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magadizer

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Everything posted by magadizer

  1. HIGH AND LOW is one of my favorite Kurosawas as well. It's a master class in directing, script, and in acting, particularly from Mifune and Nakadai. If you only know those two from Samurai pictures, this will greatly expand your understanding of their achievement as film actors.
  2. I can write about THE TRIAL if you like.
  3. Second the Long Goodbye and The Insider.
  4. I think Orson Welles's THE TRIAL should be on this list. After the narrated prologue, it begins with the shot of Anthony Perkins waking up in his bed, to find the police in his room, . The film is of course not a realistic story, and the irony is that though K has woken up, it is clearly a nightmare unfolding over the course of the film. The surreal narrative dream-logic pursues a vision of the absurdity inherent in bureaucracies, and ultimately the cruel and pitiless violence of the police state. These are themes very much needing to be awoken to, but in this poetic, labyrinthine exploration, are somehow made more present than a more straightforward story might do.
  5. Title: The TrialDirector: Orson WellesYear: 1962Language: EnglishIMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0057427/YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_7weUR0oMYLink to the A&F thread on the film (if there is one): http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?/topic/25906-the-trial/
  6. Title: The TravelerDirector: Abbas KiarostamiYear: 1974Language: FarsiIMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0071859/YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=98sDY2opnjk (Complete film)Link to the A&F thread on the film (if there is one):Could not find one
  7. Silence (2016)

    I finally finished writing a few thoughts on the film. It's both easy to keep talking about it and hard to say what I am thinking. It's a challenging film and one that now already means a great deal to me. https://fforfilms.net/2017/01/17/silence-epiphany-and-the-credo/
  8. Silence (2016)

    Thanks for thinking enough of me to include one of my thoughts in your Review, Evan. In the screening I was at, I noticed no sound issues. I'm pretty sensitive to sound issues. I think it was your theater, Joel.
  9. Spirited Away

    I just a few weeks ago got this film on disc, and watched it with my kids. I remember thinking when i first saw it some years ago that if was too intense for my young children. And I similarly have mellowed on that judgement with my younger children. I was going to ask you if you still felt that caveat about showing it to younger kids should apply, so I'm glad you addressed that here.
  10. Paris, Texas

    I watched this film in August, and just rewatched it in an attempt to be able to put some words together about it. I decided to compare it to Bresson's Au hasard Balthasar. I found some striking thematic similarities between the two films, not least of which because both have an oblique focus on abused young women. It took me a long time to write this, partly because of the devastating emotional impact from both of these films. Anyways, my thoughts are here at my blog. (spoilers, as always)
  11. Silence (2016)

    Do you know where (or if) it's available to see in the US?
  12. Criterion sale at Barnes & Noble

    I do. They look terrific to me. Only controversy I'm aware of is the framing on BLUE. There is a shot in which you can see the boom mic, which presumably should have been cropped out by the framing, but wasn't for this Blu-ray presentation.
  13. Criterion sale at Barnes & Noble

    Excellent. I managed to get that one on an earlier coupon. Making my way through it slowly rather than in one binge session. I did pick up DREAMS and Welles's THE IMMORTAL STORY. I wrote about it earlier this year after my first viewing. It's an incredible film. https://fforfilms.net/2016/07/20/blind-spot-2016-the-music-room/
  14. Criterion sale at Barnes & Noble

    What did you get? I wanted to pick up THE MUSIC ROOM, but no local store has the Blu Ray, so I think I'll wait until AKIRA KUROSAWA'S DREAMS comes out next week and that will be my pick for this round.
  15. ANATOMY OF A MURDER (1959)

