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3301


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 4:04am
Subject: Re: Minorities
 
With all due respect, I think your analogy doesn't make sense. I
absolutely can't see the relationship. It's not a matter of black and
white. it is a fact that when situations are reversed, the oppressed
become the oppressors given a chance. Look at any revolution.
JPC



--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
> "If homosexuals were a huge majority and
> > heterosexuals a minority movies would be made by,
> with and for gays
> > and would show "straights" the way Cruising shows
> gays."
>
> The notion that "you'd do to me what I'm doing to you
> if our positions were reversed" is as one with the
> ideological flim-flam that would insist that only a
> "left" and "right" exist in political discourse.
>
>
> --- hotlove666 wrote:
>
>
> __________________________________
> Do you Yahoo!?
> Exclusive Video Premiere - Britney Spears
> http://launch.yahoo.com/promos/britneyspears/
3302


From: hotlove666
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 4:07am
Subject: Minorities
 
Before anyone reads The Crooked Man on my tip, I seem to recall it's
a tad homophobic. Are you running with me, Joseph K?
3303


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 4:20am
Subject: Re: Cukor's Holiday
 
Peter I agree with you and you agree with me on Holiday, about
which I wrote so many years ago: "The film today looks even fresher
than the equally masterful but somewhat more conventional The
Philadelphia Story." (although I'm not sure now why I
considered "Story" even somewhat conventional).

The one widely-admired Cukor I have never been able to stomach is
The Women -- While Les Girls is one of my all-time favorites. I think
his absolute masterpiece before the wide-screen-Tehcnicolor era is
Adam's Rib, followed closely by the underrated Pat and Mike. Sylvia
Scarlett is a weird near-masterpiece. I love Heller in Pink Tights,
which is not widely admired. And I underrated My Fair Lady, not an
auteurist favorite, but a film I like more and more every time I look
at it, even though I suffer so much at Hepburn's dubbing (she sounded
great in the songs she did record). Twenty years ago I found The
Chapman Report fascinating. I haven't looked at it since...


--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Peter Tonguette"
wrote:
> Fred writes:
>
> > But I think there are other Cukors that could also be used as
> > eye-popping proofs of his greatness: "Holiday,"
>
> Great to hear you mention this one, Fred. "Holiday" is the only
> Cukor which I've managed to see in 35mm and (coincidentally?
> uncoincidentally?) it's my very favorite. (Bear in mind that I
> haven't yet seen "The Marrying Kind" and I've never been able to
> locate a copy of "Wild is the Wind," which Fred also lists among
the
> greatest Cukors.) But "Holiday"... what can you say? Maybe Dave
> Kehr said it best: "There are a thousand nonconformist comedies,
but
> only one Holiday."
>
> I agree with JPC when he writes in "American Directors" that "A
Star
> is Born" was a major leap forward in terms of Cukor's visual style,
> but that isn't to say that the guy didn't have the chops from
> virtually his very earliest solo efforts. I haven't seen all
> of "Holiday" since seeing it in 35mm more than two years ago, but I
> seem to remember the way Cukor used space to dwarf Cary Grant's
> character in Hepburn's family's home as being particularly
memorable.
>
> It's also FAR superior to "The Philadelphia Story."
>
> Peter
3304


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 4:33am
Subject: Re: Re: One-Off
 
> Quick Change!

Haven't seen it, but THE PUBLIC EYE is pretty good, and it had
defenders, including Sarris, I think. - Dan
3305


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 4:39am
Subject: Justine
 
> The one I'm not entirely sure about (apart from "The Blue Bird,"
> which I've never seen) is "Justine," which Dan includes on his 1969
> list. I think it'd work better for me on a second viewing; the first
> time around, I was distracted by what I took to me a disjointed feel
> to it all (which would make sense given that the picture was started
> by Joseph Strick.) Dan, could you give us a few words on it?

I don't think I can, Peter - it's been too long. I do recall it being
disjointed, but I liked the way it seemed intimate despite the big
canvas. - Dan
3306


From: jerome_gerber
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:03am
Subject: Re: Cukor's Holiday
 
Peter and JPC...not arguing that below...but it would be
interesting to me if you could note the reasons why "Holiday" is
superior to "Philadephia Story."

Thanks

--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jpcoursodon"
wrote:
>
> Peter I agree with you and you agree with me on Holiday,
about
> which I wrote so many years ago: "The film today looks even
fresher
> than the equally masterful but somewhat more conventional
The
> Philadelphia Story." (although I'm not sure now why I
> considered "Story" even somewhat conventional).
>
>
3307


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:34am
Subject: Re: Re: Cukor's Holiday
 
There's a wonderful moment at the beginning of "Igby
Goes Down" where Bill Pullman -- who plays a
terminally neurotic upper-class father -- shows
"Holday" to his sons. It's his way of explaining to
them precisely who they are.

--- jpcoursodon wrote:


__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Exclusive Video Premiere - Britney Spears
http://launch.yahoo.com/promos/britneyspears/
3308


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:36am
Subject: Re: Re: Minorities
 
And I say look at "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy."

--- jpcoursodon wrote:
>
>
> With all due respect, I think your analogy
> doesn't make sense. I
> absolutely can't see the relationship. It's not a
> matter of black and
> white. it is a fact that when situations are
> reversed, the oppressed
> become the oppressors given a chance. Look at any
> revolution.
> JPC
>
>
>
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
>
> wrote:
> > "If homosexuals were a huge majority and
> > > heterosexuals a minority movies would be made
> by,
> > with and for gays
> > > and would show "straights" the way Cruising
> shows
> > gays."
> >
> > The notion that "you'd do to me what I'm doing to
> you
> > if our positions were reversed" is as one with the
> > ideological flim-flam that would insist that only
> a
> > "left" and "right" exist in political discourse.
> >
> >
> > --- hotlove666 wrote:
> >
> >
> > __________________________________
> > Do you Yahoo!?
> > Exclusive Video Premiere - Britney Spears
> > http://launch.yahoo.com/promos/britneyspears/
>
>


__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Exclusive Video Premiere - Britney Spears
http://launch.yahoo.com/promos/britneyspears/
3309


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:37am
Subject: Re: Re: Inscribing/p.o.v.'s
 
"Are you calling for an old-fashioned
Marxist/Stalinist
debunking of the filthy rich?"

Cue Fred Astiare singing "I'm Old Fashioned" to Rita
Hayworth.

--- jpcoursodon wrote:


__________________________________
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Exclusive Video Premiere - Britney Spears
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3310


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 6:37am
Subject: Re: Inscribing/p.o.v.'s
 
What a coincidence, Astaire was also a talented tap-dancer.

-Jaime

--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
> "Are you calling for an old-fashioned
> Marxist/Stalinist
> debunking of the filthy rich?"
>
> Cue Fred Astiare singing "I'm Old Fashioned" to Rita
> Hayworth.
>
> --- jpcoursodon wrote:
>
>
> __________________________________
> Do you Yahoo!?
> Exclusive Video Premiere - Britney Spears
> http://launch.yahoo.com/promos/britneyspears/
3311


From: Damien Bona
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 6:48am
Subject: Re: Inscribing/p.o.v.'s
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Jaime N. Christley"
wrote:
> What a coincidence, Astaire was also a talented tap-dancer.
>
> -Jaime
>
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
> wrote:
> > "Are you calling for an old-fashioned
> > Marxist/Stalinist
> > debunking of the filthy rich?"
> >
> > Cue Fred Astiare singing "I'm Old Fashioned" to Rita
> > Hayworth.

He was also a life-long Republican.
3312


From: hotlove666
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 9:14am
Subject: Cukor
 
This was another MOMA retro back in the day. I loved The Royal Family
of Broadway (hysterically funny!), Girls About Town, What Price
Hollywood, Dinner at Eight, Little Women, Sylvia Scarlett (his first
balls-out masterpiece), Camille, Holiday (a statement of principles),
Zaza, The Philadelphia Story, A Woman's Face, Two-Faced Woman,
Gaslight, A Double Life (incredible!), Adam's Rib, Born Yesterday,
The Model and the Marriage Broker, The Marrying Kind (now available
on DVD), The Actress (not to be missed), A Star Is Born
(pretty "visual" if you ask me), It Should Happen To You (what can
you say about Holliday, not to mention "introducing Jack Lemmon"),
Bhowani Junction (butt-splice together the sequences played on
Gardener's face, adding back thecensored rape scene, and you'd have
an avant-garde film to stand with The High Solitudes), Les Girls,
Heller In Pink Tights (his Golden Coach), The Chapman Report
(reinventing cinema at 63), Travels with my Aunt, Love Among the
Ruins, The Corn Is Green (I always cry when she reads the essay) and
Rich and Famous (talk about going in style...). I've never understood
why Cukor hasn't been written about more. I guess people don't take
pleasure seriously - few directors have given so much pleasure.
3313


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 2:54pm
Subject: Re: Cukor
 
"butt-splice together the sequences played on
Gardener's face, adding back thecensored rape scene,
and you'd have
an avant-garde film to stand with The High Solitudes"

Indeed you do! In some ways "Justine" is a companion
piece to "Junction."

--- hotlove666 wrote:


__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Exclusive Video Premiere - Britney Spears
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3314


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:27pm
Subject: Re: Cukor
 
> I've never understood why Cukor hasn't been written about more. I
> guess people don't take pleasure seriously - few directors have given
> so much pleasure.

I think it's because he's really hard to write about. Hawks gives
pleasure too, but he also gives writers more hooks to hang a piece on.
I wrote an article at the time of Cukor's death that threw out a few
ideas about his direction of actors - one of these days I'll scan it.

I confess to having a problem with Kanin and Gordon as scriptwriters,
which puts obstacles between me and some of Cukor's best-liked 50s work.
My favorites are THE ROYAL FAMILY OF BROADWAY, SYLVIA SCARLETT, CAMILLE,
HOLIDAY, A WOMAN'S FACE, A LIFE OF HER OWN (Cukor's use of the moving
camera was very striking and accomplished around this period), LOVE
AMONG THE RUINS, and RICH AND FAMOUS. - Dan
 
3315


From: George Robinson
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:41pm
Subject: Re: Cukor
 
I'd second Dan's perception that Cukor isn't written about because he's hard
to discuss/pin down. The subtleties of his mise-en-scene are considerable,
and until the more flamboyant work of the '50s and after -- A Star Is Born,
Bhowani Junction, Les Girls, films in which the directorial style is much
more immediately apparent (and which make an interesting cross-reference to
Minnelli, but that's another story) -- there is a tendency to underestimate
the complexity of his direction. But The Marrying Kind, It Shold Happen to
You, Heller in Pink Tights all speak for themselves quite eloquently.

I'm delighted to see you include Rich and Famous, which I think is a very
underrated film. I share some of your misgivings about Kanin and Gordon, but
Pat and Mike is quite lovely (while Adam's Rib is a bit attenuated) and The
Actress is a key Cukor film, with a particularly moving performance by
Tracy.

Finally, in the realm of unfairly neglected films, allow me to propose his
"The Model and the Marriage Broker," which is a delightful vehicle for
Thelma Ritter, and a sweet little film.

George Robinson

The man who does not read good books
has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.
--Mark Twain

 
3316


From: Tag Gallagher
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:43pm
Subject: sirk
 
Two points: I mentioned that I think A SCANDAL IN PARIS is among the
best of Sirk's movies. Unfortunately it was one of the titles that was
almost impossibe to see for decades. But it is out on DVD, so I hope
that everyone reading this will instantly available themselves of this
great opportunity.

Secondly, to add to what Fred said about Sirk's choice to Lugano as a
home, after 1959: The question of Sirk's nationality was long clouded
by disinformation that he was Danish by birth or parentage. In fact he
was born in Hamburg of German parents. It is possible that Sirk himself
encouraged Americans to think of him as Danish after he moved here, so
disgusted as he was by the course Germans had taken in the 1930s, and
then by German reactions to him during the postwar. Perhaps Lugano
(with long periods spent in Munich) was a compromise. But it has never
been clear to me why Sirk left America and stopped making movies (except
for the quasi-student productions in Munich). Anyone know?

