Author Topic: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time  (Read 146371 times)

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time - The Double Life of Véronique
« Reply #60 on: September 04, 2010, 10:51:54 PM »

Random thoughts I had time to reflect on while watching The Double Life of Véronique:

Getting back to the cinematography, I looked up Slawomir Idziak...Sam the Cinema Snob loves him even more.

Yes I do. I think I've gone so far as to call him my favorite cinematographer of all time.

Sam wrote an excellent review which I think really nails this film. Well worth a read if you want a better idea of what the film is.
This is a great writeup from someone who is obviously very pasisonate about the movie.  (It's currently his #8 film of all time.)  This passion also helped me to appreciate the film a bit more beyond the pretty visuals.  I'm anxious to see how it grows in my mind, and when I'll be hungry to watch it again.  
I think it's the multiple viewings that make this film work, at least for me. It's like I rediscover the film every time I see it and I find something wondrous and awe inspiring about that.

 I actually didn't care for the nudity.  She's too good to lower herself to such a tawdry display.  And I've seen Jacob in photos and in Red, but in this film at this time with this haircut... perfect.
I think the nudity works, especially in the context of setting up this private situation and then showing the complete distance she has even in that deeply personal moment. I mean, what's more personal than sex (physically speaking)? I think it speaks volumes to the longing of the character and that sense of isolation and connection Kieslowski is exploring in all his films.


Glad you gave it a fair shake. I really don't expect you to find any film you haven't already seen worthy of your top 100. We've got polar opposite views on films. You've said the key element is the entertainment while I'm interested in the films that linger and breathe, which is a lot of what composes my top 100.

sdedalus

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Re: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time
« Reply #61 on: September 05, 2010, 01:28:29 AM »
Of course they often are, but I've never really thought of films noir as mysteries, in the Sherlock Holmes/Agatha Christie try-and-guess-the-killer/twist-ending sense.  They're more just melodramas about men, with violence instead of crying.

And Irene Jacob's got nothing on Gene Tierney.
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verbALs

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Re: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time
« Reply #62 on: September 05, 2010, 05:56:40 AM »
Of course they often are, but I've never really thought of films noir as mysteries, in the Sherlock Holmes/Agatha Christie try-and-guess-the-killer/twist-ending sense.  They're more just melodramas about men, with violence instead of crying.

And Irene Jacob's got nothing on Gene Tierney.

Nailed it.

Also there is a Charlie Parker version of that theme tune. It is incredibly beautiful-one of my favourite tunes (and jazz normally goes straight through me). sorry show not tell;
« Last Edit: September 05, 2010, 06:03:14 AM by verbALs »
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1SO

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Re: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time - The Double Life of Véronique
« Reply #63 on: September 05, 2010, 02:44:36 PM »
Glad you gave it a fair shake. I really don't expect you to find any film you haven't already seen worthy of your top 100.
I'm more hopeful. Hiroshima got me really excited for Marienbad.  I've never seen a Dardenne Bros. film, so The Son has a good shot.  And I've only heard great things about films like Harlan County U.S.A. (which is my kind of film) and Passion of Joan of Arc (a Filmspotter favorite I've put off for too long.)

Yeah, I'm not expecting to find the greatness in Stalker, but the others are a pretty eclectic bunch.  Remember, I'm starting with the ones I'm least looking forward to, so when I get to A Man For All Seasons I'm expecting to discover some Top 100's.  And if not, they were important films to see anyway.

And Irene Jacob's got nothing on Gene Tierney.
I see what you're saying, and you're not completely wrong.  Gene Tierney in Laura is the first B&W actress I've seen that can give Veronica Lake a run for her money.  Even my wife commented on her beauty.  Having watched the films back-to-back, I still pick Jacob FTW.
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Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time - The Double Life of Véronique
« Reply #64 on: September 05, 2010, 03:22:08 PM »
Glad you gave it a fair shake. I really don't expect you to find any film you haven't already seen worthy of your top 100.
I'm more hopeful. Hiroshima got me really excited for Marienbad.  I've never seen a Dardenne Bros. film, so The Son has a good shot.  And I've only heard great things about films like Harlan County U.S.A. (which is my kind of film) and Passion of Joan of Arc (a Filmspotter favorite I've put off for too long.)

Yeah, I'm not expecting to find the greatness in Stalker, but the others are a pretty eclectic bunch.  Remember, I'm starting with the ones I'm least looking forward to, so when I get to A Man For All Seasons I'm expecting to discover some Top 100's.  And if not, they were important films to see anyway.
Only one of those is in my top 100. It could make yours. We shall see.

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Re: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time
« Reply #65 on: September 05, 2010, 04:51:18 PM »
And Irene Jacob's got nothing on Gene Tierney.
I see what you're saying, and you're not completely wrong.  Gene Tierney in Laura is the first B&W actress I've seen that can give Veronica Lake a run for her money.  Even my wife commented on her beauty.  Having watched the films back-to-back, I still pick Jacob FTW.

