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 Maiden's Voyage 
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Blind spots

My mini-marathon to fill in some blind spots was surprisingly fun. As expected, I liked the Altman the best. But I enjoyed City Lights more than Gold Rush (my favorite Chaplin till now) and I even liked the Ford, though if Wayne had drawled, "That'll be the day" even one more time, I might not be saying that, haha.


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          City Lights may not have the side-splitting highs of the other Chaplin films I've seen, but the love story gives it surprising depth. It's lovely and bittersweet, and just look at his hands in the shot above. So <3!!



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          Westerns are my biggest blind spot, and I'm not sure I have the tools to fully appreciate them. But, The Searchers is strong stuff. It wastes no time getting us hooked on its gripping tale, then teases us with the same fear and hate the characters battle. One of the Lethem novels I was talking about here, Girl in Landscape, was partly inspired by this film, so I've been meaning to check it out. Turns out that, while there are certain story similarities, I don't think I was missing much before. I suppose the landscapes add a certain lonely resonance to the book.



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          I already need to see McCabe & Mrs. Miller again. Its offhand action style and layered characterizations make it easy to miss the small treasures throughout – the lamp light, the muttered commentary, the sideways glances. I love the look of it, the expressionism of color and light. Who needs music or dialogue when the pictures are doing this much work? Yet, the the music and dialogue are equally evocative. It's a perfect confluence of image, sound, and story! I read that they recklessly exposed the film (either pre- or post-shoot) to get that lovely faded look. Amazing!

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Sat Jul 25, 2015 6:12 am
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage

Huh, that last entry was number 150 in this thread. Time to retire? Just kidding. Jedi and Bear will have to wrestle the keyboard from my (hopefully) ancient fingers when they decide to shut this place down!


EDIT: On the other hand, six entries without a comment does begin to sound like THE END. I'd say 'you heard it here first' but no one's listening, haha.

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Thu Jul 30, 2015 4:22 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Greenaway grab bag

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    I've been bingeing on Greenaway lately. And, this is what comes of not releasing Tulse Luper in the US – if I'd been able to buy a box set, I might have simply watched that over and over, but now I'm forced to trawl YouTube and bookshelves for my Greenaway fix! I ended up seeing one feature, three documentary shorts, and a five-minute segment for an omnibus film. I also read a book-length treatment for a very weird opera. Here's a bit more on each one:

    1. Goltzius & the Pelican Company is a wicked romp through the Old Testament. (Yes, you read that right.) There are some really neat things here:
      Lars Eidinger, for instance, and the way the lines are blurred between photography and painting, audience and performer. Oh, and F. Murray Abraham is fantastic. But the taboo-busting is sort of predictable, and all the death and mayhem feels like Greenaway on autopilot. More pictures here.

    2. Inside Rooms: 26 Bathrooms, London & Oxfordshire, 1985 is a dryly humorous look at (wait for it...) 26 actual bathrooms, many of which feature
      their proud owners using them or expounding on them or, in some cases, both. (A better view here.)

    3. Act of God uses clever editing and lists to make stodgy interviews with people struck by lightning as Greenaway-esque as possible. Still, a dog named
      'Flash' is pretty much the highlight, haha.

    4. In his very brief European Showerbath, from Visions of Europe (2004), Greenaway has a little fun with allegory and (but of course!) nudity.

    5. Darwin is a sumptuous long-take of constantly changing tableaux illustrating the life of the naturalist. As biography it's fine, but as a feat of
      choreography and staging it's a marvel of complexity.

    6. And, finally, to be honest, I don't know what to say about the book I read. Rosa – A Horse Drama did actually became an opera, with music by Louis
      Andriessen, and a film, in which Greenaway documents a performance. It's such a truncated story, though, a mean-spirited punchline without a joke. Obviously the music, missing here, is a crucial piece, but the book gives a vivid account of the visual elements. And, there are moments of real beauty and clever staging, definitely, but, by the end, it's all hollow horror and vicious irony. I'm sure it's better on stage. (Has anyone here seen it?) But, at the moment, I'm glad I read rather than watched this. Blergh.

