Deconstructing Henry

Jaglom's Deja Vu is "been there, done that" all over again

In 1992's Venice, Venice--which took place in both Italy and Southern California, hence the (wink, wink, nudge, nudge) name--parody came so close to reality that it was hard to tell if the film was a put-on or not. Jaglom played, effectively, himself--an outspoken, self-professed "maverick" American director who picks up beautiful women and says swoony romantic things about how much more emotionally complicated women are than men.

Perhaps the most dangerous thing about Jaglom isn't that he makes crummy, heavily promoted films with an unheard-of speed (the guy's indisputably a workhorse, or, at least, a hard-working mule), but the influence he's had on young, impressionable filmmakers. The brightest lights in the generation now coming of age--Richard Linklater (Slacker, The Newton Boys), Julie Davis (whose often-charming debut, I Love You, Don't Touch Me, included a nod in the master's direction), and Whit Stillman (Metropolitan, Barcelona and The Last Days of Disco)--all seem like considerable talents who've fallen victim to Jaglom's excessively discursive style. His "idiosyncratic filmmaking" is the sign of a director who understands little about visual storytelling and doesn't trust his actors to define themselves through their actions. And these idiosyncrasies seem to be spreading like an intractable rash.

Deja Vu
Directed by Henry Jaglom; with Victoria Foyt, Stephen Dillane and Vanessa Redgrave.


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