HFBoards

Go Back   HFBoards > Non-Sports > Entertainment
Mobile Hockey's Future Become a Sponsor Site Rules Support Forum vBookie Page 2
Notices

Entertainment Discuss movies, tv shows, music, arts, literature, fashion, and upcoming events, concerts, etc.

General Movie Discussion Thread

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old
11-12-2009, 12:49 AM
  #1
kihei
Registered User
 
kihei's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Toronto
Country: Canada
Posts: 25,618
vCash: 2000
General Movie Discussion Thread

"The Last Movie You Saw" thread is great but it isn't really designed for extended commentary about movies nor the many various related issues that come up. This thread is a place where people interested in these various discussions and debates about film can go and throw their two cents in.

kihei is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
11-12-2009, 01:00 AM
  #2
kihei
Registered User
 
kihei's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Toronto
Country: Canada
Posts: 25,618
vCash: 2000
So, Ultimate, let's see, where were we before we were so rudely interrupted?

Well, I don’t think there is going to be much of a bloodletting over Resnais here. Your points seem to me perfectly reasonable ones, and your general take seems fair and far from negative to boot. Though we have a lot of common agreement, it would seem, on a key number of cinematic fronts, one difference in emphasis seems apparent: I’m not quite as commited to “content” as you are, in film anyway, so I absolutely adore Marienbad. I have a long take on why on p 11 of the old thread if you are interested in the details, but, in general, I find the older I get the more I want my movies to emphasize the cinematic over everything else. To me, film should be first and foremost a visual medium (though hopefully I'm not a complete pedant about it). So for me Last Year at Marienbad is an endlessly fascinating, elegantly beautiful art object, and I can easily see it once a year without tiring of it. I haven’t seen Muriel in so long that I would not trust my judgment without a subsequent viewing, which I will do in the near future and comment at that time (assuming I can find it). Two films that you may not have seen of Resnais’s are definitely worth picking up: Je ‘taime, Je ‘taime and Providence. The first is a melancholy little love story, the second is a fascinating adaptation of his style to a story about the imagination of an old writer on his death bed starring John Gielgud in almost certainly his best non-Shakespearian role in movies, and an in-form Dirk Bogarde. Kind of Kaufmann–esque, but much earlier and better. (Oh, and, of course, Le Guerre Est Finie, another superb fiilm, which I somehow keep forgetting to mention when discussing Resnais's work because in some ways it is rather untypical).

Our only real major disagreement is over the quality of their films and their contribution to the art of film by Antonioni, Bunuel, Kieslowski, and Ray. I don’t think all of Antonioni’s seminal films have worn that well, actually, but Blow Up remains for me an absolutely brilliant use of cinema, especially the use of still pictures to reveal (or not) the mystery (as well as maybe the best and most subtle sound editing in the history of movies—largely lost unfortunately on the available transfers). With the other three directors, though, I respectfully suggest that it might be time for a revisit. If you want to see a beautiful melding of content and style, then I can’t recommend Charulata (The Bored Wife) strongly enough. I find Ray endlessly fascinating—he seems to me to combine features of French humanism, Italian neo-realism (more so in his early works) and something that is indisputably all his own, and the older I get, the better his films seem to me, both cinematically and thematically, an important indicator for me as so many other early favourites lose their luster with age (both theirs and mine).

With Bunuel and Kieslowski, it just stuns me that someone as into some of the same directors and films as I am, not exactly choices I normally run into a lot of agreement on, would find these two overrated. For Kieslowski, I thought Blue was by far the dominant film in that trilogy, but his twin masterworks are The Double Life of Veronique, with, to me, its stunning visual representation of essentially ephemeral themes, although I could see the point if you might think it lacked content (though I would certainly disagree if that was indeed the case), and The Decalogue in which there is no shortage of content as each of the films is based brilliantly and obliquely on one of the ten commandments. He latched onto a great theme, I think: choice and chance in a random universe. And Bunuel. Who in any medium did surrealism any better than he? Who else mated it to political and social themes as well as he? And who else was better at taking the piss out of the bourgeoisie with more wit and imagination than he? The range of styles and content that he addressed is impressive, too. I’d recommend a look at The Exterminating Angel, The Discrete Charms and, especially, his guided tour through Catholic Church heresy, The Milky Way, all of which I would argue are original uses of the medium in addition to their other strengths, not the least of which is content.


Other quick comments: 8 ˝: It singlehandedly transported me into the world of “foreign” film. No film has had greater influence on me personally. When I saw it in university it changed my life and I knew it the minute it ended.

A contrary opinion that I was glad to here: you think the pacing of Jules and Jim works effectively, I thought it was a tad slow last time I saw it, once they leave Paris anyway, so hopefully it was just me that was having an off day on that occasion.

Top three directors for the past quarter century would be the same three guys for me, with Kieslowski wedged in there somewhere, so a tie for third.

Three Times is in my all time Top Ten; so is Still Life, by Zhang-ke: the guy with the other great late 20th/earlly21st century theme: the human cost of massive social change and displacement. That billiard sequence in Three Times took cajones. But, damn, those three pieces fit together in absolute perfection. Red Balloon disappointed me too, though.

Eight Diagram Pole Fighter
36th Chamber of Shaolin
Heroes of the East


Thanks. Hope that I can find them.


