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 The Berlin School and Beyond 
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
Tsai is a name that I've seen a few times now when talking about the influences behind the Berlin School, though not as often as I've seen Joe's. I guess it's this obsession with urban space and how bodies exist in/react to it that draws such comparisons, but I also see a lot of similarities in the clean, reduced aesthetic. The Days Between, for example, really reminds me of Goodbye, Dragon Inn in its use of colours and urban light sources.

Thanks again for that Arslan essay, Jedi. I just got around to reading it and it definitely helped me understand his role in all this a bit better. I do see where the Tsai comparisons come from but honestly, don't see Joe in these films at all. I should read all those essays you linked to (and am already doing that) but can you say a bit more about what specifically people are referring to as Joe-like?

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 6:58 am
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A Fine Day | Arslan | 2001


I just watched this and liked it a whole lot as well. Right after watching it, it fell short of In the Shadows for me which I still think is for me, the better made film. Just technically and stylistically, it's such an admirable accomplishment. But A Fine Day does offer more of an emotional connect and I totally agree with the Rohmer comparisons. I love how its not mimicking Rohmer (I don't think so anyway) but rather channeling his essence and of course, acknowledging him directly in those dubbing scenes as Jedi already mentioned in his review.
It's eschewal of plot and distance from its protagonist may just be my favorite things about the film... And when I say distance, I mean critical distance. Deniz is always the focus of the film but the film feels no need to make her particularly relatable or likeable or any of that at all. Like in In the Shadows, here again it is through her actions and her interactions with / reactions to others that we make any sense of her at all. I think what I like so much about this is that it asks for a different kind of engagement than most films. And lest this feel like some kind of veiled criticism, I don't mean it that way at all. Bordwell had this series of articles on his blog about how to watch art films and he starts that series off with this comment:
"Central to my claim is that such films cultivate intrinsic norms, storytelling methods that are set up, almost like rules of a game, for the specific film. In a way, every film does this."
I think Arslan does this really wonderfully setting up the rhythms of his film and thereby letting the viewer get attuned to the same. Regardless, this is good stuff and I look forward to more Arslan. But I have more Schanelec queued up to watch first.

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:41 am
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charulata wrote:
Thanks again for that Arslan essay, Jedi. I just got around to reading it and it definitely helped me understand his role in all this a bit better. I do see where the Tsai comparisons come from but honestly, don't see Joe in these films at all. I should read all those essays you linked to (and am already doing that) but can you say a bit more about what specifically people are referring to as Joe-like?

Well, that's not to say that I necessarily agree with the Joe comparisons, just that I've seen his name mentioned fairly often. Not that it's always trustworthy, but he's even listed as a "role model" on the Berlin School Wikipedia page, along with Antonioni, Lynch, Cassavetes, Fassbinder, Bresson, and the Dardennes, among others. Some of those I can see; others, not so much! One of the essays I posted earlier actually argues that, since the Berlin School seems to be influenced by figures of world cinema that are "associated with minor cinematic waves in their own countries", that it has consequently become more identifiable as a movement, or something, I've also read that Ulrich Köhler's films are most closely related to Joe's, and that he employs a very Joe-ish techique in his most recent film, Sleeping Sickness, in that the film is split in two and each half comments on the other.

Oddly enough, I just came across this:

http://www.cmstudies.org/resource/resmg ... nfprog.pdf

One of the conference sessions (page 58) was called The Berlin School in Global Contexts, with mentions of both Joe and Martel. :heart:

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:24 am
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The influences behind the films of the Berlin School have been discussed and analysed at length, but a genre exercise like Christian Petzold's Jerichow begs another level of magnification. First there is the literary inspiration, James M. Cain's The Postman Always Rings Twice, then the various cinematic offspring that it has spawned over the years: specifically Tay Garnett's film of the same name, but also Luchino Visconti's Ossessione and the Coen Brothers' Blood Simple. Jerichow resembles all of these works to varying degrees, at least narratively speaking, but with one main difference: that they are stories driven, in some part, by lust, whereas here Petzold has dampened any erotic motivations - has "siphoned the steam out of the story", as Anthony Lane puts it. Our adulterous pair, Thomas and Laura, are not lovers caught up in the heat and greed of the moment, but lonely souls seeking a way out - seeking to save each other from a life of acquiescence, and from a past that continues to haunt. The sparseness, isolation; the loss of identity and belonging experienced by each of the characters - not just the foreigner, but also the natives - recalls the classical western, with its drifters and nomads and its overwhelming sense of suspicion. Other aspects, such as the thick, darkened woodland in which Thomas lurks by night - reaching out unseen to grasp Laura's hand and lead her to warmth and safety - arouse memories of German mythology and the familiar fables of the Brothers Grimm. Ultimately, one might say that Jerichow is an extremely modern and clinical take on this generic tale, yet - and as Petzold himself has admitted - money is still behind most of the decisions made in the film.
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Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:29 am
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Reposting some notes I had on Jerichow from a while ago... don't think I ever got around to posting this here..

