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 Maiden's Voyage 
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 Maiden's Voyage

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    Thanks to everyone who suggested I transfer my film thoughts from 'Recently Seen' to a thread of my own, I'm giving it a try. This is my first solo thread, and a (hopefully) permanent log of my cinematic exploration. As always, I'll concentrate on things I love; entertaining pans aren't my thing. Comments are always welcome, and disagreement is encouraged. I'm always willing to explain or defend my opinions, and, sometimes, I even change my mind. (It's true!) Since I'm still, at heart, a recovering lurker, these are uncharted waters. Am I ready for the extra exposure? Will I ever write more than a brief blurb? Will my constant editing drive everyone crazy? And, most important, will there be discussion? Come with me to find out!

    Oh! I almost forgot—the banner! I made two and can’t decide. Tell me which one I should use, nighttime or daytime?*

    2017 postsImage


    2016 postsImage
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    2011 postsImage
    Index, by directorImage

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:17 am
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Use both. Also, I'll be reading. And re-reading.

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:20 am
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Brightside wrote:
Use both. Also, I'll be reading. And re-reading.


This. Love both banners and I always enjoy reading what you have to say

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:22 am
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I'm in love for the first time.


Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:22 am
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Fun!

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Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami, 2012) 4/10
Killing Them Softly (Dominik, 2012) 2/10
The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (Pal/Levin, 1962) 6/10
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Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:27 am
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Will be following. Your reviews are almost always insightful.

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:28 am
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Brightside wrote:
Use both.
Wil wrote:
This.
Really?! And, thanks, guys!*
Epistemophobia wrote:
I'm in love for the first time.
Um... with the banners? :oops:

*UPDATED to say I went with the nighttime banner. Maybe I'll switch them up once in awhile.

And now for some content...

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:30 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Breillat

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For quite a while now, I’ve made a sort of project out of watching female directors. Along
the way, I’ve made some wonderful discoveries, and one of the most interesting has been
Catherine Breillat. She loves to shock, yet her images are lovely and her insights often
tender. I’m fascinated by her; though I certainly don’t feel like I’m on her wavelength, like
I do with my favorite directors. But, even at her most baffling, she’s always stimulating, and
I wholeheartedly love some of her films.

Her primary preoccupation, of course, is a feminist one of sex and power. People use and
abuse each other in all five of these movies, and sex is only positively portrayed in Sex is
Comedy
, if there. Anyway, while she has interesting things to say about relationships, I’m
glad I don’t live in the Breillat universe, because, in real life, sex is less ponderous, more
complex, and much more fun than in her films. What she says in interviews is strange, too:
“I think that the vision of sex is so awful for puritans because sex belongs to intimacy, and
intimacy belongs to the individual, and it is not something that belongs to hell, to the
collective dread. Hell has an anatomy, and it is the woman's body.”
Huh? But, the fact is,
the only thing that keeps me from watching more baffling Breillat movies about sex is that
Netflix doesn’t have any more!

À ma soeur! – This is Breillat’s prototypical sister relationship – so complicated, with true
tenderness and love, but plenty of jealousy and abuse, too. So well done! As for the movie
itself, I almost don’t know what to say. I ran the gamut of emotions through this one:
amusement, sympathy, shock, dread, horror. And the ending is… heartbreaking. It’s certainly
a powerful film. I’ve never come up with a satisfying explanation for the title, though. Ideas?

Sex is Comedy (pictured above) – I found this comedy about a Breillat-like director struggling
with her film’s sex scenes completely delightful. It’s drily amusing throughout, and I particularly
enjoyed the slow build to some really excellent situational humor. I especially loved the
conclusion, though it’s difficult to explain why. I’ll just say that the climax is the successful
completion of an intense scene in the film-within-the-film, and the cathartic effect it has on
the crew applied to me as well.

The Last Mistress – Asia Argento burned up the screen, as usual, but… her lover did not.
Sex scenes aside, I didn’t think this one had the same primal power behind it as her other
films.

Blue Beard – This is a charmingly told, very beautifully shot fairy tale. I thoroughly enjoyed
it. But, another sister death! I’d love to say something meaningful about the thematic
way that tied into the Bluebeard myth, but I’ve got nothing!