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Tue Aug 11, 2015 12:44 pm
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Post Maiden's Voyage: The Bird People in China

For too long I've had Takashi Miike in the index without including my favorite film of his, so it's time to correct that. The problem is, The Bird People in China is sweet and funny – attributes that are easy to recognize, but not the easiest to write about. How do you get a critical toe-hold between "charming" and "awww"? I guess I'll start where I always start, with the sense of longing that pervades the film, beginning with the bittersweet narration that frames the tale, and then the tale itself, which is full of poignant nostalgia for lost innocence and impossible beauty (both real and fantastic). Of course, this is Miike, so the ethereal moments are balanced with plenty of earthy, sometimes very dark humor, and I laugh harder every time I see it. But, he keeps his more cartoonish impulses in check, and takes his time with characters and plot, and everything just works. Plus, it has what is probably my favorite final shot in film. Breathtaking!

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Sat Aug 22, 2015 2:11 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Greenaway vs. Anderson

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    Greenaway vs. Anderson

    I found myself hyping the Peter Greenaway-Wes Anderson connection recently, and it got me thinking. People I’ve talked to see the style similarities – the symmetry, the wide shots, the whole obsessive, overstuffed thing. (And I mean that in the best way possible!) But, then I hear, "But, their sensibilities are so different!" And, sure, it’s true that Anderson doesn’t have a lot of castration or cannibalism or crucifixion in his films, haha. And Greenaway doesn’t really do idealism or young love. Or does he? Tragedy's not exactly anti-romance; the ultimate young lovers are Romeo and Juliet, not Sam and Suzy, after all. But it's a different kind of idealism I see as their true link: the nostalgic idealism of youth, or, more specifically, the moment when the world is just becoming tantalizingly knowable, opening like a door or book. And, hey, if this sounds familiar, what can I say? Like the great auteurs, I keep returning to my themes!

    Smut and Zissou
    Smut, the young hero of Drowning by Numbers, may be a year or two older than Steve Zissou’s favorite age (11½), but he's a counter and collector extraordinaire. He belongs to the same phylum and class as the Tenenbaum siblings and Sam Shakusky. But, as I've said before, Anderson’s most perfect evocation of this idea occurs in The Life Aquatic (a film with no young characters at all), in which Anderson balances his own child-like enthusiasms with Bill Murray’s rueful, tragicomic maturity.

    There’s a natural dry humor, mined by both Anderson and Greenaway, in this impulse to complete all the lists, to defend one's obsessions, an aspect of overgrown kid in too complicated games (1) and amateur experts eager to talk to the camera. Of course, it depends somewhat on how you feel about the need to count and categorize. I identify it with science and with what Clive James calls "[t]he childish urge to understand everything."(2) Some would disagree. In his book about Greenaway, Douglas Keesey calls it a "rage for order,"(3) and associates it with the male need for dominance. Ha. As someone who loves lists and rankings, even (gasp) graphs, I guess I’ve chosen my side.

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    But, if Smut is the prototype of this idealized childhood, with Steve Zissou its overgrown champion, Tulse Luper is the ultimate expression. Well-traveled, heroic, an expert on every topic, a collector, a prisoner, chased by beautiful women and very bad men, Luper is everything a young imagination could make him. He can expand to fit any situation, any era, any topic. He’s the embodiment of longing – for understanding, for experience, for adulthood.

    Tulse Luper
    As an alter ego, Luper has the ability to grow and change with his author, to be anything he needs to be, while never losing that sense of longing for the impossible. Early on he's a father figure, as Greenaway explains: "My father was [an ornithologist]. Through his life he had amassed an extraordinary amount of information about bird study, and I was very aware that with his death – as indeed with any death – a vast amount of very personalized information had gone missing, was totally irrecoverable."(4) (Classic mournful nostalgia!) But, as Greenaway has aged, Luper's changed, too. His most recent incarnation (Suitcases) is by far his most romantic. Now, rather than a young man looking forward to stuffy middle-age, Greenaway is a middle-aged man looking back at the invulnerability and enthusiasm of youth. Memory and nostalgia step into the role anticipation played earlier, and the wistfulness of aging (and loss) heighten every scene. And, there's plenty of loss and regret to work with! The world this Luper witnesses is darker, more real; the data he gathers is tragedy and death. And, as a world-weary explorer mourning the past, he's closer to the the Anderson/Murray Zissou than ever before.

