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 Maiden's Voyage 
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Year-end list

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          Best films first seen in
          2017

      I made this list back in December, but didn't post it here. I'm sorry. Better late than never? I'm sticking with the top-20 list, even though I watched more films this year than last – 144 to be exact. I just didn't see enough films that really excited me to justify a top 30. A couple notes: three Sonos on the list, that's a first! and five by women, which is not a record for me; I looked it up!

          1. Personal Shopper
          2. The Real Body
          3. Salaam Bombay!
          4. Blade Runner 2049
          5. Get Out
          6. The Handmaiden
          7. La leggenda di Kaspar Hauser
          8. La tete haute
          9. Pierrot le fou
          10. Love & Friendship

          11. I Am Not Your Negro
          12. Om Shanti Om
          13. Tag
          14. Silence
          15. Faces Places
          16. Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge
          17. Mars Attacks!
          18. Into a Dream
          19. Mudbound
          20. Thor: Ragnarok

Past year-end lists: 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.

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Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:26 am
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Since I doubt you guys have been browsing the back issues around here (haha), I'm in the weird position of feeling like I need to introduce myself. I talked to some of you way back at RT (Ergill/A Serious Man, is one I remember), but I've been here at Corrierino exclusively since 2010.

Also, I stopped posting here a year ago in the wake of the ph0tobucket debacle, but I've recently managed to recover/re-illustrate approximately 80 percent of my posts in this thread, and hope to finish, eventually. So, I guess I'm back, more or less, and ready to talk about movies again!

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Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:27 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: The Real Body

One thing I did this past year is watch a ton of of stuff by Sion Sono. Seventeen films, to be exact! Added to the 12 I'd seen before, I'm up to a nice odd 29. One of the dangers of completism (not that I'm there yet) is the risk of diluting what you love. And, sure, that happened here, somewhat. I'm not a huge fan of his early shaky-cam anarchism. But I also watched great things, both old and new. And, in fact, my favorite recent watch is 2000's Utsushimi (The Real Body).

Though filled with energy (and perfect musical choices) from the first frame, this one requires a little concentration to get on its wavelength. Sono's juggling a lot here: poetry of longing and fulfillment, images of emptiness and waiting, and documentary-like glimpses into the daily work of four artists – a butoh dancer, a photographer, a fashion designer, and a filmmaker (himself, of course). All the pieces are interesting on their own, but the whole is much more than an intriguing mash-up. From the start, it circles around on itself, the repeated poetry, images, and ideas chiming together. Eventually the film-in-progress (a comic proto-Love Exposure about youth and desperation) starts to take over, with all the other elements fitting in (or at least touching) at various points. It's fun to see so many of his later obsessions show up already here: plucky schoolgirls, gratuitous gore, running, erections. And don't turn it off too soon. After the insane climax, the poetry continues during the credits, wrapping up themes with beauty and pathos. I love it so much!


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Sun Apr 22, 2018 3:28 am
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage: The Real Body

Shieldmaiden wrote:
One thing I did this past year is watch a ton of of stuff by Sion Sono. Seventeen films, to be exact!

Can I ask where you're getting his films? My admittedly pedestrian sources account for a whopping 6-8 movies, all of which I've seen. Do I have to resort to piracy? I love everything I've seen and would like to find more.

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Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:13 am
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Yeah, it's a problem. Are there really not enough Sono fans around the world to make proper distribution worth their while??

I've bought everything I can find for Region 1. And I've watched several on y0utube, including the one above. Others I've gotten from friends, mostly, who have used less than legal means, I'm afraid.

Oh, yeah, and I forgot Amazon streaming. They have several.

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Sun Apr 22, 2018 4:56 am
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Finally.


Sun Apr 22, 2018 8:00 am
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Eminence Grise wrote:
Finally.

I'm glad to see you, too! :)

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Sun Apr 22, 2018 9:18 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Yeah, it's a problem. Are there really not enough Sono fans around the world to make it worth their while??

I've bought everything I can find for Region 1. And I've watched several on y0utube, including the one above. Others I've gotten from friends, mostly, who have used less than legal means, I'm afraid.