Anatomy of Hell – By far the most baffling of her films, this one depicts a man and woman
playing a game I don’t even want to understand. There’s a lot of shock for shock’s sake, but
of course that’s the point. Also, I’m pretty sure I disagreed with every word said in this movie!
I did like the fact that the woman disappears at the end, as if she were never real, while
the man’s thoughts are narrated by a female voice, as if he were a figment of someone’s
imagination.

Brief Crossing – I loved this one. An older woman makes a play for a sixteen year old, and
he’s thrilled to go along. But, it gets a lot more complicated. This one is so beautifully
observed, as power changes hands, and people change their minds, and we get to watch
every fleeting emotion on the way. Then, the ending answered questions I’d forgotten I
had, and made me rethink what I thought I’d figured out.

Romance – This one is similar to Anatomy of Hell, and even features the same male porn
star. It’s very much a cartoon, or caricature, of relationships. I found it less intense, less
thought-provoking, and less erotic than Anatomy, but, on the other hand, it has a lot
more humor. One character especially is pure comic relief, and, by the end, the movie is
completely farce.

A Real Young Girl – This is a very strange movie. Even after seven other Breillat movies,
I wasn’t prepared for this one. The girl’s parents are broad, Jeunet-like, caricatures. The
girl herself is ridiculously over the top, insanely sex obsessed. Basically, this movie is
hilarious, and never more so than when she fantasizes about sex with an older man. Finally
her age and innocence come into play, because what she pictures is a lot of rolling around,
and earthworms!?

Perfect Love (pictured below) – Another favorite. I love Breillat best in her more realistic
mode. The cartoonish ones are interesting, but she builds so much beautiful intensity in
the realistic ones. I was sort of dreading this one from the description: watching the slow
deterioration of a relationship might have been agony. But, I would have watched these
two make love and fight for twice as long. By the end, I was so in the moment that it was
a shock to remember what was about to happen.

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:31 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Perfect Love (pictured below) – Another favorite. I love Breillat best in her more realistic
mode. The cartoonish ones are interesting, but she builds so much beautiful intensity in
the realistic ones. I was sort of dreading this one from the description: watching the slow
deterioration of a relationship might have been agony. But, I would have watched these
two make love and fight for twice as long. By the end, I was so in the moment that it was
a shock to remember what was about to happen.

Image


That's my favorite Breillat. Isabelle Renauld just slays me.

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Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami, 2012) 4/10
Killing Them Softly (Dominik, 2012) 2/10
The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (Pal/Levin, 1962) 6/10
The Dark Past (Mate', 1948) 7/10
New Rose Hotel (Ferrara, 1998) 3/10


Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:35 am
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Haven't seen any Breillat yet, but the more realistic of her films sound intriguing.

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:39 am
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dreiser wrote:
That's my favorite Breillat. Isabelle Renauld just slays me.
I loved it. They're both pretty great!
Bandy Greensacks wrote:
Haven't seen any Breillat yet, but the more realistic of her films sound intriguing.
They're all intriguing. But some are easier to love than others. :P

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 12:08 pm
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Post Maiden's Voyage: 2046

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      This is more than a movie; it’s an art installation using music, narration, repetition, still images, filmed performances, and the viewer’s own memories of previous films. I am the target audience for this artistic experiment: I’ve seen all the director’s movies, so, I enter the theater primed for the experience. The movie, from the first frame, evokes regret, loss, longing, loneliness, memories. The music and images play with my mind, giving tantalizing glimpses of the characters’ pasts, of other movies, of my life—yes, because that’s in there, too! I recognize these characters; I’ve known them, been them. Obviously, I've been hand-picked to attend this event. Maybe I'm the only member of the audience.

      * * *

I recently rewatched 2046, which has been near the top of my all-time favorites list since I first saw it five years ago, and I’ve been trying to write a defense (or just an explanation) of the effect it’s had on me. It turned out to be harder than I expected, partly because I kept getting sidetracked by another, more recent favorite that is strangely similar, yet altogether different: L’intrus. Both movies are beautiful portraits of a cold, isolated man’s inner landscape. Both mix reality, memory, and fiction with a blender. But, the ways in which they’re different are far more interesting. Where L’intrus is all mystery, delicacy, ambiguity, 2046 spells out everything in title cards and voice over. I can’t help thinking, wouldn’t a man’s mind be more mysterious?

