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Thread: Random Film Thoughts: Spanish Guerrilla in AW

  1. #721
    Team Huppert MorganaleFey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mysteryfan04 View Post
    I didn't really care much for A Clockwork Orange. Malcolm McDowell gives one hell of a committed performance, and the themes are interesting, but the movie hammers every theme with the subtlety of a sledgehammer and I was eventually exhausted and kind of bored by the end. As far as Kubrick goes, I'll stick with Dr. Strangelove, The Killing, and Barry Lyndon from what I've seen.

  2. #722
    Orphan, Fool JeanRZEJ's Avatar
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    Criticizing A Clockwork Orange for being unsubtle is like criticizing water for being wet. Not sure what you were expecting...
    “Truth, like light, blinds. Falsehood, on the contrary, is a beautiful twilight that enhances every object.”

  3. #723
    Senior Member Macca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeanRZEJ View Post
    Criticizing A Clockwork Orange for being unsubtle is like criticizing water for being wet. Not sure what you were expecting...
    I agree. It's a faithful adaptation in that regard.

  4. #724
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    Gueule d’amour (AKA Lover-Boy, AKA Lady Killer, Grémillon, 1937) is my favorite of the three Grémillon films I’ve seen (the other two being 1941’s Remorques and 1944’s Le ciel est a vous).

    It’s an insightful and uncomfortable look at masculinity, and masculine pride and sense of entitlement, that’s very interesting to look at from a modern perspective about gender. And yes, a part of it may be particularly uncomfortable (some will say “dated”) in its portrayal of a femme fatale, and the lengths a man can go in her hands. Yet, IMO, that doesn’t invalidate the analysis the film makes. To an extent, the film may, perhaps “might”, be condoning a certain action in the denouement, or at least showing too much understanding for the male part of the equation, but still the analysis of male motivation and perception is valid, modern and still relevant. Would a female glance over the subject be welcome? Without a doubt, but more than a male or a female glance, what I’m interested in is Grémillon’s glance.

    After just 3 movies, the thing that’s more remarkable to me about him as an artist is how he was making movies about subjects nobody else made movies about, or watching the stories from very unusual angles. I mean, how many other movies, and I’m thinking about Le ciel est a vous, do you know that tell the story of parents who let their hobby become a little too obsessive and end up neglecting parts of their life, including their daughter? And that the glance cast upon them is not very judgmental? On paper, the story of Gueule d’amour is less original, and some will see it as another story of man-meets-femme-fatale, but everything is kept so realistic and nuanced, at least until the ending, that I’m not sure you can categorize it that way. It could also be seen as an equally traditional story of a Don Juan meeting the woman to stop his womanizing ways, only this time there’s no redemption through love, but rather a more complex and realistic thing.

    I’ve said twice already the word “realistic”, and this being a French film of the 1930s (and with Jean Gabin, to boot), I guess some will label it “poetic realism”, but I’m not sure there’s much poetry here, at least not of the Prévert kind. This is a drier realism, and at most psychological realism. But I think Grémillon conveys his world so well, that this feels a great snapshot of the France of the 30s, and of the mentalities of its working class, made with great nuance and insight. Our protagonist, Lucien, is a soldier very well-known in Orange for his sexual success with women. One day he meets one for whom he’s ready to leave everything, from his job to his other conquests. It turns out this woman is a sort of prostitute, more like a cocotte, a specimen that had stopped being called “cocotte” after the Great War, but that still was the same: a glamour girl that rich men kept in a luxurious life, as a more or less stable mistress, until he got tired and another rich, powerful man took her as a mistress. Class and material scarcity appear prominently in the equation: Lucien is a working class man who can’t possibly give Madeleine the high-style life she’s been raised to crave for (it’s implied her mother was a cocotte too), and Madeleine has been too close to actual poverty to renounce to that world, yet she probably loves Lucien back, and genuinely so. The masculine pride of Lucien will see its self-confidence tested in every possible way: as a sexual partner women desire, as a serious man whom women actually love, and as an able provider of a living for the woman who expects it. Lucien falls from grace more in his eyes than in reality.

