Author Topic: A Filmspotter's Marathon of Filmspotting Marathons  (Read 15588 times)

Teproc

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Re: A Filmspotter's Marathon of Filmspotting Marathons
« Reply #480 on: August 14, 2017, 06:32:29 AM »
Well, I can't tell you that you're wrong, only that I found the entire film to be full of charm and the asides just added to the theme of gleaning.  It doesn't all hold together, but it doesn't matter because it's all Varda.  Watching the visual ramblings of such an engaging subject is bliss, like spending time with my favorite grandmother.

Well, the trouble is that she aims for so much more than that, and I think gets there in that first half, but then it becomes what you're describing, which I certainly find pleasant, amusing and interesting, but not quite up to what it could have been.

Teproc

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Re: A Filmspotter's Marathon of Filmspotting Marathons
« Reply #481 on: August 17, 2017, 03:23:02 PM »
Les plages d'Agnès (Agnès Varda, 2008)



Adam & Josh's takes

After the autoportrait, here comes the autobiography. I don't know that I fully agree with Josh's argument that this entirely avoids feeling like a vanity project... but Varda's personality is so endearing that it doesn't really matter. This is really what shines through her post-2000s work: Varda, as a person, is both fascinating and incredibly likable. I come away, though, appreciating her more than her work, and this doesn't really have the ambition present in Les glaneurs et la glaneuse, except for that first "mirrors on the beach scene" perhaps. I wouldn't dare call it conventional, and there are still nice images there, but some of them are more like art installations she happened to put in the film, like the house made of film from Les créatures.

In a sense what I mostly get out from this (as well as her latest, currently in theaters here) is that part of what makes her such a remarkable filmmaker is that she started out as a photographer, and kept expressing herself through other means than cinema throughout her career. It's strange because I get the sense that those who really love this film insist on it being a love letter to cinema, but to me it plays more like an incitation to look beyond cinema. As such, I don't feel that this film is all that remarkable, though it is, much like Visages, Villages, both interesting and pleasant.

7/10

Teproc

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Re: A Filmspotter's Marathon of Filmspotting Marathons
« Reply #482 on: August 17, 2017, 03:55:42 PM »
The Cléos (Agnès Varda Awards)

In the same order as the podcast.

Best Supporting Performance: Yolande Moreau (Sans toit ni loi / Vagabond)



Best Lead Performance: Sandrine Bonnaire (Sans toit ni loi / Vagabond)



Favorite Fact-Meets-Fiction Moment: All of Les Créatures / The Creatures, as related to Demy's Les parapluies de Cherbourg



Best Scene/Moment: Catching trucks (Les glaneurs et la glaneuse / The Gleaners & I)



Best Picture: Sans toit ni loi / Vagabond



Summary/ranking:

Sans toit ni loi / Vagabond
Les glaneurs et la glaneuse / The Gleaners and I
Les plages d'Agnès / The Beaches of Agnes
L'une chante, l'autre pas / One Sings, the Other Doesn't
Les créatures / The Creatures
La Pointe-Courte


Yeah, having not seen Cléo or Le Bonheur (which, yes, I really should), Sans toit ni loi really feels like her greatest cinematic achievment. Could have spread the wealth by giving Lead to Valérie Mairesse in L'une chante, l'autre pas, but Bonnaire's performance is just impossible to deny.

Teproc

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Re: A Filmspotter's Marathon of Filmspotting Marathons
« Reply #483 on: August 18, 2017, 02:49:23 PM »
Historias extraordinarias / Extraordinary Stories (Mariano Llinas, 2008)



(not great quality I know, but it's hard to find good screenshots of this, presumably because of the low availabilty)

Adam & Josh's takes

When sitting down to watch a four-hour film you know very little about, getting hooked immediately is, shall we say, helpful. Thankfully, this film delivers on that front, with an immediately intriguing opening scene that really establishes the film's aesthetic and its central themes very well. This is a film about storytelling, one that is not shy about that, quite blunt in fact, since it jumps between three seemingly-unrelated stories that are narrated throughout by an omniscient narrator, who often descibes things before they happen, or gives us detailed insight into what the characters are thinking. As Adam & Josh observe, the visuals are almost secondary to the narration, and it often feels like reading a short story (well, three) as much as watching a film, especially when you're not a Spanish speaker and have to rely on subtitles... which sounds like a criticism, but it really isn't. It's not that the film isn't interesting to look at either, one of the stories - taking place on a river - has some gorgeous images and there are some interesting aesthetic departures when the film goes into a flashback as one of its many, many tangents, but the focus really is on the narration in every way.

I hesitate to call it a meta film, because I've grown to associate "meta" with a certain smugness that's totally absent here: it's playful at times, yes, with the omniscient narrator sometimes reminding me of Terry Pratchett's annotations and his love for narrative causality, but it's never flippant and always serves a greater purpose, a thorough exploration on the power that stories have on humans, especially the ones we tell ourselves, of course. It's hard to say it's subtle because, well, in many ways it really isn't, but the way that theme imbues the whole film is rather impressive and engaging.

I won't lie and say it doesn't feel long (though it being divided in three roughly equal parts with two intermissions helps the viewing experience considerably), but it mostly stays engaging, enthralling even, throughout. Some of the tangents admittedly feel less purposeful than others, but the overall structure helps there, since we never spend more than 20-25 minutes in one of the three main narratives I think. It goes through genres seamlessly, starting out (in all three stories really) as a sort of true crime thriller with hints of conspiracies and evolves from there, mostly into a road movie with detours into melodrama and even some WWII, and it all feels coherent, for the most part. A key factor here is Gabriel Chwojnik's score, which evolves a lot throughout and really holds the film together. Also, it goes all Ennio Morricone on you at one point, and I'm never going to dislike that.

