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the 2009 project

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the 2009 project

#41

Post by OldAle1 » April 21st, 2017, 5:42 pm

matthewscott8 on Apr 21 2017, 03:27:35 AM wrote:
OldAle1 on Apr 20 2017, 08:47:41 AM wrote:OK, I've got an add to my own top list for the year and another film for your consideration, Keshtar haye sepid / The White Meadows (Mohammad Rasoulof). I watched it now because it's on DTC and I wanted to see at least some of the Iranian films nominated, and I'm glad I did - this is just about as good as the other Rasoulof film I've seen, Dast-neveshtehaa nemisoosand / Manuscripts Don't Burn (2013). The later film is angry agitprop deep down though it has other stuff going on as well; this is a completely different animal, an obscure mystical fantasy of sorts that I'm really going to need to think more about and read more about to get a handle on. The ending reminded me in a strange sense of Jauja, where it seemingly transitions from one "world" to another which reflects on the earlier part of the film in a way that made me completely re-evaluate what I'd been watching for 90 minutes.

Hope this gets seen by other DTC-ers and a wider audience (someday).
Haha, ;) I actually recommended this one to you about a year ago on the 2009 FG thread as I know you like your films Iranian. It's a fine film indeed, I like the comparison to Jauja. I actually thought this one was deeply political, I guess in that part of the world men deal with their uncontrollable lust by making it the problem of women, and scapegoating literally comes from that area of the world, as well as completely Draconian levels of punishment. In terms of levels of agitprop, the tears collection for the well off guy, must break through the top of the agitpropometer. It probably should be on my list really.

No surprise that the director was jailed for this movie.
Ha, I knew it had been talked about and that somebody had mentioned it to me, but didn't remember it was you. What a shitty memory I have. I'm getting close to 200 unseen Iranian films in my collection though so which one gets seen when is a complicated endeavor - this one was on DTC and was relatively short so it made the cut. Might be a couple more I'll get to before Sunday and maybe this year I'll do what I told myself I'd do last year - watch all of the DTC stuff I was planning to watch after the poll is over.

Yes, it's certainly political, just not *overtly* political in the sense that his later film, or Panahi's post-trial films have been. I think what it's really about at heart is irrationality, the notion that so many people in this world - in rich and wealthy areas as well as in impoverished isolated rural areas, which is what the last scene is all about - simply keep following traditions that have long ago outlived their usefulness (if they ever had any) in the name of religion, nationism, sexism, power, etc, and that until we get everybody (or at least a clear majority of people) to get educated and think for themselves and concentrate on the world we live in now, it will never get any better. At least that's the main thing I took away from it - so to me it is about religion, power and politics in the broadest sense, and yet there's enough specificity to Iran and conservative cultures generally that it never felt vague or unfocused.
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#42

Post by matthewscott8 » May 6th, 2017, 10:46 pm

joachimt on Mar 14 2017, 11:52:53 AM wrote:Judging on your list you already saw a lot more from that year than I did. I saw only 63 titles from 2009. Among my 8's and 9's the two with the lowest number of votes on IMDb are Shinboru and De laatste dagen van Emma Blank. Seen these already?
OK so I saw The Last Days of Emma Blank (2009 - Alex van Warmerdam). This was pretty insane. Quite nice to see it without having read the plot overview, i.e. all you need to know is there will be a house and some strange goings on. There's a prayer said before a meal at one point where Bella prays for them all to have the strength to fight the evil in themselves. But none of these people have that strength and they aren't even praying for it. I watch a lot of movies to find the sentiments that I wish life was composed of, and I guess The Last Days of Emma Blank is the opposite, it's composed of the sentiments that life is composed of, the people are hollow, horny, stupid, banal and egotistical. It's shocking in its honesty and there's a clarity too it which is very unnerving. How we are defined by the expectations of others and power structures. Now to find a movie with lots of sweet lies to watch next.

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I will be mulling over this for a few days I'm sure.

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#43

Post by joachimt » May 7th, 2017, 6:49 am

:thumbsup:
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#44

Post by OldAle1 » May 13th, 2017, 6:40 pm

Emma Blank looks pretty special. I've only managed to watch a tiny number of films this month but I did watch another 2009 - another Emma, this one Stone, as I come close to completing the Emma Stone quest (only the two Woody Allen films, the animated film she did, and a couple of bit parts left). It's Paper Man which I kind of enjoyed though it's one of those films that just isn't developed in a particularly interesting way - two lost souls (Stone and Jeff Daniels as a failed/aspiring writer) meet and help each other (maybe) with both comic hijinks and melodrama along the way. Also both characters have
Spoiler: click to toggleShow
imaginary friends (Ryan Reynolds and Kieran Culkin
. I kept thinking that a South Korean filmmaker could have done wonders with this material. Anyway the two leads are really fine but otherwise not something I'd recommend to most people.
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#45

Post by OldAle1 » June 4th, 2017, 5:13 pm

I hope you're still continuing with this...

