Maiden's Voyage

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Maiden's Voyage: Bastards

Post by Shieldmaiden » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:26 pm

Image Image
  • Ah, I've missed Claire Denis! Bastards is very, very good. Though I watched it in pretty much the worst (legal) way possible, it still looked beautiful, with that glow beneath the surface that Bartas sometimes has, so smooth you could almost drink it. It's a L'intrus-like trip into the heart of darkness, while the family element gives the whole a theme of contamination, of infection, that reminds me of Trouble Every Day. This is a noir in the classical sense, dark and convoluted, but through a typical Denis lens of empathy for all the iconic players: the ingenue, the villiain, the femme fatale, the doomed detective who's emotionally involved and repulsed by the layers of corruption he reluctantly peels back. It's great to see Denis back with her entire team, and everything works perfectly here. The story is told in faces and small connections, like jigsaw pieces; and, before you know it, you're deep in the darkest places of humanity, looking—in vain—for a way out.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Izzy Black » Tue Nov 05, 2013 3:37 pm

:up:

I think it's a top 3 Denis for me
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by wigwam » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:18 pm

me too, just after L'intrus and Beau travail I think

I loved the bronze-ness she got in the night shooting but then also had really clear and colorful daylight or like the closeup of that cake being decorated

i kinda wish the ending wasnt what it was altho technically/tonally it was amazing and eerie and haunting, maybe i did like the ending...
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Izzy Black » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:27 pm

Yeah I think going digital helped her get that wicked clarity. But that she still managed to keep things so dark and amber was incredible.

I loved the ending. Sealed it for me. She has the best endings in cinema.

I probably put it after The Intruder and I Can't Sleep. I had Beau Travail at around 2 or 3, but it's slipped down for me.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by wigwam » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:34 pm

i still havent seen I Can't Sleep, I have some holes in her early work
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Izzy Black » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:43 pm

It's probably one of her least well-liked among Denis fans, but it's one of the first Denis films I saw and to me it's still one of her most contemplative, challenging, and fascinating films. I love it.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by wigwam » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:45 pm

I Can't Sleep
has been moved to the top of your Queue
aside from shorts and Vers Mathilde it's just that and No Fear No Die i have left
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Izzy Black » Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:50 pm

:up: Awesome. I really look forward to hearing your thoughts, so report back!

And I actually just completed Denis myself with the viewing of Vers Nancy not long ago. As of now, here's how I would rank her films:

The Intruder
I Can't Sleep
Bastards
Beau Travail
35 Shots of Rum
Friday Night
US Go Home
No Fear No Die
Nénette et Boni
Trouble Every Day
White Material
Chocolat
Vers Mathilde
To the Devil
Vers Nancy

The thing is, I love the top 5 so much that they're almost entirely interchangeable. I go back and forth on the order of these like every week lol.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by plain » Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:16 pm

::would sex Chiara Mastroianni's mole::

great movie, top 5 denis for sure.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Izzy Black » Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:24 pm

plain wrote:::would sex Chiara Mastroianni's mole::

great movie, top 5 denis for sure.
ahaha... she's a beautiful woman. Great genes.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Izzy Black » Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:31 pm

There are actually some shorts (Nice, Very Nice, Keep It for Yourself) and documentaries (Man No Run and she has one on Rivette) I still need to see, but I don't know that any of them are available online or otherwise save for the Rivette and Nice, Very Nice.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by charulata » Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:21 pm

She pretty much just does camerawork on the Rivette doc afaik but it's so good regardless. Rivette intimidates me but in good ways.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by wigwam » Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:22 pm

Rivette is so much fun!
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Izzy Black » Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:33 pm

charulata wrote:She pretty much just does camerawork on the Rivette doc afaik but it's so good regardless. Rivette intimidates me but in good ways.
Have you seen the others I mentioned? Should I even bother with those?
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by charulata » Tue Nov 05, 2013 6:43 pm

I've only seen the ones available online as you mention. The Rivette doc is really great. Nice, Very Nice is good but mostly allows Denis to shoot Gregoire Colin navigate this crowded parade and so y, visually fun but that's about it I think.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Thu Nov 07, 2013 9:05 pm

hirtho wrote:I loved the bronze-ness she got in the night shooting but then also had really clear and colorful daylight or like the closeup of that cake being decorated
Izzy Black wrote: Yeah I think going digital helped her get that wicked clarity. But that she still managed to keep things so dark and amber was incredible.
Yeah, it looked incredible. I used only dark pictures above, but, as wig said, the daylight stuff was really lovely, too:

Image


And, in case anyone's interested, I updated the last page with my ranking of her films.
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Maiden's Voyage: Computer Chess

Post by Shieldmaiden » Mon Nov 11, 2013 3:49 pm

Computer Chess was a lovely surprise! This really is a film where the less you know going in the better, but if anyone is hesitating, for reasons of mumblecore or computer geekery, don't worry. From the very first speeches, full of stumbling enthusiasm and well-timed elipses, I knew I wouldn't be disappointed. Bujalski's clever script makes the most of the inherent comedy of the subject matter and our ironic distance, and his non-actors are all scarily perfect. (It's well worth reading the cast information on the official page, to see who's who.) But, what I love most is how, despite the stringent restraints of his project, he manages to give us something so visually creative, bittersweet, surreal, and very funny. I don't normally do this, but I have to include this quote from Kent Jones, in FilmComment:
  • [Computer Chess has been mistaken for one kind of movie—a narrative about an introverted young man named Peter Bishton (Patrick Reister) enjoying an awkward coming-of-age experience—when it is, finally, a series of touchingly rhapsodic variations on communion and aloneness, desire and repression, control and chaos.
Image Image
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Re: Maiden's Voyage: Computer Chess

Post by Rock » Mon Nov 11, 2013 4:26 pm

Shieldmaiden wrote: Image
Bill Gates?
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Beau » Mon Nov 11, 2013 5:52 pm

Hope I can see it at the Mar del Plata Film Festival. :)
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by JediMoonShyne » Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:11 pm

Shieldmaiden wrote:Image
Should I expect a submission?
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Tue Nov 12, 2013 10:18 pm

That picture's kind of deceptive, though. The rest of that shot is more from the side, if I'm remembering it right.

EDIT: Oh, well. I submitted and you can decide.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by JediMoonShyne » Wed Nov 13, 2013 6:45 am

Thanks, Maiden. <3
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:51 pm

And now that I'm thinking in these terms, I find it interesting that these point-of-view shots are from her perspective, not his. (At least, I don't remember third persona shots from Marco's point of view.) I know charu's report from the Q&A at TIFF emphasized Denis's empathy for all the characters, but I'm sort of surprised by this, regardless.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by charulata » Wed Nov 13, 2013 3:58 pm

Shieldmaiden wrote:And now that I'm thinking in these terms, I find it interesting that these point-of-view shots are from her perspective, not his. (At least, I don't remember third persona shots from Marco's point of view.) I know charu's report from the Q&A at TIFF emphasized Denis's empathy for all the characters, but I'm sort of surprised by this, regardless.
That's how I remember it as well although it has been a while for me. So my memory of specific images is fuzzy at best. But isn't that also because so much of the film is her being watched by him? Her routines etc. And in so many ways Chiara and her son are endangered from our perspective. So we too watch (over) them .. I am not putting this very well but I've been trying to revise a paper since 4 am and I can't form sentences any more it seems.

Going back to that Q&A I did my best to transcribe whatever I could recall but I think if anything I came away with the impression that Denis has even more sympathy for Marco's character than she does for Chiara. She said something along the lines of Chiara having made a choice whereas she thinks Marco was pulled into this mess by familial ties. (That sentence in particular reminded me of James Gray which is perhaps why I remember it so well).
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:29 pm

OK, yes. That makes sense, and I watched the film thinking of Marco as the protagonist. Thus, my surprise that these shots follow her. I like your idea that we're being made watchers, equivalent to him, but those shots Jedi loves normally put us in the watched person's head, right? Though, now that I think of it, that's too restrictive.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Izzy Black » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:42 pm

I think it definitely has to do with the empathizing role of Denis' camera. On paper, Chiara's character is the femme fatale type and Marco the virtuous, world-weary protagonist, but Denis makes a great effort to have us identify with Raphaëlle - to make us want to understand her, to even like her. In fact, I wasn't even entirely sure who the protagonist was until half way through the film. I think that was on purpose. This is why the film's ending is so effective. What she does at the end has a truly shocking effect, heightened by moral ambiguity, all because we have these complicated feelings about Raphaëlle, who in another director's hands, would've been made to come across as the duplicitous, two-timing femme fatal out for her own ends and survival by any means necessary. Denis' approach to the type is more delicate, subtle, and nuanced.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:54 pm

Ah, well said. Yes.

