Jean-Luc Godard, Une femme mariée, 1964
Made in just four weeks - but none the worse for that: JLG was on a roll back then - these wonderful "fragments of film in black and white" are, should you be looking for one, the link between the two other great 60s Godard studies of women, Vivre Sa Vie and 2 ou 3 Choses Que Je Sais d'Elle. Some detail here https://www.slantmagazine.com/film/une-femme-mariee/ but I can also recommend the booklet accompanying the Eureka DVD release, which features a transcription of a rambling and typically punny lecture the director gave on the film, comparing it both to Bergman and.. Flaherty's Nanook of the North (!), and a round table discussion featuring characteristically insightful comments from JLG's old Cahiers chum, Luc Moullet.
ah no, the gorbachev film was completely phoned in, there's nothing even about herzog in it. good question, i guess watch me as i grow out of being a fan. the last doc i saw from him (another co-direction) was cave of forgotten dreams and there i found his clueless purple patches annoying (because i wanted to know about the topic, or have interesting speculation about the topic, not some nonsense about dreams and stuff; also the use of music was just wrong, emotive classical strings expressing the caveman's will to bourgeois art). i found the grizzly man very impressive when i saw it but can't imagine a revisit, you have to have trust in the director to not find it appallingly exploitative (the music is much better though, i just bought the soundtrack). i think i'm getting tired of his shtick because he has no curiosity (despite the fact that letting things run is part of his shtick) and because he draws from certain ideas of german romanticism but is so much less complex ... anyway, his one screaming masterpiece will always be aguirre, that's in my very short list of films that are truly works of artDan Warburton wrote: ↑Fri Sep 23, 2022 1:09 amAre you a Herzog fan in general, Lutz? I think you have to be one, i.e. prepared to accept those numerous eccentricities, to get anything out of his stuff. I remember enjoying this - I was rather surprised in fact to reread my own somewhat excessively elogious comments above - but I do take your points. Herzog's documentaries (and the word needs some definition here: I'd say there's a hell of a difference between a Herzog documentary and one by Depardon or Wiseman..) are always as much if not more about him as they are about their subject. He's Hias, watching the clouds roll over the Bavarian alpine dawn, more Werther than Werner, the German Romantic Hero, the madman who walked all the way across Europe to save German Cinema (Lotte Eisner), and as a result he has to upstage everyone - Juliane in Wings of Hope, Dieter in Little Dieter, Timothy in Grizzly Man etc etc - so it's not surprising to see him trying the same thing with Gorby. It is, after all, called Meeting Gorbachev, not just Gorbachev, which clearly indicates the director's sense of his own importance. As for the "utterly random" historical footage, well, I'd have to watch it again. I see it was co-directed by André Singer, so maybe we can blame him. I don't recall it being all that bad. As for the man actually saying anything of great import, well, um, what did you expect? Gorbachev, like Reagan and Thatcher, was always something more symbolic than real for most people. Like Herzog. As such, I think they're rather well matched.
Jean-Luc Godard & Anne-Marie Miéville, Six fois deux / Sur et sous la communication, 1979
OK, first of several overdue posts. JLG (that's Godard, not my good buddy Guionnet) is gone, so I guess we can draw a line under Modernism (along with Democracy and just about everything else, Planet included). So I've been pushing myself to watch all the remaining Godards I haven't seen, meaning the largely indigestible 70s post Maoist stuff. This series of twelve TV films, just about an hour long each, has its moments, notably the episodes where JLG interviews other people (a farmer, a physics professor...), and if you feel like DeepL'ing the French Wiki pages before you snatch it at Karagarga (doubt you'll find it anywhere else), go ahead https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Six_fois_ ... munication. And here's a rather good essay by Gilles Deleuze on it too. https://zintv.org/outil/gilles-deleuze- ... fois-deux/
James Gray, Little Odessa, 1994
I was a bit underwhelmed by the Grays we saw a few years ago, but this one, his feature directorial debut at the age of 25 (bravo!) is impressive. Probably because it's deeply rooted in Gray's own life story and background. Hats off to him for securing the services of Vanessa Redgrave and Maximilian Schell, in addition to the consistently splendid Tim Roth. Oh, and Edward Furlong, whose only other great claim to fame was John Waters' Pecker. Fine location shots from Brighton Beach.. almost made me want to fly back over for a hotdog from Nathan's. But then again, no. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Little_Odessa_(film)
Lars von Trier, Nymphomaniac, 2013
This had been languishing on a hard drive for several years, before I finally summoned up the enthusiasm to tackle it in its 245-minute two-part and (I trust) uncensored form. There's not actually very much hardcore action in there after all (but you do get to see several actors in, um, action), but far too much deadpan "philosophising" from Stellan Skarsgard (I won't spoil the ending, but I cheered), and a whole lot of other nonsense thrown in, from Isaak Walton to J.S.Bach. It's far too long, so no apologies for writing something far too short. More words here, if you like https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/movie ... ew-666158/
