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The President of what?

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The President of what?

#81

Post by brokenface » May 10th, 2012, 2:28 pm

Mon oncle (Tati, 1958) 6/10

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It gives me plenty of wry smiles, but Tati rarely makes me outright laugh. I spend most of the film thinking Buster Keaton did all this modern-technology-is-dehumanising humour over 30 years earlier, much funnier and without taking half an hour to build up a single gag. Just need to watch shorts like The Electric House and One Week - perfection.

Maybe harsh to compare Tati with Keaton, but he's put down as one of the greats and he just isn't in the same league as a comedian, for me. I do like some of his architectural ideas and it has a relaxing charm as a film, but not really enough for its classic status.

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#82

Post by Limedebois » May 10th, 2012, 4:12 pm

So much love for Tati and nothing for Pierre Étaix. Pierre Étaix has had copyright issue during 20-30 years and his films was forbidden to diffusion... Now we can rediscovered Le Soupirant and Yoyo, much more interesting than Tati à la Keaton.
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#83

Post by brokenface » May 10th, 2012, 4:22 pm

Sounds interesting. Review on IMDB says Le Soupirant is remake of Keaton's Seven Chances - is this right?

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#84

Post by Limedebois » May 10th, 2012, 4:25 pm

No idea. Not seen it.

Jean-Claude Carrière has "written" the script with Etaix. Carrière is most famous for his work with Bunuel of course. I will watch the Keaton for the comparison.

edit: Ok it has nothing to do with 7 Chances...
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#85

Post by insomnia » May 10th, 2012, 7:04 pm

Well comparing Tati with Keaton is only natural I think and I do agree that Keaton is superior in general. However I still really like Tati and Play Time in particular is a masterpiece imo.

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#86

Post by brokenface » May 10th, 2012, 9:21 pm

The Decline of the American Empire (Arcand, 1986) 4/10

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Very smug, very yuppy-ish French-Canadian academics talk about sex. The men do so while preparing a meal, the women while working out in the gym. We also get flashes to how the couples act when they are alone together, before they finally all come together to have the meal and a bit of conflict.

They tell each other stories about affairs, one-night stands, homosexuality, prostitutes, sexually transmitted diseases, S&M, and so forth. It's like there was a checklist. Maybe it was taboo-breaking for the time, but it just came across somewhere between quaint and cringe-worthy (the gay man who offers people mineral water and takes multi-vitamins :rolleyes: ).

Watched it as I had The Barbarian Invasions to watch and found out that is actually a 15-years-later follow-on to this. Whether it intends to satirize these deeply irritating characters or not (if it was, it pulled its punches too much), the thought of spending another hour and a half with them is pretty unappealing.

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#87

Post by Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi » May 11th, 2012, 12:01 am

insomnia on May 10 2012, 01:04:23 PM wrote:Well comparing Tati with Keaton is only natural I think and I do agree that Keaton is superior in general. However I still really like Tati and Play Time in particular is a masterpiece imo.
For me, rating Tati by saying that he's not as funny as Keaton is like dismissing chocolate because it's just not as spicy as a good burrito.

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#88

Post by brokenface » May 11th, 2012, 12:19 am

Strange analogy, it's not like they are totally unrelated. Tati was heavily influenced by Keaton (& other silent comedians) - according to the liner notes on my DVD one of the great side effects of Mon Oncle winning Oscar was it gave Tati a chance to fulfill lifelong dream to meet Keaton, Chaplin, Laurel & Mack Sennett. And like I said, Tati here (and in most of his films) is in very similar territory for comedy as Keaton used in several of his short films.

If you want a food analogy, it's more like comparing chocolate cake to chocolate ice-cream. They use similar flavour in different ways, and one works better for me.

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#89

Post by Limedebois » May 11th, 2012, 12:53 am

Tati was heavily influenced by Keaton (& other silent comedians)
Yes and no. Yes because, he couldn't miss him. No because there's a huge culture of clowns and mimes in France. A mime (mime Marceau) is... a silent character. And in French circus there's two clowns: the white clown and the Auguste. The white one is stoic. Keaton ok, but why not Max Linder who inspired Chaplin for Charlot? Everybody inspires everybody in this art. It was here before movies. If you watch Etaix, there's more resemblance with Keaton (physically). And Tati is more like the white clown with a pipe. Also Etaix was married with a famous clown and teacher, Anne Fratellini, the most famous family of clown in France. You can see a different version of the white clown in Les Enfants du paradis with the character of Jean-Louis Barrault, Jean-Baptiste Debureau, with Pierrot, another character very similar inspired by commedia dell arte. It's long story, a long tradition.
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#90

Post by brokenface » May 11th, 2012, 1:02 am

Great pic I just found:

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Keaton, Tati, Lloyd.