Still, I’m fascinated and moved by 2046. The performances are spectacular: the way Zhang Ziyi cries, the amazing openness of her face even as she tries to hide her emotion; the sight of Gong Li’s beautiful hardened face finally cracking; Tony Leung baring his damaged soul to the camera. The relationships, the memories, and the science fiction stories are woven together, under and through the evocative music, into a tapestry of memories, longing, and missed opportunities. And, that spelled-out metaphor really works. The science fiction stories contain the loveliest, most memorable images in the film, haunting illustrations of his mental landscape – of longing, isolation, and determination to escape the past.

2046 is still an emotional favorite of mine. I’ll watch it again someday for another dose of bittersweet memories and hope. But, L’intrus is a more disturbing drug, administered by Denis, who I’m now ready to admit I love even more than Wong.

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 12:11 pm
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From Breaillat I've only seen Á ma Soeur!, Perfect Love and Bluebeard may be the ones I try next, I like how they sound.

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 12:13 pm
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What does Fat Girl's original title mean translated? I only know it as the American title. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on each of the films over again. Directors' progressions through their work is a really interesting thing to follow, and in your simple yet engaging way it is fun to revisit how I felt about each film. I thought I had seen all of her work before Sleeping Beauty, but I guess I missed Brief Crossing and Perfect Love.


Sat Aug 06, 2011 1:03 pm
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Oaktown wrote:
What does Fat Girl's original title mean translated?

For My Sister

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 1:05 pm
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Colonel Kurz wrote:
For My Sister

That is a puzzling title for the film. I would guess it would have to do with the ending somehow, I would need to think about it more.


Sat Aug 06, 2011 1:09 pm
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2046 is still one of my favorite films... and was my very favorite for a long time. L'Intrus also way up there. Anyway, I think 2046 constructs a fair degree of ambiguity in its fragmented, nesting allusion-filled structure, much in the same way as the Denis film, by blurring the lines of the subjective identification of images via the protagonist. When I watch the film now, parts that seems clear cut in terms of chronology or "realism" now fail to register as distinct events, memories, imagined memories, alternate pasts, personal fictions, or so on.

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 1:10 pm
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kiddo in space wrote:
From Breaillat I've only seen Á ma Soeur!, Perfect Love and Bluebeard may be the ones I try next, I like how they sound.
I think you'll like them.

Oaktown wrote:
I thought I had seen all of her work before Sleeping Beauty, but I guess I missed Brief Crossing and Perfect Love.
Oh, try to see them. My favorites!

Magic Fister wrote:
2046 is still one of my favorite films... and was my very favorite for a long time. L'Intrus also way up there. Anyway, I think 2046 constructs a fair degree of ambiguity in its fragmented, nesting allusion-filled structure, much in the same way as the Denis film, by blurring the lines of the subjective identification of images via the protagonist. When I watch the film now, parts that seems clear cut in terms of chronology or "realism" now fail to register as distinct events, memories, imagined memories, alternate pasts, personal fictions, or so on.
I think I know what you mean, and it's how memory works, isn't it? His memories, his dreams, my memories, the film itself – it's all come together now. The things that the music from the film does, even now, in my head, are kind of amazing! But L'intrus is on another level: baffling, opaque, scary; the way I would imagine a stranger's subconscious really would be, if I somehow encountered it. O the mind, mind has mountains, etc.

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 1:58 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Oh, try to see them. My favorites!

Will do.


Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:09 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:


Certainly. I think I still prefer 2046 because so much of my own DNA is now a part of the film, inseparable in my own mind, because of how formative that film was in my own evolution as a cinephile and how much it simply demands the viewer to apply of their own feelings and memories, as you say. But the Denis is staggering, though also not my favorite of hers. Despite all the similarities, I feel they're rather different to compare. The Denis continually seeks to break down, to minimalize, to strip, whereas the Wong seeks to build and build from an already hugely operatic start - the culmination of an entire career of big gestures and movements.

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In a word, I think that, far from favoring directors’ formal inventiveness, widescreen, instead, stifles it. It is, I’m more and more persuaded, if not the only, at least the main culprit for the expressive poverty of the image today. - Eric Rohmer
Vimeo / / / Flickr


Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:14 pm
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Magic Fister wrote:
I think I still prefer 2046 because so much of my own DNA is now a part of the film, inseparable in my own mind, because of how formative that film was in my own evolution as a cinephile and how much it simply demands the viewer to apply of their own feelings and memories, as you say. But the Denis is staggering, though also not my favorite of hers.
Totally, totally agree.

