Recently Watched Films 2020

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Dan Warburton
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Recently Watched Films 2020

Post by Dan Warburton »

Happy New Year all - before you ask, no, I haven't actually seen a film since midnight :) , but had this review "oven ready" so here goes

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Anna Karina, Vivre ensemble, 1972

allmovie.com: "The stodgy life that schoolteacher Alain led before he met Julie was all that kept him together. When they become lovers, she induces him to loosen up and introduces him to her drug-taking, hippie friends. At first he cannot get along with them, but eventually he loses his job and gives himself over to drugs and drink. She tries increasingly frantically to keep him with her, but he finally walks out on her. By that time, they have had a baby."
How much better the late great Anna Karina's only venture into directing would have been if she'd secured the services of a decent male actor instead of the decidedly dull Michel Lancelot is a question worth pondering. Karina is a fragile creature, and above that famous smile are those melancholy eyes - but without a solid actor to play off (and what happens to Alain is more important in the movie than what happens to her), frustration sets in. But anyway, a great period piece, now waiting for some decent subs to show up. Meanwhile, RIP once again.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

Post by Dan Warburton »

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Manolo Nieto , La perrera, 2006

I know precious little about Uruguay, other than the capital is Montevideo and that they once had a rather good national football team, but I have to say I'm not exactly tempted to rush to visit after seeing the dusty, depressing place where most of the action takes place here. Not clear if it's actually called La Perrera, which also translates as dog pound, or if that's just a nickname, appropriate enough for an off-season beach community of poor, unemployed, bored and sexually frustrated males. David, our antihero, is trying hard to be a student, but not exactly bursting with motivation to succeed, shall we say. He's more interested in weed and wanking, spending daddy's money. Until Daddy comes to visit and cuts him off, ordering him to build a house on the adjacent piece of land in exchange for financing his future, erm, studies. You don't want to see the house, believe me. But whatever, Nieto's film is very good, recalling the slowmotion desolation of Lisandro Alonso - and when things get ugly, as they do, studiously avoiding a Deliverance-like apocalypse. But something happened that night.. Nice work.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

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Laurent Cantet, Vers le sud, 2005

Sex tourism for middle aged white women looking for paid sex with young black males (I snatched this after the Seidl trilogy first part, similar subject matter) in the febrile police state of Haïti in the late 70s. Three potentially interesting subjects, but none of them were particularly well-defined or explored in any depth. The script's dull and rather unrealistic, the performances uninspiring - Rampling is OK but her character is such a bitch it's hard to connect - and the filming is flabby, with neither pace nor tension. A drag, a bore.
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henriq
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

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Dan Warburton wrote:Image

Laurent Cantet, Vers le sud, 2005

Sex tourism for middle aged white women looking for paid sex with young black males (I snatched this after the Seidl trilogy first part, similar subject matter) in the febrile police state of Haïti in the late 70s. Three potentially interesting subjects, but none of them were particularly well-defined or explored in any depth. The script's dull and rather unrealistic, the performances uninspiring - Rampling is OK but her character is such a bitch it's hard to connect - and the filming is flabby, with neither pace nor tension. A drag, a bore.
Happy to see we're on the same page, completely, re Cantet and that crap movie.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

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Ken Russell, Lisztomania, 1975

It's about time this one got the deluxe reissue treatment - but then we might be able to see how tacky some of the sets are.. But what sets! It must have been a blast to work with Ken, designing enormous piano keyboard fireplaces, a ten-foot-long penis, an organ-pipe spaceship, the list goes on.. Of course, it's at one and the same time totally fucking potty (you'll love Wagner (Paul Nicholas) reincarnated as Hitler robot with electric guitar machine gun, or Rick Wakeman as Siegfried, not to mention Ringo Starr as The Pope..) and, amazingly, more or less true with regard to the biography of the Abbé himself. Wakeman also dishes out the prog rehashes of Liebestraum, which are so awful they're actually rather wonderful.
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henriq
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

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Jacques Rivette - Va savoir (2001)

