Jump to content
kenmorefield

Top 25: Discussion for Nominations on Growing Older

Recommended Posts

2 hours ago, Brian D said:

I had to go immediately watch Late Spring once you offered it as a possible list-topper.  As I expected from Ozu, it is beautiful and richly layered.  I have to ask, though, would we really go for it so strongly as a Growing Older film that it could top our list?  It's tempting to rank it a 5 just because it is from Ozu, but I came away from it feeling uncertain about the prominence of the Growing Older aspect.  The most striking thing about the film is the relationship between father and daughter and the fate of that relationship.  This relationship is so emphasized that we don't even meet other key characters who you think we would surely meet in the course of the film.  Everything takes a back seat to this relationship.  As such, this film would fit even more strongly in a list about Parents and Children.  It certainly has elements that strike the Growing Older chord, but I'm tempted to vote lower for it because it would fit better on a <different> list.

No doubt about the father-daughter theme. But two aspects of the film form what I said about wanting to see it near the top. First, as the father grows older, he's grown accustomed to having his daughter by his side and doesn't seem to want that dynamic to change. His scheme to get her to marry is a reflection of the sacrificial love that ideally develops alongside wisdom as one gets older. Secondly, cultures define what certain stages in life are supposed to look like. We watch the daughter growing older with her father. She has a vision for what both her father's aging process and her own are supposed to look like, but that vision rebels against their society since it doesn't involve her marriage. Those are my reasons for putting it alongside Col. Blimp as my favorites for the top spot so far. But as I said above, I still have quite a ways to go. I plan to watch three on my next day off, so Late Spring might not stay on the top for me much longer.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
10 hours ago, Ed Bertram said:

No doubt about the father-daughter theme. But two aspects of the film form what I said about wanting to see it near the top. First, as the father grows older, he's grown accustomed to having his daughter by his side and doesn't seem to want that dynamic to change. His scheme to get her to marry is a reflection of the sacrificial love that ideally develops alongside wisdom as one gets older. Secondly, cultures define what certain stages in life are supposed to look like. We watch the daughter growing older with her father. She has a vision for what both her father's aging process and her own are supposed to look like, but that vision rebels against their society since it doesn't involve her marriage. Those are my reasons for putting it alongside Col. Blimp as my favorites for the top spot so far. But as I said above, I still have quite a ways to go. I plan to watch three on my next day off, so Late Spring might not stay on the top for me much longer.

Those are good arguments, Ed.  They help me a lot also as I process Late Spring.  The cultural aspect in particular has me thinking a lot.  I had just written on my Letterboxd review that this film ends up being more bitter than sweet, but I am really questioning my own reading there as coming from my own cultural bias.  I see the "bitter" part in the fact that the father and daughter don't communicate directly about things and that in fact the father is being deceptive in order to get her to marry.  From a Japanese perspective, though, I would guess the ending would in fact be "sweet" because it shows the father sacrificing his own comfort to give his daughter what is considered to be a good and culturally appropriate life.  A lot of room for discussion there, though, as the cultural gap between Western and Eastern here is likely huge. 

As I think about it, our consideration of whether this would be a great or just okay selection for this top 25 list may have a bit to do with how positively we view the father's actions.  Also whether or not our list is favoring positive examples of growing older or more questionable/complex ones.  

A lot of food for thought here!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/19/2019 at 2:51 AM, Brian D said:

As I think about it, our consideration of whether this would be a great or just okay selection for this top 25 list may have a bit to do with how positively we view the father's actions.  Also whether or not our list is favoring positive examples of growing older or more questionable/complex ones.  

The list of nominees is diverse in this way. A few are unquestionably about growing older and wiser (like Col. Blimp). A few are about very bad decisions that plague a person's process of growing older (like Sunset Blvd.). And a few are just about growing older, nothing more, nothing less (35 Shots of Rum seems more like a meditation on embracing aspects of aging than on anything transformational in the character). But most of the nominees I'm familiar with are right in the middle like Late Spring. They're honest about the complexities of the topic and unwilling to judge whether the characters are growing older in a right or wrong way. My hope is that our final list reflects this same diversity but also emphasizes that middle ground the like nominations list does so far. 

Edited by Ed Bertram

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I nominated The Gleaners & I. Every scene of the documentary (regardless of the interviewee or inanimate subject she's filming at any moment) metaphorically points to Agnes Varda's own experiences of growing older and wiser. While she gives a detailed history of gleaning in France (an occupation that has itself grown old) and how it has influenced all aspects of French culture, she places herself as the film's ultimate gleaner. She gleans wisdom about some of the simplest things in life that are quickly shrugged off by others. She intersperses shots of her wrinkled hands just before showing any object that she wants us to know she values (always a leftover). She communicates her deep love for discarded things and people. Through filming them, she demonstrates a reflection of her own self-perception. When she juxtaposes shots of her hands with things that are worn out and full of blemishes, she points out how each one of those things has too much purpose to throw away. This seems to be exactly how she viewed herself at the time of filming. She offers one of the most hope-filled portrayals of aging gracefully that I've seen. 

I couldn't find a trailer with English subtitles, and the clip I posted along with the nomination is extremely short. But it provides a good example of how she uses the words of her subject to metaphorically communicate her own views on aging.

Edited by Ed Bertram

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ed's nomination of The Gleaners and I prompted me to nominate another Varda film, Faces Places. I think both films address the experience of aging--both people and places--but Faces Places has a unique aspect of including the presence of JR, a youthful counterpart to Varda, and her dialogue partner about both art and the process of growing older, and I think FP is more *explicitly* about aging than Gleaners.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...