Author Topic: 1SO vs. The Directors of Shame  (Read 53327 times)

1SO

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Directors of Shame: The Dardenne Brothers - Rosetta
« Reply #110 on: July 01, 2011, 02:14:59 AM »
Marathon Update



Rosetta

Score another one for the impressive Dardenne Brothers. Being easily bored, you'd expect me to gripe more about them making a feature out of barely enough plot for a short, but I just watched two in a row and I'm doing fine. It helped that this one flies out of the gate in what could politely be called a Dardenne action scene. (Rosetta's just been fired and she doesn't take the news lightly.) A lot of the artifice of story and plot that hurt La Promesse has been stripped away, leaving a pure character piece.

While you can draw distinct differences between this film and the more recent Fish Tank and Wendy & Lucy, there are also an awful lot of similarities. Rosetta lives on the same desperate edge of poverty as Wendy and has a lot of the same hostility and despair as Mia. I'm also looking at three equally incredible performances. Thank goodness these films never gained enough popularity to bring up what would be a most difficult poll question.

[INTERESTING FACT: Cannes Best Actress winner Émilie Dequenne, who plays Rosetta, and Dardenne regular Jérémie Renier both had very prominent roles in Brotherhood of the Wolf.]

While I was enjoying the way this film started, there's a real challenge to the ending I appreciated, but didn't care for. The narrative peaks about 20 minutes before the final fade to black. There's a definite dramatic high point, after which the film becomes extremely static. It reminded me of Man Push Cart, only I was fine just watching that guy serve coffee and bagels. Here, I was more than a little bored, and also a bit perturbed by her behavior. (Understanding that's exactly how you're supposed to feel.) The minimalism is overplayed in order to hit you with the ending. The final seconds really got me, and I think the credits came up too fast. Did it need the tedious build-up? I have to think not. It certainly kills the rewatchability. But I'm really liking the Dardenne Brothers. There's an unquestionable intimacy they create with their characters. Who needs 3D when you have films like theirs that can pull you in and reach out to effect you.
RATING: ***

Bondo

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Re: 1SO vs. The Directors of Shame
« Reply #111 on: July 01, 2011, 06:51:18 AM »
Added Rosetta to my queue. It sounds like a reasonable next point of entry to the Dardannes for me. Interested to hear your take on L'enfant, the other one (aside from The Son) that I've seen.

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Re: 1SO vs. The Directors of Shame
« Reply #112 on: July 02, 2011, 12:00:48 AM »
At the request of Bondo I am adding Deepa Mehta's Elements Trilogy: Fire, Earth and Water

1SO

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Directors of Shame: The Dardenne Brothers - L'enfant
« Reply #113 on: July 02, 2011, 01:45:40 AM »
Marathon Update



L'enfant

There's a moment in L'enfant the beautifully crystalizes why I like the Dardenne Brothers films. Two characters meet. One asks the other if they'd like coffee. The other says yes and then sits there while coffee is retrieved. The camera stays on the person. An important meeting is about to happen. Where might this possibly go? Goes against everything they teach you in film school, where they'd want you to get right into the argument. The Dardenne's are wise enough to know that the best moment is the wait right before the conversation. That's why they start the scene with "Would you like some coffee?"

L'enfant brings me to the end of my Dardenne road trip. I've already seen The Son, which remains their best through the quiet grace of the conflict. I'll get to Lorna's Silence and their new stuff sometime down the road. This one was more padded by quiet than their other works. The hook doesn't happen till we're about a third of the way in, and there's a particular moment where Bruno is hitting the water with a stick that exceeds the bonus patience I have for their slow and steady pace.

The great Olivier Gourmet is once again handed a role too small for his talent. The focus is back on Jérémie Renier, who comfortably plays a rather horrible human being. The film could easily have been called Enfants, because there is more than one child here. Actually the mother (Déborah Francois) also has a lot of growing up to do, and it happens when Bruno sells her baby for money. (That's the hook.) Renier is extraordinary at making me believe he would do such a thing. That he would see a logic in it, and that he would realize his mistake as quickly as he does. Thankfully, the filmmakers don't let Bruno off the hook that easy. He tries to rectify the situation immediately, but things just go from bad to worse. Everything he does just blows up in his face as another problem to solve. I was glad... and I was absorbed.

