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 Maiden's Voyage 
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Oh, awesome. Please tell me where it fits in for you.

And, hey, it took me weeks to formulate those few thoughts. Don't leave me hanging! Is the house in A Casa primarily a mental/symbolic space or a social/realistic one? I realize the answer is probably "Yes." :P


I didn't end up watching it, because I'm terrible. I didn't mean to leave you hanging, but I did feel the house in the titular film was more a symbolic and mental space than a physical one. It has literal manifestations of descriptive mental states, like fogginess related to depression or a simple lack of connectedness and strange, faceless creatures casually going about their days with no real regard for your ghostly presence. I don't know about you, but I often dream about things like this. Me strolling slowly into a heavily populated area with only barely recognizable bodies where nobody seems to know you or care that you're there.

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Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:33 am
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B-Side wrote:
I didn't mean to leave you hanging, but I did feel the house in the titular film was more a symbolic and mental space than a physical one. It has literal manifestations of descriptive mental states, like fogginess related to depression or a simple lack of connectedness and strange, faceless creatures casually going about their days with no real regard for your ghostly presence.
Aw, I didn't mean you, specifically. But, yes, you're describing just what I meant. Of course, a big part of what I love about A Casa is the communal aspect, the sense of solidarity and mutual tenderness that cuts through the fog of despair. It makes sense to me that people in traumatic circumstances would share the same mental terrain. The best part is the way this shared terrain feels familiar, universal, a mingling of culture and ritual.

JediMoonShyne wrote:
I wish Bartas films had better rips n' stuff.
Are they so bad? I didn't notice. :(

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Fri Apr 12, 2013 11:51 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Oh, awesome. Please tell me where it fits in for you.


So I just finished watching it and I'd say it probably fits in right below Three Days and above The House. I don't know that I have a lot to add to what you've already so eloquently stated, but you seem to have alluded to something in your piece that I'm curious you'd expand on. That being the "memories" aspect and whether or not you think there were any significant timeline jumps in the film. It's difficult to tell, I think, since mostly the same people populate each timeline (more than two, even?) and the setting doesn't change (which is obviously a deliberate decision to further the sense of stagnation and alienation) even through the collapse of the Soviet empire. Again, this assuming there is a jump in the timeline, which I'm still not sure there is. That was a nice mess of writing. I'll leave you to suss it out. :P

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Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:21 pm
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B-Side wrote:
It's difficult to tell, I think, since mostly the same people populate each timeline (more than two, even?) and the setting doesn't change (which is obviously a deliberate decision to further the sense of stagnation and alienation) even through the collapse of the Soviet empire.
Yeah, that's the thing. I wasn't positive it was meant to be their memories, but it adds so much to the feeling of stagnation. Without flashbacks, they're just waiting. But if you think they're in the same place they were as children it feels much more ominous. Children may be bored and aimless, but when time stretches out endlessly in childhood it's a type of impatience, anticipation of a future that's taking too long to come. For adults to be in the same condition is a powerful evocation of hopelessness.

Where did you see a possible third timeline? And do you know what was going on down in the square (with the fires)? I assumed it was connected to the singing protesters, but I don't know enough about Lithuanian history.

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Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:19 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Yeah, that's the thing. I wasn't positive it was meant to be their memories, but it adds so much to the feeling of stagnation. Without flashbacks, they're just waiting. But if you think they're in the same place they were as children it feels much more ominous. Children may be bored and aimless, but when time stretches out endlessly in childhood it's a type of impatience, of anticipating a future that's taking too long to come. For adults to be in the same condition is a powerful evocation of hopelessness.

Where did you see a possible third timeline? And do you know what was going on down in the square (with the fires)? I assumed it was connected to the singing protesters, but I don't know enough about Lithuanian history.


I'm not entirely sure, really. I don't even know if the guy with the blonde hair in the beginning is meant to be the androgynous boy in the middle of the film, or if they're two different people. And then after the party ends -- at the very end of the film -- you only see Golubeva's character (who only appears in the beginning and at the end) and that older man with the black hair and beard. Was the malnourished girl the blonde kid peeks at naked meant to grow up to be Golubeva's character, or was she someone else? As you can see, I'm very confused. But I don't necessarily think all of these distinctions are terribly important anyway.