Tag
3317


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 6:06pm
Subject: Re: Cukor
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
.
>
> I confess to having a problem with Kanin and Gordon as
scriptwriters,
> which puts obstacles between me and some of Cukor's best-liked 50s
work.
. - Dan

What is your problem with them, Dan? Isn't Adam's Rib as close to
a perfect script as anything? And the other Hepburn-Tracy films are
not far behind (Pat and Mike, virtually plot-less, is a pure marvel
and delight). The only Cukor-Kanin I don't like is Born Yesterday (so
shrill!)but it's mostly because of the play. It's the one Cukor that
has been overrated, while most of his films are or were underrated.
JPC
3318


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 6:21pm
Subject: Re: Cukor's Holiday
 
I don't think I ever said, or thought, it was "superior". It does
have a broader range of moods and tones, it is less slick, it has
more surprising changes of pace and focus. In one word it seems
more "original" -- but not necessarily superior.
JPC



--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jerome_gerber"
wrote:
> Peter and JPC...not arguing that below...but it would be
> interesting to me if you could note the reasons why "Holiday" is
> superior to "Philadephia Story."
>
> Thanks
>
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jpcoursodon"
> wrote:
> >
> > Peter I agree with you and you agree with me on Holiday,
> about
> > which I wrote so many years ago: "The film today looks even
> fresher
> > than the equally masterful but somewhat more conventional
> The
> > Philadelphia Story." (although I'm not sure now why I
> > considered "Story" even somewhat conventional).
> >
> >
3319


From: jerome_gerber
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 6:43pm
Subject: Re: Cukor's Holiday
 
Then it was Peter who mentioned that "Holiday" was superior...
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Peter Tonguette"
wrote:
>
> It's also FAR superior to "The Philadelphia Story."
>
> Peter
3320


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 6:59pm
Subject: Re: Re: Cukor
 
>>I confess to having a problem with Kanin and Gordon as
> scriptwriters,
>>which puts obstacles between me and some of Cukor's best-liked 50s
> work.
> - Dan
>
> What is your problem with them, Dan? Isn't Adam's Rib as close to
> a perfect script as anything? And the other Hepburn-Tracy films are
> not far behind (Pat and Mike, virtually plot-less, is a pure marvel
> and delight). The only Cukor-Kanin I don't like is Born Yesterday (so
> shrill!)but it's mostly because of the play. It's the one Cukor that
> has been overrated, while most of his films are or were underrated.

I agree that their scripts are well-crafted, and that they are strong on
structure. PAT AND MIKE is the one that I like best.

Here's something I wrote 20 years ago: it seems a little harsh to me,
but on the other hand the films were fresher in my mind then:
"Kanin-Gordon scripts always seem to me both condescending to the
'little people' who are so often their subjects, and laden with
character-destroying gimmicks. The affiliation with Cukor is
particularly unfortunate: Kanin-Gordon characters tend to have no
perspective on themselves, and self-consciousness is an intrinsic
element of Cukor's characterizations."

- Dan
3321


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 7:25pm
Subject: Re: Cukor
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
> >>I confess to having a problem with Kanin and Gordon as
> > scriptwriters,
> >>which puts obstacles between me and some of Cukor's best-liked
50s
> > work.
> > - Dan
> >
> > What is your problem with them, Dan? Isn't Adam's Rib as close
to
> > a perfect script as anything? And the other Hepburn-Tracy films
are
> > not far behind (Pat and Mike, virtually plot-less, is a pure
marvel
> > and delight). The only Cukor-Kanin I don't like is Born Yesterday
(so
> > shrill!)but it's mostly because of the play. It's the one Cukor
that
> > has been overrated, while most of his films are or were
underrated.
>
> I agree that their scripts are well-crafted, and that they are
strong on
> structure. PAT AND MIKE is the one that I like best.
>
> Here's something I wrote 20 years ago: it seems a little harsh to
me,
> but on the other hand the films were fresher in my mind then:
> "Kanin-Gordon scripts always seem to me both condescending to the
> 'little people' who are so often their subjects, and laden with
> character-destroying gimmicks. The affiliation with Cukor is
> particularly unfortunate: Kanin-Gordon characters tend to have no
> perspective on themselves, and self-consciousness is an intrinsic
> element of Cukor's characterizations."
>
> - Dan


I see no condescending toward the Judy Holliday characters in any
of the films. "K-G characters tend to have no perspective on
themselves" is too sweeping a statement. Tracy and Hepburn in Adam's
Rib are not self-conscious? Where are the character-destroying
gimmicks

JPC
3322


From:
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 3:19pm
Subject: Rules
 
Auterurists may not have "rules": ironclad laws which admit no exceptions.
But they DO have plenty of ideas - and one suspects that this is what
Elizabeth Nolan is perhaps indicating in her posts.
Auteurists regard films as works of art, and their creators as artists.
When an auteurists admires a film director, they tend to start seeing the
director as an individualized "creative personality", one with common techniques,
feelings and ideas, that run from film to film.
Taker the great Max Ophuls, for instance. Here is a list of some approaches
that recur in many Ophuls films:

· Elaborate camera movement, often lateral.
· Back and forth camera movements along a path.
· Staircases.
· Sets on multiple levels.
· Episodic and sectional construction of stories.
· Avant-garde narrative techniques.
· Love stories.
· Sophisticated subject matter.
· Fallen women.
· Men who buy women's sexual favors.
· Historical recreations of continental eras and societies.
· Entertainment spectacles: fairs, circuses, merry-go-rounds, the carriage
ride with unrolling pictures in Letter From an Unknown Woman.
· Scenes at opera houses.
· Dance scenes.
· The presence of tradesmen and servants as supporting players in camera
movements.
· A playful quality.
· Complex direction of actors, expressing nuances of character and romantic
feeling.
· Irony.
· Persistent, symbolic objects (Eg, the fur coat in Caught or the earrings in
Madame de...).
Naturally, these do not all occur in every Ophuls film.
Furthermore, there are many things about Ophuls' personality that I cannot
yet put into words. But when I see an Ophuls film, I instantly recognize them,
at an emotional or intuitive level.
When an auteurist sees an Ophuls film, they tend to see it in the perspective
of all these things they know about Ophuls films as a whole.
The same thing is true of Fritz Lang or John Ford or Orson Welles.
Auteur is just French for "author". Auteurists are film viewers who tend to
see everything about films through the perspectives of an "author's" whole
career.
This is very different from non-auteurists.
For example, take two films on the AFI Top 100 Films list: "Easy Rider" and
"Patton". These films attracted great interest from would-be-hippie types (Easy
Rider) and right war pro-war types (Patton). But this interest almost never
translated into any interest whatsover in other works by their directors
(Dennis Hopper and Franklin Schaffer). Except among a handful of auteurists ...
Most non-auteurist see every film as an independent experience, one that has
nothing in common with any other film.
Mike Grost
3323


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 8:38pm
Subject: Re: Cukor
 
"The
Actress is a key Cukor film, with a particularly
moving performance by
Tracy."

It's key for the way Ruth Gordon's experiences with
the theater mirror Cukor's own. In fact, I'd say it's
the most personal of all the films he ever made. Tracy
is fine, but what makes his performance work is the
fact that he's sparring with the great Jean Simmons.


--- George Robinson wrote:


__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Exclusive Video Premiere - Britney Spears
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3324


From:
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 3:38pm
Subject: Rules
 
Auteurists have a lot more ideas about films.
These might not be rules.
They are more like Heloise's Household Hints for movies.
1) Auteurists are fascinated by what can be done with camera movement, and
with long takes that are unbroken by cuts - two approaches that often occur in
the same shot.Most autuerists have a "black belt" in camera movement. Most
auteurists can recognize and describe in rich detail every aspect of every camera
movement that occurs in a film they have seen. Often times decades later, too!
One reason that the film "Russian Ark" has attracted so much interest from
members of a_film_by is that it is one long (circa 90 minute) long take, with
continuous and spectacular camera movement nearly throughout.
For auteurists, watching a creatively moving camera is a thrilling
experience. It creates an overwhelming feeling of pure joy, excitement and soaring
artistic sense of oneness with the film.
This is different from the general public, which so far, often has a deep
understanding of "special effects", but litle awareness of camera movement or
long takes. Although there are signs that this is changing.
2) In general, most auteurists love directors with creative, complex,
beautiful visual styles. If auteurists prefer John Ford to Henry Hathaway, it is
partly because they think of Ford as a great creator of visual beauty, and a
director whose images create unbelievably vivid moods, emotions, and evocations of
other ways of life (such as Ireland in The Quiet Man or the West). Auteurists
tend to be fascinated by composition, black and white design and lighting, and
color.
3) Auteurists are genre-friendly: they often like movies that fall into
genres, such as crime thrillers, Westerns or "woman's films". Before autuerism,
many people felt these films were "entertainment, not art". They though Hitchcock
was fun, but someone whose films must be sub-artistic because they were crime
thrillers. Auteurists tend to believe art is a personal expression - and that
an artist can be creative just as well in a thriller or "woman's film" as in
a "serious drama".
4) Auteurists have tradiionally been intensely interested in Hollywood,
French, Italian, Japanese and pre-Hitler (pre-1933) German films. They tend to see
they cinemas as what geologists call "hot spots": places where creation is
going on. Today auteurists have broadened their scope to World Cinema, but they
still have an intense interest in these traditional national cinemas.
Mike Grost
3325


From: Henrik Sylow
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 9:15pm
Subject: Re: Rules
 
I was amused that you mentioned so many elements about Ophüls and yet
didn't mention the two most celebrated elements (breaking of the 180
degree rule and circularity (spirals, rondos, rotation)).

But what I really want to say is, that I disagree with you and how you
portrait not only an "auteur" but also how you generalise an
"auteurist". For instance, the camera is, in my opinion, only
important to a director, even more to an "auteur", if the camera
supports his point of view. To promote the cinematography ahead of
direction, is, in my opinion, the same as to say "She was a great
stripper, did you notice the needlework on her costume?"

Cheers
Henrik

PS: I dislike "Russian Ark" - its somewhat interesting, its a cute
stunt, but in the end, what is the difference between Sokorov's
approach to the media and Warhol's? Is the idea about "one shot" not
just old wine on new bottles?
3326


From: Tag Gallagher
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 9:44pm
Subject: Re: Rules
 
The question, then, becomes whether Easy Rider and Patton are truly
"good" movies (art-wise).

Auteurism for me concerns itself only secondarily with similarities
among a given director's films. The primary question is the quality of
cinema in a given movie. Now what do I mean by that? Well, that
changes for each auteur. Following Mike's lead,

Ophuls: http://www.filmint.nu/eng.html or
http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/02/22/ophuls.html

for such an approach to Ophuls.

MG4273@a... wrote:

>This is very different from non-auteurists.
>For example, take two films on the AFI Top 100 Films list: "Easy Rider" and
>"Patton". These films attracted great interest from would-be-hippie types (Easy
>Rider) and right war pro-war types (Patton). But this interest almost never
>translated into any interest whatsover in other works by their directors
>(Dennis Hopper and Franklin Schaffer). Except among a handful of auteurists ...
>
>
>
3327


From: cjsuttree
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 9:59pm
Subject: Re: Le Cercle Rouge & "homoeroticism"
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jess_l_amortell"
wrote:
> > A.O. Scott (in the New York Times) has described the movie as
"homoerotic."
>
>
> I just looked this up (I couldn't find it in the Times reviews
website, perhaps because it wasn't a new film, but it turns up via
Film Forum at http://www.filmforum.com/cercnytimes.html ). Scott
actually wrote: "This world ... is both passionless and implicitly
homoerotic" -- which is a little different from describing the *movie*
as *explicitly* homoerotic (and arguably even less meaningful).

Interesting that A.O. Scott mentioned John Woo. The films of
John Woo, who adores Melville, have often been described as
homoerotic. In Stanley Kwan's _Yin & Yang_ documentary, I
seem to remember Woo denying that was his explicit intent,
but he also said that the audience was welcome to read anything
into his films. At the same time, Woo also admitted that his
Hong Kong films could not have been made that way if they
were Hollywood products. He stopped short of saying
that "homoeroticism" may have something to do with the lack
of commercial appeal in the U.S.

Woo's films often have big names pretty boy actors cops and
robbers plotting against each other, and I guess that's what
distinguish between him and Melville in this respect. The
scenes in _The Killer_, where the cop try to get inside outlaw
Chow Yun-Fat's mind and skin, constantly cutting between the
two, are hard to describe as anything other than "homoerotic."
I've never seen _The Killer_, by the way; this is gleaned
from Kwan's documentary. Of course, Woo's actors over-act
in the extreme, and that cannot be more different from
Melville's. And Melville's characters just do their job,
they don't go about fantasizing.

I am not a big fan of Melville's and I like Woo even less.
There is something very disturbing in Woo's expousing
(without a hint of irony) "honor" and chivalry and "redemption"
all the while slaughtering battalions of nameless faceless
lackeys who happen to be in the way. This reaches a nadir
in the hospital scene in _Hard Boiled_, where Chow protects
a new born child while hundreds get gunned down. Melville
(and _Le Cercle Rouge_) suffer a bit from that too, but
Melville is more much fatalistic; everyone is guilty or fallen
in his films, and things are so low-keyed it is easier
to forgive him. His outlaws are violent, but they themselves
would take a bullet or (a betrayal) with the same nonchalant
attitude and understatement the film affords their victims.
I'm trying to make an excuse for Melville here, but this does
seem to separate him from Woo. Melville is by far the better
director too.

