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27101   From: "samfilms2003"
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 0:16am
Subject: Re: Vulcans vs. Empaths (Was Auteurs, Canon, Pleasure and Change)  samfilms2003


 
> When I saw "Yi Yi", Empath that I am, when a character got fired, I
> experienced getting fired along with him. When a character had a
> family tragedy, I seemed to experience that tragedy. It was a rough
> and miserable way to feel. I assumed that 1) all viewers felt these
> things; and 2) the main goal of the film was to torture its audience,
> putting themn through a sadistic wringer of as many bad experiences
> as possible.

Were you fired as a result of seeing this film ??
Have you ever been fired, experience tragedy ?

I'd sound like a wise-ass if I said "and didn't you live through it ?"
But I'm truly at a loss for words here.

> I find it hard to imagine that anyone who experienced "Yi Yi" as I
> did would regard it as anything but an awful experience.

Quite the contrary in this case. I was if anything exhilarated, for
the reasons I (and Fred) gave.

-Sam
27102  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 0:33am
Subject: Frank Rich on "Advise and Consent"  cellar47


 
It's timelier than ever.

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/05/15/opinion/15rich.html?hp



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27103  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Sat May 14, 2005 8:59pm
Subject: Re: Vulcans vs. Empaths (Was Auteurs, Canon, Pleasure and Cha...  nzkpzq


 
In a message dated 05-05-14 20:17:49 EDT, Sam writes:

<< Have you ever been fired, experience tragedy ?>>

Yes. The film brought back painful memories.

<< But I'm truly at a loss for words here. >>

Please don't be at a loss for words - all I'm trying to do is open
communication.
I am just trying to explain why this film seemed like such a Bum Trip.
If we don't talk to each other, we will never understand different points of
view.

Mike Grost
27104  
From: LiLiPUT1@...
Date: Sat May 14, 2005 9:19pm
Subject: Re: Re: No Name on the Bullet (Jack Arnold)  scil1973


 
In a message dated 5/14/05 6:29:51 PM, lukethedealer@... writes:


> Or are you perhaps just kissing off a bunch of films
> signed Sherman, Fregonese, Juran, Mate, Hibbs, Hopper, Bartlett, Haas,
> Keller, Biberman, et al. because it's easier that way?
>

Did all these directors work for Universal?

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27105  
From: "Brian Charles Dauth"
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 1:48am
Subject: Re: Auteurs, Canon, Pleasure and Change  cinebklyn


 
Fred writes:

> . . . it seems to me a given that there are
different forms and different degrees of
pleasure.

Agreed. I am certainly a pluralist when it
comes to pleasure. What I think it is
important to avoid is turning personal
hierarchies into universal catergories
of pleasure and definitions of great art.

> Sorry, the fact that a few artists have deeply
moved many people while the great majority of
artists from any period are forgotten certainly
does offer some pretty convincing evidence
about the works and the people, in my view.

I am a Humean when it comes to casuality.
There is no evidence that there is anything
inherent in these works that drives people
toward them. As for being remembered, it
seems to have more to do with cultural
training than inherent value.

> You feel like you are seeing the world
through the mind of another person, and in
a way not idiosyncratic to your tastes and
ideas. Thus you are taken out of yourself.

How can one be taken out of oneself?
If consciousness arises out of the wiring
of the human brain, how can one escape
it?

> This hardly ever happens to me
"completely" -- I retain some of my tastes
and preferences during the viewing
experience -- but the core of the
aesthetic effect lies in this visionary
"seizing."

With respect, this seems more a religious
experience than an aesthetic one. I
remember wondering why Miss Amelia
got up and shook and danced in the
aisle at church, and I was told she had
been "seized" by the spirit.

> It's "transpersonal" because it could happen
to anyone, and doesn't depend on the
personality of the viewer . . .

You keep assert this as if it were truth, much like
Christians assert that there is one one god if
only people would open themselves up to it.
I am suspicious of both propositions since they
seem more like power pronouncemenstr than
statements of universal truth.

> you lose the specifics of your tastes and
become more like other humans.

How does one lose his personality? What exact
mechanism is involved in this process. Forgive
me for being dense, but you keep describing
what happens without explaining the process.

Brian
27106  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 2:38am
Subject: Re: No Name on the Bullet (Jack Arnold)  jpcoursodon


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Blake Lucas"
wrote:
>
>
> I may not (and do not) "love 'em all." I am close to having seen
them
> all. Are you? Or are you perhaps just kissing off a bunch of
films
> signed Sherman, Fregonese, Juran, Mate, Hibbs, Hopper, Bartlett,
Haas,
> Keller, Biberman, et al. because it's easier that way? I
personally
> don't think that if I have a chance to defend, say Richard
Bartlett's
> Joe Dakota or Abner Biberman's Gun for a Coward in a_film_by, it in
> any way undermines the magisterial contribution to the genre of a
> Budd Boetticher, nor do I think that circumstances of production,
> which can be helpful and encouraging even in films like the
Ranowns,
> in any way diminish his individuality or anyone's.


Wow Blake, this brings back fond memories of French cinephilia
circa mid to late fifties. ALL the directors you mentioned above had
an entry in our "20 ANS DE CINEMA AMERICAIN" (1961). Tavernier was
and still is a big fan of Richard Bartlett (unfortunately I have
never seen "Joe Dakota"). JPC
27107  
From: "Noel Vera"
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 3:08am
Subject: A Tale of Two Sisters  noelbotevera


 
http://journals.aol.com/noelbotevera/MyJournal/entries/761
27108  
From: "hotlove666"
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 3:15am
Subject: Re: No Name on the Bullet (Jack Arnold)  hotlove666


 
Blake Lucas" wrote:

> I may not (and do not) "love 'em all." I am close to having seen
them
> all. Are you?

Nope, and I'd welcome the (time and) opportunity to do so. I'll sure
ubscribe to the Western Channel when I finally pack it in. I know I'd
enjoy seeing them, as I enjoy the smaller group of Uni scifiers
pretty in toto.

I wasn't dumping on Uni westerns, just alluding to traits I see in
the ones I've seen that add up to "institutional clutter": the prop
dept, costume dept, standing sets that are recycled as part of the
style, leading to a certain "busy-ness"; the Uni research dept, which
it seems could always be counted on for a bit of authentic historical
context, and the influence of Freud in H'wd in the 50s, which simply
became part of writers' baggage in constructing stories.

(Even a blacklistee like Zimet [not a contract writer anywhere] does
it in the script for Naked Dawn, and Ulmer just strips away anything
that could rationalize the characters' behavior, including dimestore
Freud, unwittingly recovering the originality of Zimet's inspiration,
Gorki's first short story Keltash [which Ulmer may not have known -
if he did, it would be because he happened to have read it, not
because he was told].)

My sample is not enough to generalize about the studio style, but re:
Boetticher, it is, because it applies to all the westerns HE made for
Universal. I do think it helps to see how a director handles not only
a genre but a studio style, and I will stick to my assertion that the
tabula rasa approach to westerns in the Ranowns was a wiping clean of
a particular tabula, the Universal western studio style, which BB
knew well, and not "the western" in general.

So after leaving Uni, which almost made an alcoholic of him, Budd
made a western set in the middle of nowhere with no reference to
History and unconscious meanings that are dissolved in the
action "like salt in the sea," to quote Bazin, as opposed to being
spelled out in dialogue. And even though a couple of the Ranowns are
town westerns, they apply the same stripped-down story and visual
esthetic as the ones that are set in Lone Pine, Budd's Zabriskie
Point.

> All of which is by way of saying I recommended No Name on the
Bullet
> as one film, and as others come up within this context, it will be
>the same way.

So do I, but I see a similar push toward abstraction at work in Red
Dawn and No Name, Seven Men from Now and even Naked Dawn, where the
script's remarks about the bandit looking for a son are junked and
the references to the Revolution seem more deeply felt somehow than,
say, the references to the Seminole Wars in Seminole.

Personally I have nothing against including studio style in analysis
of single films - Woman on the Beach is what it is in part because of
RKO; North by Northwest is bit like an MGM musical, etc.
27109  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 4:26am
Subject: Re: Re: Auteurs, Canon, Pleasure and Change  sallitt1


 
> One thing that is begining to occur to me. I almost always identify with the
> characters on the scren, and feel whatever they are feeling. This works both
> for pleasure and for pain.
> Maybe other people do not experience films in this same way.

You're definitely on to something.

I don't think it's an on/off switch. Everyone has some stuff they can't
watch because it creates too many bad feelings. Some people have more hot
buttons, some fewer. Some people's hot buttons are temporary, while their
lives are in a certain state.

I can think of two explanations for why people might want to watch bad
things happening to a fictional character on screen - one explanation that
I used to believe, and one that I'm coming to believe:

1) "Artistic distance": our knowledge that the fiction is fiction makes it
possible for us to enter into some state of elevated consciousness, so
that tragedy can be rewarding. (A religious variation on this argument
exists: God's attitude toward our suffering is like our attitude toward a
fictional character's suffering.)

2) Part of us likes to see people suffer.

Similarly, there are two explanations for why we might have a hot button:

1) We just don't want to imagine anyone suffering this way.

2) Part of us wants people to suffer this way too much, and another part
of us has violently repressed the first part, which causes consternation
when the subject arises.

At any rate, artists happily construct art based on scenarios of
suffering. If we can't appreciate some of this art, we just can't
appreciate it. I personally get upset when some artificial plot
contrivance separates the lovers in act two. There goes almost every film
that old and new Hollywood has every made! I still have to force myself
to cope with this problem.

- Dan
27110  
From: "peckinpah20012000"
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 4:35pm
Subject: Merrill's Marauders in letterbox.  peckinpah200...


 
Can anyone make me a VHS copy of this film in widescreen since I'm
interviewing Ty Hardin in Memphis next month and my copy has been
mislaid? I'll reimburse for postage etc.

Thanks,

Tony Williams
27111  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 4:49pm
Subject: Re: Merrill's Marauders in letterbox.  cellar47


 
Ty Hardin! WOW!

Ask him about George Cukor.

Carefully.


--- peckinpah20012000
wrote:
> Can anyone make me a VHS copy of this film in
> widescreen since I'm
> interviewing Ty Hardin in Memphis next month and my
> copy has been
> mislaid? I'll reimburse for postage etc.
>
> Thanks,
>
> Tony Williams
>
>
>



Yahoo! Mail
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27112  
From: "peckinpah20012000"
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 4:52pm
Subject: Re: Merrill's Marauders in letterbox.  peckinpah200...


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
> Ty Hardin! WOW!
>
> Ask him about George Cukor.
>
> Carefully.
>
>
> Oh, I certainly will treating him with the same care as Kubrick
did with Lee Ermey on FULL METAL JACKET. BTW, David, you wouldn't
happen to have a scope VHS copy of THE CHAPMAN REPORT which, I'm
told, contains a rare comic perfomance from Bronco?

>
> > Tony Williams
> >
> >
> >
>
>
>
> Yahoo! Mail
> Stay connected, organized, and protected. Take the tour:
> http://tour.mail.yahoo.com/mailtour.html
27113  
From: "Blake Lucas"
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 4:58pm
Subject: Re: No Name on the Bullet (Jack Arnold)  lukethedealer12


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:
>
> In a message dated 5/14/05 6:29:51 PM, lukethedealer@j... writes:
>
> > > Or are you perhaps just kissing off a bunch of films
> > signed Sherman, Fregonese, Juran, Mate, Hibbs, Hopper, Bartlett,
Haas,
> > Keller, Biberman, et al. because it's easier that way?
> >
>
> Did all these directors work for Universal?
>
Yes, and I'll give a fuller answer than you asked for to this
question, in hopes it may have some interest.

In the 1950s, the studio had 20 directors I consider as its core
directors, who made at least 4 films there, either under contract
or in some non-exclusive deal that called for a series of films.
Here is how it breaks down by number of films per director.

Joseph Pevney 25
Douglas Sirk 21
George Sherman 19
Charles Lamont 16
Jack Arnold 15
Frederick de Cordova 11
Jesse Hibbs 11
Budd Boetticher 9
Jerry Hopper 8
Arthur Lubin 8
Abner Biberman 7
Nathan Juran 7
Harry Keller 7
Rudolph Mate 6
Richard Bartlett 5
Hugo Fregonese 5
Anthony Mann 5
Blake Edwards 4
Charles Haas 4
Kurt Neumann 4

There are also 10 core producers, with 7 or more films.

Leonard Goldstein 40
Aaron Rosenberg 32
Howard Christie 21*
Ross Hunter 21
William Alland 20
Albert J. Cohen 20
Robert Arthur 20*
Ted Richmond 19
Albert Zugsmith 14
Gordon Kay 7

(*includes shared credit on at least one film).

The producers are interesting in large part because of relationships
with certain directors in some instances. For example, all of Mann's
five were produced by Aaron Rosenberg (and starred James Stewart)
--clearly a special deal (from which all three received great career
benefit). Rosenberg is a good example of a very nurturing producer.
He was the only one of four above that Boetticher liked, and his
credits include some very wonderful movies by auteurist favorites
who made 1-3 movies at the studio, like "Man Without a Star,"
directed by King Vidor, and the glorious "The World in His Arms"
(Raoul Walsh).

Why am I interested in this? I don't know. But maybe it's good that
someone in the world is. It is just one corner of my interest in
cinema, of course, but a real one.

Fond childhood memories play a part no doubt, but my efforts to see
the films again as a an adult--with which I've done pretty well
despite long periods of unavailability (the studio frankly does next
to nothing to promote this part of their library and was for a long
time notorious for not making new prints--though this may be
changing)--have revealed many films that are surprisingly beautiful,
deeper than one might have thought despite their alleged "matinee
picture" status, and a fair number of gifted directors, some of them
still virtually unnoticed. One name obviously jumps out on the
above director's list, and though I realize that Fred Camper may be
already be hopping on a plane to Anarctica as he reads this, I hope
he'll come back some time and allow me to debate how Sirk not only
created his own films at the studio but also wound up inflecting the
studio style more pervasively, while at the same time benefitting
from being there and finally peaking in his last five years because
of the place he made for himself there--"The Tarnished Angels" (and
Sirk had wanted to do Faulkner's novel since he was in Germany)
would never have been made without Sirk being at U-I, nor would it
ever have been as good if somehow it had been made elsewhere earlier
in his career.

Blake Lucas
27114  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 5:30pm
Subject: Re: Re: Merrill's Marauders in letterbox.  cellar47


 
--- peckinpah20012000
wrote:
BTW, David,
> you wouldn't
> happen to have a scope VHS copy of THE CHAPMAN
> REPORT which, I'm
> told, contains a rare comic perfomance from Bronco?
>
No I don't and I wish he did.

He was quite fetching.




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27115  
From: "Blake Lucas"
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 5:44pm
Subject: Re: No Name on the Bullet (Jack Arnold)  lukethedealer12


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jpcoursodon"
wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Blake Lucas"

> wrote:
> >
> > signed Sherman, Fregonese, Juran, Mate, Hibbs, Hopper, Bartlett,
> Haas,
> > Keller, Biberman, et al. because it's easier that way? I
> personally
> > don't think that if I have a chance to defend, say Richard
> Bartlett's
> > Joe Dakota or Abner Biberman's Gun for a Coward in a_film_by, it
in
> > any way undermines the magisterial contribution to the genre of a
> > Budd Boetticher>
>
> Wow Blake, this brings back fond memories of French cinephilia
> circa mid to late fifties. ALL the directors you mentioned above
had
> an entry in our "20 ANS DE CINEMA AMERICAIN" (1961). Tavernier was
> and still is a big fan of Richard Bartlett (unfortunately I have
> never seen "Joe Dakota"). JPC

That's really nice to read, JPC.

Some of what I might have said is in previous reply to Kevin, but
just let me respond specifically to this.

I never saw 20 ANS but do know 30 ANS and it's my memory that at
least most if not all of the entries on the above directors stayed
in for that edition. I do remember that the one on Richard Bartlett
was very positive ("Plainly, Bartlett has the sense of cinema..."--
something like that). If Tavernier knew him better, that would
explain why you didn't respond to a query about Bartlett by Dan a
couple of months ago (I had just joined, was uncertain about how
to post replies, and in fact missed it until he told me about it a
few weeks later). Because I had thought, "I wonder why JPC didn't
answer that?..."

Just out of curiosity, is there anyone you ever personally favored
among those names, in that era of "French cinephila circa mid to
late 50s?" Though I have liked movies by all of them, to greater
or lesser degree, there are three I especially favor, for Westerns
and also in a broader auteurist view, and that's George Sherman,
Hugo Fregonese--and Richard Bartlett.

