elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

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elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by elixir » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:24 pm

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Post by Willow » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:25 pm

yay
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Post by elixir » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:25 pm

L'Enfance Nue | Maurice Pialat | 1968
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I'm going to compare the film to The 400 Blows not because I feel I have to, but because I think the comparison can be quite fruitful. The similarities between the two are mostly superficial; if anything, L'Enfance Nue is the negative of Truffaut's film. Look, I absolute adore The 400 Blows, but whereas the musical score just avoids becoming too sweet, Antoine Doinel's charm manages to narrowly steer clear of cutesiness, and the whimsy and poetry somehow registers as organic (to me, at least) instead of forced, L'Enfance Nue doesn't even encroach any of these pitfalls. Truffaut's film is fiercely emotional (part of why I like it), but in Pialat's meditation on childhood, we are always put at a distance, and the film is as emotionally taciturn as its protagonist. Not only do we rarely get a close-up of the protagonist Francois, we are also denied any basic psychologizing. He tortures cats, endlessly steals, and is generally volatile. Yet he isn't simply a bad apple, he's shown to be quite loving and tender at times, especially in the scenes with the grandmother, which are simply lovely.

Pialat's aesthetics surely aren't "striking" or "stunning," but they are wholly effective in their thoroughly lived-in feel. Decorated walls and cramped rooms all say something about the owners (though not in an ostentatious Wes Anderson sort of way). And we are shuffled from house to house as Francois is, often in elliptical time jumps that further obfuscate explanation. Fights break out, Francois hangs around a "bad crowd," and we don't see these developments though we do often witness the consequences. But there are no villains here, and Pialat doesn't create a hermetic film simply around Francois, as his various foster parents and fellow abandoned kids are all afforded screen-time that speaks to concerns larger than just Francois's own. Nonetheless, it's his mysterious, quite figure that remains the almost haunting presence at the center of the film, his face seemingly ready to contort into a smile or scowl at any second. Pialat's ability to eschew identification and sentiment while retaining a masterful hold on the narrative makes the whole viewing undeniably compelling. And man, this dude knows how to finish a film...the ending itself is simply devastating in its remarkably matter-of-fact lack of resolve. It's not just Francois's future that is unknown; the film as a whole avoids any easy answers.
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Post by charulata » Sat Feb 04, 2012 5:53 pm

Lovely writeup for a fantastic film. I think the comparison to The 400 Blows is inevitable. I love both of them. You might be aware of this already but Truffaut was apparently a huge supporter of the film and even produced it. As Jean-Pierre Gorin put it: "We are looking at Truffaut's imp. But we are seeing through the eyes of Pialat's."

I totally agree with you on the lack of psycholozing (my fav. thing about the film possibly). And this image alone makes it impossible to simply think of him as a problem child imo.
This is immediately after we get to know along with Francois that the grandmother is dead.
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I also love the recurring motif of Francois looking at people / situations through windows and gaps between doors... trying to make sense of the world around him before responding.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by JediMoonShyne » Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:45 pm

Ooh. I wrote something on L'Enfance Nue a while back with an eerily similar opening:
Without doing a disservice to the film, I guess the most logical place to start when discussing Maurice Pialat's L'Enfance Nue is the similarities it shares with François Truffaut's The 400 Blows. After all, Truffaut worked as a producer on the film, so must have had some form of input - if merely a passing interest. I disagree with those who have dismissed Pialat's film as a mere product of Truffaut's, but there are some key parallels to note. Firstly, both films end rather ambiguously. Though, the last shot of The 400 Blows has become famous for its ambiguity, whereas the end of L'Enfance Nue is just a continuation of Pialat's refusal to explain things - be it his characters, their actions, etc. Secondly, both are rooted in documentary. Truffaut took his inspiration - his decision to shoot on location and cast nonprofessional actors - from Roberto Rossellini. Pialat, on the other hand, initially conceived L'Enfance Nue as a documentary, and even spent a year on research before shooting began. Truffaut therefore looks to incorporate documentary elements, but clearly prefers fiction. He tells us a story, and allows us to understand Antoine's plight by using dialogue - telling exchanges between key characters - as well as a few point-of-view shots and that all-important interview scene in the detention centre. He then creates moments of dramatic tension (drawing from Alfred Hitchcock, his favourite) so as to ensure Antoine's tale never stalls. L'Enfance Nue could therefore almost be considered the opposite of The 400 Blows, in that Pialat uses the stories unearthed in his research to help his film evolve from documentary into fiction. Rather than the open, charming form of Antoine, Pialat's François is something of an alien entity. We have no idea what goes on behind his mischievous eyes and fleeting grin, mainly because he rarely ever speaks and has this uncanny ability to blend into the wallpaper. Truly, a forgotten child. The drama in L'Enfance Nue therefore stems from our inability to connect to François - our inability to label him, thanks to somewhat extreme examples of each (buying a gift for his foster mother, tossing a cat down the stairwell), as good or bad.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by MartinTeller » Sat Feb 04, 2012 7:58 pm

