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 Maiden's Voyage 
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Trip wrote:
Lore is wonderful.

Yes, this.

Need to revisit.

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Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:49 am
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Maiden and I are in agreement on Field and Lore. Field's also my #1.

Have you seen Magic Magic and White Reindeer? You'd likely enjoy both.

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Sun Mar 02, 2014 6:57 am
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This Lore love makes me happy.

Bandy Greensacks wrote:
Have you seen Magic Magic and White Reindeer? You'd likely enjoy both.
I liked Magic Magic. White Reindeer wasn't even on my radar, but it is now.

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Sun Mar 02, 2014 8:00 am
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I haven't, no. I've also managed to miss both of the others in the cinemas. I'm sure it's better than Kill List, at least.
Oh, it's been ages since I've seen A Serious Man. I remember loving it, but yeah, I feel like it's a bit broader.


Sun Mar 02, 2014 9:02 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Je t'aime je t'aime

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Time for another charulata recommendation. Je t'aime je t'aime is a clever, melancholy meditation on memory and regret masquerading as science fiction. Or, maybe it’s black comedy disguised as arthouse romance. Either way, I found the cynical, homemade-looking science fiction angle more interesting than the mournful nostalgia. (I know! What is the world coming to?) But the lack of emotional resonance in our hero’s memories is unmistakable; in fact, it’s integral to the plot. At first glance, Claude is charming and slightly befuddled, a sweet man with a broken heart. But it’s not love that has rocked Claude’s world, it’s guilt, although there’s plenty of ambiguity to go around. What is past without context? How much self-history is self-serving lies? Is this time-travel at all, or merely memories and dreams? I find this last question intriguing. The vaguely biological look of the scientists' apparatus hints at an answer, and the surreal intrusions seem to be the final word. Either way, the dark nature of the experiment soon becomes apparent. The scientists haven’t factored in emotion, and our human lab rat has signed up for a peculiar torture. The most painful regret of all must be the fact that you’d do it all again, make the same mistakes, continually sabotage your own happiness and that of those around you. No escape! But, just as we think we’ve figured it out, it seems Claude travels in time after all. The past is present, but there are holes in his story and no witnesses. In scientific terms, the experiment has failed.

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Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:08 am
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I saw that on 35mm a couple of years ago, the print was scratched to death!

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Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:23 am
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:heart: :heart: :heart:

Also a love story above all else perhaps? To me anyway. And I love how the film is entirely about human memory and still feels so immediate and in the moment <3. Such vividness to his recollections. And I keep thinking about how his time-travel experience also serves as a comment on cinema / photography/ ways in which we preserve our memories and get to revisit them and perhaps rewrite those narratives while still remaining faithful to certain specifics. Such a lovely, heartbreaking film.

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Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:45 am
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charulata wrote:
Also a love story above all else perhaps?
He seemed to spend their entire time together sleeping with other women! Though, yes, he was connected to her in a way that he wasn't with anyone else. And double yes to the vividness. :) Anyway, a fantastic recommendation. Thank you! What did you think of the surreal bits? (Is it still time travel if people have fish heads?)

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Sun Mar 02, 2014 10:58 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: You, the Living and 'angry optimism'

Another long overdue entry here...

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You, the Living is a special favorite of mine, one in which I've found a matching sensibility in its mix of cynicism and hope, disdain and compassion. Like the drab colors that come to life in his painterly frames, his lumpen characters are selfish and depressed, but understandable, with sometimes just a hint of sweetness. Even the worst person, the most hopeless case, stands out against a backdrop of what should have been, and, therefore, the slender possibility of change. It's not a deep message, or hard to find. In fact, it's right there in the epigraph from Goethe:

      Rejoice, you, the living, in your lovely warm bed,
      until Lethe’s cold wave wets your fleeing foot.