Last edited by kihei: 11-12-2009 at 08:03 AM.
kihei is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
11-12-2009, 11:05 AM
  #3
Ultimate*
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 230
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by kihei
Though we have a lot of common agreement, it would seem, on a key number of cinematic fronts, one difference in emphasis seems apparent: I’m not quite as commited to “content” as you are, in film anyway, so I absolutely adore Marienbad. I have a long take on why on p 11 of the old thread if you are interested in the details, but, in general, I find the older I get the more I want my movies to emphasize the cinematic over everything else. To me, film should be first and foremost a visual medium (though hopefully I'm not a complete pedant about it).
I could not agree more. Film is a visual medium. The story (or plot), albeit neither counterproductive and/or inconsequential per se (in certain situations, they actually are the directional impetus), should always be secondary (if this is the primary concern, then literature should be more preferable). A somewhat related, general observation – it seems Western cinema is a bit more concerned with the “story” aspect and an emphasis on marketing actors or “stars” whereas the interest of Eastern cinema seems to strictly be the visuals and hence the director as the central focus behind them.

To elucidate more on what “content” constitutes of (for me anyways), I’ll make emphatic that it is the ideological/aesthetic core of a film that matters – its communicative processes (what does it strive to convey?) and how (well) this is displayed onscreen. Aesthetically, it is often through visual bravura (accuracy of emotional disposition, shaping/framing, lighting, lyricism of camera, etc) but other factors such as use of music, dialogue, performances are also pivotal. It is the amalgamation of all these qualities that generates the overall “content.” Good films possess either one or the other (idea/aesthetic), perhaps even both to some degree. Elite films however maximize every aspect of filmmaking.

Quote:
So for me Last Year at Marienbad is an endlessly fascinating, elegantly beautiful art object, and I can easily see it once a year without tiring of it. I haven’t seen Muriel in so long that I would not trust my judgment without a subsequent viewing, which I will do in the near future and comment at that time (assuming I can find it). Two films that you may not have seen of Resnais’s are definitely worth picking up: Je ‘taime, Je ‘taime and Providence. The first is a melancholy little love story, the second is a fascinating adaptation of his style to a story about the imagination of an old writer on his death bed starring John Gielgud in almost certainly his best non-Shakespearian role in movies, and an in-form Dirk Bogarde. Kind of Kaufmann–esque, but much earlier and better. (Oh, and, of course, Le Guerre Est Finie, another superb fiilm, which I somehow keep forgetting to mention when discussing Resnais's work because in some ways it is rather untypical).
Last Year at Marienbad like I alluded to prior, is dominant in style. It certainly had an impressively isolated aesthetic – it is a meticulously crafted portrayal of some enormous, psychological labyrinth. However, I don’t really recall much from its views towards the theme of memory thus, it then appears to be somewhat of an affectation (no matter how well executed). I am not completely certain it does have “something to say” and from a subjective viewpoint, such examples provide me with boredom as it then becomes some frivolous technical exercise without purpose (as was my memory in watching this). It requires a rewatch on my part to see if any profundity can be located but presently, it does seem to draw the universal sentiment of “total mystery” with no cause (subsequently to me, no real definitive reasons to be).
Muriel I actually watched rather recently and the recollections of it have already begun to fade (an ironic characteristic attributed to this director’s work). It does seem to be one that requires multiple viewings in order to digest so perhaps I’ll give it another try in the future. I havn’t completely given up on Resnais (if I bump into Providence, I’ll likely pick it up) but I have in possibly associating him with his contemporary greats (Truffaut and Godard).

Quote:
Our only real major disagreement is over the quality of their films and their contribution to the art of film by Antonioni, Bunuel, Kieslowski, and Ray. I don’t think all of Antonioni’s seminal films have worn that well, actually, but Blow Up remains for me an absolutely brilliant use of cinema, especially the use of still pictures to reveal (or not) the mystery (as well as maybe the best and most subtle sound editing in the history of movies—largely lost unfortunately on the available transfers). With the other three directors, though, I respectfully suggest that it might be time for a revisit. If you want to see a beautiful melding of content and style, then I can’t recommend Charulata (The Bored Wife) strongly enough. I find Ray endlessly fascinating—he seems to me to combine features of French humanism, Italian neo-realism (more so in his early works) and something that is indisputably all his own, and the older I get, the better his films seem to me, both cinematically and thematically, an important indicator for me as so many other early favourites lose their luster with age (both theirs and mine).
I actually don’t really question the works of those directors in terms of cinematic “contribution” that strongly. They each at least provided a certain name/attachment to their respective countries for film. The top-tier quality of these films on the other hand is one I cannot swallow (at least as of yet). Antonioni I feel hasn’t been able to master the lengthy takes as well as he’s been credited for. I am still rather fond of L’Avventura and La Notte, each with memorable last scenes providing plenty of pathos, but many of his other films (The Passenger) fail to leave a lasting impression at all. Blow Up is way too uneven for me to endorse with any sense of conviction. The use of stills as you mentioned are commendable in generating suspense and the last scene was actually amazing but the rest is filled with such excessively irritating, peripheral fluff (60’s rock n’roll decadence, hipster fashions and personas, etc) and along with that snot-faced unsympathetic lead, I can’t take it seriously. How was the sound editing exceptional? It seemed normal in the copy I saw though I admit, my attention was not really on the use of sound.

