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ICMF-FF6: Main Slate

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beavis
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ICMF-FF6: Main Slate

#1

Post by beavis »

Welcome to the 2022 ICM Forum Film Festival!


From Monday the 14th of November until Monday the 12th of December this thread is the main hub for the 6th edition of our forum’s annual fest that highlights recent films that fly under the mainstream radar. Next to the “Main Slate”, the beating heart of the festival, we have again ten sections that cover the entire globe and a range of genres and modes with four movies each, together presenting you with 50 hot tips that you might not have heard of yet.

For our regular participants there are a few familiar names popping up. Hlynur Palmason, known from Winter Brothers is back with A White, White Day. Babis Makridis, know from Pity is back with Birds (Or How to Be One). Xavier Dolan, known from It's Only the End of the World is back with Matthias & Maxime. Mattie Do, known from Dearest Sister is back with The Long Walk. And our biggest favorite, Radu Jude, is even back for a third time (could have almost been a fourth even!) with Bad Luck Banging or Loony Porn after previously having featured with Scarred Hearts and I Do Not Care If We Go Down in History as Barbarians.

We kick off the Main Slate, as we like to do, with a feature that all programmers wanted to put in a spotlight. There was one documentary that impressed us in such a way that it deserved to be elevated from the Documentary Slate, which for many film lovers doesn’t have priority over other type of feature filmmaking (speaking as one guilty of such a quirk). Caught in the Net shows in a very clear and confronting way how vulnerable young people are on the Internet to sexual predators. Even though this is sadly not an unfamiliar story, the way it is presented can still be called eye opening and gives food for thought. When it was first released in its home country of Czechia, it actually led to successful legal actions too, and so of course to a lot of media attention. It is one of those films that you’ve just got to see.

The rest of the Main Slate is a bit of a wild cocktail! Two of those returning names I mentioned earlier are featured. There are also two animated features, a cinephile essay film tantalizingly called Just Don't Think I'll Scream, comedy from a truly screwball-style coming-of-age movie in Straight Up and also from Japan with Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes, which has been picked up by many other festivals already as “this year's One Cut of the Dead sure fire festival hit”, there is edgy satire from Mexico in New Order and the (by us) long expected arrival of Belgium’s hidden secret to our festival, Fabrice du Welz, with one of his recent films called Adoration.

In this thread everyone is welcomed to discuss the ten selected movies of this year's Main Slate

Please rate the films you've seen on a scale from 1-10 to help contribute to this year's Audience Award.


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V síti 2020 Caught in the Net
http://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/v+siti/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt11900404/

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Adoration 2019
http://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/adoration-2019/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt7715270/

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Mad God 2021
http://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/mad+god/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt15090124/

Image
Nuevo orden 2020 New Order
http://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/nuevo+orden/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt12474056/

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Bor Mi Vanh Chark 2019 The Long Walk
http://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/bor+mi+vanh+chark/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6800268/

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Ne croyez surtout pas que je hurle 2019 Just Don't Think I'll Scream
http://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/ne+c ... +je+hurle/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt9680914/

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Straight Up 2019
http://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/straight+up-2019/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt8855960/

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Hvítur, hvítur dagur 2019 A White, White Day
http://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/hvitur+hvitur+dagur/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt9801736/

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Droste no hate de bokura 2020 Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
http://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/dros ... de+bokura/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt14500584/

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La traversée 2021 The Crossing
http://www.icheckmovies.com/movies/la+traversee-2021/
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt8567862/

Talking Images podcast on this years mainslate thread is here:
viewtopic.php?t=6128

The links to the other sections of the festival:

Africa – viewtopic.php?t=6130
Animation - viewtopic.php?t=6131
Art House - viewtopic.php?t=6132
Asia - viewtopic.php?t=6133
Documentary - viewtopic.php?t=6134
English Language Independent - viewtopic.php?t=6135
Europe - viewtopic.php?t=6136
Just Before Dawn - viewtopic.php?t=6137
Latin America - viewtopic.php?t=6138
LGBTQ – viewtopic.php?t=6139

And the checklist of all the films:
https://www.icheckmovies.com/lists/icmf ... am/beavis/
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#2

Post by DavidAConrad »

Hi all, first-time juror here! Been looking forward to this thread for weeks. :)

I'll post reviews here one day at a time, in the order that I watched them.

CAUGHT IN THE NET (2020)

What I liked:
* The ending, with a perpetrator ranting to the film crew, is intense and amazing stuff. He casually outs himself as a racist and doesn't see anything wrong with his abuse of young girls, though he does start off with lies that quickly crumble. I wish the whole documentary were this raw.
* The actresses all have distinctive takes on these roles and these encounters, and seeing them frequently out of character helps to convey just how tough this assignment must be for them. The cutaways to the film crew's reactions are interesting as well.
* We all know this problem exists, but the documentary shows just how common it is - the actresses got over 200 unique messages a day, which is quite sobering.

What I disliked:
* Its pacing and soundscape and pretty much everything about it feel made-for-TV, a pretty run-of-the-mill piece of investigative journalism. It's valuable enough because of its content, but it doesn't move the needle much for me as a documentary film fan. It's missing something cinematic.
* As I said, the most powerful material is in the final 10 minutes; the middle is quite repetitive despite the short runtime. I think it would have been wise to zoom out a bit in the middle and provide some cultural context about pornography or toxic masculinity or things of that nature in Czechia, in Europe in general, or in the world at large, because as we all know this is a global problem. However, Czechia does have the distinction of being home to one of the world's most heavily-trafficked websites, which does happen to be a porn site. The technological aspect of this problem is also fairly new, which makes me wonder how much we know about the trajectory of the problem. Any exploration of that context might have been useful here, and it's pretty much totally lacking.
* We cut away to the film crew a lot, but we don't hear why they're here or what their takeaways are or what they hope to achieve beyond spreading awareness of the extent of an already pretty well-known problem. We DO hear about some of the actresses' personal experiences at the beginning, so it would have been nice to do that with the crew as well, beyond the makeup artist who recognized one of the perpetrators.

How it ranked:
3 stars on Letterboxd
6/10 audience award vote
1. CAUGHT IN THE NET
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#3

Post by beavis »

Welcome again David, and thanks for kicking us off!