A rather impressive start to the marathon then, though the few weaknesses of certain tangents hold it back enough that it's pretty likely to be beaten by Relatos salvajes/Wild Tales in my book... but then again that's in my top 100, so it's quite the high bar to pass.

8/10

1SO

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Re: A Filmspotter's Marathon of Filmspotting Marathons
« Reply #484 on: August 18, 2017, 02:56:57 PM »
It's on YouTube right now in 3 parts. Planning to watch next week.

Teproc

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Re: A Filmspotter's Marathon of Filmspotting Marathons
« Reply #485 on: August 18, 2017, 03:12:12 PM »
It's on YouTube right now in 3 parts. Planning to watch next week.

It's how I watched it, I don't think I can get Mubi here without a VPN. It looks pretty good, the subtitles are ok though there's one or two weird spots (Notre Dame being translated as the Chartres Cathedral was a weird if inconsequential moment).

Teproc

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Re: A Filmspotter's Marathon of Filmspotting Marathons
« Reply #486 on: August 22, 2017, 05:57:13 AM »
Jules et Jim / Jules and Jim (François Truffaut, 1962)



Adam & Matty's takes (starts at 39:16)

*spoiler-y*

There it is, a monument of French cinema and I don't know what to make of it. It reminds me (appropriately enough for this marathon) of Taxi Driver, in that it's a film that often feels like a masterpiece but bothers me so much in other ways, especially (in both cases) with its ending.

I was surprised to discover that there was much more to the film than the almost-titular ménage à trois... specifically I had no idea it was a period piece, and that about 5 minutes were devoted to archival footage of WWI. As with many things here, I'm not entirely sure what to make of it, but it suggests an allegorical reading of the film I can't really find, especially with Jules and Jim being on both sides of the front, the three watching images of the Nazi autodafé and their names being out of sync with their nationality... but again, it doesn't really add up to me.

What the film has to say about marriage and free love (an anachronistic term but that is what's at play here) is similarly confusing to me, in that by the end the film almost feels conservative and/or misogynistic... I'm guessing that can't be right, but that ending really messes the film up for me... I can't help but see it as either a condemnation or a fatalistic conclusion that attempting to reinvent norms just doesn't work out or - perhaps more likely - a romantic embrace of death as a determistic outcome of a free life. Even more likely is that Truffaut means for it to be ambiguous, but the ending really seems to preclude that for me. It's so stark that I can't overlook it, and I can't really find a way to embrace it.

Formally, I'm much less conflicted. This is a bold, bold film, playful in ways that I enjoy immensely (the freeze frames when Catherine describes the faces she makes, "Pas celle-là Jim!", the way Truffaut plays around with time and handles the epistolary part of the narrative), but somehow precise and controlled at the same time. Truffaut exudes confidence in his direction and it makes the film's mood swings work... mostly (again, the ending). Even the literary aspect of it (in that it very much feels like a literary adaptation), something that annoys me quite a lot in current French cinema*, just works, again in large part thanks to that confidence. I can't say I was as impressed by Jeanne Moreau as I think I was supposed to be : she's good, but not as magnetic as in Diary of a Chambermaid, a film in which she similarly bends men to her will effortlessly and I never questioned it... not that I questioned it here exactly, but she wasn't irresistible to me either.

What really, really makes me wish I liked the whole thing more is Georges Delerue's marvelous score. "Le Tourbillon" is a standout of course, but it goes far beyond that. Tonally, the film wouldn't work without it: Delerue, more than the actors, is really the one who sells you on the emotional core of the story.

So there you are: I'm conflicted. Whatever its faults though, this is a fascinating film that I'm curious to rewatch and see what I think of in a few years, one of those cinematic landmarks where one immediately understands why it was so impactful.

7/10

*thanks to Truffaut we have to suffer through the likes of Desplechin, which I know many love but I can't stand his dialogue, which is literary to a fault.

DarkeningHumour

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Re: A Filmspotter's Marathon of Filmspotting Marathons
« Reply #487 on: August 22, 2017, 06:33:32 AM »
That's the one Truffaut I still want to want. Not enough to actively look for it though.
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MartinTeller

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Re: A Filmspotter's Marathon of Filmspotting Marathons
« Reply #488 on: August 22, 2017, 08:50:25 AM »
I think it's set in WWI just so Jules and Jim can fight on opposing sides of a war without one of them having to be a Nazi.

It is a bit conservative, but really... trying to have an open marriage is a phenomenally stupid idea, one that is bound to end in some kind of disaster. Probably not THIS disastrous in most cases, but that's art for you. You gotta love a grand gesture. I do struggle with the apparent misogyny, but my wife loved the movie and she's a pretty hardcore feminist. Catherine isn't luring men to their doom, she never tries to hide who she is. She lives on her own terms.

Teproc

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Re: A Filmspotter's Marathon of Filmspotting Marathons
« Reply #489 on: August 22, 2017, 10:52:01 AM »
I think it's set in WWI just so Jules and Jim can fight on opposing sides of a war without one of them having to be a Nazi.

It is a bit conservative, but really... trying to have an open marriage is a phenomenally stupid idea, one that is bound to end in some kind of disaster. Probably not THIS disastrous in most cases, but that's art for you. You gotta love a grand gesture. I do struggle with the apparent misogyny, but my wife loved the movie and she's a pretty hardcore feminist. Catherine isn't luring men to their doom, she never tries to hide who she is. She lives on her own terms.

I'd be 100% with you if she didn't become a murderer. Makes it hard to see her as anything else than a villain in the end... which is where WWI can come in, in a "death doesn't matter, gotta live free" vibe, the one that we still associate with the "Roaring" 20s. It's not all there either, which is where I struggle.