Quote:
With Bunuel and Kieslowski, it just stuns me that someone as into some of the same directors and films as I am, not exactly choices I normally run into a lot of agreement on, would find these two overrated. For Kieslowski, I thought Blue was by far the dominant film in that trilogy, but his twin masterworks are The Double Life of Veronique, with, to me, its stunning visual representation of essentially ephemeral themes, although I could see the point if you might think it lacked content (though I would certainly disagree if that was indeed the case), and The Decalogue in which there is no shortage of content as each of the films is based brilliantly and obliquely on one of the ten commandments. He latched onto a great theme, I think: choice and chance in a random universe. And Bunuel. Who in any medium did surrealism any better than he? Who else mated it to political and social themes as well as he? And who else was better at taking the piss out of the bourgeoisie with more wit and imagination than he? The range of styles and content that he addressed is impressive, too. I’d recommend a look at The Exterminating Angel, The Discrete Charms and, especially, his guided tour through Catholic Church heresy, The Milky Way, all of which I would argue are original uses of the medium in addition to their other strengths, not the least of which is content.
I am not really an advocate of the Three Colors trilogy. I would pass them on competence but they remain almost repulsively plastic in their humanistic explorations. I found them utterly vacant emotionally (which might have been his intent – to depict the cold qualities of modern existence but the way it was captured made for lifeless cinema) and thematically, the decision of the colors (and how they represented the anti-concepts) seems novel and even somewhat cheap. I suppose I liked Red the most (due to the summation of loose ends) but all three were of relatively equal standards. I havn’t seen Dekalog because the length intimidates me (actually, I’m planning to find some time recently to attempt the infamous Berlin Alexanderplatz at +15 hours. Good luck to me).

Bunuel is certainly an undeniably important pioneer of surrealism. However, watching Un Chien Andalou and especially L’age D’or is a needless, self-inflicted chore today. His films appear to be extremely heavy handed/single minded in symbolism (anti-bourgeois/religious values, etc) which can be really tedious despite whether or not I agree with his views (I have the same complaint regarding some Bergman). Cinematography aside, I was unimpressed with The Exterminating Angel. The gimmick was overly forced, celebrated and wore out its welcome quickly. And with a title like The Discreet Charms of the Bourgeoisie, I don’t expect it to be much different.

Panther Panchali was alright (the last half was much stronger than the first) but I didn’t find it particularly spectacular like most. Your comment regarding Ray’s fusion of styles however seems valid. I may try some of his other films later on.

Quote:
Other quick comments: 8 ˝: It singlehandedly transported me into the world of “foreign” film. No film has had greater influence on me personally. When I saw it in university it changed my life and I knew it the minute it ended.
8 ˝ is one of about three films I’d give a perfect score for. If I were to exhibit one example of film as its absolute limit in artistic capabilities, it would probably be the ideal pick. It’s simply genius all the way around – complete cinematic mastery at its finest.

Quote:
A contrary opinion that I was glad to here: you think the pacing of Jules and Jim works effectively, I thought it was a tad slow last time I saw it, once they leave Paris anyway, so hopefully it was just me that was having an off day on that occasion.
Well, it certainly takes off frantically (that introduction is ridiculous, I had to rewind it). I’ve only seen Jules et Jim once but I thought it was superbly paced. I prefer The 400 Blows by the slightest of margins (mostly because of the ending) but both are summits of the French New Wave.

Quote:
Top three directors for the past quarter century would be the same three guys for me, with Kieslowski wedged in there somewhere, so a tie for third.

Three Times is in my all time Top Ten; so is Still Life, by Zhang-ke: the guy with the other great late 20th/earlly21st century theme: the human cost of massive social change and displacement. That billiard sequence in Three Times took cajones. But, damn, those three pieces fit together in absolute perfection. Red Balloon disappointed me too, though.
Good to hear another adoration for Three Times (reception for this film is very divided). What stands out for me is it includes all aspects of a romance (more specifically - the blossom of innocence, the rejection into confinement and ultimately, impersonal, postmodern meaninglessness) in an anthropological study with history. And yes, the billiards scene is mise-en-scene at its most refined. That entire segment easily matches the best of Wong Kar-Wai in showing the ephemerality of love (rain, steam and cigarette smoke).

Still Life is a documentary/sci-fi to me, not too dissimilar to ones made by Herzog and captured in a temperament reminiscent of Tarkovsky. It’s filmed very lavishly in aquatics, almost tropically-languid. Definitely one of the best in recent years.

Ultimate* is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-12-2009, 11:56 AM
  #4
Bluenote13
Believe In Henke
 
Bluenote13's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: BKLYN, NYC
Posts: 25,165
vCash: 500
Why don't you guys just PM each other?

I mean, thats alot for a Hockey message board, even for a film snob like me

Bluenote13 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-12-2009, 12:17 PM
  #5
kihei
Registered User
 
kihei's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Toronto
Country: Canada
Posts: 25,618
vCash: 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluenote13 View Post
Why don't you guys just PM each other?

