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Thread: 28 Film Discussion Threads Later

  1. #71001
    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    I dunno if that's true, really? At least for me. Maybe because we're talking a different level of engagement. It's hard for me to draw sharp lines, or judge whether engagement is due to detailed characters or something else (plot, celebrity, performance, visuals, themes, etc).

    Recent examples: I became extremely wrapped up in stuff like "The Hanging Tree" (Gary Cooper western), "Walking Tall" (a trashy 70s shitkicker movie), and "Poldark" (a 19th century bodice-ripping mini-series) but I don't know if I'd quantify my reaction as emotional engagement. Maybe I need you to define what you mean there.

    But I mention them because they had good characters and better performances --- similar in my thinking to "La Cérémonie," which I don't think would work nearly as well without Huppert.
    It's hard for me to respond here since I haven't seen any of the films you refer to, although I agree that good acting can enhance clichéd material, and Bong's films in particular benefit enormously from the contributions of Song Kang-ho. That said, even at his most entertaining, I find that Bong's films--and Park's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance--evaporate for me the moment they end; they don't linger in my memory the way that a film like La Cérémonie does because their characters are so much less substantial. (A more extreme example would be the Almodóvar of La mala educación and Los abrazos rotos, which seemed to evaporate as I was watching them despite the star power of Gael García Bernal and Penélope Cruz.)

    I suppose that depends on the level of innovation and when it was made (like, who's reading Wilkie Collins in the 21st century?).

    But are you saying Chabrol innovated with "La Cérémonie"? It's a better film than "Parasite," sure, but innovative?
    I wasn't claiming Chabrol's film is innovative necessarily, only that the characters have a level of specificity that makes them more than generic types.

    Incidentally, I read The Woman in White last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.

    Going back a bit, this is true of Huppert's character --- hers is by far the most detailed character --- but it isn't quite true of the others. I think if I dug around, I could find a few cinematic snobs who could best Georges and Catherine Lelievre (somebody in "Rules of the Game," maybe?).
    It's true of any narrative film that the more important characters have more specificity and shading than the minor characters. Still, if memory serves (and it's been over fifteen years since I've seen La Cérémonie), Chabrol views the rich family with a certain amount of affection, complicating our sympathy for the Sandrine Bonnaire character and making the ending genuinely shocking (Get Out this ain't).
    Just because...
    Speaking Directly: Some American Notes (Jon Jost, 1973) mild
    Dark Waters (Youssef Chahine, 1956) mild
    Over Here (Jon Jost, 2007) cold

    The last book I read was...
    Jerry Lewis by Chris Fujiwara


    The (New) World

  2. #71002
    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    It's hard for me to respond here since I haven't seen any of the films you refer to, although I agree that good acting can enhance clichéd material, and Bong's films in particular benefit enormously from the contributions of Song Kang-ho. That said, even at his most entertaining, I find that Bong's films--and Park's Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance--evaporate for me the moment they end; they don't linger in my memory the way that a film like La Cérémonie does because their characters are so much less substantial. (A more extreme example would be the Almodóvar of La mala educación and Los abrazos rotos, which seemed to evaporate as I was watching them despite the star power of Gael García Bernal and Penélope Cruz.)
    I was trying to think of genre stuff that engages based on technicals or performance or plot or pacing, and without a surfeit of character detail. The movies Hitch made in the 50s, maybe? Or "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"? "High Noon" fits pretty well, I think. Maybe "Naked Spur," too.

    ETA: "Memories of Murder" definitely works as a good example.

    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    Incidentally, I read The Woman in White last year and thoroughly enjoyed it.
    Fair enough, but then you're an academic, iirc. This is a bit like citing yourself in your own research.

    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    It's true of any narrative film that the more important characters have more specificity and shading than the minor characters. Still, if memory serves (and it's been over fifteen years since I've seen La Cérémonie), Chabrol views the rich family with a certain amount of affection, complicating our sympathy for the Sandrine Bonnaire character and making the ending genuinely shocking (Get Out this ain't).
    Ha, lemme mention it back to you then and say it's worth a rewatch if you have a free evening.

    I mostly meant that the audience learns more about Huppert's character than anyone else's. Her performance is also more animated, but that's down to the writing, too. I began to think of it as Huppert's movie toward the end, even though much of the runtime centers on Sandrine Bonnaire.

    I agree that the family is likable, which is why I don't buy the perceived social criticism. (This was also my #hottake beef with "Parasite." Neither film goes far enough in sticking it to the rich. Art about so-called class struggle written, directed, and performed by millionaires is fairly useless.)