    I will be discussing the details of the plot in this post. I saw this film last night for the first time, and I am sure that I would not have seen it in the same way if I had first watched it years ago. The title refers to a murder trial, but really there are two crimes that are at issue: the murder of bar owner Barney Quill by an army officer, Lt. Manion, and the rape of Manion's wife Laura by Quill. There is never any question of whether Manion killed Quill--there is no twist whodunnit resolution, only the question of whether his plea of not guilty by reason of temporary insanity will prevail. In the case of the rape, however, there is a great deal of ambiguity surrounding the story. Ultimately, I think that the film most strongly implies that there was no rape, but rather Manion killed Quill out of jealousy due to his wife's flirtation. There's plenty of evidence in the film to support that interpretation, despite the fact that of course we never hear the alleged rapist's side of the story, but that's not really my concern. It was alarming and very uncomfortable for me to see the way in which the issue of the rape was handled in the course of the trial. In real life, there have been some recent high-profile rape trials that resulted in the court effectively showing much more concern for the rapist than for the victim. In this film, even if we proceed with the ultimate interpretation that the rape did not take place (which I feel is the most reasonable interpretation of what we as a viewer are privileged to see) there is no justification for the way that the court handled the allegations and the presentation of the evidence, nor especially how it treated the alleged victim. Real rape victims today talk about being victimized a second time by the process of prosecuting a rapist. That couldn't have been more clearly dramatized than in this film. One of the primary lines of argument for the prosecution is to discredit Mrs. Manion by portraying her as a provocative temptress who flirted and possibly more with men in the town. Even Manion's lawyer, Biegler, (Jimmy Stewart), who objects throughout to the word choices of the prosecutor, never objects in principle to the idea that how a woman dressed or looked is not a relevant to the question of whether she was raped. The idea that a woman might "bring it on herself" by being too good looking and dressing too sexily is an undercurrent of the argumentation. Biegler implicitly acknowledges this by dressing her in an ill-fitting suit and floppy hat at the start of the trial. It can be said that he is cannily defending against a potential prejudice in the minds of the jurors, but my point is that even he will not directly argue that her looks or dress are irrelevant to the veracity of her rape claim. A particularly telling moment occurs when the question of how to refer to Mrs. Manion's undergarments is brought to the bench. When it is agreed to use the word "panties," a general snickering envelopes the courtroom. The judge reprimands all present, instructing them that he will not tolerate any more laughter due to the gravity of the situation. He invokes the interest of the deceased man and the killer, but no mention of the woman who is in the dock, having an interest in not being laughed at as she recounts what are the embarrassing details of her attack. Following this, the prosecution attorney proceeds to grill her in an unmerciful manner. This can all be chalked up to the idea that this is representative of how things were in 1959. I would find that more easy to deal with if we weren't still seeing this in real life. Much like the type of trial depicted in TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD highlights racial problems in the court system that have become less overtly condoned, but are still present, this film highlights an inherent injustice to women. The problem becomes that, unlike Tom Robinson, Mrs. Manion is not nearly as sympathetic to the viewer, since it's very possible based on the evidence we see as viewers of the film that she was fabricating the story of the rape. So despite the lauded ambiguity of the trial results and the groundbreaking "frankness" of the dialogue, I feel after a single viewing that this film may do more to reinforce problematic views of rape victims that still persist, than to challenge our thinking. This is despite the fact that the prosecutor comes across as fairly villainous for his line of attack, and that our natural sympathies are with Jimmy Stewart's character to win the case.
  16. Chimes At Midnight (1965)

    It never had a proper release really, so no need for a proper advertisement.
  17. Chimes At Midnight (1965)

    The packaging is not great, as I said, but the film looks fantastic, and sounds adequate. I never saw the old prints or copies, but all testimonies say this is an incredible rejuvenation.
  18. Chimes At Midnight (1965)

    Have you all seen this now? This was my most anticipated home video release for the year by a long shot. After finally getting to watch the film (I missed the brief appearance in Houston back in April) I can say affirmatively that the legend around this film as being one of Orson's very finest is well founded. It's every bit as fantastic as advertised. Except for the sound recording (which is not as problematic as I was led to expect, thanks no doubt to the restoration efforts) the film is a triumph from a technical standpoint as well. It has none of the obvious limitations springing from budget issues that show in films like ARKADIN, or even B studio work like MACBETH or TOUCH OF EVIL. It's the culmination of a lifetime of filmmaking craft. (On my second viewing with the commentary, I did spot one shot where a microphone was in the side of the frame, which made me chuckle, especially since the film was entirely post-dubbed.) The acting performances are all terrific. Welles is justly praised for his own performance, which manages to be both broadly comic and filled with nuance. His interpretation of the character of Falstaff expresses the fullness of pathos and humor present in a life lived to the full. John Gielgud is magisterial and cold, and as James Naremore says on the commentary track, he practically sings his lines, as they are read with such beauty. Keith Baxter is perfect for Welles's conception of this story as being in essence about a "friendship betrayed," as he moves between the worlds of the inn and the royal court with a mercurial grace. Every composition seems effortlessly expressive, a continuation and refinement of the gorgeous photography that was a hallmark of THE TRIAL. The music gives just the right touches when employed. In short, it's so, so good. I'm so, so grateful to finally see it and own it on disc. I've now watched through all the supplements, including the commentary track. They are good, and informative. The interviews with Keith Baxter (Prince Hal) and Beatrice Welles (Orson's daughter, who plays a page boy) are particularly interesting. If there is any complaint, it's only that such a historic work that was basically impossible to see for so long was not given better packaging, or at least a booklet rather than those annoying foldout posters with the essay. MR. ARKADIN gets a much better treatment for crying out loud! Still, the movie is the important thing, and it's gorgeously presented, at last, for us Welles lovers to enjoy forever.
  19. Oklahoma!