It's pretty tough to write a review without comparing the two.
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Post by elixir » Sat Feb 04, 2012 8:32 pm

Haha, maybe the biggest reason I feel compelled to compare the two beyond truffaut producing, story similarities, and the fact that everyone else does is that I remember before I downloaded movies wanting to see this film and not being able to find it, and everone on imdb was like "omg this kicks 400 blows ass!!" So this is my response somewhat lol, as I think one can speak to both of their qualities when comparing without saying one is better...

I think the pialat might be superior tho...

Thanks for the comments, always appreciated
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Post by ribbon » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:04 pm

yay (hey)
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Post by elixir » Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:09 pm

ribbon wrote:yay (hey)
Hiiiii
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Derninan » Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:20 pm

There can never be enough threads like this, I'll be reading, haven't seen that one though. Don't let Jedi steal your thunder!
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by MrCarmady » Sat Feb 04, 2012 10:28 pm

I think the pialat might be superior tho...
So you'd put it into your top 50 already?
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Post by elixir » Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:08 am

Derninan wrote:There can never be enough threads like this, I'll be reading, haven't seen that one though. Don't let Jedi steal your thunder!
Haha, every potentital "good" thing I'll say has been said better many times by many people...though maybe the bad things I offer can be all my own and perhaps I'll snag across something that actually contributes to, idk, something, once every two-hundred posts. Yes, I am realizing now I forgot to post my demeaning myself portion of this thread. Well, here's some of it. Also, I probably shouldn't think of what to write in the shower, cause once I came out, I forgot half of what I wanted to say when I quickly wrote it down! Oh well.

But as long as *you* are reading, it's worth it...
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by elixir » Sun Feb 05, 2012 12:10 am

MrCarmady wrote: So you'd put it into your top 50 already?
Haha, idk man, maybe! All I can say is that I don't view my top list as some sacred holy thing where I need to see a film numerous times and have distance from it (critical/time/whatever) in order to put it there...if I saw a movie tomorrow that I honestly would consider top 10 material, perhaps I would put it there if asked to make a list afterwards...that list I posted is somewhat spur of the moment, tonight it would look a bit different at the very least (and the order would definitely be mixed up).
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Trip » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:08 am

Our Beloved Thread of February
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Post by Trip » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:12 am

elixir wrote:Decorated walls and cramped rooms all say something about the owners.
The Mouth Agape is pretty much just wallpapers.
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Post by elixir » Sun Feb 05, 2012 1:21 am

Trip wrote:Our Beloved Thread of February
Good one!
Trip wrote: The Mouth Agape is pretty much just wallpapers.
Great movie.
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Post by B-Side » Sun Feb 05, 2012 6:31 am

Trip wrote: The Mouth Agape is pretty much just wallpapers.
Sounds amazing.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Epistemophobia » Sun Feb 05, 2012 6:20 pm

Looking good.
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Post by Shieldmaiden » Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:07 pm

I love journal threads. Good start to this one! I need to see some Pialat.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by elixir » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:04 am

Alphaville | Jean-Luc Godard | 1965
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Good, but minor Godard. Not totally convincing in its noir stylings (same deal with Made in U.S.A., another lesser Godard) and some of its plot feels like warmed-over 1984. Still, there are many unexpectedly moving scenes, mostly towards the end with Anna Karina (though whether that ending is supposed to be parodic or sincere, it comes across as somewhat silly) and its ability to create a futuristic environment out of contemporary locations and architecture is quite striking.