OK, I have another 2009 watch - IMDb Top 250 fodder, Best Foreign Film, TSPDT 21st Century, yadda yadda yadda - El secreto de sus ojos. Sometimes when a film is on too many lists - especially if at least a couple of those lists are ones you respect on some level - expectations can be too high. I think mine were for this romantic drama / crime thriller from Juan José Campanella. It's not at all a bad film, it kept me interested for sure and I did *like* it, but I don't see the greatness here that a lot of folks do. It strikes me that this film places itself - as an awful lot of crime/thrillers from the past 20 years or so do - somewhere in or near territories mined by Almodóvar and/or Chan-wook Park, though it doesn't have the narrative complexity of some of the former's best, nor the visceral unpleasantness of some of the latter's work. But maybe you get what I mean - a (lightly) fractured plot, remorse, revenge, suppressed desires, a now-and-then timeline, and a (somewhat) surprising finale. It just felt a little too... ordinary to me; that's probably not the best word but it's what comes to me at the moment.

Anyway, worth seeing if not great. Next up on my own 2009 list would probably be Air Doll, and some of the many Iranian films from the year that look good. But it's still a very weak year for me so lots and lots of stuff out there to see.
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#46

Post by matthewscott8 » June 21st, 2017, 12:04 pm

Hey compadre, I have just watched El secreto de sus ojos, it really wasn't on my radar and I didn't have high expectations for it, frankly I rarely find modern South American cinema to be engaging. I thought some of it was exceptionally strong and tense, and a well made "cinematic" film. I could see why Esposito falls in love with Irene, she is the type of lady it would be almost impossible not to fall in love with.

I think your comparisons of Almodovar and Chan Wook Park are very apt. Yes it is lacking compared to those 2 guys.

I didn't see the film as having much profundity component. The theme of retribution is not really one which I can warm too. What is the saying? Dig two graves when you prepare for revenge. However revenge is very populist, hence the popularity of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

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#47

Post by OldAle1 » June 21st, 2017, 4:05 pm

I don't feel that I've seen enough Latin American cinema - of any period - to be much of a judge really, but for whatever reason it remains a somewhat lower priority than many other parts of the world, genres, etc. I really loved Alonso's Jauja and what little I've seen from Jodorowsky though, though he like the Chilean-born Ruiz is more properly a citizen of the world and not really tied to a single place.

Mostly agreed on other points; as far as retribution goes, I think it can be an interesting theme, but on it's own, as the principal driving force for a narrative, I don't think it often gives great cinematic experiences. I think Leone does amazing things with the theme - both front and center as in Once Upon a Time in the West and as part of a larger theme involving age and memory in Once Upon a Time in America, and I think Clint Eastwood gives us another great example in The Outlaw Josey Wales. I guess it's a theme that works well within the mythologies of the western and the gangster film - but I think it tends to work best when questioned, analyzed, or perhaps even attacked; in these three films I think the desire for retribution ultimately comes off as hollow and unfulfilling, whether said desire is actually achieved or not. But too often - particularly in modern American action films - revenge comes off as something approaching "cool" at the end and that's troubling, particularly in the context of the world we live in.
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#48

Post by OldAle1 » June 21st, 2017, 4:42 pm

Oh, forgot to mention that I watched another 2009 film, this one NOT one that I'd recommend to you or probably to most on this forum - a little flick called The Hangover. Hey, it was staring at me at the library and I hadn't seen this kind of dumb bro-comedy for quite a while. And it turned out not as horrible as I expected it to be, though not particularly funny either, and more homophobic and misogynistic than I would hope even most "adult" comedies these days should be. I actually like the idea of the basic narrative - these guys wake up in a trashed hotel room and have no memory whatsoever of the night before, and have to slowly piece it together through various supposed-to-be-hilarious encounters with a variety of Vegas folk - but little interesting is done with it. I guess this is the film that made Bradley Cooper a big star, good for him that he's moved away from this kind of crap.
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#49

Post by matthewscott8 » June 22nd, 2017, 11:16 am

I saw The Hangover at a party. We had all got drunk and woke up the next morning to a cooked breakfast and The Hangover. These were the perfect conditions to see it under. I don't mind watching an incredibly stupid movie from time to time as long as the film is self-aware. I actually am pretty fond of Scary Movie 2.

But yeah there was nothing really memorable here, nothing for me to connect to.

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#50

Post by matthewscott8 » June 22nd, 2017, 11:16 am

Also Jauja is the best movie evah!

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#51

Post by viktor-vaudevillain » July 6th, 2017, 1:42 pm

Have you seen the documentary Sweetgrass by Lucien Castaing-Taylor about shepherds guiding sheeps in northern America? It's quite fantastic, you may like it! Comes recommended nonetheless.
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#52

Post by matthewscott8 » July 10th, 2017, 1:04 pm

viktor-vaudevillain on Jul 6 2017, 07:42:09 AM wrote:Have you seen the documentary Sweetgrass by Lucien Castaing-Taylor about shepherds guiding sheeps in northern America? It's quite fantastic, you may like it! Comes recommended nonetheless.
I have the dvd on my watch pile, it featured highly in a few end year polls so it's a must see for this quest. Their film Leviathan is very good.

At the moment I'm having a lot of problem staying awake whilst watching slow films as we are having too hot weather in the UK. But I will get to it the next couple of months I'm sure. Waiting for our heatwave to end!

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#53

Post by matthewscott8 » September 10th, 2017, 12:48 pm

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The City of Your Final Destination (2009 - James Ivory)

After my summer hiatus I have returned to the 2009 project! Here is another example of a film I would not have seen in the ordinary course of events as I had written off the Merchant/Ivory/Jhabvala approach in my youth. This particular film was created subsequent to the death of Ismail Merchant, though the approach is the same.

