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

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

Post by Izzy Black » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:28 pm

Thanks everyone for this very enjoyable discussion. It's been so long since I've had a chance to have an intelligent conversation about my favorite director. I'm so glad I came back here. Brain dead discussion everywhere else. You guys are the best. :heart:
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by snapper » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:47 pm

I think L'avventura's ending is incredibly pessimistic. Anna sacrifices herself to her own feeble ideas of what intimacy is or should be. She accepts Sandro's crocodile tears and, in essence, dies as a person and becomes an object.
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
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** Paris Is Burning / Livingston


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

Post by elixir » Fri Jul 26, 2013 10:53 pm

I take credit for all the discussion. (I just hope my valueless words leads to others writing valuable words, so thanks.)

Here is Antonioni himself on Red Desert, the quote I mentioned earlier, in case anyone is interested: "It's too simplistic to say—as many people have done—that I am condemning the inhuman industrial world which oppresses the individuals and leads them to neurosis. My intention ... was to translate the poetry of the world, in which even factories can be beautiful. The line and curves of factories and their chimneys can be more beautiful than the outline of trees, which we are already too accustomed to seeing. It is a rich world, alive and serviceable ... The neurosis I sought to describe in Red Desert is above all a matter of adjusting. There are people who do adapt, and others who can't manage, perhaps because they are too tied to ways of life that are by now out-of-date."
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by wigwam » Fri Jul 26, 2013 11:39 pm

yes this has been great reading on a director and most films (L'Eclisse the exception) that I can't stand, but these ideas and readings are really interesting to me and I hope to re-evaluate him/them after the L'avventura re-release
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:45 am

elixir wrote:Here is Antonioni himself on Red Desert, the quote I mentioned earlier, in case anyone is interested: "It's too simplistic to say—as many people have done—that I am condemning the inhuman industrial world which oppresses the individuals and leads them to neurosis. My intention ... was to translate the poetry of the world, in which even factories can be beautiful. The line and curves of factories and their chimneys can be more beautiful than the outline of trees, which we are already too accustomed to seeing. It is a rich world, alive and serviceable ... The neurosis I sought to describe in Red Desert is above all a matter of adjusting. There are people who do adapt, and others who can't manage, perhaps because they are too tied to ways of life that are by now out-of-date."
Ah, this is a great quote. Thank you!
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by LEAVES » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:48 am

The discussion is already finished? Izzy is now far too easily satisfied. Oh, how the standards have fallen.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Izzy Black » Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:17 am

snapper wrote:I think L'avventura's ending is incredibly pessimistic. Anna sacrifices herself to her own feeble ideas of what intimacy is or should be. She accepts Sandro's crocodile tears and, in essence, dies as a person and becomes an object.
I think this is a legitimate reading, but I personally don't think Claudia forgives Sandro in the end. I think she understands him, but that isn't the same thing as forgiveness. I don't think it's clear what their future is. There's a lot going on in this scene though. Sandro's tears aren't merely about his philandering and Claudia's tears prior to Sandro finding her aren't merely about him hurting her. The problem isn't just what he did to Claudia, but what both of them did to Anna. He was unfaithful to Anna by starting an affair with Claudia and she betrayed her missing best friend while casually forgetting her in the span of a couple of days. Yes, she's hurt, but she's also ashamed, embarrassed, frustrated, lonely, and confused, and she realizes that Sandro is as lost as she is, though probably more lost. I think that at least one level, the final scene is a shared expression of their guilt and suffering. She empathizes with him because she's also complicit in an affair, so she hardly feels she has any firm moral footing to reproach Sandro (though she does), but she's as much angry at him as she pities him. I agree there's a kind of dreadful resignation in her empathizing with him, however. It's such a startling sequence because so rare in cinema do we see an act of empathy signify such hopelessness. Their mutual bonding turns out tragic and pathetic rather than stirring and optimistic. There's a real sadness in this scene, an unmistakable desperation in her consoling him, a sobering recognition of their folly and malaise. The act of empathy in this scene, then, isn't a reprieve of Sandro's misdeeds and his confused, wayward motives, but is a form of identifying with them. There they sit, together, staring at one of the world's most active volcanoes as a wall nearly pushes them and nature both out of the frame, as if the city no longer wants them around at all anymore, even if just as tourists.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Izzy Black » Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:25 am

snapper wrote:I think L'avventura's ending is incredibly pessimistic. Anna sacrifices herself to her own feeble ideas of what intimacy is or should be. She accepts Sandro's crocodile tears and, in essence, dies as a person and becomes an object.
In other words, I think I agree with you the ending is pretty pessimistic, it's just I think it gets there a little differently from the way you describe. I suppose what hopefulness I'm leaving room for is just the notion that understanding is the first step to overcoming, but that isn't to suggest such an overcoming is forthcoming, for in any case, it could just as well mean total resignation, as you detect.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Izzy Black » Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:27 am

LEAVES wrote:The discussion is already finished? Izzy is now far too easily satisfied. Oh, how the standards have fallen.
Never. :D

Thoughts from you LEAVES? I know this is one of your favorites.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Izzy Black » Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:29 am

elixir wrote:I take credit for all the discussion. (I just hope my valueless words leads to others writing valuable words, so thanks.)

Here is Antonioni himself on Red Desert, the quote I mentioned earlier, in case anyone is interested: "It's too simplistic to say—as many people have done—that I am condemning the inhuman industrial world which oppresses the individuals and leads them to neurosis. My intention ... was to translate the poetry of the world, in which even factories can be beautiful. The line and curves of factories and their chimneys can be more beautiful than the outline of trees, which we are already too accustomed to seeing. It is a rich world, alive and serviceable ... The neurosis I sought to describe in Red Desert is above all a matter of adjusting. There are people who do adapt, and others who can't manage, perhaps because they are too tied to ways of life that are by now out-of-date."
Wow. That's a great quote. I must've read that at some point because I feel like I practically plagiarized him by using the word "adjusting" and "adapt." I have probably read almost every interview he has in English though at some point or another, so... :oops:
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by B-Side » Sat Jul 27, 2013 7:43 am

Been way too long since I've seen an Antonioni.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by LEAVES » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:27 am

My interpretation of L'avventure can be summed up in the following phrase:

Emotional Necessities Neglected Under Industrialization
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Trip » Sat Jul 27, 2013 9:34 am

And then she felt isolated.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by B-Side » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:18 am

LEAVES wrote:My interpretation of L'avventure can be summed up in the following phrase:

Emotional Necessities Neglected Under Industrialization
I see what you did there.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by dreiser » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:32 am

LEAVES wrote:My interpretation of L'avventure can be summed up in the following phrase:

Emotional Necessities Neglected Under Industrialization
[ak-ruh-nim]
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Like Someone in Love (Kiarostami, 2012) 4/10
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by snapper » Sat Jul 27, 2013 10:55 am