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    Attitude
    Backing up a little, to those who still think the two directors differ too much in tone, my answer is this: I think they share a certain passion embodied by this idea of youth and knowledge, a mutual enthusiasm for life, for variety and discovery and beauty. If Greenaway seems dark or cold to you, notice the way he trades in—no, revels in beauty. Don't you find the colors and art and music and spectacle exhilarating? In Goltzius & the Pelican Company doomed lovers laugh and rejoice in their bodies. A Zed & Two Noughts offers burgeoning life and renewal everywhere not as a cruel joke (well, yes, partly as a joke), but also as manifest reason to live. And, watch The Tulse Luper Suitcases and tell me it’s not a hymn to man’s possibilities! In and around its melancholy record of horror, it sends its hero/prisoner on a quest to the farthest reaches of what we can know and think and feel! If Anderson seems a bit pale in comparison, that’s only to be expected from the student of a master. Anderson’s joys and longings are easy to see, but not as hard-won, his catharsis healing, but not as deep. But, give him time. Anyone as tuned-in to mournful nostalgia as he is in The Life Aquatic has the potential for much, much more!



    (1) Overly complicated games:
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    (2) "The childish urge to understand everything doesn’t necessarily fade when the time approaches for you to do the most adult thing of all: vanish."
      .Clive James, Latest Readings.

    (3) Douglas Keesey, The Films of Peter Greenaway: Sex, Death and Provocation.

    (4) "A Walk Through H," at http://petergreenaway.org.uk


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Sat Aug 22, 2015 2:17 am
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Have you seen the film Malpertuis?

It's a Belgian film about the mysteries of a labyrinthine manor called Malpertuis and an elaborate game designed by its wealthy owner (Orson Welles) on his deathbed. It's not a great film -- about halfway through the plot totally falls apart and it becomes a very 70s mess of false endings -- but it's gorgeous to behold, outrageously baroque, and the first half sets up a very compelling atmosphere and premise. The style of it made me think of you. Aesthetically and thematically, it resembles The Hourglass Sanatorium. It also occasionally evokes Ruiz and Welles (it seems to pay homage to The Immortal Story, which I haven't seen yet). Above all, it reminded me of Un Soir, Un Train. Not only do they have stylistic similarities, but they're both flawed but fascinating Belgian arthouse films from the same time period.

So not a fervent recommendation, but an interesting little curio that might merit your attention if you have some free time.

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Sat Aug 29, 2015 4:54 pm
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Ha, I want to see that so badly now! Will report back.

You should definitely see The Immortal Story. I've never written about it here, mostly because it's impossible to recreate what it meant to me when I first saw it. I watched it on the big screen, on a double bill with The Trial, and fell in love with its rich colors, larger-than-life characters, crazy camera angles, and masterful story telling (about story telling about story telling). There's so much distancing stuff going that even I could be thoroughly entranced by the melodrama, which, as always with Isak Dinesen, is so understated it's more the idea of melodrama.

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Sat Aug 29, 2015 10:41 pm
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Macrology wrote:
Have you seen the film Malpertuis?

It's not a great film


I'd probably agree with that but "De komst van Joachim Stiller" definitely is a great film and should be pointed out as Kûmel's and belgian arthouse's finest work


Sat Aug 29, 2015 10:58 pm
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Hmm, I'll have to see that one, too.

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Sun Aug 30, 2015 6:06 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Harry Kümel

Thanks to Mac and Pinhead, I had a Harry Kümel double-feature weekend (triple- if you count a rewatch of Daughters of Darkness), and it was a lot of fun! I even noticed a bit of a link: all three involve shadowy manipulations and psychological issues.

With its rich colors and Bavaesque sets, Malpertuis (also known, apparently, as The Legend of Doom House) is a rich trove of Gothic spookiness offset by a weird comic tone, a not-quite-camp revealed in over-the-top villainy and the angelic poses of our blue-eyed hero. The odd blend doesn't always work, but I thought the endings did, as the rug is pulled out from under young Jan (and us) again and again. Forget the big reveal, though – that cat's out of the bag by the halfway point at least. The film's real achievement is in an iconography of memory and loss, the empty streets and dark hallways recalling elusive, morning-after yearnings for half-remembered dreams.