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Jerichow | Petzold | 2008


Petzold's reworking of this classic is very much it's own thing with Cain's novel serving merely as a starting point for Petzold's
exploration of themes that run consistently through all his films. The closest comparison is probably Fassbinder's re-imagining of the Sirk with Ali: Fear Eats the Soul. Petzold does away with all the courtroom drama and the secondary characters and turns the film into a much more claustrophobic chamber piece focused on just these three people. He also completely modernizes the material by infusing attitudes towards multi-ethnicity and capitalist values in a globalized Europe.

Petzold's visual style is sterile and clinical and distanced. In keeping with his own other films, Petzold mostly shoots the clandestine lovers not through closeups but from a perspective that's more akin to surveillance cameras. His approach to creating suspense is less through plot twists (another thing he mostly does away with here) and more through a precise attention to shot duration and surprising and extremely effective cuts. Also astounding is the way Petzold is able to allow us to occupy these characters' inner worlds and create emotional resonance while still maintaining this rigorous austere style.

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:38 am
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those race issues are so well depicted in the film.

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:45 am
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I'll have to check Jerichow out. I've liked all the other film adaptations of that Cain novel.

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:46 am
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dreiser wrote:
I'll have to check Jerichow out. I've liked all the other film adaptations of that Cain novel.

my fav. along with the visconti.

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:49 am
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charulata wrote:
my fav. along with the visconti.


Netflix'd.

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 9:51 am
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Checking the IMDb page I realized this was originally a TV movie, which it would seem Petzold has been known to do. Finding out that quality films were made for TV always kinda surprises me since I live in the US and very rarely is any film of worth made for TV. Considering people like Fassbinder also worked in TV, it appears this is not the case for Germany. I don't recall seeing anyone discuss this particular Petzold, so I grabbed it knowing he was pretty much the flagship director for this makeshift "movement". The previous descriptions of a cinema of following and watching and a certain stylistic austerity that isn't quite Bresson, but is still decidedly minimalist, if only in comparison to more mainstream fare, are all absolutely apropos here. From the brief snippets of descriptions I've read about the movement, I expected something more clinical and detached, but Something to Remind Me is kind of like a warm blanket... until it's not. And even after the big reveal, which precedes (and exceeds in quality) the ritualistic murders of Dexter, but with a more tragic final blow, the film doesn't lose that sense of comfort, even though its central preoccupation is that of loneliness. The manner in which Petzold weaves the fates of these characters together is effortless and fruitful. It's not going to blow any minds, but I can't summon the desire to criticize it any further. It's pretty great.

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:52 pm
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It also has one of the best diegetic uses of a pop song I think I've ever seen.

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 4:53 pm
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Looks great, Brights! That's the first time I've seen one of his films described as a "warm blanket", though. I'm curious to see how the characters Hoss plays evolve in all these Petzold films. Her role in Jerichow was, I guess, the femme-fatale role, though there's no real seduction involved. Her role in Something to Remind Me is similar though, right? She seems more comfortable in that kind of role - or, as a woman doing everything she can to outrun her past - than as the victim.

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:13 pm
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I'd really like to see Hoss work with Arslan.

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:16 pm
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charulata wrote:
I'd really like to see Hoss work with Arslan.

Would be nice, but I think he's more interested in the German youth, whereas Petzold's character tend to be old enough to have some kind of shady past.

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:19 pm
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
Would be nice, but I think he's more interested in the German youth, whereas Petzold's character tend to be old enough to have some kind of shady past.