Izzy Black wrote:
I think this is a legitimate reading, but I personally don't think Claudia forgives Sandro in the end. I think she understands him, but that isn't the same thing as forgiveness. I don't think it's clear what their future is. There's a lot going on in this scene though. Sandro's tears aren't merely about his philandering and Claudia's tears prior to Sandro finding her aren't merely about him hurting her. The problem isn't just what he did to Claudia, but what both of them did to Anna. He was unfaithful to Anna by starting an affair with Claudia and she betrayed her missing best friend while casually forgetting her in the span of a couple of days. Yes, she's hurt, but she's also ashamed, embarrassed, frustrated, lonely, and confused, and she realizes that Sandro is as lost as she is, though probably more lost. I think that at least one level, the final scene is a shared expression of their guilt and suffering. She empathizes with him because she's also complicit in an affair, so she hardly feels she has any firm moral footing to reproach Sandro (though she does), but she's as much angry at him as she pities him. I agree there's a kind of dreadful resignation in her empathizing with him, however. It's such a startling sequence because so rare in cinema do we see an act of empathy signify such hopelessness. Their mutual bonding turns out tragic and pathetic rather than stirring and optimistic. There's a real sadness in this scene, an unmistakable desperation in her consoling him, a sobering recognition of their folly and malaise. The act of empathy in this scene, then, isn't a reprieve of Sandro's misdeeds and his confused, wayward motives, but is a form of identifying with them. There they sit, together, staring at one of the world's most active volcanoes as a wall nearly pushes them and nature both out of the frame, as if the city no longer wants them around at all anymore, even if just as tourists.
I would probably read it like this were it not for the a) isolated action of her hand hesitating before touching his head and b) the mounting, ominous whine of the soundtrack which reaches a fever pitch when she finally makes that gesture. Those two things lead it more into wholly symbolic terrain for me. Love what you wrote about the composition though and I agree. I think there's a lot to be said about L'avventura, which is probably my runner-up favourite film. Every moment in it speaks to a central examination of this postwar urban social decay. It's just perfect, there's nothing wasted. I know some people find that tyrannical however.
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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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sat Jul 27, 2013 11:54 am

snapper wrote:I would probably read it like this were it not for the a) isolated action of her hand hesitating before touching his head and b) the mounting, ominous whine of the soundtrack which reaches a fever pitch when she finally makes that gesture. Those two things lead it more into wholly symbolic terrain for me.
Both of those things work within Izzy's interpretation also. To look at it as a simple binary (forgive or not, female subjugation or not), you have to ignore everything that went before. You're forgetting Anna, too!
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by snapper » Sat Jul 27, 2013 12:05 pm

wait Claudia is blondie, Anna is brunette? I think I've been writing vice versa
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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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by mystery meat » Sat Jul 27, 2013 4:18 pm

my favorite thing about the ending of L'Avventura is the composition of the final shot, the perfect bisection of the frame between misty landscape receding into the horizon and a flat architectural surface.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by LEAVES » Sun Jul 28, 2013 12:53 am

B-Side wrote:I see what you did there.
I don't think you do.

What I did was that I spelled out the word 'ennui' with words that sort of describe other people's interpretations of what the film is about, which they always summarize by simply repeating 'ennui' about 300 times per paragraph.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Boner M » Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:44 am

elixir wrote:Here is Antonioni himself on Red Desert, the quote I mentioned earlier, in case anyone is interested: "It's too simplistic to say—as many people have done—that I am condemning the inhuman industrial world which oppresses the individuals and leads them to neurosis. My intention ... was to translate the poetry of the world, in which even factories can be beautiful. The line and curves of factories and their chimneys can be more beautiful than the outline of trees, which we are already too accustomed to seeing. It is a rich world, alive and serviceable ... The neurosis I sought to describe in Red Desert is above all a matter of adjusting. There are people who do adapt, and others who can't manage, perhaps because they are too tied to ways of life that are by now out-of-date."
This quote's awesome. Articulates something applicable for many others films/filmmakers that I've felt but haven't been able to put in words.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Izzy Black » Sun Jul 28, 2013 4:00 am

snapper wrote:
I would probably read it like this were it not for the a) isolated action of her hand hesitating before touching his head and b) the mounting, ominous whine of the soundtrack which reaches a fever pitch when she finally makes that gesture. Those two things lead it more into wholly symbolic terrain for me. Love what you wrote about the composition though and I agree. I think there's a lot to be said about L'avventura, which is probably my runner-up favourite film. Every moment in it speaks to a central examination of this postwar urban social decay. It's just perfect, there's nothing wasted. I know some people find that tyrannical however.
But the foreboding hesitation needn't just be read as her reluctance to forgive him, but her reluctance to identify with him. In some ways, that's worse. It's more haunting for Claudia to actually see herself in Sandro than to merely accept her role as the saintly victim, to resign herself to his oppression. I'm not saying you're interpretation is wrong. Perhaps she does forgive him. Like I said, it's not clear what their future holds, it's open, but what I am saying is that even if she does forgive him (which isn't clear), there's more going on here than that. As Shield said, we can't forget about Anna. That's the real key here. The poignancy of the last scene in revealing their desperation and frustration only really takes full force when we see them both truly recognize and encounter their folly in regard to Anna and their entire affair.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by snapper » Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:10 am

I think on one level, Anna leaves the film and her disappearance doesn't matter. A story doesn't need an ending, existence rushes in to fill the void she's left.

If we read into the how/why, you can see it like an apotheosis. Claudia and Anna travel the same path in opposite directions. Anna begins as the materialistic daddy's girl, the symbol of this empty and psychologically bankrupt extravagance and gradually becomes more and more disillusioned with it. She begins reading Fitzgerald and the Bible, becomes more in touch with her emotions, reacts with disgust to the perfunctory exchanges of her boating party, people she only hangs out with because they, too, are bourgeois. At some point she makes a spiritual decision to leave this milieu behind and as a result completely disasppears from the diegesis.

Claudia begins as the level-headed, self-sufficient audience surrogate, and after Anna's death seems compelled to fill the role that she played while she knew her - without being privy to the psychological developments that Anna was undergoing in private.She turns, if not from a complex personality to a simple one, from an independent person to a dependent.

I wrote about this in an essay last year, I'll try to find it.
Michelangelo Antonioni’s works of the 1950s and 1960s are known for the intellectual and aesthetic rigour of their depictions of a moorless society. Moving away from the portrayals of poverty and working class injustice that characterised the Neorealists of the 1940s, he filmed stories of the bored and detached upper class. These provided a lens through which he could examine the socioeconomic conditions that produced what he saw as an abandonment of traditional values and emotional ideals. This treatment of ‘alienation’ in society has become a calling card for his work from this period.

