This week on IFC News:
Though he would later become one of Hollywood’s most sexually adventurous actors (not for nothing does he appear as the male lead in Paul Verhoeven‘s "Showgirls"), there is something downright wholesome about Kyle MacLachlan when he arrives in Lumberton at the start of "Blue Velvet." Like a Hardy Boy who doesn’t realize he’s in the middle of an adventure (possibly one guest written by the Marquis de Sade), he stumbles into town after his father’s collapse and finds the severed ear that turns the whole plot on its, er, ear. Every time I watch "Blue Velvet" I marvel at MacLachlan’s air of innocence: he not only seems impossibly pure of body and spirit, he seems (as we are) totally unaware of where the story is going.
Was it life, Memorex or something else? Bewitched by the process of turning our perception of movies and the priorities of a viewer’s "knowledge" inside out, Greaves had no intentions of stopping: as the title implies, "Take One" was supposed to only the first of up to five movies derived from the same pool of ’68 footage, of which there is presumably a great amount. The project never happened that way; instead, Greaves spent the decades on smaller films (many of them educational), and only in 2005 did a second "take" emerge at the Sundance Film Festival ("2 1/2," actually), produced by Steven Soderbergh and Steve Buscemi, adding the passage of time to its hall of mirrors, and featuring contemporary footage about the history of the first film folded into the batter.
The original novel, written in the early 1800s, follows the comic adventures of two rogues avoiding their wives, debts and responsibility by taking off for a trip down the main road between Edo and Tokyo. Kudo grabbed author Jippensha Ikku’s ball and pushed toward the end zone, turning the travelers into gay lovers; plunking them on a motorcycle; peppering the proceedings with song and dance numbers; throwing in references to video games, dinner theater, and cocktail lounges; and breaking the fourth, fifth, and sixth walls in his narrative (at one point, one of the characters winds up in a screening room complaining about the very story he’s participating in).