The Umbrellas of Cherbourg | Jacques Demy | 1964
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Wonderful.

Late August, Early September | Olivier Assayas | 1998
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The titular time holds a certain (nostalgic?) value for me, and I assume many others, as it's when school begins and the freer (well, when I was younger, at least) days of summer wind down. Attempting to strike a balance between the routine and spontaneous can be difficult, and settling down with someone can be just as frightening as breaking up (uh...not that I would know, but the film makes it seem this way at least!). With a semi-bouncy, semi-melancholic melody playing periodically throughout it, Assayas' film may have a sense of immediacy to it that comes around when he more freewheeling camera kicks in (most often around the most instable and impulsive character, Anne), but for the most part the film has a pleasant lack of narrative urgency. While Amalric's Gabriel may be at the center of the film, it's content to follow around any character really, lending itself not so much an uneven quality as a rhythmic one, a mood attuned to the gradual changing tides that accompany the characters' evolving mindsets and lifestyle choices. The film is about absence as much as presence; we hear of others' qualities without always overtly witnessing them (Adrien's supposed anger we never really see), fade-out to blacks cut away from the climax of scenes, and important narrative events are elided. I've got to think this had a huge influence of Assayas's partner's film Father of My Children (a film I think I'd appreciate a lot more now), with its thin narrative hinging on a character leaving the film. I mean, she's in the film as well, and her presence has a striking quietude to it, making that final scene all the more affecting. Always worried about trying to do what's right--for themselves, for others--characters' conversations turn with a quick phrase or glance, realizations occur mid-chat, and it's often unsaid, just seen in the characters' expressions. Fortunately, the cast is absolutely rocking for this, with Mathieu Amalric. Virginie Ledoyen, Alex Descas, Arsinée Khanjian, and Mia Hansen-Løve, among others, all playing prominent parts. Virginie Ledoyen is incredibly attractive to me. Lack of resolution and being attuned with one's own wants, whether to settle or not, and other ostensibly "small" conflicts all play a role in the many character's' lives, and it's the film's overall easygoing yet totally engaged nature along with its humanistic exploration of the quotidian events of the ensembles' lives that won me over. Good stuff, yo.

Summer Hours | Olivier Assayas | 2008
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But this one is even better. Summer Hours can actually act as quite a nice companion piece to Late August, Early September (and Father of My Children as well), in its ability to recognize how the dead still reverberate on. Not only in the transmission of artworks, but in how Helene's shadow hangs over the film, but so does the spectre of Paul Berthie, who never actually appears in the flesh on film. Now the movie is concerned with more than that, perhaps more obviously About Something in its thematic explorations of globalization, and along with that, how culture and art in transferred across location and generation. Still, like Assayas' other work, it is so naturally concerned with the "natural flow of life" (and though that phrase is corny, perhaps "flow" works given how one's death doesn't stop one's presence in his films--it continues still) and the nuances of behavior and interaction, and it's that which draws me in. Not to say that I couldn't watch rich French people discuss art and life for hours, because I could, and no doubt people label it pretentious for that. There's an air of melancholy that pervades even that first half-hour of summery discourse though, before we get that haunting shot of Helene alone in the darkness (repeated later with Frederic).

The last scene of Summer Hours functions as one of the most beautiful echoes--and reworkings--of a director's prior work that I've seen, as it recalls the famous party scene in Cold Water but places the vivacious teenagers at the center of the sequence in a new context (even as somehow the fancy house still reminds me of the abandoned home from the latter film). If the repetition of "Up Around the Bend" in Cold Water belied the notion that the reckless, carefree days of youth would actually come to pass (and couldn't simply be played over), then the conclusion to Summer Hours, along with the final museum scene, shows how places and objects can preserve through the accumulation of new value. Whether this lasts--the house is being sold after all, and perhaps the art works will eventually be placed in storage--is questionable I suppose, but the way these material goods or locations gain new meaning when looked at from a new perspective (the different "value" that the glass vase holds to Eloise versus to Frederic or his siblings) is quite revealing. Plus, it's just an incredibly joyous scene that is ultimately tinged with a strong sense of melancholy, culminating in that bittersweet quality that I so love in my cinema. Just lovely.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by dreiser » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:11 am

Hated Alphaville; loved Umbrellas and Summer Hours.
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Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami, 2012) 4/10
Killing Them Softly (Dominik, 2012) 2/10
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by charulata » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:25 am

Couldn't agree more on Summer Hours. I love the way the film captures the bittersweetness of dealing with any sort of transition - both the sense of loss for what we lose in the process and the optimism and hopefulness for the future.