You make some excellent points, questions that would be good to ask if we could provide a q&a with the directors. I was not as harsh in my rating as you, taking into account the things the film is not or does not. They clearly spend all their efforts in setting up the basic idea and the impact of that already was so huge for the creators and feels huge for an audience, so they might not feel the need to be more comprehensive then that. To be all encompassing, and capture all nuances and shades, you'd need a lot more space and time, and I am not sure if it would add or subtract from the basic premisse that is presented here. For most instances where you feel a lack in context I think there is a call to activate the audience's own judgement. The core I think is the experience of the actresses both how they relate to their characters they kinda where not long ago and how they process what they discover in the experiment. This puts everything into perspective for people who are aware of the phenomenon but somehow think the girls share the blame for just being (on the Internet) and for men who write to these girls to realise the total impact of the experience of this, that it was not (just) a harmless moment of weakness or an error of judgement that gets blown out of proportion.
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#4

Post by sol »

Re: Caught in the Net, I don't think I quite got to it in the podcast we recorded or in my Letterboxd review of the film, but part of what it makes it such a fascinating documentary for me is that we have two opposite sides both going to some pretty crazy extremes, and in the back of mind, I couldn't work out what was more insane: what the faceless men in the film do, thinking that it is all okay and that they will get away with it; or the lengths to which the filmmakers go to catch them. I would probably argue that both sides here overstep boundaries, even if the documentarians do it with good intentions, i.e. you basically have two sides out to get the other in underhanded ways. It is a rather fascinating look at modern society in our technological era. I had some misgivings with what the filmmakers were doing at times (e.g. as they reveal that they re-contacted the "good guy" again and again to tempt him and check if he was genuine) but the whole thing was just incredibly interesting to me, and while the film never questions its own ethics, it really got me thinking.

And yep, thanks for posting your thoughts, David. I imagine that this won't be a film for everyone, but I'll be interested to hear what others make of it.
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#5

Post by St. Gloede »

DavidAConrad wrote: November 14th, 2022, 2:25 am * We cut away to the film crew a lot, but we don't hear why they're here or what their takeaways are or what they hope to achieve beyond spreading awareness of the extent of an already pretty well-known problem. We DO hear about some of the actresses' personal experiences at the beginning, so it would have been nice to do that with the crew as well, beyond the makeup artist who recognized one of the perpetrators.
This is a great point, David and one that should certainly have elevated the film far more in my eyes as right now the crew is indeed part of the film, without giving too much of themselves. They comfort the stars, talk to them, show their own concern/disgust, but that is it, and indeed, motivations are left unexplored (though perhaps there is no great personal backstory to this topic).
Its pacing and soundscape and pretty much everything about it feel made-for-TV, a pretty run-of-the-mill piece of investigative journalism. It's valuable enough because of its content, but it doesn't move the needle much for me as a documentary film fan. It's missing something cinematic.
I will disagree that it felt like "pretty run-of-the-mill piece of investigative journalism" rather than being cinematic, however.

I think the way the filmmakers built in the meta elements of the creation of the illusion, consistently showcasing what could be described as the investigative journalism and its results, but also everything that went into the production, from the casting calls, to the actresses getting into their roles (including returning to their childhood rooms and getting things that would remind them of that age) and the toll this work actually takes on them, made it a very interesting narrative work - with far more emotional impact than a traditional piece of investigative journalism.

Rather than talking heads or heavy narration explaining the issue and related facts, with interviews and showcases of the conversations, the actresses have with the predators, it takes a far more creative and to me cinematic approach. For instance, showing the sets themselves and panning over them also had quite an effect on me and reminded me of Lewis' The Ladies Man and JLG's Tout va bien. At least for me, I was far more invested in the emotional storytelling, and I'd even go as far as to say I preferred the early portions of the film to its final 10 minutes, even though they are quite hard-hitting.
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#6

Post by DavidAConrad »

Good points all. Yes, the lack of narration and talking heads, and a smart preference for showing the actresses getting into and out of the roles, does distinguish it from TV journalism. The opening segment is very good, and if they'd just added in similar content about the crew (if indeed there's anything to add about them), it would have bumped this up for me.

I definitely had issues with the handling of "the good guy." I guess I wasn't as convinced as they were. I'd have liked them to ask his girlfriend what she really thought. He said he likes to chat "with smart people," but would he have messaged her if she was male, or older, or overweight, or a different race?
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#7

Post by matthewscott8 »

WOOOOOOOOO, we're live. I'm a jury member. I have actually now completed watching the main slate, I needed to do it quick since I have to study later this month. I had seen 1 of these films beforehand.

Below are my rankings and ratings, well done to the programmers, I got 4 new favourites from these watches, which is a very good run rate, a 5th film, Mad Dog, I had already seen and is also a favourite. These are my rankings and /10s, these are ordered rankings, although some have the same /10 there are no ties.

1. Just Don't Think I'll Scream (Ne croyez surtout pas que je hurle) 10/10 :crown:
2. Mad God 10/10
3. The Long Walk (Bor Mi Vanh Chark) 10/10
4. Adoration 10/10
5. The Crossing (La traversée) 10/10
6. Straight Up 8/10
7. Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes (Droste no hate de bokura) 8/10
8. A White, White Day (Hvítur, hvítur dagur) 7/10
9. Caught in the net 6/10
10. New Order (Nuevo Orden) 5/10

Lot of pleasant surprises, I had given up on du Welz, so would never have seen Adoration otherwise, but it did a lot with a little. I also bought a copy of The Burgomeister of Furnes to read when I noticed Paul reading it to his mum. I love Simenon, and it was the right atmosphere for this film.
Last edited by matthewscott8 on November 22nd, 2022, 8:03 am, edited 2 times in total.
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#8

Post by matthewscott8 »

For fun I created a resource for everyone to use, below are the 264 films referenced in Ne Croyez Pas... These are the ones in the credits which have IMDb pages (note a few educational films did not)

https://www.imdb.com/list/ls563929955/

How many have people seen? A lot of them are pretty trashy hehe.
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#9

Post by DavidAConrad »

matthewscott8 wrote: November 14th, 2022, 3:48 pm For fun I created a resource for everyone to use, below are the 264 films referenced in Ne Croyez Pas... These are the ones in the credits which have IMDb pages (note a few educational films did not)
I watched THE SKY IS YOURS (aka THE WOMAN WHO DARED) by Gremillon because it was mentioned prominently in JDTIS. Cute little movie that wouldn't have been on my radar for a while otherwise. You sometimes hear that France basically stopped producing films during the occupation, other than the highly-acclaimed CHILDREN OF PARADISE, but SKY is a neat little story, subtly political, that makes me wonder what else is out there from that period.
Last edited by DavidAConrad on November 14th, 2022, 4:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#10

Post by St. Gloede »

matthewscott8 wrote: November 14th, 2022, 3:48 pm For fun I created a resource for everyone to use, below are the 264 films referenced in Ne Croyez Pas... These are the ones in the credits which have IMDb pages (note a few educational films did not)

https://www.imdb.com/list/ls563929955/

How many have people seen? A lot of them are pretty trashy hehe.
Now this is what I think a lot of people have been looking for.

Seen 99/264

I love that Carriage to Vienna is one of them. I wonder if Beauvais is a secret lurker here. (Beavis, are you hiding anything? ;) )
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#11

Post by matthewscott8 »

St. Gloede wrote: November 14th, 2022, 4:13 pm
matthewscott8 wrote: November 14th, 2022, 3:48 pm For fun I created a resource for everyone to use, below are the 264 films referenced in Ne Croyez Pas... These are the ones in the credits which have IMDb pages (note a few educational films did not)

https://www.imdb.com/list/ls563929955/

How many have people seen? A lot of them are pretty trashy hehe.
Now this is what I think a lot of people have been looking for.

