Written on the Wind
Jean-Luc Godard once wrote that “the only logic that concerns Sirk is delirium” and though this glossy studio director held a privileged place in the affections of the Cahiers du cinema critics—along with such 1950s melodramatists as Minnelli, Preminger and Ray—Sirk’s greatest influence emerged a decade after the new wave in the films of fellow German Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Written on the Wind, which has not screened since "Fassbinder and his Friends" in 1998 where it was paired with Chinese Roulette, depicts a wealthy Texas oil family that is torn apart by alcoholism, jealousy, impotence, nymphomania, and the false gods of happiness and success. In this hot house drama, played out in a nouveau riche mansion awash in icy blues, jarring reds, and garish artificial lighting, the four main characters live surrounded by mirrors and flower arrangements, a cold and deceptive environment where the possessions of middle-class life displace true human feelings. Taking its cue from the driven, destructive siblings played by Stack and Malone, Written on the Wind is the Sirk’s most dynamic melodrama, and the film that inspired Fassbinder to write that “the good, the ‘normal’, the ‘beautiful’ are always utterly revolting; the evil, the weak, the dissolute arouse one’s compassion… In the same way, the camera angles are almost always tilted, mostly from below, so that the strange things that happen in the story happen on the screen and not just in the spectator’s head.”
Bing Theater | $5 admission | Tickets: 323 857-6010 or purchase online.