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 ISOLATION | Cinemas of Solitude 

ISOLATION | What should we watch next?
Ijaazat | Gulzar, 1987 33%  33%  [ 3 ]
Wolf's Chalet | Chytilová, 1987 11%  11%  [ 1 ]
The Deadly Affair | Lumet, 1966 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
Waiting for Happiness | Sissako, 2002 0%  0%  [ 0 ]
A Whole Night | Akerman, 1982 56%  56%  [ 5 ]
Total votes : 9

 ISOLATION | Cinemas of Solitude 
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Ingmar Bergman once described Through a Glass Darkly during an interview as being a film "set on an island, with four people who rise up from a twilight sea in the first scene and walk ashore to begin the drama". It is such a brief description, but one that in many ways echoes the efficiency of his work and also tells us so much about his intent. Using this sentence alone, we can almost deconstruct the film: the island becomes both the main protagonist and the stage itself, upon which four figures must alight before the narrative wheels can be set in motion. And the idea of rising up from a body of water, too, seems to reflect the transitional image suggested in the film's title; both of which serve religious connotations, which are a definitive feature of this loose trilogy (Winter Light, The Silence) that so deftly contemplates the absence of faith in our lives. Bergman has also described the film as a chamber piece, however, which appears to hint strongly at its literal roots: those being August Strindberg, his favourite playwright, and also Henrik Ibsen. But all of this brings us back once again to the island itself, which becomes both a recurring setting and the director's home in later life. Fårö functions as a symbol, weather-beaten and rugged as it is, to represent the isolated human soul. The characters here are trapped in various states of psychological malaise, just as they are trapped by the eternal presence of a roaring sea.

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Fri May 01, 2015 3:31 am
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So good, that one!
JediMoonShyne wrote:
Using this sentence alone, we can almost deconstruct the film: the island becomes both the main protagonist and the stage itself, upon which four figures must alight before the narrative wheels can be set in motion.
I can see the island as a stage (or the whole world), and an incarnation of their mental spaces (or human understanding). But it's not the protagonist any more than the island is the protagonist of The Tempest. Don't go all New Age on me Jedi!

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Fri May 01, 2015 10:55 pm
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:D

More accurately, and to go even more New Age on you, it's not so much the island as the spirit of the island that seems to pass unseen among the characters, influencing the things they do and say.

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Sat May 02, 2015 5:00 am
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That sounds very LOST-esque, but... I guess I don't get it. They come to the island and bring all their faults/weaknesses/histories with them.

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Sat May 02, 2015 6:11 am
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They come to the island, so says Bergman, so that the drama may commence. But it is the island's presence that throws their faults/weaknesses/histories into such sharp relief. Or, that allows them to stagnate and fester and bubble to the surface to be confronted or else to slowly consume the individual. In the same way that life in the opposite kind of environment - modern, bustling, crowded, and filled with responsibilities - encourages such things to be bottled up or pushed down deep inside to be ignored.

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Sat May 02, 2015 6:46 am
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"A bird, not an animal, stepped out. The mozart bird was pretty, small and slender, with the flowing plumage of a peacock. It ran a little way across the room and then walked back to him, curious and friendly. Trembling, Doc Labyrinth bent down, his hand out. The mozart bird came near. Then, all at once, it swooped up into the air. 'Amazing,' he murmured. He coaxed the bird gently, patiently, and at last it fluttered down to him. Labyrinth stroked it for a long time, thinking. What would the rest of them be like? He could not guess. He carefully gathered up the mozart bird and put it into a box." I assume that this is the Philip K. Dick passage from which Aryan Kaganof (formerly Ian Kerkhof) took his inspiration, but couldn't find much in the way of confirmation. Tales of festival walkouts and accusations of misogyny aside, The Mozart Bird is an odd film. Much of the first 15 minutes takes place almost entirely in the dark, perhaps as to accustom us to the wandering dialogue. Though, there is a brief opening over-the shoulder balcony shot that works to set the scene, but also becomes a recurring image. The whole thing takes place within the confines of an apartment, but scenes are often framed with industrial Amsterdam in the background. And as with Bertolucci's Last Tango in Paris, this background is a constant, almost menacing presence.

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Sat May 02, 2015 6:49 am
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I loattttthe TAGD

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Sat May 02, 2015 11:56 am
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You would.

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Sat May 02, 2015 8:38 pm
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Bergman Smergman.