_Le Cercle Rouge_ is my favorite Melville offering, probably
because it stars Yves Montand. A.O. Scott also wrote in the same
article (the next line): "Rather than greed or ambition, the criminals
seem to be motivated by ennui and a murky canon of professional
honor, in which betrayal is as ritualized as loyalty."
Montand, more than Delon or anyone else, embodies that character.
He declines his share of the robbery spoils, saying that the workout
allowes him to get rid his "monsters." Doing the job is what he is.
One can probably say the same of Melville; in _Le Cercle Rouge_
he is as good at his craft as Montand and Delon are at theirs.
Watching the "passionless" heist scene in _Le Cercle Rouge_, it is
hard not to think of _Pickpocket_.

Suttree
3328


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 10:11pm
Subject: Re: Re: Le Cercle Rouge & "homoeroticism"
 
"Watching the "passionless" heist scene in _Le Cercle
Rouge_, it is
hard not to think of _Pickpocket_."

Ah but Melville has always said that it was Bresson
who borrowed from HIM, in that "Le Silence de La Mer"
(which starred the gay actor Howard Vernon) set the
pace for post-"Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne" Bresson:
"It is not I who am being Bressonian, it is Bresson
who is being Melvillian."

I find John Woo to be of no interest.


--- cjsuttree wrote:


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3329


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 11:07pm
Subject: Re: Re: Rules
 
"but in the end, what is the difference between
Sokorov's
approach to the media and Warhol's?"

An ENORMOUS difference.

Sokorov has taken great pains to confect a series of
moving tableaux before his camera. Andy turned his
camera on and (prior to Morrissey's complete
take-over) demanded that his subjects perform pretty
much however they wished for as long as the reelran.
That's not counting the silent portraits where the
only direction was not to move.

Ophuls'style is dazzling, but what gets to me is his
conte. "Lola Montes" is the greatest film ever made
about the media. I'd put "The King of Comedy" in
second place with "It Should Happen to You" a very
closet third, followed by "Sweet Smell of Success."

--- Henrik Sylow wrote:


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3330


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 11:56pm
Subject: Re: Rules
 
To promote the cinematography ahead of
> direction, is, in my opinion, the same as to say "She was a great
> stripper, did you notice the needlework on her costume?"
>
> Cheers
> Henrik
>
>
If I study, and praise, the use of ten-minute takes in "Rope",
am I praising Joseph Valentine's and William V. Skall's
cinematography, or Hitchcock's direction?
JPC
3331


From: Fernando Verissimo
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 3:48pm
Subject: Cruising
 
I've read an interview with Friedkin somewhere in the web some years ago
(can't remember exactly where it was published) in which he said that he had
to make a lot of changes in the cutting room after his first and longer
version of CRUISING was shown to a member of the rating board who guaranteed
it would never get away without a X rating. If my memory is not playing
tricks on me, he said that there were big cuts made after this (up to 30 or
40 minutes), including the original ending and some hardcore scenes. He also
said that his original version was much darker than the released version.

Friedkin also talked about his interest in releasing the director's cut
sometime in the near future in DVD, as soon as he could locate the footage
that doesn't appear in the released version.

I also read that Brian DePalma was the first name attached to the project
and even wrote a script based on Walker's novel (info from
briandepalma.net).

Does anyone (Bill?) confirm those stories?

fernando
www.contracampo.com.br
3332


From: hotlove666
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 0:22am
Subject: Re: Cruising
 
None of it's true. My review of the work papers confirms what's told
in the two extant books on Friedkin:

1. He may have omitted 42 minutes of what was shot, but it was all
non-sexual scenes, which he may indeed want to put back someday.

2. The 3 scenes that were slightly altered (per the author
of "Hurricane Billy") were the first murder scene, which was made a
bit less gory, and two bar scenes, where some of the extras action
was darkened at the behest of the censor.

3. The ending was always what it is today, although I'd swear I
remember a bit of dialogue between Pacino and the killer
(about "black holes") which I saw opening week in 1980, recognized in
the shooting script, but don't have in my VHS copy - could it have
been trimmed after release? Again, the black holes were not sexual,
or only metaphorically so.

4. The hardcore footage wasn't excised; it was added by Friedkin and
his editor Bud Smith after hassling with the censor: one frame of
anal sex during the knife blows in the first mureder scene, two
frames of the same during the knife blows in the Peepshow murder.
Just slow the image down and you'll see them -- a la the frames of
the Demon in The Exorcist. pr more recently the hardcore frame (I'm
told) in Fight Club.

5. Spielberg was proposed as director in the early 70s and accepted,
before the project was dropped as "unfilmable." De Palma would have
been a good choice - it's the prototype for the serial killer genre,
as well as a slasher with a star (coming on the heels of Halloween),
which was De Palma's specialty for a while.
3333


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 0:39am
Subject: Re: Re: Cruising
 
Paul Morrissey was at one point either interested in
or directly involved with the project as a vehicle for
Joe Dallesandro.
--- hotlove666 wrote:
>
> 5. Spielberg was proposed as director in the early
> 70s and accepted,
> before the project was dropped as "unfilmable." De
> Palma would have
> been a good choice - it's the prototype for the
> serial killer genre,
> as well as a slasher with a star (coming on the
> heels of Halloween),
> which was De Palma's specialty for a while.
>
>


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3334


From: Fernando Verissimo
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 5:36pm
Subject: John Woo & "homoeroticism"
 
Suttree wrote:
"Interesting that A.O. Scott mentioned John Woo. The films of John Woo, who
adores Melville, have often been described as homoerotic. In Stanley Kwan's
_Yin & Yang_ documentary, I seem to remember Woo denying that was his
explicit intent, but he also said that the audience was welcome to read
anything into his films. (...) He stopped short of saying that
"homoeroticism" may have something to do with the lack of commercial appeal
in the U.S."


Well, it seems that mr. Woo has written a short film when he was a film
student in Hong Kong (Dead Knot - 1969) that was quite openly
"homoerotic" -- it tells the story of a gay man (Woo plays the part) who is
addicted to S&M. He seems to be quite ashamed of it nowadays.

The incestual relationship between the characters of Nicholas Cage and
Giovanni Ribisi is a strong component of FACE/OFF. It is also evident, for
me at least, that his trademark shot (two hitmen pointing their guns at each
other), usually illustrating a seduction scene, is quite revealing of the
homosexual subtext of his movies.

fernando
www.contracampo.com.br
3335


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 2:41am
Subject: Re: Re: Cukor
 
> I see no condescending toward the Judy Holliday characters in any
> of the films. "K-G characters tend to have no perspective on
> themselves" is too sweeping a statement. Tracy and Hepburn in Adam's
> Rib are not self-conscious? Where are the character-destroying
> gimmicks

As I hinted in my last post, I haven't seen the Cukor/Kanin/Gordon films
recently, so maybe I should just make mental notes of your comments and
keep them in mind for future screenings. I'll try to clarify with a few
words, though.

Unhappily, your favorite, ADAM'S RIB, has always seemed to me a
concept-driven script that forces the characters into unnatural
situations. And I've never been able to get back the central hook of IT
SHOULD HAPPEN TO YOU either. I often feel that these characters are
subordinated to an idea.

Elsewhere in the same article that I quoted earlier, I argued that
Cukor's actors are suspended between intense flights of emotional
absorption and a kind of exposed self-awareness that serves as a reality
principle. That's basically what I meant by "self-conscious." I'm not
saying that that acting mood isn't found in the Kanin-Gordon-scripted
films, but my feeling is that the fit between writers and director isn't
good.

- Dan
3336


From: Fernando Verissimo
Date: Sun Oct 26, 2003 6:27pm
Subject: Re: Re: Cruising
 
Thanks, Bill.

I've just made a little research in Google and discovered that interview,
conducted by Mark Kermode, published in The Guardian.
http://film.guardian.co.uk/interview/interviewpages/0,6737, 446017,00.html7

I was aware of Friedkin's subliminal tactics when I first saw CRUISING --
but wasn't able to spot the hardcore frames until the third viewing. (in
FIGHT CLUB, there's this image of an erect penis that appears two times and
it's quite evident, just like the Demon in THE EXORCIST -- you can see them
without having to slow the image down)

In briandepalma.net www.briandepalma.net/dressed/dtk2.htm
I read that DePalma not only wrote a script, but that he borrowed the
concept behind an entire scene (in which the killer murders a hooker in his
typical way just to confuse the police) for DTK. IMDB says: Brian De Palma
really wanted to direct this film (CRUISING) but his producers could not
obtain the rights to the material, so he made Dressed to Kill (1980)
instead.

Now, wouldn't Spielberg's CRUISING be something! Close Encounters of the
Fist Kind?

fernando
www.contracampo.com.br
3337


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 5:00am
Subject: Re: Re: Cruising
 
As I'm sure that those of you that have been following
my exchanges with Bill re "Cruising" are aware the
crux of my objections pertain to Friedkin's
disinclination to fully engage with the context from
which the film proceeds leading to the charade of
police unfamiliarity with "the gay world" (leather
division) of the West Side. Being someone quite
familiar with the area, gay politics, the spcifics of
the protests agains the film, AND anonymous group sex
(in a variety of urban settings) I find Friedkin's
entire enterprise specious in the extreme, and
continue to do so despite Bill's extremely resourceful
efforts to turn this sow's ear into a Louis Vuitton
overnight case.

I'dlike to bring upanothjer film with contextual
complexities that I don't have any problem with at all
-- "Dog Day Afternoon." This based-on-a-true story of
a bank robbery gone wrong, directed by Sidney Lumet
from a screenplay by Frank Pierson,and starring Al
Pacino in what remains his greatest performance to
date centers on a group of characters that in the
wrong hands could have been presented as alrminly
freakish and deliberately alien from the viewer's
experience. But Lumet and his collaborators refuse to
that, making "Sonny" instead a recognizably "intense"
and eccentric New Yorker whose plight -- a desire to
get money for the sex change operation of his
male-to-female lover emerged in Act Two in a manner
that won rather than blocked an audience's sympathy.

I happened to have known "the original cast," and the
real reason why LittleJohn (the real one) robbed that
particular bank. It would make a great movie, albeit
rather different from theone which Lumet and company
made. Nevertheless the movie they DID make was
dramatically valid, true to New York life and not a
backhanded insult to gay people.

It also contains some rather spectacular montage
moments courrtesy of DeeDee Allen. I think it's her
finest work. Superior even to "Bonnie and Clyde."

And the phone call between Pacino and Chris Sarandon
is the best movie phone scene since Luise Rainer's
"Hello Flo?" in "The Great Ziegfeld."
--- Fernando Verissimo

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3338


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 5:01am
Subject: Re: Cukor
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
> > I see no condescending toward the Judy Holliday characters in
any
> > of the films. "K-G characters tend to have no perspective on
> > themselves" is too sweeping a statement. Tracy and Hepburn in
Adam's
> > Rib are not self-conscious? Where are the character-destroying
> > gimmicks
>
> As I hinted in my last post, I haven't seen the Cukor/Kanin/Gordon
films
> recently, so maybe I should just make mental notes of your comments
and
> keep them in mind for future screenings. I'll try to clarify with
a few
> words, though.
>
> Unhappily, your favorite, ADAM'S RIB, has always seemed to me a
> concept-driven script that forces the characters into unnatural
> situations.

All scripts are, to some extent, "concept driven" and I can't
think of any comedy that doesn't, again to some extent, force the
characters into unatural situations. You might almost say that this
is the definition of comedy.(Is there anything "natural" in the
situations in, say, Bringing Up Baby? Would you object to it on such
grounds?) Also I'd like to know exactly what an "unatural" situation
is. Where natural ends and unatural begins...





And I've never been able to get back the central hook of IT SHOULD
HAPPEN TO YOU either. I often feel that these characters are
> subordinated to an idea.
>
But can you give me an example of a character who is not
subordinated to an idea? Isn't there always an idea at the start of a
character?

> Elsewhere in the same article that I quoted earlier, I argued that
> Cukor's actors are suspended between intense flights of emotional
> absorption and a kind of exposed self-awareness that serves as a
reality
> principle. That's basically what I meant by "self-conscious." I'm
not
> saying that that acting mood isn't found in the Kanin-Gordon-
scripted
> films, but my feeling is that the fit between writers and director
isn't
> good.
>
> - Dan

So you're saying that a series of outstanding comedies where made
by a team of writers-director whose fit was "no good". This is just
to subtle for me.