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Sat Apr 13, 2013 10:42 pm
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B-Side wrote:
Was the malnourished girl the blonde kid peeks at naked meant to grow up to be Golubeva's character, or was she someone else?
That was my guess. I even think there's a correspondence between the bully and the man at the window:

Image Image

And I agree it doesn't matter. But it was the idea of these scenes as memories that started the train of thought that led me to the internal/external spaces thoughts in my post above. Thanks for watching with me, by the way. :heart:

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Sun Apr 14, 2013 1:47 am
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I never made that connection between the bully and the bald guy. They do look similar. Curiouser and curiouser.

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Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:33 am
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Whispering Pages almost sent me to sleep a dozen times, admittedly. A good thing?! Probably not, I found it baffling like you but in a way where I want to reject it rather than embrace it. Soo painterly beautiful but it also recalls early tinted silent films like The Phantom of the Opera with its fluctuating palette. It definitely strives for something that is cinema and not literature, apparently using Russian lit as a starting point, but in ways that are either beyond me or failed to evoke anything. So what were all those people jumping into? Later we see a ceiling of hanging legs, must be them lol.

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Thu Apr 25, 2013 6:39 am
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Yeah, my appreciation for that one is almost entirely visual. I love that it looks like nothing I've ever seen before, yet still manages to seem vaguely familiar. As for the ceiling of legs, they are definitely shoes, anyway; it never occurred to me that people might still be attached to them, haha. They seem to be underwater though, so I'm guessing that our point of view is upside down at that moment? Which reminds me, there are several shots where we seem to be looking down into a tub of some kind, and there are little model houses under the water. (Not upside down, like a reflection, but right-side-up.) I suppose that relates somehow? But, yeah, I can't understand it at all. And when he sits under the statue and sucks on its teats, something gave way in my brain. I will never understand it, so why try? Though I'm still hoping Beau comes back and explains it all to me.

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Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:34 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Yeah, my appreciation for that one is almost entirely visual. I love that it looks like nothing I've ever seen before, yet still manages to seem vaguely familiar. As for the ceiling of legs, they are definitely shoes, anyway; it never occurred to me that people might still be attached to them, haha. They seem to be underwater though, so I'm guessing that our point of view is upside down at that moment? Which reminds me, there are several shots where we seem to be looking down into a tub of some kind, and there are little model houses under the water. (Not upside down, like a reflection, but right-side-up.) I suppose that relates somehow? But, yeah, I can't understand it at all. And when he sits under the statue and sucks on its teats, something gave way in my brain. I will never understand it, so why try?

Haha. I'm certain they are legs attached to the shoes. It's like all those people who were jumping (we never see into what, but one assumes to their deaths because jesus this miserable 19th century life why bother) got caught in a portal while falling. The main guy is walking under all the shoes/legs, though, in a way that doesn't suggest water, but you're totally right that there are shots of puddles with a model city that isn't reflected but as if in it. The giant statue seemed like a symbol of the empire and could be any state/government, but does Sokurov ever deal in that sort of thing? I mean, the guy puts his face under the creature's paw and then sucks on its teats.

I liked the long shots inside rooms best. And those flowers.

Pretty sure two separate guys feel compelled to pick up the main character, literally raising him, like bullies. Just wtf.

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Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:52 am
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Oh, images. Look, pants without shoes! The dead line the walls/ceilings, but their flesh seems to be absent.

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Thu Apr 25, 2013 8:54 am
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Trip wrote:
The giant statue seemed like a symbol of the empire and could be any state/government, but does Sokurov ever deal in that sort of thing? I mean, the guy puts his face under the creature's paw and then sucks on its teats.
Yeah, it doesn't seem very Sokurov-like, does it? The political interpretation I mean. It does seem inexplicable, making it maybe the most Sokurov-like of all.

Trip wrote:
Pretty sure two separate guys feel compelled to pick up the main character, literally raising him, like bullies.
The crowds on the street all seem drunk, don't they? The men picking fights with him, the women grabbing him as he goes by, people jumping off the bridge...

My favorite shot is the seagulls over the moat. But, I love absolutely everything that's tinted, too.