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Sun May 03, 2015 12:50 am
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"In The Little Fugitive the amalgam of dramatic order, its aesthetic organization, is assisted by the spontaneity of life. Probably the initiative of the boy suggested a number of moments in the scenario, but, even if everything he did finally had been foreseen in a crude outline, every shot of his actions, every point of view on them, couldn't have been planned in advance. In short, it is the awareness we have of this margin of indetermination that gives the film its charm. Cesare Zavattini has often spoken of the (unrealizable?) film in which the director wouldn't know the ending, a film as free as life itself. In thi sense, The Little Fugitive is a case study in neorealism, not so much for its socially documentary aspect, which has never really been essential to neorealism, nor for its on-location setting, but for the way in which it approaches that scriptless film ideal wherein the drama arises exclusively from the evolution of the present. Applied to childhood, this perspective seems to me not only especially conducive, but also fundamentally necessary. If cinema exhibits any superiority over literature in this domain, it is precisely because, since childhood is impenetrable to us grown-ups, the observation of children's behavior is the only serious - and at the same time possible - way of knowing it." - André Bazin

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Thu May 14, 2015 6:01 pm
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New picks from Charu, Maiden, and other, less significant people. Vote, please!

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Wed Oct 07, 2015 8:49 pm
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Oh it's like that huh? What's good, Jedi?

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Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:15 pm
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:D

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Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:23 pm
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Whole Night.


Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:45 pm
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While Craig Zobel's Z for Zachariah doesn't really distinguish itself from the slew of post-apocalyptic cinema that our screens must these days brace themselves against, there are one or two compelling points (it's not that bad, Trip) worth noting. Specifically, I like how it juxtaposes faith and science: not exactly an original thought for this kind of film, but each of the primary characters comes to represent such contrasting ideas. The prospective dismantling of a chapel in order to build a water mill, for example. There is no clear leaning towards the latter side, either, which surprised me, given that such films typically promote ideas of godlessness and end up with only the most practical surviving. The vast, desolate New Zealand landscape is wonderful, despite it being used to represent North America. Can't help but imagine a similarly post-apocalyptic film shot in NZ but done in a more minimal fashion.

Also, spot the Stalker homage:


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Wed Oct 07, 2015 10:11 pm
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I voted for the Akerman, but that Chytilová looks intriguing.

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Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:03 am
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That Stalker reference's a bit tacky. Ha.

Looks interesting, though.


Thu Oct 08, 2015 2:14 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
I voted for the Akerman, but that Chytilová looks intriguing.

It would also be good timing, with Halloween coming up...

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Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:47 pm
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Beau wrote:
That Stalker reference's a bit tacky. Ha.

Looks interesting, though.

Very tacky, as I'm sure Trip will attest to!

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Thu Oct 08, 2015 4:47 pm
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
:D

Wait, Khouri, 1964?

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Thu Oct 08, 2015 5:52 pm
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Just noticed that, too.

Not sure I can change it without resetting the votes, but will try...

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Thu Oct 08, 2015 5:55 pm
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Worked!

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Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:00 pm
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Watched Ulrich Seidl's In the Basement last night, which works at a documentary angle to portray the underground life of a sheltered, quirky Austrian populace. As expected, quickly shifts from exotic pets and over-enthusiastic gun owners to Nazism/sadomasochism in true Seidl enfant terrible fashion. Nothing that can be taken too seriously, but the oft-symmetrical tableaux he constructs with almost Wes-like precision are as lovely as ever. Having rewatched some of Andersson's trilogy recently, there's something reminiscent of it in these images - though, might be just the use of trombones and general grotesquery. Of course, where Andersson is subtle and has that dry, Nordic humour up his sleeve, Seidl will always be brash and loud in the same way Trier is.

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Fri Oct 09, 2015 2:51 am
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you'd probably like March Comes in Like a Lion

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Latest notable first-time viewings:

* The Sun in a Net / Uher
** The Seashell and the Clergyman / Dulac
The Tales of Beatrix Potter / Mills
* A Flood in Ba'ath Country / Amiralay
Times and Winds / Erdem
Most Beautiful Island / Asensio
* Japanese Girls Never Die / Matsui
* Birth Certificate / Różewicz
Bush Mama / Gerima
** Paris Is Burning / Livingston


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Fri Oct 09, 2015 4:55 am
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Grabbing now!

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Fri Oct 09, 2015 7:52 am
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Our resident Dutchman recently recommended this as part of Maiden's Macbeth-athon, but I figured it worth commandeering for its isolating themes. There have been so many uniquely John le Carré adaptations at this point (three mainstream outings in the last four years) that it becomes almost difficult to consider one without applying context from the others. Despite being fostered by a distinctly American voice, The Deadly Affair is as English as it sounds on paper: all hats and pipes; weathered armchairs and windswept grey parks, forever buoyed by James Mason's dry wit. Given that the character of a spy is isolated by definition, it's perhaps surprising we've not touched on anything similar so far, but Lumet's film is a lot more than hushed monologues, confusing code names and obscure meeting places. Its mise en scène is of particular relevance, and shines during the scene where Mason's character visits the widow of a dead colleague (Simone Signoret) to investigate his suicide. As Frank Cunningham details in his book on Lumet, these are the scenes integral to the film in relaying such ideas of betrayal and self-betrayal: there is a distance maintained between the characters and this is maintained in the composition of each shot. First, Mason's overcoated form is foregrounded with Signoret appearing at the back of the room, diminished; then the camera is moved to somewhere behind her ankles, peering up at Mason the intruder and belying his polite and harmlessly inquisitive mannerisms.