Antonioni’s work from this period defines ‘alienation’ as the cultural response to two major upheavals in Italian society - WWII and the fall of fascism in the 1940s and the economic miracle of the 1950s. These films show the failure of Communist principles, already weakened by the paranoia of Axis occupation and the immediate post-war poverty so often documented in Neorealism, in the face of Italy’s massive economic boom (Barth Urban 226). The dog-eat-dog post-war attitude therefore becomes a consumerist hyper-individualism that, in Antonioni’s films, reinforces class divides, the divides between people and the divides between individuals and their own emotions. Community identity becomes unstable, leaving individuals with no reference for their own identity development. Stories of ‘society’, family and love meet the prism of economic boom and are refracted into millions of individual dramas which, in their multitude, lose their meaning and ultimately cease to be stories at all. Antonioni’s image of cultural entropy is weighed against ‘lost’ Romantic ideals of ‘sacredness’ in art and feeling and of pure and sincere emotion (Melani). An idealised time where these standards, as well as the sense of belonging and togetherness provided by religion, family and egalitarian love, were pervasive in society becomes the metaphorical ‘Golden Age’ that informs his existential depictions of modernity (Melzer).

The idea of this cultural malaise as having been brought on by consumerism is evident in Antonioni’s treatment of his subjects - the upper classes. In films like Le amiche (1955), L’avventura (1960) and La notte (1961) ‘high society’ groups are presented as a plasma wherein the stresses and communicative failures of modern society can be most easily observed. The circle of friends in Le amiche, the yacht passengers in L’avventura and the partygoers in La notte form relationships out of class-conscious convenience and exhibit a lack of real feeling for each other. Clelia, the lead character in Le amiche, is part of a cycle of consumerism but is distinct from the ‘girlfriends’ by her placement in the industrial-economic process. She is a shop owner who has worked her way up from poverty whereas the other women are blue-bloods who have never known work. They are the consumers and she is the supplier, and her status as ‘worker’ (even if she works in an upscale boutique) at first lends her some kind of awareness within Le amiche’s narrative and social systems (Cameron). She holds values that the other characters don’t: after a character attempts suicide she is moved into forming a kind of mentorship, and after that character’s successful second attempt she rages against the girl’s ‘friends’ for their selfishness and lack of empathy. Clelia is not, however, absolved from scrutiny. In encouraging the consumerism of the upper class women she is still a facilitator of the dual causality of economic growth and social decay, and she is depicted as having absorbed the class ideas of her wealthy clientele (Ferdinand). She shows gentle but firm disbelief when Rosetta, the suicidal girl, offers disillusionment with wealth and status as reason for her depression, and when met with the possibility of ‘true’ love, she lets her conception of class destroy it despite her lover being from an identical economic background (without the social climbing).

Le amiche’s ‘love story’ is an example of the existentialism in Antonioni’s work. Antonioni never denies his characters the potential for attaining awareness, identity or emotional truth (Bloom). He does, however, deny them the will or motivation to reach beyond social station and pursue this potential (Pamerleau 218). His characters know that they should seek ‘real’ love and ‘real’ friendship, but in the absence of concrete definitions for these things they settle for ‘coupledom’, sexual intercourse and acquaintance without genuine or focused feeling (Bloom). The signifiers of ‘marriage’, ‘sex’, ‘relationship’ and ‘friendship’ are divorced from their signifieds of ‘equality’, ‘love’, ‘communication’ and ‘respect’ (Melzer). This kind of emotional drift is not exclusive to the characters that grew up in the immediate aftermath of WWII - relationships and personalities that would have seen the fall of fascism and the growth of the Italian economy are also affected by this modern alienation. In L’avventura the characters of Giulia and Corrado are described as having been together since the war, but their relationship in 1960 is marked by emotional abuse and passive-aggressive exchanges. Corrado is an aging intellectual, his mansion full of books and relics from ancient cultures. He is intelligent enough to recognise what is happening to the world around him but he cannot do anything but be part of it. Literate but obsessed with broadcasting it, his appreciation for humanity and its complexity has devolved into a purely aesthetic, magpie-like fascination for the antique. These objects are as divorced from context and meaning as the feelings of the film’s characters, and their role in the mansion is purely decorative. Nonetheless they - like the piece of Roman pottery Corrado picks up on the island - act as ghosts in the narrative, taunting these ‘modern people’ with memories of an era less hostile to emotion or existence. Corrado can be compared to Anna, the girl who disappears. She can be seen as representing a ‘lost hope’, the last gasp of Romantic ideas. When her bag is searched after she vanishes two books are found - F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tender Is the Night, a classic of the kind of emotionality that, for Antonioni, represents artistic truth (Solman), and the Bible, symbolic of the support structure religion and morality once provided for society (Balio 188).

L’avventura is famous for its unorthodox structure, which defies narrative, or destroys it: the denial of narrative weight to ‘event’ confuses the film into changing its nature entirely. With Anna’s disappearance “a hole has formed in ‘story’ so that life’s formless air may seep in” (Thomson 24). The story of L’avventura at first explores the (non-)relationships between Claudia, her friend Anna, Anna’s boyfriend Sandro and a group of wealthy Italians as they go on a boat expedition to an island off the Sicilian coast. Sometime during the afternoon on the island Anna disappears and the group carry out a search. Claudia and Sandro head to the mainland to investigate. After a while, they begin an affair and ultimately the search for Anna is forgotten, her disappearance never explained. Nor does it require an explanation in Antonioni’s system of meaning - after all, people, and feelings, disappear every day (Balio 188). However, in a transcendental reading of the film, the scenes with Anna and the later scenes with Claudio and Sandro reflect and reverse a trajectory of identity formation. Anna’s disappearance can be seen as representing her grasp of personhood - her vanishing from the film’s narrative sending the bitter message that the ‘Golden Age’ ideal is out of place in such an emotionally and spiritually hostile environment. At the beginning of the film she shows disillusionment with her relationship with the chauvinist Sandro and appears to be yearning for something ‘more’. On the boat trip she doesn’t seem to be having fun with her superficial company, and in a sort of test of devotion for Sandro she pretends to have seen a shark while swimming. He ‘rescues’ her but this seems to disappoint her - her need to feel needed, wanted and protected can only be satisfied by a constructed emotional exchange - one that cannot be found in actuality. While wandering the island she elects to be alone, while the others become alone without realising it. Back in the boat she, privately, performs what is perhaps the film’s only truly unconditionally ‘kind’ gesture (despite its materialist/consumerist implications): after Claudia admits liking a shirt that Anna has bought, Anna discreetly packs it into Claudia’s bag. In her process of rising above the abstraction that typifies Antonioni’s images of society she rises above, and out of, the film itself - she becomes a connection to the ‘Golden Age’ and after she is gone this connection is lost to the other characters.

