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 Maiden's Voyage 
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Epistemophobia wrote:
I have.
Of course! :)

Do you remember your impression at all? I know you said you needed to revisit it.

And, hey, I have two more Bartas to watch soon (Freedom and Seven Invisible Men). Any good?

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Sat Jun 15, 2013 12:03 pm
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Bandy Greensacks wrote:
I suppose much of my issue with Mother and Son is that, in the end, it simply didn't provide me with new insight or perspective on maternal bonds or spirituality. It feels outside of time, outside of place, outside of my own experience with motherly affection, and so it was very difficult to connect to. It's all so simple, so reliant on small movements and subtle gestures, and if you fail to sense any weight behind them, fail to draw from your perception of its reality, it'll float by and you'll be left with only beautifully constructed but often repetitive painterly images.

That doesn't seem like much of an explanation, but it's the best I can do right now
I know what you mean here, as I experienced this the first time I watched it.
Bandy Greensacks wrote:
Mother and Son would be a good museum installation, but it's not a good film. It's barely even cinematic.
But then I watched it again and 'unparalleled masterpiece' etc.

I would hate to inflict it on a museum crowd, though, as it is difficult to understand such unparalleled closeness in a public space among strangers. Best viewed on alone on a cold, cloudy Sunday winter morning after a rested, peaceful Saturday. That's the best time to feel the full force of Mother and Son's complementary elements of youthful vitality and aged peacefulness.

Or any other time when you feel like it.

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Sat Jun 15, 2013 3:35 pm
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There's an incredible intimacy to Sokurov's cinema that is scarcely approached by other filmmakers. It's largely visual; in the cramped spaces and weary faces, but it's an emotional experience that's hard to pin down. It's grand drama without the shouting and theme-spouting. It's deeply existential, but also kind of quotidian.

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Sat Jun 15, 2013 5:56 pm
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LEAVES wrote:
I know what you mean here, as I experienced this the first time I watched it.

But then I watched it again and 'unparalleled masterpiece' etc.

I would hate to inflict it on a museum crowd, though, as it is difficult to understand such unparalleled closeness in a public space among strangers. Best viewed on alone on a cold, cloudy Sunday winter morning after a rested, peaceful Saturday. That's the best time to feel the full force of Mother and Son's complementary elements of youthful vitality and aged peacefulness.

Or any other time when you feel like it.


Yeah, I don't doubt that it improves with re-watches. I always wonder whether I may have watched films that others love at exactly the wrong moment in my life, or under the wrong circumstances, or in the wrong format -- as in, maybe a theater experience would change everything, or a Blu rip on a larger TV with a surround sound system, in a darkened room.

Unless I find absolutely nothing to appreciate, I try never to act as if my thoughts are unchangeable. That seems to be the exact wrong approach to the medium in general.

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Sun Jun 16, 2013 2:00 am
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hey shieldmaiden, i'm going to the library soon and i want to grab a sokurov movie. what would you suggest? i've only seen the russian ark, which i enjoyed. my options for today are:

moloch
the second circle
father and son

thanks!


Sun Jun 16, 2013 7:00 am
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KFV wrote:
moloch
the second circle
father and son
All good, but start with Moloch. :)

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Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:01 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Claire's Knee

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Claire's Knee is my third Rohmer, and my favorite so far. I've always loved dialogue-heavy movies, and this is surely some sort of apex – the structure of plotting, action, reporting means three tiers of dialogue for every development, three times the delightful nuance. That's not to say they aren't honest with each other (they think they are, at least), but we have plenty of room to think and question. And, while they're not talking heady philosophy as in Maud, it's invigorating stuff nonetheless. Who doesn't enjoy talking about love!

