Author Topic: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood  (Read 14754 times)

Eric/E.T.

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Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #40 on: March 01, 2020, 02:17:22 AM »
Exit Through the Gift Shop (Banksy, 2010)

This starts out very interesting and only gets more fascinating as it progresses. It feels like a tragedy at times, but then it turns out it's a farce. It's incredibly specific but ends up being about big subjects like art, celebrity and authenticity (I haven't seen Copie conforme but I would wager these two would make a good double bill)... we have a clear point of view here, that is to say Banksy's, and there was a point in the film where I felt a bit at odds with him. Specifically when Thierry shows him his attempt at cobbling together the footage into a documentary, his reaction seemed excessively dismissive to me, and the brief extract we got from "Life Remote Control" made it seem quite interesting, a genuinely unique piece of avant-garde cinema. So when the film presents Thierry, now Mr. Brainwash, as a derivative hack, a cautionary tale about the shallowness of the contemporary art scene, I wonder. Is his art as uninteresting as it seems, or do I think that simply because it is presented that way, much like the people going to that "Life is Beautiful" expo may only think it's great because it feels like the thing you're supposed to feel in that context ? I've sometimes felt that Banksy's own work was of that caliber, and my view on art is generally that there is no objective value, only what an individual feels and thinks when and after encountering it.

These questions are what make this more than an entertaining foray into the world of street art, more than just the story of a weird, interesting guy. And I suppose it makes sense that it makes people question the authenticity of the documentary itself, though that seems quite far-fetched to me. It certainly never occured to me watching it that it might be a hoax, and the limited information I've seen on this seems quite unconvincing... but of course you would doubt it, because the film invites that line of reasoning, purposefully or not. It doesn't matter at all of course, but it's food for thought in a captivating and entertaining package.

8/10

Super glad you liked it. I tend to avoid films about films or art that critiques art, because I find it all so insular, which is why it's interesting you bring up Certified Copy, as that is a film I did not enjoy. Banksy and Exit Through The Gift Shop tackle art and art criticism with humor, what could probably be described as a little anger and disdain, and certainly with a lot of wit and a lot of life, which kept me on-board throughout.

I think of my 100, this is the one I've seen least recently, and your analysis makes me want to remedy that. I'm a big re-watcher, and this one is due.
A witty saying proves nothing. - Voltaire

smirnoff

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Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #41 on: March 01, 2020, 07:41:05 PM »
I'm a big fan of mind-benders and cinematic time traveling experiments, and this is one of my favorites. Also, like you said, the animation is so eye-popping and wonderful, even with what I think is a lesser accomplishment for Makoto Shinkai in Weathering With You, which I think does suffer some storytelling issues, it's so compulsively watchable that I never had a hard time being there with it.

You might really enjoy The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Give it a look if you haven't seen/heard of it already, it checks all the above boxes. :) Great score too.

Eric/E.T.

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Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #42 on: March 01, 2020, 11:42:30 PM »
I'm a big fan of mind-benders and cinematic time traveling experiments, and this is one of my favorites. Also, like you said, the animation is so eye-popping and wonderful, even with what I think is a lesser accomplishment for Makoto Shinkai in Weathering With You, which I think does suffer some storytelling issues, it's so compulsively watchable that I never had a hard time being there with it.

You might really enjoy The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. Give it a look if you haven't seen/heard of it already, it checks all the above boxes. :) Great score too.

I have seen it and I really like it, despite what I think are more pronounced difficulties in its time-traveling logic. It definitely checks all the boxes, though, and I was into it from beginning to end.
A witty saying proves nothing. - Voltaire

oldkid

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Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #43 on: March 03, 2020, 05:22:29 PM »
3 Faces

Funny that you didn't care for Certified Copy, because that was the main film I was thinking about throughout the running time of this movie.  Like CC, 3F has a rambling plotline without seeming to focus on on thing.  The driving point for the first half is resolved about halfway through and it just seems to ramble from there.  With both of these movies, the film is not about the narrative, per se.  We see characters go through shifts, rather than arcs. I spent much of both films pleasantly confused, confident that there was a theme, but mystified throughout much of it.  The movie makes a major shift about halfway through, which is true of not only 3F and CC, but also The Mirror, another Panahi film   And you have actors and the director playing themselves, which we see in CC, TM, and other Iranian classics.   I love Iranian film.

