Welcome to WordPress. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!
I’ve been using this a bit recently. It’s duper fast and though it’s not got all the films ever made in its datafactory yet, it’s got a lot. I’m loading it up with ratings and short reviews. Seeing as I dont get to write on film as much as I’d like to here, I’m using this for the quick n dirty. Come join! (No disclosure necessary, I’m just a user!)
the anticipation of plying the first pages of Thomas Pynchon’s new one just took a stumble. turns out mr robert altman has left us. a new work from a great novelist of the literary ensemble, characters cast in mad bundles to leap off the page; and the departure of the silver screen’s original ensemblist… so long mr altman. your nashville and shortcuts gave us the root tone of the human condition, in its major and minor keys finding their players in what seemed the effortless performances you drew out of your actors. you were king among humanists, for where others had much in common with your interests — kieslowski, pt anderson, malick, inarritu, mike leigh, haneke, wong kar wai — you were more of a kurosawa, a painter of the human experience.
but it was your operatic line… that operatic line, which like a solo voice trembling over the twittering machine of humanity’s madness, cracking open the surface to give humanity a hope of finding a common place… that even when that common place may be a hole in the ground, the voice that sings sonorous might fill it, if even for just a while. so long, and thanks for holding the note.
Hey folks, I finally have a table of contents to all four of my blogs: Social software; Cultural Commentaries; Film; and Music. If you’re like me, you probably don’t navigate blogs by archive postings; so here’s to one of the most basic navigation inventions ever, the TOC.
Now here’s a film that’s been stuck in the archives for much too long! This was a short shown occasionally before the main feature at Sunday flicks back in college. It’s a useful antidote to the proliferation of cute (cats, kittens, I recently received pics of a deer and a rabbit sent under the guise of cute). While naturalists study the possibility that cute might in fact serve as a survival mechanism, a darwinian trait so to speak, developed in the wild but tranferred to domestic animals also, a means by which animals protect their kingdom from humanity by appealing to a shrivelling human need…. there are still satiric and parodisical pleasures such as this one by Mary something; Mary oh, can’t remember her name. It’s in the movie…
If you don’t know Eddie Izzard’s work, you do now. Here’s one related to film. A loose connection, I have to admit. Not tight, like a pea shoved up inside a tube of penne. That would be weird. Loose, rather. Like peas alongside the penne.
In L’Enfant, a young couple struggles to keep it together when a newborn enters the picture. Shot, as were the brothers’ previous films “Promesse” and “Rosetta” in a French city lost somewhere in the industrial past but home nonetheless to important family and social tradition, the film’s genius can easily be overlooked and mistaken for the banal and trivial detail of a realist’s take on daily life. A bicycle is ridden, stairs are climbed, a scooter takes a corner, a beer served. Or does or protagonist ride a bike, does he climb the same flight of apartment stairs, again and again, does he bank a scooter into the same street as if it’s a street he knows as well as any other he’s been confined to, a beer is served or a beer is requested and the bartender pours our customer another round…. French author of the Nouvelle Roman, Robbes-Grillet, created an art form perhaps similar to that of the Dardenne brothers. The films of Cinema Verite and Italian Neorealism were also attempts to approximate the Real while remaining within fiction. “As if” film-making.
But the Dardenne brothers have a take of their own though. It involves the affect and scene upon which the film has been made. L’Enfant was inspired by the sight of a young mother who frequently took her baby on walks near the filming of “The Son.” The film-makers and crew noticed this woman, and in particular the troubled and abrupt manner in which she pushed the baby carriage in front of her. This scene, repeated every day, took on significance with each repetition, as if the repeating of it deepened its meaning while making it more obscure at the same time. The brothers decided to turn this into a film.
And so the it is that the kinds of impressions life makes on the these sibling film makers are the kinds of expressions on which their films are constructed. Stairs are not climbed, nor does a protagonist repeatedly climb the same stairs. Rather, the climbing of stairs is repeated. The drinking of beer. The riding of scooter through streets known. The Dardenne brothers had their actors do these things over and over so that they themselves would do them as if they lived in this town, under these circumstances, in this reality. Directing their actors to be present to the context, social and material, spatial and temporal, in color and in temperature, in their own physical experience, strikes me as a masterly approach not just to film making, or to acting, but to narration also. For the actors are now able to narrate the story in gesture, their actions becoming the indicative material of the film’s narrative instead of story elements, plot points, and so on. And we from that we get an emotional reality, instead of a narrative reality, or the reality of event, action, situation. Emotional reality — that is the reality of affect, the movement of feeling, mood, the intensity, pressure, the breaking point, anticipation, the muteness and explosiveness, of human experience. I don’t know if these guys are alone in this particular technique. As a viewer I find it incredibly powerful.