But, this is Rohmer, so it's the beautifully drawn characters that make it work. Laura is adorable, and I love the way she holds her own and gets what she wants, a few tears aside. But the best part is the friendship between Aurora and Jerome: challenging, affectionate, and honest. There’s something seductive from the first moment on the bridge, in their lover-like physical demonstration. I've read things presuming they have a romantic past, but I think it’s much more likely they don't. Their flirty conversation is scintillating, to them and to us, but it reaches new heights when they begin to play Aurora's mischievous game. Here they walk a fine line as likable manipulators. Somehow, I trust them not to go too far, and the hiking scene proves I was right. It's sweet and honest (for the most part) and there's plenty of genuine affection there. As soon as Jerome becomes besotted with Claire, however, he looks ridiculous. Maybe it's the hat, maybe it's subtle acting. Either way, it’s a fact that his easy style of touching and teasing is lost, he looks suddenly old and out of place. Claire's unthinking cruelty has made a fool out of him, and his successful navigation through those dangerous waters speaks more to luck than to wisdom. The comedy winds down and all is well; Claire comes out unscathed, Jerome reclaims his peace of mind, and Aurora has a story.

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Sun Jun 16, 2013 8:04 am
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cool thanks, the library actually didn't have moloch (despite the system saying it was on the shelf) but while searching i found mother and son (despite the system saying it was lost). typical library, all's well that ends well

so glad you liked claire's knee! it's basically the epitome of rohmer. besides it and maud's, which have you seen?


Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:40 am
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KFV wrote:
cool thanks, the library actually didn't have moloch (despite the system saying it was on the shelf) but while searching i found mother and son (despite the system saying it was lost). typical library, all's well that ends well
Oh! Even better!

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so glad you liked claire's knee! it's basically the epitome of rohmer. besides it and maud's, which have you seen?
The Green Ray is the third. I've enjoyed all three, but this one was the most fun.

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Sun Jun 16, 2013 9:52 am
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oh cool. yeah i agree, it was definitely my fav of the moral tales. i would strongly recommend 4 adventures for pure fun and adorability and pauline at the beach for love talk if you're going to be checking out more rohmers!


Sun Jun 16, 2013 2:05 pm
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I've seen all but three Rohmer features now.

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Sun Jun 16, 2013 2:15 pm
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wtf! trip you're my hero. which three?


Sun Jun 16, 2013 2:29 pm
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Post Maiden's Voyage: L'intrus

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    Another long overdue entry here. I've never considered L'intrus my favorite by Denis – that honor belongs to Beau Travail and 35 Rhums, but, it's a fact that I've spent more time contemplating it than any of her other films. Much of that is due to the stubborn opacity of the structure. Still, as a glimpse into the mystery of a man’s soul, it has its own integrity and logic, which I find fascinating. The details flicker at the edges of our vision, but there’s no way to miss the isolation and fear at its dark heart.

    In the essay that gave the film its title, Jean-Luc Nancy discusses the immunosuppression which, while necessary for his heart transplant, left him vulnerable to disease and weakness that may have been lurking harmlessly all his life. The film takes that to another level, depicting a hard-hearted man experiencing a new vulnerability to things he has suppressed, to his worst or best aspects, to himself. As Louis grapples with his own mortality, grasping at life with a greediness that contrasts with his empty existence, his past bubbles up from strange depths, and he drifts uneasily through a conceptual landscape of memory, doubt, paranoia, and guilt. Claire Denis, master weaver, finds the thread that pulls us gently through this web of ideas, the complex patchwork of conflicting motivations and desires that make up a man's consciousness.

    As a tapestry, it's surprisingly beautiful, considering the heart of the man at its center. The disturbing dream images are seductive, and Louis's travels are awash in colorful energy. But, the only real warmth is on the other side of the world, as far from Louis's roaming search as it's possible to be, in the family he left in France. As Louis's estranged son, Sidney bears the extra burden of breaking the pattern, and, when he stares into the face of his infant son, we witness light and hope.


        Note: For more (and much better) thoughts on L'intrus, don't miss the discussion between LEAVES and Circus Freak
        in the first Abyss thread, starting here.