Angry optimism
The more I think about it, the more You the Living seems to belong to another sub-genre tailor-made for me, one I might describe as "People are terrible, but..." I'm known around here for disliking bleak films, but I can love even bleakness if it's leavened with comedy (often very black) or enough stylization to make me think. But, sometimes it goes further than that, till the bleakness masks a sort of fundamental optimism (seemingly from the filmmaker himself and not his characters), a stubborn life-affirming principle that might be as simple as a reminder of the beauty in the world before it slips out of our grasp, or something a bit more complicated. I say 'optimism,' but this is an aggressive, contrary, disagreeable optimism, despite everything that we can know with our senses; it's an almost mystical belief in beauty, a yearning for a theoretical good, an angry voice saying, "Yes, people are terrible. But, don't give up!"

Other films I think fit into this category:

      Synechdoche, New York
      Werckmeister Harmonies
      I Don't Want to Sleep Alone
      Two-Legged Horse
      In a Year with 13 Moons
      Berlin Alexanderplatz
      Post Tenebras Lux
      Russian Symphony
      A Touch of Sin
      Strange Circus
      Santa Sangre
      Inland Empire
      Go, Go Second Time Virgin
      The Tulse Luper Suitcases
      Guilty of Romance

I'll continue to update this list as I find them. Any suggestions?

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Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:15 am
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Mikio Naruse's Lightning fits the bill really well, though looking at your list you might be looking for something more stylized.

I wonder how most read the ending of The Wayward Cloud, but the way I read it it definitely counts as a "bleak, but with perks" movie.

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Mon Mar 03, 2014 6:45 am
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theaviator wrote:
Mikio Naruse's Lightning fits the bill really well, though looking at your list you might be looking for something more stylized.

I wonder how most read the ending of The Wayward Cloud, but the way I read it it definitely counts as a "bleak, but with perks" movie.
It's been too long since I saw The Wayward Cloud, but you might be right. I love it, anyway. And I'll look into Lightning, thanks. :)

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Mon Mar 03, 2014 8:13 am
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Now that I've seen more Kaurismäki I'd go

1. Shadows in Paradise (masterpiece)
2. The Man Without a Past
3. Ariel
4. Drifting Clouds

will hopefully see I Hired a Contract Killer, The Match-Factory Girl and La vie bohème soon

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Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:39 am
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snapper wrote:
will hopefully see I Hired a Contract Killer, The Match-Factory Girl and La vie bohème soon

Probably all among my top five.

:up:

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Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:47 pm
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oh and Le Havre too I guess but I want to see his Finnish movies first, so next'd be The Match-Factory Girl

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Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:48 pm
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Am I the only one who finds it frightening that all these Aki films are on Blu?

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Tue Mar 04, 2014 6:32 pm
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he's all finland has

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Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:05 pm
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Where else are those Nokia tax euro's gonna go to?

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Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:21 pm
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Trip wrote:
he's all finland has

Granted, but consider the similarly-renowned European names with infinitely more accessible work that have been neglected.

Also, consider the sheer size of his body of work. I wouldn't have ever dreamed we'd see practically all of it on Blu.

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Tue Mar 04, 2014 7:48 pm
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
infinitely more accessible
Haha. I'm scared to try his Finnish films. :P

Thanks for the recs, snapper. I'm going to watch Drifting Clouds next, then Shadows in Paradise.

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Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:25 pm
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wow Two-Legged Horse looks incredible, thx!


Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:31 pm
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hirtho wrote:
wow Two-Legged Horse looks incredible, thx!
It really is! I hope you love it as much as I do.

In fact, I can see you loving my whole "terrible humanity" subgenre. Am I right?

