Maiden's Voyage

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Shieldmaiden
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:35 pm

Macrology wrote:I watched Martel's Zama last night.
Mac! I'm so glad you've seen it. I've started the book, and will be back for real discussion. But for now, I fully agree with you about her "ravishing and complex" sound, and think the eerie drone in his head makes up for large swaths of first-person narration, even if it does change the tone somewhat. But I'll read and come back!
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Fri Dec 21, 2018 4:37 pm

In the meantime, this one was fun! Anyone here see it/know what it is? (I'll write more tomorrow.)

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Kind of a giveaway:
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Maiden's Voyage: Zerograd

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:12 am

Shieldmaiden wrote:Anyone here see it/know what it is?
Nobody? I guess we've lost most of our Soviet-era Russian film watchers. It's Zerograd, a creepy, surreal satire of Soviet life. A man named Varakin comes to town for a business meeting, but soon finds that nothing can be accomplished, everything is unsettling, and everyone seems determined to keep him him there. He listens politely to their sad tales and convoluted reasoning, all the while strenuously trying to get back to his family in Moscow. I found this on a list of Russian sci-fi, but it’s not sci-fi so much as Kafka. And, yes, I know I just mentioned Kafka (in the context of Zama) above, and, while it may seem like a strange preoccupation of mine, there are, in fact, striking parallels between the two movies. Both involve protagonists trying to escape a society and place they cannot understand, though Varakin is the more innocent, sweeter-natured K. and Zama is the greater film. I don't know enough about the era to speculate about influences, but I'll just say that I was reminded of The Hourglass Sanatorium at several points. Still, I think the similarities are almost wholly visual; this one is a comedy of manners compared to that haunted bildungsroman.

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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Slentert » Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:48 am

Shieldmaiden wrote:
Nobody? I guess we've lost most of our Soviet-era Russian film watchers. It's Zerograd, a creepy, surreal satire of Soviet life. A man named Varakin comes to town for a business meeting, but soon finds that nothing can be accomplished, everything is unsettling, and everyone seems determined to keep him him there. He listens politely to their sad tales and convoluted reasoning, all the while strenuously trying to get back to his family in Moscow. I found this on a list of Russian sci-fi, but it’s not sci-fi so much as Kafka. And, yes, I know I just mentioned Kafka (in the context of Zama) above, and, while it may seem like a strange preoccupation of mine, there are, in fact, striking parallels between the two movies. Both involve protagonists trying to escape a society and place they cannot understand, though Varakin is the more innocent, sweeter-natured K. and Zama is the greater film. I don't know enough about the era to speculate about influences, but I'll just say that I was reminded of The Hourglass Sanatorium at several points. Still, I think the similarities are almost wholly visual; this one is a comedy of manners compared to that haunted bildungsroman.

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Thanks, this sounds incredibly interesting. The only Russian movie I've ever seen in Stalker (which I loved) but it seems like I'm missing out on a lot of good stuff.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:44 am

I wouldn't have a million years guessed that movie but something about the images did make me think of Wojciech Has so hurray for me
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Macrology » Sun Dec 23, 2018 9:40 pm

Slentert wrote: Thanks, this sounds incredibly interesting. The only Russian movie I've ever seen in Stalker (which I loved) but it seems like I'm missing out on a lot of good stuff.
Whoa whoa whoa. You've never seen any Eisenstein? Kalatozov? Dovzhenko, Sokurov, Pudovkin, Shepitko? Not to mention animators like Norstein or Khitruk.

You're not only missing out on good stuff, you're missing out on one of the cornerstones of cinema. After the American/Hollywood style, the Russians/Soviets are probably the single most influential school of filmmaking.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Slentert » Sun Dec 23, 2018 10:09 pm

Macrology wrote:
Whoa whoa whoa. You've never seen any Eisenstein? Kalatozov? Dovzhenko, Sokurov, Pudovkin, Shepitko? Not to mention animators like Norstein or Khitruk.

