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Arizona Dream – 1993 Kusturica
- Delightfully unpredictable– Emir Kusturica’s English language debut is a blend of surrealism narrative stream-of-consciousness and (seemingly) improvisation
- Johnny Depp stars- and he’s good here, as are Faye Dunaway, Lili Taylor and Vincent Gallo (Jerry Lewis doesn’t fare quite as well) though this isn’t a major resume-builder for anyone involved. This is made during that stretch where Depp was an indie film god—taking on challenging films and roles, shunning his good looks, and working with auteurs who shared his creative spirit
- Iggy Pop song over the titles and a sort of a flight of a red balloon as Depp’s characters dreams end and we’re in his (strange) head for the voice-over narration
- A great long-take introduction of Taylor and Dunaway at the 25 minute mark as the camera is spinning around the car dealership
- There are tiny flubs in the line-reading (like Dunaway getting the story wrong (I believe on accident) about how warriors wouldn’t eat turtles. Kusturica’s focus is on the 180 degree shot at the dinner table with real turtles crawling all over the actors who look like they’re performing an actor’s improv exercise as much as they are playing a character (Gallo does a monologue from the cowardly lion from the Wizard of Oz during a characters suicide attempt). The creativity is largely in the writing, acting and narrative (which should be applauded – and it is why it is in the archives)—but there isn’t a lot of chance-taking in the filmmaking or visuals
- Accordion playing, stories about Papua New Guinea, Russian roulette, Gallo’s one-man performance theater of North by Northwest and mimicking The Godfather Part II, flying fish—it is utterly bizarre.
- Recommend but not in the top 10 of 1993.