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The Arrival of Joachim Stiller is altogether different – more coherent and substantial than Malpertuis, its magic realism cloaked in an aggressively ordinary world. Visually bright and clever, its particular strengths are a charming goofiness and an easy black humor more mischievous than cruel. Darker notes occur (Kafka and WWII are touchstones) but never dominate. Actually, if you could imagine a kinder, gentler Roy Andersson, you'd be getting pretty close to the tone here; the people seem silly and heedless (and sometimes haunted) in a similar way. Affable journalist Freek Groenevelt may not get his big story or emotional closure, but he gets something. And, though I might have wished the mystery were more ambiguous, the ending less sugary, the experience overall is satisfying and sweet.

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Sat Sep 05, 2015 4:07 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Celebration of color

Since I'm in an archiving mood, here are a few ultra-beautiful films that apparently rendered me speechless, since they never made it out of the Random Screenshots Thread and into this one. Sometimes pictures really do say it all!

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Bathory: Countess of Blood


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Until the End of the World


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Almanac of Fall


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Mission: Impossible II


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Celebration in the Botanical Garden

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Sat Sep 19, 2015 5:37 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Dogville

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Despite my visceral hatred of Breaking the Waves, I don’t hate Lars von Trier. I don’t like him much, haha, but I thought both Melancholia and Nymphomaniac were pretty good, and The Five Obstructions taught me a bit about his thought processes. So, I decided to risk Dogville, and, while I can't quite say I enjoyed it – it’s a little too bloated and self-satisfied for that – it's an interesting thought experiment, and worth the aggravation. Misanthropic fables are hardly new ground for Trier, but somehow the Brechtian staging, stodgy narration, and stereotypical characters combine effectively here, though irony lies like a heavy, wet blanket over everything on screen. But the real payoff is in the climactic moral debate, which works a lot better than his usual end-of-film trolling. Despite the impudent final credits, I don’t think Dogville has much to say about America, or small towns, or poverty, or politics. It’s about human nature stripped bare, and the corrupting influence of power. It really is, as one character insists, about concepts like humility and condescension. Sure, Trier himself might disagree, but, given his habit of muddying his own arguments, I don’t think that matters much.

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Wed Sep 30, 2015 6:44 am
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:heart:


Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:13 am
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Don't forget the fact that he's never been to America!

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Wed Sep 30, 2015 3:03 pm
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
Don't forget the fact that he's never been to America!
That never stopped anyone else!

But, seriously, a big part of the point is that this town is an amalgam of film/drama/literature stereotypes, right? It makes more sense that, when he pontificates in interviews about "America this" this or "capitalism that," he's just tweaking people.


wigwam wrote:
:heart:
Aw. I've missed you (and your avatars).

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Wed Sep 30, 2015 9:32 pm
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Notes from Underground wrote:
:heart: etc.

Just about to start Fortress of Solitude. Expect to hear my thoughts in a few years. (Time flies.)

Finished.

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Sun Oct 04, 2015 5:47 pm
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Notes from Underground wrote:
Finished.
Ah! But, I was promised thoughts.

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Tue Oct 06, 2015 1:17 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Ah! But, I was promised thoughts.

Thoughts are so difficult these days. But I made an effort to say something, just for you:

Underneath the descriptive depths of Dylan's childhood alienation and insecurity, there's a vicarious love and curiosity for what's unfolding around him. He's living in microcosm with infinite possibilities – only those possibilities aren't necessarily up for grabs for him. Mingus is like his avatar of what he wants to be, a warm personality with enough of the traits needed to not feel 'rejected', a person who is capable of flight in an environment that Dylan is not. But his perception slowly changes as he watches his icon get ground down, the possibilities maybe not so infinite. A gap of 20 odd years and Dylan has escaped the bubble that never wanted him, moved into the bigger world. Yet the expanse of third person becomes the introversion and loneliness of first. Dylan's escape is entirely superficial – his past is all he is concerned with – and the 20 year hiatus need not be written about in too much detail. What happens in youth often sticks with us, whether we want it to or not. People get older, a few (or many) wish they were invisible, and the world loses a bit of its magical edge. Dylan thought he could get a bit of the old magic back, return to the magical realism of youth. He discovered that Mingus gave up on it a long time ago.

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"I thought, well, heaven, all that marble and giltwork, sounds a bit middle class. I would prefer something that was, I don't know, carpeted and had skirting boards, things like that." — Alan Moore

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Tue Oct 06, 2015 5:15 am
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Notes from Underground wrote:
Yet the expanse of third person becomes the introversion and loneliness of first.
Mmm, yes. There were many disappointed reviews because of that abrupt change, but it was the whole point! So much regret in that book, in both the gold-tinted childhood and the barren adulthood.