Love this thread :).
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Willow » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:29 am

Need to see Cherbourg like right now
recently seen
Gun Crazy (Joseph H. Lewis, 1950)
Sansho the Baliff (Mizoguchi, 1954)
Outer Space (Tscherkassky, 1999)
Seven Chances (Keaton, 1925)
Battleship Potemkin (Eisenstein, 1925)


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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Trip » Tue Feb 07, 2012 1:49 am

Great entry.
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Post by elixir » Tue Feb 07, 2012 2:15 am

Thanks guys. I always enjoy receiving comments, of any kind. I like what you say about the film, charulata.

Willow wrote:Need to see Cherbourg like right now
You should! Admittedly for the first few minutes or so, I was a bit worried that maybe the whole everything-is-sung thing would annoy me, but damn, it is so well crafted that it never really became a real possibility. It really is wonderful! :D
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Post by elixir » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:05 am

Under the Sun of Satan | Maurice Pialat | 1987
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Is he divine? The devout priest questions himself and is questioned with each person he meets, from perhaps the devil incarnate himself in the form of another traveller to the potentially possessed murderer, who is called a child by many by who more than recognizes her culpability, to his fellow, older priest who sees his religious devotion as arrogance. Miracles and disasters befall him both, and while many see him as a saint, just as many don't--he himself is not sure, thinking God is mocking him one minute and granting him divinity the next, ultimately culminating in a palpable sense of uncertainty. The foggy blue-grays of the village and road along with the darkness of Pialat's interiors further enhance a sense of the supernatural.

Loulou | Maurice Pialat | 1980
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As much as the film is about the title character, at times it truly feels mostly a portrait of Nelly. It is about both of them, of course, as it is keenly aware of the way the couple have their desires met and confounded by their partners, and how they often seek out other outlets for their impulses. When we might not often realize at first why Nelly gets angry or why Loulou insists on housing his friends, with time these things are partially explained, and what initially may across as uncaring is quite reasonable when viewed from a certain perspective. There's many unexpectedly moving moments in the movie, and I remember once, probably due to me being a sap every now and then, when the two (and Loulou's friend) are watching a cheesy movie or tv show, and the sentimental music from it plays over the couple's face, and I just found it quite beautiful. Of course, it's cut very short, like so many scenes in the film seem to be--clearly not an arbitrary choice, but one of design. Yet again Pialat ends with an ambiguity-filled conclusion, which is just an absolute killer, forcing me to reconsider my entire perception of the preceding events in the film.

I watched a bunch of the guy's shorts as well.

Isabelle aux Dombes | Maurice Pialat | 1951
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Yeah, I'm not exactly sure what this was going for. Well, it seems to be the decay that is innate to nature will affect us all. Disfigured women, fleas that crowd around a horse's eye, dead fish, and injured rodents are the images that populate the piece. Oh, except cars may live on. The evil presence in the film seems to come mostly from men--one time as a negative image and another time as a black-caped figured captured mostly in long shot. Um, there are some pretty shots here in the 8 minutes, so, y'know, cool, I guess.

Congrès eucharistique diocésain | Maurice Pialat | 1953
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Right...this guy seemed pretty into near-final shots of cars driving away, and many images of crosses and animals. But, I don't know, this isn't especially interesting, as it's mostly a series of scenes of villagers and, well, crosses. And it's not even as well shot as his previous short, so...meh.

Droles de Bobines | Maurice Pialat | 1957
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His first short with a soundtrack, though still "silent." (I can't help thinking that his previous two would have benefited from a droning soundtrack, especially his first.) It's pretty weird to see Pialat do overt comedy (just as it was with Bresson's Les affairs publiques); it's not very funny though.

