Author Topic: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat  (Read 12653 times)

Bondo

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2011, 09:49:44 PM »
Un Chien Andalou

Unofficial entry into the marathon but might as well put it here. This is pretentious garbage.

1/5

P.S. This is probably the best checks per minute ratio over at iCM.

MartinTeller

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2011, 10:07:40 PM »
Un Chien Andalou

Unofficial entry into the marathon but might as well put it here. This is pretentious garbage.

No it isn't.  It's surrealism, which is pretty much the exact opposite of pretentious, because it's not pretending to be anything at all.  And, it's also hilarious.
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Bondo

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2011, 10:21:55 PM »
Either it is supposed to mean something, in which case it fails and is pretentious...or it isn't supposed to mean anything and it fails because it is useless.

Bondo

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #13 on: August 16, 2011, 05:49:51 PM »
Last Tango In Paris

Well, I can't say I knew which bit part Breillat had in this film, but it was an enjoyable enough experience. This film was famous for its X rating (now NC-17) though I'm not entirely convinced it deserves that (though if they initially thought Blue Valentine deserved it...). You've got full but not explicit female nudity, and while there are risque sexuality, again, it is so far from explicit that it is almost laughable. There's a lot of dry humping going on here. Bertolucci's The Dreamers is far more graphic and pulled an R rating.

I had a few concerns early on in how the relationship between Paul (Brando) and Jeanne (Maria Schneider) starts. I get that it develops into a bit of a game for Paul wherein they keep their relationship as impersonal as possible, not even knowing the other's name, but you'd still need some sort of build up to the fling I'd think. But if I couldn't see how they actually got together, the film does a little to say why by showing their lives outside of the fling and what they are escaping from into this anonymous sexual relationship. Between this and the wonderfully un-self-conscious performance of Schneider, there's just something about a woman who seems to be entirely comfortable in her skin, the film does enough to earn mild approval.

Kind of going back to the depiction of sexuality, it is so unsexy. It is a bit hard to believe that this is actually gratifying them all that much. They are doing the acts, but there doesn't seem to be much passion. This is a better film than something like Winterbottom's Nine Songs, which also had two strangers hooking up, but that film is loads better at depicting any manner of sexual chemistry (very explicitly I might add).

3/5

Bondo

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #14 on: August 17, 2011, 11:21:26 PM »
Salo

There are a lot of things that can be said about this film. I think this calls for a list.

1. I'm of the opinion that brutal material should be brutal to watch. If you are going to make a film with gruesome sexual abuse and violence, I want to feel the horror. If you go around only implying it, it doesn't have that effect. This is why the Hunger Games films will be terrible. It is a book series that describes really horrifying things, meant to be horrifying. Once they are made palatable, it won't succeed at making the point. The lack of pulling punches is one reason Irreversible works so well. And in a different vein, Hunger works so well because it is so visceral (especially the walls of the cell). I'm not saying Salo needed to show everything exactly the way it is here, but it needed to be horrifying.

2. I find this film to have an interesting context in a world where videos of people's reaction to watching two girls one cup (don't google it) was an internet trend. There were parts of Salo I found less tolerable than that video (which I maintain was equally fake), but to the degree that people have seen that and tolerated it at all, they can probably handle Salo.

3. At many points of this film, it could almost be an elaborate BDSM group party. Power games, bisexuality, polyamorous, and a few unspeakable kinks. If you listen to Dan Savage's podcast enough, there are people out there with enough...different...tastes that it could only seem plausible. But that setting would have a sense of mutual respect and safe words, which leads us to:

4. Fascism. At the start you get the feeling that the nine young men and nine young women were selected because they were tied to people who had in one way or another threatened those in power, this being set amid fascist WWII-era Italy. Threats to family have always been an effective means of control. You also get the concept of fascism and its total control as a form of slavery that reminded me of early scenes in Spartacus, though with more potency. This nearly complete lack of free will. There is one other thing that struck me particularly as relevant to fascism/totalitarian regimes but I don't wish to spoil it.

5. Dante's Inferno. There are hints of Dante in this story and its circles, though it is not a rigorous interpretation of that story. It does provide a bit of structure to the process. I'd almost have wanted more circles because it spends a bit too much time on individual elements.

6. Naked bodies get boring. In terms of number of people, male and female, and amount of screen time they are naked, this film would rank rather high. While the grim nature of the film is enough to dampen the potential sexiness involved in young naked people, simply the excess of the exposure tends to work alongside the increasing darkness of the film to remove any such context.

Apparently the Marquis de Sade book upon which this is based, 120 Days of Sodom, is actually more gruesome than this so I suppose one has that to be thankful for in watching this film. I think there are a lot of really interesting ideas going on here, though the main problem came in it feeling like it gets caught in ruts from time to time. Still, a really fascinating work that has me interesting in further films from Pasolini.

4/5

MartinTeller

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #15 on: August 17, 2011, 11:43:56 PM »
Apparently the Marquis de Sade book upon which this is based, 120 Days of Sodom, is actually more gruesome than this so I suppose one has that to be thankful for in watching this film.

The book is also way repetitive and boring.
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1SO

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2011, 12:08:43 AM »
This marathon is now underway.

Listening to a discussion today on El Topo, I got to thinking about films which I don't think are great but are essential to anyone who is serious about film. Salo would be on that list, as would The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover. Just when you think cinema is mostly the same stale cookie recipe over and over, along comes a film which aims to confront and challenge more than satisfy. I watched Salo about 2 years ago, and one of the most lasting scenes for me is the opening, where these religious and political heads set up the documentation that will allow everything to happen. Salo is not a film I love, but I'm really glad that I watched it. Glad you watched it now too.
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sdedalus

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2011, 01:28:06 AM »
Either it is supposed to mean something, in which case it fails and is pretentious...or it isn't supposed to mean anything and it fails because it is useless.

And with that, surrealism, if not all of 20th century art, disappears in a poof of Bondologic.
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verbALs

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2011, 03:59:39 AM »
I think if you go into The Cook, The Thief, His Wife and Her Lover expecting to be shocked you might be disappointed after the first few minutes. Admittedly those few minutes are like a barrier to entry and are extreme but, until the end it is more verbally abusive than anything. In fact it is bloody gorgeous if anything. The offensive thing about it, is the horrible working class portrait Michael Gambon gives (brilliantly). All the middle class characters =good, all the working class characters= evil. Its the most uncomfortable aspect of the entire film. Typical chattering class attitudes from Greenaway for someone from a very working class town.
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Bondo

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Re: The Kings and Queen of Extreme: Greenaway, von Trier and Breillat
« Reply #19 on: August 18, 2011, 11:18:15 AM »
Either it is supposed to mean something, in which case it fails and is pretentious...or it isn't supposed to mean anything and it fails because it is useless.

And with that, surrealism, if not all of 20th century art, disappears in a poof of Bondologic.

You're welcome world. 8)