:heart:
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Beau » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:03 pm

Shieldmaiden wrote:OK, yes. That makes sense, and I watched the film thinking of Marco as the protagonist. Thus, my surprise that these shots follow her. I like your idea that we're being made watchers, equivalent to him, but those shots Jedi loves normally seem to be putting us in the watched person's head, right? Though, now that I think of it, that's too restrictive.
Without having thought about it too much, these "Jedi shots," I suspect, have two different effects. I usually talk about them in relation to videogames. In such a case, we are inside the watched person's head, since we very nearly share that person's point of view (we're almost facing the same vanishing point as that person, tracing similar perspective lines). However, and without necessarily contradicting the videogame comparison, we are also looking beyond the watched person. The watched person becomes a watcher and begins to adopt our disembodied gaze (disembodied in the sense that we introduce ourselves into the projected fiction as ghosts, immerse ourselves into the drama without actually leaving our seats). As in videogames, the watched person becomes nearly invisible, a vessel, a vehicle for our gaze, and this is emphasized because the watched person is walking, going somewhere, and the where is what's important (or the nowhere, as in Antonioni). At the same time, and here we move away from the videogame comparison, since this is cinema, we almost expect to see the character's face, the window into her soul. The watched person is hidden from us, their emotions hard to gauge behind the mop of visible hair. So, in that sense, we're not inside the watched person's head at all, since she remains mysterious, distant. We might share her point of view, her line of sight, but that doesn't necessarily mean we're feeling what she's feeling. In such cases, we're not following the watched person in her journey, so much as watching her as she journeys on her own. This would coincide with the idea that we're watchers watching Chiara.

That's my contribution to the analysis of a movie I haven't seen, though I'm looking at the technique in a broader way. None of the above might apply to Bastards.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Izzy Black » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:07 pm

:up:
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by charulata » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:08 pm

Beau wrote: At the same time, and here we move away from the videogame comparison, since this is cinema, we almost expect to see the character's face, the window into her soul. The watched person is hidden from us, their emotions hard to gauge behind the mop of visible hair. So, in that sense, we're not inside the watched person's head at all, since she remains mysterious, distant. We might share her point of view, her line of sight, but that doesn't necessarily mean we're feeling what she's feeling. In such cases, we're not following the watched person in her journey, so much as watching her as she journeys on her own. This would coincide with the idea that we're watchers watching Chiara.

That's my contribution to the analysis of a movie I haven't seen, though I'm looking at the technique in a broader way. None of the above might apply to Bastards.
Love you, Beau. Thank you for articulating what I was trying to say via my blubbering. And I agree on these shots having these two different effects. I've sent 5-6 images from the same film to Jedi's tumblr and they've often included a mixture of these two types of shots/effects.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Izzy Black » Wed Nov 13, 2013 5:18 pm

The interesting thing about Bastards is the use of various perspectives. A third person point-of-view gives us perspective, but also keeps a certain level of distance between the audience and character like Beau points out (since we literally see/watch them and they don't see/watch us).

But we also get first-person perspectives. One of my favorite shots in the whole film is when Denis' camera gives us an intimate close-up of the muscular arch in Marco's back to mirror the perspective of Raphaëlle's sexual longing. (I was so happy to see Trip reference this scene in his review.) This has a significant effect. Because typically in film noir what we see are the seductive effects of the femme fatale on the hero rather than the other way around. There's no question of a role reversal in this film. Marco is actively seducing her, disrupting her life and trying to lure her in. He's, in a way, the femme fatale, and we are to identify, at least at some level, with the wants, desires, and emotional conflict of Raphaëlle.

