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Everything posted by goneganesh

  1. Herzog: "It was not so much a remake as an homage to Murnau. But I don't feel like doing an homage to Abel Ferrara because I don't know what he did
  2. Using the Great Lester Bangs to beat on Anonymous CD reviewer X and his 200 words seems like brutal overkill. The fact is if LB showed up today readers would call him a long winded, digressive geezer and lazy editors would massacre his writing until it screamed "yes, I am a consumer guide..." That said, I think that many of our young "critics" do tend to be over-enamoured with their own opinions and don't work very hard at trying to communicate effectively what a piece of music feels like -- their jargonist writing tends to be a function of their consumer narcissism. What is objectionable about phrases like "mancunian post-rock" is that they are so unthinkingly borrowed from the language of advertising. You can say what you want about Ol' Lester Bangs, he wouldn't have been blurbable or successful on Madison Avenue. This is much in contrast to the average review monkey, who seems, at least to me, to be born thinking in glossy superlatives or their opposites, and which possess a fundamental monotony. And as always: Good writers should read at least once a year, Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" which destroys with quick speed any rationalizations as I've seen above about the necessity for Jargonized writing. http://www.mtholyoke.edu/acad/intrel/orwell46.htm
  3. Excellent post, Buckeye! As I read over your summary of the Fordian themes in Fort Apache, I can't help but notice how many of them are re-capitulated in Eastwood's Flags of our Fathers -- and particularly the haunting line of Mrs. Collingwood's: "I can't see him. All I can see is the flags." Flags also ends with a similar re-writing of what we have seen in the course of the film -- but in Flags, it is memory itself that is re-writing history.
  4. Doug: I know you're not suggesting this, but Rohmer's films aren't abstract at all. If you want to see abstraction, watch a modern action film like Mann's Miami Vice or a Tony Scott movie. The logos/talk/bad -- image/action/good antinomy (which is a kind of a propagandistic re-statement of Hollywood's hegemonic practice anyway) becomes meaningless in films by great filmmakers. It only matters when we talk of bad films that are somehow out of balance. Just like in life, in Rohmer, taking his cue from Mankiewicz and Shakespeare, "talk" is action. And I would put Rohmer, as a film stylist, in the same rarefied category as Dreyer, Ozu, or Tati. Why? Because he is so rigorous and precise, yet subtle, almost invisible, that most people can't really see what he is doing as something profoundly "filmic". You can take as much pleasure in examining a Rohmer film structurally on the DVD as you can with Eisenstein, Ford or any 800 pound gorilla you can name.
  5. I agree. It's a masterpiece, a grand summation of both Noir (Ellroy) and Italian Giallo (De Palma) style. But it's not a film to be lightly unleashed on the unsuspecting. It is truly perversely outrageous and disturbing -- because its' violence and reflexive fetishism is reinforced by precise aesthetic "shocks" of imagery. And even though it is pure DePalma, it's also the most faithful to the grotesque, brutal, romantic spirit of Ellroy of all the adaptations.
  6. Apparently Fox has announced a slate of 10-12 "faith based" films for this boutique label... http://www.foxhome.com/foxfaith/ The chase for "passion dollars" goes on....
  7. A mild dissent here -- Dents and Shells is as good as Devotion + Doubt (and perhaps a little stronger) -- Since is a fairly anomalous record in the parade as it's really a "band record" -- From my live experiences with him, Buckner seems uneasy as a a rockn'roller. Since feels like Buckner's version of Wilco's Being There, which has a similarly undecided feel texturally. Buckner's record with Jon Langford, Sir Dark Invader, etc... is also worth looking out for...
  8. I would definitely second the suggestion of the Double Life of Veronique -- and also send you to look at the book The Secret Life of Puppets by Victoria Nelson - a book length essay-meditation on puppets (starting with the Kleist essay) and all the forms they take in modern life and pop culture. Also The Ghost in the Shell animes.... A.I. Blade Runner
  9. Sara: Here's the link to the thread for that movie.... http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?showtopi...hl=L'enfant
  10. I heartily second Acquarello's recommendation of this seminal, oddly overlooked film. Melville, in a characteristically self-dramatizing act, only got the rights to film the novel by offering to burn the negative if the film didn't meet Vercors' (the author) standards. In any case, it is a haunting, beautiful film -- unfortunately only available on VHS right now.
