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Nathaniel

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About Nathaniel

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    Member

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  • Website URL
    http://filmsandfeelings.wordpress.com

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  • Occupation
    cinema instructor, freelance writer and editor, occasional filmmaker
  • About my avatar
    Alain Delon as Mr. Klein
  • Favorite movies
    the kind they just don't make anymore
  • Favorite music
    Ralph Vaughan Williams, Steeleye Span
  • Favorite creative writing
    Walter de la Mare, Robert M. Coates
  • Favorite visual art
    Hans Richter, Alexander Calder

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  1. With Scorsese's Silence looming, it seems like an opportune moment to reassess this somewhat forgotten masterpiece--perhaps the most serious film about religion ever made in Hollywood. Contra the facile moral victories of A Man for All Seasons (a film I still admire, mostly for its brilliant lead performance), the central quandary of The Nun's Story is never settled. In the marvelously ambiguous final scene, it is unclear whether Sister Luke (a never better Audrey Hepburn), who has struggled for seventeen years to attain spiritual perfection, has succeeded or not. And Zinnemann's visual approa
  2. This is a film I'll continue to wrestle with for years to come. It's full of intense contradictions I can't seem to resolve. The realist style and verbatim recitation of scripture have the outward appearance of integrity, but they also suggest the alibi of a filmmaker with no strong interpretative angle on the Christ story. Critics often overlook the fact that Pasolini launched the project in order to demonstrate the affinities between Christianity and Marxism--to use Christ to teach the church a lesson, so to speak. He chose Matthew for its populist qualities. (Mark seemed too crude, Luke too
  3. The extra "Flamenco" in the title is apparently there to distinguish it from Carlos Saura's previous study on the same subject. At first I was afraid that the film would be as superfluous as its title. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a great documentary (if you can call it that) that should be better known. Like Fados, it resembles a concert film, the entirety of the action taking place on a minimalist stage with decorous rear projection screens befitting of a 1930s musical. But the bold interplay of light (compliments of Vittorio Storaro), musical performance, and dance susta
  4. Perhaps gynophobia is more precise. After watching The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, I had nightmares for weeks about that wooden figurehead with her blank, unfeeling eyes, cruelly downturned mouth, and tumescent nipples. In Jason and the Argonauts, I was equally fascinated with the bust of Hera, whose eyelids pop open when Jason calls on her, and the eerie way she whispers into his ear. Ditto the bizarre cobra dance in The 7th Voyage of Sinbad. I adore these films, but realize now that there is a distinct current of horror feminae running through them.
  5. Okay, now you've made me self-conscious! I'm beginning to see the limitations of this genre...
  6. Dude. Yes. The scene with the wooden figurehead, too. Another permanent image from my childhood. The misogyny of those creations are only apparent with adult hindsight.
  7. What moves me about moving statuary? What are the best movies about statues that move? Next month, I'm doing a small presentation on the horror genre, and at some point, I'd like to steer the conversation toward one of my favorite motifs in le cinema fantastique: effigies that become animate. I suppose someone's already done a study in which they trace the through line from the myth of Pygmalion to E. Nesbit's "Man-Size in Marble" and Clark Ashton Smith's "The Disinterment of Venus" to Kelly Link's "Stone Animals." But for the purposes of this project, I'm mainly interested in film and te
  8. I'm planning on grabbing this soon so I can show the Battle of Shrewsbury sequence for a film aesthetics course. I'm sure it looks terrific in HD. I agree that the cover art is underwhelming. But you've seen the U.S. one sheet, right? The one where Orson looks like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man? Bizarre.
  9. Since I don't have many go-to cinephiles, I tend to use lists like these to locate new ones. In this case, Jordan Hoffman, a critic who has until now flown under my radar, has captured my attention by being the only one to list both Into Great Silence and Of Gods and Men. A Serious Man also tops his list. Sounds like he'd be a natural for A&F membership, no? Since not a single person listed Golden Door in their personal Top Ten, and since Carlos Saura is nowhere to be found, I can only conclude that this poll is a sham.
  10. It's some kind of a list. What does it matter what you say about lists? I'm rather interested in what the academics are doing. Looks like Tom Gunning did a good thing by listing a lot of avant-garde titles.
  11. Apropos of our conversation, the Cinefamily has announced a colossal, complete retrospective of the films of Frederick Wiseman, which will span four years. Holy mackerel. The Cinefamily has outdone itself this time.
  12. Finally caught this today. Something tells me it would have been great fun to watch with a frenzied Sundance crowd. Isolated on the small screen, however, it comes across as visually conservative and thematically muddled. It shudders to life in the last 10 minutes with a genuinely subversive ending (a sort of negative transcendence reminiscent of Ben Wheatley's Kill List), but getting there is a bit of a chore.
  13. How disappointing! I know I'd be miffed if I drove out to Santa Monica to watch a film in 70mm only to be greeted with a Blu-ray. Good news, though: UCLA is going to start showing a lot more nitrate prints starting in January.
  14. My moviegoing has been in steep decline for a couple of years now. I used to go out 50-60 times a year; I'm currently on pace for about 20-30. As John mentioned, the retrospective scene in L.A. is very good, and the prospect of seeing a cherished classic in 35mm outstrips the desire to watch a new release digitally projected. The best part about seeing a movie at the Billy Wilder or the Samuel Goldwyn: no popcorn. I had an epiphany earlier this year. I was at the Laemmle Playhouse watching Cemetery of Splendor and the film began to freeze and skip. That's odd, I thought. Then, the theate
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