Right.. but his In the Shadows protagonist is older and definitely has a past. Which reminds me that I forgot to mention how much I loved Misel Maticevic in the movie. He has such a great presence.

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:22 pm
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
Looks great, Brights! That's the first time I've seen one of his films described as a "warm blanket", though. I'm curious to see how the characters Hoss plays evolve in all these Petzold films. Her role in Jerichow was, I guess, the femme-fatale role, though there's no real seduction involved. Her role in Something to Remind Me is similar though, right? She seems more comfortable in that kind of role - or, as a woman doing everything she can to outrun her past - than as the victim.


Yeah, that definitely fits her. But the term "femme fatale" carries a kind of negative connotation to it; one of archaic misogyny. She's not a two dimensional villain or anything. Petzold displays a remarkably sympathy for all of his characters.

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:36 pm
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Barbara was so boring. I hope it's his worst

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 7:42 pm
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charulata wrote:
But A Fine Day does offer more of an emotional connect and I totally agree with the Rohmer comparisons. I love how its not mimicking Rohmer (I don't think so anyway) but rather channeling his essence and of course, acknowledging him directly in those dubbing scenes as Jedi already mentioned in his review.

Yeah, it's more of a preservation of the Rohmerian rather than a mimicking of it. I mean, the film is respectful of and attentive to the Rohmer dialogue in the same way the voice actors and producer is during those dubbing scenes. These characters are just as alienated, and just as unsure of what exactly it is that they want from life, but the key difference for me is that Arslan seems more in tune with the youth. I guess that's where the Pialat comparisons come from.

charulata wrote:
Right.. but his In the Shadows protagonist is older and definitely has a past. Which reminds me that I forgot to mention how much I loved Misel Maticevic in the movie. He has such a great presence.

I'd have to see more of his films to comment further! Though, to be honest even Arslan's young characters in A Fine Day have some kind of baggage. Deniz reacts to Diego in part because he seems mysterious, and sure enough we quickly learn of his history and the fact that he, too, has parents who are not natives. The curiosity of these two characters is also very Rohmer, if you think about it. Can't decide which of his to watch next, but given the current discussion it'll probably be In the Shadows.

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 8:36 pm
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Nina Hoss in in Arslan's latest.


Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:12 pm
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roujin wrote:
Nina Hoss in in Arslan's latest.

So she is!

I've noticed she's also in Corbijn's latest, which is set in Germany.

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:15 pm
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roujin wrote:
Nina Hoss in in Arslan's latest.

The universe always listens to me.

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:17 pm
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thanks for praising my review, char, i really appre- oh, wait

i hope you're happy with yourself

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:22 pm
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B-Side wrote:
thanks for praising my review, char, i really appre- oh, wait

i hope you're happy with yourself


I downloaded the movie so I could watch it and actually respond at least somewhat meaningfully :(

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:23 pm
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haha

i was really just looking for an excuse to talk to you <3

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Sun Apr 07, 2013 10:25 pm
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I know that charulata used the term to describe a different film above, but it should be noted that Matthias Luthardt's Pingpong is the very definition of a chamber piece. The film takes place in and around an idyllic country bungalow, with a spacious garden surrounded by quiet woodland, though may as well take place inside a cramped apartment. The setting is peaceful and inviting on the surface, similar to the small pond just a stone's throw from the house, yet beneath is stagnant and lifeless. The relationships between members of this small, comfortable family have become frayed; they are isolated, just as this vacation retreat is isolated from the rest of civilization, yet this is only exposed upon the introduction of an outsider - in this case, a cousin named Paul who comes from a drastically different background. As with Pier Paolo Pasolini's Teorema, the inserting of this newcomer into the ordinary family setup sparks an almost immediate reaction from each of its members: the workaholic father must suddenly confront the issue of his estranged sister, the bored mother jumps at her chance to become the seductress, whereas the son has his lack of a normal teenage social life painfully exposed. The structure here is noticeably theatrical, betraying the origins of Luthardt's co-scriptwriter, with each scene taking place upon one of a mere handful of backdrops: the dank spare room in which Paul sleeps, the leafy garden that stages the family's awkward meals, or the crowded kitchen that demands uncomfortable closeness. It is precisely this aspect of Pingpong that elicits its pervading feeling of cabin fever and, consequently, the suppressed violence that rises to the surface on several occasions, especially during the film's distressing finale.
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Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:17 am
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
I guess that's where the Pialat comparisons come from.

