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Darren H

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  1. Darren H

    Beau Travail (1999)

    > Perhaps such an emotional outburst would necessarily be coupled with something spiritually uplifting, as if for once in his life, Galoup can finally be himself. I certainly wouldn't try to argue that the ending is spiritually uplifting. I've seen Beau Travail 20+ times and have so far resisted the urge to interpret the dance at all. It will always for me be primarily an expressionistic, aesthetic explosion. The narrative certainly suggests it's the moment of Galoup's suicide--"the dance between life and death," as Denis puts it. Of the films in the A&F canon, it's probably closest to Bergman's Through a Glass Darkly, if that film ended with Karin's vision of the helicopter rather than the rose-colored conversation between Martin and Minus. That I still, after all these years, am no closer to being able to articulate how that final scene works, or what it does to my body chemistry each and every time, is my main reason for nominating it. Is it "spiritual"? That might not be the right word. But the film will be a profound object of contemplation for me for the rest of my life.
  2. Darren H

    Beau Travail (1999)

    > And it is not quite transcendent either, in formal terms - excepting the end of Beau travail, which I read as a sort of ascension scene effectively transforming our perception of the entire film into a complex human experience of will, conflict, desire, and how all these things are embodied in particular ways. That's a beautiful way of putting it. You might already know this, Andrew, but Beau Travail is an adaptation of Melville's Billy Budd, which is a fairly straight-ahead Christian allegory. Denis keeps the narrative structure more or less intact, with the innocent and perfect soldier being betrayed by his jealous superior, but as Mike suggests, Denis is more interested in Galoup (Denis Lavant) than Sentain (Gregoire Colin). The final dance came up the first time I met Denis. I like her take on it:
  3. > I do love the film, but there are at least four Bergman's I'd include for this list ahead of it. That's where I landed too.
  4. +1 nominations: Persepolis (2007) Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) The Celebration (1998) Jodhaa Akbar (2008) Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) Leave No Trace (2018) Gates of Heaven (1978) Stories We Tell (2012) Smoke Signals (1998) Whale Rider (2002) Pather Panchali (1955) Cloud Atlas (2012) Secret Sunshine (2007) The Headless Woman (2008) The Story of the Weeping Camel (2003) 12 Years a Slave (2013) When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006) Mysteries of Lisbon (2010)
  5. I'm grateful for this conversation. At several points while putting together my top 25 I tried to decide which Demme film to include and ended up with none because I couldn't settle on one that fit my concept of the list. I'll happily throw some points at Silence of the Lambs, which is both a great film and also an important one in my own development as a cinephile. It's the first film I remember paying my own money to see multiple times in the theater.
  6. YouTube is owned by Google so pick your poison, I guess.
  7. > I also noticed that we no longer have any films from the Apu trilogy, but we do have two Satyajit Ray films. Pather Panchali was added as a +1.
  8. Ken, one of the more disturbing elements of the film is that, by not arresting the kidnapper immediately, the police essentially allow him to murder the junkie. And I'm not sure exactly how Kurosawa feels about that decision. His depiction of the heroin den is so zombie-movie grotesque, I'm sincerely confused about how he wants us to feel about the people there. Is he critiquing an economy that turns people into zombies? Is he participating in that same system by depicting them as zombies? Both?
  9. > It's a modern adaptation of Crime & Punishment, which is what makes me suspect it is in Schrader's wheelhouse. For sure. I wouldn't have been surprised if M. Leary had nominated The Student. He still references it from time to time.
  10. We ended up with an even 350 nominations. Because it's so many, I'm going to break the poll into 14 pages of 25 films each, with "save" buttons along the way. I've also attached the final list as a spreadsheet with some built-in calculations for anyone who wants to pre-score films before submitting official votes. On the second tab, you can see a count of the number of films you've assigned each score. As I mentioned in another thread, I'm shooting for something like 25 6s, 35 5s, and 40 4s, which means I'll end up with 100+ 3s, a couple dozen 2s, and a few 1s. There was no exact consensus on due date, so I'd like to propose Sunday, May 10. That gives us four weeks (and five weekends) to catch up with as many films as possible and advocate for our favorites on the forum. FILMS 1-25 12 Years a Slave (2013) 