love

Author Topic: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood  (Read 1879 times)

Sandy

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 11684
  • As every colour illuminates, we are shining...
    • Sandy's Cinematic Musings
Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2020, 02:23:40 PM »
Sandy: Looking forward to your opinions, good or bad! It is weird, but being in front of a room of 30-40 tweens and early teens all day, every day means one gets used to being scrutinized. Just maybe not quite so much on an intellectual level (no offense to my kids, they're awesome and brilliant, but still 11-14), but my skin is about 6 inches thick. It'll be fun.

Yeah, we aren't nearly as blunt as middle schoolers! Sheesh, they have no filters. :)

Sandy

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 11684
  • As every colour illuminates, we are shining...
    • Sandy's Cinematic Musings
Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2020, 04:03:20 PM »
Okja



First Joaquin Phoenix, now this?! What's a keto girl gonna do? All that's left for me now is seaweed and tofu on my plate, or maybe eggs, since they're gifts from chickens, in a way. It can be such a psychological quagmire, trying to figure out how to live sustainably and ethically, while still appreciating a good steak. I can wear myself out with the paradox and what makes matters worse is that I really did wear myself out, because I chose to watch Okja while being rather sick, so the imagery stayed in a continuous loop all night long, guilting me into submission long before the sun came up. A fever dream of PETA proportions. Now that my mind is more lucid, I backtrack a bit, rationalizing my meat eating stance, but not entirely and not without a continued pursuit into regenerative agriculture when it comes to meat choices. One step at a time.

I really appreciate that the film shows how ideology taken to extremes cannot sustain itself: the boy who won't eat, because all food production is exploitive, the ALF member who submits to violence, because the strictness of the rules sends him past the breaking point, or a business model which collapses, because its belief that profit from fraud is valid. Something much more balanced is shown in the way Mija and her grandfather live off the land. There are fish and chickens in their pots, unapologetically, since they take nothing more than is needed and put back into the land abundantly.

etdoesgood

  • Elite Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2217
  • Edelweiss, edelweiss, every morning you greet me
Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #12 on: February 13, 2020, 08:44:26 PM »
No One Knows About Persian Cats

I can think of a few movies that have as their spine a sequence of musical performances and build a story around them, but few have done it as successfully as this one. Digging into the suppression of artistic expression in Iran, this focuses on Negar and Ashkan, bandmates in search of backing musicians and a way out of Iran. The former provides the reason to introduce the slate of real-life bands that run the gamut of styles while the latter provides a running sense of tension because you know they won't be safe until they get out (or give up).

When I wasn't enjoying the music, I was connecting with Negar. It was the scenes where she is sidelined in favor of Ashkan and his other musical buddies that got closest to pushing me out of the film. There are a lot of very excitable sounding scenes between men whose subtitles do not seem to justify the energy. Shot in a necessarily real style, it does feel largely grounded, rarely feeling like it is reaching to make a point.

Good start to my month in the Club.

Glad you took the chance on this one and liked it well enough. This is really the first picture that got me to inquire more into Iranian cinema, leading to Majid Majidi, Kiarostami, and Panahi. Human Jungle is a personal favorite song.

I think the movie itself is the point. The film, music, and parties are pre-revolutionary customs and practices looking for a little hole to survive in within the Islamic state. We get to bear witness to all of the talent living in the shadows; and even some that does not need to. The energy of the film is a lot different than say something like Crimson Gold, which exhibits the arbitrary nature of the regime in a gray and dire manner, whereas this film has a youthful hope to it (one that Ghobadi seems to want to keep by himself taking up studio time to sing away his sorrows).

I'm happy just to be able to talk about it. Thank you for taking time with it, too!

A desert person.

Simple Distinctions:
The Best  |  Exceptional  |  Favorable  |  Unfavorable  | Bad

etdoesgood

  • Elite Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2217
  • Edelweiss, edelweiss, every morning you greet me
Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #13 on: February 13, 2020, 08:58:30 PM »
Okja



First Joaquin Phoenix, now this?! What's a keto girl gonna do? All that's left for me now is seaweed and tofu on my plate, or maybe eggs, since they're gifts from chickens, in a way. It can be such a psychological quagmire, trying to figure out how to live sustainably and ethically, while still appreciating a good steak. I can wear myself out with the paradox and what makes matters worse is that I really did wear myself out, because I chose to watch Okja while being rather sick, so the imagery stayed in a continuous loop all night long, guilting me into submission long before the sun came up. A fever dream of PETA proportions. Now that my mind is more lucid, I backtrack a bit, rationalizing my meat eating stance, but not entirely and not without a continued pursuit into regenerative agriculture when it comes to meat choices. One step at a time.

