‘Final Cut’: A crazy-quilt love letter to cinema
A 3.5-star review of György Pálfi’s cinematic collage, “Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen.”
Seattle Times movie critic
‘Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen,’ directed by György Pálfi. 85 minutes. Not rated; for mature audiences (contains nudity and sexuality). SIFF Cinema at the Uptown, through Thursday.
You’ll never see another movie quite like “Final Cut: Ladies and Gentlemen” — even though you’ve probably already seen most of it before. Hungarian filmmaker György Pálfi (“Hukkle,” “I Am Not Your Friend”) has meticulously assembled clips from 450 classic films, and cut them together in a way that tells the most well-known of movie stories: Boy meets girl, love ensues, trouble brews, love conquers all. It’s a cast of thousands, and yet somehow the narrative emerges; this unique film is both a simple story and a vast love letter to cinema.
Most of the clips are only a few seconds long, and it’s fascinating to identify them as they fly by: snippets of “Chinatown,” “Vertigo,” “Dirty Dancing” and “American Graffiti” pass, during a sequence when our hero and heroine are in a car. As She turns away from He, we morph from Audrey Hepburn turning away from Gregory Peck in “Roman Holiday,” to Elastagirl running away in “The Incredibles,” to Rhett gazing at Scarlett in “Gone with the Wind” as she walks away. Charlie Chaplin puts on a jacket to leave the house, and suddenly he’s John Travolta, strutting in “Saturday Night fever.” There’s a chorus of women saying a jubilant “yes”; a rapid-fire sequence of men smoking cigarettes; a late, ecstatic series of couples running toward each other — all set to a score of iconic movie music, each blending into the other. (“Lara’s Theme” from “Dr. Zhivago” morphs into the theme from “E.T.,” not un-mellifluously.)
You watch “Final Cut” savoring every moment, while shaking your head at this wildly ambitious endeavor, which must have taken Pálfi years of work (for little remuneration; he’s using these clips without permission from their copyright owners, so the film likely can’t be shown in a for-profit theater). For cinephiles, it’s a rare treat; a crazy, creative burst of movie love.
Moira Macdonald: 206-464-2725 or firstname.lastname@example.org