I've discovered this harsh truth in recent weeks. Precious works of art--whether books, films, songs or paintings—are so often glossed over because the world isn't aware they exist.
Corporate words like "budgets" and "numbers meetings" thunder down the mountain, washing away any hope of "fresh artistic view" or "brilliant film which sparks conversation."
Why is this? My recent observations are with film, but film isn't the only area affected. A writer friend of mine recently walked into a bookstore to discover her newly released book wasn't even on the shelf. Upon inquiring, she discovered the bookstore never had time to remove the stock from the shipping box. So all the promo she did on websites, radio shows, bookmarks, postcards—if the bookstore doesn't put the book out, what's an author to do? In this case, she volunteered to put them on the shelves herself to ensure sales.
Last week, I drove to Midtown Atlanta to do a bit of book research. There's a wonderful café there called Après Diem where I wanted to set a book scene. Going there to meet friends would freshen up the scene description and revitalize my taste buds on their delectable dishes.
With a few hours to kill between work and meeting up, I figured I'd see a movie at the adjacent Landmark Art Cinemas, one of two 'art' cinemas in the metro Atlanta area. One called "Flawless" struck me and I figured, why not? I'd never heard of this movie. Never seen a preview. All I knew was that it was about a jewel heist and it starred Michael Caine and Demi Moore.
When the movie was over, I walked outside and saw my friends sitting on the café patio. I waved and told an entire patio of people, "You have GOT to see Flawless! It's amazing!"
And that's what is so strange. This was one of the most intelligent, well tied-together films I'd seen in theatre in a long time. I had chills on the back of my neck at the ending, and how everything interrelated. It starred Michael Caine and Demi Moore, along with a few other stars whose names I don't remember. Why did this film get no press? Get no previews in theatres? It only played for a week.
Publicity was also a challenge for Tom DiCillo's latest film, "Delirious." What baffles me is that I am a huge Tom DiCillo fan. I've bought every film on DVD. I have the CD to one of his films. I have 2 of his books. And yet, "Delirious" opened in Sept 07 at the same Landmark Cinema where I love to go. And I never knew it.
Why wasn't there one preview, one ad, one poster? How could I have missed it? I check showtimes for that theatre every few weeks, trying to determine what alternate movie to watch on weekends. Perhaps the week "Delirious" came to Landmark I was fogged out with bronchitis. Who knows?
So. My theme on this blog in the coming week will be those indies, books, and pieces of art which got bypassed by the masses, but hold their own value.
Indie Suggestion for Today: Watch the DVD "Delirious." The DVD is available now at Blockbuster, but I also encourage you to watch the extended/features version which comes out on 5/6/08.
It's wonderful. I've watched it 3 times since Thursday. Heartwarming, soulful, and spotlighting the tender moments of the human condition. Put it in your Queue now on Netflix. Mark your calendars for 5/6 to rent or buy it.
Click to learn more about writer/director Tom DiCillo.