My five Bartlett tapes are all on loan to someone else in the group
at this time, loaned on a "no rush" basis. But when I do have them
back would be glad to loan any to you, including "Joe Dakota,"
"I've Lived Before," "Slim Carter," and "Money, Women and Guns" (one
of cinema's best ever titles). Those are the U-I ones--"Two-Gun
Lady" which was made earlier has been playing the Western channel
and you may be able to see that one sooner.

By the way, if anyone ever gets a line on how to see Bartlett's last
film, a documentary called "The Gentle People and the Peaceful Land"
(about the Pennsylvania Amish), please let me know.

Blake
27116  
From: "thebradstevens"
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 6:08pm
Subject: Re: Merrill's Marauders in letterbox.  thebradstevens


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "peckinpah20012000"
wrote:

"Can anyone make me a VHS copy of this film in widescreen since I'm
interviewing Ty Hardin in Memphis next month and my copy has been
mislaid? I'll reimburse for postage etc.

I have a copy letterboxed at a compromised 1.85 ratio, if that's any
help.

BTW, David, you wouldn't
> happen to have a scope VHS copy of THE CHAPMAN REPORT which, I'm
> told, contains a rare comic perfomance from Bronco?

THE CHAPMAN REPORT wasn't a Scope film.
27117  
From: Fred Camper
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 6:11pm
Subject: Re: Re: Auteurs, Canon, Pleasure and Change  fredcamper


 
I was somewhat startled to read Mike's and Dan's posts on characters and
empathy, since reading them underlined for me how "different" my views
seem to be from those of most cinephiles.

I agree that the mechanisms described exist. I feel them too. I don't
want to see bad things happen to good people. I usually dislike extreme
violence. I have trouble watching injections -- which made the injection
scene in Franju's "Head Against the Walls" not only hard for me to
watch, but in a way, greater, for being more painful. I also dislike
nasty people, such as the Mike Hammer character in "Kiss Me Deadly," and
including almost everyone else in that film except for Christina, the
woman who appears in the opening and, perhaps, Nick the mechanic. Velma
has her good points, but then why is she partners in more ways than one
with scumbag Mike? Yet the film is incredibly great, and incredibly
beautiful, an apocalyptic vision in which values are wiped away, a
vision of our nation's obsessions with speed, sex, and money as
obliterating all traditions. And it's a sexy film too, the raincoat girl
Cristina "rhyming" in a way with its pliable, sensuous, plastic though
dark and disorienting spaces.

My point is, while liking or disliking characters or plots may have
everything to do with how much I enjoy or don't enjoy a film with an
uninteresting style, these things have virtually nothing to with my
response to a great film, or with what I love about cinema.

Admittedly, subject-matter that pushes one's buttons negatively can
interfere with an appreciation of a film's style, but I think the
viewer's task is not to remain stuck in his own tastes, but struggle to
over come them. Perhaps this is the coping Dan refers to when faced with
plots he dislikes.

Mike, have you seen "Kiss Me Deadly"? Where does it fit in your system?
Films like that, or like the "The 1000 Eyes of Dr. Mabuse" by Fritz
Lang, do not have positive characters we can love. The style creates a
vision, a mechanism, a cosmos, that's great in the same way classical
music is great. I kind of take that as a given. Whether one likes or
doesn't like the characters or story is nearly irrelevant, because those
things are inseparable from the style, which transforms them and gives
them meaning.

I remember being totally baffled by a friend's reaction to the ending of
"Mouchette" at its New York premiere. He was disturbed that it was so
negative. Say what? Artists' job is to give us visions, to include the
positive and the negative aspects of their psyches or our collective
psyches, or in Freudian terms to give us both Eros and Thanatos, the
life and death drives. Why? Because that's what the world is like, and
that's what most of our brains are like too. If an artist wants to veer
in one direction or the other, that's fine too, because no artist gives
a complete picture of anything other than his or her world. You prefer
paradise without inferno, or inferno without paradise? Fine. It's
aesthetic form that transforms vision and makes it "true," not our
empathy with characters, which makes film an art.

To be blunt, I thought that was the whole point of auteurism.

Fred Camper
27118  
From: "samfilms2003"
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 6:30pm
Subject: Re: Vulcans vs. Empaths (Was Auteurs, Canon, Pleasure and Cha...  samfilms2003


 
> Please don't be at a loss for words - all I'm trying to do is open
> communication.
> I am just trying to explain why this film seemed like such a Bum Trip.
> If we don't talk to each other, we will never understand different points of
> view.

OK fair enough. Well I can't make you like "Yi Yi" - if you don't you don't,
I can only say why I did (which was stated briefly in my reply), or that I
concur with what Fred said, or I could cite Jonathan R's review. etc.

I'll point out the characters survive these experiences (even - spoiler risk ?
- I don't think so) - with the Grandmother, where *something* does survive.
Perhaps I take a quasi religious approach to "Yi Yi" ? I'm not sure if I do,
or not -- can I just say that as a quote unquote non-religious person
I would nonetheless regard "Yi Yi" in a light similar to that which I might
regard -- Bresson ?

Do **I** belive then, that "all is grace" ? I would put it this way: I can experience
a Bresson film *open to that term* and that consideration is for me, as
valid - as it were - as being open to experiencing the moving figures of
projected light AS something we can call characters in the first place,
even with the contractual game of the fictive nature of those figures manifested.

I suppose the reductio-ad-absurdum here might be exemplified by
the dialog exchange in "Weekend" --

"They're fictional characters"

"Then why are they crying ?"

And in truth, Mike -- I found that scene quite moving, actually ( & "Weekend"
is a film that has grown on me over time") but at the same time, am I not
being "had" a bit by Godard here ?

I guess I can say that I can only appreciate the button-pushing of charcter
identification if the buttons have moral, aesthetic purpose - which I might
claim IS the ritual agenda of tragedy - or, that the buttons reveal the fact
of the sewing, so to speak....

-Sam Wells
27119  
From: "Elizabeth Anne Nolan"
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 7:06pm
Subject: Palindromes  eanmdphd


 
I saw only one message about Palindromes (directors who love/hate
their characters thread).

Has anyone seen Palindromes?

It is slow at times, the sequence of different actor/actresses for
the AVIVA wore thin for me
... although we are all different, we share common experiences?



The line "pedophiles love children" is perhaps too resonant given the
MJackson trial.

Elizabeth
27120  
From: "Blake Lucas"
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 7:27pm
Subject: Re: The Chapman Report (Was:Merrill's Marauders in letterbox)  lukethedealer12


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
>
> --- peckinpah20012000
> wrote:
> BTW, David,
> > you wouldn't
> > happen to have a scope VHS copy of THE CHAPMAN
> > REPORT which, I'm
> > told, contains a rare comic perfomance from Bronco?
> >
> No I don't and I wish he did.
>
> He was quite fetching.
>
Ty Hardin indeed gives a fine, very amusing performance in
THE CHAPMAN REPORT in the Glynis Johns part of the movie,
under the direction of George Cukor no less. For those
who haven't seen this, it follows four women--Jane Fonda,
Claire Bloom, Glynis Johns and Shelley Winters--in their
sexual lives, revealed because of a Kinsey type research
situation. It's felt to be compromised--especially in
the Claire Bloom sequences, which suffered some truncation (she
plays a nymphomaniac, or at least very promiscuous, as I recall),
but still is an often very beautiful piece of 'Scope and color
cinema. I found the Shelley Winters adultery part of the movie
(with Harold J. Stone as her husband and Ray Danton, no less, as
her lover) to be very moving.



>
>
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27121  
From: "Blake Lucas"
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 7:36pm
Subject: Re: Merrill's Marauders in letterbox.  lukethedealer12


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "thebradstevens"
wrote:

> THE CHAPMAN REPORT wasn't a Scope film.

It seems my memory erred on this too, maybe because Cukor's use
of Scope was so good in BHOWANI JUNCTION and LES GIRLS.

Thanks for pointing this out--because it is out there on VHS
I'm fairly certain (should be at Eddie Brandt's as I recall)
and I'm now more inclined to go rent it to see again.
27122  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 8:05pm
Subject: Re: Auteurs, Canon, Pleasure and Change  jpcoursodon


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Fred Camper wrote:
>
> Mike, have you seen "Kiss Me Deadly"? Where does it fit in your
system?



Fred, Mike wrote a long and very fine piece on the film. It's on-
line!

Good example, Kiss Me Deadly! My response to the film and how I
evaluate it (one of the greatest EVER) has absolutely nothing to do
with how much I dislike or like any of the characters or what they
do. I agree that most characters in it are unpleasant... The Wesley
Addy character is likable, though. And the old man who carries the
trunk up the stairs. And the truck driver. And the opera singer...


JPC
27123  
From: "hotlove666"
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 8:57pm
Subject: Re: No Name on the Bullet (Jack Arnold)  hotlove666


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Blake Lucas"
wrote:

Sirk not only
> created his own films at the studio but also wound up inflecting the
> studio style more pervasively

Don't forget the role of producer Ross Hunter, who was the key to
Sirk's career at Universal and the pioneer of the kind of melodrama
that Sirk made, built around a) targeting women, who had nothing like
this available on tv; b) sets vs. locations as an economy measure; c)
remakes of properties the studio owned (in some cases); d) actresses
with marquee value who were no longer expensive. Was it you who argued
that the Sirk-Hunter melodramas created the style for Uni tv series?

Another great auteur western made at Uni very late in the day: The
Great Northfield Minnessota Raid, which actually takes the
historicizing/Freudian bent of the studio's 50s westerns over the top.
27124  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 7:24pm
Subject: Re: Auteurs, Canon, Pleasure and Change  nzkpzq


 
Like many people with "hot buttons", I have probably blown the "Yi Yi" issue
up out of proportion. Good or bad, this is probably not as important as the
greatness of Sternberg, Minnelli, Mizoguchi, Hitchcock and all the rest!
I have trouble watching imagery of regular people suffering their way through
non-political problems. In recent years, we've seen a flood of such films.
They are hard for me to take. Dave Kerr, in his review of "In the Mirror of Maya
Deren", said that "independent films" used to mean the Deren avant-garde,
which he likes. Now, according to Mr. Kerr, "independent films are about people
in dysfunctional relationships, performed by TV stars on hiatus". Bingo! A very
funny and astute observation. I also had trouble watching such films as
"Barton Fink" (hero tormented by writer's block) and "The Hanging Garden" (gay hero
tormented by homophobic family) and "Sideways" (men tormented by literary
rejection, alcoholism and sex addiction) . In none of these films, or "Yi Yi",
did I see compensatory artistic or formal values that would make the film really
interesting.
Fred is right to compare this with squeamishness over gross horror sequences.
I usually can't watch those either!
Decades ago, read Durgnat's book on "Franju", and have wanted to see a Franju
film ever since. But the only feature available is "Eyes Without a Face".
Durgnat notes that the premiere of this film at the Edinburgh Film Festival
caused grown men to faint. (Franju's reply - "Now I know why Scotsmen wear
kilts!"). I have never mustered up the nerve to watch it. Keep hoping someone will put
"Judex" out on DVD ( loved the Feuillade version).
I basically share Fred's belief about the importance of artistic vision. And
about humbly trying to understand it. In most cases, this works. But I have a
few roadblocks in the way, for certain very specific kinds of films.

Mike Grost
PS Thanks to JPC for his very kind words about my "Kiss Me Deadly" article.
It's one of my favorite films.
27125  
From: "peckinpah20012000"
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 11:48pm
Subject: Re: Merrill's Marauders in letterbox.  peckinpah200...


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "thebradstevens"
wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "peckinpah20012000"
> <>
> I have a copy letterboxed at a compromised 1.85 ratio, if that's any
> help.
>
> > THE CHAPMAN REPORT wasn't a Scope film.

Thanks Brad. I've since found my copy hidden behind Sammo Hung's
EASTERN CONDORS besides Ronald Reagan in PRISONER OF WAR.

Thanks to others for information about this format. I know where to
obtain a VHS copy and have, at least, some interesting movie questions
to ask Ty Hardin before his change of career.

Tony Williams
27126  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 11:53pm
Subject: Re: Re: Auteurs, Canon, Pleasure and Change  cellar47


 
--- MG4273@... wrote:
>
> Decades ago, read Durgnat's book on "Franju", and
> have wanted to see a Franju
> film ever since. But the only feature available is
> "Eyes Without a Face".
> Durgnat notes that the premiere of this film at the
> Edinburgh Film Festival
> caused grown men to faint. (Franju's reply - "Now I
> know why Scotsmen wear
> kilts!"). I have never mustered up the nerve to
> watch it.

Oh your must! It's wonderful. Not at all like the
current brand of slasher gross-out films.

Franju himself was quite a character -- tangentially
involved in the Ben Barka affair as I recalls. Right,
Jean-Pierre?


Keep hoping someone will put
> "Judex" out on DVD ( loved the Feuillade version).
> I basically share Fred's belief about the importance
> of artistic vision. And
> about humbly trying to understand it.

"Judex" is my favorite Franju and one of my favorite
films period. It reimagiens Feuillade as Feuillade was
amkign a contemporary film and Franju is making a
"period piece" about it. Francine Berge is
sensational, Edith Scob transcendent, Sylvia Koscina
delightful, Channing Pollack perfect, and Theo Sarapo
(Edith Piaf's last hubster) babe-a-licious.






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27127  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sun May 15, 2005 11:57pm
Subject: How Robert Bresson Saved David E. From Drowning  cellar47


 
Saw "A Man Escaped" again last night, not having seen
it for quite few years.

A few random thoughts:

http://ehrenstein.blogspot.com/


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27128  
From: "Richard Modiano"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 0:47am
Subject: Re: How Robert Bresson Saved David E. From Drowning  tharpa2002


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:

"Saw "A Man Escaped" again last night, not having seen it for quite
few years.

"A few random thoughts:

"...And so, as a reward, one might say the 'God' gives him Jost
(Charles LaClainche), a young, scruffy deserter from the Franco-
German army. 'God' gives him a man to love. That it's love is quite
clear.'Oh Jost!' Fontaine gasps embracing him after they've scaled
the final wall. Obviously they were going off into the night to make
love. And I followed their lead."

I took the liberty of quoting the above so that I could ask you how
the scene of Fontaine standing above the sleeping Jost with the crow
bar, contemplating his murder, fits in with your reading.

I saw the film for the first time when I was 19 and I was moved by
Fontaine's compassion toward Jost, which I believed enabled their
escape from the prison. I interperted the escape as liberation, a
(may I say) transcendental liberation because it was against all
odds. (By the way, the picture I saw it with was "Life, Love,
Death.")

Richard
27129  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 0:55am
Subject: Re: Re: How Robert Bresson Saved David E. From Drowning  cellar47


 
--- Richard Modiano wrote:

>
> I took the liberty of quoting the above so that I
> could ask you how
> the scene of Fontaine standing above the sleeping
> Jost with the crow
> bar, contemplating his murder, fits in with your
> reading.
>
Because at that point he doesn't know if he's freind
or foe. Rememebr, his first thought is that the
Germans put him in the cell to spy on him -- and in
one scene he observes Jost talking to a german
soldier. It's not until they go through the entire
experience of escaping -- quite a complex process as
it turns out -- that Fontaine realizes that he
couldn't have done it without Jost, and that he loves
him.

> I saw the film for the first time when I was 19 and
> I was moved by
> Fontaine's compassion toward Jost, which I believed
> enabled their
> escape from the prison. I interperted the escape as
> liberation, a
> (may I say) transcendental liberation because it was
> against all
> odds. (By the way, the picture I saw it with was
> "Life, Love,
> Death.")
>
It's that and more. In my blog post I make mention of
Roud's mention of Bresson's alteration of the
Fontaine-Jost relationship. It's doubtless why he's
called Fontaine rather that Devigny.

The moment that Fontaine embraces Jost was a "Eureka!"
for me. I can't put it any other way. Up until that
point I'd never experienced romance in the cinema,
though I had in life.

Had to scale a lot of walls there too.



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27130  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 2:36am
Subject: Re: Re: Naruse News (and a Renoir note)  sallitt1


 
>> I've seen "Apart from You" (and found it quite impressive), but not
>> "Three Sisters". Keeping my fingers crossed.
>
> If Dan S. is reading this, he might cast an enthusiastic vote for
> "Three Sisters" too as I recall, though maybe he preferred one of
> the other early ones.

No, THREE SISTERS is the winner for me in the 30s Naruse category - maybe
along with STREET WITHOUT END. - Dan
27131  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 2:50am
Subject: Naruse News (Was: Hideko (Was: Naruse News))  sallitt1


 
>> I haven't seen "Ginza Cosmetics"--I'm ready, given the opportunity.
>
> Available on DVD, but only without subs, alas.

A subtitled print of GINZA COSMETICS played in NYC sometime within the
last decade. -Dan
27132  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 3:07am
Subject: Who Sarris forgot (Was: Rosselini/Ophuls Costume)  sallitt1


 
> Just realized that a possibly provocative Sarris omission is Powell.
> (Seth Holt and Clive Donner are in Expressive Esoterica.)

