love

Author Topic: 1SO vs. The Directors of Shame  (Read 53329 times)

sdedalus

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 16585
  • I have a prestigious blog, sir!
    • The End of Cinema
Re: 1SO vs. The Directors of Shame
« Reply #120 on: July 03, 2011, 03:12:15 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.

OK, good.  I was confused by the first part of your review.  Glad you liked it, too.
The End of Cinema

Seattle Screen Scene

"He was some kind of a man. What does it matter what you say about people?"

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 34852
  • Marathon Man
Directors of Shame: Aleksandr Dovzhenko Ė Earth
« Reply #121 on: July 06, 2011, 01:08:16 AM »
Marathon Update



Earth
Quote from: MartinTeller
I like some Soviet cinema, but I also think a lot of it is rather overrated.  Unfortunately this belongs to the latter group.  Besides some occasional nice imagery and fairly innovative cutting techniques, I found very little of merit here.  The propaganda was thick, the story was dull as dirt (woohoo, a tractor!) and the characters were very one-dimensional.  It was actually better when they left the plot by the wayside and just had the montages of harvesting grain and whatnot.  Rating: 6
After enjoying Arsenal, I was looking forward to Earth. Expecting more of Dovzhenko's poetic imagery and cross-cutting. I was mostly disappointed and agree with Martin's review. For a silent movie the film starts with too much exposition that doesn't deepen the characters nor the situation, and it ends with a lot of propaganda speechmaking. In between are about 20 really good minutes. The best section is when Dovzhenko films the harvest, following the process all the way through the baking of loaves of bread. (I'd love to know if Malick watched this before making Days of Heaven.)

There's a lot of imagery connecting the people to the ground and farm animals. (Nearly every Russian silent film I've seen has an edit which cuts from a horse to a hard worker.) There is great pride in the work, and I have to think the moment where they use urine to fill the tractor radiator is further connecting man with his farm equipment. I liked the upbeat nature of the farmers, despite terrible adversity. Also, while there is grieving, the two key deaths occur when they're very happy and the group continues with the harvest. Life goes on.

I make it sound like I really liked the film after all, but I'm just talking about what I got out of Earth. I was pretty bored by this one for the most part, and would have liked more and much stronger imagery.
RATING: **

I have a bunch of oners from directors coming up, starting with Delmer Daves' 3:10 to Yuma and Carl Dreyer's Day of Wrath.

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 34852
  • Marathon Man
Directors of Shame: Delmer Daves - 3:10 to Yuma
« Reply #122 on: July 06, 2011, 11:19:47 PM »
Marathon Update



3:10 to Yuma

When Delmer Daves appeared recently in the Director Boards I said that I'd need to add him to this marathon, assuming I had seen none of his work. When the time arrived, I looked over the titles again and realized I'd seen Destination Tokyo and Dark Passage. Tokyo is one of Cary Grant's more forgettable films, but it has Grant which means it's at least okay. Dark Passage however, that the other Bogie/Bacall film. The last one people watch when they want to see the couple in a film. A film so bad, it's easily the worst I've seen with either actor... and I've seen The Fan.

The most striking thing about 3:10 to Yuma is its look. The angles and deep shadows bring a strong sense of noir to the western genre. A noir missing from Dark Passage. There's a lot of sweat, the rooms are way too small, the hero has a scheduled appointment with self-destrcution and what's really going to put him under is his pride. These elements are handled really well by Daves. This version also has a big win over the 2007 remake because I believe the ending. It's still a bit of a reach and not at all what you expect from a western, but what Russell Crowe does in the final minutes of his version is just insanely illogical.

So there's some good qualities here, but none of it really makes for a very exciting western. The film's only 92 minutes, but there's a lot of hotel room conversation that feels like it's padding out the run time. Also the two men's relationship with the two women are largely underdeveloped. Ben Wade (Glenn Ford) has a quickie before he's captured and the speed at which they hit it off is only made more uneasy by the way Daves places them in these unbelieveably tight frames. There's a hint that cattleman Dan Evans (Van Heflin) takes this assignment after his wife wounds his male ego, but it's never made clear. Even when she confronts him directly with it, he blows her off and tells her that's not it without offering up any other reasoning that might be driving him. This sort of cloudy motivation from your lead character always irks me. "I don't know. Just trust me," always sounds like a writer who's backed into a corner.
RATING: **1/2

I think Daves was given a poll because Martin really liked The Red House. He has 6 votes spread over 5 films, and I'm not interested in seeing any of them for his direction though I'm sure I'll watch a few more (like Red House and 1953's Never Let Me Go) at some point in my life.

sdedalus

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 16585
  • I have a prestigious blog, sir!
    • The End of Cinema
Re: 1SO vs. The Directors of Shame
« Reply #123 on: July 07, 2011, 01:06:49 AM »
I make no claims as to Never Let Me Go's greatness.  I liked it because of the bizarre casting and weird story.
The End of Cinema

Seattle Screen Scene

"He was some kind of a man. What does it matter what you say about people?"

