Bring ‘The Limits of Control’ to Madison… please?

As I alluded to earlier today, last night’s “No Deachunter” show at the Memorial Union Terrace more than lived up to my expectation that it would be a “phenomenological clusterfuck,” that is to say, it was a rare and intense experience. For whatever reason, the vibes generated by the whole event reminded me of the response I had to Jim Jarmusch’s most recent film, The Limits of Control, which is not coincidentally one of the best films I’ve seen this year. It would’ve been nice to discuss the phenomenological similarities between what I guess you could call a “noise-rock concert” and what I guess you could call a “plotless and extremely stoned work of cinematic metaphysics”; unfortunately, I don’t know anyone in Madison who has seen The Limits of Control, nor do I know anyone who has even had the opportunity to see the film, which came out in May.

I was lucky in the sense that I spent a substantial portion of my summer in New York City, and thus was able to see a number of films which haven’t yet been or will not be released here in the 608. But of all the films for which I spent too much money on tickets, The Limits of Control would be the surest thing with Madison audiences; Jarmusch seems to have a following anywhere that people have beards, wear plastic-rimmed glasses and ride single-gear bikes. I know that most of the NY critics gave the film a lukewarm reception, but still: if so many people were willing to crowd the Terrace and spend $10+ on beer, wouldn’t they likely be willing to fork over a similar amount of dough on one of the year’s most interesting and stimulating films? Maybe my logic here is a little presumptuous, and I’m basically ignorant when it comes to the politics of film distribution, but honestly, what does a theater like Sundance have to lose that they won’t compensate for with their Manhattan-like ticket prices?

And while I’m on the subject, it’d be really nice if we could get Jia Zhangke’s most recent film, 24 City, sometime before year’s end. 24 City played at the MMoCA (hint hint) during the Wisconsin Film Festival, though I didn’t get to see the film until it enjoyed a critically successful run in NYC this summer. 24 City is probably my favorite film of 2009 thus far, and it’d be tremendous to be able to give another look to such an emotionally and formally dense work of art.

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