Seen 99/264

I love that Carriage to Vienna is one of them. I wonder if Beauvais is a secret lurker here. (Beavis, are you hiding anything? ;) )
Haha, I really did wonder whilst I watched this if he was. Also because of Carriage to Vienna, which was one of the few films where I recognized an image. 99 is impressive. Also he said he'd been involved in picking some independent films for a film festival, and I was like... is that ICMFF?!?!? :banana:
Last edited by matthewscott8 on November 14th, 2022, 6:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#12

Post by matthewscott8 »

DavidAConrad wrote: November 14th, 2022, 2:07 pm Good points all. Yes, the lack of narration and talking heads, and a smart preference for showing the actresses getting into and out of the roles, does distinguish it from TV journalism. The opening segment is very good, and if they'd just added in similar content about the crew (if indeed there's anything to add about them), it would have bumped this up for me.

I definitely had issues with the handling of "the good guy." I guess I wasn't as convinced as they were. I'd have liked them to ask his girlfriend what she really thought. He said he likes to chat "with smart people," but would he have messaged her if she was male, or older, or overweight, or a different race?
It's a tricky one, society at least where I am is phobic about people talking outside of their age group. I'd much prefer a wider age range of people to talk to, including older people. I also like talking to my niece because she is not cynical and everything is "new" to her. Some of this is my Asperger's / ASD, I tend to just ignore or be unaware or dismissive of social conventions. I would never contact a child on social media though, or even talk to a non-family member child, because I would be super worried about the perception of being a paedophile. My niece is pretty smart, she sees through a lot of the adult world, a lot of us fall into the trap of believing our own bullshit.
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#13

Post by matthewscott8 »

sol wrote: November 14th, 2022, 12:43 pmRe: Caught in the Net, I don't think I quite got to it in the podcast we recorded or in my Letterboxd review of the film, but part of what it makes it such a fascinating documentary for me is that we have two opposite sides both going to some pretty crazy extremes, and in the back of mind, I couldn't work out what was more insane: what the faceless men in the film do, thinking that it is all okay and that they will get away with it; or the lengths to which the filmmakers go to catch them. I would probably argue that both sides here overstep boundaries, even if the documentarians do it with good intentions, i.e. you basically have two sides out to get the other in underhanded ways. It is a rather fascinating look at modern society in our technological era. I had some misgivings with what the filmmakers were doing at times (e.g. as they reveal that they re-contacted the "good guy" again and again to tempt him and check if he was genuine) but the whole thing was just incredibly interesting to me, and while the film never questions its own ethics, it really got me thinking.

And yep, thanks for posting your thoughts, David. I imagine that this won't be a film for everyone, but I'll be interested to hear what others make of it.
I had a lot of misgivings about the way it was done, and it was telling that they used three women, when it's a problem that boys get groomed too (they acknowledge this in the credits), they wouldn't have been able to get hold of three men to pretend to be teenagers I imagine. To me I was much more focussed on the metadocumentary, which gave me a lot of curious feelings that I couldn't quite put a finger one. It seems the actresses are entranced by playing children again. I can't quite put words on how strange a lot of it made me feel.

In the UK the police have asked people not to do this paedophile baiting stuff. The main reason is it slows down their paedophile catch rate. They like to do mass coordinated raids, so that there's no evidence destroying when one individual is compromised on their own. Also the amateur sleuths usually violate rules of evidence so the prosecutions are very hard and time consuming. Let's say you take a police constable, who on their own can catch 10 paedophiles a month by online forensics, and you hand them a case which you have baited for, it might mean they have to take a month out of the normal procedures to sort it out, i.e. 9 paedophiles uncaught.

A good friend of mine once pretended to be a young girl for a long time to bait a paedophile (before I knew him). He successfully got the guy to agree to a meet up, then confronted him. The guy was a chef at a restaurant, and had sent my friends masturbation videos and links to child pornography. My friend's girlfriend got annoyed with him for doing it, because she was worried he was enjoying pretending to be a girl too much, and texts were being quite disruptive. He handed the data to the police and there was a prosecution. The guy was also immediately fired from his chef job.

The points in general, that Czechia has a massive problem (I saw an exhibition about this many years ago, about a border town in Czechia, which all the rich Germans drive to in order to have sex with children), and that it is incredibly damaging to young girls (and boys though not covered so much here) to be exposed to paedophiles, are very valid. I did feel queasy about the ethics of the film, even though they are very careful not to directly solicit any sexual acts. It was very worrying that one of the guys they caught was a children's camp employee.

Also some personal biography, (at least) two of my schoolteachers were paedophiles, since convicted, jailed and on the sex offenders register. One of the teachers used to find young school child couples and say, I know it's hard being kids, you have nowhere to go, how about I lend you the keys to my flat then you have some privacy. What they didn't know is he had a secret camera set up in his bedroom. So he has a lot of footage of children losing their virginity. When this came out it was EXTREMELY damaging to the affected kids I went to school with, their precious memories forever tarmpered with. He did other really bad stuff too including direct sexual contact with children. Another of my teachers had a "relationship" with an eleven year old boy, who I'm pretty sure from the dates was one of my friends, though I don't know the name. He taught me French and was an odious guy, that much was clear at the time without me knowing about the paedophile suff.

One thing I walked away thinking from all this was people should teach their kids about worrying signs from adults. When you are a kid absolutely everything that happens is "normal" because you're so inexperienced. Something really good for children to know is that any adults trying to give them alcohol are big red flags. If I had known that at the time I could have reported both of the teachers.

Another point I think the documentary could have made is that female paedophilia is very prevalent too. I try to make this point to parents because the stereotype of it just being men (which this film perpetuates, maybe unwittingly), is widespread and can leave parents with a false sense of security. The tactics and incidents are very different when women do it, and it's underreported. To be fair a female paedophile was in the movie, she showed up with one of the male groomers, to a meet.
Last edited by matthewscott8 on November 14th, 2022, 5:16 pm, edited 4 times in total.
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#14

Post by matthewscott8 »

1. Just Don't Think I'll Scream (Ne croyez surtout pas que je hurle) 10/10

I saw this a couple of nights ago and honestly I would never have unearthed this if it wasn't in the festival, it didn't look promising.

I was amazed by how relevant it was, how personally resonant it was to me, and how just the choices of found footage imagery was when juxtaposed with Frank's narrative.

The section about his dad personally where he says "mon pere, mon antinomie" "my father, my antinomy", and shows mirror image pendulum swings, it's just beautiful, and exactly how I feel, it's not just that I have nothing in common with my dad, it's like he's my inverse. Conservative, closed minded, car fanatic, racist, homophobic, transphobic, reactionary.

Frank refers to cinema as an "aesthetic rampart against this vile world", which is exactly how I am using it.

Occasionally I felt he was verging on a type of inverted snobbery, but he kept things on the rails.