Thanks for the words! <333

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Tue Oct 06, 2015 5:54 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
That never stopped anyone else!

But, seriously, a big part of the point is that this town is an amalgam of film/drama/literature stereotypes, right? It makes more sense that, when he pontificates in interviews about "America this" this or "capitalism that," he's just tweaking people.

Oh yes, there's nothing Trier likes more than pushing buttons. Remember that Cannes t-shirt? Still, people don't seem to get it...

Did you ever watch Vinterberg's Dear Wendy? Trier wrote it. Set in a small American town; shot in Denmark/Germany.

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Tue Oct 06, 2015 2:40 pm
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
Did you ever watch Vinterberg's Dear Wendy? Trier wrote it. Set in a small American town; shot in Denmark/Germany.
I haven't, no. The synopsis reads a bit like an alternate take on Dogville. Speaking of which, Manderlay sounds ghastly. Think I'll cut my losses and move on from Trier, at least temporarily.

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Wed Oct 07, 2015 10:40 am
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Aw. :(

Dear Wendy is almost like Dogville with kids. And Manderlay is great, grr.

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Wed Oct 07, 2015 5:36 pm
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
And Manderlay is great, grr.
Oh! Thought that one was universally hated. I'll watch it eventually, Jedi. But I need small doses of LvT. :P

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Wed Oct 07, 2015 9:15 pm
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I like Manderville.

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Thu Oct 08, 2015 3:05 am
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All right, all right! But first I have a bunch of Macbeths, Akermans, and horror films to watch!

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Fri Oct 09, 2015 8:16 am
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It's been so long since I set foot in this thread! In November I watched nothing at all, and October
was all horror and Macbeth. So, I guess I should link to those threads, at least:

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Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:27 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Gangland musical double feature

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    Huh. In one of those weird, coincidental convergences that happen once in a while, I had a stylized-gangland-hip-hop-musical double-feature weekend – first, the bombastic blast of color and craziness of Tokyo Tribe, then the goofy-earnest satire of Chi-Raq. Both movies create stylized alternate-realities that echo The Warriors, both use the gang parable to call for peace and love, but for some reason all the energy is in the Japanese film. In a way, it's a completely unfair comparison because the intentions behind the two films are wildly different. Sono, apparently untouched by yakuza reality, plays gleefully with the "measuring contest" aspect of honor on the street. Lee lets Wesley Snipes cavort in a similar style, while politics and speech-making and real tragedy play out around him. I understand Lee's reluctance to take his subject lightly, I do! But, maybe a little cinematic power would have strengthened, not distracted from his point. Theoretically, I love everything about Chi-Raq: its bodacious heroine, its Greek roots, its musical heart, its passionate plea for justice and peace. But, for something so stylized, it’s a shame it has so little style.

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scroll for more on Tokyo Tribe


Mon Dec 14, 2015 8:29 am
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And, whoops, I got distracted by seriousness and real life above, and sort of shortchanged Sono's triumphant action fantasy. I adored Tokyo Tribe, if that wasn't clear. Everything works here, something I couldn't say about the similarly over-the-top Why Don't You Play in Hell? It's the ultimate eye (and ear) candy – teeming sound stage, wacky characters, hideous villainy, girl-power fights, never-ending beats, and oh, those colors! It's a sugary overdose of fun.

My screencapping was severely limited by streaming quality. Still, you get the idea:

Image Image
Image Image
Image

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Mon Dec 14, 2015 10:00 am
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Fri Jan 01, 2016 3:28 am
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage

Quite the eclectic list!

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Fri Jan 01, 2016 3:37 am
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage

There's some weirdness on there, for sure. Would have been more impressive, maybe, as a top 20. :D

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Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:06 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Mental echo effect

So, Gravity's Rainbow nearly did me in. I read to the (spectacular) end, but without the understanding or enjoyment I'd experienced with Mason & Dixon. His voice/characters/preoccupations seemed so juvenile, so chauvinistic, so cynical that I only occasionally felt on his wavelength. When I did, it was great, I admit, but it just didn't happen often enough. The Pynchon of M&D, by contrast, feels mature and wistful (around and under the silly jokes), as if he's here to share, not flaunt his wit, as if he's excited about things I get excited about, too, like beauty and mankind's potential. I realize I'm admitting to failure with GR, so I'll stop now, before I embarrass myself any further.

