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I’m Thinking of Ending Things


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I didn’t see a dedicated thread on this one. Feel free to correct me if there is one. 

I admittedly don’t see as many movies as I once did when I frequented these boards more often. Some of that is due to other interests — there are some absolutely astounding graphic novels and old comic mini-series I’ve fallen in love with — and some of it is my own deal: just general boredom with movies, and probably a 2020 social issue with anything that I can’t scroll on holding my interest. 

ARGs in YouTube have been an exception to this, as the interactive nature of them has been so much fun to dig into. 

But this is the second film this year that I’ve seen that I know I’ll want to see again. (The first being the new Tarantino, which I loved.)

I know that films like this have been made before. I’m thinking of Last Night at Marienbad or Mulholland Drive, but the film I am most reminded of in comparison here is La Moustache, due to its playfulness in the “lost narrative” situation. 

Then again, you could just compare it to older Kaufman films. But I feel like I like this one is better.

There are scenes so strange, so, as I like to call it “surreal,” and I’ve said it here before but I’ll say it here again: I love it when film shows the power of film. Like impressionists that said, “A painting doesn’t have to look like a photograph,” or Romanticists that said, “Let’s break all the rules.” Outside of well-made horror, movies and films that still inspire me are the ones that press the limits, both in how they capture their story, as well as how we (I) receive it.

I do not think at all that another viewing will get me any closer to an understanding of the movie regarding its structure, its narrative, maybe even what it has to say. But I like the idea of sitting with this one first, with the idea of seeing it again later, just to get a feel for its “weird.” Now that I know what I’ve gotten myself into, when I sit down later I’ll get to to experience this nutty thing on its own terms.

Yeah. I’m gonna give this one another go. Already looking forward to it actually. 

 

Edited by Persona

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Hi Stef,

Might be worth reaching out to Evan to put you on the e-mail invitation list for when we do Zoom chats. (Usually once a month or so.) 
 

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I will do that. Thanks!

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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  • 3 months later...

Christian reminded me on Twitter to post here, as I think more people need to give this film a shot. It's certainly perplexing and will take a while for you to get onto its peculiar rhythm, but I think once it clicks, it really clicks, and works beautifully as an examination of the life of the mind.

For those that have watched it and/or don't mind spoilers, I went in depth on it in this recent essay: https://3brothersfilm.com/blog/2021/1/26/im-thinking-of-im-thinking-of-ending-things

"Someone like Jean-Luc Godard is for me intellectual counterfeit money when compared to a good kung fu film." - Werner Herzog

3brothersfilm.com

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  • 3 weeks later...

Nice write up, Aren. 

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

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Thanks for posting, Anders. I watched I'm Thinking of Ending Things a second time last night, after telling folks on one of the A&F calls a couple of months ago that the film, which lost me in its home stretch if not earlier, had stuck with me for reasons that eluded me. I had hoped a second viewing would clarify the film's lingering impact.

I'm afraid the film still loses me, not only in its final stretch, but about at its halfway mark, if not sooner. I had speculated earlier that the reason for the film's dropoff may have to do with the disappearance, or close to it, of the Collette and Thewlis characters, who had interested me greatly on first viewing. Their roles still strike me as important enough to feel their loss in the film's second half, but I'm not sure that explains my reaction. 

I'd read up on the film after my first viewing. There's an interview with Kaufmann out there, published right around the time the movie debuted on Netflix, where he explains what he was doing in terms of adapting the source material, and in which he, or maybe it was the body of the full article and not specifically Kaufmann's quotes, explains the story - whose perspective it's being told from, etc. At the time, I thought that would be helpful when I watched the film again, but I found that, like a Lynch movie, some things are better left unexplained. I'd rather watch the film as a mind-warping fugue of characters and timelines rather than as a puzzle to be solved (which, to be clear, is what I think that article was doing - solving the narrative puzzle, possibly because Netflix anticipated viewer reaction and was trying to nip-in-the-bud anticipated bad word of mouth). 

So, if it isn't the narrative puzzle that interests me about this film, what is it? A recent tweet from Kris Tapley might explain my interest. I'm surprised I hadn't thought of this before:

 

Could it be the cinematography? I watched with that in mind the second time, and I think there's something there, although this isn't the kind of film that shouts its cinematography as you watch it. I'm not sure what's compelling about how the film looks, but some of the imagery does stay with me.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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