It’s actually hard to wrap my head around how fucking awesome this film is. Only the second time I see it, but what a delight! The way the theatre bleeds into the spaces around it…but not quite: an argument or schematic sort of hinted at, contoured, that then fades away. The detective story of the director’s hunt for the unpublished Goldoni piece, even a slow motion heist movie with Todeschini’s dragueur and the diamond ring, and then…back to the theatre with the delicious seduction of de Fougerolles by Castellitto at the banks of the Seine! And the complex emotional drama outlined throughout it all lifted with supreme grace and lack of effort into the lightest and funniest of comedy with the drinking duel in the rafters of the theatre. (That, and Catherine Rouvel’s sneezing the moment she steps into the library). A wonderful film.

henriq
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

Post by henriq »

Dan Warburton wrote:Image

Laurent Cantet, Vers le sud, 2005

Sex tourism for middle aged white women looking for paid sex with young black males (I snatched this after the Seidl trilogy first part, similar subject matter) in the febrile police state of Haïti in the late 70s. Three potentially interesting subjects, but none of them were particularly well-defined or explored in any depth. The script's dull and rather unrealistic, the performances uninspiring - Rampling is OK but her character is such a bitch it's hard to connect - and the filming is flabby, with neither pace nor tension. A drag, a bore.
Or, returning a bit more in depth on this, imagine what could have been done here. An imaginary screenplay, if you will: Schroeder does Fassbinder by way of Rohmer's beach. Lots of talk on an aristocratic beach (Pauline, Clare), bodies used and abused, piling up (Nos virgen de los sicarios). Hell, throw in Tourneur's I walked with a zombie for the colonial perspective, or Duras with her aristos pointing at death and music outside the frame. Just a thought.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

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henriq wrote:
Laurent Cantet, Vers le sud, 2005

Or, returning a bit more in depth on this, imagine what could have been done here. An imaginary screenplay, if you will: Schroeder does Fassbinder by way of Rohmer's beach. Lots of talk on an aristocratic beach (Pauline, Clare), bodies used and abused, piling up (Nos virgen de los sicarios). Hell, throw in Tourneur's I walked with a zombie for the colonial perspective, or Duras with her aristos pointing at death and music outside the frame. Just a thought.
Yes yes.. the path not taken, indeed. I guess you've seen Seidl's Paradis Liebe? Would be good to know your thoughts on that one.. Meanwhile -
henriq wrote:
Jacques Rivette - Va savoir (2001)

It’s actually hard to wrap my head around how fucking awesome this film is. Only the second time I see it, but what a delight! The way the theatre bleeds into the spaces around it…but not quite: an argument or schematic sort of hinted at, contoured, that then fades away. The detective story of the director’s hunt for the unpublished Goldoni piece, even a slow motion heist movie with Todeschini’s dragueur and the diamond ring, and then…back to the theatre with the delicious seduction of de Fougerolles by Castellitto at the banks of the Seine! And the complex emotional drama outlined throughout it all lifted with supreme grace and lack of effort into the lightest and funniest of comedy with the drinking duel in the rafters of the theatre. (That, and Catherine Rouvel’s sneezing the moment she steps into the library). A wonderful film.
You've given me a good idea there - this year (assuming the human race manages to reach the end of it) will be Return To Rivette year, time to revisit them all. But here's a good one for you Henrik (thanks again to Antoine for hipping me to it last year):

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Antonin Peretjatko, La fille du 14 juillet, 2013

Hilarious - but also smart and very well done in every sense. There's a rich tradition of road (or "going on holiday") movies in French cinema - from Pierrot le fou via Le plein de super and Les valseuses to Sans toit ni loi (the list goes on..), and Peretjatko seems to be as familiar with them as he is with Rozier, Rohmer and mainstream French comedy, from the wackiness of de Funès and the Café de la Gare crew to the sheer anarchy of Faraldo's Themroc. Vimala Pons and Vincent Macaigne great as ever. A delight!
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henriq
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

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Dan Warburton wrote: Yes yes.. the path not taken, indeed. I guess you've seen Seidl's Paradis Liebe? Would be good to know your thoughts on that one..
Do you know, I have a huge backlog of Seidl to get through. I'm almost ashamed to say the last thing of his I saw was Hundstage, or maybe Jesus, you know. I'll have to do something about it. But, foregone conclusion that I'll like it better than Cantet's.

