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Author Topic: From Psycho to Persona (1960 to 1966), The Age of Psychological Film  (Read 15131 times)

MartinTeller

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Re: From Psycho to Persona (1960 to 1966), The Age of Psychological Film
« Reply #40 on: September 26, 2011, 03:13:47 PM »
But you have no reason to think that.  In fact, you have plenty of evidence that he does know what he's talking about, in that critics and filmmakers and viewers you know and respect have elevated him to the cinematic pantheon. 

Your argument is "the emperor wears no clothes", an attitude that in any other context you would (and have) railed against.

There may be truth to what you're saying.  I guess I don't know why I have this reaction to Godard and not really with anyone else.  Maybe it's because he so often has characters just spouting these diatribes out of nowhere, sometimes blatantly reading them out of a book.  As if there was no attempt made to synthesize them into something more cinematically meaningful.
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sdedalus

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Re: From Psycho to Persona (1960 to 1966), The Age of Psychological Film
« Reply #41 on: September 26, 2011, 04:51:28 PM »
That kind of fracturing, and refusal to synthesize, has always been part of his style, form the jump cuts in Breathless through the three part structure of Film Socialisme

Similarly his mishmash of cultural references, high and low, music, art, literature and comic books is part of his argument for film as an art form in its own right as well as reflective of the short-attention span grab bag that is modern society.  His an aphoristic filmmaker, not necessarily a narrative one.

I think his collections of ideas, quotes, tropes and characters tend to hang together to form a coherent whole.  But more often than not, the whole I experience is an emotional one.  What I think of when I think of Godard's movies are images and emotions.  The ideas, interesting as they sometimes are, are hardly ever the appeal for me.
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sdedalus

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Re: From Psycho to Persona (1960 to 1966), The Age of Psychological Film
« Reply #42 on: September 27, 2011, 02:15:08 PM »
I understand that Godard is looking for an honest emotional response to his patterns, and there is definite confrontation and challenge to the patterns in Pierrot le fou. The problem, that personally comes through in this and the other films; is for instance "the usual and then the unusual" etc etc or "you are being complicated, no I am being simple!" to which the only response could possibly be "MOVE ON". This is a particularly French philosophical intellectual elitism, as in well if you don't understand it you are stupid or grasping at the ephemeral. I understand this type of cultural tourism, and I see it in people's responses to very ordinary British films, but I do reject it. The phrase "cultural tourism" isn't directed at anyone as an insult- for me it is simply something to bear in mind and guard against.

I have no idea what you are talking about here.  French elitism is claiming to be simple when in fact one is complicated?  If you don't understand that French philosophy is simple, you're stupid?  People only like complicated/simple French films/philosophy because they're "cultural tourists"?

The Bondo argument comes into play (bear with me), how long do you have to sit through this until the patterns coalesce into something intelligent nay ENTERTAINING. The other avenue de french directing is rich with emotion and humanity re- Truffaut, Varda, Melville, so this ain't no cross channel mud sling. Also Bunuel's artistic confrontations are stunningly shot as well as being difficult ideas, eye candy while u wait, which I don't find in Godard.

I find all those things in Godard.  He made some of the most beautiful films of the 1960s, and there are few directors in history with a better sense of color than him.

Martin must have used the emperor's new clothes argument somewhere else because he didn't use it here, but the emperor's new clothes rebuttal is just as trite and empty. I think I understand that Godard may be the most AUTEUR of all directors, he rules his own universe, and there is merit in absolutely deciding every aspect of your paradigm. However saying that just because 5 out of every 10 critics or professors exalt Godard means ZERO to me- definitively Godard stretches my patience, end of story. I fear there is a danger is that less capable, daring, adventurous, intelligent..name your own adjective...directors might travel this path but miss Godard's point produce nonsense but declare it art for art's sake.

I understand this anti-intellectual idea that just because people are experts on a subject doesn't mean they know anything.  Critics and film professors can say all they want about how a certain filmmaker is great, there's no reason I should ever have to pay attention to them because I am the judge of all things and if I don't understand it immediately, there isn't possibly anything to understand.  It's certainly your right to cling to this point of view.