Glad to see you're not dead (you can never be too sure these days) and thanks for the recommendations. I have access to Daguerrotypes, The Gleaners and I, Le Bonheur, The Creatures and Vagabond via Mubi so I will get onto those.Dan Warburton wrote: ↑Mon Nov 07, 2022 1:27 pmDan est toujours là and has been meaning to get round to writing something on the dozens of movies we've seen since the last post over a month ago.. But I guess I was waiting for someone else to post something (et te voilà, Alastair!), if only to prove that there are more than half a dozen people who actually read this stuff Aaaanyway, Varda: I'd definitely recommend (and these are the English titles, as per IMDb) Vagabond, The Gleaners & I, and a couple of the shorter documentaries Daguerrotypes (you may be interested to know that Eliane Radigue lives just round the corner from rue Daguerre) and Opera Mouffe (splendid archive footage from rue Mouffetard in the 50s). If you want a more nouvelle vague vibe, The Creatures and Le bonheur.. and if you're a diehard cinéphile, One Hundred and One Nights of Simon Cinema. The more recent documentary with muralist J.R., Faces Places, was touching, especially the scene where she turns up outside Godard's house and he doesn't answer the door. And now he's gone too! Hope this helps. I imagine I've already written something about these already (try the search engine), and promise to get back to writing some new stuff soon
Look forward to your thoughts, do let us know what you make of it/them
I don't mind preaching in the desert
but it'd be nice if some others joined me from time to time Anyway, since you're also somewhat back, Ben, I was thinking about you when I snatched this, a slightly better rip.. Not much to add to what I wrote last time, other than I found the dystopian vision even more premonitory this time
Dan Warburton wrote: ↑Sat Jul 27, 2019 9:29 am
Hal Hartley, The Girl From Monday, 2005
Not so sure about the aliens subplot - depends how much you like the central conceit of The Man Who Fell To Earth, I guess - but there's much to enjoy in Hartley's sci-fi tale, set in a not-too-distant future (and one getting nearer day by day) where the world is controlled by a multimedia corporation. Good chemistry between Sabrina Lloyd and Bill Sage (a good-looking guy, like the younger Redford, rather surprised we haven't seen more of him in leading roles), but you'd better be a fan of both the director's own shoegazing music and Dutch tilts, because they're present all the way through. But Hartley fans - are you there, Ben? - should like it.
Paul Schrader, Dark, 2017
Wikiplot: "Evan Lake (Nicolas Cage) is a highly decorated veteran CIA agent and Intelligence Star recipient reduced to a desk job at Langley with his protege and close friend Milton "Milt" Schultz (Anton Yelchin). Twenty-two years ago during an op in Africa, Lake was captured by terrorist Muhammad Banir (Alexander Karim) and tortured by having his head repeatedly bashed and having his ear mutilated. During the extraction and ensuing explosion, Banir went missing and was presumed dead, although Lake never believed it and has obsessively tried to find Banir ever since. As a result of the trauma he sustained under torture, Lake is now suffering from early stage frontotemporal dementia, and his boss considers him a liability to the agency."
Originally entitled Dying of the Light and clocking in at 94 minutes, the film was taken away from Schrader, recut and messed about with to the director's (and actors' and DP's) evident displeasure, so much so he did his own 75-minute edit, Dark, and stuck it up on The Pirate Bay, for "historical interest". And very fine it is too: Cage and Yelchin (RIP) are superb (so is Irène Jacob), the montage and cinematography impressively disturbing, following Lake into his dementia - smashing ending too. Well worth checking out, folks.
I'm very curious about Dark since I very much like Dying of The Light. The variation on the unhinged Nicolas Cage's character that he keeps on playing managed to remain interesting, as was the skewed commentary on the US' shenanigans in the Middle East.
Tár, Todd Field, 2022
I've not seen a film in a theater for some time. I've also not seen a new Todd Field film in 16 years. Lydia Tár (Blanchett) is a renowned conductor, and I want not to write in hidden fonts, it would really ruin the. . .experience? The film opens with a 5 second blip of a shot of someone texting, closeup on the phone. Then we get the full credit title cards (I'm talking at least 25 credit cards, replete with tiny font, the assistant best boys and such). This lasts for at least 5 minutes descending into PAs, DP, all the I'm sure smartly appointed producers down to our writer, producer and director, all in small Miami Vice font (not the logo, think the credits). We get the end credits at the start.
A) It begins with a 15 minute interview of the conductor with Adam Gopnik (!) in the style of James Lipton. She's brash, self-absorbed.
B) She's due to conduct Mahler's 5 in a month and the pressure's on. Her taste for each of her next, new, young soloists' private parts begins to attract derision.
Tarkovsky and even Weekend are clearly invoked in a few of these long scenes/dialogues. Check out the long conversation in the car between Lydia and Mark Strong's character (I think, I used to take notes for all my writings during films at home for IHM but this is off memory). There is a backseat conversation, the rear window background might actually come from that long backseat scene from Solaris. Enough of this. The acronyms, the discussions of different composers, absolutely recherche music talk, going from German to English and back, their different takes, Furtwängler's denazification, some French conductor being thrown off stage, I can't tell if the joke is on me, but I laugh. There is so much you have to be in on. The commentary on versions of the Mahler Pittsburgh (Steinberg) really got to me, personally.
