You have to, you just have to appreciate a film company that’s willing to distribute rare films to the film buffs of America, and one of the prime examples of the sort of material Facets Video are releasing is “Goldstein”, a film master Jean Renoir dubbed “The best American film I have seen in 20 years”. A student film originally from director Phillip Kaufman, “Goldstein” is sometimes ridiculous, sometimes crude, and yet oddly enough, entertaining as an absurdist comedy. In its utterly nonsensical premise and odd foibles, it really does display a knack and hint of original filmmaking.
Sometimes it’s a mix of Jim Jarmusch’s “Coffee and Cigarettes” featuring vignettes of people sitting around eating, occasionally musing on life over coffee and whatnot, and in one odd sequence a man dances in the background while a couple argues, and improvising conversation that’s not always compelling but still fascinating in its way. And most of it is just slapstick with this old man named Goldstein who is a hermit of the city and quite an eccentric, getting in weird adventures in the old Chicago running in to psychotic meat packers, and a violin player, and encountering odd people. In its rambling presence, Kaufman’s film really does have an idea on what sort of film it’s trying to be. It’s more comedy in the long run than actual pretensions and is a statement of the type of director Kaufman would inevitably become.