With Mondo Kim's now shuttered, New York cineastes must realize that nothing can be taken for granted. Don't fail, then, to commemorate the 10th birthday of Film Comment Selects. Whatever one thinks of the series' namesake magazine (Lincoln Center's highbrow house bimonthly), it's a precious rarity: a glossy unafraid to take Light Brigade editorial charges, garrisoned away from online hype hysterics and kingmaking.
Staying with their determined stylistic throughways, none of the above [films] go off-road—Debord's chockablock films frequently do, and for this, they stand re-watching. The same goes for Paul Schrader's kinky tangle Adam Resurrected, an adaptation of Yoram Kaniuk's novel, with Jeff Goldblum as a fatuous, elegant, anguished product of music hall and Holocaust. And though Lincoln Center's loyalty to Michael Almereyda's dilettantism is baffling, who else started proselytizing for Jean-Claude Brisseau?
Let's make this snappy: "Slumdog Millionaire," and at this point that's an enormous duh (as well as a movie nobody will much care about six months from now). Mickey Rourke and Kate Winslet. Heath Ledger, duh, and, I dunno, either Rosemarie DeWitt or Rebecca Hall. Oh, wait, neither of them was nominated. While we're waiting for the most boring Oscar race I can remember to reach its conclusion, there are actually movies out there worth your attention. This weekend, in fact, brings the New York openings of a long list of intriguing films that'll be trickling out in small theatrical release -- or, increasingly, in pay-per-view or digital release -- throughout the spring.
If you are in or near New York, I urge you to check out Film Comment Selects, the annual mini-festival in which the editors of Lincoln Center's venerable film journal pick a roster of underappreciated and below-the-radar titles and give them a little publicity nudge on their way toward a (slightly) larger audience. (The festival runs now through March 5, when it closes with the U.S. premiere of Kathryn Bigelow's Iraq-war action flick, "The Hurt Locker.")
One of the great things about FCS is that it tends to avoid obvious film-festival-type indies in favor of actioners, thrillers, rereleased obscurities and other disreputable fare. This year's fest includes Paul Schrader's "Adam Resurrected," a recent release that failed at the box office (despite its flat-out amazing star performance by Jeff Goldblum as a wisecracking Holocaust survivor in an Israeli loony bin) and the quasi-legendary punk-era saga "Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fabulous Stains" from 1981, which stars Diane Lane and Laura Dern as teen rockers, along with the amazingly young Ray Winstone as the lead singer of a band that features members of the Clash and the Sex Pistols. ("Fabulous Stains" is now available on DVD, at long last.)
See Adam Resurrected with an appearance by Paul Schrader this Tuesday
For an actor with as much talent and brand value as Jeff Goldblum, it seems odd that the number of lead roles he’s taken in recent years can be counted on one hand. Since 2004, he’s been cast as the smug aristocrat to the teenage trustafarian (Igby Goes Down), the “part-gay” Alistair Hennessey to Bill Murray’s Steve Zissou, and has generally been typecast for his continental charm over his real range as an actor. In Adam, Resurrected, however, Goldblum amends this oversight with one of the most forceful roles of his career, playing a Holocaust survivor and mental patient tormented by memories of the war.
Set in the remote reaches of the Israeli desert, the story centers around Adam, a former Weimar-era performer who survived the war by playing ‘dog’ to an SS commander, living on all fours in the hope it would ultimately spare his family. When it didn’t, Adam was left stigmatized and alone, the sole Jewish occupant of post-war Berlin.
Literalizing Jewish guilt in the form of stigmata, Adam’s past recurs to him through physical illness, manifesting itself through tumors, bleeding and flashbacks that suddenly find their match when a new figure enters the hospital: a boy who believes himself to be a dog. Interweaving the surrealism of mental disease with the trauma of the past, Adam, Resurrected explores the psychological afterimages of war with a bizarre and touching originality, and in the process, allows Goldblum to demonstrate his true nuance and skill.
Adam Ressurected screens Tuesday March 3rd at 9PM with a guest appearance by director Paul Schrader: Buy tickets: Tue Mar 3: 9
Jessica Loudis Film Society Correspondent Lincoln Center March 2, 2009.