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Friday, December 20, 2013

Wise Blood (1979) d. John Houston

Harry Dean Stanton in John Houston's 1979 film Wise Blood

Movie Review
Wise Blood (1979)
 d. John Houston
Criterion Collection #470

  Yeah I mean I've lived my whole life and I just found out that "Southern Gothic" is a literary genre, that Flannery O'Connor is emblematic of the Southern Gothic literary genre, that Wise Blood was Flannery O'Connor's first novel and that it was published in 1956, and that this film version- WHICH IS AMAZING- was made by John Houston in 1979, and set in the 1970s.  I watched Wise Blood simply because it is on my Hulu Plus quesue and close to the bottom- and is an actual Criterion Collection title vs. those Eclipse titles they try to pawn off as legit Criterion Collection titles.

  Wise Blood is like a constituent element of what we would today call "Lynchian" though it also dove-tails with contemporary film makers like Harmony Korine, as well as the American independent films of the 60s and 70s.  That Lynchian aspect is emphasized by the sepulchral presence of Harry Dean Stanton as a "blind" preacher.  All of the performances are creepy and distinctly "southern" in tone.  Presumably, Houston made a conscious choice to transport the late 50s time of the book to a late 70s reality.

  If you are a fan of the Jarmusch/Lynch/Van Sant wing of the Indie Film Museum- don't miss Wise Blood- it is a  MUST.

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