JPC
3339


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 5:11am
Subject: Re: Cruising
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
> despite Bill's extremely resourceful
> efforts to turn this sow's ear into a Louis Vuitton
> overnight case.
>
> This is the cleverest, funniest thing I've read in quite some
time!
>
> And the phone call between Pacino and Chris Sarandon
> is the best movie phone scene since Luise Rainer's
> "Hello Flo?" in "The Great Ziegfeld."
> --- Fernando Verissimo
> Yes great scene, even better than the Rainer thing.
> __________________________________
> Do you Yahoo!?
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3340


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 5:18am
Subject: Thread confusion
 
Am I the only one who has trouble sorting out who said what and who
is responding to whom in these threads? Most of the time the post a
person is responding to is deleted. If you haven't memorized the
whole thread, you're lost. "So and So wrote" is usually followed not
by what So and So actually wrote, but by something So and So quoted
and that was written by someone else whom So and So probaly disagrees
with. And it all becomes incredibly confusing. Maybe I'm to old to
find my way through that maze.
3341


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 5:33am
Subject: Re: Re: Cukor
 
> Is there anything "natural" in the
> situations in, say, Bringing Up Baby?

I think so! The power of BABY, for me anyway, is that David Huxley's
exasperated reactions are grounding: that, faced with screwball-comedy
craziness, he spends all his time and mental energy trying to
reestablish the ground rules of sanity. I think Hawks likes to play
formal games like this: David is like an unwilling participant in a
movie starring Susan, and he tries to find his way out of the scenario.

I agree that there are many fine things, and many "natural" things, in
ADAM'S RIB and the other films I was talking about. But I feel the
script idea as a burden. Husband and wife on opposite sides of a court
case: what makes it happen? - Dan
3342


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 5:32am
Subject: Re: Re: Cruising
 
Merci, jp!

--- jpcoursodon wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
>
> wrote:
> > despite Bill's extremely resourceful
> > efforts to turn this sow's ear into a Louis
> Vuitton
> > overnight case.
> >
> > This is the cleverest, funniest thing I've read
> in quite some
> time!
> >
> > And the phone call between Pacino and Chris
> Sarandon
> > is the best movie phone scene since Luise Rainer's
> > "Hello Flo?" in "The Great Ziegfeld."
> > --- Fernando Verissimo
> > Yes great scene, even better than the Rainer
> thing.
> > __________________________________
> > Do you Yahoo!?
> > Exclusive Video Premiere - Britney Spears
> > http://launch.yahoo.com/promos/britneyspears/
>
>


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3343


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 5:40am
Subject: Re: Re: Cukor
 
One of the things I most enjoy about Cukor is the
tension between the "piece bien fait" scripts by Kanin
and Gordon and his very free and easy style of
direction. What makes comedies like "Adam's Rib" and
"It Should Happen To You" special too is Cukor's
insistence on using location shooting whenever
possible and the way he allows the scenes to "breathe"
dramatically as theyevolve.

My favorite bit of staging in "Adam's Rib" is the
scene where Tracy and Hepburn, rushing to get dressed
for dinner while talking to one another hurriedly,
enter and and exit the frame of a stationary camera in
medium long shot. Cukor has a sense of body lanugae
that's without peer. In the same film he's able to use
it to differentiate the classes of the character
groups (upper and lower middle) without denigrating
either one for easy laughs.

And I love the way he uses Lemmon singing and playing
"Let's Fall in Love" while talking with Holliday in
"It Should Happen to You." Only a REAL director could
do that -- not a traffic cop of the Robert Z. Leonard
variety.
--- jpcoursodon wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt


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3344


From: Rick Segreda
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 7:59am
Subject: Cukor, Warhol
 
Yup, Cukor was a great one, for sure. "It Should Happen to You" happens to be one of my favorites, and Kanin's screenplay is almost eerie in it's anticipation of Warholian deconstructions of publicity, self-promotion, and art. I am thinking specifically Judy Holiday's Gladys Clover purchasing a huge billboard in Times Square to promote her own name disassociated from any actual talent or accomplishment.

For the record, I don't like "The Philadelphia Story," especially, or specifically, that ridiculous scene where Tracy Lord's father blames his marital infidelity on Tracy's not being a good enough daughter. Typical, phony, fulsome, reactionary, Hays code morality, but that's Phillip Barry's fault, not Cukor's.

But I do love "Holiday," and it would be great to see the earlier, 1930 version to gain a greater appreciation of what Cukor does with the mise-en-scene.

David Ehrenstein wrote:
And I love the way he uses Lemmon singing and playing
"Let's Fall in Love" while talking with Holliday in
"It Should Happen to You." Only a REAL director could
do that -- not a traffic cop of the Robert Z. Leonard
variety.


_



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[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
3345


From: Henrik Sylow
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 10:13am
Subject: Re: Rules
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jpcoursodon"
wrote:
> To promote the cinematography ahead of
> > direction, is, in my opinion, the same as to say "She was a great
> > stripper, did you notice the needlework on her costume?"
> >
> > Cheers
> > Henrik
> >
> >
> If I study, and praise, the use of ten-minute takes in "Rope",
> am I praising Joseph Valentine's and William V. Skall's
> cinematography, or Hitchcock's direction?
> JPC

Having read your "confusion" post, I apologize for not referring to
Mike's post. I tried to make a neat post and now reading it realize
that I contributed to the confusion. I am sorry for that.

When I watch "The Rope" I either watch the story (aware of the
technical side), the technical work (semi aware of the story) or
Hitchcockian motifs and methods (for instance the metronome sequence).

"The Rope" was an experiment. It was Hitchcock's idea about one
location, what he also played with in "Lifeboat". The very nature of
how he decided to carry out the experiment demanded special camera
work, so it's no surprise that it's so visible in "The Rope". I don't
know who you chose to praise, but I praise first Hitchcock for the
idea and next Skall / Valentine and then Riggs for the equally
impressive use of sound. Yet its all Hitchcock's vision.

But you picked what I said out of its context and left out, that

"The camera is, in my opinion, only important to a director, even more
to an "auteur", if the camera supports his point of view."

Would Hitchcock have made a film in 8 reels and done it all the way he
does it in "The Rope" if not for his personal vision and his point of
view? I don't think so. The technical side served a purpose, hence it
is "visible".

Take Ophüls and his breaking of the 180-degree rule. Take Ozu and
"direct into cam" takes, take Godard's use of dolly in "Weekend".
These were not made because they wanted to do new things with the
camera in hope that some guys would say "WOW - did you see that shot?"
They were done because what they did served their direction, their
telling of the story, their point of view.

We are cinewise. We all recognize camerawork, editing, acting. The
same goes for directors. But what seperates the bad director with the
good director is his use of the camera. In "Get Shorty" there is a
scene which illustrates this perfectly

The 1st AD is about to shoot a woman screaming and Hackman (the
director) walks on the set. The 1st AD wants a complex curved
craneshot and spends all his time "directing" telling the operator
what to do. Hackman gets very upset and tells him about how a static
close up of a face is ten times as effective.

Henrik
3346


From: Paul Gallagher
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 11:43am
Subject: Re: Inscribed
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Henrik Sylow"
wrote:
>
> When a film has a designated target audience, specified by either
> gender, class, race and/or age, shouldn't the "point of view"
> structure, its focalizer, at least to a recognisable degree, be in
> alignment with the target, and if so, how can the director then be
an
> auteur?

Well, a work of literature can employ a narrator -- let's say,
a character in the narrative who narrates in the first person.
That character provides a point of view toward the narrative, but
we can still usually distinguish the author's perspective
and contribution from that of the fictional narrator.

A point of view won't be entirely unique to the author. The author
is not the sole source of it. But I don't think the role of
the author can be reduced to the work's point of view, although
that is part of it.

Paul
3347


From: jerome_gerber
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 0:07pm
Subject: Re: Inscribed
 
One can have an inscribed audience yet still be an auteur, an
artist, an author. Chaucer did and so did Hawks and Ford etc. It's
what you do with it, that's key.

--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Paul Gallagher"
wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Henrik Sylow"

> wrote:
> >
> > When a film has a designated target audience, specified by
either
> > gender, class, race and/or age, shouldn't the "point of view"
> > structure, its focalizer, at least to a recognisable degree, be
in
> > alignment with the target, and if so, how can the director then
be
> an
> > auteur?
>
> Well, a work of literature can employ a narrator -- let's say,
> a character in the narrative who narrates in the first person.
> That character provides a point of view toward the narrative, but
> we can still usually distinguish the author's perspective
> and contribution from that of the fictional narrator.
>
> A point of view won't be entirely unique to the author. The
author
> is not the sole source of it. But I don't think the role of
> the author can be reduced to the work's point of view, although
> that is part of it.
>
> Paul
3348


From: Paul Gallagher
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 0:18pm
Subject: Re: Rules
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Henrik Sylow"
wrote:
> But what I really want to say is, that I disagree with you and how
you
> portrait not only an "auteur" but also how you generalise an
> "auteurist". For instance, the camera is, in my opinion, only
> important to a director, even more to an "auteur", if the camera
> supports his point of view. To promote the cinematography ahead of
> direction, is, in my opinion, the same as to say "She was a great
> stripper, did you notice the needlework on her costume?"

I can imagine saying that...

But back to film: there are films where the camera does something
other than support the director's point of view and films
where it doesn't support it at all. There are directors who
appear to lack visual style but who are nonetheless major
artists (e.g., Mankiewicz, Preston Sturges, Guitry, and Chaplin),
and there are directors who show an excess of visual style, that
is, where visual style does something other than produce meaning
or express emotions, or who seem to be on the edge between the
expressive and the decorative or abstract (e.g., in very
different ways, L'Herbier, Alf Sjoeberg, John Ford, Ophuls,
Eisenstein, Ozu, Hitchcock, Antonioni, and De Palma). I think this
accounts for some of the controversies concerning these directors
among auteurist critics.

>
> PS: I dislike "Russian Ark" - its somewhat interesting, its a cute
> stunt, but in the end, what is the difference between Sokorov's
> approach to the media and Warhol's? Is the idea about "one shot"
not
> just old wine on new bottles?

There was a letter to the editor in Cahiers du Cinema a few months
ago about "Russian Ark." I can't find it, but the idea
was that the hostility to montage had gone too far, and here it was
explicitly reactionary.

Paul
3349


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 2:15pm
Subject: Re: Re: Inscribed
 
"A point of view won't be entirely unique to the
author. The author
is not the sole source of it."

True. But to speak of an inscribed spectator is to go
beyond something so simple as a "point of view." It
has to do with an entire set of "understoods" that the
work often doesn't even acknowledge as being
operative.

--- Paul Gallagher wrote:


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3350


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 3:37pm
Subject: Re: Rules
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Henrik Sylow"
wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jpcoursodon"
> wrote:
> > To promote the cinematography ahead of
> > > direction, is, in my opinion, the same as to say "She was a
great
> > > stripper, did you notice the needlework on her costume?"
> > >
> > > Cheers
> > > Henrik
> > >
> > >
> > If I study, and praise, the use of ten-minute takes
in "Rope",
> > am I praising Joseph Valentine's and William V. Skall's
> > cinematography, or Hitchcock's direction?
> > JPC
>
> Having read your "confusion" post, I apologize for not referring to
> Mike's post. I tried to make a neat post and now reading it realize
> that I contributed to the confusion. I am sorry for that.
>


My point is that everybody does it, and it makes any kind of
coherent discussion impossible or at least very difficult. Perhaps
it's the nature of the beast. Our "Rope" discussion is a case in
point. I was trying to say tersely what you have said at length
below. I think I was responding to someone else... By now I've
forgotten (old age creeping in...) I wrote an extremely long article
on "Rope" some 20 years ago when it was re-issued, analyzing, among
other things, what I called the fetishism of the long take and its
sexual implications. JPC

> When I watch "The Rope" (actually it's "Rope" -- no article --
although in most languages I guess you need one; the play's title
was "Rope's End", no article either. JPC) I either watch the story
(aware of the
> technical side), the technical work (semi aware of the story) or
> Hitchcockian motifs and methods (for instance the metronome
sequence).
>
> "The Rope" was an experiment. It was Hitchcock's idea about one
> location, what he also played with in "Lifeboat". The very nature
of
> how he decided to carry out the experiment demanded special camera
> work, so it's no surprise that it's so visible in "The Rope". I
don't
> know who you chose to praise, but I praise first Hitchcock for the
> idea and next Skall / Valentine and then Riggs for the equally
> impressive use of sound. Yet its all Hitchcock's vision.
>
> But you picked what I said out of its context and left out, that
>
> "The camera is, in my opinion, only important to a director, even
more
> to an "auteur", if the camera supports his point of view."
>



Agreed.
> Would Hitchcock have made a film in 8 reels and done it all the way
he
> does it in "The Rope" if not for his personal vision and his point
of
> view? I don't think so. The technical side served a purpose, hence
it
> is "visible".
>
> Take Ophüls and his breaking of the 180-degree rule. Take Ozu and
> "direct into cam" takes, take Godard's use of dolly in "Weekend".
> These were not made because they wanted to do new things with the
> camera in hope that some guys would say "WOW - did you see that
shot?"
> They were done because what they did served their direction, their
> telling of the story, their point of view.
>
> We are cinewise. We all recognize camerawork, editing, acting. The
> same goes for directors. But what seperates the bad director with
the
> good director is his use of the camera. In "Get Shorty" there is a
> scene which illustrates this perfectly
>
> The 1st AD is about to shoot a woman screaming and Hackman (the
> director) walks on the set. The 1st AD wants a complex curved
> craneshot and spends all his time "directing" telling the operator
> what to do. Hackman gets very upset and tells him about how a
static
> close up of a face is ten times as effective.
>
> Henrik
3351


From: hotlove666
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 4:29pm
Subject: Re: Cruising
 
David and I have been discussing off-line how much of the real-life
context made it into the film, and my opinion is that pretty much all
the things he is talking about (police corruption, gay activists,
etc.) are in the film, allusively or rather directly, even though
whole scenes where they were discussed with an Arthur Bell surrogate
who's a sparring buddy of the head cop got cut in the editing.
Personally, I have never liked that kind of scene (eg the good Iraqis
in Three Kings) and doubt that they would have had a good effect on
the film or its ultimate dire fate, but it's interesting that David
thinks they could have made a difference (see my comment on Friedkin
below). Maybe they will be in the extended cut, if he's ever allowed
to do it - I don't think there's much likelihood of that, because the
video people who'd have to say yes don't want to touch this one with
a ten-foot pole.

