News and Notes
East Broadway Run Down
A prime example of his improvisational prowess, as well as the sheer power of his horn, East Broadway Run Down features tenor-sax giant Rollins in a stripped-down format with Elvin Jones on drums and Jimmy Garrison on bass. The absence of piano provides the space for some compelling melodic exploration, particularly on the twenty-minute title track which finds the trio joined by trumpeter Freddie Hubbard in an ebb-and-flow chase of repeated themes and sonic phantoms.
In director Terry Zwigoff's follow-up to his highly acclaimed documentary Crumb, Thora Birch shines as Enid, an angst-ridden teen looking for some hidden humanity beneath the surface of a nondescript mall-culture America. What she finds is Seymour (Steve Buscemi), an older, more socially inept misfit, whom she befriends partly out of pity, partly out of fascination. Their odd friendship propels the narrative, creating moments of great humor and wry discomfort. Few movies have expressed the transition from teen to adult with such farcical honesty. An adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name by Daniel Clowes (who co-wrote the film), Ghost World beautifully retains the style and attitude of its comic book forebear.
Filled with ghosts, nymphs, corporate directors, and civil servants, the plays of Jean Giraudoux are ridiculous, romantic, and utterly French. Often centered on a naive and lovely young woman, his drama balances the bureaucratic trappings of modern society with the mysteries of the (super) natural world. Filtered through the eyes of innocence, we see the eternal struggle between love and commerce, style and reality, spirit and flesh. In English translations by Maurice Valency, these four plays (The Madwoman of Chaillot, The Apollo of Bellac, The Enchanted, Ondine) preserve the playwright's clever wordplay as well as a melancholy sense of impending doom.