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kenmorefield

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  1. kenmorefield

    Gertrud (1964)

    #13 on A&F Top 25 List of Spiritually Significant Films about Growing Old(er) Well, we see how long this resolution lasts, but I was hoping to write about some of the Top 25 over at 1More Film Blog. Here are my thoughts on Gertrud, which I was reminded did not have a dedicated A&F thread yet.
  2. Ironically, I was discussing World Cinema with a guy at conference this weekend, and this pervasive pessimism was my central knock on why I've always had a hard time warming up to Bergman. Maybe it's time for me to revisit WS. Also, I think it is interesting how many professors were on our Growing Older nominations. (Although we didn't nominate Stalker, my conversant reminded me that one of the characters in Stalker was "The Professor." This profession is an easy symbolic shorthand for intellectual knowledge, so it probably shouldn't be surprising that our Growing Older list looks at the limits of human knowledge and its contrast with some sort of experiential or spiritual insight through the use of characters who embody one or the other.
  3. So I finally saw "The Bells" (can't say how). I understand why those who were disappointed were, but it seemed the logical (if rushed) end of many of the character arcs. I get that we all love and want a good redemption story and are, hence, saddened by Jaime or Dany, but Arya's turn away from vengeance to survival (juxtaposed against another little girl in King's Landing who is having an Arya moment) kinda got swept under the rug in chatter, no? (Or is it just that I'm limited in the chatter I hear?) Also, I don't think enough/much at all has been made of Melesandre's comment in S8 that the Lord of Light follower kept getting resurrected because he had not yet fulfilled his purpose (to save Arya so that she could kill the Night King). I know some people may howl when I say this, but that's a very Gandalf thing to say, and it broadens the questions of religion/cosmology within the series overall as well as forcing us (or me) anyway to re-examine Melesandraes character in light of Jon Snow's (and the series') "this is the only war that matters" mantra. I will be immensely surprised (but also immensely pleased) if the series returns to this claim in the finale in reference to Jon Snow's resurrection. The series has been indifferent on this point, maybe, but "The Bells"certainly seems to be breaking in the direction of a central division between those who fight for self or self or personal reasons (Circe, Jaime, Sandor, Tywin, Joffrey, CatelynLittlefinger, Bron, Renly, Stannis, Euron, hell, even Drago) and those who fight for some sort of perception of the broader good (Jon, Varys--lately, though not completely, I think, Tyrion, lately, Hodor, Jorah--eventually, Brienne, Eddard). This doesn't bode well for Sansa or Dany in the finale, but I'm dubious that the series would conclude in or with some sort of implied moral framework that implies that, you know, the arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice. It's been a little too inconsistent in that regard. I could, perhaps, even be argued that I'm projecting my own value system onto the character's actions rather than reading the show's presentation of them in it.)
  4. I don't have any problem with that. Sorry you were having messenger problems.
  5. As many of you know, I'll be traveling for the next 10 days or so, roughly overlapping the time that Joel is at Cannes. Andrew (as far as I know) will be around if there are any moderation needs. (Then again, the next time you all need moderating will be the first time.) Still if there is anything funky with spammers or board down time or something, don't construe radio silence as ominous. Once I get back from my trip, I'll set about trying to get the Top 25 page up and presentable.
  6. One word: graduations. I'll leave it at that.
  7. Thanks John., It's worth mentioning that the board settings have been changed so that if any member flags a post from spam that is from a "new* member (first message), the board will make it invisible until it is reviewed. This was to address porn spam...so it wouldn't remain visible until one of the moderators logged on. But it doesn't actually ban the member until one of the moderators reviews it and confirms it is spam (so someone couldn't, theoretically) flag a post from someone they don't like to get them auto-banned as a spammer.
  8. kenmorefield

