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inessentials

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  1. I caught it on MUBI about a year ago. Not sure if it’s got any official distribution.
  2. I nominated King Vidor's The Crowd. Vidor's epic about America through the life of one man and one family both encourages and challenges reading characters synechdochically for their city, their country, or their era. Few films have ever approached The Crowd's sensitivity to the contingency of life's joys and despairs and whether we have the power to respond or control. Like many of the great films about growing older, this is also a film about moral growth and what it means to grow into the person one can possibly be.
  3. I nominated Clouds of Sils Maria. Few films are as sensitive to the ways in which age both opens up and closes off choices for those who want to live lives of meaningful expression for others. Through Bincohe and Stewart's explicit conversations about acting and meaningfulness (which echo aspects of their star personas) and repeated role-playing and role-blurring, we have to ask Binoche's question of whether certain roles are determined by one's age and whether one can ever truly return to who they thought they once were or others thought they were. Aging gracefully means aging with struggle--against one's body, against others' expectations, against changing technologies, against changing tastes.
  4. I nominated Whit Stillman's Last Days of Disco. Stillman's film is not just about growing up, with post-college replacing post-high school. It's a film about what it means to understand oneself with a larger social history. Are we determined by larger forces (the rise and fall of the yuppie, the decline of disco) to live small lives? Are we doomed by our class, our career, our self-understanding? Stillman's deep exploration into what it means to be a person who exists in a society requires the attentive viewer constantly to switch between characters' self-understanding and how they view their own moral progress within a larger social context and our own position at an historical remove. Should they agitate for change? Should they experiment with sex, drugs, dancing, and demeaning work because that's what people their age should do? What does moral growth mean and is it possible in isolation from others on the same quest? Everyone grows older; not everyone grows wiser.
  5. I nominated Su Friedrich's I Cannot Tell You How I Feel, a short documentary in which the influential filmmaker moves her mother into a nursing home while both struggle with what this means for her mother's life and for their relationship with each other. Honest, funny, and sensitive to the ways in which the most important things can seem little to those on the outside. There are no little indignities.
  6. Title: I Cannot Tell You How I Feel Director: Su Friedrich Year: 2017 Language: English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt7680418/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): Link to the A&F thread on the film (if there is one): n/a
  7. Title: The Last Days of Disco Director: Whit Stillman Year: 1998 Language: English IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120728/?ref_=nv_sr_1 YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): Link to the A&F thread on the film (if there is one):
  8. Title: Clouds of Sils Maria Director: Olivier Assayas Year: 2014 Language: English, French, German IMDB link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2452254/?ref_=fn_al_tt_1 YouTube Link: Link to the A&F thread on the film (if there is one): http://artsandfaith.com/index.php?/topic/28579-clouds-of-sils-maria-2014/
  9. Title: The Crowd Director: King Vidor Year: 1928 Language: English (silent) IMDB Link: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0018806/?ref_=nv_sr_4 YouTube Link (a clip of/trailer for the film): [major spoiler if you haven't seen] Link to the A&F thread on the film (if there is one): n/a
  10. New here, so I'm not sure of the rules, but if I can nominate films on growing older (or suggest some films to those that can), then here are some not yet mentioned: The Crowd (Vidor) Clouds of Sils Maria (Assayas) The Last Days of Disco (Stillman) A Quiet Passion (Davies) The Grapes of Wrath (Ford) How Green Was My Valley (Ford) Margaret (Lonergan) The Tree of Life (Malick) I Cannot Tell You How I Feel (Friedrich) Breaking Away (Yates) I can/would second Citizen Kane.
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