Read Good Shit On Musings
“Experimenting with film is exciting to me. It feels like it has purpose.”
-Kate Bush, Egos and Icons, 1993
Kate Bush has always been more than your average musical artist. It’s not ordinary to have a chart-topping single when you’re 19-years-old, let alone a number-one hit about a classic literary text of all things. From the onset, she was more than hooks. She was a wizard of merging artistic interests, folded together into a stunning presentation of everything she could offer as an artist. Bush is never satisfied, but geniuses so rarely are, and when she masters one art form, she moves onto another with a ravenous appetite for perfection. In her art she has combined music, dance, mime, literature, fashion, and cinema into one. Her art is overwhelmingly dense and, from the beginning, few could truly reckon with her talent. Her music videos and concert television specials, in particular, are the purest distillation of her skills, and in cinematic terms, share a kinship with the likes of Maya Deren, Jacques Rivette, François Truffaut, and Terence Fisher.
Few filmmakers have made films as thematically rich as those from writers/directors Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger in the 1940s. From 1943 to 1949, Powell and Pressburger, better known as the Archers, made seven superlative films that leapfrog genres with heedless abandon, from wartime epic to fantastical romance to psychosexual thriller to ballet drama. Thanks largely to cinephilic champions such as Martin Scorsese and his longtime editor Thelma Schoonmaker (who married Powell in 1984), as well as home-media ventures like The Criterion Collection, the Archers’ films have received a vital and necessary second life.
Halfway through my first viewing of Zach Snyder’s Sucker Punch—as I tried to disengage from the negative criticism floating around the film, as I admitted I was not only getting sucked in, I was actually moved by all of it—a confused thought drifted into my head: “Am I crazy, or is this a little bit like Gold Diggers of 1933?” (That’s a rhetorical question, although I can already hear the response.) The thought was so ludicrous it felt like a hallucination, not to mention a sacrilege, but it kept nagging at me. Maybe 15, 20 minutes after that, there’s a scene where the evil pimp-orderly Blue Jones (Oscar Isaac) comes into the rebellious girls’ ratty dressing room to read them the riot act. On the wall is a collage of old movie posters, and I got a brief flash of the words “GOLD DIGGERS” behind his head. I paused the film, and squinted at the screen.