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Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:47 pm
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Totally - havent seen Russian Symphony and didnt like Post Tenebras Lux but love the others and the whole idea of it :up:


Tue Mar 04, 2014 11:49 pm
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wigwam wrote:
Totally - havent seen Russian Symphony and didnt like Post Tenebras Lux but love the others and the whole idea of it :up:
:heart:

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Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:53 am
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I had enjoyed TMWAP and Drifting Clouds but I don't feel I really got on his wavelength until Shadows in Paradise. And even after Ariel, which I liked tons too, I feel like it is the most inviting and compact distillation of his techniques and themes. Funniest, most poignant, most textured

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Most Beautiful Island / Asensio
* Japanese Girls Never Die / Matsui
* Birth Certificate / Różewicz
Bush Mama / Gerima
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Wed Mar 05, 2014 3:11 am
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Trip wrote:
Drifting Clouds is the most perfect incarnation of his whole thing.
Shieldmaiden wrote:
I get the feeling that his Finnish-language films are a lot bleaker?
OK, thanks to snapper's prompting, I finally watched Drifting Clouds, and yikes! that was even bleaker than I expected. The comedy (which I mostly missed, as usual) is in the simple sets and deadpan expressions, I suppose. That, and the fact that they didn't actually eat their wallpaper, I guess. Haha? There's an air of gloom here that even warm colors and happy endings can't disperse. I absolutely loved Kati Outinen in this, by the way. Her performances are as physical as Buster Keaton's, since she doesn't show much on her face.

Image Image


Shadows of Paradise will be my next Kaurismäki.

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Sun Mar 16, 2014 9:43 am
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Shadows of Paradise is my favourite of his so far, perfect mixture of bleakness and tenderness. Match Factory Girl is next up for me.


Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:37 pm
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MrCarmady wrote:
Shadows of Paradise is my favourite of his so far, perfect mixture of bleakness and tenderness.
Good to hear! I'll see it soon then.

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Mon Mar 17, 2014 4:55 am
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Match Factory Girl is that but even more perfect. If you want less bleak, try Le Havre.

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Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:32 am
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Colonel Kurz wrote:
If you want less bleak, try Le Havre.
Yeah, I can't deny that, so far, I prefer his French films.

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Mon Mar 17, 2014 5:41 am
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Le Havre is the polar opposite of bleak. I'm personally a huge fan of Ariel. It contains one of my all -time favorite cinematic images.

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Mon Mar 17, 2014 6:29 am
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Ariel sounds like the bleakest movie ever made.

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Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:22 pm
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Macrology wrote:
Le Havre is the polar opposite of bleak. I'm personally a huge fan of Ariel. It contains one of my all -time favorite cinematic images.

which one?


Mon Mar 17, 2014 9:23 pm
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Kaurismäki is definitely a favourite now because The Match-Factory Girl is a fucking masterpiece and completely different to Shadows in Paradise in an infinite number of small ways, while retaining the same set of Kaurismäkiisms.

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Latest notable first-time viewings:

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The Tales of Beatrix Potter / Mills
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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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Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:02 pm
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snapper wrote:
The Match-Factory Girl is a fucking masterpiece

The best.

Recently rewatched Contract Killer, which kind of complements the former in many ways. Also the best.

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Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:05 pm
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1. Shadows in Paradise
2. The Match Factory Girl
-
3. The Man Without a Past
4. Ariel
-
5. Drifting Clouds

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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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Sat Mar 22, 2014 7:14 pm
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MrCarmady wrote:
which one?


The scene where the convertible's roof finally works, which imbues a banal and comedic action with this supreme funereal beauty.

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Sat Mar 22, 2014 11:38 pm
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Rigor Mortis