It's a very fine film, which I am glad I saw. If I had written this I would have felt that I was reworking a harmony, removing some of the plangencies. Being an author must feel like being a god. The plot of the movie concerns a young man, Omar, making his bones towards becoming a tenured literature professor. He has a grant to write a biography of a deceased author, Jules Gund. His estate will not allow Omar permission to write an authorised biography or give him access to materials. So he travels from Kansas to South America to convince them otherwise. Here he finds the remnants of Hurricane Jules, a brother, a wife and a mistress living in seclusion in the countyside with their memories. There is a disharmony and the author finds a way to rearrange the elements in a more suitable fashion. It is a delicate and I think kind movie. The City of Your Final Destination is referring to the search for the place you are "meant" to be with the people you are "meant" to be with. Although the characters live in a place where the air is very thin, so-to-speak, I think many of us would be able to sympathise with this theme. Myself at 37, I have certainly not found the city of my final destination, the place where I can understand things without having to think. It's a very wistful film for sure!

Stunning cinematography from Javier Aguirresarobe, fyi, and the casting is almost perfect.

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#54

Post by OldAle1 » September 11th, 2017, 3:39 pm

Good to see this thread back - any chance for a bump on Amerarkana? Perhaps I will do that myself soon...

Anyway the only 2009 film of note I saw in the last couple of months was Xavier Dolan's debut, J'ai tué ma mère / I Killed My Mother; I watched all of Dolan's first five films recently for the Canadian poll and this was probably my second-favorite after Lawrence Anyways. An overwhelming emotional experience to me; Dolan has an ability like few others to make identify with his characters even though my own life couldn't be more different than them. And his use of color, costume design and editing - for a guy under 20 at the time making his first feature - is pretty damn remarkable. Top 10 for the year for sure at this point, probably top 5.
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#55

Post by matthewscott8 » September 12th, 2017, 9:35 am

OldAle1 on Sep 11 2017, 09:39:52 AM wrote:Good to see this thread back - any chance for a bump on Amerarkana? Perhaps I will do that myself soon...

Anyway the only 2009 film of note I saw in the last couple of months was Xavier Dolan's debut, J'ai tué ma mère / I Killed My Mother; I watched all of Dolan's first five films recently for the Canadian poll and this was probably my second-favorite after Lawrence Anyways. An overwhelming emotional experience to me; Dolan has an ability like few others to make identify with his characters even though my own life couldn't be more different than them. And his use of color, costume design and editing - for a guy under 20 at the time making his first feature - is pretty damn remarkable. Top 10 for the year for sure at this point, probably top 5.
Coincidentally I recently watched China Moon, so an ideal time to bump the Amerarkana thread.

The first Dolan film I ever watched blew my socks off, Heartbeats or Les Amours Imaginaires. That had a a fair bit of humour and poppiness. The soundtrack is up there on my top 5 soundtracks of all time (haven't actually written one but it definitely would be). His other stuff seems to have been quite gritty!

I really loved Laurence Anyways with all my heart, and found it very easy to connect with because of my own experiences with gender confusion. I liked that he was prepared to uncover all the realities of gender transitioning, that even if you have what you think is the most super-cool and strong relationship, it won't take the impact of you gender transitioning, and that speaks to a lot of profound truth about relationships that most people are unwilling to confront. And he still manages to remain really respectful of all the characters throughout. Love the bit when Laurence puts paperclips on his fingers. It's a film where he used a lot of the visual flair and energy of Heartbeats, though more sparingly.

J'ai tue ma mere I actually found a lot more difficult to get to grips with, my mum's my friend and I really get on with her, so it was quite alien to me. This sort of experience of being a teenager and wanting to strike out on your own and cut ties to your family, is a very common one, but I never felt it (despite the huge amount of problems I had with my dad). It was still a very interesting watch. Amazing to think he actually wrote the script when he was 16. There was less pure joy in this one, though the scene where Hubert and Antonin do drip painting together was good.

I haven't seen his two most recent, but I'm stuck with him really, I'll watch practically anything he puts out. He seems to share a lot of similar artistic loves to me, including Ludovico Einaudi bizarrely, a very unhip musician.

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#56

Post by matthewscott8 » September 12th, 2017, 9:52 am

FYI Dolan directed the video to Adele's song Hello, it's not credited on IMDb though. I am going to check it out after work.

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#57

Post by matthewscott8 » September 14th, 2017, 11:38 pm

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Le roi de l'evasion / King of Escape (2009 - Alain Guiraudie)


Wow, this was one of the best films I've seen in a long time. It's a surreal and bawdy comedy about a middle aged gay tractor salesman who has a heterosexual fling with a 16 year old. They escape together. It's sometimes laugh out loud funny, and sometimes poignant in a really weird way. There's lots of time spent in nature, portrayed as glorious and transcendent. Most scenes are sexually charged in a picaresque fashion, there's lots of gay sex scenes, and a flurry of straight sex scenes too.

It inverts traditional narrative tropes, but it's not a gimmicky film. It somehow manages to be one of the most successful indictments of patriarchy and capitalism I have ever seen.

I really can't recommend this enough. It's fantastic, it really cheered me up. It's a gorgeous looking film too, Guiraudie seems really fond of the colour green, and does a lot of experimenting with different palettes of green, also doing some red and green should never be seen shots that look cool too.