I also find walks into nature about the best thing there is, nothing can really beat how poetic / sublime nature manages to be all by itself. Maybe montage can heighten that though.

On the other thread I posted an image of some cards sat together witnessing a magician saw a lady in half. I don't know where that image comes from, and as none of the films in the credits appear to be animated films, I am struggling to find out.

Probably the best diary film I've seen. Just really nice observational stuff about feeling like it's hard to join in to protests because the people doing them are on a different wavelength / coming from a different place, a weird kind of lack of belonging, lack of tibal resonance, although you would vote the same as them when asked about the issue.
Last edited by matthewscott8 on November 14th, 2022, 5:48 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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#15

Post by DavidAConrad »

matthewscott8 wrote: November 14th, 2022, 5:08 pm To be fair a female paedophile was in the movie, she showed up with one of the male groomers, to a meet.
That was very interesting to me as well, but the film doesn't comment on it at all. In light of the recent media attention on Ghislaine Maxwell, without whom Jeffrey Epstein might have been a lot less prolific an abuser, it's something that should have been followed up on.
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#16

Post by matthewscott8 »

DavidAConrad wrote: November 14th, 2022, 5:28 pm
matthewscott8 wrote: November 14th, 2022, 5:08 pm To be fair a female paedophile was in the movie, she showed up with one of the male groomers, to a meet.
That was very interesting to me as well, but the film doesn't comment on it at all. In light of the recent media attention on Ghislaine Maxwell, without whom Jeffrey Epstein might have been a lot less prolific an abuser, it's something that should have been followed up on.
The Ghislaine Maxwell one may not be that stereotypical, because she has ended up mostly doing it for Maxwell, albeit that makes it no less egregious. It's important to understand the specific pathology of women padeophiles as they are a lot harder to catch. They contextualize a lot of what they do so that it's harder to catch if you ask kids about stuff that's happened to them. Like they will give a child a bath,and rub in places for reasons that don't have anything to do with hygeine. Think a lot of parents are just very unsavvy about it.
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#17

Post by hurluberlu »

Films I have watched for the festival so far:

Just Don't Think I'll Scream / Ne croyez surtout pas que je hurle (Frank Beauvais, 2019)
The editing work was quite impressive to say the least; the efforts of selecting, sorting and assembling all these shots from hundreds of films is really laudable. And as a cinephile, that is a concept I am always excited about. Unfortunately in this case, I found the choice of these shots was not consistently relevant or reaching, sometimes even too simplistic and first degree. It is the text of the voice-over which eventually pulled me in and was more apt to translate all the sensitivity and emotions of the director's story.
6+

Mad God (Phil Tippett, 2021)
It turned out to be another example of massive work that does not succeed and fullfill all its promises. Taken in isolation of each other, all the scenes the film is made of are amazing examples of stop-motion inventivity in a sci-fi environment. But all together they are nothing more than a meaningless accumulation that soon becomes boring and tiresome. I lost the count of how many times we get to see two creatures, half- filthy flesh, half-rusty metal, fighthing with each other that bring nothing to the plot. The final sequence is elevating a little from the rest when the director seems to be finally taking control of his world, but too late.
(Btw I can see the programmers of last year S He behind this ;-))
5+

Straight Up (James Sweeney, 2019)
I struggled with Todd's character as being forced into being gay by some or straight by others as it looked a little too much of a vehicle for a woke comedy while still carrying quite some clichés. But what got me into it at fairly early stage was the witty dialogues, that almost never stop or fall flat, and the charm and energy of the lead actress. The composition of the shots involving colors and shapes worked well as a metaphor of the efforts of the young protagonists to find their place. All in all what a light comedy well rooted in today's society has best to offer.
7-

The Long Walk / Bor Mi Vanh Chark (Mattie Do, 2019)
Sci-fi, thriller, family drama, buddhist education: I felt lost a few times and not only because the action taking place at different times is shot in full continuity with often no real means to distinguish one with the other. Some scenes felt repetitive and not bringing a whole lot (the sick mother sequences in particular) as we got the trauma of the lead early. And I might be just too rationale and cartesian to fully buy the ending that stretches ultimate enlightment and time looping a little too far.
6

Films I had watched already before the festival:

Adoration (Fabrice du Welz, 2019)
Strong drama with a really good cast and characterization.
7+

Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes / Droste no hate de bokura (Junta Yamaguchi, 2020)
Fun time loop concept taken to its full potential.
7

The Crossing / La Traversée (Florence Miailhe, 2021)
I found the story was too heavy at parts, nothing seemed to ever come as a relief and the drawing was in the same dark tone. Good impressionist work though.
6+
ranking
1. Adoration (Fabrice du Welz, 2019) 7+
2. Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes / Droste no hate de bokura (Junta Yamaguchi, 2020) 7
3. Straight Up (James Sweeney, 2019) 7-
4. The Crossing / La Traversée (Florence Miailhe, 2021) 6+
5. Just Don't Think I'll Scream / Ne croyez surtout pas que je hurle (Frank Beauvais, 2019) 6+
6. The Long Walk / Bor Mi Vanh Chark (Mattie Do, 2019) 6
7. Mad God (Phil Tippett, 2021) 5+
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#18

Post by DavidAConrad »

MAD GOD (2022)

What I liked:
* It's good that people still make and enjoy this kind of movie; in an era when everything seems designed to funnel creators into safe and hands-off versions of creativity, we need people to aspire to artistry that is hard to do and not for everybody. This particular subject matter may not be my cup of tea, but this KIND of approach has great value and must not vanish from the world.
* I enjoy catching references to, or echoes of, everything from STAR WARS to 2001 to the world wars and the Cold War. Perhaps unintentional similarities to Gilliam and Lynch as well. A good thematic introduction to Tippett and his generation of offbeat artists.

What I disliked:
* My favorite versions of this, like THE SPINE OF NIGHT and HEAVY METAL and Pink Floyd's THE WALL, all pair their fantastical/dystopian imagery with pulsing, rocking soundtracks. The whole soundscape here, by contrast, is bland and predictable. A totally different aural approach could have helped a lot.
* Earlier this year I watched a new documentary called SPAZ about the guy who did the digital shots of the T-Rex in JURASSIC PARK, and that movie pretty convincingly casts Phil Tippett as one of the bad guys. Clearly he's a genius in the practical, stop-motion milieu, but I couldn't stop thinking about that story. Regardless of how you feel about Tippett, I highly recommend SPAZ.

How it ranked:
3 stars on Letterboxd
7/10 audience award
1. MAD GOD
2. CAUGHT IN THE NET
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#19

Post by matthewscott8 »

DavidAConrad wrote: November 15th, 2022, 12:04 am MAD GOD (2022)

What I liked:
* It's good that people still make and enjoy this kind of movie; in an era when everything seems designed to funnel creators into safe and hands-off versions of creativity, we need people to aspire to artistry that is hard to do and not for everybody. This particular subject matter may not be my cup of tea, but this KIND of approach has great value and must not vanish from the world.
* I enjoy catching references to, or echoes of, everything from STAR WARS to 2001 to the world wars and the Cold War. Perhaps unintentional similarities to Gilliam and Lynch as well. A good thematic introduction to Tippett and his generation of offbeat artists.

