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Everything posted by kenmorefield

  1. kenmorefield

    Late Spring

    Thanks for some interesting replies. I will confess to being lukewarm on Ozu overall, though I'm slowly starting to appreciate his films more than I thought I could. A key point was a couple of years ago when I was able to admit that coming to Ozu primarily through Schrader's Transcendental Style in Cinema caused me to frame my expectations in such a way that the films didn't meet. I was expecting something and having trouble approaching the film on its own terms. (To a lesser extent, I ran through the same issue with Dreyer, though I never had the same problem of accepting his films on their own terms even if they were very different, stylistically, from Bresson's.) I very much honor and appreciate Schrader's book, and I think it has been enormously influential in an historical sense, but I also tend to think (oversimplification) that he largely conflates the effect three different filmmakers have on him with the styles or approaches they use to engender that effect. FWIW, my second favorite TIFF Q&A occurred at Still Walking (I think it was) when a commenter prompted Koreeda to say (not quite verbatim) that he didn't know why everyone insisted in comparing his characters to Ozu's and that he felt his films had more in common with Naruse's. (Of course, Wikipedia's entry on Naruse says he is most often compared to Ozu, so...) One could write many a tome comparing Koreeda's films to Ozu's (and it's times like this that I am sad the proposed Koreeda anthology didn't generate enough submissions to move forward), but for me Koreeda's films are less pessimistic, the struggles of the characters against society and their expectations more explicit and externalized. At times, not always, I think there is transcendence, the individual finds authenticity and actualization in the process of struggle regardless of the outcome. I tend to think of Koreeda's films as adopting a point of view which is more judgmental but doesn't give itself over to judgmentalism. I think, for example, the films allow us to be critical of the dead father in Our Little Sister or the mother in Nobody Knows while also trusting us to temper that judgment with an understanding of their situations that may go beyond what those suffering as a result of their decisions are capable of grasping. In the case of Late Spring, Noriko understands Shukichi's situation pretty well. She's an adult, even if her illness has made her, perhaps, emotionally regressed. Yes, I suppose this speech is at the heart of any positive reading of Shukichi. (It reminded me in some ways of the defense of arranged marriage in Ghandi.) I guess for me, this would have had a stronger effect if I believed he believed it. Since the end reveals that Shukichi is not beyond lying to Noriko (for her own good, of course), I confess I heard this speech as empty words. Who cares if you don't love him? I didn't love your mother when we got married. It'll be fine, you just have to decide that you'll be happy and eventually you will be. Your happiness isn't as important as...other concerns. And if the woman's happiness is not a material consideration in who she marries, when could it ever be? I am not saying there isn't some truth to that speech in some situations. There is. But......I guess I'll just say that in the very long history of marriage, the number of women who have had little to no say into who they married has probably not been statistically insignificant, and of those who somehow managed to buck social expectations and express their desire not to get married (or their desire not to marry the particular person their parents chose), I imagine a fair number of them have heard some version of that speech. So maybe we are in "Yellow Wallpaper" or "Boy Erased" territory. There is something horrific about watching someone do or say something that they sincerely think is said/done in love but which we feel (based on hindsight, progression of values or whatever) to be exactly the wrong thing.
  2. Thanks to Rushmore's help, the T25 lists are looking a little more presentable in the short run. In the medium run, I'll work towards standardizing formats, excepting for the two previous Top 100s which might take too long to redo.
  3. kenmorefield

    Harriet (2019)

