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 Maiden's Voyage 
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Trip wrote:
Wonder if he intended to look as if filmed through beer.
Haha. It does sometimes look like that. Imagine what it looked like before it was restored!

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Sun Oct 16, 2011 10:27 pm
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Does anyone want to talk to me about the relationship between Biberkopf and Reinhold?

Big plot spoilers inside:
Döblin apparently calls it love, and Fassbinder says it’s "a pure, non-sexual love." But what kind of love remains after someone tries to kill you? I realize that victims of abuse go back to their abusers. But that’s after the abuse has taken a horrible toll on their self-esteem, and it’s not really love anymore is it? Maybe it’s a failure of the film that I can’t see any reason for Biberkopf to even like Reinhold, much less trust him again and again. And I say that as someone who has repeatedly gotten hurt by trusting people who turn out not to be trustworthy. But once they betray my trust, it’s gone. I don’t go back for more!

I find it easier to understand in a metaphorical/political sense. Biberkopf, with his passive immaturity, desperation, and misplaced trust, makes a good stand-in for the German people during the rise of Hitler. But I have a very hard time understanding it at a personal level.

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Mon Oct 17, 2011 4:14 am
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He deludes himself, denying any doubt of the purity of their friendship. I wish I'd just watched it to recall more clearly :\

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Mon Oct 17, 2011 9:38 am
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Trip wrote:
He deludes himself, denying any doubt of the purity of their friendship. I wish I'd just watched it to recall more clearly :\
That would make more sense if Reinhold hadn't tried to kill him! I guess I'm getting too hung up on this, but it's so hard to see why Biberkopf was attracted to him in the first place. I guess it made a really big impression on him that Reinhold confided in him.

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Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:01 am
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I would love to talk to you about this. Sadly, I have not seen Berlin.


Tue Oct 18, 2011 4:05 am
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Derninan wrote:
Sadly, I have not seen Berlin.
Aw. That's correctable, you know. It's only 15½ hours, and you'd have my undying love. :D

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Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:11 am
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Don't I already have that?


Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:20 am
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Derninan wrote:
Don't I already have that?
You're well on your way. Film discussion is like a direct line to my heart.
But Fassbinder talk is the most stimulating, if you catch my drift.

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Tue Oct 18, 2011 6:29 am
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Berlin...Alexanderplatz...with club sauce...


Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:16 am
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Derninan wrote:
Berlin...Alexanderplatz...with club sauce...
Haha!

What's your favorite Fassbinder so far? Have you seen In a Year with 13 Moons? The Third Generation?

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Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:48 am
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Derninan brings up a good point. I’m craving discussion of Alexanderplatz, but I guess not too many people here have seen this one because of its length.

Dreiser? Hanna Schygulla is sex incarnate in this! But, besides that, what did you love about it?

I can understand why people were upset about the murkiness of the picture when it first aired. It’s still murky, after an extensive overhaul. But I find the complaints about the lack of traditional storytelling less understandable. It’s broken up into discreet episodes, with either closure or cliffhangers. Pretty standard. Unless they’re talking about those awesome bits where the narrator goes off on one track while the pictures are on another. And, as for the immorality, isn’t this a really famous book in Germany? Wouldn’t they have been familiar with the story already, even if they hadn’t read it?

Speaking of which, has anyone here read it? I may try to get ahold of it. I was already interested because of its mentions in 2666. I also have not seen the 1931 movie version. Does anyone recommend that?

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Tue Oct 18, 2011 9:54 pm
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I don't recommend the 1932 version, unless you are curious to compare it.

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Tue Oct 18, 2011 10:17 pm
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Trip wrote:
I don't recommend the 1932 version, unless you are curious to compare it.
Well, I'll probably get to all the special features eventually. I want to read the book first.

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Wed Oct 19, 2011 9:29 pm
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"If I say this coffee tastes like dishwater, then it tastes like dishwater!"

Love that Fassbinder and really enjoyed reading your piece on it.

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Thu Oct 20, 2011 9:39 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Dreiser? Hanna Schygulla is sex incarnate in this! But, besides that, what did you love about it?


You articulated that it's as if Fassbinder wanted the show to look like it was shot through a beer bottle. Exactly. I thought it was visually amazing and unique.

And just from an educational aspect, pre-WWII Germany is unfamiliar ground for me. The series really focused on the psyches of the Berlin populace, their struggles to find work that wasn't degrading, the barbaric treatment of women, the volatile political environment, and the overall stupor that seemed to hang over a community that would allow Hitler to prosper.

