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Brian D

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About Brian D

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  • Occupation
    Family medicine doctor
  • Favorite movies
    In America, Of Gods and Men, Munyurungabo, New World, Running on Empty, Where the Wild Things Are, Dead Man Walking, Men Don't Leave, The Apostle, Into the West
  • Favorite music
    U2, Dylan, Springsteen, Sufjan Stevens, Arcade Fire, Sara Groves, Innocence Mission
  • Favorite creative writing
    Novels: Gilead - Marilynne Robinson Brothers Karamazov-Dostoevsky Auralia's Colors-Overstreet Short stories: The Tumblers - Nathan Englander My Mother's Garden - Katherine Shonk
  1. Back to High and Low: *spoiler alert* I was really intrigued by that final scene in a way that strongly pulls me back to revisit it. The superposing of the faces of the 2 men (Gondo and the criminal) is striking. It makes me think of what those 2 men may actually share even in spite of the dramatic class gulf between them. Of course we know that Gondo by this time is no longer in the rich, lofty social class that he once was. Perhaps a partial closing of this social class gap is suggested here. Even more fascinating to ponder, though, is the possibility that this shot suggests Gondo is not as far from the guilt and condemnation of the criminal as it may seem at first. We recall that, were Gondo to have not opted to pay a ransom for the boy's life, he may have spent a life of somehow sharing in (or at least condemning himself) the guilt of the boy's murder. 2 faces, superimposed on one another. Both human and both not far from the tormented, guilt-wracked cries of that final scene. Ah, for the grace of God to break in..
  2. Great idea! I'd be up for that or a similar category -film maybe, say, in April. I would try to join the discussion if you started a thread in a few weeks, Rob.
  3. 2017 lists

    Some good stuff here: http://www.lookingcloser.org/blog/2017/12/25/your-favorite-song-of-2017/
  4. 2017 lists

    Your list of favorite songs or albums from this year, please! Here is Joel Hartse's list of "audio stuff" from Image: https://imagejournal.org/2017/12/29/listening-life-17-listens-2017/
  5. Would love it if anyone would share their list of favorites for 2017. I'm too behind in this year's films to share my own list, but hopefully that will come with time.
  6. Yes, lovely list. Great job everyone! Thank you for your guiding hand, Evan! Like all good film lists, this one makes me want to spend my week watching (and rewatching) all of these. Is it possible to archive this thread in a more prominent place? The threads that appear first under top 100 are still the 2016 ones. I am only aware of the waking-up list release because I happened to be looking for it. No big deal if there's no easy fix.
  7. Excellent, Joel. Being part of that Dardennes list is a high compliment for a film.
  8. The Breadwinner

    Cartoon Saloon's The Breadwinner...coming out this week in some places. I love Song of the Sea and really like Secret of Kells. Maturity and creative joy that is so rare in modern animation. A new film from this group gets me a good deal more excited than the prospect of a new Pixar or Disney animated film. Not more excited than Studio Ghibli, but maybe next in line. Can't wait.
  9. That's an interesting question about the joking of the police detectives. There may be some truth to the idea that the breezier tone of the middle-act police investigation scenes is at odds with the gravity of the 1st and 3rd acts. Honestly, though, I enjoyed those investigation scenes so much that it didn't occur to me. I coasted along with them, delighted that such a high-level filmmaker as Kurosawa would stoop down to revel not only in the twisty crime logistics but also in the very lively humor of those police discussions. Those police meetings seem like deep dives into the genre of the police procedural, yet with a crackling energy and levity. I can see, though, how the film when viewed as a whole might break down a little from that sharp tonal shift in the middle. It makes it slightly more difficult to piece it together in our minds as a complete work. The 1st and 3rd acts, though, are also not without their own dark humor and crime genre elements. This is so fun to talk about... would love to hear what others think of this issue.
  10. What is the due date for write-ups?
  11. When you mentioned Nakadai, I took a look to see who he played in the film. I was just recalling how his and the Bosun character register so strongly as characters with seemingly almost no introduction at all. If I go by this example, I would say that Kurosawa has a gift for bringing in characters that arrive in a film fully formed, as if you had met them before or were instantly familiar with them. Yes, a master class indeed on all of those levels. I'd like to add that the sound design of the film is masterful....especially in the sounds of the final scene and in one of the climactic scenes in which the music seems incongruous but overwhelming. And that telephone, signaling another round of dread with each ring... The final scene's jarring sounds could in fact be seen as illustrations of a certain desperate state of the soul.
  12. I would be happy to do The New World. Tempted to do Close Encounters but not sure I can articulate the waking up angle without tying myself in knots. So can't go in for that one just yet. Here's to giving Jeremy a chance to choose Joe Versus the Volcano because that was one of the core films he suggested for this list when he proposed the idea.
  13. Questions: (lots of spoilers!) -What did you love about this film? What did you struggle with? -Haunted by the final shot of the faces interposed. How does this scene and this shot impact the film? -How does the title interact with the film? Why High and Low? It's adapted from a novel called King's Ransom, which could signify a different meaning and intention. -Do you have any thoughts about Gondo's change of course? What prompted it? What does it mean for you as you look at the film as a whole? -Fascinating that this is on Joel's list of films to watch for his PhD research. Joel, can you please share more about that? -For those who know Kurosawa's works well: does this relate or compare in interesting ways with his other films? -Mystified by the intern and the way the film associates him with dead-end poverty. Help me out, someone...am I understanding this right? Extrapolating from modern Western societies, this intern would eventually be able to make a good deal more money a few years down the road. Would an intern like this have been in a different situation at this time in Japanese history? Perhaps I don't understand this character's profession correctly. -Share your own questions as well!
  14. Other (more serious) stuff meant to get you to watch High and Low : -A.O. Scott on High and Low : “One of the best detective thrillers ever filmed.” - Roger Ebert on High and Low (sort of spoiler): “Few Japanese directors would have thought to adapt one of Ed McBain's crime stories, for example, but Kurosawa, reading King's Ransom, found the materials for one of his most challenging films, "High and Low" (1962). In it, a wealthy man is told his son has been kidnapped. He must sell everything to raise the ransom. Then it's discovered that the kidnapper mistakenly kidnapped the son of the millionaire's chauffeur instead. Is this boy worth the same ransom? As the eyes of the millionaire and the workingman meet in a shot of stunning power, Kurosawa confronts the question of whether all lives are equal.” -In a 3-way tie with 2 other Kurosawa films for 1st place on Guillermo del Toro’s favorite Criterion films list. -#3 on Scott Derrickson’s list of his favorite Kurosawa films. On A & F, he noted that the top 20 on his list are all masterpieces. To emphasize the point, High and Low was #3.
  15. I will start this Film Club thread with a goofy ad filled with sensational blurbs meant to get you to watch Kurosawa’s High and Low. Easy to rent on Amazon or ITunes. “HIGH AND LOW is really great…if we went with it I'd be more than happy to re-watch. I mean, Kurosawa!” - NBooth “I'd be excited to watch anything by these directors!” – Rob Z “Let's go with High and Low. I'll try to start a thread soon!” – Brian D “HIGH AND LOW is high on my to-watch list for my PhD research!” – Joel Mayward I hope you are inspired to watch with us!!!