L'Amour Existe | Maurice Pialat | 1960
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Definitely the best short I've seen from Pialat (so far), this short documentary lamenting the state of post-war France is reminiscent of Night and Fog, albeit not quite that heavy. Lamenting the increasingly mechanized way in which the suburbs seems to be developing, the narrator questions the way people put things and themselves into boxes, both literally and metaphorically. Seeing France's evolution as more uniform and thus more boring, the narrator worries about the artificial replacing what's more natural (exemplified in cuts such as that of children going down a playground slide to children going down a mud hill and dialogue like "advertising replacing reality"). With a lovely score by Georges Delerue, the film builds up a dreamy, poetic atmosphere in its images of abandoned homes and wrecked buildings. The stark declarations of statistics and the statements that express sadness over a lack of positive growth makes the film's poetics a gloomy if still beautiful depiction of a sobering viewpoint of France at the time.

Janine | Maurice Pialat | 1961
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This really reminded me of French New Wave stuff, which I guess makes sense given the time it came out, even if I've never really considered Pialat in regards to the movement. The short is mostly just two men talking about women in various locations in Paris. It has one of the coincidence! endings that many others shorts have, though to be fair the audience is in the know from the start on this one. I imagine I'll feel about this short the way I feel about so many...it's engaging on a moment-to-moment basis, but a week from now I doubt I'll remember much of it at all.

La Camargue | Maurice Pialat | 1966
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This is basically just a tourist advertisement for the isolated location of Camargue. Again with the horses. I don't know, you get to see a bull run over some people. *shrug*
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Trip » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:49 am

Great entry. Again. The "perhaps devil incarnate" scene has stuck with me. I'm not big on that or Loulou though. Haven't seen any shorts.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by elixir » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:51 am

Trip wrote:Great entry. Again. The "perhaps devil incarnate" scene has stuck with me. I'm not big on that or Loulou though. Haven't seen any shorts.
Yeah, that scene was gooood. I definitely like them, but I prefer L'Enfance Nue, A Nos Amours, and The Mouth Agape to those two. Still have to see the rest, but I have them downloaded. I like the guy. A lot. The only short really worth watching is L'Amour Existe.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by dreiser » Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:51 pm

Haven't seen much Pialat myself. Loulou was a decent film. What struck me most was the domestic violence of Nelly's husband and the dude chasing everybody with a loaded rifle because he's insanely jealous over his wife. Just seems like neanderthal behavior for 1980.

The other picture I've watched is A Nos Amours which is somewhat memorable.
"I hate the dark, the sharks liars. And the stems of cherry..."

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
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by JediMoonShyne » Fri Feb 10, 2012 10:38 am

elixir wrote:Loulou (Maurice Pialat, 1980)

As much as the film is about the title character, at times it truly feels mostly a portrait of Nelly. It is about both of them, of course, as it is keenly aware of the way the couple have their desires met and confounded by their partners, and how they often seek out other outlets for their impulses. When we might not often realize at first why Nelly gets angry or why Loulou insists on housing his friends, with time these things are partially explained, and what initially may across as uncaring is quite reasonable when viewed from a certain perspective. There's many unexpectedly moving moments in the movie, and I remember once, probably due to me being a sap every now and then, when the two (and Loulou's friend) are watching a cheesy movie or tv show, and the sentimental music from it plays over the couple's face, and I just found it quite beautiful. Of course, it's cut very short, like so many scenes in the film seem to be--clearly not an arbitrary choice, but one of design. Yet again Pialat ends with an ambiguity-filled conclusion, which is just an absolute killer, forcing me to reconsider my entire perception of the preceding events in the film.
I recently watched this myself and agree, it does become more about Huppert's Nelly than Depardieu's eponymous Loulou. At least, Loulou is the catalyst that initially provokes Nelly to rebel against her "comfortable" Parisian life - things tend to orbit him - but the film is primarily about Nelly's ruminations, her decisions. From what I've seen of Pialat, Loulou is perhaps most notable for its narrative structure, which I found intriguing but at times rather jarring: the repeated scenes, such as the ones in the dance hall and the hotel bed (which could be seen as a visual motif) offer a structure that is almost poetic, but slightly less accessible. The film "moves in rocky, palpable segments", as Dave Kehr points out. It's almost as though Pialat took what is quite a conventional story of a young wife who leaves her bourgeois husband and bored life for something more exciting - an obvious choice, given Pialat's clear aversion to the upper classes - and then presents moments from this upheaval, rather than a conventional narrative, arc and all. We are shown many scenes of Nelly mulling over her romantic future, but we are offered no insight into why she changed her mind, or even when. The one consistency we are given by Pialat is this general theme of possession. Nelly initially breaks free from her oppressive husband because he treats her like a possession. While she runs after Loulou and essentially pays for his drinking sessions and hotel life, it is precisely because of this financial dependence that Nelly can be seen to maintain or possess Loulou as a lover. But ultimately, it is Loulou who "possesses" Nelly's pregnancy, for it appears to be he who orders her to end it. This possession can also be seen in the way in which the upper classes treat the lower classes in the film.

