Tuesday, January 16, 2007


THE NEW YORK TIMES: MOVIES January 17th 2007

A Father and a Son Tell Their Own Tales of Love and Loss


Azazel Jacobs's unexpectedly beguiling romantic comedy,
"The GoodTimesKid," opening today at the Anthology Film
Archives, boasts a 77-minute running time that's maybe 10
percent dialogue. The remainder is spent watching alienated
characters - a young woman named Diaz; her boyfriend,
Rodolfo; and another man who's also named Rodolfo - drift
through a deadpan-surreal city while remaining lost in their
own heads.

The wisp of a plot finds the first Rodolfo (a spiritually
battered bohemian played by Mr. Jacobs) mistakenly receiving
a letter ordering him to report for military induction.
Report he does, partly to escape his sweet but suffocating
girlfriend, Diaz (the daffy knockout Sara Diaz), and partly
because he's afflicted by the same comic paralysis as the
rest of the characters and is desperate to make a big
decision (or any decision).

At the same induction, the even more existentially
shellshocked second Rodolfo (played by the actor and
filmmaker Gerardo Naranjo, who has Hector Elizondo's gentle
eyes and 1970s Warren
Beatty hair) hears his own named called, sees the
first Rodolfo stand up, keeps his trap shut, follows the
first Rodolfo home, observes his exit from the relationship
and then walks right into Diaz's life.

Diaz is O.K. with this; within minutes of meeting the
second Rodolfo, she nicknames him "Depresso" and dances in
the kitchen like a Max
Fleischer cartoon character to a vinyl recording of
"I Can't Give You Anything But Love."

Shot in ripe color on 35-millimeter film stock reportedly
stolen from a Hollywood production, and featuring a Mandy
Hoffman score that suggests Nino Rota music
performed by an orchestra that's being gradually digested by
a boa constrictor, "The GoodTimesKid" finds poetry in
wordless scenes of observation: Diaz destroying her ex's
records, pausing to glance at the liner notes; the first
Rodolfo drunk in a pub, baiting a gang of toughs while clad
in a leather helmet, boxing gloves and a cape made from an
American flag; Diaz and the second Rodolfo gazing frankly at
each other in a coffeeshop while an off-screen television
plays a soap opera.

Mr. Jacobs's approach is descended from a long line of
minimalist filmmakers, from Jac ues Tati ("Monsieur Hulot's
Holiday") up through Jim Jarmusch
("Mystery Train"), but "The GoodTimesKid" dances, like Diaz,
in its own sweet style. It doesn't get to the point because
getting there is the point.

Also having its premiere at the Anthology Film Archives
is "Two Wrenching Departures," a video version of a 1989
experimental feature by Mr. Jacobs's father, the filmmaker
Ken Jacobs.

Designed as an elegy for two of Ken Jacobs's friends, the
cameraman and co-director Bob Fleischner ("Blonde Cobra")
and the performer Jack Smith ("Flaming Creatures"), it dices
up black-and-white footage taken when the men attended night
school at the City University of New York in the late 1950s,
reprinting and repeating individual frames and breaking them
up with stretches of blackness. The resultant stutter-step
effect suggests an attempt to seize time and live forever in
the moment.


Opens today in Manhattan.

Directed and edited by Ken Jacobs; director of
photography, Mr. Jacobs. At the Anthology Film Archives, 32
Second Avenue, at Second Street, East Village. Running time:
90 minutes. This film is not rated.


Opens today in Manhattan.

Directed and edited by Azazel Jacobs; written by Gerardo
Naranjo and Mr. Jacobs; directors of photography, Mr.
Jacobs, Eric Curtis and Mr. Naranjo; music by Mandy Hoffman;
produced by Sara Diaz, Georgina Garcia Riedel and Ernesto
Garabito. At the Anthology Film Archives, 32 Second Avenue,
at Second Street, East Village. Running time: 77 minutes.
This film is not rated.


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