I mean, thats alot for a Hockey message board, even for a film snob like me


It's like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. There are others out there among you. We are just trying to find them.

kihei is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
11-12-2009, 12:27 PM
  #6
Bluenote13
Believe In Henke
 
Bluenote13's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: BKLYN, NYC
Posts: 25,165
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by kihei View Post


It's like Invasion of the Body Snatchers. There are others out there among you. We are just trying to find them.
Good point ! Guess you really mean business

Btw, everyone loves "8 /12", so do I, but I think "I Vitteloni" is pretty underrated, one of my fave films of all time and a good place to start when discovering Fellini.

Bluenote13 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-12-2009, 12:36 PM
  #7
kihei
Registered User
 
kihei's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Toronto
Country: Canada
Posts: 25,618
vCash: 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultimate View Post

I am not really an advocate of the Three Colors trilogy. I would pass them on competence but they remain almost repulsively plastic in their humanistic explorations.

[Still Life]'s filmed very lavishly in aquatics, almost tropically-languid. Definitely one of the best in recent years.
Want to take a time-out to think things through a bit, will obviously pop back in eventually.

"Repulsively plastic" line--have to admit that brought a rueful smile to my face. I take the point. I'm only big on Blue; I like Red, but it seems too self-consciously a summation, rather than a stand-alone.

"Still Life" line--trust me when I say I know exactly what you mean.


Last edited by kihei: 11-12-2009 at 12:50 PM.
kihei is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
11-12-2009, 12:39 PM
  #8
Bluenote13
Believe In Henke
 
Bluenote13's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: BKLYN, NYC
Posts: 25,165
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by kihei View Post
Want to take a time-out to think things through a bit, will obviously pop back in eventually.

"Repulsively plastic"--have to admit that brought a rueful smile to my face. I take the point. I'm only big on Blue; I like Red, but it seems too self-consciously a summation, rather than a stand-alone.

"Still Life" line--trust me when I say I know exactly what you mean.
Whats wrong with 'White'???

Btw, how old are you guys? These films get better as I age, just curious...

Bluenote13 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-12-2009, 12:48 PM
  #9
kihei
Registered User
 
kihei's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Toronto
Country: Canada
Posts: 25,618
vCash: 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluenote13 View Post
Good point ! Guess you really mean business

Btw, everyone loves "8 /12", so do I, but I think "I Vitteloni" is pretty underrated, one of my fave films of all time and a good place to start when discovering Fellini.
Yeah, I really love a lot of the stuff that he made early, sort of before he becam FELLINI. The White Sheik is a good one from that period, too. Sort of what Bergman might have done with the material if he had possessed a sense of humour.

kihei is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
11-12-2009, 01:01 PM
  #10
Bluenote13
Believe In Henke
 
Bluenote13's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: BKLYN, NYC
Posts: 25,165
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by kihei View Post
Yeah, I really love a lot of the stuff that he made early, sort of before he becam FELLINI. The White Sheik is a good one from that period, too. Sort of what Bergman might have done with the material if he had possessed a sense of humour.
Nice, good call.

Bluenote13 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-13-2009, 01:43 AM
  #11
kihei
Registered User
 
kihei's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Toronto
Country: Canada
Posts: 25,618
vCash: 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultimate View Post
Last Year at Marienbad like I alluded to prior, is dominant in style. It certainly had an impressively isolated aesthetic – it is a meticulously crafted portrayal of some enormous, psychological labyrinth. However, I don’t really recall much from its views towards the theme of memory thus, it then appears to be somewhat of an affectation (no matter how well executed). I am not completely certain it does have “something to say” and from a subjective viewpoint, such examples provide me with boredom as it then becomes some frivolous technical exercise without purpose (as was my memory in watching this). It requires a rewatch on my part to see if any profundity can be located but presently, it does seem to draw the universal sentiment of “total mystery” with no cause (subsequently to me, no real definitive reasons to be).
I don’t share the interpretation you provide above, but it seems well measured with gusts up to elegant (the second sentence is very nicely turned indeed). My impressions are certainly not going to be elegant—more of a struggle to find words to fit ideas that take me quite far away from my normal methods of critiquing a film, but are central to my experience of this film. Anyway… in the above statement of yours, you get a pretty long ways in before I…I was going to say “start to quibble,” but, actually, I don’t really have a quibble…so let’s just say before I start to respond differently to the work than you did. I think in watching the film initially at some point my intellectual engagement got turned to neutral. though not completely off, and my aesthetic involvement fully and effortlessly engaged. Though powerful, it’s not quite the nature of a catharsis exactly, but I began to experience the work as an object the contemplation of which provided me great pleasure, pleasure of the kind that one might more likely experience in an art gallery gazing at a Monet painting, say, than in a movie theatre. Obviously, a pleasing and highly subjective response, no question. I provide this as preamble only to suggest that while critical evaluation of the film is, for me, a tricky, though not impossible, business, I do believe that, what I would call the formal beauty of the work, a beauty that is very much a consciously created result of careful and elaborate construction, is indeed its own reward and is justification sufficient to guarantee Last Year at Marienbad's status as a work of high cinematic art. Further, and perhaps more importantly, it expands the visual possibilities (or cinematic vocabulary) of what film is capable of achieving.