After Anna’s disappearance her arc of ‘realisation’ is shown in reverse by the character of Claudia. At the beginning of the film, Anna appears shallow and materialistic whereas Claudia is down to earth, sensible and kind. She shows genuine care for Anna and is, of the yachting party, the most upset after the events on the island. She is, at first, able to resist Sandro’s advances and show a kind of bemusement at the superficial exchanges between Corrado, Giulia, Raimondo and Patrizia. However as she searches for Anna and gradually develops a facsimile of ‘love’ with Sandro her guilt and grief turn into a sort of resignation. She lets herself be used, patronised and ultimately betrayed by Sandro. The recurring image of Claudia walking through doorways, seen from behind, becomes an index of the growing distance between her and her respect for, herself and her own emotions as she constantly moves away from awareness. The final sequence is controversial and has been interpreted as hopeful (Tomasulo), but its use of space and ominous soundscape - ending the film in with an otherworldly screech - point towards a bleaker reading. Months after Anna’s disappearance Sandro and Claudia attend a party at a hotel. Claudia is wearing a ring. Sandro joins the party downstairs while Claudia stays, bored, in their suite. When, by dawn, Sandro still hasn’t returned to the room, Claudia heads downstairs to investigate and discovers him having sex with a prostitute. Shocked and betrayed, she leaves the hotel and is followed by Sandro. They meet at a bench in a courtyard with a view of Mount Etna, both in tears. Sandro sits on the bench and cradles his head in his hands. Claudia reaches out her hand and hesitates for a moment before laying it to rest on Sandro’s head. They stare at the horizon, Mount Etna brooding before them as an impassive wall dominates right-of-frame (Tomasulo). In exploring Claudia’s character trajectory as a reverse of Anna’s this does not represent a gesture of “emotional generosity” or the achievement of “true selfhood” (Roraback) but of submission. In letting herself forgive Sandro’s betrayal of her - as well as his chauvinism and his infantilisation of her (witness the way he pats her head like a child in an earlier sequence) - she has sacrificed her personhood to satisfy her feeble concept of intimacy. In reading this frame as one would read text on a page, the simmering life of the volcano on the left is the past and the faceless wall, rejecting identification of any kind, is Claudia and Sandro’s future. Anna’s move towards developing an identity separate from ideas of class and coupledom is reflected by Claudia’s journey away from ‘self’. For Antonioni they become representative of a macro-level social loss of basic values.

The close of La notte hits a similar note of resignation or self-subjugation in Lidia’s decision to remain in a failed marriage. However, in the famous ending of L’eclisse (1962), the third entry of the ‘Alienation Trilogy’, the female lead does not let herself be controlled by the self-centred male (Lim). This is not necessarily represented as a feminist triumph (although, in their scathing depictions of Italian machismo, Antonioni’s films can be said to be deeply feminist) (Ravary). Throughout the entire film Vittoria and Piero’s relationship is presented as something less than sincere or ‘serious’. Their meetings are marked by their incorporation of games into their interactions - the majority of their kisses are mediated by windows or panes of glass, hand-holding turns into high fives and in one scene they put on exaggerated impressions to mock another couple who were seen gazing deeply into each others’ eyes. They play at love and closeness in order to deliberately avoid developing love or closeness. Indeed, their love scenes are telling in that any sustained contact is fleeting or immediately incorporated into one of the aforementioned games - in their last meeting their hands fumble on each others’ bodies but do not clasp, and they seem afraid to make eye contact or kiss on the mouth, brushing noses as they make plans to meet but immediately turning to press cheeks, staring ahead with frightened expressions. Their failure to meet at the end is like a surrender, not to gendered control as in L’avventura, but to distance. The focus on other lives and other stories filling the void that Vittoria and Piero have left emphasises the alienation from emotion that pushes all of Antonioni’s characters into a bondage of separateness (Pamerleau 218).

In these films, and especially in the appropriately nicknamed ‘Alienation Trilogy’, the gaze of Antonioni’s camera relays a cultural wasteland disconnected from Romantic truths. His characters are selfish without being ‘selves’, and although they are given the tools to develop an agency necessary to change their station in this ‘ruined’ society, he makes it clear that they prefer the comfort of the abyss. Antonioni’s ‘Alienation’ works reveal themselves as the purest kind of post-apocalyptic cinema, but here the aftermath depicted is of an emotional apocalypse rather than a physical one.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by B-Side » Sun Jul 28, 2013 7:53 am

LEAVES wrote:I don't think you do.

What I did was that I spelled out the word 'ennui' with words that sort of describe other people's interpretations of what the film is about, which they always summarize by simply repeating 'ennui' about 300 times per paragraph.
That is precisely how I read it. Or are you being funny? You're being funny. On-wee.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by LEAVES » Sun Jul 28, 2013 8:47 am

We're not actually saying this is the Earth calling you, Matilda.

Listen, it's not like we think that we're actually in a control tower trying to reach outer space aliens or something, okay?

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

Post by Izzy Black » Sun Jul 28, 2013 2:56 pm

snapper wrote:I think on one level, Anna leaves the film and her disappearance doesn't matter. A story doesn't need an ending, existence rushes in to fill the void she's left.

If we read into the how/why, you can see it like an apotheosis. Claudia and Anna travel the same path in opposite directions. Anna begins as the materialistic daddy's girl, the symbol of this empty and psychologically bankrupt extravagance and gradually becomes more and more disillusioned with it. She begins reading Fitzgerald and the Bible, becomes more in touch with her emotions, reacts with disgust to the perfunctory exchanges of her boating party, people she only hangs out with because they, too, are bourgeois. At some point she makes a spiritual decision to leave this milieu behind and as a result completely disasppears from the diegesis.

Claudia begins as the level-headed, self-sufficient audience surrogate, and after Anna's death seems compelled to fill the role that she played while she knew her - without being privy to the psychological developments that Anna was undergoing in private.She turns, if not from a complex personality to a simple one, from an independent person to a dependent.
I don't think Claudia's journey nosedives into complete self-unawareness. At the end of the film when they're at the party and Claudia can't find Sandro the next morning, she goes to Patrizia and Ettore, who are staying at the hotel with them and she asks them if they know where Sandro is. Claudia's fear is palpable here because it's not just that she can't find Sandro after one night, but it's that she senses the nightmare of Anna's disappearance coming back to haunt her, fearing she's lost Sandro just as she lost Anna. When Patrizia and Etorre, who were a part of Anna's searching party and have also forgotten about Anna, tell her they don't know where Sandro is, Claudia says, "I'm afraid Anna has come back." Anna haunts her like a specter or a ghost, a weight on her conscience never fully pushed out of her mind. Claudia explains that only a few days ago, the thought of Anna's death was unbearable, but now she had completely forgotten her, taken to her man's arms, and even fears that Anna might be alive. Claudia displays a level of self-reflection and self-awareness that Patrizia simply can't relate to and is perhaps even incapable of doing. Even in the end, I think Claudia displays the most maturity and sense of self of everyone. It's the idea of Anna that's more haunting than the fact of Anna. Although I don't think it matters what actually happens to Anna, her presence (and absence) still is crucial to their relationship and the ending. In an important way, their relationship is defined by her disappearance. It was cursed from the outset.
snapper wrote:I wrote about this in an essay last year, I'll try to find it.
Lovely essay. Very well, written. I really enjoy reading your work. The analysis of the post-war themes is just spot on.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Izzy Black » Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:18 pm

It should also be reminded that the word 'avventura' in Italian also means 'fling' or 'affair.' If we're supposed to look at Sandro and Claudia's relationship as a fling over the span of a few days, which is more than suggested, then their future isn't really what matters. What's significant about the ambiguity of the ending is that resolving Anna's disappearance and establishing where their relationship goes next isn't of importance. In Antonioni's world, we simply can't have any real confidence about what's in store in the future. What matters is that moment, the feelings they encounter and the reality of their condition coming to full realization, even if only for a moment. (I've argued elsewhere that such 'ephemerality' is crucial to Antonioni's cinema).
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by B-Side » Sun Jul 28, 2013 3:32 pm

