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Columns > Randy Ray - Peaches En Randalia

Published: 2007/01/23
by Randy Ray

That Enchanted Order

Peaches En Randalia #11
Set 1: Tokyo Story (150 minutes) >La Dolce Vita (200 minutes)
auteur n. A filmmaker, usually a director, who exercises creative control over his or her works and has a strong personal style.
I needed a break from various distractions keeping me from my creative goalsyou know, things like work, bills and diapers so I indulged my inner cinematic headiness last weekend and sat down for several hours of fine film. Not necessarily a snob, mind you, I just prefer long, boring films that have a visual instead of a literary template. One of my more talented friendswho straddles that non-existent fine line between music and filmrecently used the phrase collective journey when discussing a particular concert. That is an apt description for what Im looking for in the dark wedding between a film and viewer. I want to ride along with a director on the collective journey offered on his celluloid canvas and I dont necessarily need any mundane explanations about what is being shown. If I get it, fine; if I dont, I surrender to the flow if the film is engaging.
Tokyo Story by Yasujiro Ozu is the post-World War II black-and-white tale of an elderly couple taking a train to Tokyo to visit their children. The kids dont have time to spend with their folks and eventually, ship them off to a local spa. Unfortunately, the mother dies on the way home and we get a heavy dose of Cats in the Cradle, where everyone has regrets over the time lost spent with loved ones. Tokyo Story is also one of the most profound and timeless statements ever put on film and, obviously, still holds up well today with its simple, cautionary tale about what is and what is not relevant in life.
La Dolce Vita by Federico Fellini is the story about a cultural journalists artistic and moral breakdown in the face of wretched, circular decadence in early 60s Rome. The infamous phrase paparazzi was coined by Fellini in this film and forever should not be included in the same paragraph as the word journalismthis paragraph, withstanding. By collective journeys end, the main character played cynically and brilliantly by Fellinis alter ego, Marcello Mastroianni, is completely burned out by his vacuous gossip articles, which appear to have smothered his every personal and professional decision.
In one sequence, a wealthy, cultured gentleman advises the beleaguered gossip hound and tells him that art should have that enchanted order, which always seems to be missing from ordinary life. Ironically, although his own life appears on the surface to be quite grand and orderly, he commits suicide later on in the filma victim of his own lonely depressed path of solitude. The end of the film has a lovely shot of the corrupted journalist unable to hear an innocent young lady on a beach who is trying in vain to communicate with him. He smiles, waves and wanders back to his lonely, decadent existence with a weird denizen of wretched beauty encased in thousand dollar clothes.
THIRD PERSON ALERT: Yet another difficult to understand symbolic-metaphoric-analogisic-metaphysical-laden column? What the hell does all of this mean, Randy? How will this circle back to your ongoing jambands create an inner utopia theme which I assume is also embedded within your other incomprehensible columns?
Jambands are relevant because they create an atmosphere in which participants must communicate with each other, seek new inspiration and quantify their artistic experience. Now whenever one sees a band wincing in print over the jamband nomenclature, throw that latter sentence into the debate, reminding one-and-all that art craves communication with an audience, that enchanted order, the elusive form where clarity surfaces from chaos, a locale housing jambands who loot time and space to deliver on that lovely idyll we call the collective journey. – Randy Ray stores his work at He looted the wonderful phrase, collective journey, from his good friend and editor, Dean Budnick.

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