What I disliked:
* My favorite versions of this, like THE SPINE OF NIGHT and HEAVY METAL and Pink Floyd's THE WALL, all pair their fantastical/dystopian imagery with pulsing, rocking soundtracks. The whole soundscape here, by contrast, is bland and predictable. A totally different aural approach could have helped a lot.
* Earlier this year I watched a new documentary called SPAZ about the guy who did the digital shots of the T-Rex in JURASSIC PARK, and that movie pretty convincingly casts Phil Tippett as one of the bad guys. Clearly he's a genius in the practical, stop-motion milieu, but I couldn't stop thinking about that story. Regardless of how you feel about Tippett, I highly recommend SPAZ.

How it ranked:
3 stars on Letterboxd
7/10 audience award
1. MAD GOD
2. CAUGHT IN THE NET
In terms of nods, he actually had Ray Harrhausen characters in the film in the background at points, this is the most readily identifiable one from Sinbad. I'd have probably preferred no reference tbh, but fair play, I don't think they detracted.
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I think I liked things that both you and hurlu appear to have found problematic, hurlu mentioned, "a meaningless accumulation that soon becomes boring and tiresome", you said "My favorite versions of this...all pair their fantastical/dystopian imagery with pulsing, rocking soundtracks. The whole soundscape here, by contrast, is bland and predictable". For me this is really a movie laden with dread, and there's some banality to that, there's meaninglessness, God is Mad in this world and that's not "cool". You see strange creatures just get wiped out casually all the time, and phantasmagoric beings 2 girls 1 cupping (don't look that up if you are of a nervous disposition).

Exhibit A for me is William Blake's Elohim (i.e. God) Creating Adam. The painting is about the feeling of wtf, wtaf, why have I just been created, what's the point. This film's answer to Blake's uncomfortable question is maybe there is no point, maybe there's a batshit crazy God, he's busy with other projects now, and maybe that's lucky because he's pretty mean. The scene that messed me up the most was when the Mad God, has quite a nice terrarium, and he puts a wicked creature in it to destroy a child. Because why not, that's fun, and makes Him feel powerful.
Image

My main reservation was that different type of footage was mixed together, the stuff shot in a completely different, earlier decade, came off as if it was trying to copy Brothers Quay style. I was also slightly worried about whether there was something anti-Semitic about Alex Cox's character, because of the idea of wearing a skull cap. I don't think they needed a live action character for this movie at all tbh.

Interesting comments re SPAZ, which I haven't heard of. For sure the guy who created this movie could be dark. I never really saw any other movie like Mad God, and I was pretty impressed and entranced by its astonishing negativity.
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#20

Post by DavidAConrad »

Interesting, I like that connection to Blake!
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#21

Post by DavidAConrad »

I should clarify that in SPAZ it's not that Phil Tippett did anything outrageously bad. He was just not open to new approaches, even when those approaches seemed (very) promising, and he was quick to take credit for achievements that weren't his and to run perceived competitors out of the business. He wasn't the only one. It was unavoidably on my mind, but it really has nothing to do with this movie, which sees him leaning far into his own skillset to good effect. I just wish he helped me enjoy it as a viewer as much as he clearly enjoys it as a creator, without sacrificing the grimy aesthetic that he's going for. That's why I think the score might have been the way to do it, rather than moderating the visual content in any way.
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#22

Post by Fergenaprido »

I saw Caught in the Net a few days ago.

I really liked it, especially the way everything was done behind the scenes.
Some random thoughts/replies to comments above:
- I imagine they had informed the police in advance of what they were doing, especially since they had all those specialists on board. Plus they recorded everything so I doubt any evidence was destroyed.
- The way they blurred the faces with "masks" was new to me, and disconcerting and appropriately creepy at first, but eventually I got used to it.
- They were using different sites to communicate, and I got the impression that the one with the unmasked guy was a chat-roulette kind of site, but it wasn't clear.
- I saw the uncensored version, and there was a lot more erect penis than I was expecting; it was definitely a shock factor at first. Even knowing what the film was about ahead of time, it still surprises me that those men were so quick to get their dicks out in front of children. Just unfathomable for me.


And if there actually is a "2 girls 1 cup" moment in Mad God, I'm definitely not seeing it. I've avoided the original video for 20 years now, and I plan on dying without ever seeing it (and yes, I know what it's about).


And thank you for the list of films in Just Don't Think I'll Scream. It's a film that sounds utterly boring to me, but it's short so I might still give it a go. Only seen 16 films from that list, and half of them are ones I would have never guessed he would have seen.
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#23

Post by sol »

matthewscott8 wrote: November 14th, 2022, 5:08 pm
sol wrote: November 14th, 2022, 12:43 pm I would probably argue that both sides here overstep boundaries, even if the documentarians do it with good intentions, i.e. you basically have two sides out to get the other in underhanded ways. It is a rather fascinating look at modern society in our technological era. I had some misgivings with what the filmmakers were doing at times (e.g. as they reveal that they re-contacted the "good guy" again and again to tempt him and check if he was genuine) but the whole thing was just incredibly interesting to me, and while the film never questions its own ethics, it really got me thinking.
I had a lot of misgivings about the way it was done ... In the UK the police have asked people not to do this paedophile baiting stuff ... I did feel queasy about the ethics of the film, even though they are very careful not to directly solicit any sexual acts.
Ah yes; "baiting" was the word that I was looking for, and yeah the slippery ethics behind it rubbed me the wrong way. Yes, they don't explicitly solicit sexual acts, but with the "good guy", the girl repeatedly tried to steer the conversation down that path. And then we learn that they re-contacted him on multiple occasions, trying to bait him again and again before ruling that yes, he is really a "good guy". This sort of thing made me really feel sorry for the "good guy" who is being harassed by this girl who constantly wants him to talk about stuff that he is clearly uncomfortable with. This is the part of the film where I think the filmmakers verge on being as exploitative as the men they are trying to catch. And I don't think that's right... but it was fascinating for sure to watch these filmmakers getting so deep with their investigation that they at times become almost as unethical as the men they are trying to catch.
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#24

Post by matthewscott8 »

Fergenaprido wrote: November 15th, 2022, 6:45 am I saw Caught in the Net a few days ago.

I really liked it, especially the way everything was done behind the scenes.
Some random thoughts/replies to comments above:
- I imagine they had informed the police in advance of what they were doing, especially since they had all those specialists on board. Plus they recorded everything so I doubt any evidence was destroyed.
- The way they blurred the faces with "masks" was new to me, and disconcerting and appropriately creepy at first, but eventually I got used to it.
- They were using different sites to communicate, and I got the impression that the one with the unmasked guy was a chat-roulette kind of site, but it wasn't clear.
- I saw the uncensored version, and there was a lot more erect penis than I was expecting; it was definitely a shock factor at first. Even knowing what the film was about ahead of time, it still surprises me that those men were so quick to get their dicks out in front of children. Just unfathomable for me.


