Article 3313 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 7-24-2010
Posting Date: 9-9-2010
Directed by Philip Kaufman and Benjamin Manaster
Featuring Lou Gilbert, Ellen Madison, Tom Erhart
What it is: Independent American art film
An old man emerges from a lake in Chicago and affects the lives of several people. When a sculptor ends up with the old man’s walking stick after having saved him from a smokehouse, the old man disappears and the sculptor begins a citywide search for him.
When dealing with an art film of this sort, I sometimes find it best to admit outright that I didn’t really get it. This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy it at all (it has some interesting moments), but it does say that it would be presumptuous of me to talk about its meaning. All I can say is that the various comments I read imply that the movie might be a metaphor about the artistic spirit and that the old man may be the prophet Elijah. My print runs only 80 minutes and ends abruptly; IMDB lists a running time of 85 minutes and that a version that ran at Cannes ran 115 minutes. Because no one is sure just what the nature of the old man is, the movie becomes a de facto fantasy. It was Philip Kaufman’s first movie, and it does seem to be at least better than FEARLESS FRANK, his follow-up, though I have yet to cover the movie of his that is of most interest to fans of fantastic cinema, his remake of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS.