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Author Topic: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller  (Read 19690 times)

Antares

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #90 on: July 23, 2020, 07:33:04 PM »
All About My Mother (1999) 85/100 - The film ended about 15 minutes ago, and I've been sitting at my keyboard trying to come up with reasons why I enjoyed it so much. But the words just aren't emerging. I could mention some of the great camera shots that Almodovar or whomever the cinematographer was, came up with. I could also mention the subtle, but sublimely beautiful score, which acts as a gentle guiding element to the story. But I think most of the credit for how good this film is, rests with the performance of Cecilia Roth. Every moment she is onscreen, her performance just engulfs you. She's 100% believable as the mother whose son is taken by a tragic accident on his 17th birthday. I would have rated this even higher had a bit more of the screenplay delved into her pain and more of the contents of Esteban's notes. This is only my second Almodovar film, I really need to see more.
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MartinTeller

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #91 on: July 23, 2020, 10:42:08 PM »
Yes, Roth is simply magnificent in this film, but you also have to give credit to Antonia San Juan. So captivating, I really should seek out more of her work.

That's an interesting note... I personally don't feel it needs more of her pain, as it's more a film about her healing. Anyway, I'm glad you liked it. Any idea which Almodovar you want to tackle next?

Antares

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #92 on: July 24, 2020, 04:35:48 AM »
Anyway, I'm glad you liked it. Any idea which Almodovar you want to tackle next?

I'll also have Talk to Her sitting unopened after 10 years or so.
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Eric/E.T.

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #93 on: July 25, 2020, 04:49:59 AM »
Started the Apu Trilogy. One film for each Friday, Saturday, Sunday, plus the TV cut of Scenes from a Marriage should keep me busy.

How do spoilers work here? To me, it doesn't make sense to talk about a film with a person for whom its a personal favorite as if they have never seen it. Thus, SPOILER ALERT for anyone else. Blacking out the whole thing doesn't seem right.

Pather Panchali

The only one from above that I've seen, but I felt I had to revisit it before I could really get into the next two. I don't know if a lot of comparisons are made between the two, but it's interesting Ray gets started right when Mizoguchi sadly ends, because in Pather Panchali, as with the couple Mizoguchi films I've seen, there are some beautiful, meditative shots with characters engulfed in nature, and that drives the mood of some crucial scenes (Anju walking into the lake in Sansho the Bailiff is one of the more memorable scenes I've taken in in the last few months; likewise, Durga and Apu under those huge white flowering plants and Durga in the rain). What I like about this film, and where I didn't really vibe with Mizoguchi, is that there isn't a lot of heavy emoting in Pather Panchali like there is in Sansho and Ugetsu, which often turns me off; though there could be. Apu's early life deals with a couple very traumatic incidents involving his family, but Ray opts for the images to speak louder than the cries, and that resonates with me. Durga's death is one of the most difficult deaths to deal with in any film I've seen, but that's more because of the fullness of life that was within her and the suddenness with which she was taken. If I have any hang-ups, it's in how she died. After playing in the rain, she gets a chill because the dilapidated house they lived in can't protect them from the elements, and the overall explanation seems like folk wisdom faux-science bunk, but it was the 1950's, so I sort of accept it. It emphasizes the way in which their basic needs have not been met for some time now in a concrete yet emotional way.

Actually, the more immediate thing that I thought about both times watching this film was calories. The whole film, this family we're watching is stretched for calories, one of the most basic elements of survival. Every mouthful of food seems so incredibly crucial to the hopes and dreams of all, especially those the parents have in their male child. The fight for calories makes aspects of this movie strangely suspenseful in a way that really works for me and keeps me involved in their struggle. There are a lot of moments of joy and enchantment in this film, but you can hardly ever forget each moment is seemingly fueled by the minimal caloric requirement.
« Last Edit: July 26, 2020, 05:32:28 AM by etdoesgood »
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MartinTeller

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #94 on: July 25, 2020, 09:55:24 AM »
How do spoilers work here? To me, it doesn't make sense to talk about a film with a person for whom its a personal favorite as if they have never seen it. Thus, SPOILER ALERT for anyone else. Blacking out the whole thing doesn't seem right.

Well, I'm not the only one reading this thread. I think the protocol is you should always use spoiler tags unless you're in the Spoilers subforum. I don't think you need to black out the whole thing, just the three sentences about Durga's death.

Actually, the more immediate thing that I thought about both times watching this film was calories. The whole film, this family we're watching is stretched for calories, one of the most basic elements of survival. Every mouthful of food seems so incredibly crucial to the hopes and dreams of all, especially those the parents have in their male child. The fight for calories makes aspects of this movie strangely suspenseful in a way that really works for me and keeps me involved in their struggle. There are a lot of moments of joy and enchantment in this film, but you can hardly ever forget each moment is seemingly fueled by the minimal caloric requirement.

Interesting... I can't say I ever thought much about eating in the film, beyond the obvious fact that this is an impoverished family struggling to survive. I'll have to pay more attention to the use of food.
« Last Edit: July 25, 2020, 09:57:00 AM by MartinTeller »

colonel_mexico

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #95 on: July 25, 2020, 06:52:26 PM »
ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER - I often feel like Almodovar is speaking through his use of mise en scene. The setups are often as alive as his characters, he recognizes he's putting on a play on screen.  The shot of Esteban's room, the reds and the subtle blues, the numbered dressers they are almost too perfect.  The players in this are all excellent, each unique in their identity and so loving each other despite being bound by the epidemic Lola.  I doubt it is unique to Hispanic culture, but sons and mothers tend to have an intense relationship with weird aspects of respect and love, almost Oedipal but not quite. Perhaps related to the years of Catholic embrace of the Virgin and her ascent as an icon.  It felt like Esteban could sense the chasm inside his mother, Manuela, that made her who she was and the distant connection with his unknown father. Manuela has to carry the weight and she is apt to the challenge as she faces the incredibly painful and not being afraid of her emotions. This film seems to speak on a number of levels of identity and gender and what it is to be a woman or for those who are women in almost every way.  This is almost the first part of PAIN AND GLORY, being the feminine and P&G as the masculine, though very intermixed.  I appreciate how no one really questions the choices, but still are imbued with their own emotional biases.  They are all beautiful and tragic and make for an incredible piece of cinema.  Thanks for sharing this one MT, I too am a huge Almodovar fan and am still in shock after the experience.
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Eric/E.T.

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #96 on: July 26, 2020, 05:56:47 AM »
Aparajito

The change in scenery from 1st to 2nd film of the Apu Trilogy shifts the experience pretty dramatically. Where Subratra Mitra had a great deal of nature to create his visual enchantments in Pather Panchali, now, especially in the first half of Aparajito, is replaced by the city. He still does a fantastic job of putting you in a time and place, and the paths people travel as well as the verticality of the area around the Ganges are particularly well-captured. Once the setting shifts and time jumps forward, there is a little more nature to be captured, but an even more important locale comes into play, that school. Sometimes I wonder where they dig these places up, but that rough and wise old school building as the catalyst for Apu's intellectual awakening is pretty wonderful. As far as Apu himself is concerned, Ray picks the halfway point of the middle film his trilogy to awaken his protagonist's consciousness and interiority. Up to this point, he hardly ever talks or express anything besides maybe a basic need. I think of Boyhood and how gradual Mason's awakening is, though he lays claim to his identity and individuality even before we capture him in the grass at his elementary school at the beginning of the film. The effect of Apu's sudden awakening is startling, and as far as artistic intent is concerned, I think Ray nails the expression of a particular worldview that he's going for (the advancement from old ways that surrounding tradition and ritual to new, more modern ways). There are other such moments where Apu's advancement is made clear, between the first sighting of cars to his excitement over having electricity for the first time. Of course, this also means leaving - and really, leaving behind - his mother. He's her world. There are tough moments to be had in that push-and-pull, but all well-won and fulfilling, even the bit of emoting we must allow Apu. The shot of the film, in my opinion, is when we look back through the door Apu has exited for the last time, the door open inward to the world of the past through which he will never again look, with his old great uncle and the traditional career of a priest firmly and forever framed on the other side. I definitely look forward to seeing to what Apu's destiny is...as well as that of Marianne and Johan.
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MartinTeller

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #97 on: July 26, 2020, 12:03:31 PM »
Yes, the environments in Aparajito are fantastic and memorable, especially along the shores of the Ganges. It really invokes the feel of the place, one I am fascinated in but wouldn't necessarily want to visit. This used to be my least favorite in the trilogy but it has grown mightily on me with multiple viewings. I am very curious to read your reactions to World of Apu.

Eric/E.T.

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #98 on: July 27, 2020, 02:48:44 AM »
Scenes from a Marraige - TV Version

Love it, have a few hangups. I just love the way the film was made, never saw the act of zooming a camera reveal so much about the lives, thoughts, even values of the characters. So many brilliant long takes, and I happen to be a sucker for films shot on 16mm. The grainy aspect gives it texture, and I think that texture lends the film an aura of actually being real. When you remove blemishes and make everything look so squeaky clean, I think it loses its humanity or realness. Anyway, Liv Ullman is so amazing. For much of the movie, Liv as Marianne has to absorb so much from her husband, his philosophies, his hangups, his plan for life. In the first episode, he's working with her, he seems decent, but the descent from there to Episode 4, and the hell of Episode 5, show her to be a lot of things: perhaps a bit saintly, but also more perceptive and altogether more interesting than Johan, her husband played by Erland Josephsen, who it seems is made to hate, though I find myself empathizing with him as well, or at least until Episode 5, when I really want him gone. Anyway, neither can fully extricate themselves from the other, and the second half of the series involves an absolute ton of emotional race to the bottom, intense, biting, bitter, upsetting, and I wonder why anyone would want to be married! But then, there's Johan's big hangup of having to go through rituals, basically tell lies or present as a lie in order to have comfort, which he soon rejects as he rejects Marianne, and I think the majority of people who get married DO want those things. Kurt Vonnegut said you get married just to have more people to talk to. I think Marianne and Johan went into marriage like many do, expecting way too much out of each other. I feel like the high-voltage euphoria at the beginning of a relationship is a truth (you feel that way) but a lie (you love someone because that's the way you're supposed to feel in love), but if you can get beyond that, you can learn that love means being a good companion, communicating, maybe teaming up to raise some kids, making compromises, making space for each other, and just enjoying the family aspect. Get out the grill and put up that swimming pool, blast some music, this is your Saturday, go talk sports with your brother-in-law and help the two oldest girls with their softball practice. Actually sound great to me. But I digress. Those are fairly basic things, and beyond that, to expect perfection or even greatness is ridiculous, and Johan has such high ideals for life that make him a bit of a condescending prick for wanting to run away from the family he helped create and for putting down the concept of family itself. He should've never gotten married in the first place.

I know that was rant-y, I'm sorry. Biggest takeways: Great acting, especially the facial components, lots of time close-ups, sometimes on the person reacting as opposed to talking, 16mm MWAH, wonderful dialogue, becomes more painful episode to episode, especially 2-5.

My hangup probably isn't terribly surprising for me, I'm just unsure what should have been happening after Johan beat Marianne in his office to the point she was bleeding. That fifth episode is the most tense, including the introduction of divorce papers, vengeful seduction, and an explosion of emotions that reminded me a bit of the scene between Charlie and Nicole in Marriage Story. I felt the more modern take on the fight to end all fights was perhaps more effective because there wasn't the physical violence. That allows you to still "see" both characters, especially as they both actually wanted their son, unlike Johan essentially wanting to disown his daugthers. The physical violence in Episode 5 made the 6th and final episode, where they get back together at a cottage, while kind of amusing with that garish star decoration barging in to the conversations, kind of hard to take. I don't think the violence need be avoided, it happens, it should be seen. But the sort of forgiveness and the compulsion Marianne still has to see Johan seems like he has a very worrisome hold on her, which, out of everything that is really well developed and fleshed-out, a little overlooked, in my opinion. If anything, this is a good discussion point to keep in mind as time moves forward and we come to understand how (or how not) abuse and its fallout can be shown.

Fave episode BTW is #4. Marianne finally gets a chance to explain herself by sharing some of her writing, which is beautiful, a bit jaded, where we get a montage of old photos as she speaks. It's almost a film-within-a-film, a documentary on the development from girl to woman and where she stands now. Once she's done, Johan is asleep. What a... That told us most everything we needed to know him. That's a situation that didn't need to be the way it was, but for one incredibly selfish and self-righteous man with a self-inflated ego. Like I said, I did empathize with him at times, the need to be free, to pursue his passions, but then did you figure that out get a divorce and leave, or you don't get married in the first place. The worst case situation is all that emotional, and unfortunately in this case physical violence. It could have been largely avoided. But people are crazy.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2020, 02:03:14 AM by etdoesgood »
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Eric/E.T.

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Re: Top 100 Club: MartinTeller
« Reply #99 on: July 27, 2020, 02:51:59 AM »
Yes, the environments in Aparajito are fantastic and memorable, especially along the shores of the Ganges. It really invokes the feel of the place, one I am fascinated in but wouldn't necessarily want to visit. This used to be my least favorite in the trilogy but it has grown mightily on me with multiple viewings. I am very curious to read your reactions to World of Apu.

Didn't have enough time today, but those come Tuesday. Tomorrow I'll just be too dead, but it's the #1 on my mind once I can sit down to watch something this week, before it gets really real here. I should say I really like Aparajito, but it only got a grip on me once his consciousness had be truly awoken. Otherwise, I was a little worried I was watching a trilogy named after a guy who didn't have anything that was worth saying, who wasn't really thinking anything besides that he wanted to eat and would go where he was told. The second half really brought it up for me.
A witty saying proves nothing. - Voltaire

 

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