Sunday, September 1, 2013

TCM's salute to Telluride

Monday is the annual Labor Day salute to the Telluride Film Festival on TCM, although this year the salute only runs until 8:00 PM. Still, there are a couple of shorts on the schedule that I'd like to mention.

First, at 2:15 PM, is Happy Anniversary (or Heureux Anniversaire in the original French). This one first showed up on TCM back in April, when they ran a night of movies made by Pierre Étaix back in April. This one is a really whimsical little 15-minute short in which Étaix plays a man trying to buy a special gift for his wife on their anniversary, with her waiting at home. Unfortunately, he runs into a series of humorous problems, many of which relate to Paris' brutal traffic jams. There's a running joke through the short of Étaix having borrowed a parking spot from a man in the middle of getting a shave and a haircut, only for a third party to take the spot once Étaix vacates it. Meanwhile, the wife, waiting at home, decides to have a glass of the wine that she bought for their anniversary dinner. Happy Anniversary is a wonderful comic short that transcends languages and is good for the whole family. Even children who are too young to read subtitles should be able to get all the visual humor, of which there is a lot.

The other short is Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe, which is on at 7:30 PM. The genesis of this short has to do with documentary filmmaker Errol Morris. In the late 1970s, Morris was having trouble making a documentary he was doing on pet cemeteries. Herzog, the famous German director, made a bet with Morris that if Morris could complete his documentary, Herzog would eat his shoe. Morris eventually made Gates of Heaven and, sure enough, Herzog followed through on his half of the bargain, cooking at least the leather parts of his shoe, garnishing them and eating them, all the while giving his view on the state of modern entertainment.

Happy Anniversary is listed as not being available for purchase from the TCM shop; Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe is listed, being an extra on a DVD of Burden of Dreams (airing at 5:45 PM Monday), which is about the difficulties Herzog faced making Fitzcarraldo.

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