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) 2046 (2004) 35 Shots of Rum (2008) 7th Heaven (1927) A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019) A Brighter Summer Day (1991) A Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) A Hidden Life (2019) A Man Escaped (1956) A Man for All Seasons (1966) A Moment of Innocence (1996) A River Runs Through It (1992) A Separation (2011) A Serious Man (2009) A Tale of Winter (1992) Adam's Apples (2005) After Life (1998) AI Artificial Intelligence (2001) All That Jazz (1979) Amadeus (1984) Amazing Grace (2018) Amour (2012) Andrei Rublev (1966) Another Year (2010) FILMS 26-50 Apocalypse Now (1979) Arrival (2016) At the Death House Door (2008) Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) Babette's Feast (1987) Barcelona (1994) Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) Beau travail (1999) Before Sunset (2004) Beyond the Hills (2012) Bicycle Thieves (1948) Blade Runner (1982) Blue Velvet (1986) Boyhood (2014) Breaking the Waves (1996) Bull Durham (1988) By the Grace of God (2019) Calvary (2014) Cameraperson (2016) Carol (2015) Casablanca (1942) Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010) Certified Copy (2010) Chariots of Fire (1981) Children of Men (2006) FILMS 51-75 Chimes at Midnight (1965) Citizen Kane (1941) Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962) Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) Close-Up (1990) Cloud Atlas (2012) Code Unknown (2000) Columbus (2017) Cool Hand Luke (1967) Cries and Whispers (1972) Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) Dancer in the Dark (2000) Daughters of the Dust (1991) Day of Wrath (1943) Days of Heaven (1978) Dead Man (1995) Dead Man Walking (1995) Dekalog III (1989) Dersu Uzala (1975) Diary of a Country Priest (1951) Do the Right Thing (1989) Doubt (2008) E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) Embrace of the Serpent (2015) Endless Poetry (2016) FILMS 76-100 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) Eyes Wide Shut (1999) Faces Places (2017) Faust (1926) Fearless (1993) Fever Pitch (1997) Fiddler on the Roof (1971) Fireworks Wednesday (2006) First Reformed (2017) Fitzcarraldo (1982) Frisco Jenny (1932) From the East (1993) Funny Games (1997) Gates of Heaven (1978) Germany Year Zero (1948) Grave of the Fireflies (1988) Gravity (2013) Harold and Maude (1971) Harriet (2019) Heartbeat Detector (2007) High and Low (1963) Hour of the Wolf (1968) How Green Was My Valley (1941) I Am Not Your Negro (2016) I Confess (1953) FILMS 101-125 Ida (2013) Ikiru (1952) In a Lonely Place (1950) In Praise of Love (2001) In The Mood For Love (2000) Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) Interstellar (2014) Into Great Silence (2005) It's a Wonderful Life (1946) It’s Such A Beautiful Day (2012) Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc (2017) Jesus of Montreal (1989) Jodhaa Akbar (2008) Journey to Italy (1954) Joyeux Noel (2005) Kagemusha (1980) Knight of Cups (2015) Kundun (1997) L'Avventura (1960) La Jetée (1962) Lady Bird (2017) Lars and the Real Girl (2007) Late Spring (1949) Le Bonheur (1965) Le Quattro Volte (2010) FILMS 126-150 Leave No Trace (2018) Leviathan (2012) Like Someone in Love (2012) Little Women (2019) Lost in Translation (2003) Lourdes (2009) Love & Friendship (2016) Love is Strange (2014) M (1931) Magnolia (1999) Make Way for Tomorrow (1937) Man with a Movie Camera (1929) Mass Appeal (1984) Matewan (1987) Men with Guns (1997) Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) Metropolis (1927) Monsieur Lazhar (2011) Monsieur Vincent (1947) Moonlight (2016) Moonrise Kingdom (2012) Mothlight (1963) Mulholland Drive (2001) Munyurangabo (2007) Museum Hours (2012) FILMS 151-175 My Neighbor Totoro (1988) My Night at Maud's (1969) Mysteries of Lisbon (2010) Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind (1984) Nazarin (1959) Night and Fog (1956) Noah (2014) Nobody Knows (2004) Of Gods and Men (2010) On the Waterfront (1954) Only Angels Have Wings (1939) Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) Ordet (1955) Paddington 2 (2017) Paisan (1946) Paris, Texas (1984) Paterson (2016) Pather Panchali (1955) Paths of Glory (1957) Peeping Tom (1960) Persepolis (2007) Personal Shopper (2016) Phantom Thread (2017) Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975) Pieces of April (2003) FILMS 176-200 Places in the Heart (1984) Playtime (1967) Ponette (1996) Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) Princess Mononoke (1997) Raging Bull (1980) Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Raising Arizona (1987) Ran (1985) Rear Window (1954) Red Beard (1965) Revanche (2008) Rome, Open City (1945) Romero (1989) Rounders (1998) Run Lola Run (1998) Safe (1995) Samurai Rebellion (1967) Schindler’s List (1993) Secret Sunshine (2007) Secrets and Lies (1996) Selma (2014) Seven Samurai (1954) Shadowlands (1993) Shutter Island (2010) FILMS 201-225 Silence (2016) Silent Light (2007) Singin’ in the Rain (1952) Smoke Signals (1998) Song and Solitude (2006) Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2005) Spirited Away (2001) Stalker (1979) Stevie (2002) Still Life (2006) Stop Making Sense (1984) Stories We Tell (2012) Stranger than Fiction (2006) Sullivan's Travels (1941) Summer (1986) Summer Hours (2008) Sunrise (1927) Taste of Cherry (1997) Taxi Driver (1976) Tender Mercies (1983) The 400 Blows (1959) The Act of Killing (2012) The Apostle (1997) The Assassin (2015) The Banishment (2007) FILMS 226-250 The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) The Big City (1963) The Burmese Harp (1956) The Celebration (1998) The Celluloid Closet (1995) The Darjeeling Limited (2007) The Dark Crystal (1982) The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005) The Double Life of Veronique (1991) The End of the Affair (1999) The Exorcist (1973) The Fisher King (1991) The Fits I2015) The Florida Project (2017) The Flowers of St. Francis (1950) The Fountain (2006) The Fugitive (1947) The Gleaners & I (2000) The Godfather (1972) The Gospel According to St. Matthew (1964) The Grand Illusion (1937) The Grapes of Wrath (1940) The Great Beauty (2013) The Headless Woman (2008) The House Is Black (1963) FILMS 251-275 The Immigrant (2013) The Iron Giant (1999) The Island (2006) The Kid (1921) The Kid With a Bike (2011) The King of Kings (1927) The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) The Last Days of Disco (1998) The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943) The Magician (1958) The Man Who Planted Trees (1987) The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) The Matrix (1999) The Mill and the Cross (2011) The Miracle Maker (2000) The Mirror (1975) The Mission (1986) The Muppet Movie (1979) The Music Room (1958) The New World (2005) The Night of the Hunter (1955) The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) The Passion of the Christ (2004) The Phantom Carriage (1921) FILMS 276-300 The Prince of Egypt (1998) The Promise (1996) The Queen of Versailles (2012) The Quiet Man (1952) The Red Shoes (1948) The Rider (2017) The Rules of the Game (1939) The Sacrifice (1986) The Searchers (1956) The Secret of Kells (2009) The Seventh Seal (1957) The Shop on Main Street (1965) The Silence of the Lambs (1991) The Son (2002) The Song of Bernadette (1943) The Story of the Weeping Camel (2003) The Third Man (1955) The Tree of Life (2011) The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978) The Trial of Joan of Arc (1962) The Truman Show (1998) The Turin Horse (2011) The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964) The Unknown Girl (2016) The Village (2004) FILMS 301-325 The Virgin Spring (1960) The Way (2010) The Wicker Man (1973) The Witch (2015) The Work (2017) The Wrong Man (1956) The Year of Living Dangerously (1982) There Will Be Blood (2007) This is Martin Bonner (2013) This Transient Life (1970) Three Burials (2005) Three Colors: Blue (1993) Through a Glass Darkly (1961) Timbuktu (2014) To Sleep With Anger (1990) Tokyo Story (1953) Triumph of the Will (1935) True Grit (2010) Tsotsi (2005) Tuesday, After Christmas (2010) Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992) Two Days, One Night (2014) Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010) Under the Sun of Satan (1987) Upstream Color (2013) FILMS 326-350 Ushpizin (2004) Vanya on 42nd Street (1994) Vertigo (1958) Vivre Sa Vie (1962) Voyage to the End of the Universe (1963) Wadjda (2012) Walker (2012) WALL-E (2008) Wanda (1970) Watership Down (1978) Wavelength (1967) Whale Rider (2002) What Time Is It There? (2001) When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (2006) Where Are My Children? (1916) Where is the Friend's House? (1987) Wild Strawberries (1957) Wings of Desire (1987) Winter Light (1963) Wise Blood (1979) Witness (1985) Won't You Be My Neighbor? (2018) World of Tomorrow (2015) Yella (2007) Yentl (1983) AnFtop100-final.xlsx
  11. I just noticed that Josh Wilson nominated Dekalog III. We'd decided to allow films made for television but not series, so maybe this meets the criteria? No one else has objected, so I'm okay with it. (If I'd thought about it from this angle sooner, I would've been tempted to nominate episode 8 of Twin Peaks: The Return.)
  12. > I guess the thing that jumps out to me is that all three Dardenne films that were on the list are now gone, almost surely to be replaced by two (the new max limit) different Dardenne films. I have to say, I think we got this one right. When I rewatched all of their films a few years ago, those were my least favorite. For twenty years I've felt the odd man out for not fully embracing Rosetta, and The Child, imo, isn't very good by any standard. I like the ambition of Lorna's Silence, even if it doesn't fully come together. Ken, I just noticed that your list of multi-film directors doesn't include Powell and Pressburger, who have at least two, The Red Shoes and The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp.
  13. Darren H