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Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:25 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Berlin School

I've spent several weeks now watching (and writing about) as many films as I can for Jedi's Berlin School thread. You could say I'm a fan! So, it occurred to me that a few of them would have made it into this thread eventually. So, with Jedi's permission, I'll link those here:


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Sat May 18, 2013 9:47 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Synecdoche, NY

And, now, for a long overdue addition to this thread...

Image

Synecdoche, New York is, possibly, the epitome of 'mournful nostalgia' for me. There's so much regret and loss and sadness here, yet, somehow, I'm not overwhelmed; Caden's life is dreary, but there's plenty of bleak humor, and, more importantly, a sense of beauty, felt, remembered, always just under the drab surfaces. It'll come as no surprise that his nightmare of separation and estrangement from his daughter hits me harder than anything else in it. It's material ripe for regret. Like other parents, I wish I were a better mother, stronger, wiser, more capable, and, I've lived long enough to know the fleeting nature of joy. So, the careless way little Olive talks of death and loss resonates on uncomfortable frequencies; and, when, as an adult, she reminisces about her childhood from across an unbridgeable ocean of lies and betrayal, it's devastating. Caden faces heartbreak after heartbreak, but stubbornly clings to his art, to performance, turning its powerful magnifying lens on our lives and shared humanity. And what he sees, what we see, like a lesson learned in a dream, is that, if every happiness is shadowed by future loss, grief is likewise shot through with remembered joy. Each small pleasure glows like a tiny, perfect painting, glimpsed, then lost as we turn to the next one.


Image Image

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Sat May 18, 2013 9:48 am
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Wonderful stuff, Maiden!

I've been searching for someone to re-watch Synecdoche with, but it's not really the kind of movie you can watch socially, is it?

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Sat May 18, 2013 2:10 pm
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I could never bring myself to watch that one, so fervent was my dislike for Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.


Sat May 18, 2013 6:20 pm
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I probably need to see Synedoche again.

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Sat May 18, 2013 7:06 pm
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Bear's thoughts on Synecdoche, still good:

http://vine.rottentomatoes.com/vine/sho ... count=2446

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Sat May 18, 2013 7:30 pm
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
Bear's thoughts on Synecdoche, still good:
Ha, I remember that! His theory is fascinating, but doesn't really work for me. I think Caden (as Ellen) is finding truth and comfort through performance, a performance suffused with his solipsistic history, yes, but which mysteriously allows him to experience empathy and true humanity.

To you guys who didn't see it, or didn't like it the first time, I can only say I think it's beautiful. Maybe not in the sense of framing or color or other things we often talk about around here, but in the sense of mental images, ideas. So good!!

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Sat May 18, 2013 9:39 pm
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Lovely writeup, Maiden. I recall finding it really devastating and beautiful the first time around but haven't really revisited it since. Now I want to.

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Sat May 18, 2013 9:43 pm
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I really liked Synecdoche. I once wrote a long essay on it, but I published it on Halo-17, a website which has now disappeared from the Internet. Coincidentally, my Masters thesis was about Internet archives, and the final apocalyptic chapter was about how stuff like this often happens to smaller, under-funded websites.


Sat May 18, 2013 11:57 pm
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All's not lost, though. There's this Philip Seymour Hoffman biography by Francesca Pellegrini: http://www.mymovies.it/biografia/?a=26662

I have no idea who she is, but hey, she's a Pellegrini.


Sun May 19, 2013 12:01 am
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Beau wrote:
I really liked Synecdoche. I once wrote a long essay on it, but I published it on Halo-17, a website which has now disappeared from the Internet.
This is sad. If I wrote like you do I'd have multiple back-up plans in place. A warehouse within a warehouse within a warehouse, for example, haha.

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Sun May 19, 2013 2:43 am
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I may have to give Synecdoche a rewatch someday... I quite liked it, but I feel like a lot of it went over my head. Nice write-up.

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Sun May 19, 2013 3:22 am
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Beau wrote:
I really liked Synecdoche. I once wrote a long essay on it, but I published it on Halo-17, a website which has now disappeared from the Internet. Coincidentally, my Masters thesis was about Internet archives, and the final apocalyptic chapter was about how stuff like this often happens to smaller, under-funded websites.

