Format: Internet video on laptop.
Dear Mario Peixoto,
It’s my understanding that Limite is your only film. I hope I’m not being too blunt when I tell you that it really looks like this was your only film. I’m not entirely sure what you were attempting in a film where virtually nothing happens for close to two hours. People sail on a boat. They don’t seem to have any particular direction or a goal in mind. They just sail. Oh, and they remember their past. But that’s really it. And that doesn’t explain the extended shots of…a spool of thread and a measuring tape? I’m not really sure. I gather these items are important to one of our characters, but did we really need to look at each one for 10-15 seconds?
I know that experimental films and art films are given a sort of license to do something different. After all, that’s the nature of experimental film. If you didn’t play around with notions of narrative or plot or character, it wouldn’t be much of an experiment. That said, Mr. Peixoto, even an experimental film has to have a point. I had flashbacks of watching Jeanne Dielmann while sitting through your film, and you need to understand that nothing that reminds me of that experience is ever a positive thing.
Oh, I get it. You should be mildly proud of yourself for pulling off this complete goof. Seriously, it’s something to be proud of. You put together a bunch of random images, concocted something that is sort of like a story but isn’t really, and evidently got the art and film world to decide that it’s something important and deeply meaningful. That’s a great scam if you can pull it off. Luis Bunuel did it a few times, too. However, when he did it, he generally had the good sense and common decency to keep the film under 30 minutes as he did with Un Chien Andalou or Las Hurdes.
I know we’ve never met and I also know you’ve been dead for more than 20 years. That doesn’t prevent me from wanting to punch you in the face for this cinematic pile.
I have defended both The List and the concept of The List for a good four years now. I was quite interested in the 5% (or so) remaking of the list with the latest edition. I have seen a couple of those new films, but the majority will be new to me. While I think there are still massive gaps in what is represented—no Ray Harryhausen work, for instance—I have still tirelessly made my way through each and every film. More than that, I have attempted to understand the value of each film and why a particular film might be required viewing when it seems at first blush to have little value.
You have reached the very edge of my patience with Limite, though. Your write-up of the film suggests that both David Bowie and Orson Welles are and were fans of this film. I ask you plainly what possible relevance this could have. I think John Waters seems like a guy who would be fun to hang out with, and he thinks Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is the greatest movie ever made. And really, that film is complete shit. Someone else finding value here doesn’t mean that anyone else will.
I’m not going to go on a rant here, although I could. There are so many other good films, meaningful films, important films that could have been placed in the collection of new movies added to The List. Inherit the Wind, with its conflict between science and religion, is more relevant today than when it was made. 28 Days Later cleverly and terrifyingly rewrote an entire subgenre of film. The beautiful and sweet Amelie was removed unjustly and never returned. Do we get those? No, we get Limite. Did we get the existential drama of The Truman Show? No. Limite.
Instead of something intelligent, something moving, something profound, we get a film that focuses on water pouring out of a spigot, sideways shots of a street, and lingering shots of a fish gasping for breath.
This emperor has no clothes, and it parades through town for two hours. This was a bad addition and you should feel bad for including it as something people ought to watch.
Why to watch Limite: You’re a list completist.
Why not to watch: Every 30 seconds, you’ll wonder why you are spending your time watching it.