But, I do have a question for you all – a movie-related question – about this passage (bolding mine):

      John Dillinger, at the end, found a few seconds' strange mercy in the movie images that hadn't quite yet faded from his eyeballs—Clark Gable going off unregenerate to fry in the chair, voices gentle out of the deathrow steel so long, Blackie . . . turning down a reprieve from his longtime friend now Governor of New York William Powell, skinny chinless condescending jerk, Gable just wanting to get it over with, "Die like ya live—all of a sudden, don't drag it out—" […] there was still for the doomed man some shift of personality in effect—the way you've felt for a little while afterward in the real muscles of your face and voice, that you were Gable, the ironic eyebrows, the proud, shining, snakelike head—to help Dillinger through the bushwhacking, and a little easier into death.

This phenomenon is something I've only mentioned once or twice, to people who reacted as if I were losing my mind, so I know it's not universal. Do you, my fellow cinephiles, ever feel this lingering identification, this false muscle memory, after a movie? Not often, but, on occasion, I've been under the impression, as I laugh or speak, that I'm using my face differently, that I look like the heroine (because, for me, it's always the female lead). I don't know what to call it: acute identification? a mental echo? It's only ever for a few short seconds, like remnants of a dream, then it's gone. And, before you say I'm crazy, Thomas Pynchon knows what I'm talking about! He must have felt it, too.

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Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:28 am
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Sounds like something of a mirror neuron phenomenon. I don't experience that personally, but it doesn't surprise me that some people do.

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Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:45 am
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Oh, cool. If I understand it, that would mean I'd experienced the mirror neuron activity while watching the movie, and felt the residual effects of that after? Hmm.

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Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:51 am
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Post Maiden's Voyage: Bowie blind spots

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1947 – 2016


Oh no. :(

Time for a sad completist effort in honor of my first (and always best) celebrity crush. Leaving out shorts and cameos, the main films I haven't seen are:


That's assuming there's no reason for even the biggest fan to see B.U.S.T.E.D. or Mr. Rice's Secret. (Does anyone disagree?) I might check out Il mio West/Gunslinger's Revenge just for fun. [EDIT: Did it. Wrote about it here.] Also, any rewatches I get around to will be linked here:


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Wed Jan 13, 2016 1:18 am
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Fire Walk With Me is essential.

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Wed Jan 13, 2016 4:06 am
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Colonel Kurz wrote:
Fire Walk With Me is essential.
I know it's essential Lynch (mainly why it's here), but, essential Bowie? I heard he's barely in it.

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Wed Jan 13, 2016 5:19 am
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His role is very brief, but you should definitely see the film regardless.

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Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:19 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
I know it's essential Lynch (mainly why it's here), but, essential Bowie? I heard he's barely in it.

He only has one or two scenes, but they leave an indelible impression you won't forget.

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Wed Jan 13, 2016 6:38 am
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I've put Christiane F. off all these years because I expected it to be an ordeal, and, yeah, a fourteen-year-old sinking into heroin addiction and prostitution is pretty much the definition of "hard to watch." Natja Brunckhorst has an ethereal beauty that emphasizes the decline and the stars are so young they barely need to act the awkward insecurities and tentative love. And, was that detox scene real-time, haha. Still, I would have watched it sooner had I known that David Bowie lends the film his complicated persona and wholehearted support. His music adds a much needed energy and resonance to the film.

Bowie points (out of 10): ★★★★

Image Image

Back to original Bowie post.

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Thu Jan 14, 2016 10:56 pm
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage: Mental echo effect

Shieldmaiden wrote:
So, Gravity's Rainbow nearly did me in. I read to the (spectacular) end, but without the understanding or enjoyment I'd experienced with Mason & Dixon. His voice/characters/preoccupations seemed so juvenile, so chauvinistic, so cynical that I only occasionally felt on his wavelength. When I did, it was great, I admit, but it just didn't happen often enough. The Pynchon of M&D, by contrast, feels mature and wistful (around and under the silly jokes), as if he's here to share, not flaunt his wit, as if he's excited about things I get excited about, too, like beauty and mankind's potential. I realize I'm admitting to failure with GR, so I'll stop now, before I embarrass myself any further.