    This is where I think the movie is very special and achieves greatness: more than clichés of the Don Juan and the femme fatale, Lucien and Madeleine are real beings, with a nuanced social and psychological background that explains their actions, unlike in stories trading in clichés, in which just being a Don Juan or just being a femme fatale is enough justification for, respectively, womanizing or using men for material gain. Likewise, friendship between men is also explored, especially in the last act, beyond clichés and in a way that, again, you usually don’t see in films. Lucien’s evolution, in particular, is especially well written (and developed in visual terms, too), and the character is probably Gabin’s best, allowing him to deliver what’s, so far, my favorite performance of his. And through these characters and this story, Grémillon’s, helped by his eye to capture the locales and the time passing through them, conveys a strong sense that the reality of France, or a part of it, in those days, has been captured on screen. The older I grow, the more I appreciate cinema’s unique ability to capture the way we live, and the more I miss it in movies today. Of which of the most praised films each year can you say that it captured our here and now? How many dramas do you find that will be useful in the future to see how we really lived, thought or loved in the 2010s? Obviously there ARE examples, but I find they’re not always praised. The Social Network could be a good one, and it fortunately was praised, but something even better at capturing our times, like Margaret, got ignored. As you can see, I’m not exclusively talking about social realism that shows social problems, although I’d include that variety too, and will use the occasion to say once again that I feel it’s a genre (social realism) unfairly derided by some snobs nowadays.

    So, I really liked this snapshot into the France of the 30s, and into some very well written characters, and what they say about male pride and its traps. It’s an uncomfortable watch because it speaks of things that are not really likeable, and sometimes from a perspective uncomfortable to modern eyes, but it’s still a very rewarding viewing, a great movie.

    Oh, and this scene:



    Last edited by McTeague; 06-18-2019 at 06:24 AM.

  5. #725
    I'm curious to hear opinions on The Long Good Friday.

    How would you regard it? A good genre film, a great film?

  6. #726
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    It's not hard to see myself giving another film of Flight (2012)'s equal merits and flaws more of a pass, if the flaws are concentrated more in the first half while saving the best towards the last, but here… well. After the plane lands, the film becomes only a functional, occasionally dull Oscarbait drama that is better directed than the norm (save some truly grotesque song choices), but then takes a turn towards the thudding treacly in the last few scenes. That plane sequence might rank up there with director Robert Zemeckis' best though, so upsettingly visceral in his usual immersive technical precision and the scene's procedural details; the matter-of-factness in which the black box is mentioned just about tears my gut out. The whole sequence's impact and Denzel Washington's fine performance (not a stretch for him, but he takes us through the character's messed-up mindset well) keeps this afloat long enough before the ending almost wipes any past goodwill clean. And this is nominated for screenplay??? Lord.

  7. #727
    Senior Member Macca's Avatar
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    Is Renoir's A Day in the Country from 1936 or 1946? IMDb has it as 46 while Letterboxd has it as 36.

  8. #728
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    1936.

  9. #729
    Senior Member Macca's Avatar
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    Was it ever released in 1936?

  10. #730
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    Well it's more complicated than that. It was filmed in 1936 and more or less semi-edited.

    Only after WWII editing was finished and a score was added.

    So, I don't know, most people consider it a 1936 film, but it's true that, in its current and complete form, it exists only since 1946. For Canon purposes I'd say 1946. But most people put it in 1936.

  11. #731
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    Overlord is one of the worst movies I've ever seen. A painful experience

  12. #732
    Senior Member Macca's Avatar
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    This week I saw

    Climax (2018) dir. Gaspar Noe
    Conversation Piece (1974) dir. Luchino Visconti
    A Day in the Country (1946) dir. Jean Renoir
    The Hours (2002) dir. Stephen Daldry
    Marathon Man (1976) dir. John Schlesinger
    The Shootist (1976) dir. Don Siegel
    A Star Is Born (1976) dir. Frank Pierson
    Two Days, One Night (2014) dir. The Dardenne Brothers

    The best film I saw this week was Two Days, One Night. The story unfolds with Sandra, a Belgian factory worker and mother, finding out she has been let go by her employer. She finds out that it was a vote by her colleagues to either keep her on or to let her go and accept a €1000 bonus, and that the vote was 13-3 in favour of the bonus. She is given a chance to have another vote as the results were skewed from gossip and she is given the weekend to change the minds of her colleagues. Depressed prior to any of this happening, Sandra must gamble her emotional stability in the face of rejection and the hopelessness of the future for her stable income and the happiness of her family.

