Saturday, April 28, 2012

Zombie Girl, The 400 Blows, Sean

So let me see...what am I doing?

I watched Zombie Girl again. A documentary about a twelve-year-old girl filming a zombie movie from a script she wrote when she was ten. Her long suffering mothers is there to help and try to keep the tweenagers on task.

The trouble with zombies is that they need so many of them. With a vampire movie, all you need is one. Zombies, you need dozens of extras.

Watched some of the Antoine Doinel movies of Francois Truffaut, starting with The 400 Blows. It's been quite a few years since I've seen it. I expected to have a different reaction to it, but it still affected me the same way.

When I saw The Graduate again after twenty years, I was surprised to realize that Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) was a terrible, terrible person.

I thought I'd watch The 400 Blows again and side with the poor parents and the teachers, but no.

But watching the other movies in that series, it was hard to connect little Antoine from the first movies with the character as an adult.

There are documentaries like the 7 and Up series, where you do see that continuity, where you see that the adults are in some ways the way they were as children.

On the other hand, there was a movie I had only read about before, a documentary in the Canyon film cooperative catalog called Sean. It was a movie made by a film student about his four-year-old neighbor, the son of hippie parents. He went back and followed up on it thirty years later. The little kid was now working as an electrician. His father was still a hippie unable, like most of the hippies I've met, to cope with the stress of working and leading an ordinary life.

But, again, with that movie you have a hard time connecting the four-year-old with the young man the filmmaker talks to.

But there was a real life case, a personal experience of mine. I was 11 or 12. I was delivering newspapers. Two little children were standing outside, like two and three years old. The older one was a boy and younger one a girl. The boy began shouting abuse at me. He threw a rock at me. I took a few steps toward him and they both ran, the girl laughing.

Several years later, I was in high school. I volunteered to be a tutor at a grade school. And there was one kid there who was terrible. A horrible, foul-mouthed little fifth grader. I had never seen anything like it. And for some reason he kept picking on me even though I was in high school.

A couple of years after that, I realized that this was the same child----the three-year-old throwing rocks and the nasty, vile little 10-year-old.

I wondered what ever happened to him. He had an unusual name. I was surprised to find two or three people in the country with the same name, but I don't know if any of them were him. I know he had some minor legal trouble when he was a teenager. I later knew his mother slightly. I saw her on the bus a few years ago and she either didn't recognize me or pretended not to.

But, anyway, The 400 Blows was, in its way, a more political film than Godard's early works, showing a kid caught up in the French legal system.

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