While I understand your points of criticism, they do not impede my engagement in the work, an engagement not obviously shared by all, but, I would argue, not merely a singular, idiosyncratic reaction on the part of one lone viewer, either. I think memory is important in the film but only as part of the deep fabric of the work: it is the water in which the fish swim. But other than the notion that memory is uncertain, I'd argue that there is no larger statement that the film makes about it, nor need it do so. It present its visual puzzle as, essentially, an exercise in cinematic form, an exercise that calls for a different kind of response than the viewer normally is expected to provide. The movie doesn’t have “something to say” in a literal sense any more than a Faure piano quartet does. Indeed, if memory functions as a theme at all, it is far more in the musical sense of the term, than the literary one. One can have an intellectual response to the work, one that I would suggest might best focus on its intricate construction, but one can also respond on an aesthetic level to the images and temporal juxtapositions associated with time and memory that the film proffers. Overall, I rather like your description that it’s a total mystery with no cause, though, of course, I do not draw the subsequent conclusion that you do.

By the way, I thought your explanation of "content" was very helpful, and a nice exercise in common sense and reasonable assumptions.

It would be interesting to know more about the road that led you to ranking King Hu in the ultimate spot?


Last edited by kihei: 11-13-2009 at 12:12 PM.
kihei is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
11-13-2009, 03:38 PM
  #12
Ultimate*
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 230
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by kihei
I don’t share the interpretation you provide above, but it seems well measured with gusts up to elegant (the second sentence is very nicely turned indeed). My impressions are certainly not going to be elegant—more of a struggle to find words to fit ideas that take me quite far away from my normal methods of critiquing a film, but are central to my experience of this film. Anyway… in the above statement of yours, you get a pretty long ways in before I…I was going to say “start to quibble,” but, actually, I don’t really have a quibble…so let’s just say before I start to respond differently to the work than you did. I think in watching the film initially at some point my intellectual engagement got turned to neutral. though not completely off, and my aesthetic involvement fully and effortlessly engaged. Though powerful, it’s not quite the nature of a catharsis exactly, but I began to experience the work as an object the contemplation of which provided me great pleasure, pleasure of the kind that one might more likely experience in an art gallery gazing at a Monet painting, say, than in a movie theatre. Obviously, a pleasing and highly subjective response, no question. I provide this as preamble only to suggest that while critical evaluation of the film is, for me, a tricky, though not impossible, business, I do believe that, what I would call the formal beauty of the work, a beauty that is very much a consciously created result of careful and elaborate construction, is indeed its own reward and is justification sufficient to guarantee Last Year at Marienbad's status as a work of high cinematic art. Further, and perhaps more importantly, it expands the visual possibilities (or cinematic vocabulary) of what film is capable of achieving.
My interpretation is presently inconclusive but I’ll try to express what I remember. Excellent post btw – some very insightful points and ones that I will attempt to consider/uphold in my next viewing. The film definitely seems like one that a viewer could be swallowed up in, into a solitary experience of a world very alien to ours with unfamiliar emblems and lexicons. If the aesthetic core is in fact, totally dominant, say held to 99% of the film’s significance, then I can already resonate with your elevation of it into elite status. The other half of the outcome then, depends upon Resnais’ communication with the audience. Usually, when artistic themes are explored, because they are so ubiquitously “true,” they invoke the interior into levels of transcendent awareness and/or contemplation. From what you suggest however, this example seems diametric in that instead, it transports the viewer into a separate, outer realm in order for him to then and only then, immerse in some universal axiom? Interesting. If that is the case, as long as there is a destination, the manner of travel is not important I think (it may in fact work to its benefit in uniqueness). If not, then a lot of the “content” depends more than ever on the particular individuals of the audience (and their own interpretations), a path that is dangerous in that its creator may be persuaded in search of cheap effects instead of a spiritual connection/purpose, rather than the holistic and while I won’t conclude its relevance as impossible, the result appears to be more in accordance to that with hallucinogens than with “high art.” I’m assuming that the experience is wholly subjective – to the point where we cannot communicate profoundly to each other what we have individually consumed. This might not be the case.

Quote:
While I understand your points of criticism, they do not impede my engagement in the work, an engagement not obviously shared by all, but, I would argue, not merely a singular, idiosyncratic reaction on the part of one lone viewer, either. I think memory is important in the film but only as part of the deep fabric of the work: it is the water in which the fish swim. But other than the notion that memory is uncertain, I'd argue that there is no larger statement that the film makes about it, nor need it do so. It present its visual puzzle as, essentially, an exercise in cinematic form, an exercise that calls for a different kind of response than the viewer normally is expected to provide. The movie doesn’t have “something to say” in a literal sense any more than a Faure piano quartet does. Indeed, if memory functions as a theme at all, it is far more in the musical sense of the term, than the literary one. One can have an intellectual response to the work, one that I would suggest might best focus on its intricate construction, but one can also respond on an aesthetic level to the images and temporal juxtapositions associated with time and memory that the film proffers. Overall, I rather like your description that it’s a total mystery with no cause, though, of course, I do not draw the subsequent conclusion that you do.
Music is a language of its own. Is film? The answer is yes. Phrases, gestures, tonality, tempo, dynamics etc – these constitute as ways of musical expression. However, there is still a certain order/logic/reason for where notes lay, why they are in a particular aesthetic fashion, how they are put together, etc. Even if they are absurdly arranged /depicted, if there is a specific purpose to the arrangements/construction, then most of the time (barring complete utter incompetence in formation), it is justified. “Reason” is the one flame that separates a lot of successful avant-garde pieces from poor ones, and a lot of commendable art from false ones. If they lack a grand reason to be, the music within becomes unrecognizable, irrelevant, schizophrenic word salad. I don’t believe film is any different in this aspect. Lighting, framing/shaping, colors, camera lyricism, pacing, etc – these are modes of filmic expression. However, without a certain order/logic/reason to the successions of scenes, why dialogue/music complements (or does not complement) the visuals, etc, the work becomes lost, confused and/or trivial. A musical piece does not literally have to be about love but love can be insinuated via mechanisms to extend sentiments of romanticism, elegance, radiance and/or beauty. The same is applicable for film. I guess what I’m saying is that aesthetics (or ideology) on its own, is never really sufficient as a complete artistic statement.

