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Help with Tarkovsky

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monk-time
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#41

Post by monk-time »

St. Gloede, there's no need to turn every disagreement into an argument (sometimes I am guilty of that as well). I explained why I feel the way I do, if you find that "utterly ridiculous", it's your right, but please understand that it's not an encouraging way to foster discussion and perspective sharing.
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St. Gloede
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#42

Post by St. Gloede »

monk-time on Jan 16 2018, 02:09:32 AM wrote:St. Gloede, there's no need to turn every disagreement into an argument (sometimes I am guilty of that as well). I explained why I feel the way I do, if you find that "utterly ridiculous", it's your right, but please understand that it's not an encouraging way to foster discussion and perspective sharing.
Hey Monk-time, apologies for that, I didn't realize you would find anything objectionable in that message, it was not intended hostile in any way, and I am not interested in an argument. I'm a bit taken aback by that to be honest - but of course I understand that people interpret language differently.

The utterly ridiculous comment here only refers to the claim that Tarkovsky could only shoot himself, which you didn't back up and felt a very odd statement coming out of nowhere. It was not intended as a dig at you, only to illustrate the level to which I believe it's a false claim (and demonstrably so). Standalone statements can be ridiculous, and we all make them. Personally I find language of this kind really good to foster discussion and perspective (as long as it is never negative towards the person, or demeaning in any way of course) as it shows the biggest disagreements to be explored. And that's what discussion is ultimately about, understanding why the other feels a certain way.

In regard to this particular claim I thought it was incorrect as, for instance, Ivan's Childhood, Solyaris and The Sacriface lacks the prominent artist, while Zerkalo and Stalker puts the artist in a supporting role. That just leaves Andrey Rublev and Nostalgia (maybe The Steamroller and the Violin because the kid plays a violin?). Looking at Zerkalo, which is actually about him, notice how little he plays a part. Almost all of the emotion is placed on Margarita Terekhova playing the mother. And personally I find this an extraordinary performance (and she is certainly not him).
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cinewest
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#43

Post by cinewest »

Can't seem to find it now, but someone wrote that most moviegoers want (live action) stories more than cinematic art.

I might elaborate and say that most people seem to want vicarious thrills, moreover the same stories and thrills pretty much following the same pathways, just dressed up and adorned a little differently, and filmmakers with a different intention and narrative approach/style tend to not only upset them, but strike them as "boring."

I'm not pointing my finger at anyone in particular, but at a multitude of responses to many of the more creative "art films" that I have seen over the years.

But cinema is a unique medium, capable of transmitting much more than the typical moviegoer seems to want, and much of what is fascinating to me about what it can express goes beyond the expectations or desires of most audiences.

Tarkovsky made use of the medium in his own way, even in terms of those who influenced him, and for anyone interested in celebrating the art form, he invites exploration
Last edited by cinewest on January 16th, 2018, 11:29 am, edited 1 time in total.
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St. Gloede
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#44

Post by St. Gloede »

I think you are very right about that. People want very different things out of art, but most see films, but also books, plays, etc. synonymous with stories. This means that to them it is the story that matters. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but of course it means that the medium of film is not neccesarily what is important to them - aside from feeling that film is a good, great or the best way to tell a story.

I would however agree that if you come specifically for story a lot of Tarkovsky films will not hold up to your standards, as I don't think he can truly be called a storyteller (though of course, certain films work better than others). Ivan's Childhood for instance.
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#45

Post by cinewest »

St. Gloede on Jan 16 2018, 02:51:47 AM wrote:I think you are very right about that. People want very different things out of art, but most see films, but also books, plays, etc. synonymous with stories. This means that to them it is the story that matters. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but of course it means that the medium of film is not neccesarily what is important to them - aside from feeling that film is a good, great or the best way to tell a story.

I would however agree that if you come specifically for story a lot of Tarkovsky films will not hold up to your standards, as I don't think he can truly be called a storyteller (though of course, certain films work better than others). Ivan's Childhood for instance.
Yes, people look for different things in a movie, and movie makers use the medium in different ways, accordingly. No right or wrong there.

At its most primitive motion pictures were used to simply document things that people might interested in witnessing, often giving folks an experience of what they didn't have access to in everyday life, whether we are talking about noteworthy news, events, what might give them a thrill, or make people laugh.

Before there were movie theaters, films were shown on a screen at carnivals, often depicting what was culturally exotic or sensational, which set people's imagination afire. Films of live shows the vast majority couldn't attend were also popular.

Very soon, filmmakers were trying to tell stories, both real and imaginary, and they tried to copy the other popular storytelling mediums in doing so, and in the course of trying to create film narratives, editing techniques were developed.Then came sound, and filmmakers turned to vaudeville, and playwrites for inspiration.