You're not only missing out on good stuff, you're missing out on one of the cornerstones of cinema. After the American/Hollywood style, the Russians/Soviets are probably the single most influential school of filmmaking.
Well, there is a reason why a named my thread "a noob's journey through cinema". ;)
But you're right, I have no excuse (besides maybe being really young) and I should've started to discover this corner of cinema history way earlier.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Popcorn Reviews » Sun Dec 23, 2018 11:19 pm

Semi-related tangent: I usually don't watch movies produced around the same time period, in the same country, or by the same director back to back. I typically pick what I watch at random, meaning they get spread out. For instance, if I watch a Tarkovsky film, it may take several months and dozens of other films till I watch another one. I'm not interested in exhausting a director's entire filmography in a short amount of time. I prefer to let it last a bit.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Jinnistan » Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:33 am

Macrology wrote:After the American/Hollywood style, the Russians/Soviets are probably the single most influential school of filmmaking.
Hm. If I had to guess, I'd say that Italian Neorealism was the most fundamental creative and stylistic impetus for all of the ensuing post-war "waves" and independent cinema more generally.

But I still have a lot to learn in post-war Soviet cinema, outside of a handful of the more obvious examples (Tarkovsky, Kalatozov, Parajanov, Shepitko and more recently Sokurov). I'm sure a lot of this comes down to taste as well, but I'm a bit more fond of French and Japanese cinema, and even among the Soviet states, I find Polish and Czech films to be a little more consistently exciting than Russian. Tarkovsky, however, is one of the few that I would elevate in my personal pantheon to the ranks of a Kubrick (a Russian descendent, btw) or Kurosawa.

Eisenstein is obviously one of the foundational masters, and silent Soviet film is, in my eyes, only second to German. But these are my eyes.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:34 am

Slentert wrote:But you're right, I have no excuse (besides maybe being really young) and I should've started to discover this corner of cinema history way earlier.
Macrology is right, those are big names, but I'm just as much a noob there as you are. (I’ve seen one by Kalatozov, none by Eisenstein, Dovzhenko, Pudovkin, or Shepitko.) However! If you get a hankering for some Russian goodness, you could check out the Sokurov link in my sig.
Popcorn Reviews wrote:I typically pick what I watch at random, meaning they get spread out.
While I've been known to binge-watch a few directors, I'm pretty unsystematic beyond that. I have good intentions, but am easily distracted by a random recommendation or a striking screenshot.

The point is, we all have a lot of movies yet to see! Well, maybe not Jinnistan. I hear he's seen a lot. :)
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:35 am

Way to step on my joke, Jinnistan. :P
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Jinnistan » Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:37 am

Shieldmaiden wrote:Well, maybe not Jinnistan. I hear he's seen a lot. :)
I'll never get to the bottom of this. I have hundreds of films on my collective streaming watchlists at the moment. And Zama!
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Mon Dec 24, 2018 1:50 am

Jinnistan wrote:I'm sure a lot of this comes down to taste as well, but I'm a bit more fond of French and Japanese cinema, and even among the Soviet states, I find Polish and Czech films to be a little more consistently exciting than Russian. Tarkovsky, however, is one of the few that I would elevate in my personal pantheon to the ranks of a Kubrick (a Russian descendent, btw) or Kurosawa.
My favorite Tarkovsky is his Swedish film. :)

Still, I think I'm more aligned with the Russians than most. Maybe it's my reading that's done it? But I do find that Cranes-Are-Flying-style propaganda sort of grating.
Eisenstein is obviously one of the foundational masters, and silent Soviet film is, in my eyes, only second to German. But these are my eyes.
Guess I'd better check out some Eisenstein, huh.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Jinnistan » Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:19 am

Shieldmaiden wrote:But I do find that Cranes-Are-Flying-style propaganda sort of grating.
That's funny, because I found that film to be rather unpropagandistic, especially compared to the American style of rah-rah patriotism in their contemporary war films. I was always impressed that their weren't a lot of Soviet cold war anti-Americanism (that I'm aware of) in contrast to the kinds of anti-Communism films that proliferated in the West. The Soviet war films that I can think of usually posited the Nazis as the safer political antagonist. Cranes is really more of a melodramatic love story (although not as gratingly melodramatic as Ballad of a Soldier), and actually, I thought, more anti-war in its outlook. At least, cautionary towards its costs.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by crumbsroom » Mon Dec 24, 2018 2:36 am

Shieldmaiden wrote:My favorite Tarkovsky is his Swedish film. :)
The Sacrifice? If it wasn't for how ridiculously great Rublev is, I would be entirely on board this opinion.