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Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:13 pm
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oh cool! I didnt know abt the essay or why it's titled that. It's 2nd for me to Beau travail. Great write up! :up: You're just straight neat-o you are, sista


Tue Jun 25, 2013 12:17 pm
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Good writeup. I'm really going to have to revisit that at some point, because it's the Denis that did the least for me.

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Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:21 pm
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Bandy Greensacks wrote:
Good writeup. I'm really going to have to revisit that at some point, because it's the Denis that did the least for me.

It's absolutely one of her best films - although it lacks the warmth of most of her other works, and is generally, considerably more formally challenging than most of her work.


Tue Jun 25, 2013 1:30 pm
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so dense and rigorous that one, do like it a lot though.

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Tue Jun 25, 2013 2:49 pm
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I found it rather baffling on first watch but compelling nevertheless. Having seen it a few times now, I like it a whole lot. Great writeup, btw and thanks also for the link to that earlier discussion.

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Tue Jun 25, 2013 9:02 pm
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charulata wrote:
I found it rather baffling on first watch but compelling nevertheless.
I've seen it something like four times now, and I'm still baffled. Notice I didn't mention the plot. :P

Quote:
and thanks also for the link to that earlier discussion.
Best of the internet, right there.

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Tue Jun 25, 2013 10:23 pm
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Post Maiden's Voyage: The Damned

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Fassbinder's favorite film, The Damned, sat on my coffee table for weeks because I couldn't get past its boring-sounding plot summary of family saga and political intrigue. (I know better, yet still I do this. So frustrating!) Of course, I was ridiculously wrong. "Political intrigue" is a hilarious euphemism for the way these people take economic and personal advantage of the chaos surrounding the Nazi rise to power. This is surely the most dysfunctional family ever put to film! Sibling rivalries and daddy issues are almost lost among the furious backstabbing, blackmail, incest, and murder. This was my second Visconti, after Senso, and it's even more compulsively watchable than that one. (I don't think I looked at the clock once, though it's more than two and half hours long.) Dirk Bogarde is perfect as the comically ambitious Frederick Bruckmann, but he's actually upstaged by a manic Helmut Berger as Martin von Essenbeck, a character of a thousand faces, believable and preposterous at once. Like the Essenbeck business empire, the film is a fantastic structure of dissonant layers – the melodrama constantly undercut by over-the-top machinations that make even Fassbinder look understated, the decadent tableaux calling to mind gorgeous Hollywood epics of a previous decade.

More screencaps here.

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Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:37 am
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such a great movie! i can't recommend Fassbinder's whole top 10 enough, even rewatching what you've seen plays differently seeing it through Fassbinder's eyes


Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:47 am
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I really need to watch that Visconti. Sounds soo great.

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Tue Jul 16, 2013 11:48 am
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hirtho wrote:
such a great movie! i can't recommend Fassbinder's whole top 10 enough, even rewatching what you've seen plays differently seeing it through Fassbinder's eyes
Yeah, I owe this one to you. I'd never seen his top 10 list until you started going through it in your thread.

charulata wrote:
I really need to watch that Visconti. Sounds soo great.
Oh, it is. So much crazy energy! And I couldn't stop taking screencaps.

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Tue Jul 16, 2013 12:03 pm
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Image
Image
Image

I haven't seen it. Just pulled .gifs from it.

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Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:40 pm
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LEAVES wrote:
I haven't seen it. Just pulled .gifs from it.
You should see it. I think you might like it.

Image

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Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:01 pm
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Charlotte Rampling is the baddest woman to ever walk the planet.

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Tue Jul 16, 2013 2:24 pm
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LEAVES wrote:
Charlotte Rampling is the baddest woman to ever walk the planet.


This was proven by NASA engineers in the 1970s.

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Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:56 pm
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I recently re-watched Claire's Knee, great write-up. Given that it's you, I'm surprised you didn't comment on how funny it is (Jerome's rationalisations, and Fabrice Luchini's cameo in particular), though I didn't see it as such the first time. The Green Ray's depiction of loneliness and the subsequent resolution works slightly better for me than this - surprisingly, Rohmer's female-centric films pack as much if not more nuance than those centred on men. You should check out Full Moon in Paris and A Summer's Tale, both great in their own ways, despite the overt similarities in style. I have more than three to go, though, something like ten.


Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:53 pm
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B-Side wrote:
This was proven by NASA engineers in the 1970s.
Haha. I didn't need a NASA engineer to figure that out.

MrCarmady wrote:
Given that it's you, I'm surprised you didn't comment on how funny it is (Jerome's rationalisations, and Fabrice Luchini's cameo in particular), though I didn't see it as such the first time.
Oh, definitely. It's very funny. From what I've seen, Rohmer is always gently (sometimes not so gently) poking fun at his characters, isn't he? Maybe I didn't mention it because his characters are ridiculous the way my real life is, the way I am. You don't feel wet underwater, etc.

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Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:31 pm
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And, because I love lists (and Fassbinder), here's the list in question:

1 The Damned (Luchino Visconti)
2 The Naked and the Dead (Raoul Walsh)
3 Lola Montès (Max Ophüls)
4 Flamingo Road (Michael Curtiz)
5 Salò, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom (Pier Paolo Pasolini)
6 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks)
7 Dishonored (Josef von Sternberg)
8 The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton)
9 Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray)
10 The Red Snowball Tree (Vasili Shukshin)

I've only seen three: the Visconti, Ophuls, and Laughton. :oops:

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Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:41 pm
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I grabbed all of those a few years ago for that list and never watched them. Seen 7.

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Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:48 pm
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Nice list but I've ony seen 4 of those.. Ophuls, Hawks, Laughton & Ray.

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:21 am
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Trip wrote:
I grabbed all of those a few years ago for that list and never watched them. Seen 7.
Have you seen The Damned? What did you think? How about that long, crazy orgy in the middle? Putting the "party" in Nazi Party. :P

His 10 favorites of his own films are pretty fascinating, too. It makes me so happy to see Despair at number 3!

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:21 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
And, because I love lists (and Fassbinder), here's the list in question:

4 Flamingo Road (Michael Curtiz)
5 Salò, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom (Pier Paolo Pasolini)
6 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (Howard Hawks)
7 Dishonored (Josef von Sternberg)
8 The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton)
9 Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray)


I've seen these. Salò is the best of them.

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:22 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Have you seen The Damned? What did you think? How about that long, crazy orgy in the middle? Putting the "party" in Nazi Party. :P

His 10 favorites of his own films are pretty fascinating, too. It makes me so happy to see Despair at number 3!

Guess what, I don't remember it!
I remember images. Like, cold glances across dining tables. Mainly just those. It's pretty lurid, and I thought, quite ludicrous.
That Nazi party...vaguely recall it bordering on a gay orgy, or being one quite explicitly. I should revisit it.

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:22 am
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Trip wrote:
That Nazi party...vaguely recall it bordering on a gay orgy, or being one quite explicitly. I should revisit it.
Yes. Although the serving wenches were raped, too, I believe. Ludicrous is a good word. Scathing is another. It's a very strange film, with a very odd sense of humor. For example, as the family sits around the dinner table, someone says, "Even if this is not a night like all the others."

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 1:29 am
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I've seen the Ray, Pasolini, Laughton and Ophüls. Salo's a fave, love the Ray and Laughton and I respect the Ophüls but could take or leave it.

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:12 am
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage: The Damned

Shieldmaiden wrote:
Image Image

Fassbinder's favorite film, The Damned, sat on my coffee table for weeks because I couldn't get past its boring-sounding plot summary of family saga and political intrigue. (I know better, yet still I do this. So frustrating!) Of course, I was ridiculously wrong. "Political intrigue" is a hilarious euphemism for the way these people take economic and personal advantage of the chaos surrounding the Nazi rise to power. This is surely the most dysfunctional family ever put to film! Sibling rivalries and daddy issues are almost lost among the furious backstabbing, blackmail, incest, and murder. This was my second Visconti, after Senso, and it's even more compulsively watchable than that one. I don't think I looked at the clock once, though it's more than two and half hours long. Dirk Bogarde is perfect as the comically ambitious Frederick Bruckmann, but he's actually upstaged by a manic Helmut Berger as Martin von Essenbeck, a character of a thousand faces, believable and preposterous at once. Like the Essenbeck business empire, the film is a fantastic structure of dissonant layers – the melodrama constantly undercut by over-the-top machinations (that make even Fassbinder look understated), the decadent tableaux calling to mind gorgeous Hollywood epics of a previous decade.