My argument on this point, though, was with Martin, who I believe does hold some stock in the opinions of other people.  His dismissing Godard as being a naked emperor is funny in that he criticizes Bondo for saying the same thing about other films and directors.  The fact that people Martin respects (because I know he does consider the judgements and advice and insights of others relevant to his own understanding of film) find Godard to be fully clothed should be a reason to not dismiss him so cavalierly.

I would welcome this discussion/fight/polemic to continue in this marathon. There are issues of plot, genre distortion, cultural differences, politics that Godard absolutely confronts that go to the heart of how film operates that challenge my own understanding.

You can't have a discussion if someone is starting from the position that the filmmaker in question is irritating, snobbish, intentionally incoherent and blown up by pretentious, culturally ambitious and intellectually dishonest critics.
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MartinTeller

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Re: From Psycho to Persona (1960 to 1966), The Age of Psychological Film
« Reply #43 on: September 27, 2011, 02:39:57 PM »
My argument on this point, though, was with Martin, who I believe does hold some stock in the opinions of other people.  His dismissing Godard as being a naked emperor is funny in that he criticizes Bondo for saying the same thing about other films and directors.  The fact that people Martin respects (because I know he does consider the judgements and advice and insights of others relevant to his own understanding of film) find Godard to be fully clothed should be a reason to not dismiss him so cavalierly.

Well, I think you're oversimplifying my position, and putting words in my (and verbALs) mouth.  I never said "the emperor wears no clothes".  There's a lot to appreciate in Godard's films... his playfulness, his use of color, his dogged determine to make films that entirely "Godard".  His place in the craft, history and philosophy of filmmaking is secure, and worthy of respect.  I just find him unbearably tiresome when he gets on a political/ideological soapbox, and feel that he either doesn't know what he's talking about, or has such contempt for the audience that he doesn't bother to make his ideas comprehensible.  I said in one of my Godard reviews (I don't recall which one) something to the effect of: "I don't mind a movie making me think, but I don't want to be given homework".  If this makes me lazy, so be it.  Often in my Godard reviews I will suggest that perhaps I'm not smart enough to "get" Godard.  But perhaps he's not smart as he thinks he is, either.

I also don't think it's fair to say that I've dismissed him so cavalierly when I've seen 19 of his films (and even own one! and put it in my top 100 performances!).

As for people I respect, I don't read film criticism nearly as often as I should (I'd just rather spend my time watching more movies).  But here's what my avatar had to say about Godard:

Quote from: Ingmar Bergman
I’ve never gotten anything out of his movies. They have felt constructed, faux intellectual and completely dead. Cinematographically uninteresting and infinitely boring. Godard is a CINECAST!ing bore. He’s made his films for the critics. One of the movies, Masculin féminin, was shot here in Sweden. It was mind-numbingly boring.

« Last Edit: September 27, 2011, 02:41:40 PM by MartinTeller »
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sdedalus

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Re: From Psycho to Persona (1960 to 1966), The Age of Psychological Film
« Reply #44 on: September 27, 2011, 03:01:47 PM »
My argument on this point, though, was with Martin, who I believe does hold some stock in the opinions of other people.  His dismissing Godard as being a naked emperor is funny in that he criticizes Bondo for saying the same thing about other films and directors.  The fact that people Martin respects (because I know he does consider the judgements and advice and insights of others relevant to his own understanding of film) find Godard to be fully clothed should be a reason to not dismiss him so cavalierly.

Well, I think you're oversimplifying my position, and putting words in my (and verbALs) mouth.  I never said "the emperor wears no clothes".  There's a lot to appreciate in Godard's films... his playfulness, his use of color, his dogged determine to make films that entirely "Godard".  His place in the craft, history and philosophy of filmmaking is secure, and worthy of respect.  I just find him unbearably tiresome when he gets on a political/ideological soapbox, and feel that he either doesn't know what he's talking about, or has such contempt for the audience that he doesn't bother to make his ideas comprehensible.  I said in one of my Godard reviews (I don't recall which one) something to the effect of: "I don't mind a movie making me think, but I don't want to be given homework".  If this makes me lazy, so be it.  Often in my Godard reviews I will suggest that perhaps I'm not smart enough to "get" Godard.  But perhaps he's not smart as he thinks he is, either.

