Friday, January 1, 2016

When It Rains

Going back a couple or three decades, even with the perspective time gives which tends to goldenize works from the past, there hasn't been much to cheer about in the dreary Marketeer world of American movies. Look at our recent director heroes: Clint Eastwood, the Coen Brothers, M. Knight Shyamalan, James Cameron, David Fincher, Ronnie Howard, Tarantino, P.T. Anderson, Ang Lee, Kathryn Bigelow, Spike Jonzzzzz, Christopher Nolan, Darren Aronofksy, Peter Jackson.

Christ. . .

The exception that proves the point: Charles Burnett.

Funny, because the greatest American filmmaker of his generation can't seem to find work. Since 1995, the year of "When It Rains," Burnett has been allowed to direct nine made-for-TV movies destined for the Hallmark Channel or Lifetime; and a half-dozen mostly self-financed shorts. Theatrical features since 1995? None. (Ron Howard and the Coen Boys?: Forty.)

Jonathan Rosenbaum:
A strong case can be made that Charles Burnett is the most gifted and important black filmmaker this country has ever had. . . . Given the difficulties he had in the 70s and 80s [and 90s and 00s and 10s] getting films made, Burnett seems in danger of becoming our Carl Dreyer -- the consummate master who makes a film a decade, known only to a small band of film lovers.
Rosenbaum lists the 13-minute short "When It Rains" as one of the ten greatest movies ever made.

A good way to begin the New Year.