Image Image

    So, ghost stories aren't really my thing. Say "vampire hunters" or "zombies," and see how quickly I tune out. But, what about a ghost/vampire story filled with grief and loss and piercing regret? What if all the supernatural elements laid the groundwork for a tale of sacrifice and redemption? What if, in other words, someone made a horror movie just for me? First time director Juno Mak has done just that with Rigor Mortis. Casting actors from the Mr. Vampire series of the '80s, he's put a modern cgi-spin on a loving homage (blink, and you'll miss the reference in the credits), while building a textured, insular world of mourning and regret. When a washed-up actor moves into what must surely be the creepiest apartment building in Hong Kong, he very soon discovers that it's haunted by terrible memories and ruthless ghosts, a dangerous environment that nurtures magic in many forms, both good and bad. Some of the sad inhabitants exploit it, some fight against it, but everyone's been warped by its crushing weight to some degree. What happens next is pure entertainment. Granted, I'm somewhat inexperienced with the genre; I wouldn't know an Asian-horror cliche if it grabbed my foot as I climbed into bed. But my sense is that this is a creative remix, concerned more with the melancholy palette and atmosphere than with terror or shock. We take our time with the characters and their motives, past tragedies inspiring real empathy, the action peril built on sorrow and affection. I enjoyed every minute, partly because it's more sad than scary (I admit it), but mostly because the ending is so satisfying and bittersweet.

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Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:21 am
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Horror isn't my thing but you make that sound really great. So grabbing that now. Also, hey maiden :) <3

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Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:56 am
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Oh, yay! :)

Before I go too far with the horror-for-non-fans angle, I should mention it was recommended to me by a horror buff. So, hopefully, it has broad appeal.

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Wed Apr 16, 2014 3:52 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Recent viewings

I've never really used this thread as a viewing log, but I'm making an exception just this once, since I haven't been around enough lately to participate in a more spontaneous way. I haven't seen much, but a couple deserve a few words at least.

Image

If you're ever in the mood for a bittersweet musical set in a haunted theater, I have the film for you. Half Goodbye, Dragon Inn, half Beetlejuice, Midnight Ballad for Ghost Theater has a goofy-nostalgic atmosphere that, surprisingly, works most of the time. The plot's a bit addled, but the colors are great, the music is catchy, and Kim Khobbi has a face to watch. She's adorable. More pics here.


Image

It isn't the film to make a Lars von Trier fan out of me, but I enjoyed Nymphomaniac. The best parts are in the framing device/conversation, though the philosophical ruminations seemed a bit under-cooked and there are certainly some bravura scenes in the tale that live up to its Arabian Nights inspirations. But, the almost tongue-in-cheek tone is set in Seligman's apartment, and that's where Joe's reliability is pointedly called into question. I suppose the ending does something similar for von Trier.


      Image

I really thought I was going to love Nostalghia thirty minutes in. That fog! And the beauty of the images does make it well worth the watch, but the story strains for a transcendence to match. The set-up is all ominous mystery, but the payoff/philosophical implications seem so slight. Ha. That's twice I've said that in two minutes. Could be the problem is with me, not the films?


          Image

The Grand Budapest Hotel is so much fun. I love the mix of sturdy innocence and wistful cynicism, with some truly dark stuff getting in around the edges. It didn't knock my emotional socks off (like Life Aquatic), but it's surely his most dense and intricate film, and that's a very good thing. The stories-within-stories, the characters, colors, capers, pace – everything works; and it's still making me smile somewhat wistfully, days later. Now, I have to go and read some Stefan Zweig!

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Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:05 am
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'straining for transcendence' should be the title of Tarkovsky's biography

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Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:14 am
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and Bresson's should be 'actually achieving transcendence'

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Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:28 am
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snapper wrote:
'straining for transcendence' should be the title of Tarkovsky's biography
Haha! But, his other films seem more relaxed in their transcendence (from what I remember, anyway).

Izzy Black wrote:
and Bresson's should be 'actually achieving transcendence'
Oh, snap.

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Thu Apr 17, 2014 11:29 am
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the Zweig stuff I've read was amazing but has very little in common with the tone of the Anderson film


Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:24 pm
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Of course. The tone is pure Anderson, right? But, I was just reading this conversation, and the books sounded so good. And now you say they're amazing, so I'm psyched. Have you read his memoir, The World of Yesterday?

