By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

Andy Rector

“Don’t try to sound wise or informed about Jerry, don’t try to shed light.  He rejects being understood, quite properly, and his impulses live in darkness.  At any rate, nobody really knows anybody in this life, we’re all surprises—a fact Jerry’s every twitch elucidated.  The countless commentators who worked through the decades to label Jerry, judge him, pass sentence, never sat with him at table, yet eagerly framed him in personal, not professional, terms.  We never met, but I always cherish a tiny moment caught and held by Martin Scorsese in The King of Comedy, where a man I take to be very like Jerry, named, of course, Jerry, pauses in the atrium of his New York apartment to watch Sam Fuller’s Pickup on South Street on his television: the penetrating regard, the poise, the suspension of breath, the meticulous air of analysis (which I take to have belonged to both the onscreen Jerry I watch there and the real Jerry playing him) give me a thrill, as though in working to scrutinize this TV watcher I am picking up some of the mojo that is already his, in watching the film on his screen.  Perhaps Jerry Langford isn’t Jerry Lewis in any way, and I’m not getting anywhere near Jerry Lewis by observing him, but I really don’t believe that.

It seems he was always in the glare of one light or another, arclight, klieg light, candlelight, sun. That for him being in the light came naturally (stepping out through the billboard mouth hole in Artists and Models) and therefore couldn’t have been a torture.  Yet can we ever be sure?  Think of Bertolt Brecht’s lines for Kurt Weill:

Some in light and some in darkness
That’s the kind of world we mean.
Those you see are in the daylight.
Those in darkness don’t get seen.

Since, watching Jerry, we sit in the darkness, can we really know what it is to suffer illumination—always unless one retreats, from every side, and with howling voices?  Jerry’s performative antics were hugely visual. It is interesting that Jerry, an unwavering source of brilliance, was somehow not a source of illumination.  Illumination was neither his method nor his path, although he was a blinding sun.  The confession speech at the end of The Nutty Professor, where he breaks up during “That Old Black Magic,” then stands on the stage and tells the story of his life:  it is pure sunshine, if also, simultaneously, degradation. ”
~ Andy Rector

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“Film festivals, for those who don’t know, are not exactly the glitzy red carpet affairs you see on TV. Those do happen, but they’re a tiny part of the festival. The main part of any film festival are the thousands of people with festival passes hanging on lanyards beneath their anoraks, carrying brochures for movies you have never and will never hear of, desperately scrabbling to sell whatever movie it is to buyers from all over the world. Every hotel bar, every cafe, every restaurant is filled to the brim with these people, talking loudly about non-existent deals. The Brits are the worst because most of the British film industry, with a few honourable exceptions, are scam artists and chancers who move around from company to company failing to get anything good made and trying to cast Danny Dyer in anything that moves. I’m seeing guys here who I first met twenty years ago and who are still wearing the same clothes, doing the same job (albeit for a different company) and spinning the same line of bullshit about how THIS movie has Al Pacino or Meryl Streep or George Clooney attached and, whilst that last one didn’t work out, THIS ONE is going to be HUGE. As the day goes on, they start drinking and it all gets ugly and, well, that’s why I’m the guy walking through the Tiergarten with a camera taking pictures of frozen lakes and pretending this isn’t happening.

“Berlin is cool, though and I’ve been lucky to be doing meetings with some people who want to actually get things done. We’ll see what comes of it.”
~ Julian Simpson 

“The difference between poetry and prose, and why if you’re not acculturated to poetry, you might resist it: that page is frightening. Why is it not filled? The two categories of people who don’t feel that way are children and prisoners. So many prison poets; they see that gap and experience it differently. I’m for the gap!”
~ Poet Eileen Myles