    ETA2: I have a similar complaint about "Get Out," but that's probably better suited for a different discussion.

    ETA3: OTOH, Chabrol is caught in a little bit of a narrative trap, because he's doing true crime through an arthouse lens. He can't make the family unlikeable because then it might appear they "had it coming."
    Last edited by Irish; 05-08-2021 at 10:09 PM.

  3. #71003
    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    I was trying to think of genre stuff that engages based on technicals or performance or plot or pacing, and without a surfeit of character detail. The movies Hitch made in the 50s, maybe? Or "Invasion of the Body Snatchers"? "High Noon" fits pretty well, I think. Maybe "Naked Spur," too.

    ETA: "Memories of Murder" definitely works as a good example.
    I do love The Naked Spur, although I would argue that, even if we learn relatively little about the characters in that film, they all register as fully developed characters whose actions mesh seamlessly with their traits and desires rather than generic placeholders whose actions serve the plot more than themselves.

    Fair enough, but then you're an academic, iirc. This is a bit like citing yourself in your own research.
    Research is me-search.

    Ha, lemme mention it back to you then and say it's worth a rewatch if you have a free evening.

    I mostly meant that the audience learns more about Huppert's character than anyone else's. Her performance is also more animated, but that's down to the writing, too. I began to think of it as Huppert's movie toward the end, even though much of the runtime centers on Sandrine Bonnaire.

    I agree that the family is likable, which is why I don't buy the perceived social criticism. (This was also my #hottake beef with "Parasite." Neither film goes far enough in sticking it to the rich. Art about so-called class struggle written, directed, and performed by millionaires is fairly useless.)

    ETA2: I have a similar complaint about "Get Out," but that's probably better suited for a different discussion.

    ETA3: OTOH, Chabrol is caught in a little bit of a narrative trap, because he's doing true crime through an arthouse lens. He can't make the family unlikeable because then it might appear they "had it coming."
    Considering that Chabrol's Une affaire de femmes is also based on a true story, and he makes no effort to make the heroine (played by Huppert) especially likeable, I'm guessing he didn't feel himself to be in a narrative trap.

    Also, I don't agree that making the rich characters likeable in itself necessarily precludes social criticism (or that a rich person can't make an incisive film about class). On the contrary, if the rich characters were jerks, it would diminish any social criticism by implying that the problem is the characters rather than the class structure.
    Just because...
    Speaking Directly: Some American Notes (Jon Jost, 1973) mild
    Dark Waters (Youssef Chahine, 1956) mild
    Over Here (Jon Jost, 2007) cold

    The last book I read was...
    Jerry Lewis by Chris Fujiwara


    The (New) World

  4. #71004
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    I watched La Cérémonie as a teenager and at that time I sometimes watched the tapes I rented with my parents... Boy, did they hate that one.

  5. #71005
    Quote Quoting baby doll (view post)
    I do love The Naked Spur, although I would argue that, even if we learn relatively little about the characters in that film, they all register as fully developed characters whose actions mesh seamlessly with their traits and desires rather than generic placeholders whose actions serve the plot more than themselves.
    Well, I was never arguing for generic placeholders, more for a certain style of genre. Weaker or thinner characters can work, especially if there's a trade off to be made (a tightly wound plot, a good theme, a great actor with strong ideas, etc).

    "Spur" is pretty lean and might have been a routine B-picture in other hands. Personally, I think the entire movie comes down to the last 5 minutes and Stewart's understated turmoil, his emotional freakout [
    ]

    There aren't too many actors who could have sold it the way he did, and the extra oomph wasn't necessarily on the page.

    Slightly off-hand comparison: Humphrey Bogart at the end of "The Maltese Falcon" doesn't sell Sam Spade's desperation nearly as well.

    Considering that Chabrol's Une affaire de femmes is also based on a true story, and he makes no effort to make the heroine (played by Huppert) especially likeable, I'm guessing he didn't feel himself to be in a narrative trap.
    But I think he must've been aware of the trap, the need to explain the killers' actions without condoning them. That's a tricky business.

    I haven't seen "Une affaire de femmes," but I've heard of it, and if it's the movie I remember (Vichy? collaborators?), there's an obvious difference there --- Huppert's character absolutely needs to be unlikeable. Not just for the story, but because it's a French film and there's some shit about the war they're still touchy about.