Look how awed Tati is by Buster :D

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#91

Post by Limedebois » May 11th, 2012, 1:06 am

lol Optical illusion. He's looking a naked woman playing tennis with a chimpanzee .

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#92

Post by Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi » May 11th, 2012, 5:28 pm

brokenface on May 10 2012, 06:19:57 PM wrote:Strange analogy, it's not like they are totally unrelated. Tati was heavily influenced by Keaton (& other silent comedians) - according to the liner notes on my DVD one of the great side effects of Mon Oncle winning Oscar was it gave Tati a chance to fulfill lifelong dream to meet Keaton, Chaplin, Laurel & Mack Sennett. And like I said, Tati here (and in most of his films) is in very similar territory for comedy as Keaton used in several of his short films.

If you want a food analogy, it's more like comparing chocolate cake to chocolate ice-cream. They use similar flavour in different ways, and one works better for me.
The point of the analogy was not to say they are totally unrelated in all respects. The point was that, imo, to rate Tati by gauging whether his humor achieves what Keaton's achieves is mismatched. I'm not averse to your chocolate cake versus chocolate ice cream analogy-- there are clearly some elements in common between the two filmmakers-- but so long as the equivalent claim is that chocolate cake is not very good chocolate ice cream because it's not cold enough.

There are certain common comedic structural elements between the two filmmakers, but ultimately the style of and philosophy behind the two filmmakers' work are radically different.

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#93

Post by brokenface » May 11th, 2012, 6:00 pm

They have different methods but I think they have the same aim: simply to make people laugh. I was giving my comparison between the two in their ability to make me laugh. It's a totally subjective point, just as I'd subjectively pick chocolate cake over chocolate ice cream if I wanted a tasty dessert. I'm not saying Tati fails to make a Buster Keaton film, more that Tati tries to make people laugh about similar things and is not so successful for me..

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#94

Post by brokenface » May 14th, 2012, 11:03 pm

Le Havre (Kaurismaki, 2011) 9/10

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I find it much harder to write about films I love. Picking out holes and flaws is much easier. This was just a delight. I've watched through a lot of Kaurismaki's early films lately and it's a bit of a jump to this - the style is still totally recognisable, but the film is more traditionally structured with its plot & pacing (though there still some absurd elements, naturally!).

The stilted, artificial dialogue is not going to work for everyone, but there were some parts that had me not far short crying with laughter. It's a very stylized French harbour town where the action plays out, and in it is resides a splendid cast (some Kaurismaki regulars, some new).

The depressive gives us an optimistic, absurdist take on neo-realism - and they gave the Palme d'Or to Malick instead, the fools :rolleyes:

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#95

Post by Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi » May 15th, 2012, 12:48 am

brokenface on May 11 2012, 12:00:14 PM wrote:They have different methods but I think they have the same aim: simply to make people laugh. I was giving my comparison between the two in their ability to make me laugh. It's a totally subjective point, just as I'd subjectively pick chocolate cake over chocolate ice cream if I wanted a tasty dessert. I'm not saying Tati fails to make a Buster Keaton film, more that Tati tries to make people laugh about similar things and is not so successful for me..
Sure, sure, I understand you and won't argue the point any more than I have, except to say that for me Keaton and Tati's humor ultimately differs. Keaton is going for a laugh, whereas Tati is more interested in exploring a philosophy, a worldview, and so I see him going more for a wry smile and a nod from the viewer.

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#96

Post by brokenface » May 17th, 2012, 7:25 pm

La route de Corinthe (Chabrol, 1967) 5/10

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A somewhat ridiculous film. I think you'd call it a spy caper, with all that entails. Not really funny (as I assume it's supposed to be) or particularly coherent, but it moves along quickly and Jean Seberg is very easy on the eye, getting into various predicaments as she attempts to find out who killed her husband.
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#97

Post by brokenface » May 17th, 2012, 10:33 pm

Gozu (Miike, 2003) 6/10

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Started very promisingly with a hilariously strange pre-credit section of yakuza-goes-weird (though watch out if you can't stand animals being hurt) and it continues in a nice enigmatic vein until it gets a certain way in and you realize it's just going to continue into endless weirdness for the sake of weirdness.