Meanwhile, astute businessmen realized that there was good money to be made from the kinds of films that could entertain huge numbers of people (the more the merrier), and certain kinds of films, with specific standards and structures came into prominence, moreover ones that tried to duplicate or improve upon what had proven to be successful with the greatest amount of people.

Along the way, there were a few filmmakers who became interested in new/different/richer ways of using the art form to express something that popular narrative styles and genres tended to limit. And over time, along with new technology, equipment, and more developed techniques, movies not only became more sophisticated, but appeared more realistic and believable, which heightened their magic.

To me, one of the great wonders of cinema is being able to go to theater and watch a film in the dark, on a big screen, where I can be engulfed by what comes onto the screen, and through the speakers surrounding me. At 24 frames per second (at least in the old days), the imperceptible flickering light of the projector helped to lull audiences into a trance state, where upon they could be transported to another reality. Perhaps, telling a story (with musical accompaniment) around a flickering fire was the ancient equivalent.

The biggest issue for me is that by the time I reached my 30's, I had pretty much outgrown most movies. As a kid, like many, I was attracted to movies based on the publicity that was readily available: Genre type, a synopsis of the story, and who the stars were, and that pretty much sufficed until I reach my early teens, when directors started to get more attention, and I began to really differentiate between film styles within the same genre, though at that point I still hadn't seen much that didn't follow typical film structures, and my appreciation and judgments had mostly to do recognizing the variance in quality between comparable kinds of movies.

Perhaps my biggest singular awakening occurred when I was 16, at home with the chicken pox, during a pledge drive for public television that was accompanied by a marathon showing of the Janus collection. I had seen some of the old English stuff before on TV, but the foreign language films from France, Italy, Japan, etc. were a revelation. Not only was I seeing different stories, and different ways of telling them, but there were quite a few films where the "story," dialogue, and actors were not the most important things about them.

Being a former lit major, I might draw a comparison between popular fiction and what is called literature, or between Pop music/art and what has more creative goals, including the exploration of possibilities and depths of the art form to express something authentic that resonates far beyond the time it takes to consume it. Around the same time, I also discovered the compiled reviews of Pauline Kael, who among other things said, "Movies are so rarely great art that if we cannot appreciate great trash we have very little reason to be interested in them." And that might as well have come from the mouth of Tarantino.

The truth is, most films are made to be fast food, and people are used to ingesting them the same way, before moving on to the next thing, and while the sophistication of movie audiences has grown along with various film qualities, we are mostly talking about what has become part of the popular form, and to understand the nature of audience expectation (and comprehension), we must consider what has been nourishing its development all a long.

The way people appreciate movies and the kinds of movies they appreciate has a lot to do with the nature of their interest, education, and desire to evolve, just as with anything else in life, It is filmmakers like Tarkovsky who can be some of our greatest teachers, though I might say that even his films tell a kind of story. Though plot is not at the heart of them, his films still involve narrative, and narrative decisions, as every film does, whether it is edited in camera or afterward.

The vast majority of moviegoers, however, want to see something they can recognize and make sense of right away, which is essentially geared to the mind of an adolescent. Being easy to read, and also spiked with primal sensations / feelings is a big part of what makes a movie popular, and being popular makes it more popular. As for the "stories," most just aren't that developed, and often a set up for an extensive adrenalin rush, a few laughs, a cry, or that feel good gratified feeling.
Last edited by cinewest on January 18th, 2018, 4:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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monk-time
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#46

Post by monk-time »

St. Gloede on Jan 16 2018, 02:31:08 AM wrote:Hey Monk-time, apologies for that, I didn't realize you would find anything objectionable in that message, it was not intended hostile in any way, and I am not interested in an argument. I'm a bit taken aback by that to be honest - but of course I understand that people interpret language differently.
It's all right, it's my fault that I made statements I was not willing to defend and flew off the handle so easy. I seem to have a huge chip on my shoulder the size of that nasty thing in How to Get Ahead in Advertising, and I really should do something about it.
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#47

Post by St. Gloede »

cinewest on Jan 16 2018, 05:35:47 AM wrote:
St. Gloede on Jan 16 2018, 02:51:47 AM wrote:I think you are very right about that. People want very different things out of art, but most see films, but also books, plays, etc. synonymous with stories. This means that to them it is the story that matters. There is absolutely nothing wrong with this, but of course it means that the medium of film is not neccesarily what is important to them - aside from feeling that film is a good, great or the best way to tell a story.

I would however agree that if you come specifically for story a lot of Tarkovsky films will not hold up to your standards, as I don't think he can truly be called a storyteller (though of course, certain films work better than others). Ivan's Childhood for instance.
Yes, people look for different things in a movie, and movie makers use the medium in different ways, accordingly. No right or wrong there.

At its most primitive motion pictures were used to simply document things that people might interested in witnessing, often giving folks an experience of what they didn't have access to in everyday life, whether we are talking about noteworthy news, events, what might give them a thrill, or make people laugh.