I really appreciate that the film shows how ideology taken to extremes cannot sustain itself: the boy who won't eat, because all food production is exploitive, the ALF member who submits to violence, because the strictness of the rules sends him past the breaking point, or a business model which collapses, because its belief that profit from fraud is valid. Something much more balanced is shown in the way Mija and her grandfather live off the land. There are fish and chickens in their pots, unapologetically, since they take nothing more than is needed and put back into the land abundantly.

I think the film aims pretty squarely at factory farming, as opposed to livestock farming in general. A lot of what you mention in the second paragraph is dead on. I've heard/read opinions that take the film more squarely as a pro-vegan treatise, but I also think people who eat meat tend to be pretty defensive about it when confronted with the cruelty involved in its production, and in the case of Okja, miss the finer points you mentioned. I think Bong wants to examine factory farming, but also capitalism and how extreme free-market capitalism lends itself to cruel farming practices, because nothing has more value than whatever is cheapest to produce, ethics be damned.

Well, I do hope you found value in seeing Winter's Bone and Okja. Bong is probably just ahead of Wes Anderson as my favorite current film-maker, and Granik is top five even with just three features to her name.
A desert person.

Simple Distinctions:
The Best  |  Exceptional  |  Favorable  |  Unfavorable  | Bad

1SO

  • FAB
  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 33881
  • Marathon Man
Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #14 on: February 14, 2020, 11:33:07 PM »
Columbus
I'll better understand what I think of this film once I get to see more of Kogonada's work. I can't tell if his emotional plot is a general style choice or an approach he finds works best with this specific story. Much of the initial dialogue is unnatural, kind of flat and rigid, as formal as the buildings in the town. This broke for me once Jin presses Casey to stop talking about a building she loves like she's a tour guide and get into why this specific design speaks to her.

From here, I started to wonder if I would've liked this better as an even more experimental film? 90 minutes of Haley Lu Richardson and John Cho discussing the unique buildings of Columbus, Indiana. And that's when I finally started to lock into what Kogonada was doing. The parents were the story, but they were being kept on in the background, creating an undertow. It's a film that talks about one thing while digging into us with something else. What's perhaps unique here is I found the Linklater-esque surface conversation interesting, but the children dealing with the parents stuff not so much.
Must See  |  Should See  |  Good  |  Mixed  |  Bad  | The Worst

Bondo

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 22076
Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2020, 10:36:27 AM »
3 Faces

I understand that Panahi's prohibition against film-making acts as a constraint and seems to have led him to a quasi-documentary style that he can assert is "not a film" even though documentaries are films. But it is a style that falls into a weird place. Obviously narrative films are fiction, they are contrived, but they are authentic in the world where the story happens. Documentaries (generally) are authentic to our world. But in anchoring his films ostensibly in our world but fiction, it highlights the contrivance and feels least real of the three.

That isn't to say I don't appreciate things here...details of rural life (the whole horn honking solution to a windy single-lane road) can be interesting, and the broader view of the often downgraded place of arts in Iranian (and Turkish?) culture at present. Certainly these are rich, historic cultures with artistic legacies, yet the current climate is not great. Panahi's sentence is a sign, the characters here are a sign, and of course No One Knows About Persian Cats was another sign. Even if only as a consumer/critic and not creator of art, this isn't lost on me. But in this particular case the story wasn't quite as alive as I would have hoped.

Sandy

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 11684
  • As every colour illuminates, we are shining...
    • Sandy's Cinematic Musings
Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #16 on: February 16, 2020, 12:19:41 AM »
I think the film aims pretty squarely at factory farming, as opposed to livestock farming in general. A lot of what you mention in the second paragraph is dead on. I've heard/read opinions that take the film more squarely as a pro-vegan treatise, but I also think people who eat meat tend to be pretty defensive about it when confronted with the cruelty involved in its production, and in the case of Okja, miss the finer points you mentioned. I think Bong wants to examine factory farming, but also capitalism and how extreme free-market capitalism lends itself to cruel farming practices, because nothing has more value than whatever is cheapest to produce, ethics be damned.

Yes, he does shine a bright, harsh, unwavering light.