Oh, yeah, and I forgot Amazon streaming. They have several.

OK, thanks. I'd pretty much come to terms with the idea that the ol' blind-buy was my only option at this point. I'm not in the habit of doing that much, but my success rate with Sono is high enough that I guess I should just give it a shot.

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Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:06 am
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Yeah, Sono blind-buys have been good to me.

And, if it helps, I'm about to post my ranked favorites...

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Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:11 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Are there really not enough Sono fans around the world to make it worth their while??


I'm one. So...yes?


Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:12 am
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Haha!

Someone actually put together a beautiful looking promo page for a box set of his pre-Suicide Club stuff. It fooled many people (including me), but apparently was only meant to somehow prove there was an audience for such a thing. :(

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Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:18 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Sono favorites

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    Here's a list of my fifteen favorite Sonos to act as a sort of index post, with links to write-ups. Maybe I'll write about more of these eventually.


1 Love Exposure (2008)—Masterpiece of love and chaos.
.
2 Strange Circus (2005)—Another masterpiece, this time dealing with horror and resilience.
.
3 Guilty of Romance (2011)—Difficult, ambitious, thought-provoking. Watch the longer Japanese cut if you can.
.
4 Themis aka Himizu (2011)—Such a loveable film about youth and hope, against a background of disaster.
.
5 The Real Body (2000)—Playful hybrid of poetry, documentary, and romance. Delightful!
.
6 Tag (2015)—An intense roller-coaster ride where the dream logic makes surprising emotional sense at the end. (Pictured above.)
.
7 Into a Dream (2005)—Very funny, with a bit of magical realism. This is his Hong Sang-soo film.
.
8 Tokyo Tribe (2014)—Imagine if The Warriors were a hip-hop musical! Crazy and fun.
.
9 Hazard (2005)—An oddball fairy tale of seedy 80s New York.
.
10 It’s Keiko (1997)—Meditative, surprisingly sweet film about grief and growing up.*
.
11 Suicide Club (2001)—Spooky, strange horror. This is his Kiyoshi Kurosawa film.
.
12 Balloon Club Revisited (2006)—Small film mourning lost youth and promise.
.
13 Ekusute aka Hair Extensions (2007)—Touching story with hilarious stop-motion horror.
.
14 Be Sure to Share (2009)—This one's a little goofy, and I was sure it wasn’t working on me till I started crying near the end, haha.
.
15 The Room (1993)—Arty and clever. And I adored the jazz-infused sound!


* Link goes to Jedi's Isolation thread.

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Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:19 am
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Shit, I've only seen three of those.

As long as Hair Extensions isn't only the list, I'm good.


Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:29 am
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crumbsroom wrote:
As long as Hair Extensions isn't only the list, I'm good.
Oops! That's Ekusute. I thought it was funny!

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Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:30 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Oops! That's Ekusute. I thought it was funny!


Endorsement reneged!!!

Of course, I am joking. I can still appreciate a movie I hate by a director I love. I'm not a monster.


Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:32 am
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No Cold Fish or Noriko? If not, I can understand because they aren't always the most likable movies. But I'm a fan.

I've owned Himzu for about four years and have never watched it. Maybe it is time.


Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:35 am
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crumbsroom wrote:
No Cold Fish or Noriko?
I kind of hated Cold Fish, partly for its lack of heart, but mostly for the gory last half hour or so. Ugh. Noriko just left me kind of cold. I really tried.

Quote:
Maybe it is time.
Try it. It's great!

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Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:41 am
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The list is indeed helpful, thanks. I've only seen 5 of those 15, and my favorite isn't even on there. (Noriko)
Funny, Exte was actually the first one I ever saw. Somehow it was available at my local Blockbuster back when that was still around, so that's what got me interested in Sono to begin with. I also loved it, but no one else seems to so maybe it benefited from being my first.

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Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:41 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
I kind of hated Cold Fish, partly for its lack of heart, but mostly for the gory last half hour or so.


It's an incredibly unpleasant movie. And I can't fault anyone for being put off by the last stretch of the movie. But for me the whole movie is about the villain, who is one of my favourite cinematic miseries of the last ten years. It's an fantastic performance.


Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:47 am
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Captain Terror wrote:
I also loved it, but no one else seems to so maybe it benefited from being my first.
It did feel like he sort of tossed it off. Maybe the stop-motion wore him out! But I thought it all worked anyway, especially the little girl's story.

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Voyage | Female Gaze | MACBETH | Sokurov | Fassbinder | Greenaway | Denis | Book Shelf


Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:48 am
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FTR Love Exposure should be considered as possibly the best movie of the last ten years.


Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:50 am
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crumbsroom wrote:
It's an fantastic performance.
Can't argue that.

Quote:
FTR Love Exposure should be considered as possibly the best movie of the last ten years.
Or that! :)

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Voyage | Female Gaze | MACBETH | Sokurov | Fassbinder | Greenaway | Denis | Book Shelf


Sun Apr 22, 2018 10:53 am
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Yeah I'm a longtime Sono fan. Great list.


Sun Apr 22, 2018 12:29 pm
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage: Year-end list

Shieldmaiden wrote:
      Best films first seen in
      2017
Maiden! Nice 2017 list, which reminds me of the year-in-retrospective thread I was posting here a couple of months ago, the first (but hopefully not the last) one I've ever done, which hopefully helped fill the void left by Bad Guy's absence, haha: viewtopic.php?p=1215705#p1215705

Check it out if you feel like it, and good to have you back, btw!

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Mon Apr 23, 2018 5:55 am
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Maiden! I'm so glad to see you posting! I was genuinely afraid you'd left the forum. I was even thinking of PMing you on the off-chance that you'd see the message, so we could keep in touch. Our tastes are so synchronous, it would be a blow to lose your insights and recommendations.

As for Sono, I actually haven't seen any of his films. I've meant to for a while (another friend has also been encouraging me to see them), but they're hard to come by, and Love Exposure is a bit daunting. I already have a stockpile of 4+ hour movies building up (Shoah and other Lanzmann films, A Brighter Summer Day, As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty, Mysteries of Lisboa, etc), and it's hard to find the time to dedicate to them.

Regarding your best of 2017 list, is the The Handmaiden the Hulu show or the Schlöndorff adaptation?

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Mon Apr 23, 2018 7:57 am
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Macrology wrote:
Maiden! I'm so glad to see you posting! I was genuinely afraid you'd left the forum.
Aw! I almost did. But I missed you all too much!

Quote:
Regarding your best of 2017 list, is the The Handmaiden the Hulu show or the Schlöndorff adaptation?
Haha. It's the Chan-wook Park. :D But, this is the first time I'd realized that Volker Schlondorff directed The Handmaid's Tale from 1990. That's interesting!

Also, Love Exposure is the shortest four hour movie you'll ever see. :)

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Tue Apr 24, 2018 3:58 am
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Herp a derp. Total mental lapse there with the Handmaid thing.

I've added Strange Circus to my Netflix queue. I will watch Love Exposure when I get the chance, but I try not to get films from Netflix if they're over 2 1/2 hours, otherwise it holds up my rotation. Maybe I'll just buy a copy.

Incidentally, while watching Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale I couldn't help but think that the material would be infinitely better in the hands of Miklós Jancsó. Makes me wonder if the movie version cleaves closer to something like that (haven't seen it yet).

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Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:48 pm
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Yeah Love Exposure is the fastest 4 hours I've ever spent with a movie. That's one thing I'll give it.


Tue Apr 24, 2018 2:13 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
including the one above.

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Wed Apr 25, 2018 12:01 pm
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage: Year-end list

Stu wrote:
good to have you back, btw!
Thanks. :)

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Thu Apr 26, 2018 3:15 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: The Legend of Kaspar Hauser

I love a lot of different kinds of movies. My 2017 favorites feature script-heavy films and visual feasts, musicals and documentaries, earnestness and silliness. But there's a special energy I draw from some of my favorites that's hard to describe, something overwhelming that pulls me in. It's not a fast pace or a thriller plot. Tag has it, but so does Personal Shopper. Maybe it's easiest to see in something that doesn't have all the usual trappings...