Before there were movie theaters, films were shown on a screen at carnivals, often depicting what was culturally exotic or sensational, which set people's imagination afire. Films of live shows the vast majority couldn't attend were also popular.

Very soon, filmmakers were trying to tell stories, both real and imaginary, and they tried to copy the other popular storytelling mediums in doing so, and in the course of trying to create film narratives, editing techniques were developed.Then came sound, and filmmakers turned to vaudeville, and playwrites for inspiration.

Meanwhile, astute businessmen realized that there was good money to be made from the kinds of films that could entertain huge numbers of people (the more the merrier), and certain kinds of films, with specific standards and structures came into prominence, moreover ones that tried to duplicate or improve upon what had proven to be successful with the greatest amount of people.

Along the way, there were a few filmmakers who became interested in new/different/richer ways of using the art form to express something that popular narrative styles and genres tended to limit. And over time, along with new technology, equipment, and more developed techniques, movies not only became more sophisticated, but appeared more realistic and believable, which heightened their magic.

To me, one of the great wonders of cinema is being able to go to theater and watch a film in the dark, on a big screen, where I can be engulfed by what comes onto the screen, and through the speakers surrounding me. At 24 frames per second (at least in the old days), the imperceptible flickering light of the projector helped to lull audiences into a trance state, where upon they could be transported to another reality. Perhaps, telling a story (with musical accompaniment) around a flickering fire was the ancient equivalent.

The biggest issue for me is that by the time I reached my 30's, I had pretty much outgrown most movies. As a kid, like many, I was attracted to movies based on the publicity that was readily available: Genre type, a synopsis of the story, and who the stars were, and that pretty much sufficed until I reach my early teens, when directors started to get more attention, and I began to really differentiate between film styles within the same genre, though at that point I still hadn't seen much that didn't follow typical film structures, and my appreciation and judgments had mostly to do recognizing the variance in quality between comparable kinds of movies.

Perhaps my biggest singular awakening occurred when I was 16, at home with the chicken pox, during a pledge drive for public television that was accompanied by a marathon showing of the Janus collection. I had seen some of the old English stuff before on TV, but the foreign language films from France, Italy, Japan, etc. were a revelation. Not only was I seeing different stories, and different ways of telling them, but there were quite a few films where the "story," dialogue, and actors were not the most important things about them.

Being a former lit major, I might draw a comparison between popular fiction and what is called literature, or between Pop music/art and what has more creative goals, including the exploration of possibilities and depths of the art form to express something authentic that resonates far beyond the time it takes to consume it. Around the same time, I also discovered the compiled reviews of Pauline Kael, who among other things said, "Movies are so rarely great art that if we cannot appreciate great trash we have very little reason to be interested in them." And that might as well have come from the mouth of Tarantino.

The truth is, most films are made to be fast food, and people are used to ingesting them the same way, before moving on to the next thing, and while the sophistication of movie audiences has grown along with various film qualities, we are mostly talking about what has become part of the popular form, and to understand the nature of audience expectation (and comprehension), we must consider what has been nourishing its development all a long.

The way people appreciate movies and the kinds of movies they appreciate has a lot to do with the nature of their interest, education, and desire to evolve, just as with anything else in life, It is filmmakers like Tarkovsky who can be some of our greatest teachers, though I might say that even his films tell a kind of story. Though plot is not at the heart of them, his films still involve narrative, and narrative decisions, as every film does, whether it is edited in camera or afterward.
I think it's very hard to disagree with anything you just said, thank you for sharing, and though the films are like food metaphor is well used I think you brought it in quite perfectly - I love the hypothesis of the healthy/varied diet.
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#48

Post by flaiky »

cinewest on wrote:The way people appreciate movies and the kinds of movies they appreciate has a lot to do with the nature of their interest, education, and desire to evolve, just as with anything else in life ..

The vast majority of moviegoers want to see something they can recognize and make sense of right away, which is essentially geared to the mind of an adolescent.
Nope, and this comes across as terribly snobby. One of my good friends got a first class Maths & Philosophy degree, and is now Head of Maths at a school at only 29 years old. She's read most of the classic novels, is well travelled, always knows what's going on in the world and generates really interesting conversation. She's seen hardly any films and has very little interest in them. I can hardly even think of ones she likes, though I'm pretty sure if she decides to watch something it will always be easy entertainment. I know that she loves Sex and the City.

Are you really going to tell me she's uneducated, adolescent-minded and uninterested in evolving, purely because film is not a priority for her?
Last edited by flaiky on January 17th, 2018, 9:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#49

Post by St. Gloede »

^^When I said there was little to disagree with I suppose I must have interpreted that bit as flair. If read objectively the same could be attached to every art, and I'm sure all of us have artforms we are just not that interested in, take pottery for instance.