The key point David is making - and this goes very much under the
rubric of "Negative criticism," which he does well, even to including
two counter-examples by Chereau and Lumet - is the one about the
inscribed point of view, which is a matter of mise en scene. On that
I'm not clear yet, because despite lots of reading and brooding about
it, I still don't know if even the book Cruising (good review from
Gore Vidal in 1970), much less the film (good review from Robin Wood
in 1980) is violently homophobic, as both have been routinely called
since they first appeared (cf. Wood on the book), or in the case of
film, since before it appeared. The fact that Vidal and Wood are gay
(one pre-Stonewall, one post- , in terms of when Wood came out)
doesn't make them the final word on such a controversial subject,
although I certainly kept in mind what they had to say when
formulating my article. (Daney's pan just said that the film was too
metaphysical to be sexy.) I still have no idea, but I'm giving it a
lot of thought and hope to write on Cruising again when I have a shot
at getting it right.

On the subject of the way the filming was done: I wasn't there, but
even allowing for the usual they said/we said 40%, I have no doubt
whatsoever that David is accurate in his description of it, for the
simple reason that Friedkin at that point in his life was a total
asshole. He had left a town full of enemies behind when he came from
Hollywood to film in NY, and I'm sure he did everything he could to
make enemies there. It is not that tricky to enter into a dialogue
with the groups that are being portrayed in a film production, and a
little compromise (maybe leaving in one of those "Bell" scenes, which
were written and filmed) can go a long way toward promoting harmony
and understanding on both sides. By all accounts, the production
behaved arrogantly and got what it deserved (constant off-screen
noisemaking, flash bulbs going off whenever the cameras rolled, one
bar that said go to hell and had to be built on a soundstage). For
what it's worth, I believe Friedkin (who cruelly fired scores of
people on Sorcerer in fits of pique) has mellowed since the heart
attack that followed the release of Cruising. I imagine being married
to nice ladies like Kelly Lange and Sherry Lansing (notice I don't
include Moreau) hasn't hurt.

Re: my formalistic efforts on behalf of this sow's ear, David - La
textualite n'est pas un diner de gala!
3352


From: Elizabeth Nolan
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 5:20pm
Subject: a character who is not subordinated to an idea
 
> Date: Mon, 27 Oct 2003 05:01:18 -0000
> From: "jpcoursodon"
>
> But can you give me an example of a character who is not
> subordinated to an idea? Isn't there always an idea at the start of a
> character?


Whether a character is subordinated to an idea seems to depend on what
the idea is. Comic ideas seem to subordinate the character to the
idea, while something like 'integrity' as in A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS or
TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD brings out the character even more.
3353


From: Sam Wells
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 6:51pm
Subject: Early Bergman Question
 
Hi all -

A few years ago I saw a doc on Bergman, on PBS I think - might have
been Bravo. Anyway, in this program was a clip from an early fifties or
perhaps late forties film of his, a kind of dream scene a la Wild
Strawberries. A tableau in a store window at night, where the store
dummies had come to life so to speak, or at least this is what I recall.

I remember thinking "this is like a David Lynch film thirty years
before David Lynch"

Does anyone know what Bergman film this is from ?

-Sam Wells
3354


From: iangjohnston
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 6:19pm
Subject: Re: Rules
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Paul Gallagher" wrote:
> There are directors who
> appear to lack visual style but who are nonetheless major
> artists (e.g., Mankiewicz, Preston Sturges, Guitry, and Chaplin),
> and there are directors who show an excess of visual style, that
> is, where visual style does something other than produce meaning
> or express emotions, or who seem to be on the edge between the
> expressive and the decorative or abstract (e.g., in very
> different ways, L'Herbier, Alf Sjoeberg, John Ford, Ophuls,
> Eisenstein, Ozu, Hitchcock, Antonioni, and De Palma). I think this
> accounts for some of the controversies concerning these directors
> among auteurist critics.


What are the "controversies" Ozu's and Antonioni's work generate
among auteurist critics?


>
> There was a letter to the editor in Cahiers du Cinema a few months
> ago about "Russian Ark." I can't find it, but the idea
> was that the hostility to montage had gone too far, and here it
was
> explicitly reactionary.
>
> Paul

The letter was in the July-Aug 2002 issue; the argument was that
Sokurov's one-shot style ("asphyxiating", nothing existing outside
the frame) was in complete accord with his political position, his
denial of history.

Ian Johnston
3355


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 7:03pm
Subject: Re: Early Bergman Question
 
I believe the Bergman film you're thinking of is
"Dreams."

--- Sam Wells wrote:
> Hi all -
>
> A few years ago I saw a doc on Bergman, on PBS I
> think - might have
> been Bravo. Anyway, in this program was a clip from
> an early fifties or
> perhaps late forties film of his, a kind of dream
> scene a la Wild
> Strawberries. A tableau in a store window at night,
> where the store
> dummies had come to life so to speak, or at least
> this is what I recall.
>
> I remember thinking "this is like a David Lynch film
> thirty years
> before David Lynch"
>
> Does anyone know what Bergman film this is from ?
>
> -Sam Wells
>
>


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3356


From: Paul Gallagher
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 7:54pm
Subject: Re: Rules
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "iangjohnston" wrote:

> What are the "controversies" Ozu's and Antonioni's work generate
> among auteurist critics?
>
With Ozu I was thinking of the controversy concerning the relative
merits of the 1932-1947 films versus the later films. I'm thinking
mainly of Noel Burch's study of Ozu -- to oversimplify, the question
is how much of what is valuable in Ozu is due to his formal practice.

With Antonioni I was thinking about the debates in Movie and Cahiers
du Cinema. Here I can quote Jim Hillier:

Ultimately, it is this attention to mise en scene, to those
discourses specific to the cinema, which provokes quite different
directions in film criticism and theory... The auteur
principle is still very alive in Cahiers throughout the 1960s, as
much of this volume makes clear, but it is so with a different
critical edge, as a principle or concept always in question.
As we have seen, American cinema was central to the politique des
auteurs and hence to the concept of mise en scene. The 1960s
represent a significant shift away from American cinema, or
rather from Hollywood cinema, and a major re-direction of
critical interest and investment in 'new cinema'. Already
in the early 1960s there were clear signs of a struggle within
Cahiers between allegiance to American cinema and certain
forms of 'new cinema'. The work of Michelangelo Antonioni,
for instance, set against American cinema, was one source of
polarization. Writing from the Cannes festival in 1960,
for example, Jean Domarchi praised the perfection of Vincente
Minnelli's Home from the Hill while dismissing L'Avventura as an
irritating, pretentious 'annex of literature'. Contrarily, on
its opening in France, Jacques Doniol-Valcroze argued
that L'Avventura (along with Hiroshima mon amour) inaugurated
the 'new cinema'. Similarly, the 1962 Cannes festival finds
Jean Douchet praising Otto Preminger's Advise and Consent
while attacking L'Eclisse as 'a monstrosity ... the height of
artifice, trickery', leaving it to Andre S. Labarthe to
recognize the modernity and grandeur, if not perfection, of
L'Eclisse as 'not a film, but a series of notes, the
blueprint of a work to come - unless it reveals the
impossibility for a work to see the light of day'.

One matter of dispute involved the relationship between the
image and what is represented: Rohmer mentioned Antonioni as
an example of "cinema that makes one aware of the camera and
the auteur," Paul Mayersberg described Antonioni's films as
conceived in shots: "the shots are events in themselves."
Godard said, "You really do get the feeling with _The Red Desert_
that it's the camera which has manufactured the film."

Paul
3357


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 8:57pm
Subject: Re: Raiders of the Russian Ark
 
> The letter was in the July-Aug 2002 issue; the argument was that
> Sokurov's one-shot style ("asphyxiating", nothing existing outside
> the frame) was in complete accord with his political position, his
> denial of history.

I don't know the author of the letter that suggests these things, but
they just strike me as nutty on two counts, [a] Sokurov isn't exactly
afraid to face history, even if his approach is a little oblique for
some (although TAURUS seems pretty explicit in mourning Lenin while
fearing for Russia under Stalin) and [b] RUSSIAN ARK is the least
asphyxiating movie of all time, so I wonder if I've seen the same
film as this writer. Compare RA to ELEPHANT, where setting and
architecture enhance the claustrophobic atmosphere a very long
tracking shot can potentially create, while Sokurov's film hints at
eternities.

The missing passages of Russian history are in RUSSIAN ARK "in
absentia," that they are circumscribed so carefully that their
absence registers as presence. If that makes any sense. It's the
elephant in the room, so to speak.

But then again, I don't see there being anything harmful in "denying"
these passages of history (although I wouldn't say "denying");
perhaps we could also complain that Ernst Lubitsch doesn't do an old-
fashioned Marxist/Stalinist debunking of the filthy rich.

Also I don't see how a comparison to Warhol's films can lead us
anywhere...my teacher suggested that his films have a definite, but
as-yet unexplored (to his knowledge) relationship with the silk
screen paintings, and this would become apparent if you looked at all
of the frames of, say, BLOW-JOB row by row, column by column. Does
anyone have any thoughts on that?

-Jaime
3358


From: Tag Gallagher
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 9:20pm
Subject: Re: a character who is not subordinated to an idea
 
I think this is what directors aim for in their late movies. Mitry used
to say that Ford's people start out as stereotypes but then surpass the
type. Gets truer as time goes on. In some late Renoir, a constant aim
in Rossellini, von Sternberg, Ophuls...

>
> > From: "jpcoursodon"
> >
> > But can you give me an example of a character who is not
> > subordinated to an idea? Isn't there always an idea at the start of a
> > character?
>
>
>
3359


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 9:25pm
Subject: Re: Re: Raiders of the Russian Ark
 
"Also I don't see how a comparison to Warhol's films
can lead us
anywhere...my teacher suggested that his films have a
definite, but
as-yet unexplored (to his knowledge) relationship with
the silk
screen paintings, and this would become apparent if
you looked at all
of the frames of, say, BLOW-JOB row by row, column by
column. Does
anyone have any thoughts on that?"

In some ways. But in others not at all. I think the
silent portrait films are like paintings. His sound
films are sculptures.


--- "Jaime N. Christley"
wrote:


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3360


From:
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 4:24pm
Subject: Re: Re: Raiders of the Russian Ark
 
In a message dated 10/27/03 3:59:46 PM, j_christley@y... writes:


>
> Also I don't see how a comparison to Warhol's films can lead us
> anywhere...my teacher suggested that his films have a definite, but
> as-yet unexplored (to his knowledge) relationship with the silk
> screen paintings,
>

Check out:
Flatley, Jonathan, “Warhol Gives Good Face: Publicity and the Politics of
Prosopopoeia,” in Jennifer Doyle, Jonathan Flatley, and José Esteban Muñoz, eds.,
Pop Out Queer Warhol, (Durham: Duke University Press, 1996).

Kevin


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
3361


From: Henrik Sylow
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 9:43pm
Subject: Those horrible kids
 
Whats so great about old french film anyway?