There are certainly some unique ideas & bits of imagery - often in the I-really-want-to-look-away-but-can't territory (my god I will never be able to look at the innocent soup ladle quite the same again :blink: ) - and some of it is quite funny, but it's way too long, with the middle section just sagging badly. It'll be compared to Lynch, but Lynch it ain't. There you may not understand what you've just watched, but the journey still felt worthwhile & you can ponder away about what it all meant. Here I get to end and don't even want to understand, I just want to wash out my memory with bleach!

Love the music on the end credits.

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#98

Post by brokenface » May 18th, 2012, 10:02 pm

Tom Jones (Richardson, 1963) 5/10

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Won best picture at the Oscars, but God knows how. This makes me think they are wise to avoid comedies in general because sometimes they date badly. This might have been funny in a 'wow, they are satirising serious historical dramas' way at the time, but now just feels like a way too long and way too unfunny sketch from any number of TV comedies.

That's not to say there's nothing funny, a few scenes & lines made me smile. But alot of the comedy barely gets above low-grade slapstick and 'heh-heh! tits!' level of humour. However there is some fine camerawork & staging in some scenes - particularly the hunting sequence.

Never read the novel, heard mixed reports on that, so I can't say if it does a good job of adapting. Perhaps this was influential and innovative, but as a film in its own right, it just seems like a very, very poor man's Barry Lyndon.

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#99

Post by Limedebois » May 18th, 2012, 10:11 pm

For me Tomes Jones, it was, it is and will ever be:

- sorry -

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#100

Post by bal3x » May 18th, 2012, 10:55 pm

brokenface on May 18 2012, 04:02:38 PM wrote:Never read the novel, heard mixed reports on that, so I can't say if it does a good job of adapting. Perhaps this was influential and innovative, but as a film in its own right, it just seems like a very, very poor man's Barry Lyndon.
I had to read the Fielding's book at school and recall it was one of the most boring things ever... but the film seems to be more horrendous! I believe 5/10 is too generous..

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#101

Post by brokenface » May 18th, 2012, 11:02 pm

bal3x on May 18 2012, 04:55:32 PM wrote:
brokenface on May 18 2012, 04:02:38 PM wrote:Never read the novel, heard mixed reports on that, so I can't say if it does a good job of adapting. Perhaps this was influential and innovative, but as a film in its own right, it just seems like a very, very poor man's Barry Lyndon.
I had to read the Fielding's book at school and recall it was one of the most boring things ever... but the film seems to be more horrendous! I believe 5/10 is too generous..
I was tempted to go lower. Really is unbelievable it managed to win Oscar. I know they don't exactly do foreign films, but 8 1/2 got nominated in a bunch of categories and could've been picked. Or far superior (and more typically Oscar-like) films like Hud and This Sporting Life didn't even get nominated. Strange.

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#102

Post by bal3x » May 18th, 2012, 11:16 pm

brokenface on May 18 2012, 05:02:42 PM wrote:
bal3x on May 18 2012, 04:55:32 PM wrote:
brokenface on May 18 2012, 04:02:38 PM wrote:Never read the novel, heard mixed reports on that, so I can't say if it does a good job of adapting. Perhaps this was influential and innovative, but as a film in its own right, it just seems like a very, very poor man's Barry Lyndon.
I had to read the Fielding's book at school and recall it was one of the most boring things ever... but the film seems to be more horrendous! I believe 5/10 is too generous..
I was tempted to go lower. Really is unbelievable it managed to win Oscar. I know they don't exactly do foreign films, but 8 1/2 got nominated in a bunch of categories and could've been picked. Or far superior (and more typically Oscar-like) films like Hud and This Sporting Life didn't even get nominated. Strange.
I think I rated it 3/10... yes, very strange indeed. Hud is among my favorites!