More screencaps here.


Oh, interesting! I always ignored it because I'm a horrible person and because nobody ever mentions it in discussions about Visconti. Which obviously means nothing, but there you go. That was my reason.


Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:46 am
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Beau wrote:
Oh, interesting! I always ignored it because I'm a horrible person and because nobody ever mentions it in discussions about Visconti. Which obviously means nothing, but there you go. That was my reason.
Well, it's better than my reason, which was "Politics? Ew!" :P

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 6:52 am
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Flamingo Road is a pretty good Joan Crawford movie.

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:13 pm
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage

Shieldmaiden wrote:
10 The Red Snowball Tree (Vasili Shukshin)
I've only seen the obscure Russian working class story a la The Merchant of Four Seasons. It's what you think it is, basically.

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 12:53 pm
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LEAVES wrote:
I've only seen the obscure Russian working class story a la The Merchant of Four Seasons. It's what you think it is, basically.
Aw, I was looking forward to that one. I read something that made it sound more like Berlin Alexanderplatz than Merchant. Tragicomic, I think he said.

dreiser wrote:
Flamingo Road is a pretty good Joan Crawford movie.
He has two Joan Crawford movies on there!

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Wed Jul 17, 2013 9:46 pm
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Post Maiden's Voyage: I Hired a Contract Killer

Image Image

    According to Bear I may not really know if Kaurismäki is my cup of tea until I've seen them all, but if my first one is any indication, there's a very good chance. I loved the warm, but muted, colors, the eclectic soundtrack, and the stylized dialogue of I Hired a Contract Killer. But, the best part is the timeless atmosphere of the city, a London fit for a fairy-tale, with its disappearing den of thieves, Vic's Hamburgers shimmering like an oasis, and (of course) a beautiful maiden to help the hero on his quest. The story seems bleak enough at the start, though Jean-Pierre Léaud's brilliant deadpan and a little well-placed Billie Holliday are early clues to the contrary. And, once Margaret enters the picture, with her blue eyes and red bathrobe, we have a recipe for a darkly comic brand of hope. Times are hard, and, as one character says, "The working class has no fatherland." What they may have instead is fellow-feeling, a camaraderie built on recognition and despair. And, sometimes that's just enough.

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Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:04 am
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Funny, he's much like Jarmusch, another filmmaker I recall Bear not taking to very easily. Must be the deadpan.

Drifting Clouds is the most perfect incarnation of his whole thing.

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Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:27 am
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I've only seen two by Jarmusch (Dead Man and Limits of Control) and I can't say I'm a fan.

Drifting Clouds next, then!

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Mon Jul 22, 2013 3:57 am
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Give Stranger Than Paradise and Mystery Train a shot, Maiden!

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Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:30 am
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I've seen I think Mystery Train (the one with the three stories? Is that it? Japanese tourists/Italian woman/Something else?), Dead Man, Coffee and Cigarettes, yeah I'm not really an adherent either

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Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:33 am
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Fist wrote:
Give Stranger Than Paradise and Mystery Train a shot, Maiden!

Stranger than Paradise might be my favorite from him and I just told Maiden that a while ago. But yeah, love those two.

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Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:50 am
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snapper wrote:
Japanese tourists/Italian woman/Something else
Elvis/Elvis/Elvis.

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Mon Jul 22, 2013 4:56 am
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OK, I'll bump up Stranger Than Paradise. But have you all seen the Kaurismäki? Look at those colors!

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Mon Jul 22, 2013 6:00 am
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