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Everything posted by Pair

  1. April releases were announced, I'm most excited about the Hollis Frampton collection, and the Czech New Wave Eclipse set. And hey, how great is the Eclipse line? Sometimes I think I actually prefer them to main Criterion spines. I'm also so VERY happy to finally see Ozu on blu. I've never heard of The Organizer or ¡Alambrista! and don't much care about the Harold and Maude release, though I do realize it's HUGE news to VERY many other cinephiles. Pretty good month, I think.
  2. I'm a parent, and we homeschool, so I suppose I'm a bit of a teacher. Just what are you trying to say, son?
  3. Super! Here's this and this. There's also an interesting interview with Buñuel Criterion included in the booklet that they do not make available online, that I will be happy to quote from if made necessary. I had no idea this release was out of print R1! Apparently it was one of the ones knocked out of Criterion by Lionsgate via StudioCanal releases. I'm very interested in hearing your thoughts, especially from a fresh first time viewing. I'd especially like to hear your reaction to the duel between the Jansenist and the Jesuit. I adored that scene. Or really, anything that struck you. Or confused you. (It can be a terribly blissful confusion, as encounters with Buñuel so often are.) I'm trying to dig out an old essay I wrote, but it was so long ago I have no idea where it is. I may just have to rewatch and make some new notes.
  4. This whole thing reminds me of a recent conversation I had with a chef friend of mine. I was likening my palate for film to his palate for food. He has studied and deconstructed food, and is not interested in junk. I believe the stuff Michael Pollen refers to as "edible, non-food substances." You know, the stuff you buy and when you read the back it says "High fructose corn syrup, red dye #40," and then a laundry list of chemicals whose names you cannot pronounce. My friend knows better. He has no interest in imitations or massive amounts of chemicals, flair with no substance, or quantity over quality. If he was to try it, it simply would not be for him. If in mixed company, he would probably just smile and choke it down as politely as possible. He doesn't consider himself a better person than those who are perfectly content to dine on McDonald's and Skittles, his palate is just refined - or accustomed to a different approach to taste experience. Still, if he was asked (or cornered into) his opinion, he would give it. If pushed, he would probably preach it, because it is his highest passion. If he was then criticized for being pretentious, he would brush it off as an opinion from a person with an entirely different worldview. I don't think I have to draw out all the parallels between the above paragraph, and the art lover. I'm sure every one of us in this forum can put it together. Also, I do not take offense to being called pretentious. It simply means my palate cannot handle the McDonald's and Skittles of art. I have deconstructed the forms too far, too meticulously. Every once in a while, my friend can eat some junk food, but he can't eat very much, or for an extended period of time. It will make him physically nauseous. Often when I try to watch a favorite movie of one of my friends, I know too far ahead of time where it is going because I put myself in the place of the writer. I can't watch the majority of TV shows AT ALL, they are far too prone to clichés. I believe the same is true of serious students of music appreciation or theory, when they are SO steeped in challenging time signatures and experimental dissonant chords and bizarre scales and breakneck or altering tempos... they simply have a physical repulsion to most top 40 style pop music. "Woo. 1-3-5 progression. Hooray. Oh, here comes the bridge? A temporary minor key? Wow. Didn't see that coming." Is the attitude pretentious? Perhaps, but I argue that it still comes from a genuine place. If you love something enough, you steep yourself in it. You study it, read everything about it, constantly expose yourself to its very best offerings. So your very physicality rejects it; are you then to be criticized for being critical? Sidenote: I don't think 'highbrow' and 'lowbrow' are good words to use here. Many would consider some of the more experimental or avant garde works in cinema 'lowbrow' because of content, though they remain arthouse based on inability to pander. Highbrow is not the sole domain of arthouse; lowbrow is not the sole domain of grindhouse.
  5. [GASP] BLASPHEMY! We burn the heretic at dawn. Seriously though, I find differences in aesthetic wildly fascinating. I adore Tarkovsky, is there something specific you can point to that you have a distaste for, or is it a purely visceral, involuntary reaction type deal? Do you like Dreyer, Bresson or Ozu? I have a severe allergy to all things feature length Disney animation.
  6. Pair


    A bit off topic, but seeing this post refreshed makes me think of this... I do a bit of a regular double feature at my house for family and friends, typically showcasing two films that are either antonymous or synonymous in general nature. I'll save you the weird conversational details, but my sister-in-law and I have come to a standoff for the next event: my copy of Antichrist versus her Tangled. I've never seen Tangled, but I feel pretty safe in assuming this will be the most antonymous double feature in Pair (if not world) movie night history.