But in the end I was unsatisfied because this film builds to the exact same ending as another Dardenne film. You can argue that the build up of the two films are completely different, but even still the emotional climax and the way it is filmed is the exact same. So I have to think you will better appreciate whichever Dardenne you watch first. I really wish they found a different way to conclude this. It's not even like this is the only possible way the film could end. Took me out of the film right at the final minutes.
RATING: ***

Here's the ranking of the 4 Dardenne Brothers films I've seen.

I will probably watch Aleksandr Dovzhenko's Arsenal and Earth before I see Delmer Daves' 3:10 to Yuma
« Last Edit: January 27, 2012, 09:43:56 AM by 1SO »

MartinTeller

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Re: Directors of Shame: The Dardenne Brothers - L'enfant
« Reply #114 on: July 02, 2011, 02:01:50 AM »
I will probably watch Aleksandr Dovzhenko's Arsenal and Earth before I see Delmer Daves' 3:10 to Yuma

No The Red House?

This marathon has reminded me there's still a couple of Dardennes I need to see, just put Le Fils on hold at the library.

1SO

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Re: Directors of Shame: The Dardenne Brothers - L'enfant
« Reply #115 on: July 02, 2011, 02:09:12 AM »
No The Red House?
I looked into it (read your review) cause I know it's your favorite, but I'm not that interested. Plus, looking at the list again I realized I have seen Destination Tokyo and Dark Passage. So I really don't need to include him, but 3:10 to Yuma was going to be on my List of Shame soon anyways. Just have to get the bad memories of the remake out of my head.


This marathon has reminded me there's still a couple of Dardennes I need to see, just put Le Fils on hold at the library.
I remember you said that back in April. I think all of their films will be some shade of green to you.

1SO

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Directors of Shame: Aleksandr Dovzhenko – Arsenal
« Reply #116 on: July 03, 2011, 10:39:46 AM »
Marathon Update



Arsenal
Quote from: MartinTeller
Dovzhenko's grim telling of a Bolshevik uprising against against a bourgeois Ukrainian nationalist movement, resulting in a bloody munitions factory strike.  The camerawork and editing are phenomenal, and the film packs a lot of punch.  However, much of it is confusing and I needed the audio commentary to clear up a lot of the context (the commentator also notes that Dovzhenko often preferred cryptic narrative styles).  I liked it quite a bit more than Earth, though.  Rating: 8
I was raised on Eisenstein. He was the only Russian silent movie director I even knew. I never thought there might be someone else even making movies. So Aleksandr Dovzhenko is kind of a revelation. (I didn't even know this was a silent film.) He's not as jackhammer with the images as Eisenstein, though he also favors juxtaposition now and again. He's also heavy with the symbolism, a lot of which goes over my head. Like, I'm sure the runaway train with people trapped on board means to represent something else. I don't know what, but I like the way he films it. There's a definite poetry to it, especially in the first 15 minutes. (When the train does... stop, there's a soldier's accordion which slithers away like a possessed slinky.)

There's a lengthy committee meeting at the center of the film, which is always difficult to pull off in a silent movie. It's shots of faces with propagandistic intertitles. Then we get the strike and it's back to the shadowed imagery, though not as strong as in the first 15 minutes. There's a cool poetry to the film that I enjoyed.
RATING: ***

sdedalus

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Re: 1SO vs. The Directors of Shame
« Reply #117 on: July 03, 2011, 01:32:03 PM »
You haven't seen Man with a Movie Camera?  You need to add that to the list if not.

Earth is the only Dovzhenko I've seen, Arsenal's on the list though.
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MartinTeller

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Re: 1SO vs. The Directors of Shame
« Reply #118 on: July 03, 2011, 02:15:35 PM »
You haven't seen Man with a Movie Camera?  You need to add that to the list if not.

Agreed.  Also, I see you've already got a Pudovkin on your list, you might also consider adding Storm Over Asia and The End of St. Petersburg.

1SO

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Re: 1SO vs. The Directors of Shame
« Reply #119 on: July 03, 2011, 02:44:47 PM »
You haven't seen Man with a Movie Camera?  You need to add that to the list if not.
That's the first film I was ever Dictated.

I see you've already got a Pudovkin on your list, you might also consider adding Storm Over Asia and The End of St. Petersburg.
When I get to a new director I reread their thread for possible other projects. It's a very fluid Marathon so long as I'm enjoying the filmmaker. I still want another from Theodoros Angelopoulos before too long.
« Last Edit: July 03, 2011, 02:47:01 PM by 1SO »

 

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