    Madadayo

    Films about teachers are numerous, and given my profession, of personal and professional interest. There are many things to appreciate about Maadadayo, but the thing that I appreciate is that it seems to understand (or at least explore) the *longitudinal* effects of being in a profession that calls for you to be both separate from your students and yet still heavily invested in them. There are, of course, arguments to be made about whether this is necessary in teaching (I feel it is, but I know some people who are more emotionally enmeshed in their students--or at least some of them--than I think is healthy), but teaching is a weird sort of thing in that it is, at its core, relational, and yet defines success as enabling the cessation or termination of the relationship. Relationships can morph into something else, but, paradoxically, the students who most want to maintain a relationship with their teachers want that relationship to be the same. That's one reason why so many educational places have nepotism policies (official or unofficial) -- it is *hard* to make the transition from a hierarchical relationship (teacher/student) to a flatter, mutually edifying one (friends/colleagues). The film is both sharp and melancholy about how easy it is to conflate nostalgia for a certain time of our lives with affinity for people who were a part of our lives during that time. I guess one thing I like about the film is that there is a difference between melancholy and tragedy. I've used the analogy before, but I am so often reminded of Jacques Ellul's take on Ecclesiastes, that we are afraid of God and so try to fill the God-shaped void in our hearts with things we think we can control: work, family, family, money. Even when we are successful in pursuing those things (which are often good in themselves even if they are not and cannot be the ultimate good), their loss is often painful not just intrinsically but also as a reminder of the holes they were not able to fill. I liked this film better than The Browning Version (which I didn't hate) because it seems to be more nuanced and able to separate the pains of *losing* one's profession (through retirement or moving) from the pains of failing at it. Even if one if not a failure (and teaching is one of those things where nobody is ever a complete success or a complete failure), the act of giving up something that has been a core part of your practice and identity for so long is a sort of trauma.
  9. Yep, I agree. I was also smitten by Johnnie's response to Ms. Robinson's cyber bullies, calling them p-----ies, and insiting, "In my day, if we wanted to tease someone, we did it o their face." Also, when one of the kids (maybe Eli) says he is "on the spectrum," Johnnie replies, "I don't know what that is, but get off it." Johnnie, in short, gets most of the best lines, at least in S1.
  10. Am about half way through S1. This YouTube! original is maddeningly close to great, especially for those of us who have a sentimental attachment to The Karate Kid. But...it feels stuck between an unresolved conflict of which direction it wants to go. At the end of one episode, Daniel says to Johnny something like "this will never be over between us." So it's a mythic, cyclical repetition. That's kinda dull. But at other times it seems like it wants to be an inversion. Daniel is the rich guy now and Johnny is a working shlub. Daniel's daughter is entitled (though more hanging around with rich bad girls) and she and her friends hit Johnny's car and run away. Johnny is the one who intervenes when a kid is getting bullied (by the guy who is dating Daniel's daughter). This part is sorta interesting. But it feels like it pulls back, too afraid of messing with the Daniel is a nice guy narrative. The daughter begins to see the guy is a jerk. When Daniel tries to use money to sabotage Johnny's business, his wife calls him on it and he confesses to Miyagi's grave that he is letting anger win: boom, instant reformation. I suspect that this is going to turn into an explanation of *why* kids respond to Cobra Kai initially but stay safely on the side of claiming Daniel's is the better way. We'll see. Any other viewers?
  11. Yeah, that was it. Postscript -- I noted too during Thanos's speech about starting over from scratch so that life born in blood had no memory, that, well, aren't we overdue for a debate between Peter and some random dude on the Internet about gnosticism in movies?
  12. Cindy wanted to see it, so being the dutiful husband that I was... Who made the point that bringing everyone back after five years would be as disruptive as them disappearing? (Some survivors would have moved on and see their lives...complicated.) Because that's the one that really bugs me. Everything else I can shrug off in the "fine-for-what-it-was-just-a-movie" response. But I felt like other plot holes they winked at or waved at. But other than Star Lord searching for Gamora (maybe) it felt like the film AND THE PEOPLE IN IT were like, yay, we *fixed* everything. I thought Rene Russo was great. Also, every time I see one of these movies, I keep thinking Tom Holland isn't this good, is he? And then I watch it again and am like, yeah he really is. Peter's introduction to Captain Marvel remains my favorite moment in the whole film.
  13. Got this to play at book launch party. I am, ironically, 2-0 at Marrying Mr. Darcy -- though I didn't marry Darcy either time. (I was Jane, so I got more points for marrying Bingley, which I did, even though the other players conspired to keep him in London and away from me.)