That's all well and good, Izzy, but what of the ennui?
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sun Jul 28, 2013 5:43 pm

Izzy Black wrote:Claudia displays a level of self-reflection and self-awareness that Patrizia simply can't relate to and is perhaps even incapable of doing. Even in the end, I think Claudia displays the most maturity and sense of self of everyone. It's the idea of Anna that's more haunting than the fact of Anna. Although I don't think it matters what actually happens to Anna, her presence (and absence) still is crucial to their relationship and the ending. In an important way, their relationship is defined by her disappearance.
If we're supposed to look at Sandro and Claudia's relationship as a fling over the span of a few days, which is more than suggested, then their future isn't really what matters. What's significant about the ambiguity of the ending is that resolving Anna's disappearance and establishing where their relationship goes next isn't of importance. In Antonioni's world, we simply can't have any real confidence about what's in store in the future. What matters is that moment, the feelings they encounter and the reality of their condition coming to full realization, even if only for a moment.
Ah. I've changed my mind about Antonioni analysis. But I will read only Izzy's.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by JediMoonShyne » Sun Aug 04, 2013 3:14 pm

elixir wrote:A Week Alone
Will grab this when I get the chance!
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Trip » Sun Aug 04, 2013 3:14 pm

pfft i saw it first
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by elixir » Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:03 pm

Too lazy to go further back in the month, so let's just do two/three days. Kinda shameful that I've done no writing considering I've seen more movies this month than any other from this year. (No worries, it's still less than Trip in any given month, I'm sure.)

Anyway.

Offside | Jafar Panahi | 2006 | [75]
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I guess this can't be called a gem given its acclaim, but it feels that way in some respects. It's just a perfect little film, and wow calling it "little" seems belittling as it isn't simply little, but I guess it's the short time-span and locale/cast that makes it feel that way. Not that it's even massively little in that department. Wow, good review. Let's call attention to the use of off-screen space and sound, since no one would do that. On one note though, I would like to say how often the film is funny and, yes, extends a sense of self to characters that some wouldn't otherwise, making it all the richer for it. Though contentious, the characters themselves never feel overly polemical--I love how truly involved they are in wanting to see the game as opposed *merely* (constantly) asserting how fucked up the whole situation is--which they do, but it's in large part because they just wanna see the fucking game. Like, I don't even care about sports mostly, but I was so tense during the van ride toward the end. The camera directly looking at the girls, a beautiful moment. Perhaps one can call it too positive, but bleh. It's just really nice.

Two Years At Sea | Ben Rivers | 2011 | [73]
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Shouts out for the big screen, so one can imagine this rating coming up in a better setting. Won't deny that there were times I wasn't fully engaged, it happens, but for the most part it's a really gorgeous film that certainly breathes and takes it time, no more so than in its, to me, greatest image when the character drifts on a makeshift boat in the water towards the edge of the frame. Either this or Ah, Liberty! for my favorite Rivers.

Sex Is Comedy | Catherine Breillat | 2003 | [69]
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Gah, I love Grégoire Colin. He's maybe a guy who doesn't have a Great Performance under his belt (unless he does? Am I missing something?), but his presence always helps and he's super compelling and also can be really funny (and he is handsome, dammit!). Like here, he's hilarious. Some reviews I've read talked about how "self-serving" or such this film is, and maybe so, it presents a resolution that certainly is beneficial for the director standing in for Breillat (and the film that stands in for Fat Girl, which really is a prerequisite for viewing this), but IDK, maybe I don't care when the film is as playful as it may be serious about the struggle to achieve this sort of film scene. A surprisingly fun and light movie, actually.

Leviathan | Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel | 2012 | [76]
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Shouts out for the big screen #2. Again, add a few points or more. It's grimy and dirty and stunning, even as, especially as!, you are unsure quite what you are seeing. I think I've mentioned how much I can sometimes love abstraction, when the familiar turns into the difficult to differentiate haptic, and it's on full display here, often with what is seen revealed to the viewer after a few minutes of a shot. And, like, how do those shots even come about, damn. I probably would have preferred to have kept the humans on the edge of the action as much as possible (a quick shower scene, okay...a five minute scene of a guy watching TV, nah)...but that's not to takeaway from this great achievement.

Drug War | Johnnie To | 2012 | [75]
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There's nothing more I personally feel I have to add (like even more than usual, lol), so I'll just repeat that I love how information is given out in this film, never through dull exposition but through action and character moments, in a way that is fairly complex yet trusting in the viewer, and always fun too (HAHA!) even as total engagement is necessary to keep track of all those moving parts. The visuals don't pop out as much as the other two To films I've seen (though they are still really good), but that only seems fitting given the content.

As Tears Go By | Wong Kar-Wai | 1988 | [53]
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Yeah, IDK, it's not so bad. It's not that good either! Wong got a lot better! Like, a lot. A lot a lot a lot. /review

Sunshine for the Scoundrels | Alain Guiraudie | 2001 | [63]
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A total precursor to Time Has Come, and fits in with the strange way Guiraudie creates this fantasy worlds, which run just parallel to reality. Love the way the two characters running from each other rove back into and out of the plot. At the end, as the film is under an hour, it doesn't feel too substantial, but it's still pretty good.

That Old Dream That Moves | Alain Guiraudie | 2001 | [68]
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This one feels like it has more weight to it. The way the consistently rising homoeroticism gives way to divulging character motivation is actually kinda lovely, and set against the backdrop of a dilapidated factory, it offers the possibility of passionate desire over the everyday mundane. Yet it even relents to a somewhat simply 'you can't always get what you want," but done in a much better way than that sounds, I promise, lol. A really nice ending that brings it all together, and that relates to some of the same discussions characters have had in Guiraudie's other movies (that I've seen).

In addition, I watched two earlier shorts from Guiraudie: the 1994 Tout droit jusqu'au matin ([42]) and the 1998 La force des choses ([47]), and they are both pretty whatever (for completists only), though the latter can be viewed as an even earlier run at the fantasy Guiraudie exhibits in Sunshine for the Scoundrels and Time Has Come.

Daumë | Ben Russell | 2000 | [57]
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Faces that somewhat randomly appear, and then put on masks. Apparently shot in South America, this seems to be engaged in a pointed dialogue about 'looking' at Otherness, in the way the native people look directly at the camera but will often have masks on beforehand or put them on afterwards after smiling at the camera. There are two short interludes in color with a white person dancing around in a mask--Russell himself????--which are clearly separated from the others, and yet is combined with a POV switch of this white person and a native throwing a chair at (sorta?) each other. There were (untranslated) intertitles in a language I don't know which maybe could have helped out here. Can also say it already makes sense he would team up w/ Rivers considering both of their ethnographic interests.