And yet he put many Powell films in the yearly lists in the back of the
book. Don't know whether he didn't yet feel empowered to reclaim Powell's
reputation, or whether he just forgot.

Other directors Sarris left out whom I miss: Hamer, Fregonese, Farrow,
Rowland Brown. (I want to put Humphrey Jennings there too, but I guess he
qualifies as a documentarian, strictly speaking, and Sarris had ruled them
off-limits.)

David Thomson took up the slack for Sarris on all these directors (except
Brown) in the first edition of the BIOGRAPHICAL DICTIONARY. - Dan
27133  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 3:22am
Subject: Re: Subtitleless ventures (Was Re: Mizoguchi on DVD -- in Japan -- at last)  sallitt1


 
> It seems that some (probably many) are accustomed to taking the plunge
> and watching films without needed subs, and I'm just now seeing the
> virtues of this half-full glass approach.

At the risk of being provocative, I'd just as soon listen to a movie with
my eyes closed as I would watch a movie without understanding the
language. I'd do either of these things in extreme circumstances, but I
certainly wouldn't feel good about it.

I appreciate the fact that some people find subtitles difficult or
irritating, but they don't bother me much. The mind has to do so much
work anyway to pull a movie together into a fiction - it's not as if a
subtitleless venture means that we can just relax and take it in.

If I could memorize all the dialogue in a movie, then I'd be glad to give
it a go without subtitles. But I've never managed that trick. (Came
close at one point in my life with RIO BRAVO, but it's been a while now
since I've seen it, and...a man forgets.) - Dan
27134  
From: "hotlove666"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 5:43am
Subject: Re: Auteurs, Canon, Pleasure and Change  hotlove666


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, MG4273@a... wrote:


Now, according to Mr. Kerr, "independent films are about people
> in dysfunctional relationships, performed by TV stars on hiatus".

That's the funniest thing I've read in a month of Sundays.
27135  
From: Craig Keller
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 6:40am
Subject: Triple Agent  evillights


 
A few quick late-night thoughts on Rohmer's 'Triple Agent,' which I
recently picked up and which I'm in the middle of watching for the
second time.

Where did Rohmer find this Katherine Didaskal(o)u? She's terrible.
Every time she speaks a line she puts her hands behind her back and
juts her torso forward, while doing this little head-cock "playful
smile" thing. Every segment, that's her schtick -- the acting-with-
one's-breasts method. If she's wearing a cardigan in a scene, you
can be sure that shortly after "action," she'll do her bit conveying
the sensation of chilliness (the bone tuberculosis is setting in),
and cross the lapels of the sweater before crossing her arms. This
happens three times, and if it was Rohmer's idea I suppose I simply
fail to see the point. I also suspect Didaskalu didn't quite know to
deliver a -- not naturalistic -- but interesting line-reading in
French. I have similar doubts throughout about Serge Renko, who
nevertheless has appeared in earlier Rohmers (I can't for the life of
me figure out what his place was in 'L'Anglaise et le duc'); I remain
unconvinced he didn't memorize his lines phonetically. Whenever he
has an extended scene of dialogue, he keeps his brow raised for half
the beats, which is what most people reflexively do when they're
attempting to fake speaking-familiarity with a language.

Minus the above, the film meets the uniform Rohmer standard of
excellence, although its initial esotericism places it squarely in
the realm of the "pedagogical films," but on a much more demanding
level. Additionally, I'd note that the elongation of such scenes as
Renko heading to the office, or people walking up or down staircases,
mark this film as Rohmer's variation on 'Secret défense.' And the
mise en scčne, although absolutely Rohmerian throughout, doesn't
operate at cross-purposes from that of Rivette's film -- the
"bourgeois baroque" dressing of nearly every space in the film's
first half (with the most exquisite wallpaper I've seen in a long
time) nestles the principals in the kind of homey nest that impresses
the reality of the Soviet purge, of the secret assassinations -- When
"history happens," the physical world does not send an alert by
losing its color and shape. (For a time, at least -- see the film's
second half, from the country house to the hotel room.) Likewise
Sandrine Bonnaire's train-ride to commit murder: It's not easy to
"enter a fiction" for the sake of changing your life's course to
effect something grievous -- it's hard work; you have to deal with
time's dull thud, the ordinary now taunting -- there are many
steps... No, not the same arc as the Rohmer, but the same attempt to
articulate and reconcile the struggle between the ordinary and the
extraordinary. If Rohmer were American I could even call this "a
post-9/11 film."

One question: Why is the title in English? If the title were French,
it would be "Agent triple," as Renko himself at one point pronounces
-- non?

(PS - The actors portraying the characters who live above Renko/
Didaskalu on the fifth floor are wonderful; I'd like to see Rohmer
give them -- the actors and the characters -- their own film!)

craig.
27136  
From: Adrian Martin
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 8:18am
Subject: re: characterisation, etc  apmartin90


 
Mike, you may find a lot to argue with in the following text! It's the
transcript of a talk I gave to film & media teachers here in Australia
last year, urging them to look beyond an exclusive concentration on
'plot and character' in films (you have to follow it through about six
separate web-pages):

http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0PAM/is_142/ai_n6358657

Enjoy! Adrian
27137  
From: "hotlove666"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 9:32am
Subject: Re: Triple Agent  hotlove666


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Craig Keller wrote:
>
> A few quick late-night thoughts on Rohmer's 'Triple Agent,'

I may be repeating myself, but to me it's Rohmer's Topaz, concerning
which Samuel Taylor wrote to Hitchcock: "Your point, which you have
made so effectively, is that the Cold War, and spying, and power
politics destroy lives, destroy character." I was amazed (as I am with
Topaz) by how mise en scene can make all this concrete, as you say, and
fascinating. Frederick Stafford's struggle with English would be a
cross-reference to what you are complaining about, and Bumstead's great
production design tells a different story than the Uris novel had told,
one where no one comes in from the cold.
27138  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 10:19am
Subject: Re: Triple Agent  sallitt1


 
> (PS - The actors portraying the characters who live above Renko/
> Didaskalu on the fifth floor are wonderful; I'd like to see Rohmer
> give them -- the actors and the characters -- their own film!)

Well, that's done, in a way: the woman is Amanda Langlet, who was PAULINE
A LA PLAGE. - Dan
27139  
From: "filipefurtado"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 10:19am
Subject: Re: Who Sarris forgot (Was: Rosselini/Ophuls Costume)  filipefurtado


 
> And yet he put many Powell films in the yearly lists in the back of the
> book. Don't know whether he didn't yet feel empowered to reclaim Powell's
> reputation, or whether he just forgot.
>
> Other directors Sarris left out whom I miss: Hamer, Fregonese, Farrow,
> Rowland Brown.

Edward Ludwig, Arthur Ripley (mention positively by name in the W.C. Fields entry), Rowland Lee, Irving Kershner, Russel Rouse, John Berry, Terence Fisher.

Regarding Powell and Hamer, I always had the impression that they were ruled out so a few ideas Sarris repeats through the book (that british cinema is awful by rule, that whoever was born there with talent for film ended up in US and it was always a foreign - American - who made the few exceptions to the rule) could be expressed without any counter-example.

Filipe

__________________________________________________________________________
Acabe com aquelas janelinhas que pulam na sua tela.
AntiPop-up UOL - É grátis!
http://antipopup.uol.com.br/



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27140  
From: "Matthew Clayfield"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 0:34pm
Subject: Re: characterisation, etc  mclayf00


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Adrian Martin wrote:
>
> Mike, you may find a lot to argue with in the following text! It's the
> transcript of a talk I gave to film & media teachers here in Australia
> last year, urging them to look beyond an exclusive concentration on
> 'plot and character' in films (you have to follow it through about six
> separate web-pages):
>
> http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0PAM/is_142/ai_n6358657
>
> Enjoy! Adrian

Just for the record, I know a lot of young, aspiring filmmakers who
were very inspired by that article, Adrian.
27141  
From: "Zach Campbell"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 1:04pm
Subject: Re: Auteurs, Canon, Pleasure and Change  rashomon82


 
Fred:
> My point is, while liking or disliking characters or plots may have
> everything to do with how much I enjoy or don't enjoy a film with an
> uninteresting style, these things have virtually nothing to with my
> response to a great film, or with what I love about cinema.

I don't want to speak for Dan, but I would like to say that while it seems Mike is putting
forth an argument similar to what you're ascribing to him, I don't believe Dan is.

> It's
> aesthetic form that transforms vision and makes it "true," not our
> empathy with characters, which makes film an art.

I'm inclined to agree, but again, more than SOLELY visual (and aural) elements can have
form, and we must come to grips with how a film(maker) "arranges," formally, character
empathy and how it works with a viewer (there's a world of experiential difference between
a Mann Western and a Ford Western and it can't all be ascribed to their shooting and
editing patterns). What a director does with characterization, how closely or openly s/he
makes a viewer's perceived reactions cling to the text, these all have form, too, and we
can't be blind to it, and shouldn't pretend it's all, by definition, merely emotional "filler" for
less enlightened viewers than ourselves.

--Zach
27142  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 9:34am
Subject: Re: characterisation, etc  nzkpzq


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Adrian Martin wrote:
>
> Mike, you may find a lot to argue with in the following text! It's the
> transcript of a talk I gave to film & media teachers here in Australia
> last year, urging them to look beyond an exclusive concentration on
> 'plot and character' in films (you have to follow it through about six
> separate web-pages):
>
> http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0PAM/is_142/ai_n6358657
>
> Enjoy! Adrian

This is a very well-written article!
But have some responses:
1) Don't like the dreadful cliches of current screenwriting formulas, either
- three act structure, hero with goals, etc. When quite a few a_film_by
posters, or Adrian in the article, rail against "plot", they often seem to be
talking about their (legitimate) opposition to this drivel.
But real plot, in real films, is vastly more interesting and complex than
this. Such plot-rich films as "Metropolis" (Lang), "Madame de..." (Ophuls), and
"Sergeant Rutledge" (Ford) should bring to mind the real possibilities of film
plot. These films are much better because of the complex and wonderful events
that keep happening in them.
Filmmakers should think long and hard about ditching plot from their creative
toolkit. "Metropolis", with its endless procession of truly imaginative
events, might be a far better model or inspiration to filmmakers than current
plot-poor films such as "Elephant" or "The White Balloon" or "Distant".
2) I love what Lubitsch does with the purse in "Trouble in Paradise", too!
But isn't this ... plot? Plot can be full of formal elements, and about objects
or background, too. It is full of possibilities.
By the way, as David Cook pointed out, Lubitsch is often the model for
Ophuls. Bet Ophuls got the ideas for the fur coat in "Caught" and the earrings in
"Madame de.." in part because of the purse in "Trouble in Paradise". All three
films show what artists can do with plot.
3) Never claimed that films should CENTER around plot, or characterization.
Or that these should the drivers and that visual style or form should be
secondary. Instead, have warned about the impoverishment that might happen if plot
or characterization were eliminated from films entirely.
4) Aside from the Lubitsch, almost all the anti-plot films discussed in the
article derive from the horror tradition: Elephant, The Spirit of the Beehive,
The Shining, Celine at Julie, Mullholland Drive, etc. Even Amelie is a comic
change-of-pace for a horror director. Horror, both in cinema, and its
pre-cinematic forms in the prose ghost story, often de-emphasizes plot. Horror stories
frequently have passive characters, who are acted upon by sinister events
beyond their control. These supernatural events follow no logical pattern, cannot
be predicted by science or reason, and are all powerful, imposing themselves
on their helpless, passive victims.
By contrast, such genres as detective fiction and science fiction stress
protagonists who use use reason to understand and improve the world around them,
which is seen as operating on scientific laws. Mystery and sf are often
strongly plot based, and stress the idea that "plot is a series of events connected
by logical causality". Conversely, horror, which denies logical causality in
the universe, disdains plot.
The deep division between horror and mystery/sf predates the cinema, and has
many political and aesthetic/formal implications. The de-emphasis on plot in
the recent horror films cited by Adrian is nothing new. Nor is the emphasis on
plot in such detective/sf filmmakers such Lang.

Mike Grost
27143  
From: samadams@...
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 1:38pm
Subject: Re: Palindromes  arglebargle31


 
I saw it last September and liked it so much I was taken aback. Then
I saw it again and liked it more. It fits in very well with the
current discussion on empathy, since Solondz is quite deliberately
attacking the notion that empathizing with characters is a) the
end-all be-all of narrative, and b) difficult to achieve. In the way
that Todd Haynes proved it was possible to get people to "feel for"
Barbie dolls in SUPERSTAR, Solondz shows us how a simple narrative
thread can convince us that eight different actors are the same
person. (I won't say that empathy is unimportant to be, but I've also
teared up at movies I knew not to be good simply because my reptile
brain responds to certain cues.) But he also, and herein lies the
movie's true brilliance (yeah, I said it), takes advantage of the
multiple casting rather than stopping at alienation; especially on a
second viewing, it's clear how carefully he's chosen the actor for
each scene: the palest and skinniest actress for the moment of
betrayal by her parents; the obese black actress for the episode when
Aviva takes her place among the so-called freaks; Jennifer Jason
Leigh for the scene when Aviva returns from her journey, purportedly
older and wiser.

I have to say I've been amazed and appalled by the shallowness of
much of the American critical reaction (with the exceptions of Armond
White in NY Press, JR Jones in the Reader and Godfrey Cheshire in the
Independent Weekly, and perhaps others I haven't seen). As a whole,
the critical establishment is completely hung up on Solondz' supposed
desire to shock, and essentially cut-and-pastied their reviews of
HAPPINESS with no regard for the obvious differences between the
movies. They're assuming that Solondz set out to shock, failed
(because we sophisticated critics would never fall for such an
obvious provocation, so there) and therefore the movie has failed.
The idea that viewers might be responsible for their own reactions --
and thus that, for example, their unease/disgust at the scenes of
physically deformed children enjoying themselves might have more to
do with them than the movie itself -- seems to be one that many are
not willing to honestly consider, which is precisely the hypocrisy
the movie intends to reveal.

More on the subject here:

http://citypaper.net/articles/2005-04-28/movies.shtml

Sam

>
> Date: Sun, 15 May 2005 19:06:13 -0000
> From: "Elizabeth Anne Nolan"
>Subject: Palindromes
>
>I saw only one message about Palindromes (directors who love/hate
>their characters thread).
>
>Has anyone seen Palindromes?
>
>It is slow at times, the sequence of different actor/actresses for
>the AVIVA wore thin for me
>... although we are all different, we share common experiences?
>
>
>
>The line "pedophiles love children" is perhaps too resonant given the
>MJackson trial.
>
>Elizabeth
27144  
From: "Sam Adams"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 2:11pm
Subject: Re: characterisation, etc  arglebargle31


 
It's become de rigeur among ELEPHANT's critics to rail against the movie's "plotlessness",
but to me that seems like a confusion of plot and style. I mean, a bunch of high school
students get killed by two of their classmates -- how much more plot do you need? It's
true that the movie doesn't tend to place its emphasis on traditional plot points/character
development etc.. But especially when the substance of the movie is combined with the
audience's external knowledge of Columbine -- which Van Sant obviously intends to
happen, whether he admits it or not -- there's plenty "going on." Rather than saying the
movie has no plot, I would say it is an attempt to disrupt the way we conventionally parse
our own experience, after a fictional model, into simplistic cause-and-effect bits, when
the moments which might seem pivotal to an outside observer (such as Harris Savides'
camera) utterly elude us at the time, and even in hindsight (which as the movie points out
is hardly 20-20). Especially in a contained environment like high school, significant
interactions as as likely to be composed of minute, quotidian accretions as obvious
turning-points: the daily slights that add up to a feeling of ostracism, etc. Things happen
without there ever being a moment at which they "happen." A lot of the criticism of such
movies for having no plot just seems like a plea for them to be more conventional. I don't
think there's any danger the ELEPHANTs of the world are going to supplant traditional
narrative, no matter how times I recommend them.

Sam

--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, MG4273@a... wrote:
> Filmmakers should think long and hard about ditching plot from their creative
> toolkit. "Metropolis", with its endless procession of truly imaginative
> events, might be a far better model or inspiration to filmmakers than current
> plot-poor films such as "Elephant" or "The White Balloon" or "Distant".
27145  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 2:23pm
Subject: Re: Re: characterisation, etc  cellar47


 
--- Sam Adams wrote:
> It's become de rigeur among ELEPHANT's critics to
> rail against the movie's "plotlessness",
> but to me that seems like a confusion of plot and
> style. I mean, a bunch of high school
> students get killed by two of their classmates --
> how much more plot do you need?