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“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

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Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:15 am
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
Our resident Dutchman recently recommended this as part of Maiden's Macbeth-athon, but I figured it worth commandeering for its isolating themes.
Whoa, what? I didn't even know there was a Macbeth connection! Is the play performed within it, or what?

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Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:27 am
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Further lies and slander.

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Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:39 am
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I'm so confused. :-/

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Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:54 am
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At least, that's why I thought Kurz recommended it...

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Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:01 am
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And yes, it's performed within it.

From the book Small-Screen Shakespeare, by Peter Cochran (spoilers):

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Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:06 am
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Psssh, well me, I don't give a Flying Dutchman about that production.

No, but seriously, good work Jedi :oops:

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Fri Oct 09, 2015 11:44 am
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Lixy recommended me some stuff on Twitter:

Un Monde sans Femmes
Le Naufragé
Les Jours où je n'existe Pas
Talking to Strangers
Anti-Clock
Mille Soleils


Also, this whole sequence from Rossellini's India Matri Bhumi, just wow:

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“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

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Fri Oct 09, 2015 3:57 pm
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
At least, that's why I thought Kurz recommended it...

I did not know that.

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Fri Oct 09, 2015 5:42 pm
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Akerman is the winner. In general, but also in this poll!

Charu and I are going to watch it at 12PM PST or 8PM GMT, who's down?

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Sun Oct 11, 2015 1:08 am
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Ooh, I am!

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Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:09 am
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Dan Streible writes of Les Blank's Burden of Dreams as being "one of the finest films ever made about movie-making", which might even be true if the creation of Werner Herzog's epic Fitzcarraldo were in any way representative of your average production process. The truth is that Burden of Dreams is way more than a mere making-of extra, existing at once as both an extension of and companion piece to Herzog's Quixotic misadventure. As many have pointed out since, there is also the dawning realisation that Blank's documenting of Herzog's struggle becomes almost a mirror image of Herzog's documenting of Fitzcarraldo's struggle: a case of art and life becoming entwined like the snaking Amazon estuaries, or vines suffocating a tree. And suffocation is something of a theme here, being a word that aptly describes the auteur's relationship with the natural world around him, seeing it as nothing but "vile and base"; a place that is defined by "fornication and asphyxiation and choking and fighting for survival, growing and just rotting away". This relationship between Herzog and the jungle becomes central to Blank's patient documentary, and is detailed from the opening scene when the German's rickety plane makes a shaky landing on a rather crude runway. As Streible later points out, unlike Hitler's arrival through the clouds in Triumph of the Will, here Herzog is absolutely powerless before the majesty and violence of his chosen setting.

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“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

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Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:09 pm
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snapper wrote:
jedi do Le Horlaaaaa

I like this, snaps.

Have you read Guy de Maupassant's short story?

http://www.eastoftheweb.com/short-stori ... Horl.shtml

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Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:12 am
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Toute une nuit: Solitude has never looked so good! Akerman's not advocating isolation, though. From the screenshots, it might seem as if the film depicts loneliness, anxiety, heartache, but, in motion, it's quite different. Like a kaleidoscope, every move results in loss and gain, in constant re-grouping. But as each wanderer looks for (or looks forward to) a connection with another, it's with nervousness and longing, not doubt or despair. People are generous, hopeful, wistful, understanding, loyal; music is beautiful; Brussels is magic. Such a lovely lens for viewing the world!

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The Iron Giant ▪ Lisbon Story ▪ Jealousy Is My Middle Name ▪ On the Beach at Night Alone ▪ Paju ▪ A Girl at My Door ▪ A Brand New Life ▪ Moana ▪ Ant-Man and the Wasp ▪ Night Must Fall ▪ Colo

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


Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:13 am
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love that film


Tue Oct 13, 2015 3:20 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Solitude has never looked so good! Akerman's not advocating isolation, though. From the screenshots, it might seem as if the film depicts loneliness, anxiety, heartache, but, in motion, it's quite different. Like a kaleidoscope, every move results in loss and gain, in constant re-grouping. But as each wanderer looks for (or looks forward to) a connection with another, it's with nervousness and longing, not doubt or despair. People are generous, hopeful, wistful, understanding, loyal; music is beautiful; Brussels is magic. Such a lovely lens for viewing the world!