  7. So I wrote Green Integer asking (among other things, but I wager this bit will most likely interest some posters here) "[do you] have plans on reprinting Notes on the Cinematographer by Robert Bresson? If so, is there an estimated release date?" The reply from a publisher there was, "Yes, it is currently at the printers and should be available before the end of this month." I am mega excited. My nerdometer just broke a needle. My copy ran away from me at some point a while back, and was fairly worn used loved already. I'm hoping for a really nice shiny new edition in time for my birthday, since this one has been unavailable for too long now.
  8. I'm starting to fear that the trend in all aspects of life is to "boil it down," ever smaller. Audiences want it memorable, meaningful, compact and portable. It also wouldn't hurt if it was a bit cute: a pithy parable. If you can't tweet it, nobody is interested, and you had better not use a comma or introduce multiple thoughts or you'll lose everybody immediately. Rich complexity is evil and time consuming; keyword-based simplicity is good and leaves enough time and energy to go on to the next best thing that we will ALSO only invest a few moments of our life in. Greatest Commandment Theology would fit in perfectly with the lifestyle of the overstimulated, and do so under 140 characters. The problem for that worldview is that Christianity needs more room than that. It is diverse, curious, complicated, sometimes even vague or subtle. The Greatest Commandment is that which contains all others, but to just fling it at anybody in the room with a serious, probing, complicated mess of a problem in their life - treating the Greatest Commandment as a sort of apologist's booger - accomplishes little (and like a flung booger, is very unappealing for most). Sometimes such an oversimplification of faith drives people who are NOT simple and do NOT have simple lives away from the church. To answer the blogger, Jesus didn't leave anything out. The author says "That’s the part he left out! It’s not love God, and then love your neighbor. It’s love God, feel how much God loves you, and then love your neighbor." I respectfully disagree. It's love God, and like unto it, love your neighbor. They are two sides of the same coin. We can say we love God, but if it isn't manifesting itself in love of our neighbor, then the coin isn't actually as big as we are convincing ourselves. Being two sides of the same coin, both must have equal dimensions. Our overall faith coin is only as big as its smallest side. And yeah, I just got cute and tried to boil it down, but what is contained in this commandment is the further expansion Jesus did on the Law. He goes and says "Repent" then gives a pretty detailed rundown of exactly WHAT a repentant soul looks like in Matthew 5-7, The Sermon on the Mount. I always start there, I challenge others to clear their head of all they have been led to believe Christianity to be, then read those three chapters with an open mind. Their mind can typically find no fault there. Jesus makes quite a bit of sense now that the culture of Christians has been stripped off his person. Once their mind is opened, then we can look to opening their hearts and souls. Yeah, the red letters are still pretty short, but the study continues and continues... For instance, you find information on the cultural and religious background of the writers, their audiences, the extenuating circumstances under which these different books (spanning different geographies and different time periods) were written, and WHY. All of that makes your faith so much richer. Christianity constantly unfolds, and it is a wonderful and lifelong process. Theologians with scholarly biblical acumen of GENIUS proportions, after a lifetime of developing their faith die wishing they could learn just one thing more; then realizing all will be soon revealed, go to meet their Maker. I simply don't understand people who want to fold all that back up and stick it in their pocket. Unfold it, make it complicated and messy. People ARE complicated and messy; and we aren't about to be perfect, but we can keep seeking after a perfect God. Recently I read something along the lines of "Express what Christianity is to you in seven words or less!" as a fun little exercise on Facebook or someplace (geez, now I hope it wasn't Image's FB ) ...but I couldn't help but ask myself "Why would I EVER do that?" ...a question I realized was under seven words. "The most important thing he ever said?" Blech. The most important thing Jesus ever said was what he said with his life, all of it. How very appropriate he is referred to as The Word. I can hardly think of anything more delightfully complex.
  9. Pair


    Really? "Singular?" I really enjoyed myself, and definitely want to see more from Yorgos Lanthimos, but throughout Dogtooth I was a bit distracted by this nagging voice in the back of my head whispering 'How much Michael Haneke does this guy watch?' I would have liked to shake it off and go back to watch it once or twice more (my usual MO is to view something once, allowing myself to freely invest and enjoy myself without a care; then once again with my critical analysis cap on and deconstructive pen and pad at the ready), but my local little arthouse couldn't afford to keep it long enough for me to find the free time. I suppose I'll just have to buy it for myself. The style was one I always enjoy, but I just couldn't shake the feeling I was watching one of the films from Haneke's Glaciation Trilogy. Now that I've successfully made a detour that had nothing to do with this thread... ...I really truly am looking forward to Alps, and would be very open to suggestions on anything else from Lanthimos. EDIT: Actually, I'd be very appreciative for suggestions on anything from Greece. It's one of the countries I have next to no viewing experiences from.