La Leggenda di Kaspar Hauser is... what can I say? Intriguing. Inexplicable. Invigorating. A goofy Vincent Gallo plays both the good guy (in black) and the bad guy (in white) on an island disconnected from time and place. There's an avant-garde skeleton of a plot, with dance-off duels and mysterious women, slow cinema punctuated with techno. Plus, an astonishing physical performance by Silvia Calderoni as Kaspar! But if that sounds like I know what makes it work, I don't! There's a magic ingredient in there, an energy unique to film. It's a rush! Wish I'd seen on the big screen.

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Image Image

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Sun May 06, 2018 11:30 am
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Glad to see that you like it, SM. I remember watching the trailer when it came out and thinking that the trailer alone was more intriguing and creative than most of the output of the year.

BTW, I'll be watching Personal Shopper tonight. In earnest, I'm really just hoping it's a distal seq(pre)uel to Clouds of Sils Maria. :D


Sun May 06, 2018 10:39 pm
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I just finished La Leggenda di Kaspar Hauser . I had never heard of it before this morning when I was lurking the forum and reading your thread. Found it. Watched it. Heard it. Experienced it. It does have a strange intangible that draws you in as a viewer. It's visuals and sound create a rhythm that work so well. Gallo is wonderfully strange... and hounds-tooth pants! :fresh: The opening was visually great, then it cuts to Gallo in black slowly riding his motorcycle down an empty street telling people to get out of the way. And then the dance off dual. It just has this wonderfully unique flow that keeps you on your toes.

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Sun May 06, 2018 11:04 pm
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Eminence Grise wrote:
BTW, I'll be watching Personal Shopper tonight. In earnest, I'm really just hoping it's a distal seq(pre)uel to Clouds of Sils Maria. :D
Ooh, exciting! Not so sure how close it is to a sequel, but I love both of them for sure. Oh, and I have questions about it if you feel like discussing it after.


Hank wrote:
Gallo is wonderfully strange... and hounds-tooth pants!
Isn't he great? This role reminds me of his relaxed playfulness in Arizona Dream. It was definitely genius to give him the run of an empty island with really big speakers. I'm glad you liked it!

By the way, I believe you are the winner of the prestigious Honor of Maiden prize for Quickest Action on a Recommendation. I wish I had a fancy statuette to send you. :D

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Mon May 07, 2018 4:58 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
I wish I had a fancy statuette to send you. :D

Just draw him one, and drop it in the mail.

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Mon May 07, 2018 6:54 am
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Or, commission him to draw one, then he'd already have it!

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Mon May 07, 2018 7:09 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Ooh, exciting! Not so sure how close it is to a sequel, but I love both of them for sure. Oh, and I have questions about it if you feel like discussing it after.


Love them both. Really loved Assayas' reinterpretation of The Double Life of Veronique (a.k.a., Personal Shopper)! :D

I, too, have questions! Here's one interesting observation that we may discuss. Did you notice (I'm sure you did!) that it was mostly men in the film that "pushed" her along and produced the impetus needed for her to come into her own? I'm not sure how I felt about this, but I wanted someone else's take on it first.

There's a lot to discuss about this film.


Mon May 07, 2018 8:52 am
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Personal Shopper

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Eminence Grise wrote:
I, too, have questions! Here's one interesting observation that we may discuss. Did you notice (I'm sure you did!) that it was mostly men in the film that "pushed" her along and produced the impetus needed for her to come into her own? I'm not sure how I felt about this, but I wanted someone else's take on it first.
Whoa, I didn't notice that. I take it you're referring to her boyfriend, her brother's girlfriend's new boyfriend, and Lars Eidinger? Of course Lars's intent is not to help her at all, haha. I guess I think she's on a path to self-discovery and just uses everything that happens. She's extremely open to the experiences. So you could say she's the sole catalyst.

My question is more mundane. From whose point of view is the hotel "ghost" sequence?

And, in reference to my post above about intangibles, isn't it impressive how her watching videos and texting on her phone succeeds in pulling us in? It's the first time I've seen it that well done, though I'm not sure why it works so well here.