  11. Thanks for getting me back on topic, Doug. Where'd you see this? And what's it like?
  12. You said "probably" apocryphal...and that fatal "probably" is why I put you in in 2. But my taxonomy is a taxonomy of freedom, so you can apply in a private IM to be moved to either alternate hatred position. The paperwork takes a few weeks to process, though.
  13. Good line, Alan. There's basically three schools of criticism on this movie -- I'm putting you down in 1: 1) The "Jesus wasn't Swedish" school. 2) The "Isn't John Wayne funny as the Centurion?" School 3) The "it's long and underexciting" school. Call me a heretic, but to me, there's more to art than audience identification. But maybe this is a good subject for an A&F poll.... Too late, Steven, you're already in 2.
  14. Forget smoking! Isn't anthromorphizing animals a form of cruelty? Where's PETA on this?
  15. Hey, I love the Pasolini and the Rossellini, but I think that The Greatest Story Ever Told is incredible cinema. I'm not sure why people dislike it and mock it so vehemently. Maybe they haven't seen it. It's like a Tarkovsky film with movie stars, and dense with ideas and beautiful, rigorous mise-en-scene. And on the strength of the "score" alone, King of Kings is in the pantheon of cinematic art. And Nick Ray still had some juice on that one, too.
  16. Granted. But what is the impact? What is one supposed to do after watching the film? Write one’s Congressman? Boycott the Nile perch? Smash a Starbucks? It’s activist cinema, I reckon, but I’m not at all sure what false consciousness I’m supposed to be rid of at the end of the film. I think that if you were to see the film again (I’m assuming you just saw it once of course) it would strike you a bit more as agit-prop. I like essay films too -- the problem here, as I said before, is that Sauper isn’t “essaying” anything: he has a thesis and he admits just using this particular geo-political scenario to play it out. It’s too clever by half...a great illustration of how hollywood narrative has permeated into documentary -- people aren’t just hungry for “real” stories -- they want “real” stories that resemble the fake movies they’ve seen. Me too. I can’t wait. The "facts" may indeed be in place (i.e. Nile Perch, Poverty, Prostitution, Glue Sniffing, Mindless European Commodity Consumption, Gun-running, Russian Pilots) -- but not the schematic chain of causality -- that’s what I find dubious about the film. You, too, Doug, can take any 7 things about life in the world and relate them with an expressionist tone poem. It’s plain old surrealism without rigorous evidence to link the terms of the argument. Sauper’s intentions notwithstanding, I’d bet that a Tanzanian watching the film would feel differently...even good ol’ well meaning Joseph Conrad who told this same old story in Heart of Darkness is taken to task for his orientalism in post-colonialist studies. The critique is exactly the same -- Africans only exist as a “dark” mirror for the west. It’s another literary use of the african experience. OK -- but what happens when the buck stops here, or there, and it also has a amplified destructive effect on fledgling economies in the third world..? Can you be so sure with Sauper that it’s only “asian” and "russian" fat cats (let’s for a moment leave unexamined the racism of Sauper’s choice of bad guys) benefiting from the economies of Lake Victoria? How moral is that exactly? Sauper may have the option and mental luxury of opting out of globalization, but Tanzania doesn’t really. Generally I’d agree with you here 100%, Doug. But it’s precisely because the issues are complex and because we can’t really think of Tanzania as someplace over there where people are living or dying, that I think that Sauper’s film does the opposite of what it sets out to do -- for the sake of “drama” and the necessity of traditional villains and victims, it creates a conceptual distinction between the oppressive north and the victimized south -- and this is for the benefit of who? The Tanzanians? They benefit by being portrayed as perpetual victims of the West’s humiliation? How does that work exactly? This image is only meant to be consumed by the West. And the fact that the film has been accepted so willingly and uncritically means that the ur-images of colonialism are indeed deeply ingrained in the western psyche. If Sauper’s intention was to make us Westerners connect viscerally to the experience of Tanzanians -- a kind of malign “nightmare” version of Disney’s “it’s a small world, after all” -- does his scheme once again flatter the west with the role of post-colonial overlord, in effect granting us the power to solve the problem through our action/or inaction...? At a time when developing countries are becoming highly suspicious, even hostile to the cycle of “well meaning actions” by NGO’s and the credit schemes of the World Bank, Sauper’s film seems at the least, incredibly naive.