But the camera moves back and forth between these close-up POV shots and these third-person POV shots while shifting between character perspectives that a straightforward emotional identification becomes complicated. The overall effect is kind of disorienting by the end. We've been completely sucked into this world and it seems there's no way out.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Trip » Wed Nov 13, 2013 7:11 pm

Izzy Black wrote:But we also get first-person perspectives. One of my favorite shots in the whole film is when Denis' camera gives us an intimate close-up of the muscular arch in Marco's back to mirror the perspective of Raphaëlle's sexual longing. (I was so happy to see Trip reference this scene in his review.) This has a significant effect. Because typically in film noir what we see are the seductive effects of the femme fatale on the hero rather than the other way around. There's no question of a role reversal in this film. Marco is actively seducing her, disrupting her life and trying to lure her in. He's, in a way, the femme fatale, and we are to identify, at least at some level, with the wants, desires, and emotional conflict of Raphaëlle.
:fresh:
But the camera moves back and forth between these close-up POV shots and these third-person POV shots while shifting between character perspectives that a straightforward emotional identification becomes complicated. The overall effect is kind of disorienting by the end. We've been completely sucked into this world and it seems there's no way out.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by JediMoonShyne » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:25 pm

Shieldmaiden wrote:OK, yes. That makes sense, and I watched the film thinking of Marco as the protagonist. Thus, my surprise that these shots follow her. I like your idea that we're being made watchers, equivalent to him, but those shots Jedi loves normally put us in the watched person's head, right? Though, now that I think of it, that's too restrictive.
Not necessarily! It just tends to line up perspective with whichever figure happens to be on screen at a particular time, but without providing a face and the emotion/expression a face would communicate to us. All we have is the back of a figure; the back of a head, and as such our whole effort is spent observing the observer and observing whatever the observer is observing, rather than absorbing or translating the complex messages of a face.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by JediMoonShyne » Wed Nov 13, 2013 8:26 pm

Beau wrote:Without having thought about it too much, these "Jedi shots," I suspect, have two different effects. I usually talk about them in relation to videogames. In such a case, we are inside the watched person's head, since we very nearly share that person's point of view (we're almost facing the same vanishing point as that person, tracing similar perspective lines). However, and without necessarily contradicting the videogame comparison, we are also looking beyond the watched person. The watched person becomes a watcher and begins to adopt our disembodied gaze (disembodied in the sense that we introduce ourselves into the projected fiction as ghosts, immerse ourselves into the drama without actually leaving our seats). As in videogames, the watched person becomes nearly invisible, a vessel, a vehicle for our gaze, and this is emphasized because the watched person is walking, going somewhere, and the where is what's important (or the nowhere, as in Antonioni). At the same time, and here we move away from the videogame comparison, since this is cinema, we almost expect to see the character's face, the window into her soul. The watched person is hidden from us, their emotions hard to gauge behind the mop of visible hair. So, in that sense, we're not inside the watched person's head at all, since she remains mysterious, distant. We might share her point of view, her line of sight, but that doesn't necessarily mean we're feeling what she's feeling. In such cases, we're not following the watched person in her journey, so much as watching her as she journeys on her own. This would coincide with the idea that we're watchers watching Chiara.
I mean, what this guy said. :D
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Wed Nov 13, 2013 11:18 pm

JediMoonShyne wrote:Not necessarily! It just tends to line up perspective with whichever figure happens to be on screen at a particular time, but without providing a face and the emotion/expression a face would communicate to us.
Right, and I like the idea that it can add or remove distance, depending how its used. Also, there's the Something to Remind Me/Vertigo walk, where the shot indicates another (stalker) point of view.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by MrCarmady » Tue Nov 19, 2013 5:44 pm

Your words on Denis are beautiful, and inspired me to take Nenette et Boni out of the library. I watched it in about 4 sittings so didn't get the full experience out of it, but the lyricism is undeniable, especially that Beach Boys scene. Can't believe I haven't watched anything of hers in the 3 years since White Material came out. Beau travail and 35 Shots of Rhum next, unless I can recover I Can't Sleep from my hard drive.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Tue Nov 19, 2013 7:50 pm

MrCarmady wrote:Your words on Denis are beautiful, and inspired me...
Best post ever in this thread! :)

I'm really glad you're exploring her; she's wonderful, and you have her best yet to see.
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Eminence Grise
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Re: Maiden's Voyage: Sokurov entry

Post by Eminence Grise » Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:41 am