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Mon May 07, 2018 9:19 am
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Contains spoilers for anyone who has yet to see the film....

Quote:
Whoa, I didn't notice that. I take it you're referring to her boyfriend, her brother's girlfriend's new boyfriend, and Lars Eidinger? Of course Lars's intent is not to help her at all, haha. I guess I think she's on a path to self-discovery and just uses everything that happens. She's extremely open to the experiences. So you could say she's the sole catalyst.


Yes! Also--and this is quite subtle--even the male fashion employee that employs her to try on the boots is teasing her to come a little closer to her desires. And, since he allegedly rat her out previously, what reason does she have? A female fashion employee does the same but she's more open to her suggestions and it's less of a deal.

It's interesting what you say about Lars and I completely agree. However, their texting conversation is, perhaps, the biggest revelation in the film. The phone (and we can talk about the use of technology if you'd like!) really allows her to project herself in an almost therapeutic way onto a disembodied something-or-other, which, in turn, makes her grow. We could call it... negative growth?

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My question is more mundane. From whose point of view is the hotel "ghost" sequence?


I think this is actually a great question and raises a lot of point about perspective in the film. Honestly, I was a bit muddled on the cameras role and perspective. For some reason, in the middle of the film, I found myself asking what role of the camera was taking when, and I found it a bit hard to answer. I can't say right now that I have a good answer for that question, aside from saying that it's totally objective, almost non-diegetic. I mean, it's really only there as a contrast to the viewer. It serves really no purpose for any character, right? It's certainly not in Maureen's head, and it clearly doesn't exist in reality. This of course, if in contrast to the other ghost sequences, which ARE from Maureen's perspective.

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And, in reference to my post above about intangibles, isn't it impressive how her watching videos and texting on her phone succeeds in pulling us in? It's the first time I've seen it that well done, though I'm not sure why it works so well here.


Assayas really understands how we interact with technology, and I think this film, and his use of displaying tech, really catches a sweet spot with how naturally integrated we are with technology. I'd be very curious to know how someone perhaps old and/or lacking a lot of experience with cell phones and laptops may find these sequences. But, I was completely drawn in!


Mon May 07, 2018 9:40 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Or, commission him to draw one, then he'd already have it!

Done. :P
It just kinda worked out that I had just around 2 hours, no real idea of what I should watch, headphones and access to the film. Don't think it will be a regular thing, but I'm glad it worked out this time. One thing is for sure-- I am going to go through your favorites list and watch the ones I haven't seen as I get the chance to. I don't watch near the number of films I used to and I have only seen 6 from your list, so it seems like a good place to get recommendations right now.

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Mon May 07, 2018 10:34 am
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Hank wrote:
One thing is for sure-- I am going to go through your favorites list and watch the ones I haven't seen as I get the chance to. I don't watch near the number of films I used to and I have only seen 6 from your list, so it seems like a good place to get recommendations right now.
Oh fun! I hope you like them. :)

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Tue May 08, 2018 6:24 am
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Eminence Grise wrote:
Also--and this is quite subtle--even the male fashion employee that employs her to try on the boots is teasing her to come a little closer to her desires. And, since he allegedly rat her out previously, what reason does she have? A female fashion employee does the same but she's more open to her suggestions and it's less of a deal.
Interesting. And that reminds me of your Veronique reference. She's looking for her twin, but in this case he's male. Maybe that has something to do with the people she lets in?

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It's interesting what you say about Lars and I completely agree. However, their texting conversation is, perhaps, the biggest revelation in the film. The phone (and we can talk about the use of technology if you'd like!) really allows her to project herself in an almost therapeutic way onto a disembodied something-or-other, which, in turn, makes her grow. We could call it... negative growth?
Well, facing her fears/breaking free of that relationship is good-to-neutral, I think, despite his motives. And, yes, that conversation is important and fascinating. And also more of her openness/opportunism I described above.