Oh, and Huppert was an angel, wasn't she?

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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by elixir » Fri Feb 10, 2012 6:28 pm

JediMoonShyne wrote:I recently watched this myself and agree, it does become more about Huppert's Nelly than Depardieu's eponymous Loulou. At least, Loulou is the catalyst that initially provokes Nelly to rebel against her "comfortable" Parisian life - things tend to orbit him - but the film is primarily about Nelly's ruminations, her decisions. From what I've seen of Pialat, Loulou is perhaps most notable for its narrative structure, which I found intriguing but at times rather jarring: the repeated scenes, such as the ones in the dance hall and the hotel bed (which could be seen as a visual motif) offer a structure that is almost poetic, but slightly less accessible. The film "moves in rocky, palpable segments", as Dave Kehr points out. It's almost as though Pialat took what is quite a conventional story of a young wife who leaves her bourgeois husband and bored life for something more exciting - an obvious choice, given Pialat's clear aversion to the upper classes - and then presents moments from this upheaval, rather than a conventional narrative, arc and all. We are shown many scenes of Nelly mulling over her romantic future, but we are offered no insight into why she changed her mind, or even when. The one consistency we are given by Pialat is this general theme of possession. Nelly initially breaks free from her oppressive husband because he treats her like a possession. While she runs after Loulou and essentially pays for his drinking sessions and hotel life, it is precisely because of this financial dependence that Nelly can be seen to maintain or possess Loulou as a lover. But ultimately, it is Loulou who "possesses" Nelly's pregnancy, for it appears to be he who orders her to end it. This possession can also be seen in the way in which the upper classes treat the lower classes in the film.

Oh, and Huppert was an angel, wasn't she?
Yeah, sometimes these films centered on turbulent relationships can feel purposively repetitive, which can become grueling or revealing, or rather, both at the same time. While I do think the film is most fundamentally concerned with the "human experience" of these two central character, or something like that, class is certainly an important issue here. A scene worth noting in this case, I think, is when Nelly's brother comes to visit her and Loulu, and he begins pestering--tactful if forceful, with a hint of condescension--Loulou about what he'll do to help out with the new baby. It made me squirm a bit given Loulou's circumstance at the time, even as one could see why the brother would be concerned...and there's also the scene that dresier pointed out, in which before the neantherdal behavior, we get a pretty affectionate portrait of Loulou's family, seeing how his parents took people in when they had nowhere to go. The idea of possession is certainly intriguing as it is Nelly's financial "independence" even with the relationship that helps her assert her ownership which eventually becomes problematic as she is the only one helping out when Loulou should be as well...and he hardly seems to be the most understanding person, claiming he'll only take a job once the baby is born.

And yeah, Huppert's great. :)
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by dreiser » Fri Feb 10, 2012 11:07 pm

JediMoonShyne wrote:Oh, and Huppert was an angel, wasn't she?
Si.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by elixir » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:38 am

Sometimes, yeah, sometimes, I just don't have much to say...and I'm not even good at this rambling shit. SHIT. Bah.

Diary of a Country Priest | Robert Bresson | 1951
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For the first 30 minutes or so, I was unsure, but then something clicked, and it was great from then on out. The lead has a great face, sad yet steadfast in his beliefs. The scene with the countess and the ending were probably my favorites. Anguish and faith and shit, yeah...seriously though, great stuff.

Cafe Lumiere | Hou Hsiao-Hsien | 2003
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Probably my least favorite Hou, which is to say it's still pretty good. 35 Rhums is the better Ozu homage, yo. I will admit that I did not watch this in best of viewing conditions.