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Fri Apr 18, 2014 8:44 pm
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not yet, and i haven't read the two books that anderson claims to have borrowed from, either. but it seems to me that unlike fox (which is probably my favourite anderson), there's little attempt to really reflect the author's atmosphere, which is in my experience far less whimsical and far more melodramatic and tragic. if you've seen letter from an unknown woman, you'll understand what i'm talking about


Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:44 pm
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I've been reading some Zweig lately.

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Fri Apr 18, 2014 9:47 pm
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MrCarmady wrote:
not yet, and i haven't read the two books that anderson claims to have borrowed from, either. but it seems to me that unlike fox (which is probably my favourite anderson), there's little attempt to really reflect the author's atmosphere, which is in my experience far less whimsical and far more melodramatic and tragic. if you've seen letter from an unknown woman, you'll understand what i'm talking about
I got the impression from that interview that he was maybe more inspired by Zweig's life than his fiction.* From the novels, I gather that he borrowed structure and theme, rather than atmosphere. (I think he Andersonized Fox, too. I just don't think he's interested in altering his tone for anyone.)

Trip wrote:
I've been reading some Zweig lately.
Tell me, please?



*And even that is hugely altered by the fact that his fictional author lives to see multiple new worlds built on the ashes of the old. The dingy orange incarnation of the hotel represents something Zweig would never see. :(

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Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:02 pm
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Quote:
If you're ever in the mood for a bittersweet musical set in a haunted theater, I have the film for you. Half Goodbye, Dragon Inn, half Beetlejuice, Midnight Ballad for Ghost Theater has a goofy-nostalgic atmosphere that, surprisingly, works most of the time.


hallo. new & snooping.

glad you dug midnight ballad! i have my reservations, cuz i loved everything that wasn't ghost comedy. and there was some ghost comedy. great songs though, nicely creaky antique horror vibe, and i agree completely abt the lead. she made it work.

torn on the anderson question. i like his films. this feels sufficient to me, as though there's nothing to defend. but something itches, if only a bit. it's that absence, right? the sense that the (wonderfully enticing, almost entirely satisfying) marzipan filigree is arranged around a perfect vacuum. and yeah, much more present/absent in this film than the last couple. still: funny, charming, intoxicating for what it is. not sure it need be faulted for what it isn't. still itches though.


Fri Apr 25, 2014 7:37 pm
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katsu_kittens wrote:
torn on the anderson question. i like his films. this feels sufficient to me, as though there's nothing to defend. but something itches, if only a bit. it's that absence, right? the sense that the (wonderfully enticing, almost entirely satisfying) marzipan filigree is arranged around a perfect vacuum. and yeah, much more present/absent in this film than the last couple. still: funny, charming, intoxicating for what it is. not sure it need be faulted for what it isn't. still itches though.

I’m not sure why I feel this desire to defend Wes Anderson, especially when the criticisms (like yours) are coming from a place of enjoying his films. Maybe the charm you feel is enough. Are other insanely visual directors expected to have something profound at the center? Is Greenaway? But, here I am, and, it turns out, I do think there’s something there, something that’s definitely not a vacuum. Exhibit A is, unfortunately, in my head: the way the film holds up over time. If the madcap structure doesn’t collapse, something is holding it up. Much has been made of the historical milieu, about Nazis and chopped-off fingers. And it is a very dark backdrop, but the comedy remains almost stubbornly lighthearted. Even the orange desolation of the once-great hotel offers little in the way of emotional foothold. What does stand out, as I mull it over, is Agatha. Though her character is peripheral (until the end), her image is the one I remember – covered in flour, listening on the roof. Unlike the hotel, she remains untouched by war and time, and the sadness of her story lingers when the Nazi capers fade. For me, nothing here quite competes with the personal failures and regrets at the heart of Life Aquatic. But Zero’s love for Agatha is more than enough to hold the nested layers together, and as mournfully nostalgic as anything I've seen in Anderson’s movies.

Ha, sorry for the rant. And, welcome!

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Fri Apr 25, 2014 11:02 pm
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