  10. Pair

    Paris, Texas

    I'm in the minority, I think, but I like Paris more than Wings. I don't know about majority or minority, but after really appreciating the beauty and pacing for the first 45 minutes or so of Paris, I found myself sighing impatiently and exasperated by the final 30. If you're so inclined to start a thread, I'd love to see you or others express what's meaningful to you about this film. Consider me curious to know what I'm very likely missing. Paris, Texas is one of my very favorite films. I love it a great deal more than Wings of Desire, though I find the two almost entirely incomparable: Wings seems to sit in a fantasy world full of lofty romance, Paris in a more concrete world full of grit and silent pain. Wings seeks a sense of humanity and wishes to be broken, but is made whole in the end; Paris seeks a sense of redemption and wishes to be made whole, but ends up broken (Travis continues on his road, it doesn't seem he finds himself 'good' enough to take part in the family reunion he sees through the window). Wings is neatly tied up, Paris is elliptical. Beyond (but also due to) the above contrasts between the two films, I viscerally and personally relate to the world of Paris, Texas more than the world of Wings of Desire. Paris, Texas, to paraphrase Donald Richie (while speaking about his love for Au hasard Balthazar) is a place where I like myself. That inexplicable code of aesthetic guides me to realizing my very favorite works of art and, consequently, realizing myself. I'll start with my conclusion: I... disagree. Soul-sickness? As I said, I prefer stories of damaged people. Mental damage? Yes, it's obvious Travis suffers from some sort of trauma. Rain Man? Here I agree with the reviewer: it isn't the movie's fault. Associations can kill something wonderful. "Magically" snaps out of it? The implication (I don't intend to set up a straw man, but) seems to be Travis' is an instantaneous recovery. I didn't find it so: he never recovers, because he continues on his road, probably deeming himself unworthy of his family. His starting to "[behave] like an actual human being" is just a confusing statement. What is an "actual" human being, and why did he need to 'snap out of it' to fit the requirements? I thought his recovery to the point of conversationally opening himself to others was timid, unsure and gradual, and he never did seem to rid his interactions with his loved ones of ALL awkwardness. SPOILERS ABOUND AFTER THIS POINT. STOP READING IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THIS FILM. Now, the "regurgitated backstory." Yes, I agree that typically that is a played-out storytelling sin, but I don't think this scene falls into that category so neatly. First, she seems to always semi-recognize his voice (unless I read too much in her facial expressions), but in a guarded way. After all, this is a woman whose profession requires a strong BS sensor and a no-nonsense, arm's length relationship with her clients, whether intimate subjects are discussed or not - making for a very particularly odd social position. Her face seems to betray her recognition of Travis' voice (indeed, she later admits to hearing his voice in all her customers, another reason she probably restrains herself from jumping to conclusions) and I think she realized it was him fairly gradually through the scene. Then I think the camera angles gave us a clue (I agree with the reviewer that it IS very cinematically compelling) when Travis tells the story of these two people he "knows." She relates, guardedly, while he initially sets up the dynamic of the two people's relationship. Then he mentions the word "trailer," she repeats "Trailer?" Then the camera POV is from inside her area, looking into the darkness of his. This is the first time the shot is from that angle, and so I think this is the first escalation of her realizations it is Travis. She still can't be completely certain, but I felt the fear well up inside her, looking with her into the dark. This is probably the first time she wanted to see who was on the other side. Yes, during his earlier visit she tried to "look" at his face, but I don't believe because she was interested in doing so, I believe it was more likely a pleasantry extended to a seemingly bashful client. Then tears, then music, then "Travis?" But I always thought the subtlety of a flash of her POV at the word "trailer," was the first hardening of certainties. Unlike many regurgitated backstories, Travis only recounts the couples' story from the man's side of things, only able to speculate on the woman's. It seems he adopts an omniscience when he begins to say how the woman dreamt of running naked in the dark away from the man, but he goes on to explain the man's reaction when she tells him about these dreams. People with relationship issues very often do not communicate exactly what is going on inside of themselves clearly to their partners. I'd wager they don't even examine themselves closely enough to know what is going on in there. Travis has had the benefit of solitude, to really think about himself and just what his problems were/are. A regurgitated backstory often has the audience thinking "For whose benefit is this recap? The characters aren't supposed to know there is an audience... just who are they doing this for?" I think this recap is entirely for Jane, I highly doubt the man in Travis' story was an open book. Side question: did anybody else catch a visual rhyme between this scene and the one where Hunter is in the back of the truck separated from Travis (who has his back to Hunter) by the back window, while they communicate through radios? ps- I don't know Sam Shepard or his "fucking plays." If this is one more in a long line of predictable formulae, I understand the author's exasperation. I, however, reap the reward of ignorance.