Well in point of fact there's tons of plot in
"Elephant." Consider the opening where John Robinson
has to send his drunken Dad home. Consider the girl
who doesn't like going to gym class. Consider the
killers themselves in the scenes where they're sitting
around killing time. There's plot all over the place.
It's just that much of it is left unresolved.

You want REAL Gus plotlessness, try "Gerry."

If you dare.







Yahoo! Mail
Stay connected, organized, and protected. Take the tour:
http://tour.mail.yahoo.com/mailtour.html
27146  
From: "jess_l_amortell"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 2:32pm
Subject: Re: Who Sarris forgot (Was: Rosselini/Ophuls Costume)  jess_l_amortell


 
> > Other directors Sarris left out whom I miss: Hamer, Fregonese, Farrow,
> > Rowland Brown.
>
> Edward Ludwig, Arthur Ripley (mention positively by name in the W.C. Fields entry), Rowland Lee, Irving Kershner, Russel Rouse, John Berry, Terence Fisher.

Hmm, Ripley was in "Esoterica" in Sarris' original American Directors issue in Film Culture (1963) -- "one of the most bizarre and most mysterious silhouettes in the American Cinema ... difficult to sum up Ripley's career in terms of a coherent principle, but ... just as difficult to overlook him" --
and several of the others turned up in "Research Problems" and "Other Directors."
27147  
From: "filipefurtado"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 3:07pm
Subject: Re: Who Sarris forgot (Was: Rosselini/Ophuls Costume)  filipefurtado


 
> > > Other directors Sarris left out whom I miss: Hamer, Fregonese, Farrow,
> > > Rowland Brown.
> >
> > Edward Ludwig, Arthur Ripley (mention positively by name in the W.C. Fields entry), Rowland Lee, Irving Kershner, Russel Rouse, John Berry, Terence Fisher.
>
> Hmm, Ripley was in "Esoterica" in Sarris' original American Directors issue in Film Culture (1963) -- "one of the most bizarre and most mysterious silhouettes in the American Cinema ... difficult to sum up Ripley's career in terms of a coherent principle, but ... just as difficult to overlook him" --
> and several of the others turned up in "Research Problems" and "Other Directors."

Curious that he finally decide to overlook him when he expand the Film Culture issue to a book.

Maybe it's useful to have in mind that in the period between the original and the book, Sarris becames worried of some more extreme versions of auteurism that start to show up at the time. Many entries in the book (Tashlin's, Weis's, Miller's - I'm with him on this one -, and specially that awful Jerry Lewis essay) seems to have hardcore auteurists in mind. So maybe some filmmakers were cut because Sarris thought that they didn't need defense at that point. Also, according to Bogdanovich, Eugene Archer had an uncredited hand on the original, maybe some of the filmmakers that were cut from the book, were there because of him.


Filipe

__________________________________________________________________________
Acabe com aquelas janelinhas que pulam na sua tela.
AntiPop-up UOL - É grátis!
http://antipopup.uol.com.br/



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27148  
From: Fred Camper
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 3:04pm
Subject: Re: Who Sarris forgot (Was: Rosselini/Ophuls Costume)  fredcamper


 
jess_l_amortell wrote:

>>>Other directors Sarris left out whom I miss: Hamer, Fregonese, Farrow,
>>>Rowland Brown.
>>
>>Edward Ludwig, Arthur Ripley (mention positively by name in the W.C. Fields entry), Rowland Lee, Irving Kershner, Russel Rouse, John Berry, Terence Fisher.
>
>
> Hmm, Ripley was in "Esoterica" in Sarris' original American Directors issue in Film Culture (1963)....

And that's how I discovered him. I saw "Thunder Road" on 42nd Street,
and the amazing (if only for one sequence, I think discussed in our
archives) "The Chase" in 16mm somewhere or other.

When the 1968 American Directors book came out, I remember thinking that
virtually *every* change, in director rankings and in the text, that he
made in it from FILM CULTURE 28 was a change for the worse. I highly
recommend FILM CULTURE 28, which (one of our members told me) can be
eventually found on ebay or elsewhere for a somewhat reasonable price,
if you look hard enough and wait long enough. Many of us referred to
that FILM CULTURE issue as "the Bible." It was (and is) a great viewing
guide, both in text and in rankings.

When I finally got to Rome years later and couldn't find Hawks's or
Ford's names anywhere in the Pantheon, I felt gypped! Fortunately, that
building is great enough on its own.

Fred Camper
27149  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 3:24pm
Subject: Re: Who Sarris forgot (Was: Rosselini/Ophuls Costume)  jpcoursodon


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "filipefurtado"
wrote:
>
> Curious that he finally decide to overlook him when he expand the
Film Culture issue to a book.
>
> Maybe it's useful to have in mind that in the period between the
original and the book, Sarris becames worried of some more extreme
versions of auteurism that start to show up at the time. Many
entries in the book (Tashlin's, Weis's, Miller's - I'm with him on
this one -, and specially that awful Jerry Lewis essay) seems to
have hardcore auteurists in mind. So maybe some filmmakers were cut
because Sarris thought that they didn't need defense at that point.
Also, according to Bogdanovich, Eugene Archer had an uncredited hand
on the original, maybe some of the filmmakers that were cut from the
book, were there because of him.
>
>
> Filipe
>
Hard to believe that Sarris thought Ripley "didn't need defense
at that point." More obscure than Ripley you don't find!

By the way we have a long entry on Ripley in "50 ANS DE CINEMA
AMERICAIN." I think even if he hadn't directed anything his
extraordinary collaboration with Harry Langdon would secure a place
for him in any serious survey of American cinema. I seem to remember
I discussed it here when Ripley came up months ago.

JPC

> http://antipopup.uol.com.br/
>
>
>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27150  
From: Craig Keller
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 3:29pm
Subject: Re: Triple Agent  evillights


 
On May 16, 2005, at 6:19 AM, Dan Sallitt wrote:
>>
>
> Well, that's done, in a way: the woman is Amanda Langlet, who was
> PAULINE
> A LA PLAGE. - Dan

Good God! -- You're right.

(She was also in 'Tale of Summer.')

craig.
27151  
From: BklynMagus
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 4:03pm
Subject: Re: Palindromes  cinebklyn


 
Sam writes:

> But he also, and herein lies the movie's
true brilliance (yeah, I said it), takes
advantage of the multiple casting rather
than stopping at alienation; especially on
a second viewing, it's clear how carefully
he's chosen the actor for each scene: the
palest and skinniest actress for the moment
of betrayal by her parents; the obese black
actress for the episode when Aviva takes her
place among the so-called freaks;

I need some help here. Why is it significant
that the palest/skinniest for the betrayal
scene and the obese African Amerian actress
for the freak scene?

> Jennifer Jason Leigh for the scene when
Aviva returns from her journey, purportedly
older and wiser.

Okay, this one I get.

> As a whole, the critical establishment is
completely hung up on Solondz' supposed
desire to shock

I wasn't so much shocked as bored. It seemed
like a film school gimmick, something more
interesting on a theoretical level than in its
actual execution.

> The idea that viewers might be responsible for
their own reactions

But isn't this a given: that no matter the film,
viewers are responsible for reactions?

> and thus that, for example, their unease/disgust
at the scenes of physically deformed children
enjoying themselves might have more to do with
them than the movie itself

Since this seems so obvious, why make a movie
about it?

> which is precisely the hypocrisy the movie
intends to reveal.

Seems like a waste of celluloid to go through all
the expense and effort and end up with an "Afternoon
Special" for the multi-degreed.

Brian
27152  
From: "samfilms2003"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 4:14pm
Subject: Re: characterisation, etc  samfilms2003


 
> http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m0PAM/is_142/ai_n6358657
>
> Enjoy! Adrian

I more than enjoyed, that is provactive, well GREAT writing, Adrian.

And a gift to me.... now finally I can refer the younger, narrative-oriented
filmmakers that I encounter so often, or know, or are friends & cohorts, even -
to this article -- at those times when I am at a loss to explain why I don't
buy into any of the lines at the veritable Food Court of "Industry" narrative/
dramatic paradigms (I'm mixing metaphors - see how desperate this situation
is ? :) ...and I feel like I recieve in return blank stares and the imagined
mutterings as I wander off "yeah well Sam's a kinda experimental filmmaker
what woulja expect him to say" blah blah blah.

Now give me back up if not a few rounds of ammo I can use when I assert that
Brakhage & Dorsky are as interesting as Speilberg & Scorcesse in my
encounter with da kidz and you'll be my friend for life !

-Sam Wells (not asking for much, am I ? ;-)
27153  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 0:21pm
Subject: Re: characterisation, etc  nzkpzq


 
Guys, Adrian Martin's article has a long discussion of "Elephant", holding it
up admiringly as a film which replaces plot with cinematic structure (the
circular time schemes, the long camera movements, etc). It is his article which
heralds "Elephant" as the plotless movie of the future, and example of a
new-kind of plot-free filmmaking.
I was just piggy-backing off this discussion.
Just about all narrative movies have some plot. Some of those plots are
simple, others are complex. "Elephant" and "Gerry" surely are films with very
simple plot, at the opposite extreme of something like "Metropolis" or "The
Searchers", with their complex story lines.

Mike Grost
27154  
From: "samfilms2003"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 4:44pm
Subject: Re: characterisation, etc  samfilms2003


 
> Guys, Adrian Martin's article has a long discussion of "Elephant", holding it
> up admiringly as a film which replaces plot with cinematic structure (the
> circular time schemes, the long camera movements, etc). It is his article which
> heralds "Elephant" as the plotless movie of the future, and example of a
> new-kind of plot-free filmmaking.

No it doesn't ! You're reducing this discussion to either/ors... which seems to
me is the poker game Adrian's article transcends.

In any case for me its value (the article) is not one of assesments of filmmakers;
you don't need to be a DePalma admirer or detractor etc. I mean I could post
my Charlie Kaufman issues but that's another discussion.....

-Sam W
27155  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 0:51pm
Subject: Re: Politics: Horror Vs Detection (was: characterisation, etc)  nzkpzq


 
Jean-Pierre Gorin's film class thought experiment reported in Adrian Martin's
article has hidden political/philosophical implications. It is about a chair
a person sits in, suddenly turning into a bomb or something sinister, and
attacking the person. Without any reason.
This is a horror concept. In horror, people are victims, at the mercy of
mysterious forces that suddenly attack them. These forces cannot be understood
through reason, or predicted logically.
One sees similar things in the actual horror films discussed by Adrian
Martin. In "Elephant", the students are suddenly attacked by the Columbine-like
killers. The film suggests that all attempts to explain the killers' motivation
are inadequate. In "Mullholland Drive" horrible events suddenly occur that break
any logical conception of reality. They are not given rational explanations
anywhere in the film (although there are zillions of attempts by commentators
at rational explanations, such as one half of the film being a dream, etc)
One might note that Fritz Lang's films are the exact opposite. Lang never
made a horror film, although he must have had countless opportunites in both
Germany and the US. Lang concentrated instead on science fiction and detective
films. In Lang, as in the mystery/sf traditions he embraced, events have logical
causes and consequences. If terrible things happen to people, they come from
real life causes, such as class warfare (Metropolis), social condoning of lynch
mobs (Fury), totalitarianism (Hangmen Also Die!), the social acceptance by
many men of rape (Rancho Notorious, The Blue Gardenia), or widespead police
corruption by mobsters (The Big Heat).
Films which stress cause and effect require plot. Plot is usually defined as
"events connected through logical causality". Genres such as mystery/sf
ardently embrace both plot, and a view of society and the universe based in logic.

Mike Grost
27156  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 5:11pm
Subject: Re: Triple Agent  sallitt1


 
>> Well, that's done, in a way: the woman is Amanda Langlet, who was
>> PAULINE
>> A LA PLAGE. - Dan
>
> Good God! -- You're right.

The actor who played her husband, Emmanuel Salinger, has been given his
own movies (i.e., LA SENTINELLE), but not by Rohmer. - Dan
27157  
From: "Sam Adams"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 5:17pm
Subject: Re: Palindromes  arglebargle31


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, BklynMagus wrote:
> Sam writes:

> I need some help here. Why is it significant
> that the palest/skinniest for the betrayal
> scene and the obese African Amerian actress
> for the freak scene?

Because the pale/skinny girl is the most visibly vulnerable, and the obese black woman the
most visibly "freakish" (as well as in demeanor the tenderest and most innocent-seeming).

> I wasn't so much shocked as bored. It seemed
> like a film school gimmick, something more
> interesting on a theoretical level than in its
> actual execution.

Well, as I'm arguing, the execution is more complicated than you credit it. I actually think
the execution is more interesting than the theory, which is pretty basic stuff (making the
knee-jerk reaction against it even more surprising). It's no more (or less) a gimmick than
the multiple casting in OBSCURE OBJECT or COLONEL BLIMP.

> > The idea that viewers might be responsible for
> their own reactions
>
> But isn't this a given: that no matter the film,
> viewers are responsible for reactions?
>

It should be, but obviously it isn't. It's a compromise situation -- filmmakers bear
responsibility for the responses they generate, within reason, but audiences are also
responsible for their reactions. Where PALINDROMES is concerned, a great many viewers
have been rejecting their culpability in finding Mama Sunshine's children freakish or
discomforting (not to mention their euphemistic discomfort with Sharon Watkins' weight),
effectively blaming Solondz for making them feel oogy.

> > and thus that, for example, their unease/disgust
> at the scenes of physically deformed children
> enjoying themselves might have more to do with
> them than the movie itself
>
> Since this seems so obvious, why make a movie
> about it?

Well, the fact that 90 percent of the reviews totally miss the point leads me to think it's not
at all "obvious," at least not in practice. When you get right down to it, most movies are
about fairly obvious things: the brotherhood of man, the pain of heartbreak, and so on. It's
how they embody those things that makes them worthwhile or not.

> > which is precisely the hypocrisy the movie
> intends to reveal.
>
> Seems like a waste of celluloid to go through all
> the expense and effort and end up with an "Afternoon
> Special" for the multi-degreed.

So he's both belaboring the obvious and playing to the over-educated? Can't be both.

Sam
27158  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 1:19pm
Subject: Re: characterisation, etc  nzkpzq


 
Adrian Martin's article says about "Elephant":
"There is a plot in Elephant, a very tiny plot...But this movie is not, in
any
conventional or recognisable or familiar sense, plot-driven or
character-driven. ... It is neither plot-driven nor character-driven, but I
would say it is event-driven, spectacle-driven, and form-driven."
He goes on to define these terms, which describe the circular time frames of
Bela Tarr, etc.
So the article DOES hail "Elephant" as a new kind of movie which centers on
cinematic forms other than plot. And it describes the plot of the film as
"tiny" (I agree).
Adrian Martin's post also politely invited argument from me, and by
implication, other a_film_by-er's. I have made every effort to describe his ideas with
accuracy and care.

Mike Grost
27159  
From: "Matt Armstrong"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 6:01pm
Subject: Re: Palindromes  matt_c_armst...


 
> Independent Weekly, and perhaps others I haven't seen). As a
whole,
> the critical establishment is completely hung up on Solondz'
supposed
> desire to shock, and essentially cut-and-pastied their reviews of
> HAPPINESS with no regard for the obvious differences between the
> movies. They're assuming that Solondz set out to shock, failed
> (because we sophisticated critics would never fall for such an
> obvious provocation, so there) and therefore the movie has failed.

I wasn't shocked by "Palindromes." Bored to tears is more like it.
There are long stretches of the film which are neither funny nor
particularly insightful. And I happen to find the way Solondz draws
moral equivalence between an abortion and the killing of an abortion
doctor rather specious.

> The idea that viewers might be responsible for their own
reactions --
> and thus that, for example, their unease/disgust at the scenes of
> physically deformed children enjoying themselves might have more
to
> do with them than the movie itself -- seems to be one that many
are
> not willing to honestly consider, which is precisely the hypocrisy
> the movie intends to reveal.

Solondz invites us to gawk, not so much because these characters are
deformed, but because they're all wide-eyed brainwashed Christians.
He seals the deal with a grotesque song and dance number. He's doing
nothing to expose hypocrisy. Instead, he's having it both ways. We
get to laugh at the freaks in a roundabout way.

He wrote a brief defense of this tactic in the latest issue
of "Vice." You can read it here:

http://viceland.com/issues/v12n3/htdocs/let.php

Anyone familiar with that publication will have a general idea of
Solondz's sense of humor. He invites us to laugh in a knowing way at
the stupidity and/or mediocrity of other people. When I saw this
film (and "Happiness"), the laughter in the theater sounded less
like the laughter of self-recognition. It was knowing and superior.
He doesn't challenge his middle class liberal audience. If anything,
he confirms their sense of their own superiority by constructing a
stacked deck.