You also hit on the Biberkopf/Reinhold relationship which fascinated me to no end. It's an extreme manifestation of the protagonist's self-loathing nature.

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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


Thu Oct 20, 2011 10:14 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Derninan brings up a good point. I’m craving discussion of Alexanderplatz, but I guess not too many people here have seen this one because of its length.

I have seen it thankfully since it was an incredible film, but I don't feel like I have a good enough grasp on it to really discuss anything about it.


Thu Oct 20, 2011 12:21 pm
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dreiser wrote:
Love that Fassbinder and really enjoyed reading your piece on it.
Thank you! Though I have to be honest and admit that the beer idea was Trip's. Personally, I think I'd call Reinhold self-loathing and Biberkopf insecure, if that makes any sense. But their whole relationship seems to slip out of my grasp the more I try to understand it. It's absolutely fascinating, though. And I totally agree about the political/economic situation. It's extremely well-drawn and thought provoking.

Oaktown wrote:
I have seen it thankfully since it was an incredible film, but I don't feel like I have a good enough grasp on it to really discuss anything about it.
I'm still mulling it over myself. I wonder how many people here have seen it. We need a poll. Something like:

__ I have seen Berlin Alexanderplatz
__ I have not seen Berlin Alexanderplatz
__ I will be seeing Berlin Alexanderplatz as soon as humanly possible so I can stimulate Shieldmaiden through film discussion

:)

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Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:08 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
I can stimulate Shieldmaiden


:D

I'm terrible. Sorry. :P

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Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:12 pm
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Only who can stimulate Shieldmaiden?


Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:17 pm
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Epistemophobia wrote:
Only who can stimulate Shieldmaiden?


Only me, obviously.

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Thu Oct 20, 2011 1:19 pm
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I'm going to throw one more thing out there. I've been doing some reading of other people's thoughts on Alexanderplatz and I came across this here:
Quote:
Fassbinder’s cinematic discourse augments the effect, replaying sounds, images and even entire scenes over and over until the viewer becomes immersed in the cyclical maelstrom that both inhabits and inhibits Franz’s state of mind. Most notable is a particular flashback sequence – depicting Ida’s demise at Franz’s brutish hands – whose increasingly frequent appearances during the narrative’s progression directly correlate with the acts of trauma inflicted upon our protagonist’s regressive psyche. It’s a persistence of memory that exemplifies Franz’s status as a prisoner of his soul, an everlasting reminder of his capacity for brutality. For the viewer however, it provides a sly deconstruction of said brutality: the sequence’s ability to horrify gradually subsides with each recurrence, initiating a process of desensitisation that undermines its intrinsic shock value.
So he and I had completely opposite reactions to the repeated murder scene. So, anyone who's seen it, what did you think? Did the repetition add emotional impact or dull it?

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Sat Oct 22, 2011 11:30 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
So he and I had completely opposite reactions to the repeated murder scene. So, anyone who's seen it, what did you think? Did the repetition add emotional impact or dull it?


If that was Fassbinder's intent, it did not have that effect on me. I just found it irritating and pointless. The scene is a brutally horrific one best left to linger upon the viewer's mind after one pass.

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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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New Rose Hotel (Ferrara, 1998) 3/10


Sun Oct 23, 2011 8:14 am
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I definitely don’t think it was pointless, if only because of the slightly flippant narration the first time we see it. Yes it was horrific to us, but it gave me the impression that Biberkopf didn’t take it as seriously as he should have. For me, it grew in horror and importance every time it was shown. The way the narration was often about something completely different (Abraham & Isaac, the suicidal girl) was sort of baffling at first, but eventually I thought it lent additional weight and resonance.

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:40 pm
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Post Maiden's Voyage: The Savage Detectives

      Image

    Like so many Mexicans, I too gave up poetry. Like so many thousands of Mexicans, I too turned my back on poetry. Like so many hundreds of thousands of Mexicans, I too, when the moment came, stopped writing and reading poetry. From then on, my life proceeded along the drabbest course you can imagine.

                  – Amadeo Salvatierra, The Savage Detectives

I may have found the ultimate expression of mournful nostalgia! Roberto Bolano’s The Savage Detectives is a beautiful, darkly funny book about loss and disappointment, a gripping story about poetry that continually breaks my heart.