But: This is a send UP and send DOWN of wokeness at its core. No one escapes. Again, the texting on screen, the master class with her picking on a student for rejecting Bach because he’s white, he fathered 20 Saxon spawn, is the joke on us? The best part is this humor. Think of the truly intrusive little humor of Little Children. All told, it’s an observation of wokeness and whiteness at the same time. Had I my notepad I could've copied them all down. . .to the class, Tár: "I'm a U-Haul lesbian." Any fan of Mahler or romantic music or people in corners should give this a chance. My summary is confusing, but, this is not like either of Todd Field's first two, by a long shot. Blanchett is astonishing as the American. You will hate her, she's that good, her little quips. The rooms go from gaudy hotels to shanty apartments that I remember from my South St. Louis childhood. She can't help but fuck each new string from Russia. Check the room toward the end with wood paneling and big, round LED lighting up top. Very long, from a documentary of an elitist who drops names for an hour, then ruins fellow composers’ lives to the death, to a study of sexual addiction, to a downfall of unbelievable declivity in the last 20 minutes, to one big talk about composed white music. Field employs many famous, horror-worthy devices and tropes, none contrived, but this is near Ming-liang Tsai measured. I really felt like the smart guy laughing in the tiny theater in Chapel Hill tonight, but I couldn’t tell if the joke was on me.
This is an odd film, it's not non-linear in construction, it's so hideously direct enough that I didn't trust my instincts. You meet her hayseed brother at the end for a picosecond when she moves back home, and he greets "Linda. . .sorry, Lydia." I would love opinions on this, Field is an artist, let's make a couple more before you die, mate.
amsterdam by david o. russell. his pick, but this is now officially the worst movie he ever saw at a theater (mostly competing with superhero stuff) and it's indeed totally insipid. a buddy movie without friendship and a comedy about nazis taking over the us without the jokes (and without the nazis really), plus a morality play that works only for hardened u.s. patriots. it's also a period piece only then they run out of money and the last 40 minutes are in a theater with a political convention and again lots of patriotic drivel plus a miss marple showdown where the bad guys reveal themselves except we get no ratiocination. christian bale is incredibly bad, his character meandering between cartoonish country doctor, a half-hearted tom waits impersonation, and rugged action star with merely a limp and back again. the puppet of taylor swift gets a mercifully quick death under a car but not even that could ease the pain. then we saw
decision to leave by park chan-wook. this was nice! good actors, lots of interesting locations, a mild sense of disorientation (characters creeping into the frame where they didn't belong etc) which made for a great flow, an equally mild subversion of the detective obsessed by attractive female suspect genre. on the downside: silly ending and everybody talks all of the time, to themselves or into devices if need be, it would have been nice if the movie had had some air to breathe. still very enjoyable.
hey it's on archive.org in reasonable quality: https://archive.org/details/the-dying- ... aders-dark. gave it a spin but didn't like it. i think they try to catch nic cage properly acting, which is not a good idea. the medical diagnosis for his character losing it made things rather less interesting ... the parallel diagnosis for his opponent made it a formalist exercise. again with american values at stake ... didn't gel for me.
Patrice Chéreau, Intimacy, 2001
Pity my poor long-suffering spouse, whose English is pretty decent but who had something of a struggle watching this without subtitles - until I came across a DVD copy with French subs in my bedroom which I'd completely forgotten I had! So we watched it again. And wonderful it is - though it hardly makes you want to move to London (!). Stellar performances from all concerned. Probably said that last time. Bravo, cher Chéreau.
Claude Goretta, Les chemins de l'exil, 1978
While we wait for some enterprising soul to reissue this correctly - and we may be waiting some time, alas - the only copy available online I can find (Karagarga, bien sûr) is a just-about-watchable re-rip of a decidedly subpar prehistoric VHS, with hardsubs (good, but far too big onscreen). Shame, as it's well worth a look, though I can see why some folks wouldn't like it. Firstly, it's 3h20 long - but you can quite easily watch it in installments - and secondly, Jean-Jacques Rousseau will probably drive you fucking crazy. It's an impressive performance from François Simon (son of the mighty Michel, and easily his equal here), telling the story of his various exiles, firstly in Switzerland, then in England and finally ending up north of Paris. The historical details seem to be spot on, and - as I'm halfway through reading the Reveries for the second time, having given up in frustration first time round - the dialogue conveys with uncanny precision both the depth and impact of Rousseau's thought (here are the seeds not only of the French Revolution but of the entire Romantic movement that followed it) and the borderline insane paranoia of his final years. Rousseau's obsession with himself, his thoughts and the way he interacted with the world around him, which led him, amongst other things, to have his five children parcelled off to the orphanage because he couldn't spare the time to bring them up, is well-documented; but we know less of what his long-suffering, barely literate but ever-faithful partner Thérèse thought. Dominique Labourier's performance is simply outstanding, which makes the film's absence from both her Wiki and IMDb pages utterly inexcusable. Someone reissue this one, for goodness' sake.