Brief encounters with Faust

by Ranier-Atlas Faustbinder

So this guy rolls up to the counter while I’m working at the movie theatre—this was months, almost a year ago—and is like “I’m M. Faust.” Shit, I told him I was Tone. Nice to meet you, I said. Then he said “no, I’m here to review a movie.” For what, I asked? “Artvoice.” Why didn’t you say so? “I did.” No, you said you were M. Faust. “I am.” Interesting.

I should’ve known that when he says “I’m M. Faust,” he really means: Hello kind sir, I am here as a member, well, really a film critic for the Artvoice. Do you mind if I view a film, as I need to write a review on it? I met Roger Ebert once, at the Toronto Film Festival, so I know critics. Oh, and my friend Renee’s brother Tim once had a picture taken with big Rog. It’s on her refrigerator. I once read a book by Pauline Kael, too.

Cut: a few months later.

Zero, the Brown-Eyed Bandit and I are rolling to the Market Arcade to peep out a special engagement—of course hosted by the Faust—of Fallen Angels on a Thursday; as usual, we were fashionably late. It was summer, 6:57 in the P.M. You know what that means: Thursday in the Square—and the movie starts in three-minutes. Parking was an unpaid hooker. We broke a right into the M & T parking lot, as we were in a rush to view the brilliance of Wong-Kar Wai, and this car attempts a left turn simultaneously. It was him. The critic. The myth. Now, I’m not the world’s greatest driver, but I’m pretty sure that those turning right have the right of way. I’m not saying that he was wrong but… it wasn’t my fault he was late. Who would be late for a film that he is screening? Exactly. I feel him though; he is the almighty Faust. Why shouldn’t he be extended driving privileges prohibited to others? Luckily, we made it in before him, and were able to see the whole flick.

Cut: Two years earlier.

I’m at this dive of a movie rental store. The kind of (I’m better than you) place that won’t—or wouldn’t at the time—carry DVDs. You know, Jack Black and John Cusack worked at a similar record store. After perusing, I strolled up to the counter and asked, “do you carry Romance?” The man behind said counter clamped his teeth down hard, frowned, and tilted his nose up to say “Yes.” I think everyone should follow the directions as to how he said this to get the real feeling: try it…now clamp your teeth down, point the corners of your mouth towards hell and tilt your head back without moving your eyeballs. Good. Now say, “Yes.” “Where would I find it,” I asked? “Over that way,” the helpful clerk pointed with his nose as he continued, “you know, they carry that at Blockbuster.” The only thing worse than renting from Blockbuster is working for DVD Dot. The only thing worse than either of those is Mondo Video.

*Doo dee doo doo, doo dee doo doo: You’ve entered a dimension where hack film critics are high society…Self-indulgence is rewarded with pay…Local celebrity gets you free movie viewings…Fledgling rental stores don’t really want to rent and make some dough, they just want to let you know that they’ve seen more films than you have and they know which ones are quality…and that they are therefore better than you.

***No film critics were harmed during the construction of this article—if you can call it that.

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