Quote
Well, I do hope you found value in seeing Winter's Bone and Okja.

For sure! I've been wanting to watch Winter's Bone for a long time now. Okja, caught my interest from your review of it.

Quote
Bong is probably just ahead of Wes Anderson as my favorite current film-maker, and Granik is top five even with just three features to her name.

That says a lot, him being your favorite current film-maker. You see a lot of films.

These are my first Bong and my first Granik films. I heart Wes Anderson's stye and still have at least five more I haven't seen of his. Always more to explore!

etdoesgood

  • Elite Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2217
  • Edelweiss, edelweiss, every morning you greet me
Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #17 on: February 16, 2020, 12:35:40 AM »
3 Faces

I understand that Panahi's prohibition against film-making acts as a constraint and seems to have led him to a quasi-documentary style that he can assert is "not a film" even though documentaries are films. But it is a style that falls into a weird place. Obviously narrative films are fiction, they are contrived, but they are authentic in the world where the story happens. Documentaries (generally) are authentic to our world. But in anchoring his films ostensibly in our world but fiction, it highlights the contrivance and feels least real of the three.

That isn't to say I don't appreciate things here...details of rural life (the whole horn honking solution to a windy single-lane road) can be interesting, and the broader view of the often downgraded place of arts in Iranian (and Turkish?) culture at present. Certainly these are rich, historic cultures with artistic legacies, yet the current climate is not great. Panahi's sentence is a sign, the characters here are a sign, and of course No One Knows About Persian Cats was another sign. Even if only as a consumer/critic and not creator of art, this isn't lost on me. But in this particular case the story wasn't quite as alive as I would have hoped.

It's a great analysis. It's not where I place my emphasis when watching it, but good points, especially where the film is anchored as far as its positioning against material reality.

I look at the layers of meaning, and how Panahi places the women, himself, and the symbols of patriarchy and theocracy (the two generally enmeshed), and that's where I find my exhilaration. The shot in the hut with the shadows of the three women plus the final shot are also skillful and heartening. Panahi's docudrama style had me from the beginning, but maybe Offside would've been a better starting point for you since its pre-ban, so doesn't have the weight of his rebellion, and thus can focus only on the story at hand, of the women doing all they can to see an Iranian World Cup qualifier in person. Just a thought.

Thanks for your commentary!
A desert person.

Simple Distinctions:
The Best  |  Exceptional  |  Favorable  |  Unfavorable  | Bad

etdoesgood

  • Elite Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 2217
  • Edelweiss, edelweiss, every morning you greet me
Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #18 on: February 16, 2020, 12:39:33 AM »
Columbus
I'll better understand what I think of this film once I get to see more of Kogonada's work. I can't tell if his emotional plot is a general style choice or an approach he finds works best with this specific story. Much of the initial dialogue is unnatural, kind of flat and rigid, as formal as the buildings in the town. This broke for me once Jin presses Casey to stop talking about a building she loves like she's a tour guide and get into why this specific design speaks to her.

From here, I started to wonder if I would've liked this better as an even more experimental film? 90 minutes of Haley Lu Richardson and John Cho discussing the unique buildings of Columbus, Indiana. And that's when I finally started to lock into what Kogonada was doing. The parents were the story, but they were being kept on in the background, creating an undertow. It's a film that talks about one thing while digging into us with something else. What's perhaps unique here is I found the Linklater-esque surface conversation interesting, but the children dealing with the parents stuff not so much.

The bolded emphasis my own, of course. :) It's just, that's exactly where the film gets me. A huge part of why it's on my list is because it reminds me of why I like cinema or any type of art - because it moves me, is at the apex of what it means to be human.

Thanks for your commentary. :) Thanks for being part of my Top 100 month.
A desert person.

Simple Distinctions:
The Best  |  Exceptional  |  Favorable  |  Unfavorable  | Bad

Bondo

  • Objectively Awesome
  • ******
  • Posts: 22076
Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #19 on: February 16, 2020, 04:30:11 AM »
maybe Offside would've been a better starting point for you since its pre-ban, so doesn't have the weight of his rebellion, and thus can focus only on the story at hand, of the women doing all they can to see an Iranian World Cup qualifier in person. Just a thought.

I have seen Offside, though I didn't have it specifically connected in my mind as from the same director. I can't say it found a special place either even though thematically it should be in my wheelhouse. That one might be worth a second look.