    We witness the lowest point of a women's life in this film and it is never told through melodramatics or hyperbole, which I think is the main reason why this film works so well. It's set pieces are the conversations where Sandra tries to change the minds of her colleagues, the exchanges of point-of-views of the subject; most need this money to make ends meet, others because they are scared of the foreman, some have sympathy her her and others don't and some just pretend to care. The film is precise in it's characterisation, even though it doesn't go into depth for each of the colleagues, and it never feels repetitive because the conversations seem real. By the end she is outvoted again before being given a deal to come back in a couple of months at the expense of one of the temporary workers. She declines and as she walks away form her former workplace she feels happy, as do we, that she had friends who helped her through the weekend and that she helped someone else in return.

    So now we come to Cotillard. I'm not a huge fan of hers, same with Burt Lancaster btw, but both stunned me this week and have given me an appreciation for both. Cotillard has such a huge role that could be played in a Blanche Dubois type of way but she goes subtle with it. We still experience her emotional rollercoaster of feeling immense hope whenever someone agrees to vote for her to keep her job and deep hopelessness whenever someone won't vote for her. She feels undignified asking them to vote for her, likening herself to a beggar and a thief and always sympathizing with her colleagues saying that she would do the same thing for €1000. Her self-hate and hopelessness all come to a head and she tries to kill herself with a box load of Xanax which she has been taking all day but then vomits them up at the first sign of hope. That's the main thing that I took away from this, positivity can outweigh negativity for some people, and it doesn't take much make someone feel better, although in this case it cost €1000

  13. #733
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    Great review.

    I hope Conversation Piece was the second best you saw. At least your words for Lancaster are encouraging. Ok I might also accept the Renoir as the second best, although the Visconti is actually superior!

  14. #734
    Senior Member Macca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McTeague View Post
    Great review.

    I hope Conversation Piece was the second best you saw. At least your words for Lancaster are encouraging. Ok I might also accept the Renoir as the second best, although the Visconti is actually superior!
    It was 6th best. But that might have been to do with my experience watching it seeing as the audience seemed to be made up of crackheads. I was surprised at how Visconti was upstaged since he is usually the one bringing the drama. I will definitely rewatch it for the 74 Canon though so I can focus on it more, because when the audience you're viewing a film with are calling each other 'fucking philistines' and having emotional breakdowns before leaving halfway through, you know you'll have to revisit the film sometime.

  15. #735
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    Quote Originally Posted by Macca View Post
    It was 6th best. But that might have been to do with my experience watching it seeing as the audience seemed to be made up of crackheads. I was surprised at how Visconti was upstaged since he is usually the one bringing the drama. I will definitely rewatch it for the 74 Canon though so I can focus on it more, because when the audience you're viewing a film with are calling each other 'fucking philistines' and having emotional breakdowns before leaving halfway through, you know you'll have to revisit the film sometime.
    But where tf are you watching these Viscontis?

  16. #736
    Senior Member Macca's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by McTeague View Post
    But where tf are you watching these Viscontis?
    At a respectable art gallery that I think might be a crackden after last night. I left pretty quickly from that theatre and I was wondering why no one was leaving their seat and it was only once I was walking to the train that I remembered L'Innocente was on straight after and that I had completely forgotten because I was desperate to get out.

    But on another note Burt Lancaster is now my runner-up in Best Actor for 1974. This sounds cliche but he really did embody his role, the professor was meek, but only from old age, and tired of people and wars, it was an exquisite performance that I could still appreciate through the (entertaining) hellpit I was in.

  17. #737
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    He's my winner in 1974. And like, almost my all time winner.

  18. #738
    building a raft enthusiastic's Avatar
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    I hope Climax was the 8th best you saw.

  19. #739
    Senior Member Macca's Avatar
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    2nd best. Watch the 76 A Star Is Born, then you'll see what 8th looks like.

  20. #740
    Senior Member affy18's Avatar
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    Rewatched Taxi Driver after many years and first time on the big screen. Truly a gorgeous, intoxicating, hypnotic, fully immersive artful masterpiece. Feels incredibly classic in presentation and at the same time so palpably modern and like such a formative, almost totemic piece to so, so, so much modern cinema. A time capsule and yet so relevant and in many ways it feels like one of the ultimate, most probing and evocative statements on the predicament of modern life. If this were the American classic topping the S+S poll every decade, I'd be more than on board. Indelible.

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