Pierre Etaix

film 6 of 6

Land of Milk and Honey

Tweet Review by Dean Duncan Jun 16, 2015 @deanduncan63

The Etaix-fest concludes. Saw #LandofMilk&Honey. The career-killer, they say. You can see why, but so interesting!

#LandofMilk&Honey. He’d long been staging his gags w’in the frame. This is an exercise in laying the comedy across the cut …

… Drawing upon the Soviets on purpose?

#LandofMilk&Honey. As intellectual montage this is no more heavy handed than the fat capitalists in Strike or The End of St. Petersburg

… the balalaikas in October, the religious procession in Old & New, the bourgeois land owners in Earth.

#LandofMilk&Honey. Now he’s made a full length, non-fiction version of Godard’s Weekend/traffic jam, which has haunted …

… and inspired before this point. This might make that point, all those points even better.

#LandofMilk&Honey. It’s actually a lot like Chronicle of a Summer (1961, q.v.), Rouch/Morin’s seminal exercise …

… in existential Mass Observation. But Etaix, though pretty clearly a genius, is no anthropologist, nor a native documentarian …

… and here he has quite clearly got in over his head.

#LandofMilk&Honey. The problem may be that this film isn’t just influenced by Chronicle of a Summer, but that in fact it is the child …

… of Chronicle of a Summer & Mondo Cane. Etaix isn’t just in it for the xenophobic yuks, but his error …

… was to turn that dire, Juvenalian gaze away from the crazy foreigners, & onto his own compatriots.

#LandofMilk&Honey. The old ?. Are they stupid? Or did he make them look stupid? Or, if they really are stupid, why’d he have to show them up as such?

#LandofMilk&Honey. Shows what happens when you ask vague questions of poor, plain people, & keep the camera running. The results are not pretty.

#LandofMilk&Honey. Here’s the surprising thing. Dear Pierre Etaix ran into the Yahoos from Gulliver, pt. IV, & turned into despairing Jonathan Swift!