There's lots of really random hidden things, like the really annoying tractor patriarch guy's numberplate reads OQ at the start (pronounced au cul, or up the arse in French), and a lamp shaped like a prostate massager appears in the background at one point. I don't really know what hit me here with this fillm, but I know I like it lmao.

533 votes on IMDb only, what the absolute fuck? This journey into 2009 is really showing how flawed distribution can be!!
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#58

Post by matthewscott8 » September 16th, 2017, 9:51 pm

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Wild Grass (2009 - Alain Resnais)

With this one I have completed Cahiers du Cinema's top 10 films of 2009. This film they decided, was the best movie of 2009. That seems to be a staggering conclusion. One of my favourite movies is a completeley wayward and nonsensical one, The Flesh of the Orchid, and it's French to boot. So I don't mind it when films go off the rails in a beautiful way, but this just seemed to contain too many digressions and inane shots. Cahiers give home town decisions. So their view is easy to write off. I find myself frustratingly still vaguely fascinated and baffled by the movie though.

It's about a completely chance encounter that leads to absurd consequences and actions. A reviewer on IMDb suggested that perhaps Resnais is suggesting that the key to understanding the world is grasping that we are all insane. That seems a reasonable response to the movie for sure.
As always, much in this film is never meant to be explained, but is only suggested, and we can make of it what we will. All of the leading characters are eventually shown to be seriously mentally unbalanced, and I take this as Resnais's view of humanity generally. And who can say he is wrong? There is a lot to be said for the theory that everybody is insane. That would then explain everything about the world.
It is worrying that the film has an undertone of misogyny. The women in the movie don't really respond to events in any sort of realistic way. Women don't fall in love with stalkers. Professional women don't fall apart at the seams for no reason. The movie starts off with a shoe fitting scene which seems designed by a fantasising guy, with a sexual note between the shop assistant and Marguerite.

I do like the hints in the movie about Georges' past, his baroque office with strange objects in, seems like it's a metaphor for his mind. I also liked seeing all the watches in the watch shop, which represented people.

It's a movie that I think you could rightly call the product of senility and indulgence. It has its charms, but if felt baffling and often like a chore. In a more charitable mood I might praise Resnais for continuing to find filmic ways of adapting experimental literature after all these years.
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#59

Post by matthewscott8 » September 17th, 2017, 11:30 am

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Farewell (2009 - Ditteke Mensink)

This is a documentary film piecing together footage of a round the world airship flight sponsored by Randolph Hearst in 1929, and the diaries of Lady Grace Drummond-Hay, a journalist aboard, which are spoken out loud. Poignancy comes from the danger of the flight, but also from the geopolitical situation of the world at that time, and the problems in various territories they fly over, and finally because Lady Grace has an unresolved affair with one of the other journalists on board, a married man.

I found Lady Grace pretty annoying to be honest, though there was at times a very interesting level of intimacy in her diaries, as well as a positively phantasmagoric entry where she has about a dream where she kisses a snake.

The filmmakers did some quite good foley work adding sound effects to the silent footage. Some of the footage is anarchronistic or of different airship, chalk up to artistic license I guess.

Worthwhile watch.
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#60

Post by matthewscott8 » October 2nd, 2017, 8:34 am

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The Missing Person (2009 - Noah Buschel)

This movie about a contemporary private detective really slipped through the cracks, didn't even come up once on the very wide ranging polls of Film Comment and Sight & Sound for 2009. This despite Michael Shannon having some pretty high profile roles at the time (Revolutionary Road, My Son My Son What Have Ye Done). It plays with genre conventions in a comic way, but not in a way that invalidates or trivialises the content. Private Detective Rosow is a Chicago-based private detective origially from New York who receives a short notice commission to tail a man with a boy cross country. He's an alcoholic and clinically depressed, but he still has some level of ability to achieve his task.

Fundamentally it's an image driven movie, the one I liked best was a shot at night in the dining cart of the train to California, a cupola of light surrounded by thick darkness, the characters hurtling in cheap comfort through vast emptiness. I think from reading about the movie, many reviewers didn't get that it was a visual movie. At the start, Buschel uses the most banal credits anyone could imagine, they look like those sodium yellow subtitles you sometimes get for black and white movies. He also films America just exactly how it is, but people just immediately think that this means the shooting is amateurish. It's actually more of a statement at the start of the movie, this movie is going to look the opposite of a John Alton shot movie.

I would recommend this to you guys. I got a huge kick out of it.
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#61

Post by matthewscott8 » January 5th, 2018, 10:06 pm

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Disgrace (2008 - Steve Jacobs)

This was released in the vast majority of territories in 2009, and appeared as a nomination on a ballot in Film Comment for the year 2009, hence I have gone out of my way to see it, it's not the type of movie I would normally see.

It's probably the most upsetting film I have ever watched, and I did question at times whether I could make it through. It's a story about a white professor of English literature who lusts after one of his students and has to leave the university when the situation implodes, partially for racially aggravated reasons, it's hinted that the student gets with a boyfriend who encourages her to report the situation because he believes whites and blacks should not sleep together. But the professor is also very clearly an arrogant man who let his lust blind him to how uncomfortable his advances were making his student.

He then leaves to the countryside to stay with his green-fingered daughter, and things go from bad to worse following a home invasion.