    Trailer drop: Grace Hill is working with Focus on this, so I presume there will be some push towards Christian audiences.
  4. Slow progress. I've moved the Top 25 lists to a different folder tree than the top 100. That will ultimately make it easier, but for now it has some domino issues regarding the style sheets etc. Thanks to Rushmore's help, I've go working *pages* for each Top 25 (or links to those at Image). I'll be working to make the menu navigation work later this week. Incidentally, there is a file structure for a 2006 Top 100 but I could not find any pages for such a list. Anyone remember this? Ken http://artsandfaith.com/t25/2011.html http://artsandfaith.com/t25/2012.html http://artsandfaith.com/t25/2013.html http://artsandfaith.com/t25/2014.html http://artsandfaith.com/t25/2015.html http://artsandfaith.com/t25/2016.html http://artsandfaith.com/t25/2017.html http://artsandfaith.com/t25/2019.html I don't really care for the faded out icon structure...and I'd like all the t25s to be teh same format, so I may use this as a stopgap and redesign once I have the file structure worked out. The top 100....that's just a mess. I don't see a redesign of the 2010 or 2011 pages any time soon, but I do want to preserve *something* that indicates the results.
  5. kenmorefield

    Late Spring

    I returned to Late Spring in the wake of the 2019 Top 25 list, only to find myself as the outsider looking in. I am heartened in this thread by acquarello's post which suggests to me that there is, indeed, more at play formally in the film than an average viewer circa 2019 might catch without some assistance. But absent a decoding map lecture, I find the film less than satisfying: https://1morefilmblog.com/2019/07/15/late-spring-ozu-1949/ Still, if one is going to take issue with Ozu at a site called "Arts & Faith," one has to expect some critic shaming, so I'd be happy to hear from others who both esteem and enjoy the film. (I assume you are out there, given the film ranked #2...)
  6. It turns out the Detroit Institute of Art has an extensive puppet collection, including an early Punch and Judy display. I did not know that the term "slapstick" actually derives from Mr. Punch, who would slap Judy (and others) whenever he did not get his own way. Here's Eusa with Mr. Clevver.
  7. I saw Rivera's murals when I was in Mexico City, but it took me another three decades to catch up to his murals in Detroit. I must have matured, because these were...spectacular, and I don't remember being this moved by the work in Mexico. Also, it's interesting to me that while Rivera is clearly left-leaning, that he could still get a commission from American industrialists. The panels of the workers making a gas bomb over the panel of human cells being affected by gas was...chilling.
  8. I saw Diego Rivera mural at Detroit Institue of Art this weekend, but I was surprised they did not have a single Kahlo. According to the lady manning the gift shop, this is a source of some consternation among some supporters of the museum since Kahlo stayed across the street while Rivera was making the murals and painted several paintings in Detroit...but I guess the museum at the time didn't think to buy any from her. There's a parable in there, I think.
  9. One of my life goals is to try to see all the existing Artemesia paintings on public display. I doubt I'll make it...they are scattered a little too far...but I'm closing in on all the ones in the U.S. Cindy and I went to Detroit last weekend and I saw Judith and Her Maidservant at the Detroit Institute of Art. It was fantastic, though the lighting made it hard to get a good angle. I appreciate how often the women's hands are featured in her paintings. I've also seen her work at Uffizi and Pitti Palace as well as Colombus, and Toledo. Wikipedia says there is now one in Virginia, but I've been to that museum before and didn't remember it, so perhaps it was a new acquisition. I see there is also one in St. Louis now. Perhaps that will be the next trip.
  10. I smiled at Peter's lengthy post. It reminded me of the good-old contentious days of A&F where we could fight endlessly over this stuff. I enjoyed Far From Home, but I can't really dispute any of the litany of points he makes. I dreamed that we were back in the Renaissance and Peter took Shakespeare to task for violating the Aristotelian unities. Not that this is Shakespeare, by any means. But I liked it. I got a subscription to Comixology and read the graphic novels for Secret Wars, Civil War, and Infinity Gauntlet. There is a lot of God talk (especially in SW and IG), but it's all of a piece. God is a linguistic signifier applying to anyone (or anything) that has certain characteristics but never the name of an actual being in any of the multiverses. Thus Doom is God in Battleword, Thanos became God for awhile, etc. I was reminded, not for the first time, of the passages in Screwtape Letters where Screwtape says the ultimate goal is a materialist magician -- one that believes in dark spirits/demons but not God. Given that Mephisto has a place in the Marvel Comic Multiverse and that Thor and other Norse "gods" are real, I've always just assumed the Marvel Comic's universe was that place. I was a little surprised that in the comics
  11. kenmorefield


