Thursday, April 9, 2015

THAS: 'Eggshells' 1

Hopefully a day will come when Eggshells is as widely seen as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre.  Not because his first film is anywhere near as successful as his second film, nor because Eggshells will enter instant circulation in people's casual movie-night rounds, but simply so it is mentioned in the same breath as The Texas Chain Saw Massacre - the less gripping one of the two, but the true progenitor and designator of the rest of a career.  Hooper's truly independent instincts and desires as a purely visual artist are exhibited to no lesser or less impressive a degree here - just less focused and knowingly, prudently channeled - and the film is intoxicating in that simple way: a pageant of fully-formed and fully-imagined aesthetics, moving beyond its conceptual insufferableness into a flora of endless visual prowess and cinematic/narrative authority, and resulting in the most genuinely hybrid feature film - between the narrative and emotional and the experimental and phenomenological - I can account of since the old Soviet masters conceived of cinema as something beyond the ken of cinema, an amalgam of the novelistic, the artistic, and the social document.  Eggshells may not hold the vision of Dovzhenko's Earth, but it, at times, can rival the sophistication and the poetry.


Now if you're not quite buying the idea of narrative authority in a film like Eggshells, here is some modest evidence to the contrary straight from Hooper's mouth:

"To me, that [shot] said the time and the age.  That's a funky shot, 
someone popping their pimple.  (With some inspiration, animatedly authoritative:) 
Now we see her later, you know.  I mean, she's introduced later, but since she isn't a movie star, 
it may take you some time to notice that this is the girl we take our trip with into Austin."

[Austin film-scene public figure] Louis Black: "And what people who weren't (laughing) alive then don't get... is how serious the conversations often were.  You know, about meaning and religion and spirituality."
Hooper: (In agreement) "Oh. Oh. Oh. (laughs) People were serious."
Black: "And pretentious."
Hooper: "And pretentious."

 And allow me to bring this back:
"Eggshells is this remarkably kinetic scene of a communal house at daybreak that beats Scorsese by a few decades." (Myself on Eggshells in a previous post.)


[Quotations taken from the Eggshells commentary track recorded between Tobe Hooper and Louis Black (who rediscovered and helped produce the restoration of Eggshells).]

[Eggshells Digital Download/VOD and VOD Commentary track are available on Watchmaker Films (the restoration & distribution company)'s Vimeo page.]

[I mentioned Eggshells and its visual prowess, but the film may very well be most notable for its editorial prowess.  Eggshells may well be a masterpiece of the jump cut.]


"Actually... this is a tale... about my good friend, Ben Skabarsak.")