The professor and his daughter have to learn to accept ignominy and try to look forward and be at peace with their situation and with their neighbours, one of whom was involved with the home invasion.

As a commentary on race and gender, it seems galaxies ahead of other films I have seen. It's great on solipsism too.

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#62

Post by matthewscott8 » January 6th, 2018, 11:45 am

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Rumba (2008 - Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon. Bruno Romy)

This was released in the UK in 2009 (never had a non-festival release in the US), and so ended up on a ballot for Sight & Sound's films of 2009.

I had seen Dom and Fiona in their 2011 movie The Fairy, which I loved and so I was looking forward to Rumba.

They are a couple of slapstick comedians who do shows and also latterly in their careers films. They take inspiration from the comedians of the silent era. This one is about a pair of teachers in a a school who also compete in Latin dance competitions together. Quite a lot of bad things happen in the movie, but the couple manage to trivialise them a lot, and always manage to continue to move forwards without moping. It's a lovely movie although they give themselves a huge burden with all the tragedy they have to put a positive spin on. It felt like it needed more balance in this respect.
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#63

Post by St. Gloede » January 6th, 2018, 1:41 pm

matthewscott8 on Sep 14 2017, 05:38:26 PM wrote:Image

Le roi de l'evasion / King of Escape (2009 - Alain Guiraudie)


Wow, this was one of the best films I've seen in a long time. It's a surreal and bawdy comedy about a middle aged gay tractor salesman who has a heterosexual fling with a 16 year old. They escape together. It's sometimes laugh out loud funny, and sometimes poignant in a really weird way. There's lots of time spent in nature, portrayed as glorious and transcendent. Most scenes are sexually charged in a picaresque fashion, there's lots of gay sex scenes, and a flurry of straight sex scenes too.

It inverts traditional narrative tropes, but it's not a gimmicky film. It somehow manages to be one of the most successful indictments of patriarchy and capitalism I have ever seen.

I really can't recommend this enough. It's fantastic, it really cheered me up. It's a gorgeous looking film too, Guiraudie seems really fond of the colour green, and does a lot of experimenting with different palettes of green, also doing some red and green should never be seen shots that look cool too.

There's lots of really random hidden things, like the really annoying tractor patriarch guy's numberplate reads OQ at the start (pronounced au cul, or up the arse in French), and a lamp shaped like a prostate massager appears in the background at one point. I don't really know what hit me here with this fillm, but I know I like it lmao.

533 votes on IMDb only, what the absolute fuck? This journey into 2009 is really showing how flawed distribution can be!!
Woah, I definitely need to see this. Alain Guiraudie is a director I have been meaning to explore after I saw Real Cool Time, and then he made Stranger by the Lake which was absolutely fantastic. I'll move this to the top of my 2009 watchlist.

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#64

Post by cinewest » January 6th, 2018, 3:13 pm

I mention White Meadows whenever I can on any film board, and it remains among my top 5 of 2009. Other overlooked gems that would be in my second 5, include Wind Journeys, and The Time That Remains.

A 2009 addition for me that would crack my top 20 seen (posted earlier) would be Mother, by Bong Joon-ho.

20 Movies on my 2009 "to see" list: The Cove, Samson And Delilah, A Brand New Life, Gagma Napiri, In The Beginning, Grandmother, Crab Trap, The Breath, The Man Who Will Come, Amer, Of Love And Other Demons, Undertow, Hadewijch, Lebanon, Son Of Babylon, Ajami, Father Of My Children, Katalin Varga, Before Your Eyes, and Micmacs.
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#65

Post by St. Gloede » January 6th, 2018, 3:24 pm

I went through the thread and your toplist and extended my watchlist with, Implox, Black Field, Redland, Material, Melodies of a Street Organ, Bunny and the Bull, The Missing Person, The Sound of Insects: Record of a Mummy, Das Vaterspiel, De laatste dagen van Emma Blank (not sure why that wasn't there), General Orders No. 9, Nothing Personal, Katalin Varga and Map of the Sounds of Tokyo.

I also bookmarked Disgrace.

The rest I have either seen or were on my watchlist already, with the exception of 1-2 I couldn't find anything else on.

Thank you so much for this thread.

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#66

Post by St. Gloede » January 6th, 2018, 3:42 pm

Some 2009 favorites for you to consider (if not seen already):

The Miscreants of Taliwood (2009, George Gittoes)
Tetro (2009, Francis Ford Coppola)
J'ai tué ma mère / I Killed My Mother (2009, Xavier Dolan)
Darbareye Elly / About Elly (2009, Asghar Farhadi)
Shinboru / Symbol (2009, Hitoshi Matsumoto)

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#67

Post by cinewest » January 7th, 2018, 8:06 am

How many films have you seen from 2009, now, Mathew?

I haven't heard of most of the films on your list, and many sound very interesting to me. It's amazing how many good films are out there these days, and how many of them simply fly under the radar.

I have argued this point about world cinema for years, but the cinematic qualities of English language indies has really improved in the last 10-15 years (same with alternative TV), as has the narrative creativity of documentaries.

One of the biggest problems, besides locating many of the films, is discerning what to watch, at least in part because so little is known about most of these filmmakers, but also because the taste of those commenting is so varied, and often so different from my own.