Terra Incognta | Ben Russell | 2002 | [66]
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Extremely noisy images. Which I like and find beautiful (often) myself. A robotic voice, grating, but purposefully so, as it often speeds up so fast that its English becomes unintelligible or jitters so that it repeats things. Texts seem to be taken from a series of sources, but I wouldn't have guessed that. Manages to feel simultaneously otherworldly and familiar.

Trypps #7 (Badlands) | Ben Russell | 2011 | [77]
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You know in Phantoms of Nabua how you start to realize what's happening with the light sources and lightning and shit (okay, so I don't remember, but I remember realizing...god, I'm awful). Or even in something like Flight of the Red Balloon, just seeing how the apartment space is revealed. On one level, some of these things can be seen as withholding or trickery, or you can just choose not to be an asshole and enjoy cinema. (In a less glib manner, I think that the very face that these are revelatory are not only a source of its power but fundamentally essential to its aims--I feel this should be clear, but here I am saying this.) It's not that there's a "twist" to give away, but let's say what starts out as a nice film--what possible directions did he give to this girl?!--transforms into a vision that seeks to reorient the viewer's eyes (and succeeds!) through the use of minimal equipment, a landscape, and a woman. With each passing moment, my admiration just shot up, and it's one of the more beautiful shorts I've seen.

River Rites | Ben Russell | 2011 | [74]
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Quickly learning that in this guy's films that when I think I know what I'm seeing, and what I'll see next, I am probably wrong. (Yes, I am making that heady statement after four shorts!) It's not the embarrassing amount of time it took me to realize stuff was happening backwards (this realization should have been instant, not delayed!), or even some sort of revelation as in the film above this one, but rather the way this film takes its one tracking shot and uses it as an explosive way to capture simple activities, children playing in the water or women washing clothes. And wow, doesn't that sound exactly what'd you expect to see in some ethnographic film? Hm, perhaps, but the inclusion of rock music, the consistently jarring reversal of action (that thing it does to splashes in water!), and just the gorgeous array of images depicted through one roving shot is so gorgeous. And maybe it isn't meant to be circular--with one of the first images, I was instantly reminded of the native look to the camera in Daumë, but the way it (mostly--there are some images before/after) ends of the image of the same man is a nice touch, especially that final of image of him submerged underwater.

A lot of Ben Russell's films can be viewed on his vimeo page. So more shall be viewed--and horribly commented on--shortly!
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Rock » Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:17 pm

Drug War is great - probably the best film I've seen in theatres this year. I liked As Tears Go By a lot, but I may have been swayed my love of Mean Streets and its influence on it. I also haven't seen any other Wong, so I don't have his later work to compare it to.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by charulata » Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:25 pm

elixir wrote: The camera directly looking at the girls, a beautiful moment. Perhaps one can call it too positive, but bleh. It's just really nice.
y, its great.

Gah, I love Grégoire Colin. He's maybe a guy who doesn't have a Great Performance under his belt (unless he does? Am I missing something?), but his presence always helps and he's super compelling and also can be really funny (and he is handsome, dammit!). Like here, he's hilarious.
His dancing in US Go Home deserves all the awards. omg so charming that guy.
elixir wrote: It's grimy and dirty and stunning, even as, especially as!, you are unsure quite what you are seeing. I think I've mentioned how much I can sometimes love abstraction, when the familiar turns into the difficult to differentiate haptic, and it's on full display here, often with what is seen revealed to the viewer after a few minutes of a shot. And, like, how do those shots even come about, damn. I probably would have preferred to have kept the humans on the edge of the action as much as possible (a quick shower scene, okay...a five minute scene of a guy watching TV, nah)...but that's not to takeaway from this great achievement.
:heart:
elixir wrote: As Tears Go By | Wong Kar-Wai | 1988 | [53]
Image
Yeah, IDK, it's not so bad. It's not that good either! Wong got a lot better! Like, a lot. A lot a lot a lot. /review
y, but it already has so much wong in it from my perspective. The scene at the bus stop, the glass she hides in his apt. kitchen <3
elixir wrote: That Old Dream That Moves | Alain Guiraudie | 2001 | [68]
Image
This one feels like it has more weight to it. The way the consistently rising homoeroticism gives way to divulging character motivation is actually kinda lovely, and set against the backdrop of a dilapidated factory, it offers the possibility of passionate desire over the everyday mundane. Yet it even relents to a somewhat simply 'you can't always get what you want," but done in a much better way than that sounds, I promise, lol. A really nice ending that brings it all together, and that relates to some of the same discussions characters have had in Guiraudie's other movies (that I've seen).
My favorite of the ones I've seen I think. Need to watch those shorts.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Colonel Kurz » Sat Aug 24, 2013 7:53 pm

charulata wrote: His dancing in US Go Home deserves all the awards. omg so charming that guy.
He knows his way around some dough too.

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

Post by Boner M » Sun Aug 25, 2013 2:57 am

elixir wrote:A lot of Ben Russell's films can be viewed on his vimeo page. So more shall be viewed--and horribly commented on--shortly!
Wow, Let Each One Go Where He May is available. Some serious steadicam porn there.

I think River Rites might be my favorite of his that I've seen. Probably the most heartily I've applauded a film (cos it felt like no one else was going to at the screening I saw it)
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Trip » Sun Aug 25, 2013 3:24 am

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

Post by JediMoonShyne » Sun Aug 25, 2013 4:33 am

Thread is a rec. goldmine, as usual.
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elixir
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by elixir » Tue Aug 27, 2013 9:11 pm

Elysium | Neill Blomkamp | 2013 | [31]
Image
Like, I mean, during it I was thinking about all the shit that sucked ass, from the childhood flashback bombast to the poorly mapped-out shaky cam fights to the undercooked "timely" thematic shit--and then I realized 10 minutes after leaving the theater that I just did not care anymore. Not sure if there was a separate director for Jodie Foster or something (amusing, at least).

Admission | Paul Weitz | 2013 | [41]
Image
Yeah, the admission process can be pretty dumb, but so is this movie. A laugh every now and then, but nah.

This Is Martin Bonner | Chad Hartigan | 2013 | [66]
Image
Really nice. Especially fond of the diner conversation, and how when Travis tells this story that is perhaps meant to be sensitive and loving (from his perspective), his daughter responds with "gross." I guess though that when it ended, I was kinda like "oh, that's it?" Not necessarily a bad thing.

Parfait amour! | Catherine Breillat | 1996 | [48]
Image
I dunno, this was kinda dull to me.

Duck Season | Fernando Eimbecke | 2004 | [70]
Image
Ahh, the mundane. There is nothing better to capture on film! A series of static shots that give way to fading to black, children in swings, clouds passing by a building. Just kinda everyday, and that continues with the narrative, in which probably more happens than your average day perhaps, but still nothing extraordinary. Somehow, the pathos never feels falsely generated but instead is felt through the drollness and usual happenings, with some stylistic diversions paralleling the more speechified moments nicely (though all the shots from inside ovens/shelves I could do without). Blah, not explaining this well. It's just very sweet, but really funny, too (the cut is such an obvious tool of humor in cinema and yet in the right hands it can be so hilarious), and definitely a "small" film, but one which realizes its modest ambitions so well that it hardly matters. The final scene between the two friends is perfect. Delightful! (Need to use this pic 'cause licking the spoon is the greatest.)