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Piano Mouth
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

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I saw the new Terrence Mallick film, "A Hidden Life" with my mom in the theater and we both enjoyed it a lot.

Dan Warburton
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

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Martin Scorsese / Francis Ford Coppola / Woody Allen, New York Stories, 1989

Why on earth did they bother? Did they need some extra pocket money, or something? Roger's more or less on the one here https://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/new- ... ories-1989 but I think even he's being far too nice. Despite respectable performances from Nolte and Arquette and fine cinematography from Nestor Almendros, the Scorsese tale is slight (who gives a toss about the love life of a spoiled middle-aged mediocre painter in a SoHo loft?); the Woody Allen Jewish mother jokes soon run out of steam (she should have stayed missing); and the Coppola segment (ironically the only one whose locations are recognisably New York) is simply fucking awful - and I thought Youth Without Youth was bad. I can't believe the man who made The Conversation and the Godfathers could have turned out dross like this. Jaysus.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

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ANU wrote:Image

Frank Beauvais, Ne croyez surtout pas que je hurle, 2019.
January 2016. The love story that brought me to the village of Alsace where I live has been over for six months. At 45, I am now alone, without a car, without a job or a real prospect for the future, in the heart of a luxuriant nature whose proximity is not enough to calm the deep distress in which I am plunged. France, still in shock from the November attacks, is in a state of emergency. I feel helpless, I suffocate with a contained rage. Lost, I watch four to five movies a day. I decide to restore this stagnation, not by taking the camera but by using shots from the stream of films I watch.
Simply composed of film excerpts accompanying a magnificent and touching text. It illustrates again that you can do so much with small means. A masterpiece. If you get the chance to see it, don't miss it (if you're in France or something i guess...).
I just did - viva Karagarga! - and you're right. Christ, and I thought I wasn't too bad when it came to being a film buff - I managed to ID barely a dozen of the 400 quoted films (extracts of course tantalisingly brief, presumably for copyright reasons haha). This guy reminds me of a friend of mine (of ours, Henrik - I'm thinking of our pal Christian) who must be the only person I know with a house full of LPs, CDs and films.. But it's not him, I checked :) What a splendid concept - but it has to be said he doesn't come across as one of the world's most cheerful chappies, does he? I see a darkness, indeed. Very fine. Thanks for hipping me to it ANU
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

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Piano Mouth wrote:I saw the new Terrence Mallick film, "A Hidden Life" with my mom in the theater and we both enjoyed it a lot.
You're going to have to do a lot better than this if you're trying to make me want to see it. I thought his last three were terrible.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

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it was quite epic, from small village, to the bigger cities, one man who refuses to fight in the war as a Nazi, gets slammed for treason and is separated from his family. Is this Germany's Kobayashi? I immediately thought of his movie The Human Condition, where there was criticism about the Japanese character being so saintly and helpful to the Chinese during WWII, and refusing to do a lot heinous things to them as well.

I liked the animals in it a lot.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

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Dan Warburton wrote:
Piano Mouth wrote:I saw the new Terrence Mallick film, "A Hidden Life" with my mom in the theater and we both enjoyed it a lot.
You're going to have to do a lot better than this if you're trying to make me want to see it. I thought his last three were terrible.
Wow! I thought Tree of Life was wonderful! Now, it did tend to drag during the Penn scenes, but the dreamlike childhood scenes more than made up for it.

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

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I actually saw it after Christmas and before New Years', so technically this is the wrong thread, but Dan, I have to disagree with your assessment of the last 20 minutes of Parasite, I think the abrupt tonal shift from black comedy to a weird synthesis of surreal horror and melancholy social realism was great.

