Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Jonathan Glazer's film-per-decade approach

I doubt it could be intentional or likely something he's ever considered -- he doesn't seem like the sort of person to dwell on superficial patterns -- but Jonathan Glazer appears determined to grace us with his talents only once per decade.

"But Vance," you say. "Glazer put out two films in the 2000s, Sexy Beast (2000) and Birth (2004)." (Yes, you include years in parentheses when you speak.)

Ah but did he?

If you believe all those smartypants who wanted to be pedantic when the year changed from 1999 to 2000, the 21st century didn't start until 2001 -- meaning that the year 2000 is technically the final year of the 1990s. No one actually really thinks of it that way, but if you are being as accurate as possible, it's true. (I didn't see and rank Sexy Beast until 2001, but it played festivals in 2000.)

In any case, the point is, Glazer does not make very many movies. And if he were to reveal after making his final film in 2042 that he had purposefully made only one film per decade, I wouldn't be surprised. If Quentin Tarantino can decide he's going to make exactly ten features, Glazer's hypothetical mission statement might not be much different in concept.

Which is why the fact that I didn't love The Zone of Interest is particularly disappointing.

Oh, I started out loving it. For about the first 30 minutes, I imagined the post I'm currently writing would be entitled "The movie that would have been my #1 of 2023." But Glazer made a couple choices in the direction the narrative went that just didn't really work for me. I don't oppose them on moral grounds -- I understand there is some outrage out there about how this subject matter is handled, but I haven't delved into it. I oppose them on storytelling grounds only.

If you want to read my full review now that the film has finally released in Australia, it's here.

Will I now have to wait until 2031 -- or, if we are considering the ten-year gap between Under the Skin and The Zone of Interest to be the new standard, as late as 2033 -- to get another of Glazer's incomparable conceptions of the world we live in?

It's hard to say. I'd hoped to be surprised and go to IMDB and see another project in pre-production. I mean, even Terrence Malick eventually started becoming more prolific, and then he became so with a vengeance. (On the music side, this can also be said for my favorite band, Nine Inch Nails.)

Alas, no. And if we are to take his previous patterns as a prediction of future patterns, we'll have to satisfy ourselves with shorts and music videos and other bits of ephemera that occupy a creative person between major symphonies. 

Before I go, I should circle back on two bits of business:

1) You may recall that earlier in the month, I watched the aforementioned Sexy Beast as the inaugural film for my bi-monthly Audient Outliers series. At the time, I stated that I chose to watch that before Zone of Interest, even though I could have worked it out in the reverse order, because if I didn't like Zone of Interest, not liking Sexy Beast wouldn't be such an outlier. If you didn't follow the link to my review previously, you won't know that I ended up giving Zone of Interest an 8/10, only dropping from a 9/10 in the last 20 minutes of the film. (I actually may have dropped all the way from a 10/10, or five stars, in those last 20 minutes.) So at least you know Sexy Beast remains a valid first choice for that series. 

2) This is a potential future entry in another series, Audient Bridesmaids, but as discussed a few days ago in the post about The Prince of Tides, we don't actually know for sure that The Zone of Interest will not win best picture this year. So to save myself the hassle, I'll limit the reference to that series to the two sentences you are currently reading. 

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