    No need to apologize. Your comments are interesting and on point. I don't think I am implying a line between two genres by calling them different. Just because "Christian" and "gay" are different categories doesn't mean to imply they never overlap. If I implied otherwise, I did not mean to do so. My shorthand for whether something is a "Christian" movie has been for the last few years whether or not it hit at least two of the following categories: by Christians, for Christians, about Christians. Obviously each of those three markers is ambiguous and problematic (or problematically ambiguous)? Does "by Christians" refer to the auteur? The entire crew? The cast? The production company? Does "for Christians" imply all Christians want the same thing? That a film is exclusively or only predominantly for that audience? This discussion makes me thing the three-fold test might be equally applicable (though equally problematic) for "gay" films. In particular, the question of whether the film is "for" gays may mean different things than saying a film is "for" Christians. But maybe not. I'd argue that some movies, like God's Not Dead, are made for and marketed for Christians but take on a veneer of "evangelism" as a means of claiming that they are directed towards those outside. But even if the film is evangelical (in intention), I think it is still made fore Christians...as a film some Christians could theoretically feel good inviting others to and feel they are doing something. This is somewhat different from a cross-over hit, which, I think, means in Christian circles that it wants to be identified as a Christian film but still palatable to a non-Christian audience. A non-Christian might theoretically have reasons he/she wants to see it other than that he/she has been invited by a Christian. (I'm skeptical that, for example, The Blind Side is perceived as a "Christian" film by the non-Christians who want to see it or enjoy it, but I think that's the sort of gold-standard in the Christian cottage industry). I think Bohemian Rhapsody might be on the other end of the spectrum...perhaps it tries so hard to invite straight audiences that it makes it hard to say it is "for" gay audiences in any meaningful way (except maybe something they can invite their more squeamish straight friends to). It sounds like Rocketman might be more like, I dunno, Woodlawn (but better quality filmcraft)...definitely made *for* the target audience and/or putting that audiences desires and expectations first but picking a subject that is not overtly hostile to the "outsider" and may even have elements that are of interest to them...
  12. I have no problem using these as a stopgap if you want to send me the files. Regarding the Mercy and Waking Up Lists...my understanding is that the individual authors retain rights to grant permission, so I could reprint blurbs but only with permission. Given that many writers are no longer here/active, it may be easier to solicit new blurbs or intros than for me (or someone else) to try to chase down a dozen or so people off-list and try to get permissions. By the way, we never did have an *intro* for the Growing Older list. If anyone wants to volunteer for that, I'd be grateful, but I'm certainly willing to do it myself. I think the Growing Older format needs to change to something that can be more consistent and integrated with the other lists. Prioritization, as I see it, is: 1) Stopgap formatting for previous lists. 2) Reformat and add intro for Growing Older list. 3) Change format (and file location) of previous lists. 4) Reconstruct Mercy and Waking Up Lists I'm open to reprioritizing that if someone wants to make an argument about how & why.
  13. Amazon's "Prime Day" is pretty underwhelming, but but most of the Criterions are another 5-10 $ off from Barnes & Noble sale if any sets or Blu-rays are at or near your squeal point.
  14. kenmorefield