Ha! Coincidentally enough, I was browsing that RT thread earlier and came across the link to your review, which didn't work. So, I went looking to see if I could find it elsewhere, and also came across Ms. Francesca. No relation of yours, I assume? Either way, this now means that we have walked the same cyber-path, and I for one feel comforted by such knowledge.

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Sun May 19, 2013 4:30 am
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
Ha! Coincidentally enough, I was browsing that RT thread earlier and came across the link to your review, which didn't work. So, I went looking to see if I could find it elsewhere, and also came across Ms. Francesca. No relation of yours, I assume? Either way, this now means that we have walked the same cyber-path, and I for one feel comforted by such knowledge.


I am comforted too.

No, no relation. That I know of, anyways. Pellegrini isn't a particularly unique surname, I'm afraid. It's so common, my family was once part of a promotion by Pellegrini Vineyards (seriously: http://pellegrinivineyards.com/), where they delivered Pellegrini wines to our doorstep for an affordable price, all because we were Pellegrinis. Once a year, there was a wine tasting event for all Pellegrini families, which we never attended. The delivered wine was great, though.


Sun May 19, 2013 5:40 am
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obligatory praise of your synecdoche write-up

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Sun May 19, 2013 4:08 pm
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
I was browsing that RT thread earlier...
Same. That thread actually made me feel nostalgic for RT, back when I was just a lurker. Of course, I sometimes feel nostalgic for this place, too, for people I miss. :(

Thanks for the kind words, everyone, obligatory or not. :D

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Sun May 19, 2013 9:14 pm
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I didn't have anything unique to add, but I wanted to add my voice to the chorus of praise.

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Sun May 19, 2013 9:26 pm
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Do you love Synecdoche? Or, like it, at least?

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Sun May 19, 2013 9:34 pm
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I do. Haven't seen it since it came out on DVD, though.

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Sun May 19, 2013 9:42 pm
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Fassbinder index

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          It isn't easy to accept that suffering can also be beautiful... it's difficult.
          It's something you can only understand if you dig deeply into yourself.

As far as I'm concerned, Fassbinder is the ultimate humanist. Through his tragicomic lens, he sees our dark hearts magnified, our flaws and suffering bigger than life but never obscured by misanthropy. So, when I talk about mournful nostalgia in the context of his films, it's necessarily different: more bitter, more absurd, but sympathetic, too. I don't find what I'm looking for in his films; they find me and change what I'm searching for.

That said, it's taken me a surprisingly long time to realize I needed a virtual thread for him, but, it's clear that the cumulative effect of his films demands this more structured approach. Everything I see by him connects to everything else; and, now, what I've written does, too! Navigate using the links below or the arrows at the bottom of each post.


More thoughts on Fassbinder:




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Wed May 29, 2013 8:23 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Lola

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Lola was only the second Fassbinder I saw and, while I enjoyed it, I struggled to fit it into a standard mold and more or less missed the point. Now that I’m comfortably immersed in his tilt-shift universe, a re-watch seemed necessary. It doesn't hurt, either, that I've since become acquainted with another notorious Lola, Lola Montes. Fassbinder takes Ophüls' phantasmagorical circus and dials up the lights and themes till color explodes across the screen. In this Lola, the entire film is the circus, one piano-playing elephant after another. The scale is tweaked for comic effect (the courtesan becomes a prostitute, the kingdoms of Europe are shrunk to petty bureaucracies) while the focus expands to include manipulators and audience. I don't want to overplay the Ophüls angle. Fassbinder obviously has post-war economics on his mind. But, if it's hard for me to concentrate on the allegory, if my eye is caught by the colors and clowns, can you blame me? And, as it turns out, it's not distraction at all. The way Von Bohm’s eyes are lit with a bar of light, the way Lola is painted a different hue for every scene, the way the city looks like Candy Land – this is leitmotif, character, and tone; color as substance, and a clue that Fassbinder is less serious about people here than the game.


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Wed May 29, 2013 8:23 am
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That looks so gorgeous.

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Wed May 29, 2013 8:44 am
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Still need to see that one. Fantastic color.

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Wed May 29, 2013 8:47 am
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my favorite Fassbinder :heart:


Wed May 29, 2013 9:07 am
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Looks like candy. Good film.

