Sunday, February 24, 2008

Antarctica Starts Here

You know the drill...

Shackle: Another remake from John Cale. He's making a cottage industry of these, eh?

Ibert: These aincher typical remakes, Jean. No Oceans 11 or Italian Job here.

Shackle: I'll admit that. And this is difficult material he's working with - Cable Hogue was no cakewalk, but to take on Sunset Blvd. - and bring something new to it! - is an impressive feat.

Ibert: Yes, "Antarctica Starts Here" captures something about the material that neither the original nor other attempts at reenvisioning (such as noted director Alan Sparhawk's impressionistic take, "From Your Place on Sunset") could.

Shackle: The staginess here was an initial sticking point for me. It's a problem usually encountered in stage plays: when King Lear is playing to the back of the auditorium, the people in the front-row seats just see a ham caked in make-up. But at some point... I think it was the second time through... the artificiality of the performance somehow gets at the nature of the material in a more direct way.

Ibert: And to cut away the fake realism of the original's framing conceits and to introduce a cruel and derisive narrator - perhaps the voices of the Fates - it cuts away any pretensions the characters have. And yet in the narrator's admiration for their excesses it exposes some of the hidden beauty of human pride and folly. A mainspring of Cale's finest work, by the way.

Shackle: The most impressive thing is how he turned an existing - er, semi-? - fictional universe and brought it organically into his body of work at the time. It marks an end to, some say, his greatest work - a period of small, unassuming works with depth and gravity - but what an ending. Take it from this skeptic - even a non-Cale fanatic will come away from Antarctica with a new perspective on a timeless story. And it deserves every viewer it gets.

Ibert: This means you.


Ian said...

If there's any way you know of for me to get my hands on the songs from that Murderer EP, I'd, uh, kill to get my hands on them.

ZephyrJW said...

I always thought ANTARCTICA was for Nico. An elegy for a living, dying friend.

Unknown said...

Yeah, I also like to travel and my favourite place for it is antarctica In these places you can really feel like a real person. I can safely recommend it!