Monday, October 1, 2012

Day 4 NYFF50: High-Wattage Star Power in 'Final Cut ...'

HERE is a film with the mother of all all-star casts.

Consider: Clark Gable, Greta Garbo, Brad Pitt, Marilyn Monroe, Rita Hayworth, Jackie Chan, Sopia Loren, Charlie Chaplin, Jean-Paul-Belmondo, Brigitte Bardo and on and on and on …

Several years in the making, the film in question is “Final Cut - Ladies and Gentlemen” (Final Cut - Hölgyeim és uraim. It is Hungarian director’s György Pàlfi (“Taxidermy”) love letter to film and it makes its North American premiere tonight at 9 at the 50th New York Film Festival.

The product of budgetary constraints at the Hungarian state film office, “Final Cut is a classic Hollywood-style love story told through a near seamless montage of close to 500 films – from “Gone With the Wind” to “Indiana Jones” to “Casablanca” to “Once Upon A Time In The West” to the opener, “Avatar.” For good measure, a few TV shows are included. It has been one of the most talked about entries everywhere it has shown, including Hungarian Film Week where it had its world premiere in February and the 65th Cannes Film Festival.(See video above from Cannes in which the director discusses this latest work and challenges facing Hungarian filmmakers.)

Part of the talk also concerns the rights issues that may confine “Final Cut” to the film festival circuit and other noncommercial milieux. Word is that people are working on this immense undertaking. It would be a pity if this film, which by its very nature provokes myriad questions, answers and quizarama moments, is denied the wider world, or at least, the film buff parts of it.

In “Final Cut,” action unfolds quick, fast and in a hurry. Very often it is the same or similar action from at least a score of films. In these clips, some perhaps downloaded from the Internet, familiar folk like Elizabeth Taylor and Gerard Depardieu fall in and out of love; go to war, the beach. Unfathomable beginnings and happy endings figure into the nearly 90 minutes, which may try the patience of some who will no doubt grow clip-weary, the patchwork story notwithstanding. Life is presented in b&w, technicolor color, HD, various language and a propulsive soundtrack.

The first tune is "Put the Blame On Mame," defiantly belted by RH in “Gilda.” Also moving the narrative is “Singin’ in the Rain.”

I've a smile on my face!

Visit to learn more about the 50th New York Film Festival, including show times and ticket information.

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