Ultimate* is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-13-2009, 03:44 PM
  #13
Bluenote13
Believe In Henke
 
Bluenote13's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: BKLYN, NYC
Posts: 25,165
vCash: 500
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFo5Ky8YE8c

"The key word here is indulgent..."

Bluenote13 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-13-2009, 04:08 PM
  #14
Ultimate*
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 230
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by kihei
It would be interesting to know more about the road that led you to ranking King Hu in the ultimate spot?
King Hu is my favourite director (though I hold Fritz Lang to the same unparalleled level of esteem) because he made five timeless masterpieces from Dragon Inn to Raining in the Mountain. A Touch of Zen is my #1 film and I actually wrote a 5000+ word review on it. His unfairly undermined status as a filmmaker seems to be primarily for political reasons.

Hu’s films are culturally significant, kind of an eastern equivalent to Wagner’s Gesamtkunstwerk (a total synthesis of the arts propelled in romanticist and/or nationalist ideals). In cinematic comparisons, his singular, realized vision of the Wuxia Pian is a counterpart to the Japanese Samurai Sagas and the American Westerns. They’re philosophically profound, full of virtue, honor and wisdom not to mention always visually impressive with incredible use of costume design and mise-en-scene. He was also a pioneer in development of action sequences – absolute mastery in the power of editing (most of his cast was not formally trained in martial arts thus starting the idea of capturing action in an operatic sense). Above all, they’re very enjoyable and like any top-tier films, examples of pure cinematic escapism.

Ultimate* is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-13-2009, 04:09 PM
  #15
Ultimate*
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 230
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluenote13 View Post
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFo5Ky8YE8c

"The key word here is indulgent..."
Annie Hall sucks and you're not insightful

Ultimate* is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-13-2009, 04:10 PM
  #16
Bluenote13
Believe In Henke
 
Bluenote13's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: BKLYN, NYC
Posts: 25,165
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultimate View Post
Annie Hall sucks.
Says Hu......

Bluenote13 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
11-14-2009, 12:41 AM
  #17
kihei
Registered User
 
kihei's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Toronto
Country: Canada
Posts: 25,618
vCash: 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ultimate View Post
My interpretation is presently inconclusive but I’ll try to express what I remember. Excellent post btw – some very insightful points and ones that I will attempt to consider/uphold in my next viewing. The film definitely seems like one that a viewer could be swallowed up in, into a solitary experience of a world very alien to ours with unfamiliar emblems and lexicons[SURE...HMMM....IF WE WERE HAVING A BEER IN A BAR RIGHT NOW, YOU WOULDN'T START TALKING ABOUT FOUCAULT, WOULD YOU?]. If the aesthetic core is in fact, totally dominant, say held to 99% of the film’s significance, then I can already resonate with your elevation of it into elite status[OH, GOOD--LET'S STOP RIGHT HERE, OKAY?]. The other half[I LIKE THE 1% NOTION BETTER] of the outcome then, depends upon Resnais’ communication with the audience[TRUE, BUT REALLY, REALLY COMPLICATED]. Usually, when artistic themes are explored, because they are so ubiquitously “true,” they invoke the interior into levels of transcendent awareness and/or contemplation [MY INCLINATION IS TO GO WITH "CONTEMPLATION" AS THE LESS LOADED TERM.] From what you suggest however, this example seems diametric in that instead, it transports the viewer into a separate, outer realm in order for him to then and only then, immerse in some universal axiom[MAKES ME A LITTLE NERVOUS--I THINK THIS CAN WORK IN A LOT OF DIFFERENT WAYS] Interesting. If that is the case, as long as there is a destination, the manner of travel is not important[FULLY AGREED] I think (it may in fact work to its benefit in uniqueness)[SO FAR, SO GOOD]. If not, then a lot of the “content” depends more than ever on the particular individuals of the audience (and their own interpretations)[THIS DISTINCTION SEEMS A BIT JESUITICAL--IT'S THE INTERPRETATIONS THAT MATTER FOREMOST], a path that is dangerous in that its creator may be persuaded in search of cheap effects[AH, BUT SHOULD THESE "CREATORS" NOT GET THE BENEFIT OF A DOUBT UNTIL THE EVIDENCE MOUNTS AGAINST THEM?] instead of a spiritual connection/purpose, rather than the holistic and while I won’t conclude its relevance as impossible, the result appears to be more in accordance to that with hallucinogens than with “high art.[BUT AREN'T THE FLAWS OF SUCH LESSER WORKS USUALLY A LOT EASIER TO SPOT BECAUSE OF THEIR CREATORS' TRANSPARENT USE OF CHEAP EFFECTS, AND, VERY CRUCIAL, DON'T WE POSSESS THE CRITICAL LANGUAGE TO ROOT THEM OUT, WHEREAS LANGUAGE ITSELF CAN BECOME AN ISSUE IN THESE OTHER, MORE DIFFICULT TO APPREHEND WORKS] [I’m assuming that the experience is wholly subjective[YES, INTERESTING POINT, BUT DOES "WHOLLY SUBJECTIVE" NECESSARILY MEAN BEYOND THE REACH OF LANGUAGE?]] to the point where we cannot communicate profoundly to each other what we have individually consumed[ This might not be the case. [YES, THIS IS THE DANGER, AND, INDEED, IN A WAY, I THINK THAT THIS IS A DIFFICULTY IN THE CASE HERE, BUT I SEE IT AS PRESENTING NOT A POINT AGAINST THE WORK (IN FACT, IT MAY TAKE AN EXTRAORDINARY WORK TO TEASE THIS PROBLEM TO THE SURFACE), BUT AS A CHALLENGE, AND A CONSIDERABLE ONE, FOR ALL OBSERVERS ENGAGING IN CRITICAL ANALYSIS OF SUCH WORKS.]



