4 months, 3 weeks, 2 days
Posted 15 January 2008 - 05:19 PM
Posted 15 January 2008 - 05:31 PM
Note: I've started a discussion on this under the Oscars 2008 thread so we don't derail this thread.
Edited by Darrel Manson, 15 January 2008 - 11:48 PM.
Posted 25 January 2008 - 02:48 AM
Is it Gabita or Otilia who comments in the final scene that "we must never speak about this again"? I remember it as Gabita but I'm not sure. Also, I don't have the exact wording in my notes -- anyone have it? Thanks.
Posted 25 January 2008 - 10:54 AM
That line is interesting in terms of Mungiu making the film to tell the story of his generation (Children of the Decree). My piece to that point from roundtable interview with him is up.
Posted 25 January 2008 - 01:27 PM
Posted 01 February 2008 - 10:35 AM
Mungiu says he wanted to portray how disconnected abortion had become from morality under the Ceausescu regime, which criminalized the practice not on philosophical grounds but simply in a bid to populate the country.
"Lack of moral perspective was one of the worst things the communist education did to us," he explains. "And you can see the long-term consequences today. Abortion is still the most widespread method of contraception, almost 18 years after the fall of communism. Making this film was a way of speaking about how not having this freedom in that period, and abusing this freedom for lack of knowledge as soon as we have it, could pretty much lead you in the same direction."
Edited by Christian, 01 February 2008 - 10:36 AM.
Posted 09 February 2008 - 08:12 AM
Thank you by association. I know you're praising Victor's commentary, and I don't at all presuppose that my review pointed out to Victor anything he hadn't noticed before, but as I mentioned to Victor regarding his blog post, it was most gratifying, after writing my final graf describing the imagery of the final scene without (or rather with minimal) commentary and interpretation, to see someone else use that graf to unpack the significance of the final scene.
Edited by SDG, 09 February 2008 - 08:36 AM.
Posted 09 February 2008 - 08:33 AM
Will have to be a dissenting voice on this film. It's decent enough, but the long takes become trying. It's certainly the kind of thing critics love to love, but the average moviegoer will likely find little to "enjoy" or recommend -- which is, of course, part of the point.
As I comment in my review, "If you’re looking for something more in the way of entertainment… Well, how could getting an illegal abortion possibly be source material for entertainment?" The film is to be commended, at the very least (among other things), for taking its subject matter dead seriously.
Posted 09 February 2008 - 10:40 AM
An extraordinarily frightening film. I knew what it was about going in, but I wasn't at all prepared for the other heinous crime that takes place in this film, nor was I prepared for the sheer terror of Otila's walk down the dark streets after the deed was done. By that point in the film, I had no idea where it would end up, and I feared the worst.
It's amazing how the scenes of the family dinner, and later the backdrop of the wedding party, speak so powerfully into those horrific, private moments between Otila and Gabriela.
Posted 09 February 2008 - 10:49 AM
They have precisely the opposite effect on me, here and elsewhere. The forced single perspective reminds me, in fact, that a camera is pointed at the action because that single point of view isn't at all like being there in real life. In life, we turn our heads, we choose what we pay attention to and what we don't. In these longs takes, I'm constantly reminded that someone else is making those choices for me. Conventional film language allows me more opportunity to get lost in at least an illusion of choice, and so suspend disbelief.
Of course, these long takes do allow me the opportunity to be amazed at how well-rehearsed Mungiu's scenes are -- which is a heckuva lot more than can be said for many directors' long takes.
Posted 09 February 2008 - 10:57 AM
Boy, yours is a very different experience of it than mine.
In most movies, the camera is *forcing* us to pay attention to certain things. It is directing us from one element to another. These long takes free up my gaze to explore the scene and consider many differnet aspects of them, whereas a roving camera disrupts my ability to contemplate the scene. It was Ozu who taught me that a still, meditative view is actually liberating, whereas Michael Bay chains me to his frantic, restless gaze in such a way that I feel I have a chain around my neck and I'm being jerked around.
Scenes like this blur the line between cinema and theater in a wonderful way. It allows the actors the chance to show what they're really made of. They shoulder the burden of evoking emotion from the audience, whereas other directors prefer to use the zoom, the music, and other elements to summon our feelings. (Not that there's anything wrong with that, but still, I love scenes like these that really spotlight the talents of the actors and that give us a chance to observe subtleties).
Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet, 09 February 2008 - 10:58 AM.
Posted 09 February 2008 - 11:18 AM
I'm along with Jeffrey in everything he has said.
Let me ponder what your point is about "the average moviegoer." TAM will not be going to see this film. TAM goes to see 27 Dresses, Fool's Gold or Cloverfield. TAM probably doesn't know where an arthouse is. TAM doesn't even see Juno or Lars and the Real Girl until such films have played where few see them and rave about them leading multiplexes to schedule them. I probably sound more disdainful that I really am. (Although I do feel a bit like Anton Ego at the moment.)
I wouldn't expect TAM to even notice 4, 3, 2 because it has subtitles, is from Romania (France or Germany or Spain they might put up with), and it doesn't sound like a happy movie where you will go, and spend a couple thoughtless - or at least not too challenging - hours before they get ice cream.
This film isn't made for TAM. To use TAM as a metric to judge this film doesn't seem valid.
Posted 09 February 2008 - 11:44 AM
That's true of all films. It's just the techniques that differ.
Certainly. I just prefer to have things mixed up a bit more. When it's all long takes, it becomes as much of a distraction as the Michael Bay thing.
For me, the optimum mix is somthing like David Lean or Sergio Leone, where the camera indeed is allowed to take its time with things -- and yet it also isn't entirely static.
Yes. As I commented, that's part of the quality of rehearsal that comes through. It allows more actual performance -- and not improv, either, with Mungiu. Definitely one of this film's strengths.
Posted 09 February 2008 - 11:55 AM
That was my point. But the vast majority of reviews (which ARE read by TAM) are failing to point this out, as I perceive it.
Well, I'm certainly not using that as a metric. It's not even a weakness, just a fact.
But even on an absolute scale of artistic merit, this is not a five-star film. It's simply loaded with all the kinds of things that critics love to rave about -- pubic hair, "fearless" performances (which, for actors, are not fearless at all but the kinds of things actors live for), artistic inaccessibility, personal point of view, "realism," subtitles, a foreign setting, and a topic that allows for all kinds of "statements" to be made by the critics themselves (forget about the film itself).
It's entirely likely, of course, that my general skepticism of critics' darlings (and the fact that I'd been reading far too much about the film for far too long before actually seeing it) has colored my perception. But there it is. That's part of what fawning criticism does, too.
Posted 09 February 2008 - 05:06 PM
: Will have to be a dissenting voice on this film. It's decent enough, but the long takes become trying. It's certainly the kind of thing critics love to love, but the average moviegoer will likely find little to "enjoy" or recommend -- which is, of course, part of the point.
I hate to admit this, but I didn't even NOTICE this film was nothing but long takes until someone mentioned it after I had seen it. And since I have not seen the film a second time yet, I don't think I can technically say that I HAVE "noticed" the long takes yet. So, no, the long takes did not become trying for me at all.
As for "average" moviegoers being disappointed in their search for "entertainment" ... well, who cares? I'm more interested in what the film IS and what it DOES and in HOW it does what it sets out to do. There can, indeed, be great "enjoyment" in going over that stuff, and in reading reviews and commentaries such as Morton's, etc.
: Certainly. I just prefer to have things mixed up a bit more. When it's all long takes, it becomes as much of a distraction as the Michael Bay thing.
FWIW, I think Jeff's point was that long takes with wide-open spaces DO mix things up a bit, in allowing us to focus our attention wherever we will within those scenes, instead of forcing us to bounce around between quick-cut close-ups etc.
: That was my point. But the vast majority of reviews (which ARE read by TAM) are failing to point this out, as I perceive it.
I don't see any point in directly pointing it out. All you need to do is establish that the film is Romanian, and right away, you will have lost the vast bulk of TAM readers. Mention that the film is about women seeking an illegal abortion during the Communist era, and you'll lose a chunk of who's left. Those who are still with you don't need to be told, "Oh, by the way, this movie isn't very entertaining, at least not in any conventional way." They're either smart enough to figure that out, or they're too dumb to figure out where the arthouse theatres showing this movie are in the first place.