I still might be, regardless.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Mon Dec 24, 2018 3:34 am

Jinnistan wrote:That's funny, because I found that film to be rather unpropagandistic, especially compared to the American style of rah-rah patriotism in their contemporary war films. I was always impressed that their weren't a lot of Soviet cold war anti-Americanism (that I'm aware of) in contrast to the kinds of anti-Communism films that proliferated in the West. The Soviet war films that I can think of usually posited the Nazis as the safer political antagonist. Cranes is really more of a melodramatic love story (although not as gratingly melodramatic as Ballad of a Soldier), and actually, I thought, more anti-war in its outlook. At least, cautionary towards its costs.
It's been a while, but surely the melodrama was instructional – women of Russia, stay loyal and strong, etc. Fassbinder took the same model in Maria Braun and made clear the suffering was pointless, which I found a lot more palatable. But that's my eyes. :)
crumbsroom wrote:I still might be, regardless.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Macrology » Mon Dec 24, 2018 5:56 am

So many things to respond to!

Slen: I didn't mean to sound critical, I was just taken aback. Some familiarity with Eisenstein and his contemporaries is essential for a sound understanding of film history, I'd say.

Popcorn: I tend to space out films in a similar manner, diversifying time period, country, filmmaker, etc, unless I think some particular films will benefit from more proximate viewings.

Jinn: I'd argue that the Soviets had a more dramatic impact on the fundamentals of film form, and their influence had a few decades to seep into the cultural consciousness before Neorealism came around. Between filmmakers and theorists (and filmmaker/theorists) like Eisenstein, Kuleshov, Pudovkin, Vertov, and Dovzhenko, it's hard to overestimate their impact. Some of Vertov's films and his writings on film anticipate a lot of Neorealist conceits.
That said, they're both huge and trying to rank them feels like a pretty meaningless endeavor. My initial comment was just trying to convey the magnitude of their significance.

Maiden: You HAVE to see some Shepitko (and all the others of course, but especially her).
Regarding Kalatozov, I wouldn't say The Cranes Are Flying contains much blatant propaganda. In fact, it's just about as perfect as a war melodrama can be (comparing it to a Fassbinder film feels like a fruitless task to me, because these two filmmakers were working under profoundly different circumstances, and Fassbinder was deconstructing and elaborating on the tropes that Kalatozov helped establish).
I feel like people dread propaganda in Soviet films, so even mild instances draw inordinate attention. (I'd also argue that Communist/Leninist ideals are fundamental to the design of some of these films, especially Vertov's, and I don't think you can fully appreciate his craft without coming to terms with that perspective -- but that's another matter entirely.)
I've only seen two other Kalatozov films: Letter Never Sent and Soy Cuba. The first is a survivalist drama pretty much devoid of propaganda (I think you'd dig it). The latter is pure propaganda up and down, but it's his most visually sublime film and contains some of the most daring camerawork in cinema history.
Also, if you haven't seen any of Yuri Norstein animations, you should get on that.

To all: Tarkovsky is great but he's pretty uncharacteristic of Soviet cinema in general, especially the early stuff. Ivan's Childhood comes closest, but even that diverged considerably.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Slentert » Mon Dec 24, 2018 8:21 am

Macrology wrote: Slen: I didn't mean to sound critical, I was just taken aback. Some familiarity with Eisenstein and his contemporaries is essential for a sound understanding of film history, I'd say.
I don't think what you said was overly critical, you were just pushing me in the direction of some great, essential cinema. I know I have several major blindspots so I'm not offended when anyone calls me out on them.
Now I feel kinda sad I did not went to go see Battleship Potemkin when it was playing here recently.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Oxnard Montalvo » Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:48 am

you're still way ahead of where I was when I was your age. although I had been a pretty serious fan of the works of Genndy Tartakovsky.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Jinnistan » Mon Dec 24, 2018 3:00 pm