I never felt challenged by "Palindromes," merely annoyed that
Solondz constructs such a schematic airless world. I guess what
frustrates me most is that he uses hot button issues like
motherhood, abortion and pedophilia, but he doesn't seem to have a
political point of view of his own. "Palindromes" seems aimed toward
apolitical hipsters who invoke the idea that everyone is a hypocrite
as a way of raising themselves above the fray. To borrow the words
of another moral crusader, he's a divider, not a uniter.
27160  
From: "hotlove666"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 6:07pm
Subject: Re: Who Sarris forgot (Was: Rosselini/Ophuls Costume)  hotlove666


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jpcoursodon"
wrote:

I think even if he hadn't directed anything his
> extraordinary collaboration with Harry Langdon would secure a place
> for him in any serious survey of American cinema. I seem to remember
> I discussed it here when Ripley came up months ago.

The Chase turns out to be another mad masterpiece, appropriately
pairing Ripley with a Woolrich story. He ended up running UCLA Film
School, believe it or not. I expect all this has been discussed here
before, along with my appreciation of Prisoner of Japan (co-dir. Ulmer)
when that one finally surfaced, but every post on Ripley deserves a
serious reply.
27161  
From: BklynMagus
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 6:52pm
Subject: Re: Palindromes  cinebklyn


 
Sam writes:

> Well, as I'm arguing, the execution is more complicated
than you credit it.

I understand. We will just disagree.

> It's a compromise situation -- filmmakers bear
responsibility for the responses they generate, within
reason . . .

For me, if a filmmaker is advocating violence or
extreme prejudice, then she is responsible. But otherwise
I would still maintain it is a situation of individual
autonomy and responsibility (I know this is not a popular
view in the increasingly in loco parentis society we are
living under with Stong Father Bush as the American
President).

> Where PALINDROMES is concerned, a great many
viewers have been rejecting their culpability in finding
Mama Sunshine's children freakish or discomforting (not
to mention their euphemistic discomfort with Sharon
Watkins' weight), effectively blaming Solondz for making
hem feel oogy.

For me he should be punished for the adolescent hijinks
of making people feel oogy. I do not like to waste
my time and money on juvenalia.

> So he's both belaboring the obvious and playing to the
over-educated? Can't be both.

He is being adolescent in that special way that possessors
of MFAs seem to be in their art. I do not believe that
the multi-degreed are over-educated. I personally think
many of them are mired in a protracted adolescence and
went for the degree to avoid the hardships of entering the
world of work (The NY Times had an interesting article last
week about this).

Solondz seems like so many privileged, middle-class film
geeks who fetishize the media delivery systems of their
youth (Afterschool Specials, etc) and grow up to make
movies in homage to them. It can be argued that he is
being ironic and showing a reality/truth that these
shows didn't address, but most people know that already.

Brian
27162  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 7:15pm
Subject: Re: Re: Palindromes  sallitt1


 
> I guess what
> frustrates me most is that he uses hot button issues like
> motherhood, abortion and pedophilia, but he doesn't seem to have a
> political point of view of his own.

He has a temperamental point of view: he noses out the subjects with which
his actual target audience has difficulty, and then issues provocations.
I find this much more appealing than the kind of iconoclasm that attacks
the other guy's beliefs.

Let me back Sam up here - I liked PALINDROMES quite a bit. I always start
each Solondz film with a period of adjustment, trying to figure out how
his mockery can possibly not be intended to debase. And at a certain
point, I decide that he is not rejecting the pathetic characters that he
is driven to portray, that he does not consider them aliens. That he is
daring us to come to terms with them, and not making it easy.

I don't know if I have a neat answer for why there are so many different
Avivas, but I was fascinated by the way he made the switches. He would
draw attention to the actor change, structure a transition around the
surprise. Partly this is a clever way of preventing audience confusion,
and partly something else: to a large extent, the focus of the film
necessarily becomes the way we associate actors with characters. He
disorients us a bit each time, but in a gentle way; he keeps us focused on
the storytelling rather than the story. Somehow this seems to fit
Solondz's kind of discourse, which is really a fairly direct communication
between filmmaker and audience - not always a friendly communication,
really something of a challenge to us, but not exactly hostile either. -
Dan
27163  
From: "thebradstevens"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 7:18pm
Subject: ALL THE FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS  thebradstevens


 
Just watched ALL THE FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS, since I heard that
Vincente Minnelli had directed a couple of scenes. But I was
impressed by Michael Anderson's consistently intelligent mise en
scene. The film draws a series of parallels between its four central
characters, each of whom is at some point twinned (visually,
structurally, thematically) with one or more of the other three. Thus
a scene will end with George Hamilton saying "I can't be like you,
daddy", and the next scene will begin with Natalie Wood saying "I
can't be like you, Ada". The latter scene then ends with Ada
attempting to comfort Wood by saying "Oh, my darling, my darling" -
at which point the film cuts to Hamilton singing "My Darling
Clementine". And several scenes make striking use of mirrors, with
characters confronting their own reflections, or holding
conversations with people who are seen only as mirror reflections.

I'd be tempted to attribute a lot of this to Minnelli, but
practically the only thing I know about his contribtion to CANNIBALS
is that he didn't work with Robert Wagner, and several of the mirrir
shots involve Wagner.

I've only seen a few other Michael Anderson films (LOGAN'S RUN, ORCA
THE KILLER WHALE), and can't recall anything of interest about them.
Maybe I should check out a few more. TCM regularly screen letterboxed
prints of OPERATION CROSSBOW, THE WRECK OF THE MARY DEARE and THE
SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN
27164  
From: "Matt Armstrong"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 7:24pm
Subject: Re: Palindromes  matt_c_armst...


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
> > I guess what
> > frustrates me most is that he uses hot button issues like
> > motherhood, abortion and pedophilia, but he doesn't seem to have a
> > political point of view of his own.
>
> He has a temperamental point of view: he noses out the subjects with
which
> his actual target audience has difficulty, and then issues
provocations.
> I find this much more appealing than the kind of iconoclasm that
attacks
> the other guy's beliefs.

Isn't there are more engaging option? Somewhere between partisan
polemics and above-it-all posing? As a satire on abortion politics,
I'll take "Citizen Ruth" which is at least funny.
27165  
From: "Sam Adams"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 7:28pm
Subject: Re: Palindromes  arglebargle31


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Matt Armstrong" wrote:

> I wasn't shocked by "Palindromes." Bored to tears is more like it.
> There are long stretches of the film which are neither funny nor
> particularly insightful. And I happen to find the way Solondz draws
> moral equivalence between an abortion and the killing of an abortion
> doctor rather specious.

Well, it would be if the movie did that. But the only equivalency I can see is that neither
side is entirely as it bills itself: As Solondz has said in most of his interviews, "there's the
pro-choice side that gives no choice, and the pro-life side that kills." That doesn't mean
the killings are morally equivalent (or even that they're both regarded as killlings), except
in so far as Aviva's mother and Bob might be on a similar level of moral development. If
you're going to crush all the complexity out of the movie, then of course it's going to seem
simplistic.

> Solondz invites us to gawk, not so much because these characters are
> deformed, but because they're all wide-eyed brainwashed Christians.
> He seals the deal with a grotesque song and dance number. He's doing
> nothing to expose hypocrisy. Instead, he's having it both ways. We
> get to laugh at the freaks in a roundabout way.

This paragraph positively reeks with condescension, which basically proves my point about
the scene exposing biases. Who says that born-again Christians are de facto
"brainwashed"? Or that expression of religious faith is an invitation to gawk? Or that
crippled children singing and dancing is "grotesque"? You're foisting your own prejudices
onto the movie. I'll admit the scene made me uncomfortable the first time I watched the
movie, but what's wrong with that? Should art only provoke comfortable reactions? I won't
pretend that the sight of born-agains giving it up to god doesn't give me the willies, but if
that's "grotqesue" then so is a substantial portion of the country -- and the fact that the
last statement seems self-evident to most blue-state cinephiles is EXACTLY the kind of
smug prejudice the movie deliberately undercuts. If you could stop gawking, you might
notice that the children are the kindest, most giving characters in the movie,
fundamentalist rhetoric notwithstanding.

Like the Farrellys use of retarded characters, Solondz' treatment of the children is based
on the notion that true respect consists of treating them like any other characters: they
can be (potential) figures of fun as long as it's not their disability that is being mocked.
That many people cannot see past their physical limitations to perceive them as people --
assuming that if they are being made fun of in any way, it must be linked to their
physicality -- is not Solondz' fault.

Skipping over the Vice stuff, which is just a cheap attempt to tar Solondz by equating him
with his purported audience (keeping in mind he often says his movies are not for
everyone, especially those who like them):

> I never felt challenged by "Palindromes," merely annoyed that
> Solondz constructs such a schematic airless world. I guess what
> frustrates me most is that he uses hot button issues like
> motherhood, abortion and pedophilia, but he doesn't seem to have a
> political point of view of his own. "Palindromes" seems aimed toward
> apolitical hipsters who invoke the idea that everyone is a hypocrite
> as a way of raising themselves above the fray. To borrow the words
> of another moral crusader, he's a divider, not a uniter.

So the problem is that the movie isn't enough of a one-sided rant? There's a difference
between Palindromes and movie like CITIZEN RUTH, which not only points out the
hypocrisies of both sides of the abortion debate but shows both as fundamentally
uncaring about the woman in question. The horror of Palindromes is that both sides
believe they're doing what is best for Aviva, and yet are blind to who she really is. Solondz
does have views of his own, which he has expressed in every interview where he's been
asked (which is all of them pretty much), but he also says he went out of his way to stack
the deck against his side. Just because no one has a big monologue espousing the movie's
POV a la VERA DRAKE doesn't mean it's apolitical, and it's certainly not disaffected. To read
it as such, you have to ignore the despair in Mark Weiner's "no one ever changes" speech. I
would say it's definitely pessimistic, but pessimists aren't people who don't care if things
change, just people who doubt that they will. If Solondz really wanted to "raise himself
above the fray," why would he make a movie about "hot button issues" in the first place?
(Perhaps you were thinking of Wes Anderson?) Don't equate politics and speech-making --
we've got enough people doing that already.

Sam
27166  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 7:40pm
Subject: Re: ALL THE FINE YOUNG CANNIBALS  cellar47


 
--- thebradstevens wrote:

>
> I'd be tempted to attribute a lot of this to
> Minnelli, but
> practically the only thing I know about his
> contribtion to CANNIBALS
> is that he didn't work with Robert Wagner, and
> several of the mirrir
> shots involve Wagner.
>

Just goes to show you that anybody can use a mirror.

> I've only seen a few other Michael Anderson films
> (LOGAN'S RUN, ORCA
> THE KILLER WHALE), and can't recall anything of
> interest about them.
> Maybe I should check out a few more. TCM regularly
> screen letterboxed
> prints of OPERATION CROSSBOW, THE WRECK OF THE MARY
> DEARE and THE
> SHOES OF THE FISHERMAN
>
>

The one to see is "The Quiller Memorandum" with its
superb Pinter screenplay and a very witty lead
performance by George Segal. Robert Helpmann, of all
people, has a supporting role. Alec Guiness and Max
Von Sydow are the chief heavies, and Senta Berger
plays Alida Valli in "The Third Man."



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27167  
From: BklynMagus
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 7:37pm
Subject: Re: Palindromes  cinebklyn


 
Dan writes:

> He has a temperamental point of view: he
noses out the subjects with which his actual
target audience has difficulty, and then
issues provocations.

But isn't that what most adolescents do?
Provoke their teachers, their parents,
their classmates?

> Somehow this seems to fit Solondz's kind of
discourse, which is really a fairly direct
communication between filmmaker and
audience - not always a friendly communication,
really something of a challenge to us, but not
exactly hostile either.

I just don't see the challenge.

Brian
27168  
From: "Sam Adams"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 7:47pm
Subject: Re: Palindromes  arglebargle31


 
My best guess (which he neither confirmed nor denied when I put it to him) was that it has
to do with empathy, which is implicated in the movie's structure and its hot-button
subject. The abortion battle is fought on the grounds of empathy: either you feel for the
unborn life-to-be or the mother whose body is controlled by the state. But as the
eightfold Avivas (not to mention the Kuleshov effect) prove, empathy is a tool, not a fact:
you can make people cry for a block of wood if you tell the story right. I think the movie is
designed to point out the impossibility of resolving a political discourse based on feelings
(which you'll know if you've ever heard pro-life and pro-choice protestors argue with each
other). Aviva's mother feels she's doing the right thing by forcing her daughter to abort;
Bob feels he is doing the right thing by preventing a doctor from killing more babies.
Neither stops to think that their feelings might be wrong, because in our post-therapy
confessional twelve-step culture, whatever your heart tells you to do must be right. By
deliberately disrupting the audience's normal (or at least normative) identification with the
main character, Solondz is, in effect, saying, Try using your head instead of your heart for
a change. (Which is why complaints that the movie lacks characters "we" can care about so
utterly miss the point.)
And you're right, Dan, about how smoothly Solondz manages the transitions. At least the
early chapters and maybe all of them begin with a shot of the actor/actress playing Aviva,
effectively holding the audience's hand through the change. If Solondz really wanted to
disorient people, he could have made it much harder to keep track.

Sam

--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
> I don't know if I have a neat answer for why there are so many different
> Avivas, but I was fascinated by the way he made the switches. He would
> draw attention to the actor change, structure a transition around the
> surprise. Partly this is a clever way of preventing audience confusion,
> and partly something else: to a large extent, the focus of the film
> necessarily becomes the way we associate actors with characters. He
> disorients us a bit each time, but in a gentle way; he keeps us focused on
> the storytelling rather than the story. Somehow this seems to fit
> Solondz's kind of discourse, which is really a fairly direct communication
> between filmmaker and audience - not always a friendly communication,
> really something of a challenge to us, but not exactly hostile either. -
> Dan
27169  
From: "Matt Armstrong"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 8:47pm
Subject: Re: Palindromes  matt_c_armst...


 
> Well, it would be if the movie did that. But the only equivalency
I can see is that neither
> side is entirely as it bills itself: As Solondz has said in most
of his interviews, "there's the
> pro-choice side that gives no choice, and the pro-life side that
kills." That doesn't mean
> the killings are morally equivalent (or even that they're both
regarded as killlings), except
> in so far as Aviva's mother and Bob might be on a similar level of
moral development. If
> you're going to crush all the complexity out of the movie, then of
course it's going to seem
> simplistic.

The schematics of the narrative (by which I mean the palindrome)
place both the abortion and the murder at rhyming places in the
structure. Both have unintended consequences. Aviva is rendered
sterile by her abortion and the doctor's young daughter is
accidentally killed by Bob, again suggesting equivalency. But
Aviva's mother "forcing" her to have an abortion isn't even in the
same ballpark as shooting a human being. And if you believe that
Aviva's mother is on a "similar level of moral development" to a
pedophile who murders people in cold blood, well I'm afraid that's
one of the problems with the equivalency Solondz suggests.

Are there hypocrites on both sides of the abortion debate? Yes, but
if this is Solondz's point, then he truly earns the title of master
of the obvious.

>
> This paragraph positively reeks with condescension, which
basically proves my point about
> the scene exposing biases. Who says that born-again Christians are
de facto
> "brainwashed"? Or that expression of religious faith is an
invitation to gawk? Or that
> crippled children singing and dancing is "grotesque"? You're
foisting your own prejudices
> onto the movie. I'll admit the scene made me uncomfortable the
first time I watched the
> movie, but what's wrong with that? Should art only provoke
comfortable reactions? I won't
> pretend that the sight of born-agains giving it up to god doesn't
give me the willies, but if
> that's "grotqesue" then so is a substantial portion of the
country -- and the fact that the
> last statement seems self-evident to most blue-state cinephiles is
EXACTLY the kind of
> smug prejudice the movie deliberately undercuts. If you could stop
gawking, you might
> notice that the children are the kindest, most giving characters
in the movie,
> fundamentalist rhetoric notwithstanding.

It's ironic that you find condescension in my remarks, because this
is exactly what Solondz's film purports to expose! If I question his
use of these children, and I consider his intentions murky, then
*I'm* the hypocrite! It's a neat trick.

Brainwashed? Yes. It's clear that in order to take advantage of Mama
Sunshine's charity, the children have to believe in Jesus. The
little boy who befriends Aviva is every bit as creepy as the budding
sociopath in "Storytelling."

Come on, this movie was MADE for liberal blue state cinephiles.
Solondz hasn't intended it for a wide audience. He's not packing the
multiplexes in Wichita. He's tweaking middle class liberal
sensibilities *for effect.* Solondz is just as unnerved by Christian
fundamentalists as the liberals he's "exposing" here. It's no
accident that Solondz references "Rosemary's Baby" in the music he
selects.