I see Pialat in A Fine Day but not in In the Shadows.. I really hope you (and others) will watch it sometime soon so I can read your reactions.

JediMoonShyne wrote:
The curiosity of these two characters is also very Rohmer, if you think about it. Can't decide which of his to watch next, but given the current discussion it'll probably be In the Shadows.

Yes and yes pls :) Getting all the Köhler films now.. am really curious about the Joe comparisons.

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Mon Apr 08, 2013 7:22 am
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Something I forgot to mention about Luthardt's Pingpong: it features a nice little performance by Sebastian Urzendowsky as the infiltrating cousin, last seen in Hansen-Løve's Goodbye First Love.

Yeah, apparently he's German.

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Mon Apr 08, 2013 3:19 pm
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charulata wrote:
Petzold's reworking of this classic is very much it's own thing with Cain's novel serving merely as a starting point for Petzold's
exploration of themes that run consistently through all his films. The closest comparison is probably Fassbinder's re-imagining of the Sirk with Ali: Fear Eats the Soul. Petzold does away with all the courtroom drama and the secondary characters and turns the film into a much more claustrophobic chamber piece focused on just these three people. He also completely modernizes the material by infusing attitudes towards multi-ethnicity and capitalist values in a globalized Europe.

I haven't seen that particular Fassbinder yet, but have it downloaded ready to watch. I don't see Jerichow as quite as "claustrophobic" as some of Petzold's other films. Wolfsburg, for example, is a lot more closed off and suffocating, something it achieves through all those interior shots of the protagonist in his car. Though, as you say, Jerichow is also quite distanced and clinical, and a lot less reliant on plot twists; a lot more believable in general.

Have you read Joseph Jon Lanthier's take in Slant? (spoilers):

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But here's the primary distinction between Jerichow and its presumed inspiration. Where Cain (as well as Tay Garnett, et al) invented the betrayed patriarch Nick as an avuncularly impotent foreigner, Petzold's Ali is a menacing, phallic, porcine stereotype, precisely the sort of mythic Turkish-European greaseball that films such as The Edge of Heaven were designed to debunk. His character is unsavory to the point of near camp: Not only does he dominate his wife with a jaundiced eye and punitive bruises, he runs his business with a colorful, spittle-slicked mouth ("Next time I want you to stir fry him," he barks repugnantly to Thomas after a spat with an embezzling Asian employee). And yet this ostentatious performance forms a much-needed fulcrum of sexual frustration. In one early, clever scene Ali forces the uncomfortable Thomas and his vacant-eyed wife to dance with one another while he roams the beach dunes sneering in an inebriated stupor—and, naturally, their awkward embrace slowly evolves into violent tonsil hockey. There's no mistake: Tumescent with machismo jealousy, Ali makes himself a cuckold for his own autoerotic fulfillment. As such, we imagine his burning gaze and labored breath behind every wide shot that depicts Thomas and Laura's trysts, providing the film's sterile visuals with a voyeuristic intensity. And though a last-minute attempt by the script to salvage some sympathy for Ali painfully wrecks the denouement, the orgasm of his automotive suicide—complete with a digital plume of smoky ejaculate billowing toward the sky—satisfactorily pays off the barbed teasing of Sözer's masturbatory performance.

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Mon Apr 08, 2013 6:29 pm
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Madonnen is a hard film to write about, but it's even harder to watch. In The Days Between, Speth's formal rigor was softened by glowing colors, music, and glimpses of sweetness. There's nothing of that here, and almost nothing to ease the unrelenting bleakness. It's a quietly devastating method. The cold life the children lead, unloved pawns in a game they don't understand, broke my heart. I have to think their grandmother loves them, though it's impossible to say for sure. She looks exhausted and numb, but they seem content. I'm probably just taking my cue from the color scheme. Isabella always gets a little warmth, pinks and browns and yellows; a weak glow, maybe, but distinct when set against the frigid white, grey and blue of Rita's scenes. Rita is a monstrous mother, with no real maternal feelings. She's not emotionless, by any means, but, somewhere along the way, she's been misshapen, skewed, unable to form attachments the way other people do.