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I can't say right now that I have a good answer for that question, aside from saying that it's totally objective, almost non-diegetic. I mean, it's really only there as a contrast to the viewer. It serves really no purpose for any character, right? It's certainly not in Maureen's head, and it clearly doesn't exist in reality. This of course, if in contrast to the other ghost sequences, which ARE from Maureen's perspective.
I saw an interview somewhere where Assayas says it's in her head, but that doesn't make much sense to me. It's the biggest mystery in the film.

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Assayas really understands how we interact with technology, and I think this film, and his use of displaying tech, really catches a sweet spot with how naturally integrated we are with technology. I'd be very curious to know how someone perhaps old and/or lacking a lot of experience with cell phones and laptops may find these sequences. But, I was completely drawn in!
I'm glad we agree. And, yeah, this worked way better than Demonlover in that regard. I think Kristen Stewart gets a lot of credit here. Such a good performance!

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Tue May 08, 2018 6:25 am
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I haven't seen Chi-Raq yet but I have seen Tokyo Tribe and it's hard to beat that for sheer craziness. The other great Sono film that came out around the same time is Why Don't You Play In Hell?. So completely over the top Yakuza movie but so exciting and stylish.


Tue May 08, 2018 7:32 am
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Interesting. And that reminds me of your Veronique reference. She's looking for her twin, but in this case he's male. Maybe that has something to do with the people she lets in?

I may be! The fact that they're twins both complicates and excites the story. I'd have to do a rewatch to see how she interacts with each gender, but it seems like men have a lot more power over her, for whatever the reason. I wasn't really happy about this. I mean, I assume Assayas' knows what feminism is, right? Why give men so much power to influence her? I don't think this was his intention, but to me, it could be read that way.

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Well, facing her fears/breaking free of that relationship is good-to-neutral, I think, despite his motives. And, yes, that conversation is important and fascinating. And also more of her openness/opportunism I described above.

Agreed.

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I saw an interview somewhere where Assayas says it's in her head, but that doesn't make much sense to me. It's the biggest mystery in the film.

It doesn't make sense. If that was his intention then he didn't communicate it well. I suppose it is a mystery, then!

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I'm glad we agree. And, yeah, this worked way better than Demonlover in that regard. I think Kristen Stewart gets a lot of credit here. Such a good performance!

Haven't seen it, but I agree that Kristen does a wonderful job tapping into parts of herself she probably didn't know.


It hit me today that I'm actually not sure this is a story about finding oneself or about closure. Certainly, on the surface, this is a film about closure, but perhaps because of the intangible connection between the twins, it becomes a story about identity and womanhood. It also raises the question of whether or not these things are mutually exclusive, as we may often think of them as such.


Tue May 08, 2018 9:36 am
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Eminence Grise wrote:
...but it seems like men have a lot more power over her, for whatever the reason. I wasn't really happy about this. I mean, I assume Assayas' knows what feminism is, right? Why give men so much power to influence her? I don't think this was his intention, but to me, it could be read that way.
Hmm. That didn't bother me at all, and I'm not sure why it should. She's used to a strong mental connection with her brother. It doesn't seem strange to me at all that she might be a little more open to the men around her at this point. I think she feels like she's missing half her brain!

Also, do you remember this scene? I remember thinking it's possible she looks a lot like her brother here:

Image

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It hit me today that I'm actually not sure this is a story about finding oneself or about closure. Certainly, on the surface, this is a film about closure, but perhaps because of the intangible connection between the twins, it becomes a story about identity and womanhood. It also raises the question of whether or not these things are mutually exclusive, as we may often think of them as such.
It's certainly about grief and closure, but, yeah, identity's in there too. I think the twin part is really important! But wait. What "things" are not mutually exclusive? I lost you.

Also, I'm front-paging our discussion. This is totally index-worthy. :)

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Wed May 09, 2018 10:21 am
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Hmm. That didn't bother me at all, and I'm not sure why it should. She's used to a strong mental connection with her brother. It doesn't seem strange to me at all that she might be a little more open to the men around her at this point. I think she feels like she's missing half her brain!