I do however agree that most film viewers want something they can easily understand and digest, and aren't that interested in exploring different forms - but if film is not a key interest there is certainly nothing wrong with that.
Last edited by St. Gloede on January 17th, 2018, 10:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#50

Post by cinewest »

@ flaiky

You misinterpreted a bit: When I brought up education, I was mostly referring to film education. Like the example of one of your friends, most of the people in my life are "well-educated," and work in a variety of respected professions, but when it comes to movies, their lack of interest has led to very little development as viewers.
I even belong to a book club with a group of people who mostly have advanced degrees and the ability to critically assess literature, but there is an astounding lapse when it comes to the "appreciation of cinema as an art form."


@ST Gloede,

You are right that my closing paragraphs were written with intended "flair," and your example of someone who is just not that interested in exploring a particular art form (beyond what it provides as a passing fancy) is apropos.
Last edited by cinewest on January 18th, 2018, 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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#51

Post by flaiky »

cinewest on Jan 17 2018, 09:42:07 PM wrote:@ flaiky

You misinterpreted a bit: When I brought up education, I was mostly referring to film education. Like the example of one of your friends, most of the people in my life are "well-educated," and work in a variety of respected professions, but when it comes to movies, their lack of interest has led to very little development as viewers.
I even belong to a book club with a group of people who mostly have advanced degrees and the ability to critically assess literature, but there is an astounding lapse when it comes to the "appreciation of cinema as an art form."


@ST Gloede,

You are right that my closing paragraphs were written with intended "flair," and your example of someone who is just not that interested in exploring a particular art form (beyond what it provides as a passing fancy) is apropos.
Personally I wouldn't call it "astounding" or a "lapse". There is no obligation for people to analyse and explore cinema. But yeah let's leave this here.
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#52

Post by monk-time »

People who can't name the three pillars of an Ozu shot should not be able to vote. There, I said it.

(no, a creepy smile is not one of them)
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#53

Post by cinewest »

flaiky on Jan 18 2018, 05:30:24 AM wrote:
cinewest on Jan 17 2018, 09:42:07 PM wrote:@ flaiky

You misinterpreted a bit: When I brought up education, I was mostly referring to film education. Like the example of one of your friends, most of the people in my life are "well-educated," and work in a variety of respected professions, but when it comes to movies, their lack of interest has led to very little development as viewers.
I even belong to a book club with a group of people who mostly have advanced degrees and the ability to critically assess literature, but there is an astounding lapse when it comes to the "appreciation of cinema as an art form."


@ST Gloede,

You are right that my closing paragraphs were written with intended "flair," and your example of someone who is just not that interested in exploring a particular art form (beyond what it provides as a passing fancy) is apropos.
Personally I wouldn't call it "astounding" or a "lapse". There is no obligation for people to analyse and explore cinema. But yeah let's leave this here.
Sounds like you don't appreciate my jocular banter.

It's just a facet of my personality, but I have no desire to repress it, especially as there is no mean spirited intent.
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#54

Post by Armoreska »

monk-time wrote: January 15th, 2018, 11:59 pm I seem to be the only person in this thread who does not have a deep connection with Tarkovsky's films. Huh. I didn't have this issue with Bresson's firm stoicism, with Dreyer's intense suffering, with Dardennes' humble humanity, with Of Gods and Men's joyful self-sacrificing devotion, with Bergman's self-destructive reflection; I have loved many films by those guys, especially Dardennes.

But Tarkovsky (and to a lesser extent Kieslowski)... Even ignoring his off-the-charts ego (the only human he ever filmed about is woe-is-me-the-suffering-artist himself, with every other film having a prophet/martyr as the author's stand-in), rabid science/rationality bashing (Stalker, Solaris), and a very conservative worldview that seeps through sometimes and that OldAle1 has picked up on (the opening church scene in Nostalghia, while masterfully shot, is dis-fucking-gusting in its implications re: women), there's something very cold and off-putting at the core of his films that I am very sensitive to.

I understand that it's totally possible to interact with art on one's own terms, filling it with your own meaning and ignoring the cold grip of a dead author, but I just can't. I get the same suffocating vibe from his films that I experience visiting an Orthodox church or, say, Lenin's Tomb. They're all, including the films, seem to be deliberately constructed to fill you with this deep guilt-ridden dread of a cold, repressive and callous force. Ironically it's all very authoritarian in nature, and I suspect many in the West wouldn't have enjoyed Tarkovsky's art if he had complete freedom to film what he wanted.

Sorry if it all goes against everyone's experience and enjoyment of this important director here, but I've been seriously burned once by a similar cult-like repressive bs that I always feel in his films, and can't help but feel that way. I'm glad though that other people have had a much more positive interaction with his work, and it's been a pleasure to read y'all's comments.
:thumbsup:
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