    Also, I don't agree that making the rich characters likeable in itself necessarily precludes social criticism (or that a rich person can't make an incisive film about class). On the contrary, if the rich characters were jerks, it would diminish any social criticism by implying that the problem is the characters rather than the class structure.
    Hard disagree, and only because I know and have known people at that income level --- they live in a delusional bubble, like real Emperor's New Clothes type shit --- and because I've worked terrible jobs and lived in bad neighborhoods and none of these movies ever quite capture the level of daily hopelessness and humiliation that exists in those worlds. These films imagine poverty to be a lack of resources, or worse, a lack of luxury. But you live it and it's the lack of dignity that gets you, the lack of agency. Because every f'ing day you're robbed of your dignity and your agency by people with money and power, and it never ends.

  6. #71006
    Just discovered "Une affaire des femmes" is on criterion. Will probably watch it later tonight, lol.

  7. #71007
    Sunrise, Sunset Wryan's Avatar
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    Naked Spur really bowled me over.
    "How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home wine-making course and forgot how to drive?"

    --Homer

  8. #71008
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Irish (view post)
    Just discovered "Une affaire des femmes" is on criterion. Will probably watch it later tonight, lol.
    Le Boucher is excellent if you haven't seen it.

  9. #71009
    Cinematographer StanleyK's Avatar
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    I expected a lot more out of A Simple Plan. I just found it so predictable; once they found the money at the beginning I outlined in my head how the rest of the movie would go and it played out pretty much like that. Thornton's character injects some life into the proceedings but the comparisons I've seen to Fargo are unwarranted, except for all the snow.

  10. #71010
    Quote Quoting StanleyK (view post)
    I expected a lot more out of A Simple Plan. I just found it so predictable; once they found the money at the beginning I outlined in my head how the rest of the movie would go and it played out pretty much like that. Thornton's character injects some life into the proceedings but the comparisons I've seen to Fargo are unwarranted, except for all the snow.
    Haha, certainly right about the snow. I remember this movie acting like it's a lot smarter than it is. Also, Thornton's character and performance stand out-- forever gave me more empathy for people with broken glasses, that's for sure.
    Recent Films out of *****:
    House ****.5: This shit crazy. And I'm here for every minute of it.

    The Father ****: Captures the confusion, mundanity, and terror experienced by both those who have profound dementia and those who care for them.

    The Mighty Ducks **: What a strange film. Worse than I remember? Certainly less coherent. Has a very cringey "Oreo line" that I'm glad I didn't get as a kid.

  11. #71011
    A Platypus Grouchy's Avatar
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    A Simple Plan is very well directed but the story is indeed too linear.

  12. #71012
    Just finished Fat Girl. This is the most out-of-nowhere ending I can remember, and my gut reaction is I really, really did not like it. But I loved the 99% of the movie that came before, so I'm frantically searching for generous readings. Can someone help me?

  13. #71013
    Sunrise, Sunset Wryan's Avatar
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    I too quite liked most of what came before. I didn't hate the ending so much as feel it was blunt and shocking for little reward. But it's stayed in my mind for years now. So if that was the point, it succeeded...I guess.
    "How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home wine-making course and forgot how to drive?"

    --Homer

  14. #71014
    Quote Quoting Wryan (view post)
    I too quite liked most of what came before. I didn't hate the ending so much as feel it was blunt and shocking for little reward. But it's stayed in my mind for years now. So if that was the point, it succeeded...I guess.
    Exactly. Like it or not, I haven't forgotten it and it's been nearly two decades since I saw it. The entire film is about as unvarnished a portrait of sexual maturation and exploitation that I can think of and the ending forces the viewer to confront some very grim realities about what the purpose of sex is and how that meaning changes as a result of so many individual and societal expectations. Great film, would never fault someone for hating it. Not remembering isn't an option, though...
    Recent Films out of *****:
    House ****.5: This shit crazy. And I'm here for every minute of it.

    The Father ****: Captures the confusion, mundanity, and terror experienced by both those who have profound dementia and those who care for them.

    The Mighty Ducks **: What a strange film. Worse than I remember? Certainly less coherent. Has a very cringey "Oreo line" that I'm glad I didn't get as a kid.

  15. #71015
    The Pan megladon8's Avatar
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    I think Fat Girl hits especially hard if you were someone who was ostracized for your appearance in school/home.

    *hand up*
    I know writers who use subtext and they're all cowards.

  16. #71016
    ^^^
    Recent Films out of *****:
    House ****.5: This shit crazy. And I'm here for every minute of it.

    The Father ****: Captures the confusion, mundanity, and terror experienced by both those who have profound dementia and those who care for them.

    The Mighty Ducks **: What a strange film. Worse than I remember? Certainly less coherent. Has a very cringey "Oreo line" that I'm glad I didn't get as a kid.