And, I don't think Denis and Wong are always so far apart stylistically, but they certainly are in these two films!

One more for tonight...

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


Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:23 pm
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Post Maiden's Voyage: The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

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When writing about 2046 recently, I got to thinking about the feeling of nostalgia in movies. By nostalgia, I don’t mean a pleasant, sepia-toned fondness for the past; I’m talking about the intense, almost painful feeling of longing for something lost, for something impossible to recover. This is apparently a feeling I’m particularly susceptible to, since more than a couple of my favorite movies evoke this feeling. 2046 is an obvious example, and The Science of Sleep and The Bird People
in China
make good use of it also. But one of the films that does it best is Wes Anderson's The Life Aquatic with Steve
Zissou.

One of my all-time favorites, The Life Aquatic may seem like a strange example of my mournful nostalgia, since it’s a comedy, and great one. But, even at its funniest moments, it’s filled with loss and longing, nostalgia slopping over the edges. Steve grieves for Esteban and watches Eleanor leave. The crew yearns for their heyday; and when they watch the old footage their longing is so strong I’m overwhelmed, too. But the strongest longing is that of Steve for his childhood, for the year he was 11, when the world was just becoming knowable, when his future was pure possibility, when he could dream of becoming Jacques Cousteau. In fact, the whole universe of this film is an 11-year-old’s dream of adulthood, of fantastic sea creatures, silly gunfights, submarines, adventure, adventure, adventure. It’s an impossible world, as we know too well; but no one can tell him that, because his future is perfect and open, and everything is still possible for him.

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:25 pm
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I love Breillat and your writing sums up those films better than I could. I really need to get back into her filmography. I still have about ten films to see from her.

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:26 pm
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*Queen Bitch*

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:26 pm
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Will certainly be watching.

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:38 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
I certainly don’t feel like I’m on her wavelength, like I do with my favorite directors.

I do. Probably more than any other director.

I don't know why.


Sat Aug 06, 2011 6:44 pm
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A thread with Breillat, Denis and WKW :heart:.

I am looking forward to you watching and reviewing Breillat's latest (The Sleeping Beauty). Breillat, of course, reimagines Anastasia not as some sort of passive dormant damsel but instead grants her a vibrant dream life that becomes the focus of most of the film. I really loved it.

I haven't watched Brief Crossing but really want to now after reading your review.

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:05 pm
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This is such a good idea. :P

<3

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 8:10 pm
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Epistemophobia wrote:
I do. Probably more than any other director.
Wow, I didn't know that! That's kind of... awesome.

charulata wrote:
I am looking forward to you watching and reviewing Breillat's latest (The Sleeping Beauty). Breillat, of course, reimagines Anastasia not as some sort of passive dormant damsel but instead grants her a vibrant dream life that becomes the focus of most of the film. I really loved it.
I can't wait to see this!

Trip wrote:
This is such a good idea. :P

<3
I listen to you! :heart:

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


Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:48 pm
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Sokurov Index

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    For Russia, sweet sadness and pleasant farewells are not possible. On the
    contrary, in the Russian sense of elegy, it's a very deep, vertical feeling, not
    a delighting one. It gets you deeply, sharply, painfully. It's massive.


Read that quote again! Sokurov is describing, better than I ever could, the feeling of 'mournful nostalgia' that I look for (and find) in so many of my favorite movies. (Full interview here.)

The films of Aleksandr Sokurov took me by storm beginning in the fall of 2010. I'd never seen anything like them! And I still get a little thrill of alien strangeness and haunting familiarity with each new one I watch. Because he holds such a special place in my cinematic landscape (and heart), I want to have a 'Sokurov' link in my sig to make it as easy as possible for people who are just discovering him to explore what I've written. So, I’m going to use this post as a (hopefully) ever-growing index, and anchor for a virtual thread-within-a-thread. Navigate using the links below or the Next > and < Back buttons at the bottom of each post.


Other links of interest:


< Back | Next >

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:51 pm
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Sokurov entry

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Elegy of a Voyage – This is a beautiful, wistful, and slightly
disturbing dream, where memories hover just out of focus, and every
detail feels more momentous, more beautiful than life. The destination
turns out to be an art museum, where the paintings emerge so vividly the
dreamer must have studied them. I love the astonishing reverie inspired
by the last painting: "Didn't I paint this picture myself? [...] Pieter
Saenredam. Yes, this is his work. I was just standing by, here on his
right." The painting has become a part of him, part of his own
mental history, part of his dreams. Lovely!