Ostensibly a mystery of missing manuscripts and disappearing authors, the narrative explodes into a cacophony of loss – lost lovers, lost friends, lost country, lost ideals. The structure is pure nostalgia, a shadowy series of interviews about old friendships and past adventures where every tale is tinged with longing. The setting is an impossible dream Mexico, a literary Utopia where everyone recognizes and cares about good poetry, and which inevitably falls apart, the best poetry unpublished, forever unread. The author’s own lost past is inextricably woven into the text, his lost future adds another mournful layer. And, the deeper we delve into the mysteries – the closer we come to the enigmatic center – the more we realize, with dawning dismay, that the most terrible loss is simply time, that both the searchers and the searched for have squandered their youth and enthusiasm, that a sad middle age is the most mournful nostalgia of all.

More on Bolano here.



ImageImageImage

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:44 pm
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I will never be Bolano.


Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:45 pm
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It's humbling, for sure. He's unbelievably good. I'm still high from reading this. (Just finished tonight.)

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Wed Oct 26, 2011 2:55 pm
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Your ability to finish reading books humbles me.


Thu Oct 27, 2011 1:59 am
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Circus Freak wrote:
Your ability to finish reading books humbles me.
Ha. This one's a page-turner, though, unlike that monstrosity you're working on. On the other hand, I haven't even started a movie lately.

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Thu Oct 27, 2011 6:47 am
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Circus Freak wrote:
Your ability to finish reading books humbles me.

"Book" seems something of an understatement, given its hefty unread presence on my shelf.

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Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:20 am
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
"Book" seems something of an understatement, given its hefty unread presence on my shelf.
I thought you'd read it! It's big, but it's no 2666. Seriously, it just flew by.

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Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:32 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
I thought you'd read it! It's big, but it's no 2666. Seriously, it just flew by.

Ah, I thought we were discussing 2666.

Carry on. :oops:

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Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:42 am
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Best "book" ever.


Thu Oct 27, 2011 7:44 am
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Epistemophobia wrote:
Best "book" ever.
Now which one are we talking about? :P

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Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:11 am
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Circus Freak wrote:
Your ability to finish reading books humbles me.

:up:

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Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:12 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Now which one are we talking about? :P

2666.


Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:16 am
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Epistemophobia wrote:
2666.
Ah. That one is magnificent. I admire it to no end. But I love Detectives with all my heart.

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Thu Oct 27, 2011 8:26 am
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Beau (or anyone, of course), do you have any thoughts on the interviewer in Detectives? On the one hand, I don't think it really matters; the effect is so perfect. On the other, the timing is bugging me. The fact that the interviews took place almost contemporaneously (and as early as January 1976) seems strange.

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Thu Oct 27, 2011 9:47 pm
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Someday, Beau will post in my thread. Someday…

Still working my way through the Internet offerings on Berlin Alexanderplatz. Due mention are sevenarts's truly excellent behemoth of an essay, starting here, and a short but sweet entry I feel particularly in tune with here.

I've also spent some time with the Doblin book. It's remarkably similar to the film – the motivations are the same, the dialogue word-for-word. But Biberkopf himself feels different in ways I can't explain. And, obviously, the Fassbinder magic is missing. If I'm actually going to read it, I think I need to wait so the movie's not so fresh in my mind.

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Mon Oct 31, 2011 2:30 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Someday, Beau will post in my thread. Someday…

I've been there.


Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:38 am
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Haha. It hasn't even been three months yet. I'm being impatient.

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Mon Oct 31, 2011 5:28 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: The Conformist

Image

The Conformist may be the most beautiful film I’ve ever seen. The women are lovely separately, and
insanely gorgeous together. It always seems to be dusk in Bertolucci’s Paris – a perfect, glowing blue dusk.
I need to believe that that dance hall is real, that it exists (still) somewhere in Paris, that I could round a
corner and happen on it someday, and stay, and dance all night!

But I have a question that’s been bothering me for months. Why does no one ever talk about the black
comedy of The Conformist? Is it too obvious to mention? People talk about the strangeness, the menacing
tone. But surely the primary tension is between the ominous and the silly, between the slapstick and the
serious. It’s blatant in the huge government offices, like something out of Brazil; in the crazy 'confession'
to the priest; when Marcello gets trapped in the middle of the dance in that euphoric dance hall scene.
It's ridiculous and serious, too.