I tell ya.... "Les Enfant Terrible". It has always slipped thru my
fingers until tonight. I have goosebumbs :)

Henrik
3362


From: hotlove666
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 10:03pm
Subject: Raiders of the Russian Ark
 
Re: Sukorov's politics, I saw a very long documentary about
Russian troops rotting in Afghanistan at Locarno maybe 8 years
ago, and I seem to recall he made it. Can anyone confirm, deny?
Whoever it was, it was full of real time and political as hell.

The politics of the Ark, which I like quite abit, have to do with the
relationship of the European, an outsider, to Russia and the
camera. Not just the long take.
3363


From: Paul Gallagher
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 10:30pm
Subject: Re: Inscribed
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein wrote:
> "A point of view won't be entirely unique to the
> author. The author
> is not the sole source of it."
>
> True. But to speak of an inscribed spectator is to go
> beyond something so simple as a "point of view." It
> has to do with an entire set of "understoods" that the
> work often doesn't even acknowledge as being
> operative.
>

Would ideology be the right word for that? Or culture?

It's interesting that we still respond to works in which the
'set of understoods' is not understood or alien to us (we
have little in common with Homer or Dante's audiences, for
example), but on the other hand I don't think of works of art
as sources of universal truths. Two quotations I liked --
one from Richard Lewontin:
The claim that "great" authors have provided deep and
novel insight into the general human condition that
necessarily speaks to all, irrespective of class and
culture, is patently false. When I reply to a friend who
has twitted me about taking myself too seriously, "He jests
at scars that never felt a wound:' I am not providing a deep
philosophical insight, unknown to the rudest groundling,
but I am quoting a superb bit of English poetry. Anyone who
is in any doubt that Shakespeare was an English poet should
try Andre Gide's translation of Hamlet: "Thou wretched, rash,
intruding fool, farewell! comes out as "Pauvre sot, brouillon,
indiscret, bon voyage!" Nor can Pushkin's dancing tetrameter,
Onegin, dobryi moi pryatel',
Rodilcya na bregakh Nevy,
Gde, mozhet bit', rodilic' vy
be carried into any English translation of Eygenii Onegin,
not to speak of creating any cultural resonance with the
upbringing and love life of a late eighteenth-century dandy
who "was born on the banks of the Neva, where, perhaps, you too
were born, my dear reader." Sorry, wrong river, wrong century,
wrong social class, wrong language. (Configurations 3, no. 2
(Spring 1995))

And another from Althusser, on the relationship of the author's
viewpoint to ideology, quoted by D.N. Rodowick in "The Crisis
of Political Modernism":
What art makes us see... is the ideology from which it is
born, in which it bathes, from which it detaches itself as
art, and to which it alludes... Balzac and Solzhenitsyn give
us a 'view' of the ideology to which their work alludes and
with which it is constantly fed, a view which presupposes
a retreat, an internal distantiation from the very ideology
from which their novels emerged, They make us 'perceive' (but
not know) in some sense from the inside, by an internal
distance, the very ideology in which they are held."
As Rodowick summarizes it, art, according to Althusser, is
different from knowledge but also different from ideology: it's
a form of seeing, perceiving, and feeling, it "renders ideology
perceptible, cognizable."

Paul
3364


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 11:04pm
Subject: Re: Re: Inscribed
 
"Would ideology be the right word for that?"

Precisely.

Barthes is more eloquent on Balzac than Althusser.
Read "S/Z"

--- Paul Gallagher wrote:


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3365


From: samfilms2003
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 11:17pm
Subject: Re: Early Bergman Question
 
> I believe the Bergman film you're thinking of is
> "Dreams."

Not surprising I guess.....

Thanks !

-Sam
3366


From: Paul Gallagher
Date: Mon Oct 27, 2003 11:36pm
Subject: Re: Raiders of the Russian Ark
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666" wrote:
> Re: Sukurov's politics, I saw a very long documentary about
> Russian troops rotting in Afghanistan at Locarno maybe 8 years
> ago, and I seem to recall he made it. Can anyone confirm, deny?
> Whoever it was, it was full of real time and political as hell.

That's "Spiritual Voices" from 1995. The troops weren't in
Afghanistan, however. They were on the other side of the border,
in Tajikistan. Sokurov said, "Russia is a land permanently waging
war, and people here are formed always ready to go to war. Our
national heroes are peoples who took part in war — not those who
created something unusual, sitting and working peacefully. Russia is
hardly imaginable for me without those convulsions of war, without
this military trembling." Political, but not necessarily perceptive.

>
> The politics of the Ark, which I like quite abit, have to do with the
> relationship of the European, an outsider, to Russia and the
> camera. Not just the long take.

I should find the original letter, to let the author speak for
himself, but I seem to recall the argument was that "Russian Ark"
presented a longing for a prelapsarian unity supposed to have
existed prior to 1917.

Paul
3367


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Tue Oct 28, 2003 0:12am
Subject: Re: a character who is not subordinated to an idea
 
An "idea" is not a stereotype. What i meant is that characters
don't just "happen", they are fashioned for some reason. And
by "idea" I don't mean that they are fashioned in order to express
some "thought", some "philosophy", to make some kind of point (when
they are the result is usually bad). Would you say that Rossellini,
renoir etc have "no idea" why they create their characters?
JPC



--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Tag Gallagher wrote:
>
> I think this is what directors aim for in their late movies. Mitry
used
> to say that Ford's people start out as stereotypes but then surpass
the
> type. Gets truer as time goes on. In some late Renoir, a constant
aim
> in Rossellini, von Sternberg, Ophuls...
>
> >
> > > From: "jpcoursodon"
> > >
> > > But can you give me an example of a character who is not
> > > subordinated to an idea? Isn't there always an idea at the
start of a
> > > character?
> >
> >
> >
3368


From: jaketwilson
Date: Tue Oct 28, 2003 0:34am
Subject: Re: a character who is not subordinated to an idea
 
> An "idea" is not a stereotype. What i meant is that characters
> don't just "happen", they are fashioned for some reason. And
> by "idea" I don't mean that they are fashioned in order to express
> some "thought", some "philosophy", to make some kind of point (when
> they are the result is usually bad).

If I'm reading him right, the gist of Dan's objection to Kanin &
Gordon's scripts is that they tend to be too schematically "high
concept". ADAM'S RIB and PAT AND MIKE each have a central fanciful
gimmick you could pitch in a couple of sentences, not that this has
much to do with the virtues of the actual films. Whereas if you tried
to do the same with BRINGING UP BABY ("Daffy heiress ruins the life
of stick-in-the-mud professor") it would just come out sounding
generic; the characters bring the story to life, not vice versa.

JTW
3369


From: hotlove666
Date: Tue Oct 28, 2003 1:02am
Subject: Spiritual Voices
 
Boy, it sure didn't look like a paean to war when I saw it - it
reminded me a bit of The Big Red One, which uses abstraction
to portray war as it is - Spiritual Voices used long lapses of time.
Maybe he's someone who shouldn't be allowed to comment on
his own work.

And thanks for the title!
3370


From: Tag Gallagher
Date: Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:09am
Subject: Re: a character who is not subordinated to an idea
 
A stereotype is an implementation of an idea. I'm not disagreeing
with you. I'm saying that all the moviemakers I cited start out with an
"idea" but that the aim (in, by definition, their best movies) is for
the characters to surpass that idea.


JPC wrote:

An "idea" is not a stereotype. What i meant is that characters
don't just "happen", they are fashioned for some reason. And
by "idea" I don't mean that they are fashioned in order to express
some "thought", some "philosophy", to make some kind of point (when
they are the result is usually bad). Would you say that Rossellini,
renoir etc have "no idea" why they create their characters?
JPC



Tag Gallagher wrote:
>
> I think this is what directors aim for in their late movies. Mitry
used
> to say that Ford's people start out as stereotypes but then surpass
the
> type. Gets truer as time goes on. In some late Renoir, a constant
aim
> in Rossellini, von Sternberg, Ophuls...


jpcoursodon" wrote:
> > >
> > > But can you give me an example of a character who is not
> > > subordinated to an idea? Isn't there always an idea at the
start of a
> > > character?
3371


From: jpcoursodon
Date: Tue Oct 28, 2003 2:48am
Subject: Re: a character who is not subordinated to an idea
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jaketwilson" wrote:
>
> > An "idea" is not a stereotype. What i meant is that
characters
> > don't just "happen", they are fashioned for some reason. And
> > by "idea" I don't mean that they are fashioned in order to
express
> > some "thought", some "philosophy", to make some kind of point
(when
> > they are the result is usually bad).
>
> If I'm reading him right, the gist of Dan's objection to Kanin &
> Gordon's scripts is that they tend to be too schematically "high
> concept". ADAM'S RIB and PAT AND MIKE each have a central fanciful
> gimmick you could pitch in a couple of sentences, not that this has
> much to do with the virtues of the actual films. Whereas if you
tried
> to do the same with BRINGING UP BABY ("Daffy heiress ruins the life
> of stick-in-the-mud professor") it would just come out sounding
> generic; the characters bring the story to life, not vice versa.
>
> JTW

I don't know what "high concept" means. I don't care whether I
can "pitch" the fanciful gimmick of anything in one or two
sentences. "Pitching" the concept of Adam's Rib or Bringing Up Baby --
if we have to talk about "pitching" -- is just the same (if
you "pitch" it's going to sound generic whatever it is you're
pitching) and I don't see any reason to even talk about it. What
is "vice versa"? The story brings the characters to life? What the
hell does that mean? I don't see the necessity of placing Bringing
Up Baby (one of my favorite films, by the way) above the Cukor-Kanin-
Gordon stuff (esp. Adam's Rib and Pat&Mike) just because the approach
to comedy is different.
JPC
3372


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Tue Oct 28, 2003 3:47am
Subject: Re: Re: a character who is not subordinated to an idea
 
>>If I'm reading him right, the gist of Dan's objection to Kanin &
>>Gordon's scripts is that they tend to be too schematically "high
>>concept".

Yes, and that the high concept interferes with the characters.

What does it say about Gladys Glover that she saves her money to put her
name on a billboard? In my opinion, it doesn't say anything about her:
it points at ideas about celebrity and the gap between the famous and
the unknown, but if I met a real-life person who did this, I'd be at a
loss to understand it - I'd probably assume the person was a performance
artist.

ADAM'S RIB has a Punch and Judy quality, and people seem to have enjoyed
Punch and Judy for a long time. My first thought is to complain that a
real married couple, however competitive, would never lead themselves
into such a bizarre situation; but maybe my real problem with the film
is that I don't enjoy the comic spectacle of husband and wife cheerfully
playing a game of mutual humiliation. I myself made a movie about a
husband and wife torturing each other, but it wasn't a comedy - maybe I
have strong feelings about the subject. - Dan
3373


From: Henrik Sylow
Date: Tue Oct 28, 2003 11:45am
Subject: Re: a character who is not subordinated to an idea
 
Where the archetype is either a single or combined imagery distilled
into an ideal, the stereotype is a distilled type relying on the
unconscious imagery the ideal evokes.

When reflecting on a trait as "integrity" it is very convenient to
have a stereotype at hand, since you can bend and shape it into what
ever you want in order for it to reflect your goal. One could also
create a new archetype by taking an undefined character and ascribing
him charactaristica, but often the stereotype is prefered. Consider
the western heroes of Boetticher or Mann. Just as Mitry used to say
about Ford's, the characters start out as stereotypes, but then
surpass the type. According to Greimas, they are able to do so,
because they, as the stereotypes they are, stand outside society and
its norms and rules, hence can act without the restraints of society.

Where some stereotypes surpass the type, others don't. Yet that is not
important, as the only thing that matters is, if they served the
point, the "idea" of the story.

A character is thus always subordinated to the idea of the story, even
if it is as "common" as a comedy or as "academic" as discussing
Kierkegaardian choice in a contemporary setting. There is nothing
lower in a comic character. Take "The Tramp" or "M. Hulot" for
instance, both as stereotypical as can be, never changing wardrobe,
two different faces and a few idiosyncrasies, yet as evokative as any
character of "integrity".

I find if more interesting to view "character" and stereotype in
relation to inscribing a "point of view", as I believe it is there
where one would rank quality of types more than in relation to an idea
or the narrative.

Henrik
3374


From: Peter Tonguette
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 3:04am
Subject: Cukor's Holiday and The Marrying Kind
 
JPC writes:

> I don't think I ever said, or thought, it was "superior". It
does
> have a broader range of moods and tones, it is less slick, it has
> more surprising changes of pace and focus. In one word it seems
> more "original" -- but not necessarily superior.