Two scenes stand out for me, both of which demonstrate the deftness of the small touches that stand in for more conventional storytelling. In one, our first (and only) look at why, Rita confronts her mother about her own abandonment. We learn so little of their back story, but the power Rita holds over Isabella is more telling than hours of dialogue. The second is the most emotional of the film for me. When Rita picks up her children from school it's very, very close to kidnapping. They make the best of it, holding their mixed feelings in check, but, as the others climb into the car, one girl quickly wipes the tears from her frozen face.


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Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:19 am
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The automobile as a metaphorical presence in the films of the Berlin School has been suggested often, but only in Christian Petzold's Wolfsburg is it so constantly and ubiquitously central; "the omnipresent motor-car", as Ralf Zwiebel refers to it in his essay. Firstly there is the setting, which, as the title suggests, is critical to the film: Wolfsburg is a large city made up of urban districts, but more importantly was initially founded to accommodate workers of the nearby Volkswagen factories. The creation of a community to serve the automobile, which in turn serves the community. In Wolfsburg, just as elsewhere in the modern world, people and their cars have become one; thus, people have become isolated and reserved, which is very much a central theme to the films of the Berlin School. For the protagonist here, an apparent womanizer and car salesman named Philipp, his car - red and shiny and well-maintained - is very much an extension of his own self image and ego. When disaster strikes in the form of a collision with a pedestrian, similar to with Lucrecia Martel's later The Headless Woman, it is this personalised and reassuring space that allows for Philipp to simply keep on driving. Yet, it is precisely this impact, the sudden rupture of this personal space that forces Philipp to confront his own flaws: his apparent indifference towards others and lack of any kind of conscience. As Zwiebel notes, Wolfsburg is very much a film about "social coldness", "sterile reserve" and a "lack of human empathy", and the automobile - with its inclement exterior and convenient interior, allows for the perfect illustration of this.
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Tue Apr 09, 2013 2:55 pm
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Quick, name three Berlin School films where automobiles are a metaphorical presence!

All Petzold films?

I thought people were unlikely to leave the house in Berlin School films. Petzold is actually Danish, little known fact. Nicolas Winding Refn's long lost cousin.

Astute commentary, you're welcome.

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Tue Apr 09, 2013 3:37 pm
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LEAVES wrote:
Quick, name three Berlin School films where automobiles are a metaphorical presence!

All Petzold films?

I thought people were unlikely to leave the house in Berlin School films. Petzold is actually Danish, little known fact. Nicolas Winding Refn's long lost cousin.

Astute commentary, you're welcome.

There he is!

I'd say the car plays a fairly important role in Speth's The Days Between, too. I mean, one might even say that Lynn rejects the car in favour of the bike; she rejects the security of a family and serious boyfriend (she's driven around by both on several occasions) in favour of running around at night with this other guy.
As a result, she's walking in the middle of the road drunk at the end of the film, and gets knocked down. If she really is dead in that final scene, then it's not only the car that killed her but also her rejection of it and the security it offers.
The automobile is also used to good effect in Hochhäusler's This Very Moment, but I'd need to watch it again to comment.

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Tue Apr 09, 2013 4:28 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Madonnen is a hard film to write about, but it's even harder to watch.

I plan to re-watch and comment on this soon!

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Wed Apr 10, 2013 3:18 am
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I only recently became aware of this after someone pointed it out to me, but one of the reasons the Berlin School films can be grouped so; why they overlap and tend to share so many traits, is thanks to the work of Bettina Böhler. She's an editor who also graduated from the DFFB in Berlin, and is in many ways the "connecting figure" of the Berlin School, having edited everything by Petzold, Schanelec, Winckler and Grisebach.

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Böhler approaches her work holistically, which means that she prefers to be largely unaware of directing and only hold on to the plotline in The Berliner Schule as a Recent New Wave in German Cinema. She does not read the script when she edits; neither does she go to the shoots. Instead, she looks at the sequences and asks herself if they “tell her a story;” she looks at what works for her visually.

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Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:46 pm
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interesting find, jed-die

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Wed Apr 10, 2013 8:48 pm
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Oh, wow.. cool. IMDB tells me she also edited Arslan's latest.

