Author Topic: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat  (Read 12976 times)

Bondo

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« Last Edit: December 04, 2011, 12:53:50 AM by Mx. Bondo »

1SO

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Re: The King and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway and Breillat
« Reply #1 on: August 11, 2011, 01:43:55 AM »
The Baby of Macon has one of the most horrific moments I've seen in a film. And it's done in a completely non-explicit fashion. Not enough people watch that movie.
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Bondo

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #2 on: August 12, 2011, 08:22:14 AM »
I've added some von Trier to this shindig.

I also wanted to point out that Catherine Breillat was the screenwriter for David Hamilton's first (available) film Bilitis. It all comes full circle. Like Hamilton, she seems to focus on adolescent female sexuality.

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #3 on: August 12, 2011, 11:23:05 AM »
Breaking the Waves is a great film but it's also very long. I'll probably PM you some tips when you get to it. 
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MartinTeller

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #4 on: August 12, 2011, 11:37:55 AM »
Well, The Falls is over 3 hours (and I predict Bondo will hate it).

Why no Fat Girl?  It's the only Breillat-directed film I've seen.
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Bondo

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #5 on: August 12, 2011, 12:48:35 PM »
Why no Fat Girl?  It's the only Breillat-directed film I've seen.

This was an oversight. Netflix didn't have it so I didn't add it when I was putting those ones down, but I was so aware of its existence that I assumed Netflix had it when I was adding other entries. So yeah, it is definitely part of the marathon.

I guess we'll just see on The Falls. I'm certainly not expecting to love or even tolerate a number of these films. If the only reason I watched films was to enjoy them I'd probably give it up considering how often I don't. In spite of all my various attitudes, I do reckon watching things out of my wheelhouse is like stretching, you hope that over time the wheelhouse gets larger.

Bondo

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #6 on: August 13, 2011, 03:50:48 PM »
Greenaway: The Shorts

It feels like damning with faint praise to say that the best thing in this package of six shorts was the 16 minute special feature of Greenaway providing a commentary on his early work and the six shorts in particular. Even after hearing him talk about it, I'm not sure I really appreciate the shorts on the whole, but it does do a good job providing some context of what he was doing here. To the degree that I have any appreciation of "art," it comes from the insight into its creation. In a way I suppose this ties back in to my preference for storytelling in film, to the degree that more avant garde stuff does not engage in storytelling, if I can hear the story of its creation, I get that itch scratched. Anyway, I am going to discuss the shorts in the order I liked them rather than chronological.

Windows (1975) 3/5

This one has the advantage of being the shortest short, at four minutes. It combines images of windows (naturally) with a discussion of a group of individuals who had died from falling out of windows, as broken down by age, profession and cause of fall. Apparently this was an abstract analogy to mysterious deaths in apartheid South Africa, which I'm not sure anyone would get from the short itself, but there is a certain darkly humorous tone to the narration here.

H Is For House (1973) 2/5

This is kind of an avant garde take on Sesame Street. You have video (of Greenaway's family it seems) at a country house and the narration focuses on doing little alphabet games, especially focusing on words starting with H. Almost pushes the patience at 10 minutes but it has a certain adorable aspect of it.

Dear Phone (1977) 2/5

This one does go on rather too long...the video starts by showing written text of the narration before flashing through random pictures of phone boxes. The stories are curious tales involving phoning in one manner or another. Some of them are rather absurd and amusing, but again, with this kind of material, less is often more.

Water Wrackets (1975) 1/5

Again the video is not directly connected to the narration but rather provides a suggestive backdrop. In this case we are shown scenes of water in nature while hearing about some mythical community constructing a set of lakes. The story was a bit hard to follow or get much out of.

Intervals (1969) 1/5

This film is pretty obnoxious in its editing (and it shows the video sequence three times over with changing narration), partly a product of the primitive camera/film being used that didn't allow very long takes (as in less than a minute). The editing is almost strobe like at times. There is one particularly neat shot where there are two different shots of people walking by the same location that are intercut. This has a very interesting visual effect.

A Walk Through H (1978) 1/5

This one loses out in part because it is by far the longest at 40 minutes. It also was the last one shown so I was losing my patience enough as it was. Basically we are shown a series of "maps" that are hung around the walls. It's another case where the narration is clearly in English; I understand all the words individually, but put together it just seems like gibberish.

Greenaway hints in his commentary that invariably the early film is indicative of certain stylistic choices that will repeat themselves in future films, but having seen two Greenaway films from the 90s, I'm glad this is not heavily indicative, though even so I think I can see some connections. Another thing he discussed was the potential impossibility of making an entertaining avant garde without the benefit of actors/people in more traditional cinema and the emotional connection they tend to endear. Probably the best I can say about this set of films is that at the end of the day I'm not overly disappointed by them or feeling like I wasted my time, even though I didn't really find much to love.

MartinTeller

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #7 on: August 13, 2011, 05:50:29 PM »
I'm pretty much with you on the shorts, except I adore A Walk Through H.  Your reaction to it reinforces my belief that you're going to struggle to get through The Falls.

Are you skipping Vertical Features Remake?  It might be just as well if you do, I can't imagine you'll enjoy it.
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Bondo

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #8 on: August 13, 2011, 06:17:42 PM »
Are you skipping Vertical Features Remake?  It might be just as well if you do, I can't imagine you'll enjoy it.

I'm pretty sure it is on the same DVD as The Falls, so I expect I'll watch it. I actually just watched two sections from The Falls and found it intriguing. I may have to break it up into chunks though.

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #9 on: August 13, 2011, 10:32:32 PM »
This one does go on rather too long...

I've never been too interested in his short films. I will say that the above quote can be applied to all his films. If you're hoping for some well-paced Greenaway, you're in for a lot of disappointment. Actually, all three directors pace their films a bit outside your comfort zone, so unless there's an Innocence in the batch, be prepared.
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