While I have discovered a lot of unsung gems, I have also seen a lot that has been mediocre (despite the allocates), and unlike many on these boards, I don't see 100+ films every year (too much else to do). I'd love to find a way to increase the overall quality of what I see, even as I spend a lot of time trying to do just that, but that seems more difficult than ever these days.
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#68

Post by cinewest » January 7th, 2018, 8:40 am

matthewscott8 on Jan 5 2018, 03:06:28 PM wrote:Image

Disgrace (2008 - Steve Jacobs)

This was released in the vast majority of territories in 2009, and appeared as a nomination on a ballot in Film Comment for the year 2009, hence I have gone out of my way to see it, it's not the type of movie I would normally see.

It's probably the most upsetting film I have ever watched, and I did question at times whether I could make it through. It's a story about a white professor of English literature who lusts after one of his students and has to leave the university when the situation implodes, partially for racially aggravated reasons, it's hinted that the student gets with a boyfriend who encourages her to report the situation because he believes whites and blacks should not sleep together. But the professor is also very clearly an arrogant man who let his lust blind him to how uncomfortable his advances were making his student.

He then leaves to the countryside to stay with his green-fingered daughter, and things go from bad to worse following a home invasion.

The professor and his daughter have to learn to accept ignominy and try to look forward and be at peace with their situation and with their neighbours, one of whom was involved with the home invasion.

As a commentary on race and gender, it seems galaxies ahead of other films I have seen. It's great on solipsism too.
This film is based on a novel than catapulted its author to the Nobel Prize for Literature

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#69

Post by Eve-Lang-El-Coup » January 8th, 2018, 8:16 am

Here are some more 2009 movies I watched over the last 9 months or whatever that you potentially have not seen.

One Hundred Mornings - Two couples endure each others company as modern society breaks down.
Baaria - Typical Coming-of-Age Tornatore and if you've seen Cinema Paradiso then there is no need to see this.
Agora - A political thriller taking liberties with history.
The Man Who Will Come - A village, a child and World War II
Ajami - A dramatic urban relay in the city of Tel Aviv. This is my favourite of the bunch
The Secret of Kells - A boy finds the power to do right by his village even if his father thinks little of it.
Undertow - A mans lover dies, then things get complicated when he returns to haunt him the warmest way possible.
With Heart and Soul - Two brothers fight on opposing sides of the Greek civil war.
Zen - Dogen Zenji facilitates the growth of his brand of Buddhist theory in a turbulent time.
Medal of Honor - Accidentally awarded a medal a retired soldier attempts convince his friends and family of his past exploits. Things get awkward when the mistake is made evident.
The Concert - A washed up conductor cuts and pastes an orchestra of old friends to travel to Paris under the guise of the Bolshoi Orchestra.
Amreeka - Starting over again in another country can be rough and it's surprisingly worse with family.

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#70

Post by matthewscott8 » January 8th, 2018, 3:48 pm

cinewest on Jan 7 2018, 01:40:11 AM wrote:
matthewscott8 on Jan 5 2018, 03:06:28 PM wrote:Image

Disgrace (2008 - Steve Jacobs)

This was released in the vast majority of territories in 2009, and appeared as a nomination on a ballot in Film Comment for the year 2009, hence I have gone out of my way to see it, it's not the type of movie I would normally see.

It's probably the most upsetting film I have ever watched, and I did question at times whether I could make it through. It's a story about a white professor of English literature who lusts after one of his students and has to leave the university when the situation implodes, partially for racially aggravated reasons, it's hinted that the student gets with a boyfriend who encourages her to report the situation because he believes whites and blacks should not sleep together. But the professor is also very clearly an arrogant man who let his lust blind him to how uncomfortable his advances were making his student.

He then leaves to the countryside to stay with his green-fingered daughter, and things go from bad to worse following a home invasion.

The professor and his daughter have to learn to accept ignominy and try to look forward and be at peace with their situation and with their neighbours, one of whom was involved with the home invasion.

As a commentary on race and gender, it seems galaxies ahead of other films I have seen. It's great on solipsism too.
This film is based on a novel than catapulted its author to the Nobel Prize for Literature
I read up on the background to it quite a lot. Seems to have been a controversial award, in that the book has been denounced as racist in South Africa. Also Coetzee subsequently emigrated to Australia.

A lot of the reviews for the movie can't get away from "the book was like this... the movie was like that...". I generally try really hard to ignore the existence of books when thinking about the movie as I don't think it's a good starting point, or that films of great novels need to be "transcribed" onto the screen. However I think there's probably a lot of Coetzee in the Lurie character so there's some value in looking outside the borders of the film.

There seems to be a habit of people sweeping movies made from great novels under the carpet a bit, as if there's some shame in them. Revolutionary Road from around the same time was also a bit underloved. The best result one seems to be able to hope for is the literary crowd breathing a sigh of relief that one hasn't "murdered" the novel. I just find that whole mindset quite stifling.

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#71

Post by matthewscott8 » January 8th, 2018, 4:02 pm

Eve-Lang-El-Coup on Jan 8 2018, 01:16:58 AM wrote:Here are some more 2009 movies I watched over the last 9 months or whatever that you potentially have not seen.