    Some day, perhaps, I will get around to writing my long noodled think-piece about the ways in which gay films and Christian films are ironically parallel in terms of representation. (I've been thinking about that ever since Todd Haynes's famous interview post Far From Heaven when he equated representation of gays to that of African-Americans in the '60s as embodied by Sidney Poitier. I haven't seen the film yet, but based on what I've heard so far, Adams is articulating the ways in which films have a harder time representing something the writer or culture is less familiar with (a sexual orientation or religion not of their own) as part of a fully-realized character who is not simply defined by that one attribute. I think that's a big reason why there are so few "incidentally 'x'" characters. In one casting documentary, I remember them making a big deal that Danny Glover's character was not written to be black in Lethal Weapon. The casting director noticed that there was nothing in the character as written that necessitated him being of one color, but she still got resistance. That's probably just a long way of saying is sounds like Adams is pointing out that BR (or other gay movies) are better at using standard gay tropes or markers than in thinking through the experience of specific gay characters. (Caveat: I am aware that there is, I think, some contention over whether Freddy Mercury should be called gay or bisexual, so I don't mean to get derailed into that debate.) But I also think that difficulty (ethnic/religious/sexual character tropes/markers vs. fully realized characters) isn't limited to representation of gays. To the extent I follow him correctly, I am also not sure I agree with Adams' contention that the difference is the presence of the "right 'x' voice" in the room. Part of it must be the talent of the writers and performers, I would think, their skill level. I suspect, for instance, there are plenty of Christian writers who have had authentic experience but, when called to write, have trouble going beyond framing those experiences in specific genre/writing conventions or tropes. I can't help but wonder if the same is true for those trying to write about the gay experience.
  15. Not at all. While I would obviously prefer people use Arts & Faith projects to drive traffic to Arts & Faith, I understand perfectly the board's complicated history and how/why that might lead people to prefer to read it elsewhere. I do think it is important that some form of the lists be preserved at A&F since we have no control over Image content or access to it. Also, I recognize that some parts of various content in connection with A&F lists (Ryan's reflections on "memory," films, Darren's reflection on "Road" movies, commentary on first couple of Ecumenical Jury results) exists only at Image. If they are not included in reworked or reformatted versions of the lists it is because A&F may not have rights to simply copy content that Image never posted here.
  16. I didn't go last year just because I was suffering some post-tenure burnout, and I missed it less than I thought I would. (Partly because of the inaugural Filmfest 919 in Chapel Hill and better access to FYC screeners). Due to budget cuts at work, I didn't put in to go this year, though I think I will return at some point. Just such a hard time of the year for me since my university starts classes the end of August. I will miss seeing you and Jessica though.
  17. The .css integration also explained something that had long puzzled me...why the subsequent Top 25 lists were filed in the 2010 *folder.* I'm exploring trying to put all the lists (Top 100, Top 25, EJ) in a separate directory subtree with one standard template...though that would mean redoing the 2019 Top 25 since I'm okay with it but wouldn't want it to be the standard. What do you think about this: https://www.tooplate.com/live/2094-mason I like that it has the photo array but the "timeline" could be used as a one-by-one list
  18. When I wrote my dissertation (including a chapter on C.S. Lewis), I had a debate (which grad students never win) with the assigned proofreader from the graduate dean's office. I was told that "Lewis's" was acceptable except when the following word began with the letter "s." Hence, I could write "Lewis's novel" but was asked to correct to Lewis' story" (or some other example). I argued that it should be consistent...that having the differences, even on the same page, looked like an error. As I say, one never wins debates with ranking academics. So, if memory serves, I rewrote every sentence that had "Lewis's" followed by an "s" word.
  19. Without a long technical explanation, the Top 100 and Top 25 lists were written with a .css Style Sheet. That style sheet framed nearly everything with Image branding, ads, and now obsolete content (such as links to Image's Good Letters blog that are no longer functional). It is not temporary that the Image-branded style sheet needs/needed to go away. This is no longer an Image site. I don't mean that as a knock on them. It is quite natural that when the site was run by Image the Top 100 and Top 25 pages existed primarily to promote Image (or to promote this board which was primarily to promote Image.) I am certainly open to changes being temporary in that I'm open to someone creating a different style sheet that is not Image branded, but I lack the capacity to do so or the funds to hire a professional. The options, as I see them, are to delete the 2010 and 2011 Top 100 pages and all the Top 25 pages and reconstruct them from scratch or to try to keep as an archive the bare bones of the *content* which is the blurbs written by contributors and the lists themselves in hopes that at a future time or date someone is interested in putting in the time to design new pages.