    Carol (2015)

    I can't find the final version of the file, but here's the first 16 shots. I gave the students a blank version of this spreadsheet and then asked them to pick any film they love and break down a sequence of at least 20 shots. The second part of the assignment was to turn it into a 750-word formal analysis. cnst400-shots-carol.xlsx
  14. Darren H

    Carol (2015)

    I went looking for a Carol thread, completely forgetting that I'd already posted more than a dozen times about the film! Four years later, I'm still completely enamored with Carol. I taught it in my intro to film criticism class last fall, including a shot-by-shot breakdown of the opening seven minutes, and the experience only heightened my love it. I'm happy to jump back into a discussion if anyone else is game. For now, I'll just say that I nominated the film for the top 100 for three main reasons (along with wanting to have more queer representation). The first is probably the least important, which is simply that I've never felt such a deep and mysterious connection to any film. Maybe the closest experience I've had with another work of art was when I first read Angels in America. I'm still pondering the queer connection between the two. I don't doubt I'm straight but there's something in queer identity that speaks deeply to me. Sometimes I think it's related to something closet-y about my faith when I was growing up. Second, a key theme that emerged as I was putting together my top 25 was a vague notion of "personhood," of what it means to be human. One of my deep fascinations with Carol is that at the center is Cate Blanchett (who has always had a Joan Crawford-like, slippery gender dynamic) performing the role of a queer woman, who is herself performing the role of an ideal housewife. Rooney Mara (who often plays queer characters) is likewise playing Therese as a queer woman desperate to find an identity to model. And the experience is breaking them both. This subect came up earlier in the thread, but there's a useful sense of drag throughout this film that feels essential to me. Like, trying on the clothes of another identity, shifting from one performance to another in hopes of finding a more natural fit -- somehow that embodies an innate spiritual desire in all of us. Finally, on the first page of this thread, I try to make the case that Carol interrogates many of our standard binary categories. The power imbalances we recognize between Carol and Therese and that can make us uncomfortable at first, can also be reciprocal and healing (to borrow language Peter helpfully introduced to the discussion). Not to put too fine a point on it, but my spiritual journey over the past decade has often been a process of disassembling the binary world I was raised in and stumbling toward a new faith appropriate for my more unsettled (beautifully!) worldview. No idea if that makes sense.
  15. Thanks, Joshua. I've read so many comments about Beautiful Day but have never seen it.
  16. I can help with some of these, Andrew. I'll email you this weekend. Ken, I think my A Moment of Innocence DVD might have disc rot! I'm hoping to fix it because I'd love for more voters -- and you, especially -- to see that film.
  17. Latest update: Persepolis (2007) Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019) The Celebration (1998) Jodhaa Akbar (2008) Meshes of the Afternoon (1943) Leave No Trace (2018) Gates of Heaven (1978) Stories We Tell (2012) Smoke Signals (1998) Whale Rider (2002) Pather Panchali (1955) Cloud Atlas (2012) Secret Sunshine (2007) The Headless Woman (2008)
  18. > If anything, films like The Devil, Probably, L'Argent, and Diary of a Country Priest are so devoid of hope that I sometime think they are pandering in the opposite direction and romanticizing despair. I totally agree. I'm referring specifically to Pickpocket, Light Sleeper, and The Child. You'll see what I mean when you watch Secret Sunshine. It includes a scene that seems to be an effort to interrogate a trope in those films. I'd encourage you and everyone else who hasn't seen Secret Sunshine to avoid as many spoilers as possible. It was an interesting coincidence to revisit this and High and Low the same week because both films evolve in similarly unexpected ways.
  19. A couple more morning-after thoughts. The murders were 16 years ago, and I'm pretty sure I've worked through my long period of anger toward the religious world I grew up in. As Russ put it in another thread, Secret Sunshine is a rare film in that it's making a good faith effort to understand and challenge the real world consequences (not quite the right word) of Christian belief. I hope I'm also making good faith arguments here. Forgive me if not. Part of the marketing appeal of evangelicalism is cheap grace -- the idea that by choosing to welcome god into our hearts, asking for forgiveness, and accepting grace, we will immediately be handed the keys to the kingdom, not just eternal salvation but, as the well-intentioned pharmacist tells Shin-ae (I'm paraphrasing), "You will know true healing only through god's love." When I said Secret