So lovely! The moments are full of nervousness and longing, you're right: they are the moments that arrive towards the end of your typical romance narrative, as some kind of climax. The difference of course is that Akerman cuts out all the conflict and resolution, denying us the satisfaction of the bigger picture and leaving us with fleeting moments - also, the job of filling in the fictional spaces between scenes. I love how the moments tend to overlap and, since we're used to them being constructed as some coherent narrative, they occasionally take that form despite being acted out by different figures and faces.

Writing something now; referenced a Spice Girls lyric and everything.

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Tue Oct 13, 2015 5:41 am
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Chantal Akerman's Toute une Nuit is a film about embraces; when two become one, to use an old Spice Girls adage. Yet, these are not embraces shared by a sun-bronzed and shiny-toothed central couple over the course of your typically up-and-down romantic narrative composed of conflict, climax and resolution. Akerman instead jumps from romantic rendezvous to romantic rendezvous: figures loitering on street corners awaiting the telltale footsteps of an approaching someone; girls and guys sharing brief half-glances and sipping solitary half-pints in emptying bars. And always, we arrive at the moment of high romantic drama: a kiss or a chase, before moving to the next set of characters and their own unexplained love story. As viewers we are conditioned to read such films a certain way, and Akerman's complete eschewing of this industry standard plays absolute havoc: we begin to fill in these missing pieces ourselves, following one character up some steps to meet another, despite these two narrative threads being entirely unrelated. We construct the stories, rather than waiting for the film to do so for us - for we would wait in vain, of course. The central theme here is perhaps repetition: that of the same mating gestures carried out once and again on a tempestuous Brussels night of high emotion. Just as Akerman breaks down the conventions of a genre, so does she throw light (perhaps that from a blinking neon cocktail sign) on our romantic conventions as humans.

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Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:48 pm
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
As viewers we are conditioned to read such films a certain way, and Akerman's complete eschewing of this industry standard plays absolute havoc: we begin to fill in these missing pieces ourselves, following one character up some steps to meet another, despite these two narrative threads being entirely unrelated.
Haha, yes. But she's also playing with that impulse by centering the story on a couple buildings and apartment complexes. (How many couples found their way through those same art deco doors?) Because, even when she disrupts our expectations, she's not trying to be esoteric. She's pointing to the real main character – the city, shared humanity.

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The Iron Giant ▪ Lisbon Story ▪ Jealousy Is My Middle Name ▪ On the Beach at Night Alone ▪ Paju ▪ A Girl at My Door ▪ A Brand New Life ▪ Moana ▪ Ant-Man and the Wasp ▪ Night Must Fall ▪ Colo

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


Tue Oct 13, 2015 10:25 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Haha, yes. But she's also playing with that impulse by centering the story on a couple buildings and apartment complexes. (How many couples found their way through those same art deco doors?) Because, even when she disrupts our expectations, she's not trying to be esoteric. She's pointing to the real main character – the city, shared humanity.

The setting is the real protagonist - didn't we have this conversation once before? :D

Completely agreed, though: the fact that the characters are faceless also helps to almost flatten them against these shared backdrops. The city is the consistent thing in all this, besides the recurring behaviour of the characters involved. The apartment complexes are similarly faceless, too. There are no distinguishing features that set one place apart from the next, and that goes for the streets, too. The sequences set in bars were my favourite, I think. I love that, without context, two people framed in a certain way might be together or complete strangers; a lot like some of of those scenes set in (Strasbourg's) bars at the beginning of Guerín's In the City of Sylvia.

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WCoF I II IIIL'EtàL'Eau한국88ShadowsBerlin thırd ISOLATIONVistaVision


Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:24 am
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
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More from this:

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https://books.google.com/books?id=ZgkHe ... 9&pg=PA173

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WCoF I II IIIL'EtàL'Eau한국88ShadowsBerlin thırd ISOLATIONVistaVision


Wed Oct 14, 2015 2:52 am
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Watched the Chytilová last night. Lots of fun!

Suggestions for the next poll?

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WCoF I II IIIL'EtàL'Eau한국88ShadowsBerlin thırd ISOLATIONVistaVision


Wed Oct 14, 2015 3:33 pm
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Page, someone? Help?

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WCoF I II IIIL'EtàL'Eau한국88ShadowsBerlin thırd ISOLATIONVistaVision


Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:52 pm
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i don't watch movies anymore, except the social network last night for the 5th time. great film, but i need to return to the fold


Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:53 pm
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what's the most mainstream film that could conceivably feature in this thread?


Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:56 pm
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i guess gravity is a good shout


Wed Oct 14, 2015 9:57 pm
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