> Skipping over the Vice stuff, which is just a cheap attempt to tar
Solondz by equating him
> with his purported audience (keeping in mind he often says his
movies are not for
> everyone, especially those who like them):

I was actually hoping you'd read the "Vice" article because it
supports my point. Solondz rather coyly lays out his strategy for
achieving the desired "ambiguous effect" with the Sunshine Singers:

"I wanted the Sunshine Singers to have an NSync sound — just a
few
years out of touch. All the songs are that style, but embellished
with the Christian touch. The way it works is that, while I am moved
by their performance and how beautiful it is for me as I watch them
dance and sing, at the same time I step back and I say, "Oh my God,
what are they singing." That kind of friction is emblematic of my
movies, you see."

So Solondz *wants* me to be taken aback by the Christian content of
this song. And when I do, *I'm* the the one who's being
condescending and hypocritical? It's an interesting trick on Solondz
part, but it's just that- a trick.


> So the problem is that the movie isn't enough of a one-sided rant?

The problem is that it's a no-sided rant.

> Solondz does have views of his own, which he has expressed in
every interview where he's been
> asked (which is all of them pretty much), but he also says he went
out of his way to stack
> the deck against his side.

Stacked deck. Exactly. This is my problem with the movie. No one
likes playing with a stacked deck. Except for the dealer.

>Just because no one has a big monologue espousing the movie's
> POV a la VERA DRAKE doesn't mean it's apolitical, and it's
certainly not disaffected. To read
> it as such, you have to ignore the despair in Mark Weiner's "no
one ever changes" speech. I
> would say it's definitely pessimistic, but pessimists aren't
people who don't care if things
> change, just people who doubt that they will.

I agree with you about the nature of pessimists. But Solondz the
pessimist has stacked the deck. Solondz's films burst at the seams
with pedophiles and moral monsters. It's easy to make your points
when your characters are this ugly.

>If Solondz really wanted to "raise himself
> above the fray," why would he make a movie about "hot button
issues" in the first place?

Controversy. Just look at all the attention we're giving it!
27170  
From: Adrian Martin
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 11:40pm
Subject: re: characterisation, etc  apmartin90


 
Mike, I greatly appreciate your responses to my 'Million Stories'
article. Sam, I equally appreciate your response, and I pledge to
spending my next decades writing a piece to convince young film buffs
that Dorsky is as much fun to watch as Scorsese! (Aside: seriously, I
think this revolution will happen not in writing, but through
'pedagogical demonstrations' in the classroom and - utopia starts here
- when people like Scorsese are showing and enthusiastically endorsing
Dorsky on prime-time world-wide television!)

You have made many important points, Mike. For example, when you say
that the 'anti-plot' position seems oriented against a very reductive
Hollywood 3-act notion of narrative, that is undoubtedly true. I think
we could all easily lose the thread of this thread by splitting hairs
over what constitutes plot incidents, story events, minimal or maximal
narrative, etc. Perhaps a deeper issue to argue out is more like: what
constitutes 'intrigue' in a film? Unlike you, I find Tsai films like
WHAT TIME IS IT THERE and GOODBYE DRAGON INN infinitely intriguing (in
fact, quite 'tense' in the best way). There's an 'inner life' of
echoes, correspondences, parallels, 'virtual encounters', etc in his
movies that I find spellbinding. More on this later ...

Mike, have you read Raul Ruiz's POETICS OF CINEMA? You should (for
instance, Ruiz has a strong maths/science element in his often playful
& eccentric film theory). He talks a lot about the active/passive issue
you crucially raise. He describes stories based on relentlessly
activity as stories of WILL, the will conceived as something
predominantly conscious, motivated, driving - whereas he considers will
(in the spirit of psychoanalysis) as something dark, murky, oceanic,
unconscious, not at all narratable in strict 'means and ends', goals,
objects, etc. This is why he prizes 'passive' forms like some Latin
American melodrama , where life is what 'happens' to characters, not
what they 'cause' ... and, of course, there IS a strong 'horror'
element in Ruiz's own films. Which brings us to ...

I was fascinated by your points about violence and horror. I take that
point, although I do think you exaggerate with some of the examples:
SPIRIT OF THE BEEHIVE, for instance, is only 'horror' (despite, of
course, the Frankenstein referemce) in the very loose, attenuated sense
that another film from a child's point of view, CURSE OF THE CAT
PEOPLE, is.

This brings me to something else. Rather than 'horror and violence' I
think the bigger context (or at least one possible context) is
Surrealism - something that has fascinated me since I was a teenager
(and probably has fascinated other AFB members). There is definitely a
sex-violence-horror element in surrealism: Ruiz, Bunuel, Lynch,
Cronenberg, etc. (Indeed, another of my long essays is called
'Surrealist Sex and Violence'!) But - here is my point - surrealism is
just as much lyrical as 'violent' (and often both at once!) In the
'thought experiment' recorded in my 'Million Stories' piece, if it was
'the chair turns into a bed of roses' rather than a bomb, perhaps you
may have reacted to it differently - or think of Bunuel's EXTERMINATING
ANGEL: a door opens and a landscape is suddenly, imporbably glimpsed
... My feeling is that sex/violence/horror elements in surrealism (and
the many movements and individuals touched by a surrealist sensibility)
are primarily extravagant metaphors for transformation, for 'getting
out of the self', rather than items of content to take a 'moral stance'
towards (I am not directing that last comment at you, Mike, just a
general observation).

There is much to discuss about plot and characterisation!

Adrian
27171  
From: "Sam Adams"
Date: Mon May 16, 2005 11:46pm
Subject: Re: Palindromes  arglebargle31


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Matt Armstrong" wrote:

> The schematics of the narrative (by which I mean the palindrome)
> place both the abortion and the murder at rhyming places in the
> structure. Both have unintended consequences. Aviva is rendered
> sterile by her abortion and the doctor's young daughter is
> accidentally killed by Bob, again suggesting equivalency. But
> Aviva's mother "forcing" her to have an abortion isn't even in the
> same ballpark as shooting a human being. And if you believe that
> Aviva's mother is on a "similar level of moral development" to a
> pedophile who murders people in cold blood, well I'm afraid that's
> one of the problems with the equivalency Solondz suggests.

The abortion and the assassination do rhyme structually, but they're shot in completely
opposing ways -- the first through frosted glass with muffled sound, the latter in plain
sight (although we still don't see any blood). Of course there's a parallel being drawn, but
that's not the same as making them equivalent. I happen to agree with you that forcing a
child to get an abortion is not the same as murdering in cold blood (although why the
quotes around "forcing"? what else would you call it when a mother goes directly against
her daughter's explicit wishes?). But first, not every one does: to pro-lifers, the mom's act
is every bit as heinous as Bob's, and to the ultra-pro-life, more so. (Another structural
rhyme: each side commits the act the other side sees as the worst). And more importantly,
both mom and Bob contravene their own beliefs in the name of supporting them. "On the
same level of moral development" is overstated (falling into the moral equivalency trap I'm
trying to avoid), but not out of the question. There are a lot of moral idiots who are kept in
line by propriety; put them in a different context, and they'd comply with almost anything.

> Brainwashed? Yes. It's clear that in order to take advantage of Mama
> Sunshine's charity, the children have to believe in Jesus. The
> little boy who befriends Aviva is every bit as creepy as the budding
> sociopath in "Storytelling."

Again, sez you. He also treats Aviva with kindness and respect.

> Come on, this movie was MADE for liberal blue state cinephiles.
> Solondz hasn't intended it for a wide audience. He's not packing the
> multiplexes in Wichita. He's tweaking middle class liberal
> sensibilities *for effect.* Solondz is just as unnerved by Christian
> fundamentalists as the liberals he's "exposing" here. It's no
> accident that Solondz references "Rosemary's Baby" in the music he
> selects.

Substitute "aimed at" for "MADE for" and I agree with you. Solondz knows there's no
chance he's going to play in Peoria -- as much the fault of distrubution biases as anything
else -- but rather than flatter his inevitable audience, he confronts them. Sure, Solondz is
unnerved by both sides. I mean, look at the guy: He's probably unnerved by his shadow.
But that doesn't mean he ipso facto disapproves of them.

Also, the Rosemary's Baby music starts long before Aviva arrives at Mama Sunshine's, and
so is not associated with that scene in particular. If anything, it would be associated with
her aborted child, no?

I was actually hoping you'd read the "Vice" article because it
> supports my point. Solondz rather coyly lays out his strategy for
> achieving the desired "ambiguous effect" with the Sunshine Singers:
>
> "I wanted the Sunshine Singers to have an NSync sound — just a
> few
> years out of touch. All the songs are that style, but embellished
> with the Christian touch. The way it works is that, while I am moved
> by their performance and how beautiful it is for me as I watch them
> dance and sing, at the same time I step back and I say, "Oh my God,
> what are they singing." That kind of friction is emblematic of my
> movies, you see."
>
> So Solondz *wants* me to be taken aback by the Christian content of
> this song. And when I do, *I'm* the the one who's being
> condescending and hypocritical? It's an interesting trick on Solondz
> part, but it's just that- a trick.

But you're completely skipping over the first part of the quote! "I am moved by their
performance and how beautiful it is to me." Does that sound like Solondz is trying to
provoke a one-sided reaction? The scene is designed to provoke a response but also to
question it -- to make you ask, should you feel uneasy, why? You're still not admitting the
fact that it is your own prejudices, whether or not you or I or Todd Solondz share them,
that contribute to the discomfort. It's all Todd's fault, right?

Part of the problem with the reception of Solondz' movies is that people have gotten so
caught up in second-guessing him that they're constantly on the lookout for how they're
"supposed" to be feeling and then try to feel the opposite -- which is a great way to watch
a movie if you want to waste two hours. I hate to spend so much time discussing a
filmmaker's supposed "intentions," whether based on quotes or purely hypothetical,
because I'd rather be discussing the work. But the standard line on Solondz seems to me
so shallow and thoughtless, so contrary to both his stated intentions and my experience of
the last two films (I hated Happiness when it came out -- have I mentioned that?) that it's
more or less inevitable.

>
> > So the problem is that the movie isn't enough of a one-sided rant?
>
> The problem is that it's a no-sided rant.

Really? You come away from the movie not knowing if Solondz is pro-choice or pro-life?
Hard to square with your claim that Solondz views the pro-life Christians as scary freaks,
or that the movie is a blue-state lovefest. There's no such thing as a movie with no point
of view.

> Stacked deck. Exactly. This is my problem with the movie. No one
> likes playing with a stacked deck. Except for the dealer.

See above.

> I agree with you about the nature of pessimists. But Solondz the
> pessimist has stacked the deck. Solondz's films burst at the seams
> with pedophiles and moral monsters. It's easy to make your points
> when your characters are this ugly.

Again (and again); how can the characters be so ugly if the movie has no point of view?
What's challenging about Palindromes is that even the characters who act reprehensibly
have their sympathetic, or at least human, sides. Bob would be a moral monster if he killed
the doctor and made a big speech about the rightness of his actions. But the look on his
face and the dialogue indicate that he has no comprehension of what he's just done.
Solondz presents him as, at least with the stylized context of the movie, a fully-realized
character. Flattening him into "a pedophile who murders people in cold blood" is your
characterization, not the movie's.

Incidentally, I'm not trying to be a sophist and insist that every negative aspect of the
movie is only in your mind. But you, in a way I find depressingly characteristic of
Palindromes' detractors, insist on characterizing the movie and its director in ways that
simply don't hold water. If you wanted to criticize Happiness for creating a world full of
ugly characters and allowing the audience to smugly score points off them, I'd probably
agree with you (although since my feelings about Solondz have done a 180 with the last
two films, I should probably re-watch it). But if Palindromes is designed as a nostrum for
blue-state audiences, then Solondz has done a piss-poor job of it: It's hard to imagine
anyone coming out of the movie and saying, "That's just how *I* feel!"

> >If Solondz really wanted to "raise himself
> > above the fray," why would he make a movie about "hot button
> issues" in the first place?
>
> Controversy. Just look at all the attention we're giving it!

No question he wants to put buttons -- you were the one who accused him of catering to
disaffected hipsters. But I know controversy, which interests me not in the slightest, isn't
why I'm talking about it. I think it's a brilliant movie which has been willfully misconstrued
by lazy critics who went in looking for something to hate. It's amazingly successful at
reflecting people's prejudices back at them, including their a priori hatred of its director.

Sam
27172  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 1:07am
Subject: Re: re: characterisation, etc  cellar47


 
--- Adrian Martin wrote:
> Mike, I greatly appreciate your responses to my
> 'Million Stories'
> article. Sam, I equally appreciate your response,
> and I pledge to
> spending my next decades writing a piece to convince
> young film buffs
> that Dorsky is as much fun to watch as Scorsese!
> (Aside: seriously, I
> think this revolution will happen not in writing,
> but through
> 'pedagogical demonstrations' in the classroom and -
> utopia starts here
> - when people like Scorsese are showing and
> enthusiastically endorsing
> Dorsky on prime-time world-wide television!)
>

Actually Marty and Nick may know each other. Nick and
his boyfriend Jerry Hiller (whos footage of New York
at night was utlized in a documentary about Jack
Kerouac) were part of the same "floating crap game"
movie buff scene.

Are you aware of the fact that Nick once worked on a
commercial teen comedy, Adrian?





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27173  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 1:12am
Subject: The Nick Dorsky Nobody Knows  cellar47


 
Here's his IMDB listing, Adrian.

Note (gulp!) "Revenge of the Cheerleaders"



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27174  
From: Adrian Martin
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 3:33am
Subject: re: the Nathaniel Dorsky No One Knew  apmartin90


 
David, you have made my day with news of that REVENGE OF THE
CHEERLEADERS credit for Nathaniel Dorsky! Now if we program this with
the Troma movie by the South park guys featuring Brakhage, I think we
have an Alternative History of Cinema festival brewing ...
Any takers?

Adrian
27175  
From: "Matt Armstrong"
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 4:52am
Subject: Re: Palindromes  matt_c_armst...


 
(although why the
> quotes around "forcing"? what else would you call it when a mother
goes directly against
> her daughter's explicit wishes?).

Well, because there's no law in New Jersey or anywhere else that
compels a child to have an abortion if her mother insists. If there
is such a law, I'm not aware of it. And Solondz certainly doesn't
show the girl being dragged kicking and screaming to the clinic. Her
mother berates and bullies her and she ultimately submits to her
parents' wishes. But if you're suggesting that the law compels Aviva
to abort, then Solondz's movie is even more dependent on make-believe
schematics than previously discussed. As it stands, the mother
character is like a monstrous fantasy concocted by right wing types.
As is the public dump full of aborted fetuses that we see later.


But first, not every one does: to pro-lifers, the mom's act
> is every bit as heinous as Bob's, and to the ultra-pro-life, more
so. (Another structural
> rhyme: each side commits the act the other side sees as the worst).
And more importantly,
> both mom and Bob contravene their own beliefs in the name of
supporting them. "On the
> same level of moral development" is overstated (falling into the
moral equivalency trap I'm
> trying to avoid), but not out of the question. There are a lot of
moral idiots who are kept in
> line by propriety; put them in a different context, and they'd
comply with almost anything.

I'll own up to a fundamental problem here. I just don't see
equivalent merit to pro-choice and pro-life arguments. Part of this
is the difference between secular and religious reasoning, and part
of it is my own conviction surrounding civil liberties. So yeah, I'm
not sure I needed a movie which exposes the "hypocrisy" of pro-choice
liberals. I think the conflict over abortion is one of the most
intractable. There really isn't much room for compromise unless you
buy the Clintons "safe, legal and rare" hooha.

The Left needs to figure out what the hell is the matter with Kansas.
But I can't see giving up any ground on abortion rights. So Solondz's
make-believe horrorshow feels even more pointless to me.

>
> > Brainwashed? Yes. It's clear that in order to take advantage of
Mama
> > Sunshine's charity, the children have to believe in Jesus. The
> > little boy who befriends Aviva is every bit as creepy as the
budding
> > sociopath in "Storytelling."
>
> Again, sez you. He also treats Aviva with kindness and respect.

Solondz is having his cake and eating it too. He admits in the "Vice"
article that he's trying to strike an ambiguous and uncomfortable
note. I say I find it creepy. That makes me a condescending liberal.
Back where we started.


> else -- but rather than flatter his inevitable audience, he
confronts them.

But what is he confronting us about? Aren't there liberals who adopt
disabled children? Would most liberals bully their daughters into
having abortions?


>> But you're completely skipping over the first part of the
quote! "I am moved by their
> performance and how beautiful it is to me." Does that sound like
Solondz is trying to
> provoke a one-sided reaction The scene is designed to provoke a
response but also to
> question it -- to make you ask, should you feel uneasy, why? You're
still not admitting the
> fact that it is your own prejudices, whether or not you or I or
Todd Solondz share them,
> that contribute to the discomfort. It's all Todd's fault, right?