Sunshine might have diminished my opinion of films in the Dostoevsky > Bresson > Schrader > Dardenne lineage, it's because in some ways they're appealing to the same basic human desire for a quick fix. By cutting to black just as Michel and Bruno receive the shock of grace, they're avoiding the messiness of the world those people will wake up into the next day. First Reformed strikes me as an interesting development for Schrader in this respect. That film feels to me like a shift from early Bresson to humanistic Bergman. But Secret Sunshine isn't cynical about our desire for grace, cheap or otherwise. When Shin-ae walks into that revival service following her panic attack, she's given permission for the first time to grieve. The communal spirit there, the singing, the closed eyes and raised hands -- it's a primal ritual she's stumbled into. I would call that a moment of hard-edged grace. She's being initiated, by an ancient tribal practice, into new ways of experiencing, bodily, her suffering and pain. The trick here -- and I think this is one of the many aspects of evangelicalism that fascinates Lee -- is that Shin-ae's experience at that service is also an initiation into the tribe. And, as I experienced first-hand, many of our religious tribes here in the privileged modern world aren't well-equipped to deal with real suffering and pain. I didn't cry while watching Secret Sunshine last night, but my body convulsed a few times, and once was when Shin-ae is alone at home and is suddenly overtaken by grief (that's how grief works) and her trained response is to suppress the tears by repeating the lord's prayer as a mantra. It's a brilliant bit of writing and acting, somehow showing Shin-ae's genuine comfort in those words while also commenting on it ironically (but not with meanness). Two other quick hits: One other aspect of the film that rang true to my experience but that might seem heavyhanded is the way Shin-ae takes on a kind of rock star status in the church. "Saving" her is a real point of pride for the people in her small group, and at a moment when she is isolating, their desire for her, the attention they give her, is another real source of immediate comfort. There's no binary thinking in this film; everything is both-and. Also, I wish Secret Sunshine had made Song Kang-ho famous in the West rather than Parasite because he's so, so great in this film.
  20. Revisited this for the first time since 2007, and I realized pretty quickly that the reason I'd put it off so long is that the film terrifies me. The only other time I watched it was two-and-a-half years after my mother- and father-in-law were brutally murdered and two years after I left the church, a decision I'd made not because the murders changed my understanding of god but because I was traumatized and bitterly, bitterly disappointed by the total failure of my church family to recognize my trauma and love me through it. I can't go into details here about that experience right now because my PTSD will kick in and I won't be able to sleep for a week. I'll just say that Shin-ae's experience is excruciatingly accurate. Earlier in this thread I responded to Jeffrey's complaints about the film by saying Lee is working in a melodramatic form. Bullshit. I was still in self-preservation mode when I wrote that. So many of the films we love are echoes of Raskolnikov. Putting the jailhouse scene 90 minutes into a 140-minute movie is such a stroke of genius, my estimation of the Dostoevsky imitators has decreased, I think. Lee's understanding of grace feels like a miracle to me. Secret Sunshine is my +1 nomination for the 2020 Top 100 and it'll be one of my 6-point, needs-to-be-in-the-top-25 votes. I recognize that my very personal framing of this response makes it really difficult for any of you to argue with it. Apologies for that! You should, of course, feel free to disagree, dislike the film, whatever.
  21. Mine is Secret Sunshine (2007).
  22. This has been on my to-watch list for years, so I'm glad to have an excuse to catch up with it soon. Just popping in quickly to say that every year, when we brainstorm ideas for Big Ears Festival, I pitch the idea of inviting Danny Glover. His career as an actor has been uneven at best. But he's been an activist producer, supporting filmmakers like Burnett, Apitchatpong, Sissako, Martel, Labaki, and a lot of young African American filmmakers, including RaMell Ross and Yance Ford. I saw him give a Q&A after a screening of Bamako years ago and it was one of those times when I felt like I was in presence of a special kind of wisdom.
  23. I was surprised by some of the directors who received multiple nominations -- Assayas, Cuaron, Denis (even though I nominated one!), Gerwig, Jarmusch, Leigh, Sayles, Stillman, and Wong. I'm not at all saying that they don't deserve spots on the list, but I'm really curious to see if any of their films are consensus picks.
  24. I'm surprised by the consensus. I don't know if I expected any film to show up on 40% of the lists, especially one that came out three years ago.
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