  20. So I found the stand-alone pages (finally) for the Top 25 horror, road, marriage films, etc. The bad news is that the html is written in such a way that I can't just strip the "Image" branding and leave the pages themselves untouched. (They use a style sheet that makes over 1/2/ of each page ads for Image or the Glen Workshop. I'm working on adding each list to the master list while trying to preserve the "content" of the lists.) Darren, there is a dead link on the Road moives list to your write up at the Good Letters blog. If you still have it, I'm happy to reprint it at top of Road Movies page. http://artsandfaith.com/t100/25_road.html
  21. Earlier this summer, I went to Ireland to attend an academic conference, and I managed to do some sightseeing on the way. Belfast was a highlight of the trip, so I wondered what it would be like to rewatch this film for the first time in many years. (Standard "we really don't have a thread about this film yet?" disclaimer.) I was surprised, but not terribly shocked, to find that I had trouble being engaged with the film. I remember esteeming it highly, and I can't exactly put my finger on what I didn't like as much. I think it was the script, but I see Terry George also did Hotel Rwanda and The Boxer. It's possible that Steve McQueen's Hunger cast a shadow over the film, particularly in the ways that it represents the brutality of the incarcerations. Perhaps, too, the film feels strangely disconnected from the historical setting. We get that Conlon is falsely imprisoned but even at the end, there doesn't seem to be any care to address the "why?" The Brits are evil and they hate the Irish. Throw in the fact that the domestic relationship is more interesting than the political story and the film ends up with a much more generic feeling than it probably should. (I'm not suggesting, by the way, that I'm pro-British in regards to "The Troubles," just that film seems strangely uninterested in exploring the broader political context.) As an actor's showcase it fares better. Postlethwaite and Thompson are terrific and Day-Lewis is better than I remembered. (I tend to judge acting by delivery choices that avoid cliche or obvious inflections. In a situation such as this one, the danger is emoting too much and thus having a monotone of indignation and anger that doesn't land as well because there is no undulation. Postlethwaite's lack of anger in the first jail scene is a good example, as is Thompson's office scene with the political guy where she asks for compassionate leave for Giuseppe.) Day-Lewis has to have a loooong arc in a short time, transforming Gerry from someone who is frankly unlikable to someone to whom you are sympathetic towards. He does so, but only just. My sympathies were more generic -- he was the victim of a horrible wrong, than they were a response to his transformation.
  22. In the top left corner of the home page for the forums, you should now see a link to the forum's "List Directory" which, while still under construction, is intended to serve as a landing page to direct searchers to various Top 25 and Top 100 lists that are housed internally. It looks like a lot of the write ups for Top 25s were at Image, but we have standalone pages for Top 100 (2010 and 2011) and 2019 Top 25 (Growing Older). If I am missing any, please remind me so that I can add them to the directory.
  23. Short answer: I don't think so, but I could be wrong. I think Google searches are based on site popularity, so the main way is to get more traffic at A&F. There may be ways to pay for Search Engine Optimization, but I don't think I/we want to go down that route. I am open to other suggestions, though.
  24. Per, CNN, new release of Toy Story 2 cuts "casting couch" gag from blooper reel at end: https://www.cnn.com/2019/07/03/movies/toy-story-2-casting-couch-scene-scli-intl/index.html
  25. This is a thread for me to post updates and ask questions about the Top 25 and Top 100 landing pages. I was working on the Top 100 page for 2010 today and it looked only partially completed. (Only Ordet has a click through and there was a dead link to Jeff's link in Good Letters Blog. Jeff I would be happy to repost your write up as a subpage of the 2010 Top 100 landing page if you still have it and permission to reprint. If it is copyright for Image, I understand. I don't feel the need/desire to go in and replicate what they did with Ordet write up (a stand alone page for each of the 100 films with links to forum, IMDB, Wikipedia, etc.) But I do want to keep the title. Perhaps the link could be to the discussion forum thread (if any) for that film? http://artsandfaith.com/t100/2010/t100/
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