Vive L'Amour | Tsai Ming-Liang | 1994
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My third Tsai. I imagine some say the conceit is too on-the-nose while others find it to be pretty perfect. I'm on the side of the latter, as it's simple yet effective--or rather, effective in its simplicity. Can definitely see the Antonioni influences; when a woman walks alone around the modern buildings--in a great tracking shot (this was the one in 88 takes, yea? I don't watch/fully read the ones I haven't seen, so I'm not entirely sure)--it's hard for me not to think of L'Eclisse. An important thing to mention though, I think, is that there is humor to the film. Well, at least, I found it funny, and it made the depressing content much more bearable. I mean, the bowling watermelon, hiding under the bed, the two main males in the story running into each other, slipping as one tries to get away...well, I guess it's also funny in a sad way as well. So it goes, yeah. Towards the middle of the film, there almost seems the hint of a real connection between the two males. Actually, maybe I'm just projecting 'cause that's what I wanted. Maybe that scene with the lead standing in the corner as his whole office dances was a bit much. But no matter, it's Tsai's compositions--his mise-en-scene, to bring out that word, yah--which makes all his pet themes felt. I mean, you can just look at my screencaps; if you've seen the movie, you don't need it described. His framing is spectacular. Anyhow...that moment, when the lead (should I just look up these people's names...okay, it's Hsiao-kang--can someone tell me if he's supposed to be the same character in all of Tsai's films? Or we can make of it what we want or...he really his the perfect avatar for Tsai's cinema) kisses the other guy (okay, fine...Ah-jung), just *sigh*/Tsaiiiii. But that ending, with the girl (okay...May Lin...I swear I pay attention, but, y'know, my white supremacy makes Asian names harder to remember...or something!), y'know, the final shot--I don't want to spoil it--it goes on so long that it's clear it's not trying to make you feel this emotion she is, but rather forcing you as a viewer to consider it. Any sort of veneer has faded away, the emotion is naked, out in the open for us to see.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Fist » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:40 am

elixir wrote: Probably my least favorite Hou, which is to say it's still pretty good. 35 Rhums is the better Ozu homage, yo. I will admit that I did not watch this in best of viewing conditions.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Trip » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:43 am

okay, it's Hsiao-kang--can someone tell me if he's supposed to be the same character in all of Tsai's films?
He is, but don't take it too literally at all. Tsai is a huge fan of Truffaut, who did the same thing with Antoine Doinel of course.

I should add I adored Vive, his best along with Dragon Inn.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Fist » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:44 am

Probably my favorite Tsai. For a lot of the reasons touched on here.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by elixir » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:48 am

Trip wrote: He is, but don't take it too literally at all. Tsai is a huge fan of Truffaut, who did the same thing with Antoine Doinel of course.

I should add I adored Vive, his best along with Dragon Inn.
Alright. Doinel was pretty much literal though, but yeah I think it makes more sense that this wouldn't be. I know What Time... has mentions of 400 Blows. I'm going in order of chronology, though I did see Wayward first.

This is probably the film so far that has clicked with me the most and I whereas the other two I felt their slow pace wear on me a bit, here I was perfectly content. Really excited to check out the rest of his stuff now.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by elixir » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:49 am

Magic Fister wrote:
mfw
Big fan? To be honest, there's no real flaws or anything I can speak of, and I did like it, but it didn't quite click with me like his others usually do. *shrug*
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by ribbon » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:50 am

elixir wrote:This is probably the film so far that has clicked with me the most and I whereas the other two I felt their slow pace wear on me a bit, here I was perfectly content.
Same here, though I am quite fond of his musicals (shock). The Hole especially.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Trip » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:52 am

elixir wrote: Alright. Doinel was pretty much literal though, but yeah I think it makes more sense that this wouldn't be. I know What Time... has mentions of 400 Blows. I'm going in order of chronology, though I did see Wayward first.