  11. It was a minor character, but the pastor in Ordet always sticks in my mind. Not just because it's one of my fave films, but there's something subtly alarming about his skepticism and apathy. It's almost unnoticeable, but I feel it is very present. He seems complicated, like there is a great deal of another story about his life that we aren't allowed to know. Still, Vergérus is top of my unforgettable list. He hangs over the child in me, brooding with hatred and contempt for my innerchild Pair. Overstreet reminds me, I really must see Wise Blood at some point.
  12. It's all about his scream. You know the one. Never ever forget Jan Malmsjö as Bishop Edvard Vergérus in Fanny and Alexander. Gives me chills every time.
  13. Since I'm new here and youse guys don't know me all that well, I'd like to preface the following comments by the following: 99% OF THE TIME I DO NOT JUDGE A FILM AT ALL UNTIL I'VE SEEN THE WHOLE THING. To do otherwise I usually find ridiculous. I've read this thread and reserved my baseless comments, but can't contain my pessimism any longer. Now. This film looks... just so, so, so very terrible. It reminds me of all the exploitation/grindhouse flicks I loved so much in my younger days - with better production value. If I didn't know who the director was ahead of time, I would assume it was one of Tarantino's asinine projects. I really don't see anything of substance or depth being explored here. If I'm incorrect, please let me know. I'll need a defense of this film by somebody who loves it before I ever consider watching it. True story or no. This may have piqued my interest much more if a filmmaker had had the testicular fortitude to follow Sam Childers into this adventure. [sarcasm]Ooo, Gerard Butler and his no-bs attitude are so INMYFACE!!![/sarcasm]
  14. You're probably correct. That's what I meant by my terrible attempt at humor with the mock conversation. They must think this universe could be better (which would by necessity be a universe that could NOT include the very people who say the universe could be better, reducing their viewpoint to one of a weird strain of nihilism) or they were trying to make some statement that had nothing at all to do with the question (which I've found many people love to do when asked a potentially probing theological or philosophical question: deflect). In any case, these are people with whom I'd be very interested in having a chat.
  15. That aggressively nihilist 5% is what I find interesting. 5%: Nope. Sorry God. This universe is garbage. God: But you live in this universe. 5%: Nope. No good. Scrap it. God: Your loved ones, your job and hobbies, all of your very memories? 5%: What are you, going to get emotional about it? Nope. Toss it all. You need to try something different if you want my approval. God: Your approval itself only exists in this universe... I can only assume they thought by disapproving of God's creation of the universe, they were disagreeing that God created the universe.
  16. Gaaaaaadzooks. I'm nauseous with envy. I especially want to hear a detailed account on that Lav Diaz, I have to live vicariously through the people fortunate enough to see his films.
  17. It's been mentioned, but it bears repeating: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zcDVjCNTVP8&feature=related Count the shots.
  18. TEN?!?!? Ugh. This one is going to give me poster's remorse the second I click the button. I think I'll just try to rattle off whatever comes to mind first. Do not edit, do not edit, do not edit... No particular order: Close-up (Kiarostami, 1990) Mouchette (Bresson, 1967) The Sacrifice (Tarkovsky, 1986) L'amour braque (Żuławski, 1985) Viridiana (Buñuel, 1961) Colossal Youth (Costa, 2006) Paris, Texas (Wenders, 1984) The Ascent (Shepitko, 1976) Ordet (Dreyer, 1955) Playtime (Tati, 1967) Annnnd... regret post.