Music is a language of its own. Is film? The answer is yes. Phrases, gestures, tonality, tempo, dynamics etc – these constitute as ways of musical expression. However, there is still a certain order/logic/reason for where notes lay, why they are in a particular aesthetic fashion, how they are put together, etc. Even if they are absurdly arranged /depicted, if there is a specific purpose to the arrangements/construction, then most of the time (barring complete utter incompetence in formation), it is justified. “Reason” is the one flame that separates a lot of successful avant-garde pieces from poor ones, and a lot of commendable art from false ones. If they lack a grand reason to be, the music within becomes unrecognizable, irrelevant, schizophrenic word salad. I don’t believe film is any different in this aspect. Lighting, framing/shaping, colors, camera lyricism, pacing, etc – these are modes of filmic expression. However, without a certain order/logic/reason to the successions of scenes, why dialogue/music complements (or does not complement) the visuals, etc, the work becomes lost, confused and/or trivial. A musical piece does not literally have to be about love but love can be insinuated via mechanisms to extend sentiments of romanticism, elegance, radiance and/or beauty. The same is applicable for film. I guess what I’m saying is that aesthetics (or ideology) on its own, is never really sufficient as a complete artistic statement.
SECOND PARAGRAPH: Very fertile ground here, I think, but I'm just beginning to play around with these notions. I almost edited out mention of this musical theme stuff from my last post because I wasn't sure where I was going with it yet. I do want to come back to these ideas eventually.


Last edited by kihei: 11-14-2009 at 10:11 AM.
kihei is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
01-28-2010, 08:09 AM
  #18
kihei
Registered User
 
kihei's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Toronto
Country: Canada
Posts: 25,618
vCash: 2000
Having just completed a mini-survey of Asian filmmakers, I would recommend, in no particular order, these films without reservation (except to note that some require greater concentration and patience than do others):

Zia Zhang Ke (China)
Still Life
The World

Hou Hiaou Hsien (Taiwan)
Three Times
Café Lumiere

Tsai Ming Liang (Taiwan)
I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone
What Time Is It There?

Edward Yang (Taiwan)
A Brighter Summer Day
The Terrorizers

Yasijuro Ozu (Japan)
Tokyo Story
Floating Weeds

Akira Kurosawa (Japan)
Seven Samurai
Ran

Hirokazu Kore-eda (Japan)

After Life
Still Walking

Hayao Miyazaki (Japan)

Spirited Away
Ponyo

Wong Kar-Wai (Hong Kong)
2046
In the Mood for Love

Park Chan-Wook (South Korea)
Old Boy
Sympathy for Lady Vengeance

Boon Joon-Ho (South Korea)
Mother
Memories of Murder

John Woo (Hong Kong)
Bullet in the Head
Red Cliffs (I & II combined)

Masaki Kobayashi (Japan)
Harakiri
Kwaidan

Sheng Zhimin (China)
Bliss

King Hu (Hong Kong)
A Touch of Zen

Nagisha Oshima (Japan)

In the Realm of the Senses

Stephen Chow (Hong Kong)
Kung Fu Hustle

Shohei Imamura (Japan)
Insect Woman

Mong-Hong Chung (Taiwan)
Parking

Sion Sono (Japan)

Love Exposure

Ang Lee (Taiwan)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Zhang Yimou (China)
Raise the Red Lanterns

Kenji Misoguchi (Japan)
Ugetsu

Takeshi Kitano (Japan)
Fireworks

Yojiro Takita (Japan)
Departures

Jiang Wen (China)
Devils on the Doorstep

Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Thailand)
Tropical Malady (with reservations, in this case, but he is a unique director)


Last edited by kihei: 02-11-2010 at 06:54 AM.
kihei is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
01-28-2010, 08:23 AM
  #19
FlyHigh
Registered User
 
FlyHigh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 28,156
vCash: 500
Send a message via AIM to FlyHigh Send a message via MSN to FlyHigh
I wanted to see Red Cliffs but missed it in theaters.