It didn't bother me either, actually. I was just very curious as to why Assayas would write those characters in the way he did. I just think, and perhaps I'm wrong here, that you may not be able to avoid bringing up feminism in this film. After all, it's about an autonomous woman who is working a job she doesn't like, which happens to be prototypically feminine, and discovering who she is through her femininity by wearing feminine clothing, etc. All in all, I just think it was a curious choice.

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Also, do you remember this scene? I remember thinking it's possible she looks a lot like her brother here:

It was perhaps this scene that moved me more than any other. Something about the atmosphere, the lighting, and the interaction with the new boyfriend really got to me.

It seems like we see her brother as an apparition in that scene in the background, creeping around very eerily. But we know from the ending that it isn't so.

The costumes for her character, however, are very interesting. I mean, what kind of girl who has the job she has would wear around cheap jeans, t-shirts, ugly sweaters, no jewelry, and so on? How does a person with no fashion sense at all get a job like that?

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It's certainly about grief and closure, but, yeah, identity's in there too. I think the twin part is really important! But wait. What "things" are not mutually exclusive? I lost you.

I think the connection she has with her twin is important, and I'm not entirely sure what to make of it. This isn't some sort of doppelganger plot like in Veronique or some polarity that she's working out. It's trauma, it's family, it's lose, and it's a sense of not having closure.

I stated that finding oneself and closure may not be mutually exclusive. Perhaps closure comes only when one finds oneself in a certain way? Like bringing a piece of the puzzle into our consciousness or something?


Thu May 10, 2018 8:51 am
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Eminence Grise wrote:
It didn't bother me either, actually. I was just very curious as to why Assayas would write those characters in the way he did. I just think, and perhaps I'm wrong here, that you may not be able to avoid bringing up feminism in this film. After all, it's about an autonomous woman who is working a job she doesn't like, which happens to be prototypically feminine, and discovering who she is through her femininity by wearing feminine clothing, etc. All in all, I just think it was a curious choice.
OK, sure, but I don't think Assayas is particularly feminist in his outlook. At least not in a way I recognize. (Although I've only seen seven of his films.) I'm not complaining! But it's only the murder subplot that really cries out for a female protagonist. As for the clothing, see below.

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It was perhaps this scene that moved me more than any other. Something about the atmosphere, the lighting, and the interaction with the new boyfriend really got to me.
Yeah, it got to me, too. And the broken glass is another mystery. I suppose that even though she doesn't get the answer she wants from her brother, her mediumistic abilities are still "true" in the film? That would mean the hostile female ghost and the man in the kitchen are there because she is??

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The costumes for her character, however, are very interesting. I mean, what kind of girl who has the job she has would wear around cheap jeans, t-shirts, ugly sweaters, no jewelry, and so on? How does a person with no fashion sense at all get a job like that?
I think she has fashion sense, obviously, or she couldn't do that job. But she's chosen to reject it for herself. Sort of like a writers' acute observations of people very different from themselves. When she tries on the clothes, I think she's attracted by the rule-breaking and the autonomy that comes with it. But, she's not changing her personal style, which would be really strange, I think. Again, her androgynous style could have something to do with her twin-hood. But it wouldn't have to.

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Perhaps closure comes only when one finds oneself in a certain way? Like bringing a piece of the puzzle into our consciousness or something?
I really like this!

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Fri May 11, 2018 8:06 am
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OK, sure, but I don't think Assayas is particularly feminist in his outlook. At least not in a way I recognize. (Although I've only seen seven of his films.) I'm not complaining! But it's only the murder subplot that really cries out for a female protagonist. As for the clothing, see below.

I don't think he's a strict feminist either, but I suppose I couldn't help but use a feminist lens when watching this film, and thus my reaction. I don't think of it as a flaw of the film nor of Assayas, just a personal reaction I had in my head.

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Yeah, it got to me, too. And the broken glass is another mystery. I suppose that even though she doesn't get the answer she wants from her brother, her mediumistic abilities are still "true" in the film? That would mean the hostile female ghost and the man in the kitchen are there because she is??

Yes, the glass, of course, cannot be logically explained, which I love. It reminded me so much of the beautiful shimmering light in Veronique.

What do you mean they are "true"? Can you expand on that?

