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So, what am I missing here?  I loved Eggers' first film, The Witch, but this seemed far less interesting by comparison.  Is it anything more than cool B&W visuals, a Lovecraftian homage with fart jokes?  There were intimations of the uncanny and sinister with Pattinson's discovery of the carved mermaid figurine and Dafoe's possessiveness of the light, but the build-up feels far too long, the climax underwhelming.

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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2 hours ago, Andrew said:

Is it anything more than cool B&W visuals, a Lovecraftian homage with fart jokes? 

The answer is: no. Lovecraftian fart jokes are indeed the coolest!

In all seriousness, I think the two performances are captivating, and I still love the precision of everything Eggers and the team did in creating this insane world: from lighting to sound to visuals to costumes, etc. It's not as darkly horrifying as The Witch, but I think I actually like it more.

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I guess I'm just more of a narrative-driven movie guy.  I dug the style here, but the substance was lacking.  The Witch just took me to more interesting places, imagining a 17th Century New England where all of those witchcraft accusations were actually based in reality.  Having spent an adolescence immersed in Lovecraft et al., The Lighthouse didn't feel nearly as innovative.  Chacun a son gout, or something like that.

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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While there's obviously some Lovecraft influence (tentacles, a sense of foreboding horror), I don't think it's just that. Other touchstones for this, visually or tonally, include Lynch (especially Eraserhead) and Guy Maddin, and then there's the influence of literary works like Herman Melville, in terms of capturing the cost in terms of monotony and madness entailed by the professions that kept that society functioning (in this case the importance of the wickie, contrasted with the whaler in Moby-Dick). I'm thinking you could do something similar today with any socially isolating, but essential job.

"A director must live with the fact that his work will be called to judgment by someone who has never seen a film of Murnau's." - François Truffaut

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16 hours ago, Anders said:

there's the influence of literary works like Herman Melville, in terms of capturing the cost in terms of monotony and madness entailed by the professions that kept that society functioning (in this case the importance of the wickie, contrasted with the whaler in Moby-Dick). I'm thinking you could do something similar today with any socially isolating, but essential job.

That's an interesting take that makes sense to me.

To be an artist is never to avert one's eyes.
- Akira Kurosawa

https://www.patheos.com/blogs/secularcinephile/

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About the one thing the film did for me is finally help me articulate why I've always thought The Shining was overrated. Descents into madness that feel too affected end up making me focus on the externals rather than actually invoking or creating any kind of feeling in me. Not really my aesthetic, though that's not surprising since I was similarly unmoved by The Witch. Most unpleasant experience I've had at the movies all year. Edit: Oh well, at least Parasite is looking better and better by comparison.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I didn't have a clue what to make of this film when I saw it at VIFF. A friend compared it to the works of David Lynch, which made sense to me, if only because I often don't have a clue what to make of *him*, either.

Between this and The Witch, though, I do love the way Eggers captures the period-specificity of the way people *spoke* in bygone eras.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This was actually a movie (like 2018's The Favourite) that I was pretty sure I would love based on the look and various things I had read about it. Well, I finally got to it and--yep, I really love this movie. I'm less captivated by the horror aspects than by the relationship between the two characters and the Promethean stuff--there's something to be said (I'm not quite sure what, yet) about the way the ideas of lighthouses, keepers of flames, etc, plays into the not-erotic-but-erotically-charged May-December relationship between Dafoe and Pattinson (the characters' respective names would play into this as well...).

I need to collect my thoughts first, though.

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