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Master Mashup Mixes Masterpieces

'Final Cut: Ladies & Gentlemen' runs at Drafthouse for two days only
Monica Riese, 10:30am, Fri. May. 17, 2013

We are all, if nothing else, storytellers.

But you've never seen a story quite like Final Cut: Ladies & Gentlemen. Or then again, maybe it's the only story any of us has ever seen.

Confused yet? The film, a project by Hungarian filmmaker György Pálfi is the ultimate film lover's film, in part because each of its constituent parts is a masterpiece. Using quick cuts (like, nothing longer than 20 seconds, and most more in the two-to-three-second range) and the impressive editing chops of Judit Czako, Nóra Richter, Károly Szalai, and Réka Lemhényi, Pálfi has stitched together 450-odd films and movies to tell one overarching story.

Each of the clips is almost the same shot – clocks tick, smoke curls languorously upward, and one Lady and one Gentlemen (portrayed by some of the finest actors in cinematic history) wake, clean, eat, chase, dance, kiss, sing, eat, flirt, fight, wed, touch, sleep, drink, etc. It's almost enough to convince you that we've all been telling one another the same story since the beginning of time.

And sure: In a way, we have: We live, we love, we fight, we grieve, we die, we dream.

But when you look more closely (or come across a series of source material you know, because who can compete with the encyclopedic knowledge of Pálfi, really?), you realize each clip is not only from different movies and different eras, but from different contexts as well. There's sci-fi, romance, comedies, tragedies, action movies, and more, in probably a dozen different languages. Yoda joins in a supercut of matronly caretakers, mothers, fairy godmothers; Woody Allen sighs alongside Han Solo. And some pairings are just too good: Lando Calrissian joins Liesl in The Sound of Music; James Bond and Amelie exchange meaningful glances; The Graduate butts up against Cinderella.

But here's the catch: Pálfi didn't actually obtain the rights to use any of these clips (and when you watch the credits roll, you realize it'd be nigh impossible to even try). It's billed as a "recycled movie," "a film for educational purposes," but let's be honest: That's going to be a difficult sell.

So it's been making quiet rounds at festivals – garnering praise and inspiring awe along the way – but if you don't catch it here, you may never get another chance.

It'd be your loss, it'd be Pálfi's loss, and it'd be a loss to the greater cinematic community – one great big supercut of sadness. Don't mess this up.


Final Cut: Ladies & Gentlemen screens Saturday, May 18, 4:30pm, and Monday, May 20, 7pm, at the Alamo Drafthouse at the Ritz (320 E. Sixth). Visit the Drafthouse website for complete details and ticketing information.

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