This is probably the film so far that has clicked with me the most and I whereas the other two I felt their slow pace wear on me a bit, here I was perfectly content. Really excited to check out the rest of his stuff now.
I agree Doinel was literal, but Hsiao-kang is not.
He develops that more idiosyncratic slowness around The River, I believe. Maybe Hole.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Fist » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:54 am

elixir wrote: Big fan? To be honest, there's no real flaws or anything I can speak of, and I did like it, but it didn't quite click with me like his others usually do. *shrug*
Fair enough. It's one of my favorites though, right up there with all his work since Flowers, really. And as much as I adore 35 Rhums, another favorite film of mine, I think Lumiere is probably a better "Ozu film" in the ways it achieves a dialog with Ozu's work in very subtle ways integrated with Hou's own form, and thus also illuminated in interesting ways. Whereas I see the Denis film more as a straight Denis film that uses an Ozu text as a jumping off point. Which results in no less of a greater work, but yeah.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by elixir » Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:56 am

Magic Fister wrote:
Fair enough. It's one of my favorites though, right up there with all his work since Flowers, really. And as much as I adore 35 Rhums, another favorite film of mine, I think Lumiere is probably a better "Ozu film" in the ways it achieves a dialog with Ozu's work in very subtle ways integrated with Hou's own form, and thus also illuminated in interesting ways. Whereas I see the Denis film more as a straight Denis film that uses an Ozu text as a jumping off point. Which results in no less of a greater work, but yeah.
You're probably right. I mostly just meant it's a "better" film; I don't doubt what you say (re: Ozu...and I'm hardly an expert on the guy, far from it!). I still have a lot of Hou to see, and hopefully I can come up with more substantial stuff on those.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sat Feb 11, 2012 5:58 am

Magic Fister wrote: And as much as I adore 35 Rhums, another favorite film of mine, I think Lumiere is probably a better "Ozu film" in the ways it achieves a dialog with Ozu's work in very subtle ways integrated with Hou's own form, and thus also illuminated in interesting ways. Whereas I see the Denis film more as a straight Denis film that uses an Ozu text as a jumping off point. Which results in no less of a greater work, but yeah.
You're right, but Rhums does significantly more than use the original as a jumping off point. My favorite part is the way the two stories inform and complement each other. Would you agree that the Hou is more about form and style, and the Denis about character and motivation?
elixir wrote:Vive L'Amour (Tsai Ming-Liang, 1994)
Nice writeup. I wish I could find a way to see this one. :(
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by elixir » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:00 am

Shieldmaiden wrote:
Nice writeup. I wish I could find a way to see this one. :(
You don't download, right?

How about this? http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/ ... ition=used (I mean, if you really want it...I'm assuming it's not on Netflix.)
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Fist » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:06 am

I wouldn't say that. Hou and Denis are two of my favorite filmmakers because they're both predominantly formal artists who breach their narratives and characters through somewhat oblique formal techniques. I'd say both films are thus foremost formal affairs as both artists' recent works tend to be, but maybe that the Denis film engages that story more directly than she usually might and is ultimately a more subjective experience (much like her recent output as well). On the flip-side Cafe Lumiere is in keeping with Hou's more observational tendencies and minimalism of his recent output. So no, I guess I'd say the forms are very different but I wouldn't agree with what you propose.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:12 am

Whoops, it's getting late here, and I'm not writing clearly. I only meant in relation to Ozu. Denis is concerned with the characters and story of Late Spring, although she makes several stylistic references as well.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Fist » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:13 am

Shieldmaiden wrote:Whoops, it's getting late here, and I'm not writing clearly. I only meant in relation to Ozu. Denis is concerned with the characters and story of Late Spring, although she makes several stylistic references as well.
Oh!

Yes, in that case I agree entirely, and nearly expanded my post to discuss that very point.
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In a word, I think that, far from favoring directors’ formal inventiveness, widescreen, instead, stifles it. It is, I’m more and more persuaded, if not the only, at least the main culprit for the expressive poverty of the image today. - Eric Rohmer
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:21 am

Magic Fister wrote:Yes, in that case I agree entirely, and nearly expanded my post to discuss that very point.
Haha. I can't write when I'm sleepy.
elixir wrote:How about this? http://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/ ... ition=used (I mean, if you really want it...I'm assuming it's not on Netflix.)
I hardly ever blind-buy either. But I'll think about it. :)
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Trip » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:22 am

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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by elixir » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:24 am

yeah, that's a big difference
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