I also don't think it's fair to say that I've dismissed him so cavalierly when I've seen 19 of his films (and even own one! and put it in my top 100 performances!).

Fair enough, I was only going off what you said in this thread, which is admittedly brief and oversimplified.  Apologies for the misrepresentation.  But what you've said previously here, and the bold part above, amounts to much the same as Bondo's argument, I think.  Though in proper context it surely does not amount to a total dismissal.

As for people I respect, I don't read film criticism nearly as often as I should (I'd just rather spend my time watching more movies).  But here's what my avatar had to say about Godard:

Quote from: Ingmar Bergman
I’ve never gotten anything out of his movies. They have felt constructed, faux intellectual and completely dead. Cinematographically uninteresting and infinitely boring. Godard is a CINECAST!ing bore. He’s made his films for the critics. One of the movies, Masculin féminin, was shot here in Sweden. It was mind-numbingly boring.

Well, I'd say much the same about Bergman, but that's neither here nor there.  I think you'd agree with me that, if nothing else, Godard is a better, or at least more accomplished, film critic than Bergman was.
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sdedalus

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Re: From Psycho to Persona (1960 to 1966), The Age of Psychological Film
« Reply #45 on: September 27, 2011, 03:05:55 PM »
I think there was a lot of respect from sd towards your (right to an) opinion MT. Whereas I think he has correctly nailed me for dabbling in the subject (3 films? pah). I actually find it curious that you managed 19 films from a director, where you held this overall opinion.

I wonder how you'd react to one of his non-gangster films which you, somewhat rightly call "childish" (I'd call them "playful" but that's a matter of point of view).  Maybe Contempt, which is a more serious drama, or A Woman is a Woman which is mostly a romantic comedy, would be more up your alley than Breathless or Band of Outsiders.
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MartinTeller

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Re: From Psycho to Persona (1960 to 1966), The Age of Psychological Film
« Reply #46 on: September 27, 2011, 03:35:19 PM »
Funny, I've been thinking about this film a lot lately as I put together my performances list, trying to decide whether to include Taylor and Burton, or just Taylor.  For now I've decided on just Taylor, but Burton is pretty goddamn awesome in it.

I actually find Dennis weaker than Seagall, but they're both up against some heavy-hitters.

Just a magnificent, gripping, heart-rending film.  I probably should have put it in my top 100.
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1SO

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Re: From Psycho to Persona (1960 to 1966), The Age of Psychological Film
« Reply #47 on: September 29, 2011, 07:40:22 AM »
I remember being surprised how well the 1962 version held up in modern times and how much it retained its edgy darkness.

Thought for sure "pre-Bullitt action"™ would've been met with a large list of counter examples.
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sdedalus

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Re: From Psycho to Persona (1960 to 1966), The Age of Psychological Film
« Reply #48 on: September 29, 2011, 03:50:59 PM »
Good pre-Bullitt action films:

The Adventures of Robin Hood, Gunga Din, The Thief of Baghdad, The Four Feathers, The Mark of Zorro, all of Douglas Fairbanks's silents, along with most of Chaplin and Keaton, lots of fun pirate movies (The Spanish Main, Blackbeard The Pirate), various Ray Harryhausen films (Sinbads, Jason and the Argonauts, The Mysterious Island), the whole 50s cycle of sci-fi films from The Thing From Another World, Forbidden Planet and Gojira at the top and down from there.  And of course, many a samurai film.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2011, 04:02:27 PM by sdedalus »
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Re: From Psycho to Persona (1960 to 1966), The Age of Psychological Film
« Reply #49 on: November 11, 2011, 01:10:44 AM »
I just made a realization.  I've never seen Cape Fear.  I'd seen Night of the Hunter and gotten them mixed up.  Well, another great film I get to experience for the first time!
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