Macrology wrote:Jinn: I'd argue that the Soviets had a more dramatic impact on the fundamentals of film form, and their influence had a few decades to seep into the cultural consciousness before Neorealism came around. Between filmmakers and theorists (and filmmaker/theorists) like Eisenstein, Kuleshov, Pudovkin, Vertov, and Dovzhenko, it's hard to overestimate their impact. Some of Vertov's films and his writings on film anticipate a lot of Neorealist conceits.
That said, they're both huge and trying to rank them feels like a pretty meaningless endeavor. My initial comment was just trying to convey the magnitude of their significance.
Looks like I have some catching up to do. I'm readily familiar with Eisenstein (my favorite is his Ivan the Terrible films, more for aesthetic rather than technical reasons) and a couple of other things like Man With a Movie Camera, but looking at those other names, and there's a couple of dozen films I need to see from the 20s-30s era.
Macrology wrote:To all: Tarkovsky is great but he's pretty uncharacteristic of Soviet cinema in general
Maybe that's why I like him ;) He's like no one else either.
Oxnard Montalvo wrote:I had been a pretty serious fan of the works of Genndy Tartakovsky.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Macrology » Mon Dec 24, 2018 9:52 pm

The main thing the Soviets did was pioneer montage theory: the Kuleshov effect, associative montage, Vertov's Kino-Eye techniques, etc. That's their basic contribution to film form. Beyond that, if you're fully to appreciate films from that period, you've gotta come to terms with their Marxist/Leninist ideals and how they inform the work they were doing. All of them were making what amounts to propaganda, but it's worth noting that this term didn't have a pejorative connotation at the time, and most of them were trying to go beyond "propaganda" and embody Communist ideals in cinematic terms. For instance, Eisenstein's early films eschewed character in favor of one mass proletariat-protagonist, and Vertov tried to unify the nation by collapsing distances and specializations (Man with a Movie Camera seamlessly juxtaposes footage from several different cities and demonstrated how people working in various trades contributed to the production process). Not all of their films hold up well for modern viewers from a purely narrative viewpoint, but as a playground for experimentation, a demonstration of radical theory, and an attempt to construct an ideological landscape, I find Soviet films of that era endlessly fascinating.

I'd say Eisenstein and Vertov are probably the most accessible. Dovzhenko after that. Kuleshov and Pudovkin are better known as theorists (many of their films are lost, and I've only seen clips of the surviving ones), but they're worth investigating if the style appeals to you. It's unfortunate how hard they are to come by. Eisenstein and Vertov are the most readily available, but even some of Vertov's stuff is hard to track down.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Tue Dec 25, 2018 7:45 am

Macrology wrote:Maiden: You HAVE to see some Shepitko (and all the others of course, but especially her).
I'll try, thanks!
Fassbinder was deconstructing and elaborating on the tropes that Kalatozov helped establish).
Of course. But my mind went to him because Fassbinder was my way in to melodrama. (I've always kind of hated it.) So, yeah, it's really not fair of me to blame it on the director. I've bumped up Letter Never Sent and Soy Cuba.
Also, if you haven't seen any of Yuri Norstein animations, you should get on that.
I've seen Hedgehog, but that's it.

Thanks for such good discussion, guys. I'm learning!
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Tue Dec 25, 2018 7:51 am

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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Wed Dec 26, 2018 11:57 pm

Whew, I just watched Madelines’s Madeline! While I don’t have much to say at the moment (I’m letting it settle), this is my first by Josephine Decker and I'm impressed!

Speaking of which, I’ve been adding to the list of female directors I started here. 2018 (according to US release dates) is looking like something of a breakthrough year for women. Of the 75 or so films I’ve bookmarked to be sure to watch, 30 of them are by women, and I'm sure I'll turn up more. Obviously I have a slight selection bias (haha), but it feels different from previous years. Instead of having to dig for these titles on obscure blogs, I’ve mostly found them in theater listings and on critics association end-of-year lists. With little fanfare, female directors are suddenly everywhere.

Links to previous years’ projects:

Women of 2017
Women of 2016
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Stu » Thu Dec 27, 2018 3:44 am

Shieldmaiden wrote:Image
Aw... merry Christmas to you too, our fair maiden!

:D
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Eminence Grise » Fri Dec 28, 2018 11:06 pm

Shieldmaiden wrote:Whew, I just watched Madelines’s Madeline!
I'm really looking forward to this. It just looks so playful.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sun Dec 30, 2018 8:59 pm

Eminence Grise wrote:I'm really looking forward to this. It just looks so playful.
You've really got to see it. Though playful isn't quite the word I'd use. Some of it is, but mostly it's just an astonishing use of subjective camera. And the ending!! Once you see it, I'd love to talk!
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Dec 30, 2018 11:08 pm

Any thoughts on Western?
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Maiden's Voyage: Western

Post by Shieldmaiden » Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:54 am

Jinnistan wrote:Any thoughts on Western?
I've been mulling this one over. I love the way it plays with communication; though we have subtitles the characters have to make do with signs and rudimentary English. (And that universal language, poker, haha.) Still, a surprising amount gets communicated, especially by and to Meinhard, the main character who has a way with people and animals. There's another layer (this time without subtitles!) in the male posturing of both groups. I was definitely out of my element, watching eyes and shoulders, trying to understand relationships and moods. And, then, it's interesting when Meinhard leaps at the chance to talk in his native tongue, and (apparently) lets down his guard for the first time.