  14. Yes, I concur. I've written elsewhere about my personal discomfort with social media grieving while having to come to terms with the fact that grieving is important and people do it differently. I mentioned briefly on Facebook that Rachel spoke what she understood to be truth about and to power and any time one does that, one becomes a target for trolls and haters. I pray and expect she will hear "well done, good and faithful servant." I also appreciated DL Mayfield's (I think it was) observation that Rachel very importantly rejected the lazy label of heretic, insisting that she was orthodox and that modern perversions (cultural or theological) of the gospel were neither the final authority nor word on the mind of God.
  15. Everyone changes the world with their actions, whether they are an artist or economist or ... something else. I tend to believe in the Incarnational Tradition that Foster summarizes in Streams of Living Water. Most vocations can be to the betterment of the person or the world. I don't know that anyone has been successful in dividing up professions or vocations into worthwhile or worthless dichotomies, whether they be Christian in nature (secular/spiritual) or more political (subversive/patriarchal). Still, I've encountered a fair share of resentment towards my profession, particularly from people who have been part of historically oppressed groups. I try not to take it personally. But I also don't engage with it much because there's a fine line between constructive dialogue (or criticism) and venting anger and frustration.
  16. The last two weeks after GoT, I've run across persistent complaints of the racial insensitivity of this season in that: --the Dothraki army is sent to the slaughter -- while the whole episode marks individuals marked for heroism, the Dothraki are a nameless, faceless, "other" --the one female of color with a major role is captured, put in chains, and executed. (the latter was a prominent point of discussion at Ava DuVernay's feed. I don't know that I thought of this during either episode, so I don't know if I'm blind to such things or people are going to find things to complain about. I suspect that a number of people dislike the idea of the Confederacy show that the GoT team either pitched or is trying to develop and thus becomes a filter for looking at race in this episode. Was anybody here bothered by the perceived marginalization of race or racial characters in this season? Is that now officially a thing?
  17. I think Jeff is asking tongue-in-cheek, but just in case.... My personal opinion is that posts made-pre general release (such as if a critic has seen the film or a festival is in advance of when people could see it) ought to be spoiler sensitive but that once a movie is out the spoilers cautions aren't necessary. I'll sometimes use them anyway if it is a "major" spoiler, but that's more out of habit than anything else. That's not policy, though, just my thoughts. Anyone else have strong feelings on this issue?
  18. Hmmm....so the fascist dictator terrorist actually ends up making those who must wield power to destroy even more bloodthirsty? If I had been paying more attention I guess I might be able to claim his army is some sort of dehumanized non-sentient being that must be destroyed like mindless animals. (What does one do with pit bulls who have been tortured to the point that they are no longer safe to have around?) But then, isn't that the excuse we always use. Since we are now post Spoiler territory, can I just add what I asked on Twitter? How many of Dr. Strange's 12 million scenarios were essentially the same thing only without the random rat that turns on a piece of electrical machinery that somehow still has a battery charged after five years?
  19. I went ahead and penciled in Russ for Late Spring, Make Way, and 35 Up, and I gave myself Umberto D. since that had orphaned. That leaves Gertrud unclaimed. Both Russ and I said we could do it, so I'm open to switching one of us to that film is nobody wants it as a third or would prefer one of the three we are doing: Ken: King Lear, Persuasion, Umberto D. Russ: Late Spring, Make Way for Tomorrow, and 35 Up.
  20. Russ said he would do Late Spring, I just hadn't updated the list yet. I would prefer Ed do his first preference, which I thought was Straight Story, but if I am wrong about that, let me know.
  21. I don't use A-list or MoviePass b/c I get most of my screenings for free. I have one friend who did MoviePass and he liked it but felt pressure to go to the movies to justify the expense. I've considered signing up for the membership at Alamo Drafthouse b/c I go there to get DVDs and it is on my way to one of my work locations. I suspect the future will be like grocery stores, with each theater or chain having their own system. (I have been on AMC stubbs and Regal Rewards forever and occasionally get a free movie.)
  22. Thanks for doing that. I'm a little surprised that Umberto D. is also making its debut on any of our lists, but I guess previous incarnations found Bicycle Thieves easier to nominate. I would think a paragraph.
  23. kenmorefield

    Tolkien (2019)

    Disclosure: My theatrical screening was canceled after I arrived (due to technical difficulties), so I had to watch on a crappy Chromecast stream. Thus I can't really say anything meaningful about the cinematography. That caveat aside, here's what I wrote on Letterboxd: I should have a review sometime in the next few days, but these are my sentiments.
  24. Embargo=Please don't tell people our movie was any good. Not Screened for Critics=Please don't tell people our movie sucked. Spoiler Ban=Please don't tell people how our movie sucked.
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