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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. Excellent, Joel. Being part of that Dardennes list is a high compliment for a film.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. What is the due date for write-ups?
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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!
  8. 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.
  9. 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!!!
  10. Film Club April 2017: Cleo from 5 to 7

    Let's go with High and Low. I was able to watch the first 30 minutes last week, enough to see that it's a great film for discussion. Also, enough to be able to say, "Kurosawa made a film like this?" The man had range. I'll try to start a thread soon.
  11. Film Club April 2017: Cleo from 5 to 7

    Thanks, NBooth. Should we avoid it because you've already seen it, or would High and Low be your vote? By the way, I should mention why these choices came to mind. Le Silence de la Mer came up since it relates a bit to Image and A and F. Kenneth Morefield (if I remember correctly) did an essay in the recent film issue of Image on that film. This one was his choice in the category of "the film that helps me live better." Intriguing. Though less seen, the Kiarastomi is thought by some to be one of his very best. And Kurosawa because....you can really never stop exploring his deep well of great works. I would be excited to go with any of these choices.
  12. Film Club April 2017: Cleo from 5 to 7

    How about one of these for the next Film Club? There are tons of wanna-see films I have avoided because it seems so many here have seen them. I am assuming these I've chosen are lesser known to us, but I'll come up with a different list if you've seen all of these! Le Silence de la Mer - Melville Where is the Friend's Home - Kiarostami (may be harder to find, though it is streaming on Filmstruck) I Live in Fear - Kurosawa (could be quite relevant and compelling given headlines this year) High and Low - Kurosawa
  13. Film Club April 2017: Cleo from 5 to 7

    is there a person at Image who could tell us when/if the list might happen? Is it possible the project got lost in a sea of projects, or perhaps instead that there is a plan for it to be done next spring at usual top 25 time? I imagine some folks who voted and nominated films could get a bit discouraged by the long waiting period. Film Club...I'll see if I can think of something. The tricky thing for me is finding something you all haven't seen yet. If my brain turns out to be blocked, I will surely ask for help!
  14. Film Club April 2017: Cleo from 5 to 7

    I am glad I finally saw this on Filmstruck (yay!) but finding it hard to say why. Joel's highlighting of the "soldiers in Algeria" conversation helps me a lot to enter into the closing 20 minutes of the film in a way that I found challenging before. Without considering it deeply, I initially found Cleo/Florence"s sudden peace at the end baffling and materializing out of thin air. Is this peace all because of this guy who seems to me to be quite unworthy as a catalyst to waking up? I am willing, though, to go along with the idea that the content of the final conversation played a strong role in the process of Cleo waking up. Fascinated by that comic short and it's place in the film, as well as the "film within a film" moments that were highlighted here. Also fascinated by the interplay between the opinion of the tarot reader about the future and the actual view Cleo ends up with about the future. So shall we get Film Club going again? I assumed the hiatus was because we were waiting for the waking up top 25 to materialize, but since the timing of that is unclear (trying to be patient ) we might as well spend the waiting time discovering new and unexpected movies together!
  15. Joe Henry - Invisible Hour

    Someone please confirm for me that I am not dreaming as I listen to the opening tracks of this album in the late hours of the night. Is it possible that music of such splintering beauty is really filling my ears? Is it possible that this comes from our own era? Someone please join your witness to mine.