I gather the title makes Meinhard a character in a Western: the taciturn gunslinger with a hidden past who disrupts the town for good or ill? I’m not sure how much that adds, though. Anyway, thanks for prompting me to get something written down. I admire this one a lot! And it looks great:

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Maiden's Voyage: Best of 2018

Post by Shieldmaiden » Tue Jan 01, 2019 4:06 am

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Best films first seen in
2018

So, this year I managed 157 first-time viewings. That's quite an improvement over last year, so I'll venture a top 30 this time. It was a year of Ken Russell, musicals, old classics, and female directors – an embarrassment of riches! Don't get too hung up on the order; I love all of these! (And, as usual, starred links take you to other threads.)

1. Zama
2. Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
3. Crimes of Passion
4. The Devils
5. The Florida Project
6. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
7. Dishonored
8. Western
9. Celeste*
10. The Lair of the White Worm

11. Young Frankenstein
12. Eika Katappa*
13. Boris Godounov
14. Altered States
15. Women in Love
16. Sheer Madness*
17. Zerograd
18. On Body and Soul
19. The Levelling
20. Claire's Camera

21. Sorry to Bother You
22. Madeline's Madeline
23. Raw
24. The Favourite
25. Cat Ballou
26. Shirkers
27. Annihilation
28. We’re No Angels
29. Little Shop of Horrors
30. The Hudsucker Proxy


Past year-end lists: 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010.
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Maiden's Voyage: Claire's Camera

Post by Shieldmaiden » Wed Jan 09, 2019 4:25 am

wigwam wrote:Claire's Camera somewhat minimizes the sadsack guy and has a great Isabelle Huppert performance
Wig, you were right; I did like Claire's Camera! I spent some time vainly trying to figure out what order things happened in, how good Manhee's English was, why one scene (apparently) happened twice. I think there was a fairy tale in there somewhere, in which Claire taught Manhee to change things with her camera, and Manhee used that trick to fix things with her boss. Maybe? But then Hong took all the pictures and cut them up and spread them out on the table at random, so we'll never know. But it really doesn't matter, because I enjoyed just walking around Cannes petting dogs and reading poetry and talking to strangers. It was fun! And it's by far the prettiest I've ever seen from him:

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Maiden's Voyage: Summer 1993

Post by Shieldmaiden » Fri Jan 11, 2019 3:19 am

And now for a something you may not have heard of.

Summer 1993 is an excellent first feature from Carla Simón. Like Roma, it's a semi-autobiographical film inspired by the director's memories of childhood. But, unlike the Cuaron, this one focuses entirely on its six-year-old protagonist as she deals with grief and change in a believable state of stubborn bafflement. Laia Artigas is astonishing for such a young actress, but both girls are so natural you won't believe they're not actually experiencing the small joys and cruelties of siblinghood. There are great performances from the adults, too, a lovely countryside to absorb, and the bonus of hearing a rare language (Catalan). If you like 'Jedi films,' don't miss this!

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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Fri Jan 11, 2019 7:17 pm

Shieldmaiden wrote:I gather the title makes Meinhard a character in a Western: the taciturn gunslinger with a hidden past who disrupts the town for good or ill? I’m not sure how much that adds, though.
Jinnistan, do you have thoughts on Western? on the title? on the masculine displays?
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:46 am

Shieldmaiden wrote:Jinnistan, do you have thoughts on Western? on the title? on the masculine displays?
Oh! Well, I was thinking thoughts about...getting around to that.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sun Jan 13, 2019 3:57 am

Getting around to seeing it? You should; it's good. But you should probably see Zama first, 'cause it's even better. :P
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Jinnistan » Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:10 am

Shieldmaiden wrote:But you should probably see Zama first, 'cause it's even better. :P
I did! I wrote a discreet bit on it elsewhere.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sun Jan 13, 2019 5:24 am

Oh, I missed it!
Jinnistan wrote:He's not even a fish at all, it turns out.
Haha! Nice.