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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


Wed May 29, 2013 10:50 am
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage: Lola

Shieldmaiden wrote:
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Lola was only the second Fassbinder I saw and, while I enjoyed it, I struggled to fit it into a standard mold and more or less missed the point. Now that I’m comfortably immersed in his tilt-shift universe, a re-watch seemed necessary. It doesn't hurt, either, that I've since become acquainted with another notorious Lola, Lola Montes. Fassbinder takes Ophüls' phantasmagorical circus and dials up the lights and themes till color explodes across the screen. In this Lola, the entire film is the circus, one piano-playing elephant after another. The scale is tweaked for comic effect (the courtesan becomes a prostitute, the kingdoms of Europe are shrunk to petty bureaucracies) while the focus expands to include manipulators and audience. I don't want to overplay the Ophüls angle. Fassbinder obviously has post-war economics on his mind. But, if it's hard for me to concentrate on the allegory, if my eye is caught by the colors and clowns, can you blame me? And, as it turns out, it's not distraction at all. The way Von Bohm’s eyes are lit with a bar of light, the way Lola is painted a different hue for every scene, the way the city looks like Candy Land – this is leitmotif, tone, and character; color as substance, and a clue that Fassbinder is less serious about people here than the game.


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Oh look, it's that old guy. Was he ever young?


Wed May 29, 2013 1:29 pm
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage

Did I ever mention how much I adore your arrows, Maiden?

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Wed May 29, 2013 4:32 pm
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage

JediMoonShyne wrote:
Did I ever mention how much I adore your arrows, Maiden?

Reported.

To...you...

Damn.


Wed May 29, 2013 5:39 pm
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage

Lola was the sixth Fassbinder film I saw, and the second that I really enjoyed. Not sure I missed the point, but it's certainly faded towards the back of my mind (behind all the others). It would be interesting to rewatch it now that I'm more acquainted with his work.


Wed May 29, 2013 7:48 pm
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage

JediMoonShyne wrote:
Did I ever mention how much I adore your arrows, Maiden?
Why, no, you didn't. :heart:

I wasn't sure if anyone had ever clicked them.

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Thu May 30, 2013 1:24 am
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage

Circus Freak wrote:
Lola was the sixth Fassbinder film I saw, and the second that I really enjoyed. Not sure I missed the point, but it's certainly faded towards the back of my mind (behind all the others). It would be interesting to rewatch it now that I'm more acquainted with his work.
I'm still not sure I 'get' it. But I know it's not about sympathy for Lola, which is the way I watched it the first time. In this world, everybody's a rogue, some likable, some not. Everybody's buying and selling. Everybody's walking a tightrope of self-interest. It's a cruel but entertaining circus.

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


Thu May 30, 2013 7:58 am
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage

Those arrows are interactive?

Mind blown.


Sat Jun 01, 2013 6:58 am
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage

These Amazing Arrows

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Sat Jun 01, 2013 7:02 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Upstream Color

Sometimes film breaks its mold and just pumps color straight into your brain.
Sounds pound through your head and make you feel things from upstream,
    from that painful past where you failed, when you lost.
Listen! There's a rushing noise, a rumbling, a high-pitched something,
    and I hear you, your memories, your fears.
Please, don't walk away! You need me. It's true.
And, if you'd only listen, you'd hear it, too.

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


Thu Jun 06, 2013 12:30 am
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage

this is where we kill her for not appreciating it

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Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:34 am
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage

B-Side wrote:
Maiden's trying to compensate for the lack of Filmwise "poetry".

You think it needs a plot summary? Be my guest...

I would never compare myself to Filmwise.

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Wonder Woman ▪ The Running Man ▪ Mohabbatein ▪ Veer-Zaara ▪ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ▪ Pierrot le fou ▪ Highway ▪ Leningrad Cowboys Go America ▪ Band Baaja Baaraat ▪ Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi ▪ Jab We Met

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


Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:34 am
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage

Trip wrote:
this is where we kill her for not appreciating it
Thought it was pretty clear I did appreciate it? I'm sure there are plenty of other things you can excoriate me for. :P

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


Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:41 am
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage

I think you're being a little too hard on Maiden here, B :/

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Thu Jun 06, 2013 1:54 am
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