–VAGUELY CONTAINS SPOILERS —
Michael Haneke’s latest film, Cache (Hidden), is a masterpiece. As a story, in its construction, as well as its substance. True to Hitchockian form, this thriller is a crime film in which the suspense builds around our cast’s relationships, and not the action of the crime itself. We’re not here to find out what happened, nor really to catch who, but why. Answering that question is possible only if we go into our characters’ personal history.
Which is where Haneke then makes clear that the crime, the pursuit, the involvement of media, justice, and family in the context of contemporary France (which is to say there are many signs, many conversations, many theories to take the place of a gun). This is an allegorical history and observation of French colonialism, Muslims and immigrants, human respect, and what in Germany was called “Aufarbeitung der Vergangenheit”, or working through the past.
As he has in past films, Haneke shows that what interests him is the state of society. He observes its well-being through human interest stories, often using the intersection as a means of creating tension-filled story points. Two lives, two days, two histories or destinies… it takes only two to produce the juxtaposition, incompatibility, tension or conflict that moves a narrative forward.
In Cache, his use of video to refer to the mass media, as well as to create a “third person,” an invisible third, or missing third, is genius. Kieslowski placed a Jesus figure in his Decalogues as a witness to daily inhumanities and as a call to morality. Haneke has done a similar thing, but one step further. And this is where he gets particularly Hitchockian: he places the viewer in the POV of an absent witness. A POV thought to relate to the crime at hand. Or better, capable of explaining the crime at hand. The audience does not see the crime (that characters miss seeing themselves, as in Hitchcock), rather the audience is witness to a crime the character attempts to deny involvement in.
The audience is witness to the explanations, the tears and despair, and the coldness of a relationship between one whose home was lived in, and one who is taken from home. Motionless shots of each home bracket the film’s narrative, from present to the past, because there are people in France whose home does not feel like it. If we want respect in social relations between the ex-colonizers and the ex-colonized (France and N Africa) then all must feel as if they live in the same home. A relative is a relative. Where there are people related, relatively, there could be the relations of relatives.
the performances alone assure it massive cult status.
but the technical rendering makes it a masterpiece.
What happens is that its shot in live action, and you see some slow fades
periodically from live into the photoshoppy animation ‘effect’ — of the
live images, but along the way, shit slides into full animation.
example: you are looking at Winona Ryder’s hair flowing in a convertible’s
wind. it starts slightly real, progressed through demi-real stages until the
next second its a total animation, you are looking at whipping strands of
hair like in anime, and then snap!
The action or dialog usually, takes you back into another level of ‘reality
treated’ images. Because the main or background images are constantly (but
slowly, artfully, no dizziness here) shifting — in reaction to whose point
of view, or what was taken, or mainly just because the subjectivity shifts
in the dialog… shit happens to the surface..
And the drama, of course is about an undercover cop who wears an identity
suit that oscillates through a million faces and clothes… and you watch
people in these suits have discussions…
ANd so, smoke something and get a feel for “Substance D” !!!
Its nuts, Robert Downey Junior is like a miniature, more jewish psychotic,
(name blanked)! FUN! Can you win awards as a partially animated character?
Amazed once again at what Tarr accomplishes in just 37 shots…. A few more things came to mind while watching Werckmeister Harmonies again last night. It hadnt struck me till last night that the perfect tuning of the piano is told here in the form of ethnic cleansing….
Circle of Fifths was Pythagoras’ philosophy of music,
echoed in the form, meaning, and motion of the heavenly spheres,
which open the film (Janos’ demonstration, or illustration, using village drunks as the heavenly bodies, their shuffling feet audible AS IF they were music),
an eclipse is enacted in their local theatre,
a theatre known historically for absurdism,
and after which a foreshadowing shadow is cast by an arriving moving truck, at night, film noir like, on a wall
György responds to Tunde’s appeal by saying “let’s not make that mistake a second time,” referring to the perfection of the musical system as well as to ethnic cleansing,
the whale is a silent witness, as is Janos in the hospital,
and if you ask, why a whale, surely the answer must be absurd (was there not a tale about elephants that dealt also with political change?)
the absence of their screams and cries during the hospital pogrom makes their pain sound even louder,
as Janos runs down a traintrack he is found by a helicopter (most modern of vehicles)