As to whether the ghosts are there because she is, well, I suppose so. That would be implicit in the definition of a "medium". Her presence brings them about. However, it depends how you think about these ghost experiences. If you choose to accept the supernatural in the film as what it is, then there's that; if you choose no see the supernatural as subjective psychic projections (as Assayas does!), then that changes things as well.

Overall, I think the fact that she calls herself a medium brings her closer to her brother--as in they share similar abilities or capabilities (although she claims she's not as good as him). But it also may tell us something about her inner life? Though, I don't know what.

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I think she has fashion sense, obviously, or she couldn't do that job. But she's chosen to reject it for herself. Sort of like a writers' acute observations of people very different from themselves. When she tries on the clothes, I think she's attracted by the rule-breaking and the autonomy that comes with it. But, she's not changing her personal style, which would be really strange, I think. Again, her androgynous style could have something to do with her twin-hood. But it wouldn't have to.

She does clearly have this knowledge, but to me it doesn't come off as if she would. I mean, I wouldn't expect it. And, to me, it's not clear that she's either rejecting it, or repressing it. Desires are often repressed and she clearly has these forbidden desires that are trying to come to the fore. They do come to the fore throughout the film. Or, perhaps her desire is just to break the rules?


Fri May 11, 2018 9:09 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
And, in reference to my post above about intangibles, isn't it impressive how her watching videos and texting on her phone succeeds in pulling us in? It's the first time I've seen it that well done, though I'm not sure why it works so well here.

I want to rewatch the movie to see if Assayas does anything in particular visually, but the key thing for me was how he channeled us through her perspective and emotions in presenting the videos and especially the texts.

To go on a tangent, my viewings of Blackhat, Snowden and The Card Player over the last few months lead me to believe that modern technology can be hard to present engagingly, but the tools to do so are fairly simple. Blackhat I think does it particularly effectively just using some well selected closeups so we can process the information in a way that mimics the knowledge of the characters, while the other films lean heavily on reaction shots but don't know how to stress the information actually on screen. I'd need to see Personal Shopper again to get into specifics, but while I remember the direction not being as obvious as Mann's in this respect, I think it adheres to the same principles.

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Fri May 11, 2018 10:08 am
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage: Beware of a Holy Whore

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Beware of a Holy Whore is a revelation – full of fascinating detail for the Fassbinder fan, and one of the best films about filmmaking I’ve ever seen. Jeff is a caricatured Fassbinder, and he and his crew are struggling to make a low-budget film on location in Spain. While it’s loosely based on their actual experiences shooting Whity, the film they’re making here bears no resemblance to that one. Spain or not, it has the feel of a claustrophobic farce, and much of the 'action' does occur in one room. Everyone is trapped, fed up, preoccupied with money worries, jealousy, and chronic quarrels. Craziness, drunkenness, fistfights, and orgies are played for laughs, and the humor gets darker the closer it comes to the real life behavior for which Fassbinder is famous. It only adds to the wicked fun that Jeff is a handsome blonde bully of a director, while Fassbinder plays his long-suffering best friend. There are moments of pure silliness, too, many of which involve Eddie Constantine as himself. I’d definitely recommend being somewhat familiar with the Fassbinder regulars to fully appreciate the humor. It’s not necessary to recognize that Magdalena Montezuma is doing a dead-on imitation of Irm Hermann in her scenes, but it certainly adds a twisted layer to the humor if you do.

The amazing self-skewering comic sensibility here calls to mind , though it’s an necessarily without the perspective of age and personal growth. That’s not to say it’s without wisdom, its own brand of enlightenment. The crew are miserable, or think they are; yet we can sense the undercurrent of excitement. There’s a beautiful kinetic scene in which Jeff swings through the room demonstrating a dolly shot, as the fictional crew duck the fake camera, and the real cameraman keeps pace. For a moment, we look straight into the sun as we’re swept up in the heady rush of genius at work. You cannot fail to see that his passion and fierce creativity are seductive, and that everyone around him is drawn in. They know what they’re making is beautiful and important. And who could resist that?


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Another movie that needs more love.


Thu May 17, 2018 1:48 pm
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