Saturday, September 24, 2005

Facets Thread

Facets Multi-Media is a film distributor out of here in Chicago. The headquarters is over at 1517 W. Fullerton, and they not only sell films and DVDs out of there, but they have a pretty extensive rental collection and an onsite Theatre.

Their regular rental service is basically the same as any other rental shop, but with a much weirder selection--they have all sorts of indie and foreign films you can't find anywhere else, and a random selection of more mainstream picks. Basically, don't stake your life on being able to find the newest blockbuster to DVD, but if you want to have seen all films that most folks slept on, this is the place.

The best deal is the "Family Freedom Pass" (or the Family French Pass if you prefer) which allows you a NetFlix-ish all-you-can-rent (up to three at a time) mail or in-person DVD arrangement for $24/month. The insane part is that it also gets you and an acquaintance, date or loved one into any film at the theatre for free, and invites to all of the nights where they get a filmmaker in to talk to the audience. You also get a small discount on any stuff you buy in the shop.

My wife and I joined up last week and so far have seen four films:

Secretary
We started with "Secretary" with Maggie Gyllenhaal. We had both heard a ton about the film. Mostly, everyone we know said repeatedly that Liz looks exactly like Gyllenhaal. At first, as the movie developed, we were like "What the fuck? Liz is similiar to this woman out the mental institution who likes to cut herself?" But we couldn't deny some of the physical resemblance. Then we started to notice more and more mannerisms that she shared with the character. So by midway through the film, I was giggling quite a bit.

We were shocked that they managed to pull off the film without it descending into the normal Hollywood misogynist male fantasy crap. We thought the relationship was really disfunctional, but both characters came across as very decent human beings who actually cared about each other. Plus, it was interesting to see that despite the centering of the film around this sexual/love relationship, it managed to avoid being gratuitous. In the final sexual tryst, it's almost like the audience is receiving the same reward for persevering through the couple's courtship rather than the normal "point-and-shoot" Hollywood sexuality. It passed our "would anyone except white boys actually enjoy the sexuality of this film" test with flying colors.

It was a little bizarre to think that a sizable amount of people identify my wife with the main character in the film.

Whale Rider (2002)
Cidade de Deus (2002)
Homem Que Copiava, O (2003)
Office Space (1999)
Maria, Full of Grace
Love Liza
Unbreakable
The Village
Ghost World
Violent Cop
Monsoon Wedding

6 Comments:

Blogger Cattygurl said...

I actually really enjoyed the Secretary. Maggie is a wonderful actress and a smart women to boot! I've also been a James Spader fan for a long, long time.

6:39 PM  
Blogger Gar said...

"Whale Rider" is a fantastic movie. I t makes manly men cry.

And "Office Space" is just classic...

12:50 AM  
Blogger Trey Desolay said...

Wow. I'm glad to hear that. I've been receiving the Facets catalog for years but didn't know about this service.

And now I'm reminded ... when will one of you Chicagoans write an article about how Chicago has it *all over* both NYC and LA when it comes to film and, for that matter, culture in general?

I know why this is, but I think it's up to one of you to write it.

2:47 AM  
Blogger xian said...

CG--yeah, it's really a case where an acclaimed movie by a male director on sexuality actually delivers. Spader really plays the role perfect--he was weird, but did come across as creepy, manipulative.

Gar--I turn on the waterworks for almost any sad/moving film, so this was no exception. I'd seen it once before, but I thought Liz would really enjoy it, so we got it again.

I thought I would hate "Office Space" but I was surprised by it too.

Trey--yeah when I worked in downstate IL for this educational media outreach group we got tons of literature and samples from Facets, but I didn't know anything about this.

I'm really curious about your other comment. I'm in love with Chi for a lot of reasons (labor history, immigrant/racial diversity, CTA system, the Lake and the prettiest skyline in the world, the growing force of the ethnic political movements all over the city, etc.), but I've never really felt the competition with LA and NYC. Now I'm dying to know what you were referring to...

5:20 PM  
Blogger Trey Desolay said...

Presenting it as any kind of competition is the last thing I'd want to do.

My (vague) feeling is that by being relatively free of the fashions that are inescapably part of NYC's and LA's culture, artists in Chicago are able to do just what they want to.

I'd have considered living there at one time, but it's just too damn cold in the winter.

3:45 AM  
Blogger xian said...

That makes sense. I never thought of it that way. I suppose that is the power and danger of the voyeuristic nature of the internet as well--we can all influence each other positively, but there's also an endless supply of styles to bite, so if we are not careful, we can end up stunting growth. I'd love to try NYC some time. The only metropolises I've lived in are Chi, Tokyo and Osaka (I lived in Pittsburgh and Raleigh as a kid). I don't know if I could swing LA--I love the train and buses here too much.

It does get bitterly cold here in the winter, and the gas company is notorious for jacking up rates. We had 10,000 households without heat last winter and this winter is likely to be worse.

3:57 AM  

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