35mm at Lincoln Center (Q&A with Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Scorsese, and others)
What a peculiar event. I felt like my body was thawing when I exited the theater.
Writing about this is extremely difficult. Juggling the context of the time of the film’s production with the context of Welles’ final years with the context of the struggle to get the film released after his death is near impossible (especially considering my relative naïveté when it comes to Welles’ career). Just think, Zabriskie Point came out in 1970 - principal photography for Wind started in 1970. How much did the film-within-a-film’s direction change after the release of Point? (Personally, I had a bit of a conservative-watching-Colbert-Report experience watching the film-within-a-film; Welles’ spoof of Antonioni, especially the part with the car in the rain, has some of the best cinematography I have ever seen). So I really can only observe what is front of me: a beautiful, messy, insightful, tiresome film.
Honestly, I went in and out of a light sleep during the section between the screening at the ranch and at the drive-in theater. The film’s focus wanders, and it was made worse by the fact that I had trouble understanding a portion of the dialogue (the audio seemed a little bassy?). I’m definitely in need of a rewatch for this reason (with subtitles).
I think this will be one of those where I’ll want to avoid commentary. Of course I’m interested in the release history (definitely will watch the documentary that will be on Netflix alongside this film), but I think my relationship with this film will be much more fulfilling if it is monogamous. Some days, I’ll decide that Welles held a secret admiration for the film-within-a-film, and that all the funding concerns, private-life examinations, alcohol, and electricity outages distract from the film’s beauty. On other days, I’ll decide Welles despised the Antonionian film on display, and that early-life success inevitably leads to chaos and late-life failure. It could go either direction or elsewhere, and that’s alright.