  17. #71017
    After thinking about it for a while, the most generous reading I can think of is Breillat intends to force the viewer to compare the obvious atrocity of the ending with the (shall we say) quieter atrocities we see earlier/throughout the film. Ultimately the coercion somehow seems even more repulsive, while dare I say the ending somehow seems less.

    Great movie, but challenging. I'm curious to check out more stuff from Breillat.

  18. #71018
    Producer Yxklyx's Avatar
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    Does the Criterion Channel have Nights of Cabiria in HD? How many people here have that channel?
    Last Excellent Movie Seen For the Very First Time:
    A Taste of Honey (1961, Tony Richardson)
    My Movie Page

  19. #71019
    The Pan megladon8's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting Yxklyx (view post)
    Does the Criterion Channel have Nights of Cabiria in HD? How many people here have that channel?
    Yes it does. Just saw it on there tonight.
    I know writers who use subtext and they're all cowards.

  20. #71020
    Producer Yxklyx's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting megladon8 (view post)
    Yes it does. Just saw it on there tonight.
    Cool, thought about getting the blu-ray but it's only for the European region and Prime just has SD. Will look into getting the channel then.
    Last Excellent Movie Seen For the Very First Time:
    A Taste of Honey (1961, Tony Richardson)
    My Movie Page

  21. #71021
    Sunrise, Sunset Wryan's Avatar
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    Nights of Cabiria is my fave Fellini and one of my fave movies of all time.
    "How is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain. Remember when I took that home wine-making course and forgot how to drive?"

    --Homer

  22. #71022
    But I think he must've been aware of the trap, the need to explain the killers' actions without condoning them. That's a tricky business.

    I haven't seen "Une affaire de femmes," but I've heard of it, and if it's the movie I remember (Vichy? collaborators?), there's an obvious difference there --- Huppert's character absolutely needs to be unlikeable. Not just for the story, but because it's a French film and there's some shit about the war they're still touchy about.
    Of course, we can't know what Chabrol was thinking when he made these films; we can only judge the results. And in both these films, the choice to make Huppert unlikeable and the rich family somewhat likeable are absolutely the right decisions from a dramatic perspective.

    Hard disagree, and only because I know and have known people at that income level --- they live in a delusional bubble, like real Emperor's New Clothes type shit --- and because I've worked terrible jobs and lived in bad neighborhoods and none of these movies ever quite capture the level of daily hopelessness and humiliation that exists in those worlds. These films imagine poverty to be a lack of resources, or worse, a lack of luxury. But you live it and it's the lack of dignity that gets you, the lack of agency. Because every f'ing day you're robbed of your dignity and your agency by people with money and power, and it never ends.
    I certainly agree that many rich people live in a delusional bubble, although I would argue (a) that rich people's fantasies about class struggle are often unintentionally revealing (see link), and (b) since no one can claim to have an objective perspective on class struggle, films by people who've experienced poverty are likely to be similarly blinkered in their take on the subject as films by directors from affluent backgrounds.
    Just because...
    Speaking Directly: Some American Notes (Jon Jost, 1973) mild
    Dark Waters (Youssef Chahine, 1956) mild
    Over Here (Jon Jost, 2007) cold

    The last book I read was...
    Jerry Lewis by Chris Fujiwara


    The (New) World

  23. #71023
    The Pan megladon8's Avatar
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    I would like to suggest that all movie sequels need to follow the "______ 2: Electric Boogaloo" formula, as it is definitively and objectively the best way of titling a sequel and has never been bested.
    I know writers who use subtext and they're all cowards.

  24. #71024
    Quote Quoting megladon8 (view post)
    I would like to suggest that all movie sequels need to follow the "______ 2: Electric Boogaloo" formula, as it is definitively and objectively the best way of titling a sequel and has never been bested.
    Agreed. Looking forward to Amour 2: Electric Boogaloo rockin' it out this summer!
    Recent Films out of *****:
    House ****.5: This shit crazy. And I'm here for every minute of it.

    The Father ****: Captures the confusion, mundanity, and terror experienced by both those who have profound dementia and those who care for them.

    The Mighty Ducks **: What a strange film. Worse than I remember? Certainly less coherent. Has a very cringey "Oreo line" that I'm glad I didn't get as a kid.

  25. #71025
    The Pan megladon8's Avatar
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    Quote Quoting quido8_5 (view post)
    Agreed. Looking forward to Amour 2: Electric Boogaloo rockin' it out this summer!
    I'm more of a Bergman fan, so Fanny & Alexander 2: Electric Boogaloo is my jam.
    I know writers who use subtext and they're all cowards.

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