Image

Mother and Son is emotionally devastating and stunningly
beautiful. A man caring for his dying mother has such a close
connection to her that they dream the same dreams. The sound is
astonishing: distant thunder rolls in the background for much of the
time, you’ll swear you can feel the wind. The images are distorted,
off-kilter, impressionistic, and incredibly evocative. Just a gorgeous,
gorgeous film.

Oh, and for anyone who, like me, doesn’t download, Mother and
Son
is on mubi.com.


Image

The Sun is the story of Emperor Hirohito in the last days of
WWII. It’s a fascinating portrait that demonstrates both his strange,
sheltered existence and his agonized thoughts as he decides what will
be best for his country. There are beautiful images here, but fewer
surreal or impressionistic touches. A couple notable exceptions: a
dream of fish bombing the city, and a strangely beautiful drive
through foggy war-torn ruins.

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Sat Aug 06, 2011 11:56 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
When writing about 2046 recently, I got to thinking about the feeling of nostalgia in movies. By nostalgia, I don’t mean a
pleasant, sepia-toned fondness for the past; I’m talking about the intense, almost painful feeling of longing for something
lost, for something impossible to recover. This is apparently a feeling I’m particularly susceptible to, since more than a
couple of my favorite movies evoke this feeling. 2046 is an obvious example, and The Science of Sleep and The Bird
People in China
make good use of it also. But one of the films that does it best is The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

One of my all time favorites, The Life Aquatic may seem like a strange example of my mournful nostalgia, since it’s a
comedy, and great one. But, even at its funniest moments, it’s filled with loss and longing, nostalgia slopping over
the edges. Steve grieves for Esteban and watches Eleanor leave. The crew yearns for their heyday; and when they
watch the old footage their longing is so strong I’m overwhelmed, too. But the strongest longing is that of Steve for his
childhood, for the year he was 11, when the world was just becoming knowable, when his future was pure possibility,
when he could dream of becoming Jacques Cousteau. In fact, the whole universe of this film is an 11-year-old’s dream
of adulthood, of fantastic sea creatures, silly gunfights, submarines, adventure, adventure, adventure. It’s an impossible
world, as we know too well; but no one can tell him that, because his future is perfect and open, and everything is still
possible
for him.


Wonderful, and completely agreed.

Funny that two of the Breillat's you seem to regard the least are two of my favorites of hers; Romance and A Real Young Girl. The latter strikes me as highly subjective oneiric realization of teenage hormonal urges. It's over the top, sure, but it's over the top in a manner that directly correlates with unfiltered, misunderstood sexual yearning.

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Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:12 am
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Oh, this thread is cinematic goodiess.

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Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:30 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:

When writing about 2046 recently, I got to thinking about the feeling of nostalgia in movies. By nostalgia, I don’t mean a
pleasant, sepia-toned fondness for the past; I’m talking about the intense, almost painful feeling of longing for something
lost, for something impossible to recover.

Enjoying this thread, maiden.

A phenomenon I've noticed in the past few years is that when you age you can get a feeling of nostalgia when you think about things you once hoped for and dreamed to have or to do...and you realize that it is terribly unlikely that you will ever do or own those things, now. It feels just the same as that "lost youth" feeling that we sometimes get when watching films like E.T. or Super 8 or The Flight of the Red Balloon, or other films that I can think of...but y'all can make your own mental lists.

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Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:37 am
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Brightside wrote:
Wonderful, and completely agreed.

Funny that two of the Breillat's you seem to regard the least are two of my favorites of hers; Romance and A Real Young Girl. The latter strikes me as highly subjective oneiric realization of teenage hormonal urges. It's over the top, sure, but it's over the top in a manner that directly correlates with unfiltered, misunderstood sexual yearning.
Thank you! I don't disagree about Young Girl. I just can't love it.

Philosophe rouge wrote:
Oh, this thread is cinematic goodiess.
:heart:

Gort wrote:
A phenomenon I've noticed in the past few years is that when you age you can get a feeling of nostalgia when you think about things you once hoped for and dreamed to have or to do...and you realize that it is terribly unlikely that you will ever do or own those things, now. It feels just the same as that "lost youth" feeling that we sometimes get when watching films like E.T. or Super 8 or The Flight of the Red Balloon, or other films that I can think of...but y'all can make your own mental lists.
This is very true, and a big part of what I see in Life Aquatic. I will say that I "enjoy" this feeling in fictional situations much more than in my real life.