And if there actually is a "2 girls 1 cup" moment in Mad God, I'm definitely not seeing it. I've avoided the original video for 20 years now, and I plan on dying without ever seeing it (and yes, I know what it's about).


And thank you for the list of films in Just Don't Think I'll Scream. It's a film that sounds utterly boring to me, but it's short so I might still give it a go. Only seen 16 films from that list, and half of them are ones I would have never guessed he would have seen.
Before I watched it Just Don't Think I'll Scream sounded utterly boring to me too tbh, so I hope you are pleasantly surprised!

Unfortunately 2 girls 1 cup is not an exaggeration, although, they're all puppets. Still I think this film is a lot more disturbing than people give it credit for, like if someone told me a serial killer made it, I would believe that it was possible.

With Caught in the Net, I'm definitely not saying that they hadn't kept good records, it's actually just that legally there are things like a chain of evidence, which is usually the police getting hold of material directly from the perpetrator - when there's a third party in the middle with no legal standing, it's a big legal headache. I've been trying to choose my words very carefully, because I know that if this documentary was being done in the UK, the police would just tell them not to make it if they contacted the police beforehand, because it's counterproductive, it slows the paedophile catch rate down. I am not a Czech national, so I don't know if that nation is so much in denial that making the documentary could have such a strong educational value that it would be worth doing it. The evidence chain is important, for example if I go buy a bag of coke and walk to the police station and say, I found this at Fergy's, you'd be pretty incensed about that right, the police have to take my word for it that I haven't messed with the evidence, that I didn't, for example get you to lend me a bag, and then I put coke in it, and that's why your fingerprints are on it. I watched The Girl Who Kicked The Hornet's Nest last night, so that is where I am getting bag of coke planting from!

You'll note that the police were never shown in the program, and it occurs to me that it may well be that the Czech sex crime authorities took a dim view of the whole thing.

To the programmers, sorry to diss your centrepiece, but I got 4 new favourites from 9 new watches, so y'know, it's all good times, definitely is a film that generates discussion!
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#25

Post by blocho »

The Crossing
For some reason, I didn't connect with this. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I felt that the overall result should have been more emotionally effective.

6/10

New Order
Widespread social protest culminates in an outbreak of violence. The military uses the disorder and bloodshed to institute an autocratic regime that brutally represses any attempts, even entirely peaceful ones, to ameliorate the domination of society by a moneyed elite. This is not just a familiar story. It is perhaps the most familiar story of 20th century Latin America. But this is not a historical movie. It occurs in alternative present-day Mexico. And it includes a bizarre twist of the historical pattern. In this case, the military is not oppressing the poor on behalf of the rich. If anything, it is more cruel to the plutocrats than to the workers. And on that note, my understanding of this movie collapses. It seems possible that the narrative here is connected to some current concerns in Mexican politics that I simply don’t understand, but I think it’s more probable that writer/director/producer/editor Michel Franco has fashioned something that makes sense only to him. The result is a movie that is both confused and confusing.

3/10
Last edited by blocho on November 17th, 2022, 6:44 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#26

Post by hurluberlu »

Caught in the Net / V síti (Barbora Chalupová, Vít Klusák)
I have not read all the comments about it to avoid any spoil but now I have just watched it, I must say right away I dont understand why it was selected let alone as the central piece. First, as a documentary under that investigating format to cover that topic, it brings nothing: the US series To Catch a Predator introduced the very same concept almost 20 years ago and eventually stopped for issues that are immediately visible in Caught in the Net (see the wiki page). A lot of dedicated childhood protection agencies around the world are also using similar techniques to bring pedophiles to authorities while regularly making the news. Moreover I found the way of filming and documenting voyeuristic, from the casting, with very close shots on the models, to the gallery of dicks, all the way to the core principle of shooting the reactions of the full crew constantly. There is very little background and analysis given; the so called psychologists and sexologists must have 5 lines in the whole movie. There is absolutely no "story telling", the story is whatever shit the on-line guy will come up with and swapping to the next. You really wonder what the true intent is if not purely entertainment: even as education for the young targetted teenagers, I am a little doubtful of the use. It seems to normalize everything we get to see; when one of the on-line contact reacts in a non-predatory way, things finally break a little...
4
ranking
1. Adoration (Fabrice du Welz, 2019) 7+
2. Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes / Droste no hate de bokura (Junta Yamaguchi, 2020) 7
3. Straight Up (James Sweeney, 2019) 7-
4. The Crossing / La Traversée (Florence Miailhe, 2021) 6+
5. Just Don't Think I'll Scream / Ne croyez surtout pas que je hurle (Frank Beauvais, 2019) 6+
6. The Long Walk / Bor Mi Vanh Chark (Mattie Do, 2019) 6
7. Mad God (Phil Tippett, 2021) 5+
8. Caught in the Net / V síti (Barbora Chalupová, Vít Klusák) 4
reviews
Films I have watched for the festival so far:

Just Don't Think I'll Scream / Ne croyez surtout pas que je hurle (Frank Beauvais, 2019)
The editing work was quite impressive to say the least; the efforts of selecting, sorting and assembling all these shots from hundreds of films is really laudable. And as a cinephile, that is a concept I am always excited about. Unfortunately in this case, I found the choice of these shots was not consistently relevant or reaching, sometimes even too simplistic and first degree. It is the text of the voice-over which eventually pulled me in and was more apt to translate all the sensitivity and emotions of the director's story.
6+

Mad God (Phil Tippett, 2021)
It turned out to be another example of massive work that does not succeed and fullfill all its promises. Taken in isolation of each other, all the scenes the film is made of are amazing examples of stop-motion inventivity in a sci-fi environment. But all together they are nothing more than a meaningless accumulation that soon becomes boring and tiresome. I lost the count of how many times we get to see two creatures, half- filthy flesh, half-rusty metal, fighthing with each other that bring nothing to the plot. The final sequence is elevating a little from the rest when the director seems to be finally taking control of his world, but too late.
(Btw I can see the programmers of last year S He behind this ;-))
5+

Straight Up (James Sweeney, 2019)
I struggled with Todd's character as being forced into being gay by some or straight by others as it looked a little too much of a vehicle for a woke comedy while still carrying quite some clichés. But what got me into it at fairly early stage was the witty dialogues, that almost never stop or fall flat, and the charm and energy of the lead actress. The composition of the shots involving colors and shapes worked well as a metaphor of the efforts of the young protagonists to find their place. All in all what a light comedy well rooted in today's society has best to offer.
7-