Stats don't lie: I've seen three Irene Jacob movies, six Veronica Lake movies, and eleven Gene Tierney movies.
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1SO

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Re: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time - Stalker
« Reply #66 on: September 08, 2010, 12:40:04 AM »
Marathon Update



Stalker

The real questions here are what do I have against films that linger on a scene for an extended period of time, and will anyone care to read my thoughts on Stalker when everything points to me not liking it?

My first reaction is to get defensive and start naming films and filmmakers I love who make long, slow movies.  My favorite director living or dead is Sergio Leone, whom Ebert said has a "way of savoring the last morsel of every scene."  Well, Andrei Tarkovsky goes even further, cleaning the plate one crumb at a time and then holding on the empty plate until you realize what a fine piece of porcelain it is.  I wonder how he decides when to cut to something else and whether or not his editor exhales in relief at the decision.  (Stalker contains not more than 142 shots in 163 minutes.)

I discovered Andrei Tarkovsky in film school when I was invited to watch the Director's Cut of Solaris, hailed as an even better take on 2001.  It was a brand new theater print and I was very excited.  The film opens with a lengthy shot of tall grass that didn't go with the dialogue at all.  Early on is an endless shot behind a car driving through a city.  I couldn't believe my eyes.  I mean, what was I supposed to be getting from this?  I blamed it on the extended cut and left the theater before the film even left Earth.

Many years later I watched Soderbergh's comparably brief remake, which I liked.  It got me curious enough to return to Tarkovsky's original.  Now that I had the basic skeleton, I at least knew where the film was headed.  I was determined to finish and considered it a great achievement when I reached the end.  I didn't even despise it anymore.  There's some good stuff to think about, but I think Soderbergh said the same thing a lot more efficiently.

Thanks to Filmspotting (then Cinecast) I ventured to watch Andrei Rublev, which baffled and bored me in equal measure.  I still have no idea what I saw except a filmmaker who really knew how to use a camera and had no idea how to tell a story.  By this time I knew of Stalker, and had seen images from the film, especially the striking visage of Alexandr Kajdanovsky, who plays the title character.  The film's reputation loomed over me and I was definitely intrigued by its claim of a Science Fiction film that uses no fantastical elements or special effects.  Before we we done professionally, Tarkovsky and I had to meet one last time.

Stalker was the easiest time I had sticking with Tarkovsky's pace.  I chalk this up to a combination of fairly straightforward plotting, and the fact that I was never more prepared for the slackness than here.  Not just because of two prior outings, but other recent leisurely films like Inglorious Basterds and Werckmeister Harmonies.  Harmonies in particular may have helped me past the mental walls put in place by Solaris' driving shot.  Not only did I not hold the pace against Stalker, I noticed a couple of places where the lingering brought about great effects. 

The finest example is when our characters enter "The Zone".  Three of them riding a makeshift rail car for a long time.  The camera slowly pans between their faces.  The background out of focus.  Then suddenly we shift to a view of their surroundings and the look goes from Black & Amber to color.  Throughout the Zone, the Stalker tells of invisible traps and the pace keeps tension underlying every step they take.  They pick up a stray dog and all during the journey I'm waiting for that damn beast to do something.

As for the film overall, I can't say for sure that I got it, but I definitely have a good idea what happens.  And I do think an interesting philosophical debate is raised.  It's the first Tarkovsky film I could see revisiting someday, maybe showing it to a friend.  He may not be what I like in a director, but I respect him and his process.


Compared to my Top 100 of the 00's
Stalker would not make my Top 100, but it is my favorite Tarkovsky.

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Stroszek
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Bondo

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Re: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time - Stalker
« Reply #67 on: September 08, 2010, 01:04:01 AM »
Compared to my Top 100 of the 00's
Stalker would not make my Top 100, but it is my favorite Tarkovsky.

This gives me hope with this coming up in a future round of Lisztomania, having appreciated Solyaris (vastly more than Sodebergh as it happens) and hated AR.

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time
« Reply #68 on: September 08, 2010, 08:31:36 AM »
Surprised that you liked it. Not surprised that it won't make your top 100. It's one I need to revisit for sure.

1SO

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Re: 1SO Rebuilds His Top 100 of All Time
« Reply #69 on: September 08, 2010, 09:14:43 AM »
I've grown tired of being labeled the guy who doesn't like long, slow movies.  I like to think of myself as a person who can appreciate all good cinema.  So when one of these turgid masterpieces arrives at my door, I try to not hold the pace against it.  I knew going in that Stalker was going to be slower than Malick, so why condemn it for that?  I try to see what everyone else sees in the film, and only go after the pacing if I don't understand the reasoning at all.  The shot when the enter The Zone was key to forgiving the pace.  By contrast - sorry to keep picking on Malick, Sam - I tried to give The New World the same fair shake, but the endless cutaways to insects in the grass really infuriated me.  

I had to accept that what I don't like about Solaris and AR is very much present here.  Learn to meet the difficult films half way, forgive their annoying indulgences and then I could discover where all the praise stems from.  Stalker is my favorite Tarkovsky, but I could think of a couple of dozen current filmmakers who could craft a remake I would like much more.

But I'm trying, Bondo.  I'm trying real hard to become the shepherd.
« Last Edit: September 08, 2010, 09:25:08 AM by 1SO »
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