    I'll repost here what I said to Evan on Facebook: A very thoughtful discussion of the film. Having worked on a school production of the show a couple years ago, I came to ultimately have serious problems with the show. The stage version has a very weird rhythm to the story. Laurey and Curley get married, resolving the central romantic tension, and then Jud arrives, attacks, and is accidentally killed, absurdly forcing the trial to occur before he can leave on his honeymoon. The audience can't really be in doubt about the outcome, so this ordering of events is dramatically inert. The film wisely restructured the ending so that the resolution of the romantic threads and the threat with Jud are much closer, and the happy ending is not blunted by the structural hiccup of conflict being reintroduced right when everything should be wrapping up. The other aspect I recall from the film is that the Jud character is made somewhat more sympathetic in a couple of ways. Deleting his song "Lonely room" possibly makes him seem a little less creepy and predatory, and adding the scene where Laurey abandons him in her carriage may elicit some additional sympathy. But I also thought that the version of "Poor Jud is dead" in the film is pretty disappointing to me in the way they severely underplayed the comic potential of the song.
  20. Many scenes in NOTORIOUS, but if I have to pick one, it's the scene where Devlin returns from his bosses to tell Alicia what her assignment will be. All the feelings they have for each other are now suppressed. All their real thoughts are unspoken and contradictory to the what is said aloud, but yet we know exactly what is in their minds. It's a terrific scene of writing, acting, and directing.
  21. Sausage Party

    Of course, it depends on whose story you believe, but one alleged reason that budgets may have been low, is that workers were not paid fairly. http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-sausage-party-animators-20160815-snap-story.html
  22. A Brighter Summer Day

    This movie has apparently enjoyed a great hype among those fortunate enough to see it prior to the recent Criterion release. But the critical praise it had garnered was, in my opinion, well earned. This is a densely layered movie, that, despite the four hour running time, doesn't spend much time lingering or meditating. I had some difficulty following it for a while, as there were so many characters, and initially it's not clear which are the most important ones. Sometimes it is filmed in such a way as to not allow the viewer to really begin to even see who they are, either due to lighting or camera placement. But eventually, it becomes clear. At any rate, a repeat view will be necessary to even begin to get the most of the first hour or so of the film for me. The setting is the early 60s in Taiwan, a very foreign place to me. What is very interesting is the pervasive weaving in and out of so many disparate cultural elements. The protagonist, Xiao S'ir, is from a family that are Chinese refugees from the mainland Communist government. They live in a Japanese style house, and the kids are obsessed with American pop culture like Elvis songs and John Wayne movies. All of this is talked about in depth in a lot of reviews and discussions of the film. But there is one foreign cultural element that I haven't seen or heard discussed: Christianity. S'ir's mother and one of his sisters are devoted Christians. A hymn (if I recall correctly, it was a translation of what we know in English as "Near to the Heart of God") is heard more than once, and there is a shot of S'ir's sister singing in the choir. At one point near the end, his sister tries to bring him in to the church to talk to her pastor, in an attempt to help him to get past his troubles. She appeals to him explicitly as a Christian, and compares a punishment that her older brother had taken for him to the sacrifice of Christ. Now, it's not clear to me after one viewing what, if anything, to make of the Christian elements in the film. Are they just another example of the foreign cultural melting pot of the time, or does Edward Yang see Christianity in a more significant role than, say, the presence of Japanese Samurai swords in the gang wars depicted? I welcome other thoughts on the matter.
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