So let me tell you what I think the film is about, and you tell me if you agree with me, okay?  I think it has to do with the treatment of women in Iran, over three generations.  The titular "three faces" are the three actresses over three generations.  The Revolution generation of women, represented by Sharhazad, who is unseen in the film, bitterly angry at her treatment and shut out of her occupation.  The successful generation of women is represented by Behnaz Jafari, a famous, popular actress who has little regard for the struggles of the other generations, but will assist when she can.  Finally, there is Marziyeh Rezaei, who seems to commit suicide in the first scene of the film, rejected by her village, considered both useless and insane and blocked from her goals.  And then you have the male protagonist, Jafar Panahi, who is in the box of his car for most of the film, looking at their struggles and empathizing while having little ability to help.  Just as he is, in reality, under house arrest, unable to do much to help the women he sees struggling against oppression and trapped as much as he is from the lives that they could and should be living.

I think there are more layers to the film than this, but this is what I got watching it the first time.  I love the empathy, the fight to communicate to the world what is happening.  It reminds me  of the Spanish cinema under Franco, like The Spirit of the Beehives, which has to communicate through symbols and a vague storyline.  Some of the best cinematic masterpieces weren't symbolic out of artistic measure, but of necessity.  A communication to the world that only those looking for it would see, so that the participants would have plausible denial.  Brilliant use of art.

4/5
"It's not art unless it has the potential to be a disaster." Bansky

Eric/E.T.

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Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #44 on: March 03, 2020, 09:11:12 PM »
3 Faces

Funny that you didn't care for Certified Copy, because that was the main film I was thinking about throughout the running time of this movie.  Like CC, 3F has a rambling plotline without seeming to focus on on thing.  The driving point for the first half is resolved about halfway through and it just seems to ramble from there.  With both of these movies, the film is not about the narrative, per se.  We see characters go through shifts, rather than arcs. I spent much of both films pleasantly confused, confident that there was a theme, but mystified throughout much of it.  The movie makes a major shift about halfway through, which is true of not only 3F and CC, but also The Mirror, another Panahi film   And you have actors and the director playing themselves, which we see in CC, TM, and other Iranian classics.   I love Iranian film.

I think Certified Copy gets a little too up in the clouds with its philosophizing about the nature of reality, and I don't like the primary personalities driving the film. I think it gets a bit stuffy.

By resolving the first issue of the film, Panahi gives himself over to what I think he finds most important, which is observation. I think there is more of a pattern to what he includes of his observations to call it a ramble, with a lot of his smaller interactions with townspeople honing in on gender issues (i.e. the foreskin, the stud dying in the road, the woman preparing for her burial). But we might take different meaning to "ramble"; I don't value traditional plot structures as much as I do keen observation. Sometimes I think plot takes away from truth, so a good ramble, so to speak, leads to more truth than a strict three-act screenplay. Which takes me to your further analysis!

So let me tell you what I think the film is about, and you tell me if you agree with me, okay?  I think it has to do with the treatment of women in Iran, over three generations.  The titular "three faces" are the three actresses over three generations.  The Revolution generation of women, represented by Sharhazad, who is unseen in the film, bitterly angry at her treatment and shut out of her occupation.  The successful generation of women is represented by Behnaz Jafari, a famous, popular actress who has little regard for the struggles of the other generations, but will assist when she can.  Finally, there is Marziyeh Rezaei, who seems to commit suicide in the first scene of the film, rejected by her village, considered both useless and insane and blocked from her goals.  And then you have the male protagonist, Jafar Panahi, who is in the box of his car for most of the film, looking at their struggles and empathizing while having little ability to help.  Just as he is, in reality, under house arrest, unable to do much to help the women he sees struggling against oppression and trapped as much as he is from the lives that they could and should be living.

For real spoilers coming here, folks.

