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Everything posted by Wiederspahn

  1. Jeffrey, don't know if you've ever given this a look or not, but unspokencinema.blogspot.com pretty much covers this territory as good as anyone out there. I'm sure it would lead you to what you're looking for. Also, many universities have this type of course and use Paul Schrader's "Transcendental style in Film" as a text. In it, he focuses on Dreyer, Bresson, and Ozu. In my opinion, add Tarkovsky to that list, and that's where you start for an intro to contemplative cinema course.
  2. Wiederspahn


    Jeffrey, so glad you loved it. I could not agree more - one of the finest performances we've seen in years. And absolutely ditto on one of the finest films about art and artists ever made. And not only that, but art and artists mixing it up with the divine. I would be willing to wager that this film easily winds up in the top 10 of Arts and Faith most spiritually significant films. It just does not get much better than this. I remember when I saw "Andrei Rublev" for the first time. It was what made me want to be a filmmaker, made me realize that I wanted to spend the rest of my life trying to figure out how to do what Tarkovsky did. I wanted to be an artist aligned with my God. I wanted to be an artist who was truly "after it". I wanted to dive into the glorious waters of the beautiful Other. I wanted to be willing to swim across the tumultuous seas of this world of art, carried along by my God, in spite of the possibility that many in this world might consider me mad. Like Tarkovksy's Rublev, I wanted to be willing to spend years in silence so that last I could catch even the slightest glimpse of the glory of the One. Anyone who knows me, knows that "Andrei Rublev" is at the top of my film list. So with that being said, I am overjoyed that now, my dear, sweet Seraphine has made me feel, again, the way I felt when I first encountered my beloved Rublev and she joins him at the top of that list. Its only my opinion, of course, but I truly believe there have only been a handful of moments in cinematic history where it is as though the wind of the spirit blows across the screen, leaving something of the Divine for us all. Obviously, I can't say it any stronger: if its playing in a theater near you, get thee to the cinema.
  3. Wiederspahn


    I just saw this last night and consider it to be absolutely fantastic. It left quite a profound impression with me. Has anyone else seen it? IMO, it is one of the year's best, and will be and should be much discussed on this board.
  4. I've listened to it about five times, now. Am currently listening. And I have to say I really like it. A lot. I honestly think Magnificent, Moment of Surrender, Unknown Caller, are about as good of a U2 trifecta of songs as you're going to get. And man, being one who thinks "The Band" is THE band, how about that amazing Bandesque chorus on Moment of Surrender. I love it. And Breathe is as good a rocker as they come. And how about O Come O Come Emmanuel under White as Snow. Wow. Beautiful. My main and almost only complaint has do with the drum production. But, I agree with Josh and Stef and others who think they have simply laid it bare and synthesized beautifully all that has gone before. And this is it. Here it is. This is U2. These are the guys we fell in love with when they were only a Boy.
  5. Watched this twice in the past few days. Really like it. My favorite Kaufman, for sure. I've always appreciated "Eternal Sunshine..." and "Adaptation", but thought they always came up short on the human emotion side of the spectrum. In fact, many of my actor friends who have read or auditioned for Kaufman pieces tend to say Kaufman's scripts are better than the films. And these are people who still liked the films. But these comments, and my personal feelings about the films, always made me wonder if Jonze and Gondry had become so enamored by Kaufman's style and intellectual ascent that they wound up short on the heart element. After seeing "Synecdoche..." I'm convinced this is the case. Same imaginative style, same intellectual ascent, but this time with some serious human emotion, as well. I now think only Kaufman can truly do Kaufman. The man has a singular world in his head, and its his for the making.