Speaking of Daniel Gimenez-Cacho, I notice he's in Alfonso Cuaron's first full-length film, Solo con Tu Pareja, which appears to be a goofy romantic comedy. I'm tempted to check it out.
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Maiden's Voyage: Ismael's Ghosts

Post by Shieldmaiden » Tue Jan 15, 2019 2:38 am

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I've been a fan of Arnaud Desplechin for several years now. I enjoyed A Christmas Tale and Kings & Queen, and loved My Sex Life… or How I got Into an Argument (the title alone, haha). He makes big, messy, personal movies about characters and relationships that don't quite fit on the screen. His films won't resonate for everyone; even I didn't like 2015's My Golden Days, though it would seem to be right up my 'mournful nostalgia' alley. But Ismael's Ghosts worked its magic on me, despite being (mostly) critically panned. I admit I'm a sucker for over-stuffed dark comedies featuring a manic Mathieu Amalric. (If this isn’t a genre, it should be!) But this one's also about working out grief through art. It's about a man with stories galore in his head, who can’t stop writing even as he comes unraveled, whose very memories are scripted into perfect little vignettes. Throw in two beautiful actresses, great music, a few echoes of ghost stories and spy thrillers and you get – if not a masterpiece – at least a highly entertaining couple of hours.
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Shieldmaiden
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Fri Jan 18, 2019 3:22 am

More on Zama. (And don't miss Macrology's side of the conversation here.)
Macrology wrote:The first two parts are a colonial farce, with Zama caught up in social forces he can't always make sense of and which only get increasingly disconcerting. It's played with instances of deadpan dark humor, and it's to Zama's credit that he's sometimes in on the joke. The last act takes that tone and sharpens it into something else entirely.
Well said!

So, I finally finished reading Zama! It's very good. I wish I'd taken your lead last spring and read it first. As it is, there were things from the film I missed while reading, and others I preferred the way the book did them. Martel makes some bold changes, often bringing indigenous characters more to the fore. If anything the book is more creepy and more Kafka-esque than the film, which I didn't expect. But, mainly she translates the dramatic irony of his inner monologue into a more visual buffoonery. Pretty clever!
Macrology wrote:The two come closest to converging in the last act, where Zama and his world seem to bleed into each other. They still retain distinct differences (di Benedetto's prose grows more precise, while Martel's style remains disjointed and impressionistic), but their respective pitches reach a harmony near the end.
This is what I was going to say, yes. That's where Martel sticks closest to the plot, which is good because it's important, as well as amazing. That is, it's mostly the same except...
by leaving out the blond boy of his visions, she leaves the viewer with the impression that he'll live. But I just remembered the end of Dead Man, so I guess you see her ending more in keeping with the book?
I do love the poetry of the mysterious second section:
Candle in hand, I made my way to the abandoned kitchen. I lit a fire, found my kettle, and prepared maté.
I sipped it slowly, seated on a bench at the kitchen door.
It was the sky's own secret hour when it shines brightest because all humans are asleep and no one is watching.
I was as clear and shimmering as the celestial universe.
I thought of Marta without pain.
The past was a small notebook, much scribbled-upon, that I had somehow mislaid.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Macrology » Fri Jan 18, 2019 4:53 am

The ending reminds me of Dead Man insofar as it depicts a man on a boat floating into the unknown (accompanied or set adrift by an indigenous person). I'm not saying Zama necessarily dies in the film, but I don't think it matters either way. His psychological and existential struggles have reached an apotheosis, manifesting physically and rendering him totally impotent.

One might say the film does him a mercy by insinuating that he might be able to accept this fate, while in the book, the relentlessness of hope hounds Zama till the very end. But neither really qualifies as a happy ending.
Ma`crol´o`gy
n. 1. Long and tedious talk without much substance; superfluity of words.
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Shieldmaiden
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Fri Jan 18, 2019 5:28 am

Nice! Especially
His psychological and existential struggles have reached an apotheosis, manifesting physically and rendering him totally impotent.
I was struggling with this, but you've framed it perfectly.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage: Ismael's Ghosts

Post by wigwam » Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:35 am

Shieldmaiden wrote:I think there was a fairy tale in there somewhere, in which Claire taught Manhee to change things with her camera, and Manhee used that trick to fix things with her boss.