Well, I did actually say that I felt that "Holiday" was superior
to "The Philadelphia Story" and I would cite the reasons JP mentions
above as well as the way the earlier film functions as a "statement
of principles," to quote Bill. By contrast, "The Philadelphia Story"
simply feels a little more impersonal to me; that doesn't make it
less great, of course, so maybe I should just say that I
prefer "Holiday" to "The Philadelphia Story."

"The Marrying Kind": I just watched the DVD and holy cow. I think I
have a new favorite Cukor film. The Decoration Day sequence recently
mentioned by Fred is indeed very, very great. I can't remember what
it was that made me take note of this (it was probably a post on
a_film_by which I can't locate at the moment), but the way in which
Cukor gradually revealed the tragedy in that scene is simply
extraordinary. I'm thinking of the shot with Judy Holliday and Aldo
Ray in the foreground, for a few seconds oblivious to what's
happening, and a crowd gathering around the water in the background.
I think that's as fine a use of cinematic space as any movie - new or
old - that I've seen this year.

Peter
3375


From: Paul Gallagher
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 3:05am
Subject: Re: Raiders of the Russian Ark
 
There's an interesting review here:
http://www.objectifcinema.com/analyses/143.php

L'attitude de Sokourov à l'égard de la culture russe, représentée
métonymiquement par l'Ermitage, s'apparente clairement au fil des
scènes à un discours de révérence, un discours finalement
promotionnel et non critique... À un " contenu " très convenu,
plutôt ennuyeux et conforme à la vision dominante, institutionnelle
(de l'art, de l'histoire, des œuvres) correspond la forme épatante,
nécessairement numérique tant l'outil fascine, d'un authentique
" défi technologique et humain " qui constitue le véritable (et le
seul) événement du film.
3376


From: Paul Gallagher
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 3:41am
Subject: Re: Raiders of the Russian Ark
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Jaime N. Christley"
wrote:

> But then again, I don't see there being anything harmful in "denying"
> these passages of history (although I wouldn't say "denying");
> perhaps we could also complain that Ernst Lubitsch doesn't do an old-
> fashioned Marxist/Stalinist debunking of the filthy rich.

Lubitsch doesn't? Lubitsch's delicacy shouldn't obscure his
"debunking." It's hard to think of a sharper denunciation of
social class than the moment when Lord and Lady Carmel realize
Cluny Brown is a servant...

Paul
3377


From: Tag Gallagher
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 3:58am
Subject: Re: Cukor's Holiday and The Marrying Kind
 
Just to chime in, I also think Holiday is superior to Philadelphia
Story, for the reasons outlined in my piece on Mankiewicz (@ Senses of
Cinema): in summary, PS is not a "movie." I don't see any statement of
principles in either movie; is that a bizarre notion?


Peter Tonguette wrote:

> JPC writes:
>
> > I don't think I ever said, or thought, it was "superior". It
> does
> > have a broader range of moods and tones, it is less slick, it has
> > more surprising changes of pace and focus. In one word it seems
> > more "original" -- but not necessarily superior.
>
> Well, I did actually say that I felt that "Holiday" was superior
> to "The Philadelphia Story" and I would cite the reasons JP mentions
> above as well as the way the earlier film functions as a "statement
> of principles." By contrast, "The Philadelphia Story"
> simply feels a little more impersonal to me; that doesn't make it
> less great, of course, so maybe I should just say that I
> prefer "Holiday" to "The Philadelphia Story."
>
3378


From: George Robinson
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 4:10am
Subject: Re: Cukor's Holiday and The Marrying Kind
 
For many years I preferred Holiday to Philadelphia Story but I have to admit
that some of the former play's more maudlin moments have begun to grate on
me. More than that, I find it endlessly fascinating to watch Grant and
Stewart togeteher onscreen for the only time; it's like a master class in
different approaches to stylizing a performance.

George Robinson
The man who does not read good books
has no advantage over the man who cannot read them.
--Mark Twain
----- Original Message -----
From: "Peter Tonguette"
To:
Sent: Tuesday, October 28, 2003 10:04 PM
Subject: [a_film_by] Cukor's Holiday and The Marrying Kind


> JPC writes:
>
> > I don't think I ever said, or thought, it was "superior". It
> does
> > have a broader range of moods and tones, it is less slick, it has
> > more surprising changes of pace and focus. In one word it seems
> > more "original" -- but not necessarily superior.
>
> Well, I did actually say that I felt that "Holiday" was superior
> to "The Philadelphia Story" and I would cite the reasons JP mentions
> above as well as the way the earlier film functions as a "statement
> of principles," to quote Bill. By contrast, "The Philadelphia Story"
> simply feels a little more impersonal to me; that doesn't make it
> less great, of course, so maybe I should just say that I
> prefer "Holiday" to "The Philadelphia Story."
>
> "The Marrying Kind": I just watched the DVD and holy cow. I think I
> have a new favorite Cukor film. The Decoration Day sequence recently
> mentioned by Fred is indeed very, very great. I can't remember what
> it was that made me take note of this (it was probably a post on
> a_film_by which I can't locate at the moment), but the way in which
> Cukor gradually revealed the tragedy in that scene is simply
> extraordinary. I'm thinking of the shot with Judy Holliday and Aldo
> Ray in the foreground, for a few seconds oblivious to what's
> happening, and a crowd gathering around the water in the background.
> I think that's as fine a use of cinematic space as any movie - new or
> old - that I've seen this year.
>
> Peter
>
>
>
> To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
> a_film_by-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
>
>
>
> Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
>
>
>
>
3379


From: Tag Gallagher
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 4:46am
Subject: Re: Cukor's Holiday and The Marrying Kind
 
Exactly my point. It's about acting.

George Robinson wrote:

> For many years I preferred Holiday to Philadelphia Story but I have to
> admit
> that some of the former play's more maudlin moments have begun to grate on
> me. More than that, I find it endlessly fascinating to watch Grant and
> Stewart togeteher onscreen for the only time; it's like a master class in
> different approaches to stylizing a performance.
>
>
3380


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 5:12am
Subject: Cluny
 
> Lubitsch doesn't? Lubitsch's delicacy shouldn't obscure his
> "debunking." It's hard to think of a sharper denunciation of
> social class than the moment when Lord and Lady Carmel realize
> Cluny Brown is a servant...

Isn't that an amazing scene? - Dan
3381


From: hotlove666
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 6:13am
Subject: Cukor
 
I've never understood why Queer Theory, which is now practically a
department in some colleges, and has produced some excellent writing
about both literature and film, has never shown an interest in Cukor,
a major gay artist in a profession - Hollywood director - that seems
to have been very unwelcoming to gays, whereas there were lots of gay
screenwriters and actors of both sexes. My question is, is Cukor's
sexuality, which was discreet but certainly no secret, part of his
art? It certainly is in my favorite Cukor, Sylvia Scarlett, where
Hepburn causes confusion by dressing as a boy, but where else is it?
I know one obvious part of the answer, but it doesn't take me very
far: lots of directors were good with female stars. And the last shot
of Rich and Famous is making some kind of point. (By the way, Kael,
who was homophobic along with all her other sins, really bashed the
late Cukor films for what she perceived as a gay sensibility, so
obviously she saw one at work there.)

For the sake of "threads," I'll save my comment on film homoeroticism
for the next brief post.
3382


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 6:20am
Subject: Re: Raiders of the Russian Ark
 
> Lubitsch doesn't? Lubitsch's delicacy shouldn't obscure his
> "debunking." It's hard to think of a sharper denunciation of
> social class than the moment when Lord and Lady Carmel realize
> Cluny Brown is a servant...

I think that's a fine moment in a fine film, but a small one in the
Lubitsch oeuvre (that I've seen - all told, twenty movies). Lubitsch
was forever making light of the richies, filthy or otherwise, but it
was a loyal kind of teasing, like a career sailor talking about how
much the Navy sucks.

Anyway, CLUNY (which I like a great deal) gives the rich a few
punches in the shoulder not because it's out to provoke a socialist
revolution, but because it uses the slobs-versus-snobs mechanism to
isolate the two lovers "against the world." After all, the Wilsons
(the pharmacist and his mother) and their friends aren't boo-zhwa
society types, and they come off as equally (or moreso) hateful
towards Cluny and her different-ness (although a different different-
ness than the rich see in her). The movie culminates in the
isolation of Cluny and Adam, together in a low-key, humorous, but
nevertheless near-Borzage-esque operatic pitch; THAT IS WHAT THE
MOVIE HAS BEEN DRIVING TOWARDS. It rejects snobbery at all class
levels for the sake of this one screwball love match, as perfect as
any other.

I resist the idea that R.ARK embraces the upper classes uncritically:
some of the faces (especially in the first few minutes, as we enter
the Hermitage) have a qrotesque quality recovered from Fellini; the
diplomat is undoubtedly an aristocrat type, but his outsider status
almost makes him seem like Rodney Dangerfield Visits An Art Gallery.
Maybe a little thinner, maybe a little more quiet, maybe a little
more knowledgeable about art & history, but nevertheless a stranger
in a strange land. In the film's (and in cinema's) most breathtaking
sequence, he sneaks around carefully arranged ranks of soldiers to
witness the Arabian (correct me? - I can't remember and nobody seems
to have written about it) delegation arriving to receive their
apology, and he's like a little boy creeping around daddy's office,
where serious business takes place.

The point is, his class is effaced completely by his intruder status,
I think. That doesn't make any sense, but damn it all, this film is
a fucking masterpiece and that's that. It's as beautiful as the end
of AU HASARD BALTHAZAR.

And most importantly perhaps, after all this defending, I reject the
idea (per my bringing up Lubitsch) that we must reject films that are
*about* the upperclasses but "fail" to lampoon/satirize/make light
of/attack/etc the same classes. We do not say - oh, yeah, I was
utterly moved but I'll have to take away thirty-seven points for its
failure to spark a socialist revolution.

-Jaime
3383


From: Jaime N. Christley
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 6:26am
Subject: characters subordinated to a plot device
 
Billy Wilder was always reducing the realism of his characters for
the sake of the central engine of his and Diamond's plots; for just
one example of MANY, didn't C.C. Baxter's neighbors in THE APARTMENT
always observe the goings-on inside and outside of his apartment at
*just exactly* the right moments? That's the core of Wilder's most
famous films: the misunderstandings are so precise as to be
completely bullshit altogether. There's no flesh, no one is
breathing, it's all words on a page. How many fascinating things
could we have enjoyed if he didn't direct his scripts; if instead the
director was was an "ill match" for his writing?

At the height of his powers his visuals were a perfect and slick
means to convey his dialogue, his situations, his precise
misunderstandings. His "sloppy" later films are preferable by a
damned mile.

-Jaime
3384


From: hotlove666
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 6:34am
Subject: Homoerotic and homosocial desire
 
An author who took Michel Foucault and did something interesting with
his ideas is Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, whose first book of theory is
called Between Men: English Literature and Male Homosocial Desire. I
would suggest that we use the term she borrows from sociology and
expands on, "homosocial," to talk about Hawks or John Woo or whoever
where it really isn't a question of gay character relationships, for
a reason that Sedgwick spells out in the introduction to that book:
Whereas there is a continuum of practices for women ranging from
loving women to being friends with women to mentoring women and
partnering with women in the professional world, the equivalent for
males - the "old boy network," which turns up in all sorts of male
bonding situations from the army to the police to politics to
business - is a fractured continuum where homophobia is part of the
bonding, an assymetry which has to do with the fact that we live in a
patriarchy, a society where men are on top.

Her gesture in talking about male homosocial desire is subversive
because it restores the continuum and connects men loving men with
all sorts of other social situations portrayed in the English novel
(her specialty) where men bond strongly with men for professional and
social reasons and something that is best called "homosocial desire"
is always at work, often coupled, paradoxically, with blatant and
even violent rejection of homosexuality. "Homosocial" seems to be a
much more accurate term to describe that kind of bonding - the
subject of hundreds and hundreds of films - than "homoerotic," which
always suggests more than what the films show or imply: There's no
possibility of John Wayne and Ricky Nelson (or Dean Martin) being
lovers in Rio Bravo, but there are strong bonds between them which
mirror love ties. I respectfully submit that "homosocial" is the
correct adjective, and that it would permit discussion of this
(apparently) very cinematic topic to go beyond the obvious dead end
that you hit when you are calling something "homoerotic" which not
only isn't but couldn't be by the very nature the society and
characters being portrayed in the film, whether it be a samurai epic
or a cop thriller. That still leaves the door open for subversion of
those societies, as in the last Oshima film, for example.
3385


From: hotlove666
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 6:43am
Subject: Cukor and Lubitsch and...Cimino?
 
Both situate their favored characters outside the class structure.
The ideas expressed in Sylvia Scarlett, where the con men (and women)
see themseleves as a breed apart, and Holiday are really very close
to the ideas the leads in Trouble in Paradise or Design for Living
have about themselves.