JediMoonShyne wrote:
I haven't seen that particular Fassbinder yet, but have it downloaded ready to watch. I don't see Jerichow as quite as "claustrophobic" as some of Petzold's other films. Wolfsburg, for example, is a lot more closed off and suffocating, something it achieves through all those interior shots of the protagonist in his car. Though, as you say, Jerichow is also quite distanced and clinical, and a lot less reliant on plot twists; a lot more believable in general.

Yeah, it's not closed off as much as clinical.
I just watched Something to Remind Me and will try and respond to you and bry soon. And have Wolfsburg lined up to watch soon as well.

And thanks for pointing me to the Slant review. It's a good review but I think I found Ali more sympathetic than JJL. Sözer's performance is interesting especially given how it contrasts with Hoss and Fürmann who are impenetrable almost.

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Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:00 pm
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Böhler approaches her work holistically, which means that she prefers to be largely unaware of directing and only hold on to the plotline in The Berliner Schule as a Recent New Wave in German Cinema. She does not read the script when she edits; neither does she go to the shoots. Instead, she looks at the sequences and asks herself if they “tell her a story;” she looks at what works for her visually.
Wow. Maybe this is just my ignorance, but it sounds almost like she's the auteur. I'm only thinking of Schanelec here, since I haven't seen the others. But the editing in the Schanelec films is incredibly important.

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Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:11 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Wow. Maybe this is just my ignorance, but it sounds almost like she's the auteur. I'm only thinking of Schanelec here, since I haven't seen the others. But the editing in the Schanelec films is incredibly important.

It is, which is why I'm stunned I haven't come across her name before.

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Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:24 pm
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someone fastidiously compare all her editing to determine level of auteurism

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Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:25 pm
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Trip wrote:
someone fastidiously compare all her editing to determine level of auteurism

Hah.

Poor LEAVES, though.

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Wed Apr 10, 2013 9:29 pm
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She didn't edit Orly, though.

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Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:04 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
She didn't edit Orly, though.

Neither did she edit pre-1996 Petzold.

I'm curious to check out more of her work now, particularly the stuff outside the main Berlin School contributors.

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Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:18 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
She didn't edit Orly, though.

o rly

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Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:38 pm
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Andrew Tracy on Marseille.

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Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:42 pm
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ha, I was just coming here to post that.

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Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:45 pm
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Need to add all these links to the opening post, or something.

Did you see Tracy's other article I linked to on MUBI?

http://mubi.com/notebook/posts/states-o ... lin-school

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Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:47 pm
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charulata wrote:
I just watched Something to Remind Me and will try and respond to you and bry soon.

I haven't actually seen that one yet, but I plan to!

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Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:45 am
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After watching Ulrich Köhler's first full-length feature, Bungalow, it's difficult to describe just how much it is owed by Matthias Luthardt's Pingpong, which also takes place in a small, single floor abode and features a trio of characters headed by a bored young protagonist, also named Paul. Again, it is a country bungalow surrounded by greenery and space, yet the film still succeeds in creating an overwhelming feeling of suffocation and stagnation that defines the actions of its characters, particularly those of its apathetic teenager - a sullen, Bavarian Jamie Bell. Bungalow is, however, more "quintessential" to the Berlin School, as Marco Abel has pointed out, not to mention more formally inventive and laconic than Pingpong could ever hope to be. These are attributes that the film displays from the very outset, as Köhler's camera swoops down on a stoic column of army trucks crawling across a featureless landscape, and whose passengers eventually dismount before filing into the Burger King of a typically grey service staton. Rather than following the soldiers inside, the camera instead continues its movement to drift across the cheap tables before settling on Paul, detached from the others and in search of a chair. This simple pan allows, with yet a word to be uttered in the film, for the director to make us aware of his protagonist's disassociation and subsequent desertion from the military. Paul does not belong in uniform; indeed, we wonder if he belongs anywhere, so indifferent and apathetic is his body language. He appears a stranger in a strange land, an "extra-terrestrial" like the blonde Dane he pines over. An apparent "gas explosion" in the area elicits some small drama, but Paul only shrugs it off. Even his older brother, always on the look out to catch and discourage his sibling's misdemeanors, is having none of it: "Capitalism has no more natural enemies", he sneers.
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Thu Apr 11, 2013 12:21 pm
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The beauty of extreme alienation.

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Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:51 pm
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Bungalow is nice.

End of page.

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Thu Apr 11, 2013 2:55 pm
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