As a commentary on social class, I loved this film way more than the hugely overrated Joker (which I saw over the same weekend), since this film doesn't rely upon making its rich people one-dimensional assholes. In fact, the commentary is all the more trenchant for how nice the Park family are portrayed, versus the conniving and cunning Kims. It hits closer to home: in this world, working class people have to hustle. Whereas Joker's Arthur Fleck is like some hapless damsel from a Gilded Age American naturalist novel. (love the apocalyptic aesthetics of late-70s/early-80s Gotham/New York, though).

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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

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negative potential wrote:I actually saw it after Christmas and before New Years', so technically this is the wrong thread
No worries! To quote the mighty Pere Ubu song "one day fades to another" (and "the past fills up with failure")
negative potential wrote:but Dan, I have to disagree with your assessment of the last 20 minutes of Parasite, I think the abrupt tonal shift from black comedy to a weird synthesis of surreal horror and melancholy social realism was great
I'm sure you're right, and that I'll enjoy more second time round - I'm suffering of course from Pauline Kael Syndrome here, writing most of these capsule reviews based on one viewing. Which is daft.
negative potential wrote:the hugely overrated Joker (which I saw over the same weekend), since this film doesn't rely upon making its rich people one-dimensional assholes. In fact, the commentary is all the more trenchant for how nice the Park family are portrayed, versus the conniving and cunning Kims. It hits closer to home: in this world, working class people have to hustle. Whereas Joker's Arthur Fleck is like some hapless damsel from a Gilded Age American naturalist novel. (love the apocalyptic aesthetics of late-70s/early-80s Gotham/New York, though).
My son quite enjoyed it, haven't seen it myself, but thanks for your thoughts :)
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Claude Sautet, Vincent, François, Paul... et les autres, 1974

Sniffed at by the crrritics when it came out as a "bourgeois" film - supposed to be an insult but that's precisely what it is and there's nothing to be ashamed of - it was nevertheless a solid box office success (how could it not be with such a stellar cast?) and a sharp portrait of Giscard's France. Fine movie, well-written, well-acted and well-filmed. https://www.iletaitunefoislecinema.com/ ... tres-1974/
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

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Montand's my main man at the moment..

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Costa-Gavras, Etat de siège, 1972

Based on events that took place in Uruguay in 1970 when the leftist rebel Tupamaros activists kidnapped three foreign nationals, including a covert American military adviser, Dan Mitrione (here renamed Santore and played, excellently, by Montand - amusing to see him playing a fervent anti-communist for once), Costa-Gavras shot his film in Chile, where he and his team had carte blanche from the then President Allende (ironic and sad that just a few years later his country fell into the hands of Pinochet..). With literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of extras and spectacular vantage points from which young DOP Pierre-William Glenn could work wonders, the shots Costa-Gavras sets up are truly spectacular (Soderbergh paid homage in Traffic, and I suspect Cuaron was familiar with this, cf his much-trumpeted Roma). Those who might be put off C-G's cinema "because it's too political" are missing a treat: sure, we know on which side of the fence the director pitches his tent, not that anyone would really side with a fascist police state, but as he says himself in the bonus interview, what counts more is the story and how it's told. The same thriller tension of The Sleeping Car Murders, along with the meticulous editing and great acting, is just as evident here. Very good indeed - I think I prefer this one to Missing, fwiw.
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Re: Recently Watched Films 2020

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Danièle Huillet & Jean-Marie Straub, Moses und Aron, 1975

Schoenberg never finished his opera https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moses_und_Aron - someone else had a go, but I have yet to hear Act III - so Straub / Huillet race through the spoken libretto of the final act in just six minutes. But it's great! The stunning austerity of their cinema (not a frame out of place, excellent sound & a fine performance conducted by Michael Gielen) is perfect: it's the first time I've really enjoyed the opera, and I've been trying for more than four decades. Never too late to discover great art, as my dad used to say.
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