Another director who does this fairly explicitly is Cimino, oddly
enough. The three main characters in Heaven's Gate are outside the
classes and professions which would otherwise define them
(prostitute, lawman born to great wealth, hired gun).
3386


From: hotlove666
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 6:45am
Subject: Wilder
 
A brilliant metteur-en-scene of his own ideas as an auteur, but not a
cineaste. Definitions to come.
3387


From: Paul Gallagher
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 7:48am
Subject: Re: Cukor
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666" wrote:
> My question is, is Cukor's
> sexuality, which was discreet but certainly no secret, part of his
> art?

Richard Lippe discusses this briefly in CineAction! (Summer/Fall
1990). "Cukor's identity as a gay person is a crucial factor when
considering his films... Unlike a heterosexual male director who
can confidently give expression to his sexual identity knowing that
the orientation has a public acceptance, Cukor's orientation at
times inhibited a direct self-expression; in turn, the initial
auteurist critics perceived this as an insufficient personal
involvement on his part."

He mentions Andrew Britton's argument in "Katherine Hepburn: The
Thirties and After," that Hepburn's character in "Little Women" is
implicitly constructed as lesbian, and her character in "Holiday"
is implicitly bisexual. Liddle also thinks supporting male characters
in "Little Woman" and "Sylvia Scarlett" are sexually ambiguous,
while "Adam's Rib" "encourages the viewer to read [David Wayne's]
character as homosexual while insisting he is heterosexual." Also,
in "A Star is Born," unlike the character in the earlier Wellman
version, James Mason's character is "racked by insecurities"
about his masculine identity.

In addition Cukor refused to direct "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" because
the studio insisted on removing play's homosexual implications.

Paul
3388


From: jaketwilson
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 8:38am
Subject: Re: Cukor
 
> He mentions Andrew Britton's argument in "Katherine Hepburn: The
> Thirties and After," that Hepburn's character in "Little Women" is
> implicitly constructed as lesbian, and her character in "Holiday"
> is implicitly bisexual. Liddle also thinks supporting male
characters
> in "Little Woman" and "Sylvia Scarlett" are sexually ambiguous,
> while "Adam's Rib" "encourages the viewer to read [David Wayne's]
> character as homosexual while insisting he is heterosexual." Also,
> in "A Star is Born," unlike the character in the earlier Wellman
> version, James Mason's character is "racked by insecurities"
> about his masculine identity.

There's also a quite interesting queer reading of THE WOMEN in
Alexander Doty's book FLAMING CLASSICS - if memory serves, Doty sees
the Rosalind Russell character as resembling a drag queen by
comparison with the others.

JTW

PS: By the way, apologies for woolliness in my last post re Kanin &
Gordon -- I was mainly trying to see if I'd correctly interpreted
Dan's point, which he probably made more clearly than I did.
3389


From: Adrian Martin
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 0:50pm
Subject: Biette on the Net
 
I'm not sure if anyone has mentioned this already, but a sizeable portion of
Jean-Claude Biette's text on the different senses of filmmaker, auteur, etc
- the text Bill has often tantalisingly referred to in this group - is
readable in French on the Net at:

http://www.pol-editeur.fr/
3390


From: bfimichael
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 1:41pm
Subject: By way of introduction
 
Hi all,

It seems to be appropriate to make one's first post a formal
introduction, so here goes!

Many of you may know me already from Cinemasters or various Usenet
newsgroups in the late 1990s, but for those who don't, here's a quick
rundown: my resumé includes six years booking and marketing hugely
eclectic double and triple bills for the late lamented Everyman
Cinema (it still exists, but it's just another first-run venue now),
a less than wonderful experience co-producing a low-budget feature
and my current position at the British Film Institute.

There, I primarily develop content for the Screenonline project
(http://www.screenonline.org.uk), a multimedia website covering the
whole of British film and television history. It's officially
launching in about a month, but Google has already found it, so
there's not much point keeping it secret any more. (Caveats: we're
still filling in gaps and tying up loose ends, and the video material
is completely unavailable outside the UK and restricted to schools,
colleges and libraries within it - there's no way round this, so
please don't ask!).

I'm also the creator of the website Jan Svankmajer: Alchemist of the
Surreal (http://www.illumin.co.uk/svank), which I'm well aware
desperately needs an update, and have written extensively about
cinema both online (DVD Times, Videovista, Bullets'n'Babes, various
discussion groups) and off (Sight & Sound).

I'm never that fond of list-making, but in circumstances like these
it's a good means of giving some idea of my interests: let's just say
that were we ever to discuss Lindsay Anderson, Ingmar Bergman,
Walerian Borowczyk, Robert Bresson, Luis Buñuel, Tim Burton, David
Cronenberg, Federico Fellini, Alfred Hitchcock, Aki Kaurismäki,
Buster Keaton, Krzysztof Kieslowski, David Lynch, Guy Maddin, Yuri
Norstein, Sergo Paradjanov, Roman Polanski, Jean Renoir, Nicolas
Roeg, Ken Russell, Jan Svankmajer, Andrei Tarkovsky or Wong Kar-Wai
(to name an off-the-top-of-my-head but hopefully representative
selection), I hope I'd be able to come up with a reasonably informed
opinion. But time will tell...

Michael
http://www.screenonline.org.uk
3391


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 2:09pm
Subject: Re: Homoerotic and homosocial desire
 
"That still leaves the door open for subversion of
those societies, as in the last Oshima film, for
example."

This is precisely why Oshima's film is so subversive
in a contemporary context. Most interstingly of all it
posits beauty as inherently destructive -- leading to
the film's great last shot.

Eve Segdwick is interesting, but nowhere near as
interesting as Foucault himself.

Your take on the "homoseocial" in hawks is quite
correct. Fassbinder, when he saw the films as a youth,
read them as gay. Likewise he read the gay subtext of
"Berling Alexanderplatz" as a primary text.Making his
film/mini-seris was largely an exercise in working
that disparity out.



--- hotlove666 wrote:


__________________________________
Do you Yahoo!?
Exclusive Video Premiere - Britney Spears
http://launch.yahoo.com/promos/britneyspears/
3392


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 2:17pm
Subject: Re: Cukor
 
"I've never understood why Queer Theory, which is now
practically a
department in some colleges, and has produced some
excellent writing
about both literature and film, has never shown an
interest in Cukor"

Mainly because of the leaps and bounds made by
EXPLICITLY gay filmmakers like Todd Haynes, Gus Van
Sant, Patrice Chereau, Andre Techine, etc. Looking for
the "gay subtext' of the past seems to many of little
interest by comparasion. On a political level this
means the difference between gay life as defined by
the closet as opposed to those who've broken out of it
or were never in it to begin with.

Cukor is an enormously important director and central
to Hollywood for many different reasons, but there's
not really all that much to be gotten out of him in a
gay studies context in terms of today.

And in terms of the past, Whale is a whole lot
"queerer."
--- hotlove666 wrote:


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3393


From: jerome_gerber
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 2:20pm
Subject: Re: Cukor
 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
wrote:
. My question is, is Cukor's
> sexuality, which was discreet but certainly no secret, part of his
> art? It certainly is in my favorite Cukor, Sylvia Scarlett, where
> Hepburn causes confusion by dressing as a boy, but where
else is it?

Here's a thought. The post office sections of THE MARRYING
KIND struck me as distinctly homosocial ...older men
sheparding a younger man yet with more sensitivity than a
straight director would perhaps exhibit. Also Chet's drunken
dream...off the bed and down the shoots of the Post Office.

Or am I reading too much into it?
3394


From: Nick Wrigley
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 3:07pm
Subject: Another introduction
 
Two Brits in one day!

I've been lurking for a week or so, might as well introduce myself too.

I edit www.mastersofcinema.org as well as curating sites about Ozu and
Dreyer ( www.ozuyasujiro.com and www.carldreyer.com ).

My local arthouse cinema has cramped seats (they're new too!) and I am
6ft 4" so I don't go there much. Since I gained my film degree in 1997
I rely very heavily on DVDs.

Films that I've seen for the first time this year which blew me away -
SATANTANGO (Tarr) and THE RED AND THE WHITE (Jancso).

I'm amazed by DVD and what it means for rare films. This year alone I
feel drunk on beauty:

Chaplin boxset (R2 PAL of course)
SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE (R2 UK)
LATE AUTUMN (R3 HK)
SUNRISE (R1)
M (2 x disc, UK)
UMBERTO D (Criterion)
+ many more

-Nick Wrigley>-
3395


From: hotlove666
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 3:14pm
Subject: Re: Cukor
 
As I slept, my question about Cukor was being answered with many
interesting posts. Jerome, I don't think your reading of The Marrying
Kind is outlandish at all, and it's a great example of what can be
done with the much more flexible concept of homosocial bonding.
Thanks!
3396


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 3:18pm
Subject: Cluny
 
> I think that's a fine moment in a fine film, but a small one in the
> Lubitsch oeuvre (that I've seen - all told, twenty movies). Lubitsch
> was forever making light of the richies, filthy or otherwise, but it
> was a loyal kind of teasing, like a career sailor talking about how
> much the Navy sucks.
>
> Anyway, CLUNY (which I like a great deal) gives the rich a few
> punches in the shoulder not because it's out to provoke a socialist
> revolution, but because it uses the slobs-versus-snobs mechanism to
> isolate the two lovers "against the world." After all, the Wilsons
> (the pharmacist and his mother) and their friends aren't boo-zhwa
> society types, and they come off as equally (or moreso) hateful
> towards Cluny and her different-ness (although a different different-
> ness than the rich see in her).

One of the most striking things about the scene in question is how
utterly graceful the mother is after discovering Cluny's social station,
and how she is able to restore the class order without cruelty - she's
even rather kind, in a firm way.

The Wilsons are climbing up from the working class, and Lubitsch and the
screenwriters (whose other credits include LAURA and HIS BUTLER'S
SISTER) perceive these relatively insecure (socially speaking)
characters as being more likely to play rough when enforcing the social
order. (Also witness the inflexible classism of the house staff at the
Carmels.) Whereas more entrenched power bestows the leisure to be gracious.

Not exactly left-wing, but it rings true for me. - Dan
3397


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 3:26pm
Subject: Re: Re: Cukor
 
> He mentions Andrew Britton's argument in "Katherine Hepburn: The
> Thirties and After," that Hepburn's character in "Little Women" is
> implicitly constructed as lesbian, and her character in "Holiday"
> is implicitly bisexual.

After a certain point in her career, Hepburn comes across a bit mannish
- but I wonder what Britton is thinking of with regard to HOLIDAY.

> Liddle also thinks supporting male characters
> in "Little Woman" and "Sylvia Scarlett" are sexually ambiguous

It's often been observed that the gayness of Rex O'Malley's character in
CAMILLE was less disguised than was usual for the time. - Dan
3398


From: hotlove666
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 3:30pm
Subject: Re: Lubitsch
 
Dan, There's also a novel of Cluny Brown. Factor in the fact that
Lubitsch was a Jewish tailor's son, who started in film playing a
comic upstart character named Meyer. I haven't seen any of the
Meyers, but Bernard Eisenschitz says they're very revealing.
3399


From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 3:39pm
Subject: Re: Re: Cukor
 
I think you're reading too much into it.

--- jerome_gerber wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
> wrote:
> . My question is, is Cukor's
> > sexuality, which was discreet but certainly no
> secret, part of his
> > art? It certainly is in my favorite Cukor, Sylvia
> Scarlett, where
> > Hepburn causes confusion by dressing as a boy, but
> where
> else is it?
>
> Here's a thought. The post office sections of THE
> MARRYING
> KIND struck me as distinctly homosocial ...older men
>
> sheparding a younger man yet with more sensitivity
> than a
> straight director would perhaps exhibit. Also Chet's
> drunken
> dream...off the bed and down the shoots of the Post
> Office.
>
> Or am I reading too much into it?
>
>


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3400


From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Wed Oct 29, 2003 3:49pm
Subject: Re: Re: Lubitsch
 
> Dan, There's also a novel of Cluny Brown.

It's sitting here next to me, but I've only read about 10 pages of it.
My initial impression is that basic elements of the story, both plot and
theme, come from the novel, but that the tone is wildly different.

> Factor in the fact that
> Lubitsch was a Jewish tailor's son, who started in film playing a
> comic upstart character named Meyer. I haven't seen any of the
> Meyers, but Bernard Eisenschitz says they're very revealing.

I've seen some of the Meyer films, which deal with class issues in a
more cheerful and single-perspective way. I think it's fair to say that
the films ask the audience to enjoy both Solly's crudeness and his
ultimate triumph - which can be said about a great many comedies, of
course. - Dan

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