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 34852
  • Marathon Man
Directors of Shame: Carl Theodor Dreyer Ė Day of Wrath
« Reply #124 on: July 07, 2011, 10:38:59 AM »
Marathon Update



Day of Wrath

I don't understand what happened here. Passion of Joan of Arc, one of my Top 100 of All Time. Couldn't have been more excited to see this. His Director Thread is full of praise for Day of Wrath. I have to wonder if there's a problem with the Criterion transfer. The film I saw was shot very flat and moved with incredible sluggishness. I mean everyone walked like they were underwater, with long pauses between sentences. Joan of Arc, I was completely swept up in the mood. Here I was really bored.

There's some promise towards the beginning where Herlof's Marte is captured and confesses under torture. She sows her seeds of revenge in a style worthy of Greek tragedy. Then the film seems to disintegrate into small moments and subplots. Absalon feels guilt while Anne and Martin frolic off. The whole project disintegrates in a heap of angst and a distinct lack of drama.
RATING: *1/2

I might watch Vampyr next, simply to assure me that I was having an off night. Maybe I prefer Dreyer's silent films.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2011, 12:52:35 AM by 1SO »

Bondo

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 22511
Re: 1SO vs. The Directors of Shame
« Reply #125 on: July 07, 2011, 11:04:36 AM »
Hmm, apparently I've seen two Dryer films, Joan and Vampyr. Not a fan.

Sam the Cinema Snob

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 26353
  • "Anime is for jerks."
    • Creative Criticism
Re: 1SO vs. The Directors of Shame
« Reply #126 on: July 07, 2011, 11:08:05 AM »
I highly recommend Ordet. Not sure why you saw Day's of Wrath instead. 
"It's all research." -roujin

smirnoff

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 25871
    • smirnoff's Top 100
Re: 1SO vs. The Directors of Shame
« Reply #127 on: July 07, 2011, 11:19:57 AM »
I'm sorry to read Yuma wasn't more of a success for you. I really hoped it would be. I guess I'm kind of a sucker for these close quarters morality plays, and at just 90 minutes it doesn't overstay its welcome. But I hear what your saying.

sdedalus

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 16585
  • I have a prestigious blog, sir!
    • The End of Cinema
Re: 1SO vs. The Directors of Shame
« Reply #128 on: July 07, 2011, 01:47:15 PM »
I have to wonder if there's a problem with the Criterion transfer.

There's a problem with something. . .

;)
The End of Cinema

Seattle Screen Scene

"He was some kind of a man. What does it matter what you say about people?"

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 34852
  • Marathon Man
Directors of Shame: Carl Theodor Dreyer Ė Vampyr
« Reply #129 on: July 08, 2011, 01:17:36 AM »
Marathon Update



Vampyr
Quote from: MartinTeller
It's got magnificent camerawork and a foreboding air of menace throughout.  There's a surreal essence, not just in the content, but also in the storytelling, which always feels slightly off.  Creepy and nightmarish.  Rating: 9
Quote from: Sam the Cinema Snob
The film is so preoccupied with all these surreal images and flashy techniques that the narrative falls by the wayside. At times itís near incomprehensible. Itís apparent that the film is too busy creating cool and crazy images to be bothered with storytelling. By the end I couldnít tell you who was bad, why one person died, why another didnít do a certain things and what the hell I just saw. All I remembered was a bunch of crazy images that looked cool but didnít actually make any sense.
With a minimum of dialogue and a brief running time, Dreyer once again took me on a mostly visual journey. In fact, my biggest complaint is the use of a book to explain Vampires, but only acts as a series of really long title cards full much more of style than substance. Dreyer should have taken a page from Murnau's The Last Laugh and went for a film with no cards or dialogue. This could have worked even better if it played further to its strengths as one long, great, creepy nightmare.

The film is pitched somewhere between talkies and silents, so it's soundtrack ends up incredibly atmospheric and intense mainly because for long stretches you forget this isn't a silent film. Then there will be a sudden burst of sound, or a disconcerting noise that can set you on edge on the proper, chilling evening. As for the visuals, I'm surprised I haven't seen them before at those industrial, goth clubs I used to go to back in the 90s. It may be more subtle than Nosferatu and Dreyer uses gauze on the lens more than anyone should, but it does not lack the eerie stuff one bit. There are no shock scares, but horror fans should see why this is regarded as an early classic. I'm fairly impressed at how effective Vampyr is considering it's really light on the vampire stuff. It's a mood piece, a dream for the brain, and the closest I've seen a film come to the feeling I got watching Eraserhead. (That's a good way to make sure I'm recommending this to the right people.)
RATING: ***

Much better. I'm really glad I watched Vampyr before moving away from Dreyer. I'll be ready for more when Ordet appears on my List of Shame.

 

love