And it's by far the prettiest I've ever seen from him
:D I love being right almost as much as I do reading your writeups when you like something!!
Shieldmaiden wrote: I admit I'm a sucker for over-stuffed dark comedies featuring a manic Mathieu Amalric. (If this isn’t a genre, it should be!)
:heart: hell yes, downloading now

what are your thoughts on Jimmy P and Esther Kahn?
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Shieldmaiden
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Re: Maiden's Voyage: Ismael's Ghosts

Post by Shieldmaiden » Mon Jan 28, 2019 1:13 am

wigwam wrote:I love being right almost as much as I do reading your writeups when you like something!!
:oops:
hell yes, downloading now
Ooh, I hope you like it!
what are your thoughts on Jimmy P and Esther Kahn?
I've never heard anyone recommend Jimmy (and I know you're no fan!) but I've been meaning to get to Esther. Do you like that one?
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Shieldmaiden
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:06 am

Whoops, I missed a milestone: the Best of 2018 post was the 200th Post/Entry in this thread!

I should have thrown a party, but now it's too late. We'll just have to wait for a Million Views, I guess.
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Eminence Grise
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Eminence Grise » Sat Feb 02, 2019 2:14 pm

Thanks for the list, SM! :up:

Zama is coming to the big screen here, so I'm waiting to see it! :D
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Sat Feb 02, 2019 7:03 pm

Eminence Grise wrote:Zama is coming to the big screen here, so I'm waiting to see it! :D
Sooo jealous you get to see it in the theater!

Have you seen I Am Not a Witch by any chance? I haven't found any conversation about that one (here or anywhere). It's an interesting (and powerful) mix of dark comedy and serious subject matter.
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Eminence Grise » Tue Feb 05, 2019 12:07 am

Shieldmaiden wrote:Sooo jealous you get to see it in the theater!

Have you seen I Am Not a Witch by any chance? I haven't found any conversation about that one (here or anywhere). It's an interesting (and powerful) mix of dark comedy and serious subject matter.
I have not seen it. It doesn't look like it's too available, either, but I'll keep a look out. The plot looks nearly inconceivable, however!
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Shieldmaiden » Tue Feb 05, 2019 1:23 am

It's definitely unique! And it's streaming on Amazon.
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Maiden's Voyage: Tale of Tales

Post by Shieldmaiden » Tue Feb 05, 2019 5:50 am

Macrology wrote:Also, if you haven't seen any of Yuri Norstein animations, you should get on that.
Shieldmaiden wrote:I've seen Hedgehog, but that's it.
I need to correct the record, here. I did a little looking and found that I'd also seen Yuri Norstein's Tale of Tales (1979), which is one of the most beautiful and mournfully nostalgic things I've ever seen, so I can't believe I'd forgotten it! The light in this film astounds me. I've always loved the way Makoto Shinkai animates light, but that's a rational, reflected light, persuading me of the palpable objects it bounces off of. (Examples spoilered at the bottom of the post.) But the light in Tale of Tales isn't rational at all. It exists behind the page/screen, more real than the drawing, threatening to burn right through. Which seems like a very Russian way of thinking about images actually—since the gold on an icon was meant to to be heaven shining through (more or less). And it persuades me in its own way of more mythic truths, dreams of innocence and loss.

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Has anyone here seen Norstein's hour-long The Overcoat? I haven't been able to find that one anywhere.

Since we're on the subject, I watched Ideya Garanina's Bedaya Liza not long ago. She uses stop-motion puppetry, and it's very beautiful. I think someone posted her Crane's Feathers on Corrierino at some point, also. But I might be remembering wrong. It was ages ago, anyway.

The Shinkai light:
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Re: Maiden's Voyage

Post by Macrology » Tue Feb 05, 2019 6:36 am

Norstein is incredible. The Overcoat, to the best of my knowledge, is still in production. It's actually the longest running production in cinema history at this point. God willing, he'll finish it before he dies.

There are a few clips on Youtube, samples he released over a decade ago, but that's all I've seen of it.
Ma`crol´o`gy
n. 1. Long and tedious talk without much substance; superfluity of words.
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