One Hundred Mornings - Two couples endure each others company as modern society breaks down.
Baaria - Typical Coming-of-Age Tornatore and if you've seen Cinema Paradiso then there is no need to see this.
Agora - A political thriller taking liberties with history.
The Man Who Will Come - A village, a child and World War II
Ajami - A dramatic urban relay in the city of Tel Aviv. This is my favourite of the bunch
The Secret of Kells - A boy finds the power to do right by his village even if his father thinks little of it.
Undertow - A mans lover dies, then things get complicated when he returns to haunt him the warmest way possible.
With Heart and Soul - Two brothers fight on opposing sides of the Greek civil war.
Zen - Dogen Zenji facilitates the growth of his brand of Buddhist theory in a turbulent time.
Medal of Honor - Accidentally awarded a medal a retired soldier attempts convince his friends and family of his past exploits. Things get awkward when the mistake is made evident.
The Concert - A washed up conductor cuts and pastes an orchestra of old friends to travel to Paris under the guise of the Bolshoi Orchestra.
Amreeka - Starting over again in another country can be rough and it's surprisingly worse with family.
Thanks, the only one of them I've seen is Agora. Undertow and Baaria are high on my 2009 watchlist. The one that hasn't hit my radar yet is One Hundred Mornings. I've watched practically every film that I "want" to watch from 2009, and I'm now really in "pot luck" territory where I'm watching stuff with misgivings, but getting quite a few pleasant surprises. I might post my watch list when I get home.

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#72

Post by matthewscott8 » January 8th, 2018, 4:12 pm

cinewest on Jan 7 2018, 01:06:26 AM wrote:How many films have you seen from 2009, now, Mathew?

I haven't heard of most of the films on your list, and many sound very interesting to me. It's amazing how many good films are out there these days, and how many of them simply fly under the radar.

I have argued this point about world cinema for years, but the cinematic qualities of English language indies has really improved in the last 10-15 years (same with alternative TV), as has the narrative creativity of documentaries.

One of the biggest problems, besides locating many of the films, is discerning what to watch, at least in part because so little is known about most of these filmmakers, but also because the taste of those commenting is so varied, and often so different from my own.

While I have discovered a lot of unsung gems, I have also seen a lot that has been mediocre (despite the allocates), and unlike many on these boards, I don't see 100+ films every year (too much else to do). I'd love to find a way to increase the overall quality of what I see, even as I spend a lot of time trying to do just that, but that seems more difficult than ever these days.
Hiya, I'm up to 153 seen from 2009. I'm targeting at least 365 seen in the next few years. Reply at more length a bit later as getting kicked out of where I am.

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#73

Post by OldAle1 » January 8th, 2018, 8:51 pm

matthewscott8 on Jan 8 2018, 09:12:46 AM wrote:Hiya, I'm up to 153 seen from 2009. I'm targeting at least 365 seen in the next few years. Reply at more length a bit later as getting kicked out of where I am.
Interesting - 153 is exactly the number of films I've seen from 1988, the year I've seen the most from. Only other year I'm close to that is 1990 with 151, but those were in the period where I was seeing tons of new stuff - it's not deliberate in other words. I do think about doing this kind of deep dive that you're doing, but picking a year is tough for me. In any case I really like this thread and hope you keep it up (and Amerarkana for that matter). Disgrace looks pretty compelling but probably not something I'll see anytime soon. The last 2009 film I saw was Madeo a couple of weeks ago which I liked but didn't love, can't say I really see the genius in Bong's work apart from Memories of Murder.
Here's to the fools who dream.

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#74

Post by cinewest » January 9th, 2018, 6:06 am

matthewscott8 on Jan 8 2018, 09:12:46 AM wrote:
cinewest on Jan 7 2018, 01:06:26 AM wrote:How many films have you seen from 2009, now, Mathew?

I haven't heard of most of the films on your list, and many sound very interesting to me. It's amazing how many good films are out there these days, and how many of them simply fly under the radar.

I have argued this point about world cinema for years, but the cinematic qualities of English language indies has really improved in the last 10-15 years (same with alternative TV), as has the narrative creativity of documentaries.

One of the biggest problems, besides locating many of the films, is discerning what to watch, at least in part because so little is known about most of these filmmakers, but also because the taste of those commenting is so varied, and often so different from my own.

While I have discovered a lot of unsung gems, I have also seen a lot that has been mediocre (despite the allocates), and unlike many on these boards, I don't see 100+ films every year (too much else to do). I'd love to find a way to increase the overall quality of what I see, even as I spend a lot of time trying to do just that, but that seems more difficult than ever these days.
Hiya, I'm up to 153 seen from 2009. I'm targeting at least 365 seen in the next few years. Reply at more length a bit later as getting kicked out of where I am.
I hope that 365 proves to be as fruitful as it is ambitious. It's easy enough to find 50 worthwhile films every year, but finding another 50 of comparable quality is much more difficult, not because they don't exist, but because they haven't received much publicity, and aren't always easy to find once you have a name.

I remember discussing some of your resources for titles, but what have been your best resources for actually finding and watching the more obscure titles?
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#75

Post by cinewest » January 9th, 2018, 7:55 am

OldAle1 on Jan 8 2018, 01:51:08 PM wrote:The last 2009 film I saw was Madeo a couple of weeks ago which I liked but didn't love, can't say I really see the genius in Bong's work apart from Memories of Murder.
Madeo is perhaps the most recent worthwhile film I have seen from 2009 (and it might crack my top 20 for that year), but in general, other than Kim Ki-duk, and Lee Chang dong, I have been somewhat underwhelmed by the Korean filmmakers I have explored, especially considering the publicity that surrounds them.

