We are behind this week, beloveds. We take a day off, get a haircut and a hamburger (not at the same location), suddenly we have surreal piles of work. Anyway, forgive us if we’re all over the map and a little less than timely. We’ll be back in full form next week. Pinky swear.
The "Karla" controversy continues in Canada, where the Karla Homolka biopic was dropped from the Montreal World Film Festival (where it was supposed to have its world premiere) after protests over the film’s subject matter lead to several of the festival’s sponsors threatening to pull funding.
Ah, wasn’t it around this time last year that many were pitching a fit over the Toronto International Film Festival’s inclusion of doc "Casuistry: The Art of Killing a Cat"? Nothing changes. Like the "Casuistry" protesters, none of those taking issue with "Karla" (which, judging from the trailer, is hardly high art) have actually seen the film, which is still in post-production. But Simon Houpt at the Globe and Mail did manage to get his hands on a rough cut, and finds the film "sombre and directed with restraint," though he points out it also "has the feel of a movie-of-the-week." Houpt looks at the film from the perspective of whether or not it exploits its subject matter, rather than on its merits as a quality piece of cinema, but we get the impression that, like "Casuistry," it’s ultimately less remarkable than the amount of fuss it’s generated.
Peter Howell at the Toronto Star has a more interesting perspective on "Karla," using it as a launching point to muse on how much time has to pass before a tragedy becomes acceptable film fodder. "Is there a statute of limitations for disgust?" he wonders, looking over some of the current and upcoming projects with the potential to offend: "Last Days," which, despite not being the most flattering Kurt Fauxbain portrait imaginable, has yet to anger any fans of the late Nirvana frontman, though those same fans were troubled by talk of a biopic with Stephen Dorff in the mid-90s; "Downfall," which was accused of humanizing Hitler (as if that didn’t make his actions all the more frightening); the three 9/11 movies in the works; tsunami film "Hereafter."
We’re of the mindset that it’s all in how the film’s done â€” no subject, treated the right way, is really off limits (though the difficulty rating varies wildly from case to case in that regards). That being said, why make a movie about Homolka, who helped her sadistic husband rape and murder several women, including her own sister? The film, which of course we haven’t seen either, and really couldn’t care less about, doesn’t seem to have aims above its potential shock value, timing be damned (and we, like, we assume, most Americans, knew next to nothing about Homolka and her husband, Paul Bernardo). We’re dreading the upcoming wave of 9/11 film and literature (difficulty rating: high), but at the same time, "25th Hour," coming from Spike Lee, who generally seems to be getting more grating as the years go by, and arriving in theaters in late 2002, when we were all still so raw from the events of the year before, said more in its oblique look at post-9/11 life (and as a bruising, split-lipped valentine to New York City) than we imagine any film, even given the benefit of time passing, could manage. Same with this short story by professional angry literary type Dale Peck, published in 2003. Timing isn’t always everything.