Not all Todd's fault. But it is Todd's movie, right? Your reasoning
here is totally cyclical. If I understand your point, Solondz's film
is a mirror. So my reactions only reflect my own biases. This means
that we can't analyze any of his aesthetic or ethical choices without
being told that it's a litmus test for our own biases. By this logic,
the movie is inured from any critical analysis. I tell you that the
Mama Sunshine scenes are creepy and menacing. You tell me it's a
brilliant director showing me my own hypocrisy.

>
> Part of the problem with the reception of Solondz' movies is that
people have gotten so
> caught up in second-guessing him that they're constantly on the
lookout for how they're
> "supposed" to be feeling and then try to feel the opposite -- which
is a great way to watch
> a movie if you want to waste two hours. I hate to spend so much
time discussing a
> filmmaker's supposed "intentions," whether based on quotes or
purely hypothetical,

You seem equally certain of the intentions and biases of the film's
critics. For the record, I'm a fan of "Storytelling" in which the
director actually implicates himself. I haven't much liked the other
films. I went into "Palindromes" hoping to like it. My analysis is
based on my feelings, not on my desire to trash the man. His film
made me feel bored, lectured at, and finally shitty.

> Really? You come away from the movie not knowing if Solondz is pro-
choice or pro-life?

Yup. No idea.

> Hard to square with your claim that Solondz views the pro-life
Christians as scary freaks,

I'm saying that he plays to my biases as a pro-choice liberal. But I
think he considers himself above the pro/con political fray (which is
where most of us live- and where the battle over abortion rights will
most certainly be fought.)

> Again (and again); how can the characters be so ugly if the movie
has no point of view?

If I was less than clear before, what I'm saying is that there's an
above-it-all air to the proceedings. Solondz admits that he stacked
the deck against the pro-choice side. He's too cool to take a
position and defend it. More fun to build a right wing straw man of
the pro-choice side and tear it down. That's not nuance or
complexity.

It's hard to imagine
> anyone coming out of the movie and saying, "That's just how *I*
feel!"

It's hard to imagine anyone saying this because the movie is so
airless and obtuse. It's not even clear what Solondz feels. There's
nothing to hold onto.

> why I'm talking about it. I think it's a brilliant movie which has
been willfully misconstrued
> by lazy critics who went in looking for something to hate. It's
amazingly successful at
> reflecting people's prejudices back at them, including their a
priori hatred of its director.

Willfully misconstrued. Lazy. A priori hatred. These are harsh
judgments. If I can't know Solondz's intentions, how can you claim to
know the intentions of the film's many detractors.

Speaking only for myself, I came with an open mind, and left
disappointed. Honest.
27176  
From: "Noel Vera"
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 6:55am
Subject: Kung Fu Hustle  noelbotevera


 
Saw Stephen Chao's [b]Kung Fu Hustle[/b], and it's easily the best
thing I've seen from him yet. Has a nice way of unfolding and raising
the stakes with each plot twist (from fake gangster to real gangsters
to a trio of kung fu masters to a pair of [i]great [/i] kung fu
masters, etc), and he shows a surprising amount of heart in the way he
uses a lollipop and a young deaf-and-dumb girl (I swear, that's the
closest I've been moved to tears for some time). There's even evidence
of fairly subtle wit, as husband and wife (Paris and Helen, haw!) show
up for their showdown in the cheesiest pair of canary-yellow outfits
I've ever seen (well, maybe not subtle, but it's not slapstick or
toilet humor). And I don't know if it's Chao or the translator, but
the single funniest line in the film has to be a quote from Stan Lee--
"with great power comes great responsibility" indeed.

It doesn't have the kind of purity Jackie Chan brings to his comedies
(or especially Chan directed by Liu Chia Liang), but I'd say Chao has
a surer, smarter sense of what audiences like. Not ready to call this
a great comedy, much less a great [i]martial-arts[/i] comedy, but it's
very good indeed.
27177  
From: Adrian Martin
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 7:06am
Subject: re: Kung Fu Hustle  apmartin90


 
Noel wrote:

"Not ready to call this
a great comedy, much less a great [i]martial-arts[/i] comedy ... "

Come on, Noel, let yourself go! I love KUNG FU HUSTLE! It is a great
martial-arts comedy, a great comedy, a great film, a great event, and
great fun! Dave, I need you on back-up here ...

Adrian

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27178  
From: "Matt Armstrong"
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 7:53am
Subject: Re: Kung Fu Hustle  matt_c_armst...


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Adrian Martin wrote:
> Noel wrote:
>
> "Not ready to call this
> a great comedy, much less a great [i]martial-arts[/i] comedy ... "
>
> Come on, Noel, let yourself go! I love KUNG FU HUSTLE! It is a great
> martial-arts comedy, a great comedy, a great film, a great event, and
> great fun! Dave, I need you on back-up here ...

"Kung Fu Hustle" is great! I've been meaning to write about it. I found
its sentimentality totally disarming. The whole romantic thread about
the candy girl seemed like an homage to "City Lights." In fact, Chow's
character is a lot like The Tramp. Which movies of his do you all
suggest seeing?
27179  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 4:27am
Subject: Re: the Nathaniel Dorsky No One Knew  nzkpzq


 
It is not just "da kids" who need help seeing Nathaniel Dorsky. I'm 51, and
have never had a chance to see any of his movies! Am grateful to Sam Adams for
bringing him up. Which films are especially outstanding? And is there a way to
see them, say on DVD or video?

Mike Grost
27180  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 5:04am
Subject: Re: Surrealism (was: characterisation, etc)  nzkpzq


 
Thanks to Adrian Martin for a really informative post!
Am quite unfamiliar with this whole strain of Surrealism and filmmaking.
There is so much I need to learn about the cinema!
The recent cable screening of "Simon of the Desert" (Bunuel) allowed the
seeing of this gem. It was recommended some time ago by Bunuel expert Bill Krohn.
This is a very inventive film. Next up for viewing: "The Exterminating Angel".
Riuiz is little more than a name. Have only seen "Geneologies of a Crime",
and have not read any of Ruiz's writings. For Cronenberg, liked "M. Butterfly",
am unfamilar with nearly all the rest. In Erice, have only seen "The Spirit of
the Beehive" (a distrubing title). Need to see "The Quince Tree Sun", one of
JPC's favorite films. In Tsai, liked "The Hole", was upset by "What Time Is It
There?"
Among the Surrealist painters, am deeply familar with Miro, a childhood
favorite. And love Max Ernst and Arshille Gorky. Biomorphic abstraction R Us. But
am much less familar with Surrealism as a whole, have never read any of the
poetry or texts.
It is OT, but: there is a deep strain of Surrealist-like writing in prose
mystery fiction: Jacques Futrelle, Ellery Queen, Craig Rice, Mary Roberts
Rinehart, Anthony Abbot, the contemporary writer Edward D. Hoch. Futrelle's work is
now in the public domain (he went down with the Titanic in 1912) and is
available free on-line at:
http://www.futrelle.com/

The Futrelle short story "The Problem of Cell 13" (1905) is one of the
greatest of all mystery tales. It is also one of the most Surrealist works of
fiction imaginable. A true strangeness of events... This whole tradition of mystery
fiction is plot-based, and stresses plots in which the most outre events are
always happening, but which are eventually given logical explanations. A joint
production of the Unconscious and Rational Minds.

Mike Grost
27181  
From: "hotlove666"
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 11:04am
Subject: Orson Welles: One Man Band  hotlove666


 
I had never seen the new version of One Man Band by Peter Bogdanovich
(no tv), and when I had the good luck to pick it up for a dollar at
Amoeba, I was surprised to see how much better it is than the Vasily
Silovic version, which was cannibalized to make it. (I don't have a
copy of "the German version," as it's called, to compare, but even if
the Churchill bit was in that one – and I don't remember it – the way
it's presented here is really hilarious.) Somehow I'd gotten the idea
that Peter hadn't changed that much in his "US Version," but he
changed just about everything, and the film he made is what the first
one should have been.

Having blasphemed recently against F for Fake, I am happy to add now,
having seen the F for Fake trailer again, that it's much better than
the feature. The big problem with the feature was the narration and
the labored conceits it was laboring to sell. As I understand it,
Welles abandoned F of Fake to the editor near the end, and it's clear
seeing the trailer again that he just went off and remade the feature
as a promo reel, correcting the mistakes of the original in the
process. Mainly by making Gary Graver a character and sharing the
soundtrack with him. It's as big an improvement as telling Oja to
whisper in the garden fragment of The Dreamers after the harshness of
her delivery had spoiled the earlier rushes shot inside the house.

BTW, Gary isn't even mentioned in "the German version" because the
German producers were mad at him for including "their" F for Fake
trailer in his documentary. Which was insane. I'm thrilled Peter ran
the trailer fill length, although someday it should be replaced with
the color version restored by Stefan DRoessler.

Basically Peter's approach to One Man Band is to fill it with
trailers: The excellent one they've dug up where's Welles is telling
Heston about The Deep; the AFI presentation of Other Side – which at
that point was going to be finished and premiered on Showtime after
One Man Band – the trailer Peter himself seems to have cut for The
Dreamers (where'd he get the snow scenes?), the presentation of
Merchant of Venice, with the reel running out, even a very creditable
trailer for The Magic Show. That's smart of Peter and Oja.

Maybe someday, when everything is available in fuller versions and
this film has become obsolete as a trailer fest, they can end it with
Welles' own final summation, the end of the garden fragment, omitted
from OW:OMB because they rightly chose not let it run on at full
length - which would make One Man Band a bit more of the biographical
essay it was going to be when OW was planning it himself.

The only other documentary I know by Peter is his Ford documentary,
which I don't like. This is a million times better!
27182  
From: Jesse Paddock
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 0:28pm
Subject: Re: Re: Kung Fu Hustle  jesse_paddock


 
>And I don't know if it's Chao or the translator, but
>the single funniest line in the film has to be a quote from Stan Lee--
>"with great power comes great responsibility" indeed.

That is a hilarious line. Chow synthesizes so many levels of parody,
sometimes he's very nimble about it and other times he plays fast and
loose with his satire. Along the same lines as your fave quote, mine
is "No more soccer."

> Which movies of his do you all
> suggest seeing?

Check out 1996's The God of Cookery, which is a broad satire of the
Chow-Yun Fat movie The God of Gamblers. The title pretty much gives
away its chief comic conceit, but most of the Chow signatures--plucky
ugly-duckling underdogs who are secret kung fu masters, over-the-top
supersonic CGI fight moves-- are in place.

Jesse
27183  
From: "thebradstevens"
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 0:32pm
Subject: Re: Orson Welles: One Man Band  thebradstevens


 
I've seen two versions of THE ONE MAN BAND. The one which was shown
once on the French/German channel ARTE, and the more easily available
version. The most obvious difference is that the early version
doesn't include either of the clips from THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND.
I didn't know that Bogdanovich was responsible for the second
version. Or is there now a third version edited by Mr B?
27184  
From: "Henrik Sylow"
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 0:53pm
Subject: Re: Chow (was: Kung Fu Hustle)  henrik_sylow


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Matt Armstrong"
wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Adrian Martin wrote:
> > Noel wrote:
> >
> > "Not ready to call this
> > a great comedy, much less a great [i]martial-arts[/i] comedy ... "
> >
> > Come on, Noel, let yourself go! I love KUNG FU HUSTLE! It is a great
> > martial-arts comedy, a great comedy, a great film, a great event, and
> > great fun! Dave, I need you on back-up here ...
>
> "Kung Fu Hustle" is great! I've been meaning to write about it. I found
> its sentimentality totally disarming. The whole romantic thread about
> the candy girl seemed like an homage to "City Lights." In fact, Chow's
> character is a lot like The Tramp. Which movies of his do you all
> suggest seeing?

Besides "Shaolin Soccer", which I find superior to "Kung Fu Hustle", I
can recommend two other spoofs (the only two other Chow films I've
seen), "Fist of Fure 91", where he totally makes fun of "Fist of Fury"
and "From Beijing with Love", equally absurd rip-off on James Bond.
The latter two are however not as coherent in plot as his latest films.

But "Shaolin Soccer" above all. The humour is wonderfully absurd, the
soccer sequences are totally overdrive. But make sure to watch the
directors cut 110 minute version, as it has some nice additions (like
our hero kicking a refrigirator 15 feet up). The US version is cut by
aprx 27 minutes, is missing an important plot element, actually what
the story of Iron Leg is all about, and alot more. It is not without
reason, that Harvey runs miramAXE :)

Henrik
27185  
From: "Henrik Sylow"
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 0:57pm
Subject: Re: Chow (was: Kung Fu Hustle)  henrik_sylow


 
...and, as Jesse notes, "God of Cookery", where Chow spoofs "God of
Gambling". How could I forget that one :)

Henrik
27186  
From: Charles Leary
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 1:10pm
Subject: Re: Kung Fu Hustle  cw_leary


 
> And I don't know if it's Chao or the translator, but
> the single funniest line in the film has to be a quote from Stan Lee--
> "with great power comes great responsibility" indeed.

I think that subtitle is set up as intentional, because just before
that, that character says something in English ( I can't remember what)
and Yuen Wah (the landlord) says "why don't you talk in Chinese" -- a
running gag itself in a few other scenes.

The film is a masterpiece. As a friend of mine told me, "its so good it
looks like it must be from the future."

Charley


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27187  
From: Adrian Martin
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 1:30pm
Subject: re: Kung Fu Hustle  apmartin90


 
'The film is a masterpiece. As a friend of mine told me, "its so good it
looks like it must be from the future."'

Charley, your friend has made an immortal (and true) remark there!

I do agree with Henrik that SHAOLIN SOCCER is probably the absolute
best film by Chow: an impossible film to 'top', but KUNG FU HUSTLE
strikes out in many bold directions. I second the votes for GOD OF
COOKERY and FROM BEIJING WITH LOVE, too. Actually, I think ALL his
films are good!!

By the way, in terms of GOD OF COOKERY, I wonder if someone can tell
me: apart from being a GOD OF GAMBLERS spoof, does it anticipate the
Japanese show IRON CHEF, or did that already exist at the time? This
zany cooking program (a cult on Australian TV) apparently sometimes has
Oshima as a guest judge, although I haven't spotted him yet in the
episodes I've caught.

Beyond the CGI effects, the sentimental plots, and the relentless movie
and pop-culture parodies, what I prize above all in Chow is something
shared by very few modern auteurs: he has an absolutely cinematic
understanding of what a gag is, down to the last frame. (I like
Farrelly brothers films a lot on several levels, but they don't exactly
have that kind of pure-cinema zing.) On this level, Chow is (I'll say
it again!) the heir to Jerry Lewis. Or Luc Moullet! (see the latest
ROUGE, www.rouge.com.au)

Adrian

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27188  
From: "Richard Modiano"
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 2:21pm
Subject: Re: Kung Fu Hustle  tharpa2002


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Adrian Martin wrote:

"By the way, in terms of GOD OF COOKERY, I wonder if someone can tell
me: apart from being a GOD OF GAMBLERS spoof, does it anticipate the
Japanese show IRON CHEF, or did that already exist at the time? This
zany cooking program (a cult on Australian TV) apparently sometimes
has Oshima as a guest judge, although I haven't spotted him yet in
the
episodes I've caught."

"Ryori no Tetsujin"/"Iron Chef" debuted in 1993 and reached its peak
of popularity two years later so Chow could have had it in mind for
satire when he made "God of Cookery."

Richard
27189  
From: BklynMagus
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 3:12pm
Subject: Re: "My Name is Nobody" Redux  cinebklyn


 
I watched "My Name is Nobody" last night.

The last time this film was discussed, some members
said Leone himself directed it, but didn't sign.

I looked closely, but was unable to see his hand.

I recorded it, so can anyone give me pointers on what
I should focus on.

Thanks.

Brian
27190  
From: Elizabeth Nolan
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 3:55pm
Subject: In the body of the viewer (was Palindromes)  eanmdphd


 
Sam-
I would have needed that second viewing -- thanks for pointing out

> second viewing, it's clear how carefully he's chosen the actor for
> each scene: the palest and skinniest actress for the moment of
> betrayal by her parents; the obese black actress for the episode when
> Aviva takes her place among the so-called freaks; Jennifer Jason
> Leigh for the scene when Aviva returns from her journey, purportedly
> older and wiser.

But as someone questioned:

>> I need some help here. Why is it significant
>> that the palest/skinniest for the betrayal
>> scene and the obese African Amerian actress
>> for the freak scene?
>
> Because the pale/skinny girl is the most visibly vulnerable, and the
> obese black woman the
> most visibly "freakish" (as well as in demeanor the tenderest and most
> innocent-seeming).