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Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:00 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Andrzej Zulawski

Thanks to LEAVES, I've watched all the Zulawski I could get my hands on this year. More than anyone else I can think of, Zulawski requires re-watches and time to mull over. That's not to say his images don't have immediate visceral impact. They do! But my thoughts about them don't make sense till days (or weeks) after.

      Image

My Nights Are More Beautiful Than Your Days – I love this movie so much, though it’s definitely not easy to explain why. It’s partly the emphasis on language, I’m sure. And, of course, it’s a mournfully nostalgic screwball comedy. How could I not love that?!

Zulawski keeps us constantly off-kilter, with odd camera angles and distorted reactions, just as the main character is, by his slowly failing mind. Every interaction of the two main characters feels like it’s part of a different history – a long-term relationship, perhaps, where they've fought and made up for years on end. The first time through this is understandably confusing, but the second time it's full of power. Partly this is due to the music – the love theme seems over-the-top, even silly, during early scenes, and becomes more appropriate as we go along. By the end, I felt it was finally played without irony. And, their mannered acting style disappears, too, leaving just a fleeting moment of pure happiness. So perfect!

Diabel – What a crazy journey through one man’s madness! Zulawski definitely picks wonderful faces to watch for two hours, and the images are seared-in-my-brain memorable, but I can’t say I necessarily enjoyed it. The electric-guitar score is very strange, though it definitely adds to the nightmarish feel. The nun is best part, in all her metaphorical weirdness. As political allegory, it’s striking in its overwhelming disillusionment, corruption, and hopelessness. Unless we’re supposed to get a sense of hope from the devil’s ‘beautiful world’ dance, haha!

On the Silver Globe – I went into this one with trepidation, but found it completely mind-blowing. I had to be a little patient through the very first part as the stranded astronauts struggle to maintain their grip on sanity. But the second time through it was fantastic. I expected to understand what the characters were talking about the second time, but no. I think I’d almost understand it better with the subtitles turned off – maybe I’ll try that next time.

Most of my favorite things in the film are in the second half, when Marek lands and finds the society in crisis. People are still speaking in monologues, but now their speeches fit together like puzzle pieces and I understood everything on some level (at least until the very end). Marek’s doomed craziness is a perfect match for the society consumed with fear and desperation. Most important, this part is filled with some of the most beautiful images I’ve ever seen: the underground city, Ihezal, the Shern city, the scarves on the water, everything really. I love how strangely convincing it all is, despite the insanity and the stylization. I’ve never seen anything like it!

The only thing I don’t like is the cars. Why are there cars? I guess there are thematic reasons; I think he’s trying to make that section, that time and place, feel sort of contemporary, the starkest possible contrast to the other planet. The people are bored, dull, lifeless, compared to the crazy life and energy of the new civilization. And it’s supposed to be the most familiar feeling, with the theater, the casino, and the… government chambers? Still, it throws me violently through the fourth wall every time the cars appear. I need a seat belt, haha.

The reconstructed parts work better than I could have imagined, especially when it feels like we’re looking at the intended audience of the video that’s been sent back. It has such a fitting sadness to it, sadness for the lost movie, sadness for the broken society. Loss, grief, mournful nostalgia! I love how the film itself becomes a historical artifact – sent, not through space and time, but through oppression and censorship. It almost seems wrong to like the effect as much as I do, since it wasn’t what he’d originally planned.

      Image

La fidélité – This one started really well. The slightly off-kilter love story was great, and the way the main character lived through her camera was well done. But, the story got more and more melodramatic – not melodramatic in a hyper-emotional way, like My Nights, but in a black-market-organ-stealing-ring-assassinating-their-enemies sort of way. The biker/photographer character set my teeth on edge, so maybe I can blame some of my reaction on him.

La femme publique is terrific! It’s somewhat similar to La Fidelité, but with everything working instead of falling flat. It’s like Russian nesting dolls, getting more interesting the more you dig. I love the movie-within-the-movie, where the director is completely misinterpreting the Dostoevsky novel The Possessed to promote his political agenda. Plus, The Possessed is sometimes translated as The Devils, and there are a lot of similarities between the movie-within-the-movie and Zulawski’s The Devil (minus the radical misinterpretation, of course). And, that Vertigo-like game she plays with the crazy Czech guy is amazing – all the drama of the old relationship in the new relationship. In My Nights, he kept a similar relationship dynamic, but stripped away the plot reasons behind it. Anyway, this movie is ridiculously fun. The curtain call!