  17. A masterpiece of controlled irony and sensible protest against distortion from the Lake Victoria fisheries organization and the IUCN (World Conservation Union) http://www.iucn.org/en/news/archive/2005/12/Sauperletter.pdf
  18. Doug, here's an interesting and more even handed article that goes over the same ground we've been on:
  19. Yeah, the sequences in the film showed the goverment officials boostering for the perch like it was the golden goose....maybe it is? Who does those kinds of documentaries anymore? The BBC? Bulgarian TV? All I ever see are these "subjective" shaky cam dear diary things...It'd be nice to see some Ophulsian or Lanzmannian rigor (passion and reason combined) sometimes. Those guys are documenting something -- Sauper is making a rhetorical argument. He's Michael Moore in a safari suit. Definitely to its detriment -- I would have like to have seen exactly what percentage of the GNP the nile perch business contributes, or more than innuendo about the gun running. This stuff always makes me think of the whole "regarding the pain of others" essay and it's relation to the ideology of the documentary. I'm in the middle of a Dziga Vertov piece, and so I'm still thinking about this stuff. It wouldn't be the first or the last time....I guess what really bugs me about Sauper's kind of thinking is how "entitled" it is -- he comes out of a tradition of thousands of years of "ecological disaster" -- that disaster that we call civilization, and all these clowns can do is smugly lecture African countries on how they are doing it somehow wrong...these things are only exactly what European countries (and the U.S.) did to get in the dominant positions that they maintain today. That's what strikes me as paternalistic and touristic about it. I'd like to see Sauper to go to the E.U. and demand the razing of Geneva or Zurich so that the ecosystem of the lake could be restored. That could be his sequel.... Darwin's Nightmare 2: The Return of the Enlightenment. In any case, don't see any viable alternatives in the film being proposed for the economic development of Tanzania. I don't object to the portrayal of squalor -- I object to its' simplified poetization (i.e. photos like that) -- these things have concrete and complex causes...but who'd want to watch a documentary about that, right? It's so much easier to feel cheap emotion at kids sniffing glue on the corner or prostitutes being killed by johns -- something they do, unnoticed, on every corner of every major city in the world. BTW, thanks for the usual thoughtful reply, Doug...it helps me thrash this out in my own head.
  20. Tanzania defamed by film, backlash against Nile Perch, claims President.... "His (the President's) tirade, made during his monthly address, triggered angry protests against the film in the western town of Mwanza, where it was shot. Richard Mgamba, a local journalist interviewed in the film, was detained by police and threatened with deportation. Other people who talked on camera have also been intimidated, according to Mr Sauper." http://film.guardian.co.uk/news/story/0,,1852257,00.html
  21. In the Criterion DVD -- the story is in the booklet -- It's called The Legion of Honor, in it a man obsessed with winning the decoration of the title suffers his wife's affair with a government official, who is instrumental in getting him the coveted award.
  22. At the promo site for This Film is not Yet Rated -- there is a moderately quixotic petition to the MPAA to change their alleged star chamber-like practices: http://www3.ifctv.com/thisfilm/petition.php
  23. If you want to break away from the usual corny bio-pic approach to artists, check out Maurice Pialat's Van Gogh. It's a challenging film, but worth the time. http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103190/
  24. Lily Bart is one of the last great, living, naturalist characters in literature. I like her as much as Tess or Anna Karenina. Did you see the Terence Davies film of the novel, Ken? I highly recommend it. Darren: Dreiser's style is very dry in certain novels. He's shooting for a very distant, olympian but scientific tone which makes people think he is tone deaf to the music of language. But this really is a style that he chose for an effect -- anti-melodrama, anti-tragic, mechanistic. The weight of capitalist facts crushing human beings. No Hugoesque outrage for him. But Dreiser can get very lyrical in his shorter pieces -- like A Gallery of Women or 12 Men or Dawn....
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