Metamovies ruined my party. Recently I hosted a crafts night, as we Brooklyn girls are known for our craftiness. There we were, all knitting, crocheting, baking cookies, when someone brought up Adaptation, screenwriter Charlie Kaufman and director Spike Jonzes latest, much-publicized collaboration. The movie is about making a movie, or, rather, Kaufmans struggle to adapt Susan Orleans real-life novel The Orchid Thief into a passable Hollywood screenplay. In other words, the movie is, as my friend Jocelyn described it, "meta meta meta meta."
Lovers may love Paris, but Paris loves movies. Three hundred films are shown daily, many of them American, both old and new. The other night, for example, I saw Charade, the elegant, fast-paced 1955 film with Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn upon which The Truth About Charley, a haphazard film and a waste of studio money and customer time, is based.
A tall Marine with a face of Ireland played "Taps," but the freezing winds from the East River blew the music away. It was a somber ceremony. Yet after 150 years of anonymity, Bill "The Butcher" Poole had finally gotten some recognition.
Documentaries can seem like the new fodder for television and film festivals. But while the category has come to encompass everything from the formulaic puffery that fills cable channels to the classics of Direct Cinema, it is more than wise to make the distinction that the majority of what is called "documentary" is not film.