Shieldmaiden wrote: Image
Russian Ark – I’d read a lot about this one, so I knew it was one long shot through the Hermitage, with historical re-enactments along the way. What I didn’t know about was the strange conversation that goes on between the two ghosts who serve as our guides, as they cover topics like Russia’s obsession with European culture and loss of religious context. It's weird and fascinating, and the main reason I want to watch it again. Of course, the historical re-enactments are true spectacle. The way the scenarios wrap around and through each other is astonishing, and the final ball is full of life, its ending haunting and thought-provoking. And, I’m not sure why, but the little scene in the middle, where Catherine the Great runs through the snow, took my breath away.
i just watched this and it was good and it was my first Sokurov and i liked the parts you liked and as soon as i finished it i thought of your voyage ok bye bye.
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Shieldmaiden
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sat Nov 23, 2013 5:02 pm

Eminence Grise wrote:i just watched this and it was good and it was my first Sokurov and i liked the parts you liked and as soon as i finished it i thought of your voyage ok bye bye.
:heart:

So, what is going to be your second Sokurov?
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Eminence Grise
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Eminence Grise » Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:00 pm

Shieldmaiden wrote: :heart:

So, what is going to be your second Sokurov?
I wasn't sure if Russian Ark would be a good start, but Netflix just put up an HD version, so I went for it. The Sun is the most easily accessible, but anything on Netflix works. What do you recommend?
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Shieldmaiden
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:08 pm

The Sun is a pretty good next step. Then watch The Second Circle, or Dolce (on the "Three Films by..." disc), or Moloch, or Elegy of a Voyage. Ha. What I really mean is, watch them all!
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Derninan
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Derninan » Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:11 pm

And don't forget that Faust is now playing in select cities across the US!
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Shieldmaiden
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:14 pm

I'm so jealous of all of you who live in select cities. :(
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Derninan
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Derninan » Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:31 pm

Don't be, it's expensive and polluted and full of phonies. Movies are nice, though.
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Shieldmaiden
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sat Nov 23, 2013 6:54 pm

Derninan wrote:Don't be, it's expensive and polluted and full of phonies. Movies are nice, though.
But, for every ten thousand or so phonies, there's a Derninan. And, yeah, movies. :)
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Eminence Grise
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Eminence Grise » Sat Nov 23, 2013 8:30 pm

Shieldmaiden wrote:The Sun is a pretty good next step. Then watch The Second Circle or Dolce (on the "Three Films by..." disc) or Moloch, or Elegy of a Voyage. Ha. What I really mean is, watch them all!
:D

The Sun it is! The others look incredibly interesting as well, though! Thanks for the recs!
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Shieldmaiden
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Maiden's Voyage: Inland Empire

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:19 pm

  • Image Image
    • Oh, wow, this movie!! I already wrote a bit about Inland Empire in the horror thread, but I've since watched it again, and admired it even more this time around. It has all the things you'd expect in a Shieldmaiden pick – overwhelming sound, delicious colors, painful (extremely painful) regret – plus, a new favorite, a mega-dose of dread. The layered structure is appealing, also, and enormously satisfying. The doubling (and tripling) of narrative elements seems to have an exponential impact on emotional resonance. As has become my habit lately, I don't feel a need to work out an all-encompassing theory; I simply enjoy catching all the places where it folds in on itself, revealing its truths through small glimpses of memory and nightmare. And the vital code, that of an actress digging down through her character to the truth underneath, is magnified and heightened by a sort of fun-house distortion, adding twisted black humor but also a constant, horrifying sense of dread. All this would be enough to captivate me; it has been in other Lynch films. But, then, we reach the bittersweet euphoria of the ending, shot through with dazzling beams of sacrifice and atonement, which makes this the best of his films and one of my favorites of all time.

      Oh, yeah, and Laura Dern deserves Best Actress Forever for this role.
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Shieldmaiden
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:20 pm

I could post caps of this all day, but I'll limit myself to just a few more:
Image Image
Image Image
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Fist
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Fist » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:37 pm

Masterpiece
I Watch Films, But...
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
Vimeo / / / Flickr
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Shieldmaiden
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sat Nov 30, 2013 6:55 pm

It really is. :heart:

I love the way it takes everything he's done before and perfects it. He knows it, too, hence the end credits scene.
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