by robbiefreeling
April 24, 2007 6:18 AM
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Well, apparently not everyone is hip to the forming cult of Apichatpong Weerasethakul.

Overheard immediately following a Saturday night IFC Center screening of Syndromes and a Century, a film made up of sweet tentative romances, lovely pop lullabye interludes, drifting clouds, swaying trees, a tranquil solar eclipse, and hushed, elegantly filmed long takes of modernist architecture:

Forty-something woman, to a quiet ticket-taker:
"That was awful. I mean AWFUL! I've never seen anything so horrible. What was it? What was it? Have people been complaining?"

Quiet ticket-taker:
"No. I think people probably go in expecting something a little weird."

"No, I need to talk to the manager. Horrible!"


"I want my money back. That was bad. Just plain bad. And I watch art films. I come here all the time, and I know art films. But that was the worst movie I've ever seen. Just bad filmmaking. Just bad! Has no one else complained?"

Manager, exasperated:

"No one has complained? Well, they must be too shy!"

"This is the first I'm hearing any complaints."

(voice rising)
"So you're not going to give me my money back? It was bad. I mean, bad!"

"We don't do that."

"I can't believe this. I come here all the time."

Woman's meek, bearded BF:
"It was...pretty bad."

"I'm sorry." [leaves]

Angrily, the woman barrels out of the lobby, and charges down the mean streets of New York City on her way home, perhaps to stab a kitty cat or watch Bad Boys II.


  • Nathaniel R | April 28, 2007 2:46 AMReply

    clearview chelsea actually.

    angelika does have paper thin walls though you're right --and that amusing rumbling noise from the subway giving all films an extra shove towards the ominous.

  • robbiefreeling | April 27, 2007 6:10 AMReply

    Sounds awful....where was that FFH screening? Angelika? The walls there are made of paper maché, I think.

  • That Fuzzy Bastard | April 26, 2007 5:55 AMReply

    Yeah, it's true that screaming at a theater manager is a bad way to... well, to achieve anything, including make the world better. God knows those poor bastards suffer enough (especially, for whatever reason, at the hands of retirees---I can't count how many times I've seen some poor manager or usher having to deal with an older patron's conviction that they are personally responsible for the screenplay of the film they just watched).

    I'm interested to hear that SYNDROMES isn't much like MYSTERIOUS OBJECT---I thought the latter was the most incompetently shot and edited film I had ever seen, but it sounds like SYNDROMES might be at least better-looking.

  • cnw | April 25, 2007 5:31 AMReply

    Fuzzy, it's perfectly fine to not like a movie or even to think it's bad; whatever one things of Apichatpong Weerasethakul is largely irrelevant (myself, I loved SYNDROMES, didn't fall all over TROPICAL MALADY, and haven't seen MYSTERIOUS OBJECT). Having witnessed Angry Art-Film Lady's tirade myself, what bothered me about it was the shrill, unnuanced anger directed at the _theater manager_, of all people.

    Say what you will about SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY being "well directed" or "poorly directed", there's obvious craft (I mean, obvious craft, to anyone who knows how to evaluate mise-en-scene and camera movement). To offer an analogy, I thought DOGVILLE was one of the biggest, stinkiest pieces of donkey poop I've ever seen. But von Trier clearly has talent (especially as a screenwriter). Still, I have severe problems with his artistic vision and the philosophy behind it -- problems that made the viewing experience unbearable to me. Did I ask for my money back? Absolutely not. Instead, I expressed my opinion and argued about the film with friends. Why? Because I care about the cinema. I'm interested in why other people like something and how their opinions challenge or confirm my own. And I believe there's a difference between films that can obviously be dismissed for being inept or "bad" (say, THE WEDDING DATE) and those that I should think and argue about, even if I know I'm still going to assess them negatively.

    When it's already hard enough for foreign films to get distribution here -- and for movie theaters to make money -- it's selfish and unproductive to scream at a theater manager and ask for your money back. It's disrespectful to the art of cinema, and it's certainly disrespectful to the human being standing in front of you. So while Robbie may not have enough evidence to state definitively that Angry Art-Film Lady thinks A BEAUTIFUL MIND is a masterpiece, I've got his back on this one 100%.

  • robbiefreeling | April 25, 2007 5:10 AMReply

    It's actually utterly, completely, irrefutably different from Mysterious Object at Noon. Whether it's got "good directing" is a matter of opinion, I suppose.

  • That Fuzzy Bastard | April 25, 2007 4:11 AMReply

    For the record, my three favorite films are Nashville, The Mirror, and Vagabond, and I thought Mysterious Object at Noon was one of the worst pieces of crap I've ever suffered through. Simply, merely tedious. So I wouldn't be so quick to assume this lady thinks A Beautiful Mind is an art film---I haven't seen Syndromes, but if it's anything like Mysterious Object, she might just like her art films to have good directing.

  • jshumate | April 25, 2007 1:27 AMReply

    At least she's under the impression she watches "art films" with some level of active engagement. Probably not the case though.

  • Bill Moyers | April 24, 2007 8:46 AMReply

    That "woman" was Tom Quinn.