  19. Pair

    The Vanda Trilogy

    Pardon my bump. I ADORE this trilogy so much. Fans of Bresson and Straub should take great big note. Criterion really reminded me why I love them so much with the job they did on the presentation. I was one of the winners (toot toot) of that one-liner competition Criterion did on their Facebook a while back with this: "MY ESSENTIAL CRITERION: LETTERS FROM FONTAINHAS In our increasingly technological world FAR too distracted and overstimulated, Pedro Costa forces us to quiet our souls and pay attention to the transcendental beauty in the minutiae of daily life in a way unmatched since Robert Bresson - and WITHOUT Criterion, too many of us would have missed this sympathetic whisper in the cacophonous crowd." I probably should have been disqualified for such a terrible sentence, but hey - the gift certificate helped me upgrade to a Blu Solaris. While I think Ossos has a good deal of similarities with L'enfant, I think there is one major distinction: the young father in Ossos seems to really be trying, and makes his decision out of desperation. I have burned into my mind a scene where he is trying hard to feed the baby and the look on his face was just so very heart wrenching to me. It was a blend of desperate frustration and a lack of the proper resources, not to mention a lack of an ability to understand that one has a lack of proper resources - choked back tears, subtlety. In Vanda's Room will disable you from ever using the words 'gritty realism' about a film again. It is excruciating, but rewarding. Eat your vegetables. Colossal Youth is absolutely wonderful. If you see anything from Costa, see that (edit: I personally believe Room should be prerequisite viewing to Youth, but if you can/are willing to only see one, see the latter). Very rarely does one come across a filmmaker who seems to have been a great painter in a past life. Watch for his use of light. Something like Francisco Goya's Pinturas negras period, but on DV. Sparse, small light is so delicately used throughout the entire trilogy, but in Colossal Youth it takes on whole new meanings. The crisp, clean, new (but characterless) projects shining in the sun serve as a strong counterpoint for all the nostalgia of the decaying yet beautifully drab Fontainhas old neighborhood. The beauty of human interaction and conversations upon conversations is being edged out by the constant gazing noise of Vanda's television set in her new place - her very child becoming nearly an afterthought. Not to mention Ventura has one of those faces Bresson would have absolutely fallen over himself to use as a model. The chorus of the film is Ventura's recitation of a letter (each time making the letter more perfect, for his friend to eventually send) that is one of simple elegance that made my heart ache. Once recited in completion, his friend's response is pure wistful gold. Finally, the shorts Tarrafal and The Rabbit Hunters are twin must-see flipsides of the same coin. Very interesting stuff there, but be sure to watch them together, it gives them a neat effect. Speaking of advice on viewing, BE AWAKE. These films require a GREAT deal of attention, they are the COMPLETE opposite of the passive inactivity of watching TV. They are more akin to viewing an art piece. Do not start watching them if you are at all sleepy. I suggest having coffee or tea on hand. Also, watch them in pitch black darkness, to get the full effect of his painterly use of light. The darkness of the room you are in is as important as watching say, Stan Brakhage's pieces. I agree, they really are cinematic in nature, and gave me a great deal of faith in the power of digital video. Criterion's box is incredible. The interviews between Gorin and Costa are fantastic. I would love to be able to have a conversation with Costa. He's just so... cozy. Every extra is spot on and interesting. This one is a challenge, but the payoff is so very rewarding. Transcendental light, meditative faces, gritty lives yet poetic transcendence: high art in low places.
  20. I'm more excited for the Three Colors blu box set than I think I have been for any other release this year (had to double check when it was that the Letters from Fontainhas box was released ). It is so very pre-ordered. I'm certain Fanny and Alexander will look stunning, but upgrading my SD is a task that can wait for a sale.
  21. The most well-known movie shot here was 10 Things I Hate About You. I know several people who giddily go on about how they were extras, especially in a big scene of a school dance. I've never seen it, because it is very much not my type of flick, but also well... it's hard to explain. When you have to sit and listen to somebody go on and on about how they met Joseph Gordon-Levitt and how he was a prima donna and a jerk to everybody and this is how everybody else was and here's another twelve stories you've already heard[et cetera] ...I've built up quite an intolerance to the thing. I still hear random people talking about it on the bus and here and there in public. This is the usual conversation: "Nope, haven't seen it." "Seriously? So many of my friends were in it." "Yep. Mine too." "You should watch it then-" "Not interested. Looks stupid." "But it was filmed right here-" "Don't care." I know it makes me sound like a bit of a jerk, or contrarian for contrariness-sake, or just a general pretentious dipwad, TRUST ME. Given that this was already something I would have just ignored until enough time went by that people forgot about it and I could move on with life, it becomes much more difficult to ignore and let go of when NOBODY forgets about it. On more interesting notes (that nobody ever seems to talk about) Rose Red and The Hand that Rocks the Cradle were also filmed very close by. The Rose Red house is very beautiful, though I haven't seen that one. Cradle I haven't seen in years, but I know where that house is too.
  22. In honor of the recently deceased Laydu, I'm certain I'll spend some time keeping the little priest of Ambricourt company. Like I needed an excuse, Journal d'un curé de campagne (Diary of a Country Priest) is constantly neck-in-neck with Ordet for my favorite film ever. Outside that, Yi yi (A One and a Two) or Il deserto rosso (The Red Desert) blus I have leftover from that last B&N Criterion sale. Or maybe even both, as the Pair house will be empty this weekend.
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