  6. Finally saw this, and must say there was something that truly cut me to the quick. I feel as if I was allowed a rare peek at what a saint must look like, an opportunity to get to know one; unpredictable, mad, fiery, compassionate, loving, so remorseful over sin, unexplainable, unaware of his holiness, plucked by God's choosing, etc,. etc. I could go on and on about this dear Father Anatoly, but I'll stop there. And I would in turn throw out, that this may well be one of the truest and most profound depictions of a saintly man ever captured on celluloid. I've always appreciated for instance, Rosselini's "The Flowers of Saint Francis", though have felt there was something flat, and I mean flat beyond the flat of the stylized non-professional actor thing. In "Ostrov", there is life, just watch Father's face, in an instance madness transitions to grace so profoundly. There is seriously a mystery at work. And the image of this saint, back and forth across this isle, pushing this wheelbarrow full of coal. Beautiful. I mean, as opposed to "The Myth of Syssyphus" and the rock up the hill for nothing gig, here was the unexplainable, beyond our thoughts, wisdom of God's hand at work, while we trudge through the mire. Redemption breaks through. I absolutely found it beautiful, as did my wife. When the credits rolled, we found oureselves in tears, for we had truly come to love dear Father Anatoly. I'd love to see more discussion on this piece. It deserves it. Being a lover of Tarkovsky, Bresson, Dreyer, and the like, impulsively, and without giving it a second look, I would say "Ostrov" is worthy of as much discussion as say "Ordet" or "Winter Light". Its few and far between when pieces come along that deal so artfully with who we are as people of faith, and the tenets we hold dear - and in todays world, at that. I applaud this film and its makers, and a nation, Russia, which recognized its excellence.
  7. Wiederspahn


    Christian, Definitely see it if you get the chance. IMO, one of the best examinations of faith on film there is. Right up there with Winter Light, if you found that a provocative take on faith. But, Bunuel seems to carry his agnosticism even further. As if it's possible to go further than Bergman where that's concerned. But, he took his skepticism most seriously, and tried to treat his subjects with fairness. His entire career was spent grappling with the divine. And for certain, he had strong contentions with the almighty, and a bit of an axe to grind, and he left no stone unturned. Yet, IMO, with Nazarin, he somehow manages to find that fine line that forces the honest man to take a good hard look at how effectual the man of faith's faith truly is. Which brings up a whole lot of theological worms for fodder. So, do see it. I'd love to discuss in more detail. But know, Bunuel is definitely not everyone's cup of tea, to say the least. It may just strike you the absolute wrong way. But, it is one of those films I don't think I could recommend highly enough. Especially in a forum on Arts and Faith. It takes a look at the tough questions.
  8. Finally saw this the other day, and must say that I really liked it. A lot! The way they use the espionage caper to serve a film that is primarily a morality tale, IMO, about the breakdown of relationships in today's hyper-paced world is masterful. I mean sure, there may be some subversive political stuff going on, and sure there's some seemingly non-sensical parade marching by, but I think it's all about relationships falling apart in today's world, and asking are we learning anything from it. Malkovich obsessed with his work, Clooney obsessed with sex, McDormand obsessed with the beauty myth. It's all one big misunderstood caper, and it's not getting anyone anywhere. I think more folks are going to come around on this one after the whirling dervish of it settles.
  9. Just want to offer up my regards to Mr. Newman's integral career by acknowledging one of my favorites of his, co-starring his beloved, Mr. and Mrs. Bridge.
  10. Winter Light (in my opinion one of the most perfectly ambiguous films grappling with faith, ever) And lest we forget, probably one of the most disputed endings of all-time in of the the most disputed best films of all-time, Citizen Kane ("Rosebud")
  11. Magnolia 8 1/2 It's a Wonderful Life Ace in the Hole and I 2nd Andrei Rublev, Ordet
  12. Dan, That's right, I remember meeting you too! Very cool running into you here in cyber world. I'm glad to hear you're still keeping it alive in the theatre. So much to chew on, just trying to create these things that are swirling in our heads and hearts, huh? It can be a bit of a whirling dervish at times.
  13. I'm looking forward to this. Variety review is up, and its a good one: http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117938135...yid=31&cs=1
  14. Wiederspahn

    Nada Surf

    Seeing as how I'm a power pop junkie, I would definitely be remiss to not be a part of the Nada Surf train. So, I was glad to discover this thread with other such lovers of the Nada boys singing in perfect harmony. But, unless I missed it somewhere, I haven't found mention anywhere of their latest, Lucky, which is really giving me some pure pop bliss. I have to say, they've really hooked me and hooked me hard. Big time. Though they still haven't quite matched their power pop master class on Let Go, I'm digging this record even more than The Weight is a Gift, and find it close, which says to me that these boys are here to stay. Heck, the first three tracks are way and above the price of admission, but then add track 4, "Here goes Something" a total Simon and Garfunkle throwback, and man, I'm through the roof on this one. Anyone else heard it, or written about? Andy? Josh? Anyone?