The Long Walk / Bor Mi Vanh Chark (Mattie Do, 2019)
Sci-fi, thriller, family drama, buddhist education: I felt lost a few times and not only because the action taking place at different times is shot in full continuity with often no real means to distinguish one with the other. Some scenes felt repetitive and not bringing a whole lot (the sick mother sequences in particular) as we got the trauma of the lead early. And I might be just too rationale and cartesian to fully buy the ending that stretches ultimate enlightment and time looping a little too far.
6

Films I had watched already before the festival:

Adoration (Fabrice du Welz, 2019)
Strong drama with a really good cast and characterization.
7+

Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes / Droste no hate de bokura (Junta Yamaguchi, 2020)
Fun time loop concept taken to its full potential.
7

The Crossing / La Traversée (Florence Miailhe, 2021)
I found the story was too heavy at parts, nothing seemed to ever come as a relief and the drawing was in the same dark tone. Good impressionist work though.
6+
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#27

Post by DavidAConrad »

ADORATION (2019)

What I liked:
* This is written to a T, with every moment speaking to character or theme or providing foreshadowing, and it's carefully-acted and uncommonly gorgeously shot. The sparse dialogue is pretty much unnecessary, because the mood suffuses the movie and you could probably stay on its wavelength even if you watched it silent. Uber-tight story structures can feel oppressive and artificial to me (and that'll play a role below in the What I Disliked section), but it's impressive nonetheless.
* I love how much of this takes place in the wide, sylvan world, and as a Kurosawa-phile I can't help but notice how much of it takes place in pouring rain. Very nice.
* Luckily I have fairly limited experience with people like Gloria (she's got to be named after the pop song, right?), but it did remind me of the experiences I have had, and it feels real enough.

What I disliked:
* This is probably a me problem rather than a movie problem, but this narrative ground feels a little too well-traveled. I couldn't help but think of all the movies that have walked this path before, from SUMMER WITH MONIKA to BADLANDS to even a bit of KES near the beginning. Partly it's that I'm allergic to coming-of-age movies, and that's definitely a me problem, but I'm just not detecting anything new to say here. It's the kind of movie an AI might be writing in a few years if you feed it a diet of old-school festival bait.
* That textbook tightness can indeed be suffocating, even ridiculous at times. The guy who talks about cranes has a huge crane tattoo on his back? Thanks, we get it, the cranes are like him and his wife, he just literally said it.

How it ranked:
3 stars on Letterboxd
5/10 audience award
1. MAD GOD
2. CAUGHT IN THE NET
3. ADORATION
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#28

Post by matthewscott8 »

DavidAConrad wrote: November 14th, 2022, 3:53 pm
matthewscott8 wrote: November 14th, 2022, 3:48 pm For fun I created a resource for everyone to use, below are the 264 films referenced in Ne Croyez Pas... These are the ones in the credits which have IMDb pages (note a few educational films did not)
I watched THE SKY IS YOURS (aka THE WOMAN WHO DARED) by Gremillon because it was mentioned prominently in JDTIS. Cute little movie that wouldn't have been on my radar for a while otherwise. You sometimes hear that France basically stopped producing films during the occupation, other than the highly-acclaimed CHILDREN OF PARADISE, but SKY is a neat little story, subtly political, that makes me wonder what else is out there from that period.
It was a period I was very into for a time because people needed escapism, and there's also a lot of anti-Nazi subtext to be found in certain productions. There were headwinds and tailwinds for French cinema in the second world war, some directors, notably Julien Duvivier, went to the US, but also there was no competition from Hollywood as American films were not shown. These ones are in my top 1000 movies:

3 Les enfants du paradis / Children of Paradise (1945 - Marcel Carné) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037674/
34 La nuit fantastique / The Fantastic Night (1942 - Marcel L'Herbier) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041705/
693 L'Eternel Retour (1943 - Jean Delannoy) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036566/
789 Lettres d'amour (1942 - Claude Autant-Lara) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0154767/

Children of Paradise is probably the greatest French film of any era so it's unfair for me to judge the rest of WW2 output against it. Le Corbeau is the other one that gets mentioned all the time but there are lots to look into. Le Corbeau I haven't seen since I was a child. It was banned after the Occupation, but Clouzot probably got it right about the French people at the time, plus his other movie of the occupation L'assassin habite... au 21, contains anti-Nazi material hidden in plain sight that I consider put his life at risk. Him and Fresnay were treated incorrectly by the regime after the war in my opinion. Worth noting the production company Continental, funded by the Nazis, which existed only during the war and made a lot of notable movies, some of which definitely do have anti-Nazi subtext, whilst others are just unfortunately Vichy bullshit.

This is a good IMDb list of 46 titles from the period, that were considered "essential" in a book written on the subject: https://www.imdb.com/list/ls052478403/
Last edited by matthewscott8 on November 16th, 2022, 11:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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#29

Post by matthewscott8 »

DavidAConrad wrote: November 16th, 2022, 2:46 amThe guy who talks about cranes has a huge crane tattoo on his back? Thanks, we get it, the cranes are like him and his wife, he just literally said it.
This was actually something I really liked, what it spoke to me was, "we are all a little mad", that scene where you see that tattoo it really enhances it; it's then when I was like, ok Hinkel has been out here too long. Most of the movie's characters are a bit barmy, Paul actually genuinely considers murdering Hinkel just because Gloria has told him to, even though he's a really nice boy. Paul's mum is a fruitcake even though she is a doctor at an asylum, she definitely behaves as if she's in a relationship with her son at points, she is damaged. The only two who don't seem to be mad are the couple on the canal boat, but they behave in such a beautiful natural way that it's almost like it's provided as a contrast, to show you what healthiness looks like (that scene on the canal boat where they're in bed with the baby, was the most warming and chilling to me, because I felt, OK, that is real life, and I am so far away from that personally, I think I probably have gone mad myself). The difference between Gloria and the rest is that she is so fricking crazy, that unfortunately she does need institutionalizing, or maybe in the future, putting in a holochamber where she can make mistakes without consequences.
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#30

Post by St. Gloede »

matthewscott8 wrote: November 16th, 2022, 8:57 am
DavidAConrad wrote: November 14th, 2022, 3:53 pm
matthewscott8 wrote: November 14th, 2022, 3:48 pm For fun I created a resource for everyone to use, below are the 264 films referenced in Ne Croyez Pas... These are the ones in the credits which have IMDb pages (note a few educational films did not)
I watched THE SKY IS YOURS (aka THE WOMAN WHO DARED) by Gremillon because it was mentioned prominently in JDTIS. Cute little movie that wouldn't have been on my radar for a while otherwise. You sometimes hear that France basically stopped producing films during the occupation, other than the highly-acclaimed CHILDREN OF PARADISE, but SKY is a neat little story, subtly political, that makes me wonder what else is out there from that period.
It was a period I was very into for a time because people needed escapism, and there's also a lot of anti-Nazi subtext to be found in certain productions. There were headwinds and tailwinds for French cinema in the second world war, some directors, notably Julien Duvivier, went to the US, but also there was no competition from Hollywood as American films were not shown. These ones are in my top 1000 movies:

3 Les enfants du paradis / Children of Paradise (1945 - Marcel Carné)] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037674/
34 La nuit fantastique / The Fantastic Night (1942 - Marcel L'Herbier) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041705/
693 L'Eternel Retour (1943 - Jean Delannoy) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036566/
789 Lettres d'amour (1942 - Claude Autant-Lara) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0154767/

Children of Paradise is probably the greatest French film of any era so it's unfair for me to judge the rest of WW2 output against it. Le Corbeau is the other one that gets mentioned all the time but there are lots to look into. Le Corbeau I haven't seen since I was a child. It was banned after the Occupation, but Clouzot probably got it right about the French people at the time, plus his other movie of the occupation L'assassin habite... au 21, contains anti-Nazi material hidden in plain sight that I consider put his life at risk. Him and Fresnay were treated incorrectly by the regime after the war in my opinion. Worth noting the production company Continental, funded by the Nazis, which existed only during the war and made a lot of notable movies, some of which definitely do have anti-Nazi subtext, whilst others are just unfortunately Vichy bullshit.