I agree with the reading on what 3 Faces actually means, and on your interpretation of the elder and younger of the three. I think Jafari represents the female actor of the revolution who cares but doesn't know what to do. She has clearly internalized a lot, and the manifestation of her frustration with the current regime and its stance on women is in rushing to respond to Marziyeh's call. Her initial reaction is to slap Marziyeh for faking suicide, but then her actual stance and her empathy are able to take root once her visceral reaction to being "had" has run its course. You're really spot on with what you say about Panahi. A big moment in the film, that feels amateurish but drips with meaning is when he lowers his seat to get out of the frame and let the camera capture the shadows of the three women in Sharhazad's hut, dancing. He's literally getting out of the way to let the women speak, though he cannot (and should not) be inside with them. One thing I think is important to take into account is that these 3 women represent different generations, but are also positioned differently in terms of the Islamic Revolution: Marziyeh suffered abuses in a film industry that was actually a film industry pre-Revolution, maybe like a Judy Garland(?), whereas Behnaz Jafari is free to act as the regime allows and has internalized a lot to be free privately, and Marziyeh is really suffering from a growing Revolutionary legacy, where now the country at-large has adopted backwoods views about whether a woman even should do things such as act. Another thought is that, by going to that location, Panahi is showing Iran, Hey! This is where our politics has shifted! And yet, I feel he manages empathy toward these rural people who have fundamentally had their beliefs shaped by fundamentalist Islam and likely a lack of educational attainment. He's an enlightened, cosmopolitan dude (best seen in Closed Curtain), but he's not at all snobbish or elitist about how he approaches this locale, which even further allows you to focus on the women and what they're up to and let the truth of the patriarchy come through organically.

That was more than I expected to write, but I don't think I've had a lot of conversations about 3 Faces. I really appreciate your thoughts on this one, it's gotten me to think even more deeply, and I think it's further cemented what is quite a new film into my top 100.

I love Iranian cinema, too, though I know there's much I still need to see. Have you seen any pre-Revolutionary cinema? All I've gotten to do is read about it, and I'm curious. I'm also curious about what cinema could be were there allowed to be more of a film industry there. I mean, Persian culture is such a rich and dynamic thing, it seems so criminal that it should be so censored. I know that limitations can challenge creators to make better art, but I'd like to see what a free Iran would be doing with the art right now. Imagine an Iranian Academy Awards. OK, now I'm rambling!
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MartinTeller

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Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #45 on: March 03, 2020, 10:48:33 PM »
Have you seen any pre-Revolutionary cinema? All I've gotten to do is read about it, and I'm curious.

The House Is Black is essential viewing, and pretty easily available. I also quite like Still Life and The Night It Rained.

Eric/E.T.

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Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #46 on: March 03, 2020, 11:16:43 PM »
Have you seen any pre-Revolutionary cinema? All I've gotten to do is read about it, and I'm curious.

The House Is Black is essential viewing, and pretty easily available. I also quite like Still Life and The Night It Rained.

I need to know your definition of pretty easily available, Senor Teller.  ;D  Is YouTube the best route for The House Is Black? I've seen it there.

How do I see those other two? I'm trying not to act too helpless, but my know-how in this realm still doesn't get too far beyond all the streaming services and VOD.
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oldkid

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Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #47 on: March 03, 2020, 11:45:35 PM »
The House is Black is on my top 100.  It is extraordinarily dark and unforgettable.  It is available on Vimeo.

Iíll continue a discussion on 3 Faces liater.
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Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #48 on: March 04, 2020, 09:10:34 AM »
I third The House is Black. One of my all-time favorite films and essential Iranian cinema.
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MartinTeller

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Re: Top 100 Club: etdoesgood
« Reply #49 on: March 04, 2020, 09:43:38 AM »
I need to know your definition of pretty easily available, Senor Teller.  ;D  Is YouTube the best route for The House Is Black? I've seen it there.

Well, it used to be on DVD, but looks like it went out of print. I got it from my local library, but it would seem even they don't have it anymore. The one on YouTube looks decent.

 

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