  15. Definitely, there is Heidegger in Malick, particulary the ideas of threshold and being. But, I tend to see more Wittgenstein, and find that Malick's poetry is more informed from Witt's interest in Kant's thoughts about transcendant idealism, which would lend itself quite nicely to film as poetry as philosophy. Boy, that Malick, huh? Guess he didn't get the memo that movies were just for popcorn.
  16. Absolutely Josh, a complete knockout of an album and one of the best releases of this year. She just has such a way of crawling into one's skin and taking up residence in the private places of our interior, that to speak of her work almost feels like betraying a secret.
  17. Lance, I'm curious to know if, having now seen Days of Heaven, you think The New World represents a step forward for Malick, or if he was mostly repeating himself. IMO, The New World is certainly a step forward. Sure, there is a definite repetition happening within the work, but its a subtle progression of thought, pursuing a singular idea that's been with him from the start. And that idea primarily comes from the Austrian philosopher Wittgenstein, who one could argue is Malick's true muse. There is no coincidence that Caviezel's character in The Thin Red Line is named Private Witt, BTW. Malick is wholeheartedly on the Wittgensteinian page. Here's a snippet from Wikipedia about Witt's main thoughts: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus In rough order, the first half of the book sets forth the following theses: The world consists of independent atomic facts
  18. Count me in as one certified power pop junkie. One name I haven't seen mentioned here yet is Brendan Benson. Anyone a fan? I think he's creating some of the best contemporary power pop, absolutely infectious. Gets me singing and dancing a jig, for sure.
  19. No doubt, Sturges is one of a kind. But, even if you take a look at lackluster comedies from the Golden Age, like some bumbling slapstick type of stuff, you can at least be somewhat entertained, without all of your sensibilities being assaulted by the banal bathroom gimmicks so prevalent in this film. The majority of the laughs come from sheer shock, like, "What? Wait. Did he just say what I think he said? Oh my God. Ha, Ha, Ha." But, step back and look at it objectively, and man, no thought behind the gag what-so-ever. I mean, I've been drunk before and said some pretty ridiculous things that made myself and those around me laugh hysterically. But, I sure wouldn't repeat those things out loud. Sad to say, it was the liquor talking. And that's what's going on with the majority of these modern comedies - its all liquor speak. Today, its a constant barrage of Tropical Thunder and Step Brothers material. Absolutely assinine. Sure, Robert Downey Jr. does a fine job, and is arguably the best part of the film. But his performance sure doesn't make it worth one's time of day. Not even close. IMO. In fact, as a litmus test as to how great Downey's performance actually is (which I think could be debatable), I suggest we sit around with a group of friends, put on some black face and start doing our best Fetchin Stepit impersonations until all start laughing, then sit back and discuss whether or not their is any true merit to this type of performance. And BTW, yeah, Wes Anderson and the Coens are doing great comedic stuff, as is who Jeffrey mentioned, Whit Stillman and the Pixar game. Plus, a few more here and there. But by and large, as my grandpa would say, its definitely slim pickins out there.
  20. Some great picks here. I definitely have the Johnny Flynn, Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes and Sam Phillips records on my list. Was curious though, anyone else loving The Wood Brothers Loaded? It really works for me. And every time I listen to it, I seem to enjoy it all the more. I really love that record. Am I alone on this one?