Noema | Scott Stark | 1998 | [65]
Image
The moments of not hardcore fucking in porn, the awkwardness therein looped (that fireplace! that wall painting! but most obviously just bodies repositioning themselves before/during/after the act), set to unrelenting music, replete with graphic matches and repetition, and still there are boobs and dicks all over (not that the purpose here is to de-eroticize exactly). NSFW, to say the least. Not exactly "my thing," but for something I was initially skeptical of, it certainly turns into something more than worthwhile, which achieves a peculiar sort of hypnotic rhythm (though the whole time I was just hoping my mom would not come in the room).
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by B-Side » Wed Aug 28, 2013 8:28 am

elixir doesn't love anything but faggy french films
no longer on hiatus from movies(!)

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

Post by charulata » Wed Aug 28, 2013 3:25 pm

elixir wrote: Admission | Paul Weitz | 2013 | [41]
Yeah, the admission process can be pretty dumb, but so is this movie. A laugh every now and then, but nah.
Terrible movie. Even fey and rudd, both so good at playing adorable dorky types couldn't make these characters anything but ridiculous and annoying.
elixir wrote: Duck Season | Fernando Eimbecke | 2004 | [70]
Image
Ahh, the mundane. There is nothing better to capture on film! A series of static shots that give way to fading to black, children in swings, clouds passing by a building. Just kinda everyday, and that continues with the narrative, in which probably more happens than your average day perhaps, but still nothing extraordinary. Somehow, the pathos never feels falsely generated but instead is felt through the drollness and usual happenings, with some stylistic diversions paralleling the more speechified moments nicely (though all the shots from inside ovens/shelves I could do without). Blah, not explaining this well. It's just very sweet, but really funny, too (the cut is such an obvious tool of humor in cinema and yet in the right hands it can be so hilarious), and definitely a "small" film, but one which realizes its modest ambitions so well that it hardly matters. The final scene between the two friends is perfect. Delightful! (Need to use this pic 'cause licking the spoon is the greatest.)
I remember enjoying this so much. Yeah, small movie .. but so comfortable in its scope and feels so lived-in. I've been meaning to watch Lake Tahoe forever.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by JediMoonShyne » Wed Aug 28, 2013 4:20 pm

elixir wrote:Duck Season | Fernando Eimbecke | 2004 | [70]
Oh yeah, huge fan of this one. An ode to so many parent-less afternoons spent as a teenager, playing video games, talking about girls, eating junk food, etc.

I love the little touches, too, like the fingers in the coke and the Rancid t-shirt. :heart:
“Bisogna essere molto forti per amare la solitudine.” - P.P. Pasolini

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

Post by elixir » Tue Sep 10, 2013 2:45 am

got not all the interest in this indulgence and yet, or tiff weekend 1

um so like customs took forever so i missed the serra, then i got to my hostel and slept a long ass time and then there was the new day one, so day one.

[no images] ///// (here because bookkeeping)

reserving the right to change minds because minds can be fickle

fri 9-6-13

Manila in the Claws of Light | Lino Brocka | 1975 | [73]
Personally speaking, a main thing with this one was an expectation/adjustment thing. I went in sort of thinking this would be a sort of stark art-house thing, but it's like a melodrama kinda, and it could be seen as miserablist, but it's more one of the angered and passionate inevitabilities w/r/t that final shot, and stuff, and while the flashback of already seen material w/in the film remains my least favorite device ever, the actual ones to the rural locations are pretty..uh pretty. Colors really pop here, man! But yeah, once you get on its rhythyms, it's swell exactly for what it is, with a really keen sense of time marching on through a progression of one shitty event after the other (for a little I thought it would just remain with him as a laborer, but I'm happy it didn't).

Closed Curtain | Jafar Panahi | 2013 | [66]
I was sitting at a table after this figuring out where to eat, or maybe checking tweets, or something, I don't remember, but this guy was like, "So do you think you understood the film, like as a foreigner to it? I speak Farsi, but I'm interested in what someone who doesn't would think..." I mean, how dare he? I could speak Farsi for all he knows! I mean. But yeah, I'm not sure I understood it exactly, but any lack of so isn't really due to any cultural lack of knowledge outside of perhaps the particulars of Panahi's house arrest. It's burrowing further into his mindset under lock, and it's a deep allegory, and I admittedly don't care for allegory, but it's still as impassioned as his prior, even if I prefer the tension that exists in its staged-ness/calculated-ness dialectic vs the self-reflexivity on display here. It's grown a bit in my mind, but I also find myself more inclined to think less about it and just go back and watch those earlier Panahis I've yet to see.

Wavelengths I: Variations On...
------
Variations on a Cellophane Wrapper | David Rimmer | 1972 | [74]
IDK, like with some other a-g piece lately, I realize my patience-o-meter needs to be higher, because I'm like wow this isn't even special and then it will get so much better and I realize how much that baseline is needed, so when this fragments and colorizers and breaks apart and is put back together in a different way, indeed true variations on this title image, it's just gorgeous and shit. IDK what else to say, sorries.

Pop Takes | Luther Price | 2013 | [63]
This one has grown on me, actually. It's like an a-g version of the xx's "Islands" video! Okay, maybe not exactly, but it sort of reminded me of it w/ the women at the beginning. I just wish there was more stuff of like the people jumping or w/e was happening in the last few seconds, that was the best stuff out there.

Airships 1-3 | Kenneth Anger | 2010-2013 | [59]
LOL.

El Adios Largo | Andrew Lampert | 2013 | [52]
Yeah, The Long Goodbye is an awesome movie. + for the Q&A tho.

The Realist | Scott Stark | 2013 | [71]
Alternately hypnotic and dull, gimmickry and revelatory, and most certainly overlong and yet it seems to need all those movements, very much like music, and also very faithful, in a way, to its music. The best part for me was seeing all these things, this stuff I could find w/in 15 mins of my house, superimposed and collaged and seizured out into something otherworldly and yet still wholly familiar. I'll need to think on it some more.
------

Abuse of Weakness | Catherine Breillat | 2013 | [51]
Just nonplussed by this I guess. Like, it's fine. Huppert's face, and just her general physicality, remains a wonder. Good final scene, like ppl have said. And the opening few sequences are strong. Yet the entire journey of the middle just feels...nothing, which maybe is part of it I guess, but yeah. Q&A reveals her humor, though I had a lot of difficulty understanding her English sometimes.She mentioned Sex is Comedy as her most personal film besides this (I think); that one is much better to me.

sat 9-7-13

At Berkeley | Frederick Wiseman | 2013 | [82]
This is just growing in my mind, throughlines of public education concerns crossed with economic realities and coinciding goals even as all people are striving towards common (good) goals, whether wrongheaded or not, but those pillow shots, if only there were more!, and yeah if you liked going to college classes, these classroom discussions will engage you, but of course it's the growing juxtapositions throughout of administration and students and way beyond, and each scene seems to just add to this mosaic, and like yeah it's just so beautiful, my bladder didn't even want to burst or anything just my misty eyes, i mean i'm entering senior year, it totally stands on its own merits but I can't deny that, I need to see more of those epic Wisemans soooon. (OMG this one person @ Q&A was so indignant that he didn't show the students leaving the protest in the library, and after repeating her question again following one answer, Mr. Wiseman just starts off "Well - I'm sorry." HAHAHAHHA before explaining practical issues, the superfluousness of showing this, and omg you can't even deal with this minor sort of elision, smhhhhhh.