But, I do have a question for you all – a movie-related question about this passage:

    John Dillinger, at the end, found a few seconds' strange mercy in the movie images that hadn't quite yet faded from his eyeballs—Clark Gable going off unregenerate to fry in the chair, voices gentle out of the deathrow steel so long, Blackie . . . turning down a reprieve from his longtime friend now Governor of New York William Powell, skinny chinless condescending jerk, Gable just wanting to get it over with, "Die like ya live—all of a sudden, don't drag it out—" […] there was still for the doomed man some shift of personality in effect—the way you've felt for a little while afterward in the real muscles of your face and voice, that you were Gable, the ironic eyebrows, the proud, shining, snakelike head—to help Dillinger through the bushwhacking, and a little easier into death.

This phenomenon is something I've only mentioned once or twice, to people who reacted as if I were losing my mind, so I know it's not universal. Do you, my fellow cinephiles, ever feel this lingering identification, this false muscle memory, after a movie? Not often, but, on occasion, I've been under the impression, as I laugh or speak, that I'm using my face differently, that I look like the heroine (because, for me, it's always the female lead). I don't know what to call it: acute identification? a mental echo? It's only ever for a few short seconds, like remnants of a dream, then it's gone. And, before you say I'm crazy, Thomas Pynchon knows what I'm talking about! He must have felt it, too.


Well, I don't know if it counts, but I spent a good part of my adolescence imitating Guido Anselmi's movements and mannerisms from Eight and a Half, except I didn't realize I was doing
it until I re-watched the film, briefly considered the possibility that I had inspired Fellini instead of the other way around, and then realised that was unlikely.


Thu Jan 14, 2016 11:05 pm
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage: Mental echo effect

Beau wrote:
briefly considered the possibility that I had inspired Fellini
Haha!!

It's not what I'm describing, but it's certainly a case of extreme identification. Do you think his name had anything to do with it?

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Fri Jan 15, 2016 12:49 am
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage: Mental echo effect

Shieldmaiden wrote:
Haha!!

It's not what I'm describing, but it's certainly a case of extreme identification. Do you think his name had anything to do with it?


No, I think my brain just decided to record his movements after identifying him as "an awesome Italian director surrounded by gorgeous women," which is kind of what I wanted (still want?) to be.


Fri Jan 15, 2016 2:41 am
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Which is funny, since it's such a beleaguered, self-deprecating performance (while still crazy handsome and likable, of course). I asked, because my son used to have an extra level of identification with protagonists who shared his (quite common) first name. Our brains are interesting!

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Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:15 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Which is funny, since it's such a beleaguered, self-deprecating performance (while still crazy handsome and likable, of course).


Exactly.

Of all directors who've ever wanted to have their cake and eat it too, Fellini's one of the few who got to do just that.


Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:17 am
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Yep. :)

Image

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Fri Jan 15, 2016 3:21 am
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Just a Gigolo is an overstuffed, not-quite-slapstick comedy that could almost have been by Kusturica or Makavejev, with its tonal swings, farm animals, and gossipy old-lady chorus. I thoroughly enjoyed the silly first hour, but when the comedy Nazis kicked in... well, I guess I can see why it wasn't a bigger hit. It could have worked! The seeds of the ending are in the very first anti-war frame, but it loses its way somewhere in the middle. (The version I saw cut out nearly 50 minutes, so maybe it was partly that?) Still, Bowie is completely perfect, playing an adorable, slightly priggish straight man to the chaos around him, without the slightest sign of ego or superstardom. I had so much fun just watching his face.

Bowie points (out of 10): ★★★★★★★★★★

Image Image
Image Image

Back to original Bowie post.

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Fri Jan 15, 2016 10:31 am
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Aw. So, Fire Walk with Me was great, but I got about 5 seconds of Bowie. I wanted this

Image

and got only this

Image

Is there no way to see it without buying the Blu-ray and watching the extra features?
(I'm not going to download a 12 GB file!)

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Sun Jan 17, 2016 7:41 am
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Post Re: Maiden's Voyage

watch the deleted scenes or the fanedit Teresa Jenkins and the Last Seven Days of Laura Palmer


Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:24 am
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wigwam wrote:
fanedit
That was the 12 GB thing I was talking about! But I've found a solution. :)

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Sun Jan 17, 2016 9:48 am
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