Kid Auto Races at Venice is a lovely film if you like Chaplin. If you don't like Chaplin then its sort of pointless, but that doesn't really matter, because if you don't like Chaplin your life is probably pretty pointless anyways.

The film is simple, it is the second film Chaplin ever made, and the plot involves him standing in front of a camera while it tries to film an auto race. Interestingly, people at the time this was shown probably wondered why this tramp was always in front of the camera (the gag of the film), but watching it now you wonder why the camera is paying more attention to the auto-race than Charlie.

The reason why the film is charming of course is that the tramp is a mythic character, he is perhaps the most famous character in the history of cinema, and in the course of his narrative (which correlates in time roughly the period of Chaplin's life), he managed to take part in dozens of major events, even foiling Hitler. Through all of these films though he never really 'impacts' himself on the scenario that he is involved in. No one in the film world knows that the tramp foiled Hitler and gave the blind their sight, but those people in the audience know that the magic to effect everything around him was always close at hand for the tramp, even if the little man didn't know it.

The story of the tramp runs alongside the story of Chaplin, the sad, incredibly handsome Englishman who had an unhealthy thing for young women and leftist causes. Who had a bit of magic of his own, and was, according to W.C. Fields "the best ballet dancer ever." Both Chaplin and the tramp created their magic and were swept aside, the tramp of course was beyond reproach, Chaplin unfortunately was not. But in a way more real then it might seem at first both characters were living their lives together.

The entire purpose of cinema, to my mind, is to show that there are aspects of all humans that are beyond judgement, that the movement of a series of still images has a certain religious beauty to it.

Kid Auto Races at Venice should not be watched for comedy, it should be watched to remind us that strange and magical people occasionally get in our way when we're trying to watch the goddamn race.

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