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#103

Post by St. Gloede » May 18th, 2012, 11:38 pm

Why on earth is what can best be described as a custume sex comedy being compared to Barry Lyndon? The "similarities" are quite few. Thought it was a riot myself, an the opening scene done in fantastic retro silent movie style is one of the best openings through the ages. Wouldn't say it deserved to win the oscar, but definitely a great film.

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#104

Post by brokenface » May 18th, 2012, 11:55 pm

Crinderman on May 18 2012, 05:38:51 PM wrote:Why on earth is what can best be described as a custume sex comedy being compared to Barry Lyndon? The "similarities" are quite few.
Because it's an episodic story of a charismatic but morally dubious 18th century foundling going up and down in society. Of course they differ in style & execution, but come on, there are many overlaps and I am not the first to make the comparison, as a quick google will show..

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#105

Post by St. Gloede » May 18th, 2012, 11:58 pm

brokenface on May 18 2012, 05:55:04 PM wrote:
Crinderman on May 18 2012, 05:38:51 PM wrote:Why on earth is what can best be described as a custume sex comedy being compared to Barry Lyndon? The "similarities" are quite few.
Because it's an episodic story of a charismatic but morally dubious 18th century foundling going up and down in society. Of course they differ in style & execution, but come on, there are many overlaps and I am not the first to make the comparison, as a quick google will show..
Too be honest I think that's a pretty thin similarity, though to be fair I can't think of too many films that would fit that description so I guess they are more related than say the "Charismatic, yet slick gangster".

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#106

Post by brokenface » May 19th, 2012, 12:06 am

By the by, I even found Barry Lyndon funnier than this, despite it not primarily being a comedy (mainly due to the splendid narration).

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#107

Post by St. Gloede » May 19th, 2012, 12:09 am

brokenface on May 18 2012, 06:06:12 PM wrote:By the by, I even found Barry Lyndon funnier than this, despite it not primarily being a comedy (mainly due to the splendid narration).
Had almost forgotten about that, yes, it definitely had some moments that made me, if not crack up, make one heck of a huge grin. Masterpiece. (l)

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#108

Post by brokenface » May 20th, 2012, 9:36 pm

Before the Revolution (Bertolucci, 1964) 8/10

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"I'm a bore who makes lists of films," says one character during a brief break into discussing cinema (Rossellini and The Big Sleep and Nicholas Ray amongst others). We get clips from Godard and a comparison of Anna Karina with Louise Brooks in terms of being iconic of their times, which holds up pretty well considering how contemporary this was to Anna K. It's a rather earnest, angsty film of young men who talk about such things with deadly serious expressions.

This film is also beautiful and rather whimsical, somewhere between Godard new wave style and Antonioni ennui. The main character is a young man of the wealthy middle class with vaguely revolutionary politics but completely indecisive about which direction to take his life. More interesting is his hot young aunt with whom he starts an affair, but she has problems of her own. Adriana Asti is just :wub: in this role.

Bertolucci was 22 when he made this. Twenty-two. I am five years older and have done nothing. My name is brokenface and I am a bore who makes lists of films :(

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#109

Post by brokenface » May 21st, 2012, 7:48 pm

Sorry Wrong Number (Litvak, 1948) 8/10

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Really fine Hitchcockian noir. Suffers a little from its structure at times - with so much of the story being relayed in flashback through narrated telephone calls - but ends up remarkably effective.
Spoiler: click to toggleShow
Bonus points for the utter bleakness of the ending. The last 10 minutes - from when it is revealed what Bowery 2-1000 is - are just great.
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#110

Post by brokenface » May 22nd, 2012, 11:28 am

Moontide (Mayo, 1942) 7/10

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Plotwise, this is pretty unspectacular noir, but there are several elements that make it interesting.

First up, it is one of Jean Gabin's rare Hollywood forays. Hearing him speaking English - with heavy French accent - is strange, but he is rather great, his charisma is beyond language. Watching this makes me surprised he wasn't used more in Hollywood.

Second up, there's a great supporting case. Ida Lupino as a rather sweet & sad girl who Gabin rescues from suicide, Thomas Mitchell as menacing manipulator, along with Claude Rains in a small role.

Third up, this was almost a Fritz Lang film. He is listed as uncredited on IMDB - he was fired after 3 weeks of filming. According to my Fritz Lang bio, reasons were twofold: falling out with Fox boss Darryl Zanuck over just about everything and - oooh, gossip - falling out with Jean Gabin over Marlene Dietrich (once Fritz Lang's lover (!) and at the time of shooting Jean Gabin's).