Wavelengths 2: Now & Then
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Instants | Hannes Schüpbach | 2012 | [54]
More like I'm instantly forgetting it, amirite. Naw, but those slideshow inserts are nice, and yes it's concerned with The Moment, but more perhaps with The Moment Passed, and if it's sometimes rendered vague, it's a vagueness that's not hard to find one's own specificity within it.

Pepper's Ghosts | Stephen Broomer | 2013 | [57]
Goofy, fun, sometimes elicits a "wuhhh."

Man in Motion | Christophe M. Saber, Ruben Glauser, Max Idje | 2012 | [48]
It's a little bit neat. "Student project," but not really in a bad way.

Flower | Naoko Tasaka | 2012 | [52]
Had a little bit of trouble with this one. It was funny, but IDK if it was meant to be? The whole VO thing kinda baffled me. Like, to the point that I was wishing it didn't exist, since I did find myself able to adapt to the visuals. That slow-motion waterfall is real nice though.

Constellations | Helga Fanderl | 2012 | [55]
At first vaguely pretty banalness, but one that leads into a series of portraitures better viewed together, even as they are apart (they are more than small), and the ones with the leaves and the glasses were probably my faves. Inspired enough to check out others of her work.
------

A Spell to Ward Off the Darkness | Ben Rivers and Ben Russell | 2013 | [77]
Woo! That opening shot, like one of the best of the yr. The third section was a bit harder for me because listening to metal music for more than 30 seconds makes me die, but even so I was able to tune out the screams a bit and just focus on those sometimes pixelly pans, the darkness receding in and out, adaptation impossible in way--I do question those who see this section as any sort of response to the (secular) sublime proposed by the prior two. The first has a great communal quality to it befitting its...setting in a commune (!) but I love the way the protag is barely in it (of course it's a conscious choice, Q&A lady!). Discussion of "a chain of fingers in assholes" is most unexpected lol-worthy conversation in any movie this year probably.

sat 9-8-13

Manakamana | Stephanie Spray, Pacho Velez | 2013 | [78]
First comment off the bat at Q&A is "this movie was boring" and later I was talking with the director out in the corridor and she says "I don't even like films that aren't boring" or something to that effect, obvs not totally like that I'm sure, but the same way I say that I like "slow" movies. And I do. (I'm such a loser than I broke down and asked why Philippe Grandrieux was thanked in a dedication card -- he was also done so in A Spell... along with a host of other filmmakers -- and she said that he offered consultation and was at Harvard then, and thinking about her comment about her intense interest in faces I idiotically said, "well, Grandrieux loves faces, too!" and she's like "yeah, he's an amazing artist and person" or something to that effect, and btw I'm referring to Spray not Velez does, and Spray if you somehow read this much hearts <3) But anyway, this was terribly beautiful, structuralist yet sponataneous, and honestly has some of the funniest moments of the yr (those long-haired rockers! that ice cream bar! etc.) and yeah faces ARE amazing, or can be, and these so often are, but what is so amazing is this weird push and pull b/w that and rear-projected landscape; sometimes I'd forget about one, sometimes they melded, sometimes I tried looking at all at once only to realize my limited viewpoint, yet even those limits grant expansive thought....

Three Landscapes and Song and Spring
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Song | Nathaniel Dorsky | 2013 | [71]
Spring | Nathaniel Dorsky | 2013 | [81]
Yeah, so there were projection issues. I ain't a hound, so I'm not at cognizant as those nerds, like I'm just not totally in the know there, but okay, so let's refrain a bit, but not too much, grumble, let's stop grumbling.
Let's just say that I can't imagine how beautiful these may be if perfectly presented. Of course I may never get that chance *cries* or for other Dorskys *cries again* and like I'm sure some box set sort of notion couldn't happen until he died, given how "particular" he is (the word was the woman standing next to me in line).
But anyway, IDK how to talk about these, I did finally read Devotional Cinema, most of it anyway, and yeah that's a good start, more than a start, it's great, but IDK, I love this shit, and it's something I sure would expand with each work and viewing and I'm sad that I may not have that chance and already this is out of my grasp, but even as it slips away it's still gorgeous so.
So. I did really enjoy them! gimme more mr. d, plz.
Oh yeah, that shot of the golden cistern (from Seville, apparently), KSJdklajskdlajlksdjaskljd. (Also could be said about many others.)

Three Landscapes | Peter Hutton | 2013 | [72]
Those shots of the Detroit workers on that bridge, holy mother of fucuuuuucuuck; okay, so that was probably the peak for me, though the hazed-out camels in the salt harvest came close. But yeah, presenting all these shaped-out forms, geometric sometimes okay, against vastness, humans usually far away, imposing technology but not in an alienating way, in a strangely inviting way, and sometimes watching labor be beautiful can make me feel grimy, but there ya have it.
------

September | Penny Panayotopoulou | 2013 | [41]
Further confirmation that social disaster films make my skin crawl more than anything. Not that this it that, quite, but certainly in part, and I was reminded at times of the wayyy superior The Forest for the Trees at time. But yeah, this is pretty dumb mostly.

yeah, I met that Boner guy, he's kinda whatever (2cool4me)

But in seriousness, he is cool, and I hopefully see him again, and other Corries this upcoming weekend! Woo, going back in 4 days, yay TIFF, yay um

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

Post by wigwam » Tue Sep 10, 2013 3:46 am

so jealous of the Wiseman!
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Trip » Tue Sep 10, 2013 4:05 am

listening to metal music for more than 30 seconds makes me die
:D :up:

Dorsky is someone I've never seen but looks sooooo enticing.
Please TRIP and Die
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Boner M » Tue Sep 10, 2013 6:38 am

Sad I missed the Dorsky cos of my momentary ticket loss. My friend told me an amazing anecdote - that on the way out of the screening he was approached by a vollie, mistaking him for an audience member, and told that he could vote for the film, to which he replied "I don't know what those words mean".

Need to watch At Berkeley again cos I was despondent from aforementioned ticket loss, but it feels pretty major to me - I love when he has professional orators as his subjects, making the performative aspect feel extra-natural, more of a 'raw material' for juxtaposition.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by meliorism » Thu Dec 19, 2013 2:14 am

<3 <3 <3 at Burial - Come Down to Us

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

Post by roujin » Thu Dec 19, 2013 3:32 am

i had somehow overlooked that you were remotely into k-pop.
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Re: elixir's film journal, and nothing more...

Post by Epistemophobia » Thu Dec 19, 2013 4:39 am

shinsegae love britannia
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