As for Bong (having just seen Okja last night), I have now attempted a half dozen of his, and would say that he is just barely holding my interest (because of some interesting visuals) since the first two I saw (Memories of Murder, and Barking Dogs Never Bite, which might still be my favorite, if only because it introduced me to what is most compelling about Bong's films).

In general, I have found Korean cinema to be highly professional productions, with a strong, visceral sense, comparable with hollywood films in both ways, apart from the culturally different attitudes / obsessions / fetishes around violence, sex, and surreal horror. As with Hollywood films, the images tend to be shoveled into your face, and there is an absence of subtlety.

Kim Ki-duk stands out to me, if only because I find his films to be more imaginative and less formulaic than those from the other big name directors, and Lee Chang dong impresses with his humanistic "realism."

I have also seen a few smaller Korean productions, including Take Care Of My Cat, but haven't noticed anything that special about them (A Muse was the most recent best of those).
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#76

Post by fori » January 9th, 2018, 8:32 am

Man it's crazy... I've actually seen almost 200 (198 to be exact) movies from 2009...
Have you seen my favourite, Cafe Noir, yet?

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Post by matthewscott8 » January 9th, 2018, 2:18 pm

fori on Jan 9 2018, 01:32:17 AM wrote:Man it's crazy... I've actually seen almost 200 (198 to be exact) movies from 2009...
Have you seen my favourite, Cafe Noir, yet?
No I haven't seen Cafe Noir yet, I have seen you mention it before though, so I obtained the dvd. It's a 3 hour watch, so is taking longer for me to get to as I have to wait for weekends to watch the longer movies. Watch this space, I will try and prioritise it. You saw a lot of movies from 2009!

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#78

Post by matthewscott8 » January 9th, 2018, 2:26 pm

St. Gloede on Jan 6 2018, 08:42:08 AM wrote:Some 2009 favorites for you to consider (if not seen already):

The Miscreants of Taliwood (2009, George Gittoes)
Tetro (2009, Francis Ford Coppola)
J'ai tué ma mère / I Killed My Mother (2009, Xavier Dolan)
Darbareye Elly / About Elly (2009, Asghar Farhadi)
Shinboru / Symbol (2009, Hitoshi Matsumoto)
I've seen the middle three of those, all fine films. I absolutely love Dolan, though his films can be a little hit and miss given your level of personal engagement, e.g. I just can't connect to the "having a problematic relationship with my mother" feelings, and it's one of his more dour films. On the other hand I've heard people say the same things about Laurence Anyways, but I was transfixed by that as I know all about having trans feelings. He usually injects some ecstatic scenes into his films, and him doing that with bravura, and frequently is critical for me, and it's why I will always love his film Heartbeats. There isn't as much of that in J'ai tue ma mere, though there is a scene where Hubert and his boyfriend do some painting together that counts.

About Elly and Tetro were also fine films, although I haven't put them in the top bracket myself. Tetro will get a rewatch from me as I find the late Coppola stuff very interesting, though Gallo for me is really problematic.

You mentioned Shinboru to me a while back, and that's one on the dvd pile. Taliwood is another for me to get too!

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#79

Post by matthewscott8 » January 9th, 2018, 6:42 pm

cinewest on Jan 9 2018, 12:55:51 AM wrote:
OldAle1 on Jan 8 2018, 01:51:08 PM wrote:The last 2009 film I saw was Madeo a couple of weeks ago which I liked but didn't love, can't say I really see the genius in Bong's work apart from Memories of Murder.
Madeo is perhaps the most recent worthwhile film I have seen from 2009 (and it might crack my top 20 for that year), but in general, other than Kim Ki-duk, and Lee Chang dong, I have been somewhat underwhelmed by the Korean filmmakers I have explored, especially considering the publicity that surrounds them.

As for Bong (having just seen Okja last night), I have now attempted a half dozen of his, and would say that he is just barely holding my interest (because of some interesting visuals) since the first two I saw (Memories of Murder, and Barking Dogs Never Bite, which might still be my favorite, if only because it introduced me to what is most compelling about Bong's films).

In general, I have found Korean cinema to be highly professional productions, with a strong, visceral sense, comparable with hollywood films in both ways, apart from the culturally different attitudes / obsessions / fetishes around violence, sex, and surreal horror. As with Hollywood films, the images tend to be shoveled into your face, and there is an absence of subtlety.

Kim Ki-duk stands out to me, if only because I find his films to be more imaginative and less formulaic than those from the other big name directors, and Lee Chang dong impresses with his humanistic "realism."

I have also seen a few smaller Korean productions, including Take Care Of My Cat, but haven't noticed anything that special about them (A Muse was the most recent best of those).
I agree that Korean cinema is a fully fledged commercial entity with it's own sensibilities, with high "production values", and bears comparison to Hollywood well.

Madeo / Mother I enjoyed watching, I felt it shifted genres quite well, it had a lot of tone changes. It was entertaining but not particularly challenging, and not that profound on the subject of the experience of being a mother.

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#80

Post by cinewest » January 11th, 2018, 12:18 pm

I pretty agree with your comments on Madeo, though I think it has to be seen as less of a realistic portrait of motherhood than as an "expressionistic" one, which is what a lot of Korean cinema is.

The message is that "mother" will do anything to protect her son, and it would be interesting to compare this one to several others I have seen recently about mothers and their sons.

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