Finally, I have to mention the most interesting bit of the film - the opening section where we get this wonderful montage of Gabin getting very, very drunk. It brilliantly captures both the immediate, surreal confusion of the boozed-up mind and the gaps in memory you have attempting to piece together a very drunken night. After watching it, I read up and little and discover this section involved the contribution of none other than Salvador Dali. This perhaps explains the very strange moment when one of the women Gabin is talking to in his alcohol haze suddenly part-fades out of existence, leaving him talking only to her torso!

All of this perhaps adds up more to a curio than a great film, but the curious elements make it worthwhile.


EDIT. Found a youtube of the brilliant drunken montage section. If only the rest of the film was half as weird/brilliant.

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#111

Post by brokenface » May 23rd, 2012, 1:17 pm

The Star (Heisler, 1952) 7/10

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Self-reflexive Hollywood tale, from the Sunset Blvd and Bad & the Beautiful school. Bette Davis is The Star, washed-up and unable to accept it. She has a ball, half-way to Baby Jane, and got yet another Oscar nomination for it. In the film, when she gets really low she goes out and gets drunk, Oscar in tow to remind her of the good times.

A young Natalie Wood plays her daughter - ironically the big up-and-coming star in a film where Bette bemoans the bright young things who've supplanted her.

The first half, with Bette sinking lower and lower and striking out at the world, is the most fun. The 2nd half goes into lesson-learning territory, with a side of pathos. Bette is great throughout.

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#112

Post by brokenface » May 24th, 2012, 2:11 pm

Indochine (Wargnier, 1992) 5/10

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What's that Sex Pistols song? We're so pretty, oh so pretty, we're vacant! This film is pretty vacant. Lovely location shooting of Vietnam, but a melodramatic plot of pure Oscar-bait 'prestige film' variety (no surprise it got Best Foreign Film).

It's a style that comes from David Lean - sweeping epic story of love & conflict played against backdrop of revolution - but he just picked better sources (e.g. Doctor Zhivago). Catherine Deneuve is good, and the film is gorgeous to look at, but I'm not sure there's that much going on beneath the surface. However sweeping the music, I never cared an ounce about the love triangle at the centre of the film, and while I can't say I know too much about the politics of the time/place, this only ever has them in the background, as part of the scenery.

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#113

Post by Limedebois » May 24th, 2012, 3:13 pm

Le retour de la "qualité française"... Film du dimanche soir sur TF1.

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#114

Post by brokenface » May 24th, 2012, 11:43 pm

Turksib (Turin, 1929) 8/10

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A rare chance to see a silent Russian documentary at my local cinema, I could not pass up. This is about the building of the railway linking Siberia with Turkestan.

I've never really got on with Eisenstein's style, but then I'd never seen one of these montage-type films on big screen, which makes them a lot more effective. This has some really great footage of farming & mechanisation.

First we are shown the reason for the railway - 'Turkestan needs grain!' the intertitle proclaims. It is a cotton-growing region, but they have to waste some of their prime cotton land to grow grain, which then uses their limited water.

Ah-ha! Siberia has plentiful grain. But oh no! The terrain between offers desert and all kinds of difficulties. But humans are powerful. Humans can tame nature and build a mighty railway through the harsh Russian landscape, with their Soviet muscles and the immense machines they have created.

When we finally see the train powering through the landscape - chased by men on various animals (horses, camels, cows!) who just can't keep up - it's truly great. The camera is cut between going alongside the train, the view from the train of the chasing pack and then shots of the relentless mechanism driving the wheels. It's frenzied montage loveliness.

There's also great snapshots of the nomadic people setting up and putting down camp in these remote regions. It's propaganda and it's no doubt only semi-documentary, but it should be seen along with films like Berlin: Symphony of a Great City.

And man, isn't that poster art great ^

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#115

Post by brokenface » May 28th, 2012, 10:09 pm

Il Tetto (De Sica, 1956) 8/10

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Forgotten late neo-realist film, again pairing writer Cesare Zavattini and director Vittorio de Sica.