I thought L’amour braque was kind of a chore. The antic style reminded me of a cartoon, although most cartoon plots are clearer and more thoughtful! I did read that the main character in The Idiot is epileptic, so that helps explain things a little bit. Of course, Sophie Marceau is impossibly beautiful in it. And I liked the last minute or so, with the Hungarian (?) song and the weird dream imagery.

L’important c’est d’aimer – This movie had a strange effect on me. I thought I didn’t like it at all, but it got under my skin and wouldn’t let me watch anything else until I watched it again. Now, although it's not at Silver Globe- or My Nights-levels of pure awesome, I love it anyway. The performances are strangely conventional for Zulawski; aside from a couple of disturbances in restaurants, everybody seems pretty normal; nobody throws a fit or bites glass or acts crazy at all. Well, I guess Klaus Kinski is pretty over-the-top (and awesome), but isn’t that ‘normal’ for him? I had some trouble with the music – I thought the love theme sounded sarcastic, like the composer secretly hated the film. Or maybe it just sounds like that to me because the love story is preposterous. I could never even look at that other guy (the main character, haha) with Jacques Dutronc around! So I guess Romy Schneider is acting crazy, but in a subtle way that only I can see. And Dutronc’s character gets the short end of the plot, for sure. So, anyway, there are certainly things I don’t like about it, but, overall, I love it. Confusing!

      Image


More Zulawski talk here: The Third Part of the Night and The Blue Note and Possession.

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Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:03 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
My Nights Are More Beautiful Than Your Days

This was my first Zulawski, I was overwhelmed by it, to be honest. I found it fascinating, but to appreciate it better, it needs to be rewatched, now that I've seen more of the director's films and know a bit more about his style.

Quote:
The Devil

Such madness, this and The Third Part of the Night are the closest of his films (or any film, maybe) to resemble a nightmare, both in structure and content

Quote:
La femme publique

I agree, great film.

I've got L’important c’est d’aimer ready to watch, your thoughts on it are...intriguing. As soon as I've got some free time, it will be watched.

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Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:16 am
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Mondo Vision better not disappear. :(


Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:28 am
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I'm in heaven! I'll read all of this later when I have the time, but just wanted to say, now: I'm in heaven!


Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:42 am
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This is excellent!


Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:08 am
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This thread deserves an icon but I don't know what.


Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:32 am
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Epistemophobia wrote:
This thread deserves an icon but I don't know what.


Sailboat

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Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:33 am
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A shield or crest, obviously.

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Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:33 am
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Image

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Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:55 am
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That's pretty nice.

Maiden can decide.


Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:57 am
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I will probably make My Nights are more beautiful than your days my next Zulawski after hearing so many people talk about it. To date I've only seen Possession and The Devil. I'm a fan of both

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Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:04 am
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Wil wrote:
I will probably make My Nights are more beautiful than your days my next Zulawski after hearing so many people talk about it.


Ranks among the best of my blind buys.

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Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:54 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
On the Silver Globe – I expected to understand what the characters were talking about the second time, but no. I think I’d almost understand it better with the subtitles turned off – maybe I’ll try that next time.


Ha, ha.

Shieldmaiden wrote:
L’important c’est d’aimer


I really want to see that one for Schneider. :heart: her!

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Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami, 2012) 4/10
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Sun Aug 07, 2011 8:57 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
À ma soeur! – This is Breillat’s prototypical sister relationship – so complicated, with true
tenderness and love, but plenty of jealousy and abuse, too. So well done! As for the movie
itself, I almost don’t know what to say. I ran the gamut of emotions through this one:
amusement, sympathy, shock, dread, horror. And the ending is… heartbreaking. It’s certainly
a powerful film. I’ve never come up with a satisfying explanation for the title, though. Ideas?

I can't say that this really answers my questions about the title but Breillat talks about it here.

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Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:11 am
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Epistemophobia wrote:
This thread deserves an icon but I don't know what.
Bandy Greensacks wrote:
Sailboat
Quite-Gone Genie wrote:
Image


You guys are great! I love it! Thank you! :heart: :heart: :heart:

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Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:47 am
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