Image

But the tension is truly uncomfortable at the party of the blind; when Marcello and Guilia act out
her molestation story; when his mother's chauffeur disappears. The themes are darkly comic, too, as he
searches for "normality,” and rushes toward the anticlimax in the woods. The more I think about it, the
more I’m reminded of The Cremator, and not just because of the Nazi humor; they’re both stylish
nightmare visions of insanity and awkwardness, with intensely horrific climaxes.

And, hey, check out the postcard in the window:

Image

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Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:54 pm
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Post Maiden's Voyage: The Little Friend

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          The slenderest knowledge that may be obtained of the highest things is more desirable than the most certain knowledge obtained of lesser things.
          ————————————————— Thomas Aquinas

Since it looks like I’m going to be writing about books on here as well, I have another one to get out of my system.

Donna Tartt’s The Little Friend is one of the most misunderstood books I’ve ever come across. Most of critics recognized the quality of the writing – the lyrical prologue, the rich atmosphere, the terrifying chases. She really is a good writer, and I admire her most not for the autobiographical voice of her ruthless young narrator, as good as it is, but for the skill and empathy she brings to the drug-addled villains, who seem, if not sane, at least understandable and human in a way that reminded me of Flannery O’Connor.

But what the critics failed to see is what kind of book they were reading, and in this the publishers were as much at fault as anyone, for playing up the idea of a mystery novel, a ‘Nancy Drew for adults.’ Calling it a mystery, or even a thriller, sets the reader up for disappointment; it’s sabotage! This is a coming-of-age novel, and though there are questions at its core, they’re the kind of questions we don’t get easy answers to, the kind we grapple with our whole, inconclusive lives.

I admit that, at first, the ending left me feeling empty, too. I’d been told to expect a mystery. I wanted a solution! Then I noticed the epigraph, the Thomas Aquinas quote above. And, once I’d realized my mistake, the ending opened up in a wonderful way. Tartt writes near the end, “She’d learned things she never knew, things she had no idea of knowing, and yet in a strange way it was the hidden message of Captain Scott: that victory and collapse were sometimes the same thing.” Her young heroine fails at everything she attempts, but confronts instead the mystery of good and evil, guilt and grace. So, it turns out there’s more to the comparison I noted above than I'd realized. It’s not only Tartt’s Southern Gothic sensibilities and complex villains that are O’Connor-like, but her moral, and even theological, preoccupations as well.




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Sat Nov 05, 2011 2:54 pm
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Feels like I should re-watch The Conformist.

What other Bertolucci have you seen?


Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:14 pm
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Epistemophobia wrote:
What other Bertolucci have you seen?
Last Tango in Paris, which I kind of loved. It made me think of La Femme Publique in many ways.
The Last Emperor, which I liked a lot.
Stealing Beauty, which was just OK until the end, and then I forgave it everything.
The Dreamers

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Voyage | Female Gaze | MACBETH | Sokurov | Fassbinder | Greenaway | Denis | Sono | my bookshelf


Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:22 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Last Tango in Paris, which I kind of loved. It made me think of La Femme Publique in many ways.

Interesting.

Bertolucci is mostly a middling director for me. He knows the ingredients but not the magic touch.


Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:24 pm
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Epistemophobia wrote:
Interesting.
I guess it's mostly in superficial ways -- visual elements, and the director/actress dynamic, for example. But there's enough to make me think Zulawski might have been quoting a favorite.
Quote:
Bertolucci is mostly a middling director for me. He knows the ingredients but not the magic touch.
Trip says Besieged is pretty great, but I don't have access. Have you seen it?

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Sorry to Bother You ▪ The Hudsucker Proxy ▪ The Boy Friend ▪ The Fearless Vampire Killers ▪ Mahler ▪ Zama ▪ Delores Claiborne ▪ The Ladykillers ▪ The Rider ▪ Annihilation ▪ At Eternity's Gate ▪ The Favourite ▪ Western

Voyage | Female Gaze | MACBETH | Sokurov | Fassbinder | Greenaway | Denis | Sono | my bookshelf


Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:38 pm
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I didn't care for it.


Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:39 pm
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stoooops

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Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:40 pm
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Tried watching The Conformist once. Found it terribly boring... even visually. Probably owe it a revisit though.

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Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:43 am
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Magic Fister wrote:
Tried watching The Conformist once. Found it terribly boring... even visually. Probably owe it a revisit though.

:-/


Sun Nov 06, 2011 12:50 am
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