The plot is simple - a tale about the difficulties of finding a house to live in when you are young and poor in post-war Italy. Desperate times call for desperate measures and the sympathetic central couple risk it all in building an illegal shack in a single night - exploiting a by-law which says that once there is a roof in place, you cannot be evicted.

Their mission becomes one of communal bonding, as family, co-workers and new neighbours alike pitch in to help. It avoids the excessive sentimentality that De Sica sometimes slips into, but is an affecting and effective film.

This came as an extra with my copy of Miracle in Milan and it is like a genuine neo-realist sibling of that more fantastical film. Its obscurity is probably down to it being made a few years after the peak of neo-realism, but it is certainly worth seeking out for those interested in the genre (if genre is the right word).

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#116

Post by George Bailey » May 28th, 2012, 10:54 pm

brokenface on May 24 2012, 08:11:59 AM wrote:Indochine (Wargnier, 1992) 5/10

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What's that Sex Pistols song? We're so pretty, oh so pretty, we're vacant! This film is pretty vacant. Lovely location shooting of Vietnam, but a melodramatic plot of pure Oscar-bait 'prestige film' variety (no surprise it got Best Foreign Film).

It's a style that comes from David Lean - sweeping epic story of love & conflict played against backdrop of revolution - but he just picked better sources (e.g. Doctor Zhivago). Catherine Deneuve is good, and the film is gorgeous to look at, but I'm not sure there's that much going on beneath the surface. However sweeping the music, I never cared an ounce about the love triangle at the centre of the film, and while I can't say I know too much about the politics of the time/place, this only ever has them in the background, as part of the scenery.
I surprisingly liked this! I gave it a 7!

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#117

Post by Limedebois » May 28th, 2012, 11:38 pm

George Bailey on May 28 2012, 04:54:13 PM wrote:I surprisingly liked this! I gave it a 7!
You love Poetry, I guess. The old woman has this kind of marvelous hat.

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#118

Post by George Bailey » May 28th, 2012, 11:43 pm

Limedebois on May 28 2012, 05:38:52 PM wrote:
George Bailey on May 28 2012, 04:54:13 PM wrote:I surprisingly liked this! I gave it a 7!
You love Poetry, I guess. The old woman has this kind of marvelous hat.
Havent seen it but it has been on my watchlist for a long time

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#119

Post by Local Hero -- aka MestnyiGeroi » May 29th, 2012, 2:38 am

brokenface on May 24 2012, 08:11:59 AM wrote:Indochine (Wargnier, 1992) 5/10

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What's that Sex Pistols song? We're so pretty, oh so pretty, we're vacant! This film is pretty vacant. Lovely location shooting of Vietnam, but a melodramatic plot of pure Oscar-bait 'prestige film' variety (no surprise it got Best Foreign Film).

It's a style that comes from David Lean - sweeping epic story of love & conflict played against backdrop of revolution - but he just picked better sources (e.g. Doctor Zhivago). Catherine Deneuve is good, and the film is gorgeous to look at, but I'm not sure there's that much going on beneath the surface. However sweeping the music, I never cared an ounce about the love triangle at the centre of the film, and while I can't say I know too much about the politics of the time/place, this only ever has them in the background, as part of the scenery.
Yes, that was basically my opinion of it, maybe just slightly harsher.

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#120

Post by brokenface » May 29th, 2012, 7:32 pm

The Girl Cut in Two (Chabrol, 2007) 5/10

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A film uncertain in tone - is it supposed to be taken seriously as drama, or is it a dark comedy? Not really satisfying as either. The plot is a mish-mash of soap opera and arthouse clichés, while the characters motivations are hard to understand. If comedy is intended, it didn't really work for me. Woody Allen is referenced at one point and it has something of the feel of one of his latter day efforts which sometimes suffer from similar uncertainty.

Ludivine Sagnier plays a TV weather-girl who falls for two men - one a much older writer, who she loves for reasons not made too clear (is it the usual Freudian father-figure thing? sexual chemistry? we are left to guess) and the other is a somewhat unstable wealthy young man, the only discernable attraction of whom appears to be his money. She makes a choice, tragedy ensues, nobody is left much the wiser as to what any of this means.

Sagnier is very easy on the eye and acts in a laconic Chloe Sevigny style, and the supporting cast is generally fine. Production looks fairly low-budget, almost made-for-TV. Can't imagine this one staying long in my memory.

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