oscar warm up of the Golden Globes, named after Robert Redford’s blonde testicles, the New York Critics, the Baftas etc. etc. and so it is time to consider, amidst the accolades and acceptance speeches, the champagne and the frocks, are there too many award ceremonies, too many nominations and too many awards?
Yes.

XAVIER POULIS WRITES: SANDLER THE GENIUS

Xavier Poulis

Je suis Xavier Poulis. I am the leading Swiss expert on film, cinema, the movies, motion pictures and … No that’s it. I have been asked by my fat friend (let us not lie, he is fat) Le Studio Exec, to write un petit column, which is ironic you see because my brother-in-law, Francios Coulte, he has a very petit column. In Chapeau the leading French Cultural magazine, for which I have also written pieces. I agreed ‘instantly’, as my Italian friends say (they all speak excellent English), but on one condition. My first bit must be rebuttal of his foul calumnies against the only true American film maker who can be regarded a genius: Adam Le Sandler.

Sandler has been much maligned by the fascistic strictures of a liberal society brainwashed into wanting to enjoy films and find them amusing, perhaps with a leading man who is ‘talented’ and ‘likeable’ or at the least not a complete ‘sperm face’. However, Le Sandler is beyond such a petty considerations. He is Avant Garde. So avant garde you’ll have to turn around to see him. Ha [ha] ha. Le joke.

In my course, at the University of Geneva, I have a module dedicated to Adam Sandler entitled: ‘Not Supposed to Be Funny’. In it I argue that Sandler is thrusting an ontological verity about the nature of US life.  The Wedding Singer deconstructs notions of romance and savagely Drew Barrymores us as well. Jack and Jill is an explication of the rudimentary dichotomy of gender roles; Anger Management a tearing apart of the psychiatric industry and The Waterboy a genuine cry for help: alas unheeded by everyone but a lone Swiss academic who instantly set off at a good pace but was stopped at the border (ironically I was von Trapped). Paul Thomas Anderson’s [Master]ful Punch Drunk Love is the index by which all his other films can be understood, showing the deep sadness lodged like shrapnel in Sandler’s non existent soul. I beg of you watch his Ouvre once more. Reconsider it in the light of my blazing intellect. Except for Little Nicky. Which is genuinely and unironically an unwiped orifice.

MIRROR, MIRROR, ON THE WALL; WHO’S THE BIGGEST WHORE OF ALL?


“Does Art mirror Life, or is it the other way around?” is the question framed in one form or another by columnists with a deadline to meet and no cutesey, self-referential anecdotes about how Downton Abbey or something relates to their worthless, parasitic lives.  Let us put this matter to rest – at least as far as this corner of Cyberspace is concerned: ART MIRRORS LIFE.  There; I said it.  

The earliest known art-form – cave-paintings – depicted people hunting and the like: was that the spur that got Homo Sapiens off their hairy arses and picking up spears?  Of course it wasn’t; it was the representation of something that was already going on – and so it goes.  No hominid Moral Majority scratched their heads and expressed concern that these images would inspire a wave of copy-cat mammoth murder; they were simply reflections of about the only noteworthy activity in which our forebears indulged – pictures of people shivering in caves and starving to death might have been awfully poignant, but they wouldn’t put bums on rocks…

The people that make film and TV know this of course; you only need the slightest high-school massacre to have them spewing it at any camera put in front of them; but are the media’s “reflections” always accurate?

In a word: no.  They know that people prefer to see themselves at their very best than as they actually are: clever without being a nerd; concerned and thoughtful, yet not so much so that they don’t enjoy a laugh, now and then; well-rounded, in short – the type of guy or gal than anybody would want to hang out with.  Thus the films and shows that represent these qualities are laden with Oscars and Golden Globes; with Emmys and those lopsided BAFTA faces.

More people might have watched Here Comes The Boom than watched Black Mirror – but you can be damned sure that Charlie Brooker is going to get more wear out of his tux than Kevin James will (sweaty girth notwithstanding) when gong-time rolls around.  Similarly, while Skyfall continues to have millions queueing for vicarious, misogynistic crypto-Fascism, it looks like Lincoln and Les Mis will do rather better* in terms of trophies.

Yes; Art might mirror Life, but the Arts/Entertainment establishment don’t want us to have to really see ourselves for what we are: instead, the Awards shows’ glass shows us as good-humoured, compassionate connoisseurs of the best and brightest the Arts have to offer rather than a bloodthirsty mob of sentiment-drenched, viscerally-guided cretins with the unshaven face and yellowed eyes of somebody who’s been up all night trying to imagine what Megan Fox looks like while taking a shit. Ultimately, the baubles are unimportant: thanks to their shameless pandering, we are always the real winners.

*The Adele theme-song’s success illustrates this perfectly: it’s “classier” than pure pop, without being “difficult” like Opera or Classical.


Words by The Silver Fox
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