FlyHigh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
01-28-2010, 09:04 AM
  #20
KallioWeHardlyKnewYe
Blue Jacket's Curse
 
KallioWeHardlyKnewYe's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 12,811
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by kihei View Post
Having just completed a mini-survey of Asian filmmakers, I would recommend, in no particular order, these films without reservation (except to note that some require greater concentration and patience than do others):
No Shohei Imamura?

I, for one, am loving the discussion, folks. Just had the chance to see Marienbad and Muriel on the big screen earlier this month. Absolutely gorgeous.

I understand reservations about Bunuel, but of the "greats," heavy handed though he can be, I find him remarkably funny, a trait some of his contemporaries lack and one I've always embraced.

Oh, and, Renoir's The Rules of the Game, was the first foreign film to blow me away and open me up to the wonderful cinematic world beyond North America.

KallioWeHardlyKnewYe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
01-28-2010, 09:09 AM
  #21
FlyHigh
Registered User
 
FlyHigh's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 28,156
vCash: 500
Send a message via AIM to FlyHigh Send a message via MSN to FlyHigh
Quote:
Originally Posted by KallioWeHardlyKnewYe View Post
No Shohei Imamura?

I, for one, am loving the discussion, folks. Just had the chance to see Marienbad and Muriel on the big screen earlier this month. Absolutely gorgeous.

I understand reservations about Bunuel, but of the "greats," heavy handed though he can be, I find him remarkably funny, a trait some of his contemporaries lack and one I've always embraced.

Oh, and, Renoir's The Rules of the Game, was the first foreign film to blow me away and open me up to the wonderful cinematic world beyond North America.
One of my favorites for sure, also enjoyed the Kieslowski discussion, I was always partial to Red in the Colors Trilogy for some reason.

FlyHigh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
01-28-2010, 09:36 AM
  #22
kihei
Registered User
 
kihei's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Toronto
Country: Canada
Posts: 25,618
vCash: 2000
Quote:
Originally Posted by KallioWeHardlyKnewYe View Post
No Shohei Imamura?
What would you recommend? This survey of mine is definitely a work in progress. So any suggestions are encouraged and appreciated.

Rules of the Game was one of the films that opened that world up for me, too.

kihei is online now   Reply With Quote
Old
01-28-2010, 09:57 AM
  #23
KallioWeHardlyKnewYe
Blue Jacket's Curse
 
KallioWeHardlyKnewYe's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 12,811
vCash: 500
Quote:
Originally Posted by kihei View Post
What would you recommend? This survey of mine is definitely a work in progress. So any suggestions are encouraged and appreciated.

Rules of the Game was one of the films that opened that world up for me, too.
Older stuff -- The Insect Woman or Pigs and Battleships. Vengeance is Mine is probably his best known and I whole-heartedly endorse it as well.

Can't personally vouch for The Eel or Profound Desire of the Gods, but have heard both are good as well.

KallioWeHardlyKnewYe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
01-29-2010, 01:10 PM
  #24
Transcendent
Registered User
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 29
vCash: 500
kihei, the following should be immediately added to your "mandatory viewing of Asian cinema" list:

King Hu – Dragon Inn, The Fate of Lee Khan, Raining in the Mountain, The Valiant Ones
Kihachi Okamoto – Sword of Doom
Tian Zhuangzhuang – The Horse Thief
Jiang Wen – Devils on the Doorstep
Hou Hsiao-Hsien – Flowers of Shanghai, City of Sadness, A Time to Live, A Time to Die
Akira Kurosawa – High and Low, Rashomon, Yojimbo, Throne of Blood, Stray Dog
Edward Yang – Mahjong, A Confucian Confusion, Yi Yi, Taipei Story
John Woo – The Killer, Hard Boiled, Last Hurrah for Chivalry
Bae Yong-Kyun – Why Has Bodhi-Dharma Left for the East?
Masaki Kobayashi – Samurai Rebellion
Liu Chia-Liang – Eight Diagram Pole Fighter, Heroes of the East, 36th Chamber of Shaolin
Takeshi Kitano – Fireworks, Sonatine, Dolls
Yasujiro Ozu – An Autumn Afternoon, Late Spring, Late Autumn
Wong Kar-Wai – Chungking Express, Fallen Angels
Pen-Ek Ratanaruang – Last Life in the Universe
Huo Jianqi – Postmen in the Mountains
Fei Mu – Spring in a Small Town
Chang Cheh – Five Deadly Venoms

Transcendent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old
01-29-2010, 03:30 PM
  #25
SonicY
Daydream Nation
 
SonicY's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Edinburgh/Vancouver
Posts: 3,424
vCash: 500
This is no longer General Movie Discussion... It's Obscure Asian Cinema Discussion

I just watched Charlie Kauffman's 'Synecdoche, New York' and Marc Webb's '(500) Days of Summer'. LOVED the latter, but thought the former was a typically Kaufman-esque bulwark of pretentious self-consideration and bordeom-inducing retrospect. Adaptation all over again.

SonicY is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Forum Jump


Bookmarks

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:45 PM.

monitoring_string = "e4251c93e2ba248d29da988d93bf5144"

vBulletin Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
HFBoards.com is a property of CraveOnline Media, LLC, an Evolve Media, LLC company. ©2016 All Rights Reserved.