[in Yiddish] “One does a mitzvah and this is the thanks one gets?”
Somehow the most comforting movie ever made about the futile attempt to understand the universe and give meaning to your own suffering.
I love Jenny Slate but this is terrible. Haven't yelled "I hated this" so many times during a movie in a long time. Take out the voice over and this is instantly better. Maybe the first time I've seen a movie where I can actually tell the screenplay is bad and that it was written by the novelist. There's a better movie in here, somewhere? It should have just been about painting.
Jenny Slate singing the Mourners Kadish is good.
The scene in the dressing room when Jolson puts on blackface and then has an emotional conversation with his girlfriend and his mother is utterly baffling and bizarre no matter how many times I see it. Blackface gives him some kind of emotional access to sadness, while also alerting us to his modernity. Also further troubling when you realize he's performing minstrelsy every time he sings a song "jazzy," it's only at the emotional moments that he's in blackface!
Watching this again, without the burden of trying to puzzle through narrative, I was able to appreciate just how skillfully and complexly Kon is able to blur so many boundaries. Identities, spaces, time, fictive representations on screens (textual and visual) all overlap. It's remarkable how prescient Kon was about the violent misogyny bound to media landscapes twenty years ago. I can only imagine what kind of hell world he would be able to imagine if he was still alive to see the 2018 internet, but perhaps he already imagined it as well as anyone could.