  21. Wow. Went into this with as open a mind as possible, even knowing its not my preferred taste, hoping for at least, possibly, some decent laughs. And man, what a waste of a few bucks. If I'd seen it for free, even then I wouldn't have received what I paid for. I can count on one hand the amount of earned laughs (barely). Just a horrible, uninspired waste. What is it with modern comedies? I mean, is there no intelligence beyond boys hanging in a locker room? Seriously, it was like watching an amateur sketch comedy troupe who were given several million dollars to go and play in the jungle. Not good. Not good at all. It seems you can most notice the decline in artistry in modern American cinema, when comparing modern comedies with the Golden Age. Try taking a look at this film, or even the majority of other Stiller films, or for that matter, Will Ferrell, and continue on down the food chain to any two bit Saturday Night Live alumn, and compare them with the comedies of Lubitsch, Sturges, Wilder, Hawks, etc. Not even close. Heck, for that matter, compare them with Chaplin, or Keaton, or the Marx Brothers. Even compare them to Woody in his hey day. Even compare them to Albert Brooks circa late 70's and 80's. Its just ridiculous. The majority of our modern comedies are simply an absolute slide into the sewer, just a bunch of fart jokes that quickly fade. Wow. Pass on this one, for sure.
  22. Me too, definitely jealous of the NY folk! Definitely want to see this! Here's Doug Cummings thoughts on it: http://filmjourney.weblogger.com/2008/06/30/captain-ahab/
  23. Upon your glowing rave, Andy, I picked up the Johnny Flynn record. And all I can say is, THANK YOU! THANK YOU THANK YOU! Wow, what an incredible record. Easily one of my favorites of the year. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if it doesn't wind up as one of my favorites of the 2000's. It hits all the right notes for me, and you can bet I'll be catching a show as soon as he comes to my neighborhood. Definitely Carthy meets a bit of Pogues, and a little bit of Bragg in there as well, methinks. Just absolutely incredible. Again, thanks for the recommend! My ears are better for it.
  24. As a filmmaker, I am often at odds with a sense of duty toward myself (artist) and a sense of duty toward others (public). Too often I feel caught in a limbo, kicking against the goads of industry, railing against "those devil's" in suits intent on destroying my "art". How could they and their Harvard MBA know anything about "art"?Yes, it is the all too familiar artist decrying the evils of the machine. Its us versus them, with "them" always seeming to win out. As Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky (whose title for the sub-header of this forum I pulled from chapter 6 of his book, Sculpting in Time) so aptly articulates: "All manufacture, as we know, has to be viable; in order to function and develop, it has not merely to pay for itself but to yield a certain profit. As a commodity, therefore, a film succeeds or fails and its aesthetic value is established, paradoxically enough, according to supply and demand - to straightforward market laws. Need one add that no other art has been so subject to criteria of this kind. As long as cinema remains in its present position, it will never be easy for a true cinematic work to see the light of day, let alone become accessible to a wider public." Then why create cinema? If the downward pressure from industry is so severe, why bother? Is it even possible to change the "present position"? What is the "present position'? Is it necessary that our films "yield a certain profit"? If a films success or failure and aesthetic value are truly established by the laws of supply and demand, how do we function within that given space? What is our obligation to ourselves and what is our obligation to the public? How is it possible for us as filmmakers to continue creating, if that be the case? And further still, what seems to be begging questions; Who is our audience? Who decides who our audience is? There are billions of people on this planet, each with individual particular interest's and opinion's. How do we find those for who our work is made? Is it contingent upon whether or not the studio decides to spend 30 million, as opposed to 5 million on our P & A expenses (prints and advertising)? And what of those truly independent films that can't even afford to buy a cup of coffee with their marketing budget? Is there no audience for them? And what of the opinion of critics in all this? Have they too become enslaved by the mighty powers that be? For example, what if critic A loves your work and champions it to the world? And what if it just so happens that critic A is from the New York Times? Voila! All of a sudden your film finds an audience. Now, what if critic B, say, from The Denver Post, pans the film? Or vice versa, the Times pan it and the Post loves it? What does the impact of these single individual voices, who happen to work for the same powers that essentially guard and govern the studios interest, have on the outcome of us finding our audience? So the Times pan it. Now there's no audience for it? Of course not. Its simply a matter of supply and demand, perception and reality, is it not? That's the "present position". So, winding back around to the heart of the issue here: Why create cinema? Why do this? How do we do this? Who is our audience? How do we find our audience? What is our responsibility to this audience? Does it all come down to a matter of economics? What are the keys to changing the "present position of cinema"?
  25. Thom(asher) Great thoughts! I look forward to the discussions that follow.
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