I understand your explanation, but having just returned from a week in
a small rural area in MISSISSIPPI when I was the only white person
(5'9'', 155 lbs, and almost whiter than Michael Jackson even though I
live in Southern California), I suspect who is seen as vulnerable /
freakish is really in the body of the viewer... which gets us back to
why all the body changes for the character? So though I understand you
explanation, I am probably not skinny enough to be 'vulnerable,'
although one of the obese black women tugged the belt at my waist line
and kept saying 'Girl, you skinny.' ... only in MISSISSIPPI.
27191  
From: "Blake Lucas"
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 3:56pm
Subject: The Exile - No Turkey (Was: Rosselini/Ophuls Costume)  lukethedealer12


 
It's almost a week since this briefly came up but promised to say just
a few words on its behalf, so here they are. First, as everyone will
recall, the subject first came up as to where Ophuls and Renoir should
have been placed in Sarris' THE AMERICAN CINEMA--Pantheon (probably
most accord both a place here when all their work is considered) or
Fringe Benefits given the relative few American films of each. I
won't try to place Renoir here, but just want to say this about Ophuls.
If it had been suggested that any of his four American ones was a
turkey, I would have disagreed. Remarkably, I think all four are
masterpieces, and I emphatically feel he deserves a place in the
pantheon of American cinema. I rank him in my top dozen American
directors, isolating these works, and of course in my hierarchy of all
directors, he jumps up even higher for his whole oeuvre.

A number of other members chimed in that they also admired The Exile.
Among them, JPC noted he had seen it once a long time ago and thought
it was "wonderful." Mike found it "beautiful, graceful, and joyous."
Joe said that the second time he saw it in "a beautiful 35 print" he
found it "stunning." He also observed that it was "especially
interesting as a film about an exile from a filmmaker who was living
in precisely that state at the time." This is fairly obvious on its
face but one thing I feel deserves a little elaboration.

All of what everyone said about it is what I'd want to say too (and I
only wish I had ever seen a 35 print as some of you have--it has been
TV prints and not so good 16s for me). I wonder if The Exile may be a
little underrated because it doesn't seem to have any complex or
troubling subtext like the other three American Ophuls movies.
Douglas Fairbanks Jr. wrote the script for his own production and as
in some other films he made, may have had some hopes of wearing the
mantle of his famous father in costume/swashbuckling romances, here
with historical basis.

I've always liked Fairbanks Jr. A good early performance is in Hawks'
The Dawn Patrol in which he and Richard Barthelmess have some very
moving, tender scenes as one of the most appealing bonded male couples
in all of Hawks. As The Exile is undersung Ophuls, so it is with that
Hawks film, because in spite of a Hawksian subject, the dialogue is
done more emphatically, with less spontaneous flow, though it is still
highly individual to the director and very effective (and Hawks liked
that film very much). Then, of course there's classic costume romance
The Prisoner of Zenda (John Cromwell)--in strict terms of the
narrative, Fairbanks Jr. plays the second villain, but he absolutely
steals the show and I think most people would agree with that. But by
the time of The Exile he was still no great star, and really always in
his father's shadow. To me, this gives him a kind of becoming quality
of humility relative to his father (interestingly, the one movie in
the genre I like as well as The Exile--and I do like many--is The Iron
Mask directed by Allan Dwan with Fairbanks Sr.) He is flamboyant
enough and certainly attractive, but there is this appealing sweetness
about him.

For The Exile Fairbanks Jr. hired a director who had been in America
seven years (I believe that's right) without a film. Ophuls had
almost gotten Ride the Pink Horse (Robert Montgomery, and very good in
its own right but with enough affinities to Ophuls one might wish he
had done it, except there would be no Ophuls-directed Exile) and had
been humiliatingly fired off Hughes' Vendetta. And though The Exile
gave him seemingly a free hand artistically (it is replete with the
beautiful moving camera work associated him, as well as gorgeous
atmosphere, texture, romantic tone), it is a costume drama in some
ways very familiar as king and commoner finally have to separate
because of his native country's call.

But this is where Ophuls own "exile" situation has moving resonances
within the film's realization. For Charles II, though humbled and
impoverished by his exiled state, resists despair and embraces life.
This is exactly why he is able to fall in love (and so has to finally
lose her). He carries his kingly grace and bearing, his keen sense of
priorities and fine values (give me this "monarch" over what we have
now any day of the week) through every hazard. Fairbanks, Jr. conveys
this so well--and in turn, and in the beautiful artistry which
suffuses the film, and the feeling that it has, one feels that Ophuls
too, knows in directing this project that he, too, is still "a king"
--king of his domain of a certain kind of filmmaking. The film is
in fact a key to why he carried his gift so well and so easily into
so many countries. But there is no other time when he had to wait so
long to get out on a set and create again. The joy in this is
palpable here, and so is the rich inner life he gives the narrative.

Blake Lucas
27192  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 0:24pm
Subject: Re: "Iron Chef" (was: Kung Fu Hustle)  nzkpzq


 
"Iron Chef" is a huge cult favorite in the US, too. Lots of the guys at work
watch it, often with their kids. They all know who Oshima is, from his judge
work on this cooking-competition series, but they have no idea he is a film
director.
There is a whole cable TV channel in the US, "The Food Channel". It has round
the clock documentaries on cooking and food. Some of these are straightfoward
cooking lesson shows - one of these is called "The Barefoot Contessa". My
late Mother always used to laugh that the hostess was no Ava Gardner! Others are
filmed documentaries. There was a whole series about regional small factories
that employed maybe 10 people, and which turned out local candies, preserves
and other goodies. Nearly everything on the Food Channel is brighly lit, and in
riotous rainbow color. It has a "house style" just like U-I in the 50's.
"Iron Chef" is the most popular show for men on The Food Channel.

Mike Grost
27193  
From: "samfilms2003"
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 4:31pm
Subject: Re: the Nathaniel Dorsky No One Knew  samfilms2003


 
> It is not just "da kids" who need help seeing Nathaniel Dorsky. I'm 51, and
> have never had a chance to see any of his movies! Am grateful to Sam Adams for
> bringing him up. Which films are especially outstanding? And is there a way to
> see them, say on DVD or video?

You're confusing Sams. Don't do that !

Anyway. He's very adamant about no video or DVD. Moreover he insists on 16/18 fps
projection of his films. I understand on one level, but...

They are difficult to get to see, although you don't have to go so far as to climb a up a
mountain in Greece ;-), his Temenos is slightly more mobile.

I've only seen them at the shows he's done at Princeton University. I know MOMA has
done a few as has the Walter Reade. In San Fran, it's probably easier than most places.

I would recommend any of the films. I wish his work was more accessible (in the
sense of getting to see it - the films themselves are, I think, quite accesable in terms
of reception, esp. - maybe - in the context of the AG. (whole 'nother thread potential
there......)

I was being kind of rhetorical in response to Adrian Martin's post, but Dorsky is
among the great working filmmakers.

-Sam W

ps I think "Revenge Of The Cheerleaders" is on DVD. I haven't seen it, I'm waiting for
Adrians Alternative History of Cinema Festival (Alternative History Of Alternative
Cinema ?)
27194  
From: "Richard Modiano"
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 4:44pm
Subject: Re: the Nathaniel Dorsky No One Knew  tharpa2002


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "samfilms2003" wrote:

"...He's very adamant about no video or DVD. Moreover he insists on
16/18 fps projection of his films. I understand on one level, but..."

He contributed footage to "What Happened to Kerouac?" which was
originally 50 something minute film that was expanded with Dorsky's
footage of San Francisco, Lowell, and NYC city scapes with voice over
recordings by Kerouac, probably the best parts of the movie (beside
Gregory Corso's scenes.) This is available on DVD.

Richard
27195  
From: "Blake Lucas"
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 6:27pm
Subject: Re: How Robert Bresson Saved David E. From Drowning  lukethedealer12


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
> Saw "A Man Escaped" again last night, not having seen
> it for quite few years.
>
> A few random thoughts:
>
> http://ehrenstein.blogspot.com/

My wife Linda and I went to the same screening the other night, ran
into David and has some nice conversation before the movie, and
coming out afterward, when we were all quite moved by it. She had
never seen it, and like David I hadn't seen it in years.

Though I've only seen it a few times, this was always one of my
three favorite Bressons, square between much-beloved consensus
favorite "Au Hasard Balthazar" and my own strong third place choice
"Une Femme Douce." Still, as much as I loved the film, it was more
or less a complete mystery to me. Yes, I understood it was a brave
resistance leader who has the will, poise, and grace under pressure
to effect an escape from prison when under death sentence and to take
a younger man with him. But why was it so moving, so piercing,
other than the beautiful filmmaking?

Part of the reason I made a point to get back to it right now was
that David evoked that personal experience of his here a month or
so ago and I found it quite touching. He elaborates on this in
"random thoughts" which I read, and says it all there very well.
I won't speak for him. But I did feel seeing the film again that
his interpretation clarified it for me, and seems quite valid.
(The question posed by Richard about Fontaine contemplating killing
Jost and then not doing so seems well-addressed by both David and
Richard to me.) I believe perhaps I understand the movie a little
better now because, being older, I better understand the idea of
"prisons" and what they might be and mean in people's lives. David
is quite eloquent about this point. I only disagree with David about
what happens after the fadeout--not because I don't think it could
be the way he says--but because as I've said before I never
speculate about what happens after the end of the film. To me, this
is all we know, and we just don't know what happens next, because
the world of the film is now closed to us.

I won't venture too much critique because I believe a lot of a_f_b
members are way ahead of me on this director, someone I always
appreciate for his sensitive understanding of image and sound, but
whose world view I feel I am only now beginning to understand. "A
Man Escaped" ("Une Condamne a mort s'echappe" or--intriguingly--
"The Wind Bloweth Where It Listeth") seems an unusual Bresson film
to me. In many other of his works, there is grace, some say a
divine grace, only through death, or some Dostoyevskian resolution
(he adapted that writer twice), even suicide in a number of later
films. But here the two men escape--as transcendent an ending as
ever but completely hopeful. And we last see them alive. Also,
David and Linda and I all talked about how of all Bresson characters
Fontaine is "a man"--for the reasons I've already said. Also, as
David noted, he is already free. And in a spiritual sense, that is
probably why he has what it takes to escape. The one way in which
he is shown to evolve in the film--and it's crucial--is in going
from aloneness to communion. As has been noted, if he didn't have
Jost, he wouldn't have made it.

I'm sure that Mike knows this movie. It occurred to me that someone
like him would be very interested in Bresson's approach to space,
the space which contains the protagonist and the space of the frames
in which he moves. All of this seems very deeply thought out to me.
It seems that Fontaine is almost constantly on screen throughout,
even though this is not necessarily so--there are many shots of the
wood he chips away, and the things he looks at--but one does see him
continually and never gets tired of looking at him. Partly, it's
because, frankly, this is a very attractive man, as David (and I'm
sure others) have observed, but also because his face, bearing,
carriage, carry a very deep sense of what a man is like when he has
courage and inner resolve as well as sensitivity and humanity. The
nature of all the shots and frames becomes very different when Jost
is thrown into the cell with Fontaine. This is inevitable, of
course, but I found it striking. Visually, as well as dramatically,
everything seems to change in the spatial relationships and the
film's regard of this same man, Fontaine. That tells me that this
relationship with Jost is very important, not just functionally so.

Just a final thought because there has been a thread recently about
identication, our empathy or emotional ties with the characters, as
opposed to a pure response to art, in which something transcendent,
within the art but outside the narrative and characters, is what
moves us. At the end of the "A Man Escaped," as they come over the
last wall and are on the ground, Fontaine throws an arm around Jost
hard and with a sublime expression on his face says "Jost!" Then
they turn and walk quickly off. finally enclosed by mist--very
beautiful imagery. I know Bresson is in some way "austere" but when
Fontaine throws his arm around the other and says "Jost!" I break
into tears--especially so on this viewing--and feel those tears
through the walk into the mist. Am I responding to my empathy for
the two escaped men, or to the "transcendent art" (replete with
Mozart on the soundtrack) which Bresson has created? I find that
question impossible to answer.

Blake Lucas

>
>
> __________________________________________________
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27196  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 6:46pm
Subject: Re: The Exile - No Turkey (Was: Rosselini/Ophuls Costume)  cellar47


 
--- Blake Lucas wrote:

>
> I've always liked Fairbanks Jr. A good early
> performance is in Hawks'
> The Dawn Patrol in which he and Richard Barthelmess
> have some very
> moving, tender scenes as one of the most appealing
> bonded male couples
> in all of Hawks.

I love Doug Jr. too. He makes "Gunga Din" a treat just
as much as cary Grant and Victor Maclaglen. And if you
can find it there's Whale's super-campy "Green Hell"--
a favorite of Ian McKellen's.



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27197  
From: LiLiPUT1@...
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 2:46pm
Subject: Re: Re: "Iron Chef" (was: Kung Fu Hustle)  scil1973


 
In a message dated 5/17/05 11:31:34 AM, MG4273@... writes:


> They all know who Oshima is, from his judge work on this
> cooking-competition series, but they have no idea he is a film director.
>
I've seen a few episodes of IRON CHEF with Oshima as a judge. Extremely
anti-climactic. Will tell you nothing new about him.

Kevin John




[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27198  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 6:49pm
Subject: Re: Re: "Iron Chef" (was: Kung Fu Hustle)  cellar47


 
--- MG4273@... wrote:
> "Iron Chef" is a huge cult favorite in the US, too.
> Lots of the guys at work
> watch it, often with their kids. They all know who
> Oshima is, from his judge
> work on this cooking-competition series, but they
> have no idea he is a film
> director.

Interestingly enough Oshema had a whoile second career
in Japan as Phil Donahue-style TV host. The audience
who knew him for that were undoubtedly unacquaited
with "Night and Fog in Japan," or"Cruel Story of
Youth" -- not to mention "Three Ressurrected Drunkards."



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27199  
From: ptonguette@...
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 3:20pm
Subject: Re: Orson Welles: One Man Band  peter_tonguette


 
Brad, yes, Bogdanovich edited a third version of "Orson Welles: The One Man
Band" for Showtime. It aired in 2003.

I generally agree that Bogdanovich's cut is superior to either of the two
other versions. For one thing, he includes more material from the unfinished
film projects.

However, Bill, to the best of my knowledge there are no "snow scenes" from
"The Dreamers." I haven't viewed any of the three edits of OMB in about a year,
so I am going on memory here, but I believe what you are seeing are some new
shots done by the original director of OMB to accompany narration - it's in
all versions of the documentary, but was definitely not shot by Welles. That
was one of the problems with the first two cuts of OMB; it didn't identify what
you were seeing or even if what you were seeing was by Welles! PB's version
at least has title cards for the Welles material.

A small point, alas. One of the most exciting of PB's additions in OMB is
the little promo he put together of "The Other Side of the Wind"; PB reads a
cast list and we see a shot from the film of each cast member. There are a lot
of shots there that I've never seen before!

Peter


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27200  
From: "Blake Lucas"
Date: Tue May 17, 2005 7:22pm
Subject: Re: The Exile - No Turkey (Was: Rosselini/Ophuls Costume)  lukethedealer12


 
--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
>
>
> I love Doug Jr. too. He makes "Gunga Din" a treat just
> as much as cary Grant and Victor Maclaglen. And if you
> can find it there's Whale's super-campy "Green Hell"--
> a favorite of Ian McKellen's.

I have seen "Green Hell" and I loved it! I hope that's OK.
I mean I REALLY enjoyed that one. Hope others out there can
see it if they have not.

It's nice to know McKellen liked this Whale film because he did such
a great job of portraying James Whale in "Gods and Monsters"--an
excellent movie. (Is it better than "Green Hell?"--I don't know).

"Green Hell" reminds me that I toyed with the idea of again
mentioning Maria Montez, who appears in "The Exile," when writing
about that film a little while ago.

Is it acceptable for serious auteurist types such as ourselves to
like that Maria Montez-Jon Hall-Sabu-Turhan Bey Technicolor cycle
of mid-forties? Because I must admit that I do. There is something
about those delirious dreamscapes that to me seems quintessentially
cinematic. In THE AMERICAN CINEMA, Andrew Sarris has a memorable
line which we all know (it's in Zinnemann): "Only those who risk
the ridiculous have a real shot at the sublime." Well, I don't know
if "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" quite makes it to the sublime,
but it does "risk the ridiculous" (does anyone remember the singing
thieves riding along to the final battle, Andy Devine among them?).
That was Arthur Lubin--I always felt "he's got something." And
frankly, in it's way, I really believe this is a good movie. Then
there's "Cobra Woman" (Siodmak) in which Montez plays twins. I must
admit that I literally get giddy when she does her cobra dance.
This is not Bresson or Ophuls you understand. But still... And
even "Sudan" (Waggner) which somehow provides a final epiphany...

So what's the answer? And please don't make me "The Exile" for
admitting all this...

Blake

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