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Friday, July 15, 2011

The Meaning of Gritnik

Everything started with a movie review that I have read. It was for Wong Kar-Wai's Days of Being Wild:

This is raw and touching and real, like the best of gritnik cinema done by a romantic. Sam Peckinpah was another big romantic of gritnik cinema, but his romance was masculine and fatalist, he was speaking about the ends of things. Wong-Kar Wai tells us about love and obsession, and what it takes for something to begin.

It was the first time I was meeting with this word, gritnik, and I wondered about the meaning.

The reviewer used as pen-name Chaos-Rampant and I sent him a message asking for the meaning of the word. I haven't got an answer yet, unfortunately.

I looked for gritnik on the web, with the hope of finding the definition. I found only references to this word.

The first reference was in a blog (Terra Damnata): it was talking about Extreme Prejudice, a movie from 1987 by Walter Hill, featuring Nick Nolte.

It's an action film but it has character and style that will be appreciated more by that niche audience comprising of fans of action movies and 70's gritnik crime cinema, the kind of substratum Walter Hill proudly inhabited in the 70's with films like THE DRIVER.

Well, gritnik seemed to be some kind of a key-word for thrillers made in the seventies. I found the word then in another review, made by the same Chaos-Rampant. This time it was for The Getaway, a movie made in 1972 by Sam Peckinpah and featuring Steve McQueen:

This is not the gritnik poetry that is Alfredo Garcia, but as gritnik cinema it's near the top looking down.

I asked then a distinguished friend, Ms. Nadia Brunstein. She told me that she had never met with this word, gritnik, but she thought that it could come from gritty: coarse, harsh, while resolute in doing your business, whatever it is.

It seemed to me very plausible and I started to use the word myself. No wonder this blog came quickly in the list of references for gritnik! So it goes.

(or maybe it's time to start watching the movies of Peckinpah?)

(A Life in Books)



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