This is a good IMDb list of 46 titles from the period, that were considered "essential" in a book written on the subject: https://www.imdb.com/list/ls052478403/
I'll strongly join in the choir for your top 3 recommendations (I really like Lettres d'amour as well) and the general claim that Children of Paradise indeed stands a bit on its own. It is in my top 10 of all-time and just unmissable.

I have only seen 37 French films released between 1940 and 1945 (some made/released before/after the occupation), but the success rate is high. I would shout out Bresson's first two features Les anges du péché (1943) and Les dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945) as other favourites, and add that Jean Grémillon was just on a roll with Remorques (1941), Lumière d'été (1943) and Le ciel est à vous (1944).

While Children of Paradise obviously takes the spotlight, Marcel Carné's other key film of the period, Les visiteurs du soir (1942) is also unmissable, with a clear anti-nazi allergy under the guise of medieval fantasy.

I'm also a fan of Autant-Lara's Douce , and fans of Pagnol will also likely enjoy Naïs (1945).

Plenty of other really good films from this period as well, such as L'assassin habite... au 21 and The Killing of Santa Clause (which might be a fitting viewing next month).
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#31

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St. Gloede wrote: November 16th, 2022, 4:06 pm
matthewscott8 wrote: November 16th, 2022, 8:57 am
DavidAConrad wrote: November 14th, 2022, 3:53 pm

I watched THE SKY IS YOURS (aka THE WOMAN WHO DARED) by Gremillon because it was mentioned prominently in JDTIS. Cute little movie that wouldn't have been on my radar for a while otherwise. You sometimes hear that France basically stopped producing films during the occupation, other than the highly-acclaimed CHILDREN OF PARADISE, but SKY is a neat little story, subtly political, that makes me wonder what else is out there from that period.
It was a period I was very into for a time because people needed escapism, and there's also a lot of anti-Nazi subtext to be found in certain productions. There were headwinds and tailwinds for French cinema in the second world war, some directors, notably Julien Duvivier, went to the US, but also there was no competition from Hollywood as American films were not shown. These ones are in my top 1000 movies:

3 Les enfants du paradis / Children of Paradise (1945 - Marcel Carné)] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0037674/
34 La nuit fantastique / The Fantastic Night (1942 - Marcel L'Herbier) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0041705/
693 L'Eternel Retour (1943 - Jean Delannoy) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0036566/
789 Lettres d'amour (1942 - Claude Autant-Lara) http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0154767/

Children of Paradise is probably the greatest French film of any era so it's unfair for me to judge the rest of WW2 output against it. Le Corbeau is the other one that gets mentioned all the time but there are lots to look into. Le Corbeau I haven't seen since I was a child. It was banned after the Occupation, but Clouzot probably got it right about the French people at the time, plus his other movie of the occupation L'assassin habite... au 21, contains anti-Nazi material hidden in plain sight that I consider put his life at risk. Him and Fresnay were treated incorrectly by the regime after the war in my opinion. Worth noting the production company Continental, funded by the Nazis, which existed only during the war and made a lot of notable movies, some of which definitely do have anti-Nazi subtext, whilst others are just unfortunately Vichy bullshit.

This is a good IMDb list of 46 titles from the period, that were considered "essential" in a book written on the subject: https://www.imdb.com/list/ls052478403/
I'll strongly join in the choir for your top 3 recommendations (I really like Lettres d'amour as well) and the general claim that Children of Paradise indeed stands a bit on its own. It is in my top 10 of all-time and just unmissable.

I have only seen 37 French films released between 1940 and 1945 (some made/released before/after the occupation), but the success rate is high. I would shout out Bresson's first two features Les anges du péché (1943) and Les dames du Bois de Boulogne (1945) as other favourites, and add that Jean Grémillon was just on a roll with Remorques (1941), Lumière d'été (1943) and Le ciel est à vous (1944).

While Children of Paradise obviously takes the spotlight, Marcel Carné's other key film of the period, Les visiteurs du soir (1942) is also unmissable, with a clear anti-nazi allergy under the guise of medieval fantasy.

I'm also a fan of Autant-Lara's Douce , and fans of Pagnol will also likely enjoy Naïs (1945).

Plenty of other really good films from this period as well, such as L'assassin habite... au 21 and The Killing of Santa Clause (which might be a fitting viewing next month).
oopsie, I realized when you mentioned it that I skipped over Les visiteurs du soir:

374 Les visiteurs du soir (1942 - Marcel Carné)

When I initially watched this I watched it as pure escapism, but having read up about it there are significant allegorical elements relating to the Nazis. I did note at the time I watched it that some of the content did get pretty dark towards the end, and that's really the reason for it. Torture is brought up for example, at the time when the Gestapo were doing some unbelievably shitty things (not to mention the french "police" rounding up Jewish children and taking them to the vel d'hiver for onwards transporting to death camps).

Some of the others you've mentioned I saw as well, the first 2 Gremillons I need to rewatch and Le ciel est a vous I need to see. L'assassin, my belief is that Fresnay risked his life in this movie, and the French justice system gave him a year in prison after the Occupation ended, troubling. Pere-Noel is 100% an allegory, and just misses out on my top list. I got tonnes to see still though. A very rich and dark period in French film.

Also shows you how dumb the Nazis were that they never saw what was going on in these films, at one point Fresnay really lays it on thick.
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#32

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DavidAConrad wrote: November 14th, 2022, 2:25 am CAUGHT IN THE NET (2020)


What I disliked:
* Its pacing and soundscape and pretty much everything about it feel made-for-TV, a pretty run-of-the-mill piece of investigative journalism. It's valuable enough because of its content, but it doesn't move the needle much for me as a documentary film fan. It's missing something cinematic.
* As I said, the most powerful material is in the final 10 minutes; the middle is quite repetitive despite the short runtime. I think it would have been wise to zoom out a bit in the middle and provide some cultural context about pornography or toxic masculinity or things of that nature in Czechia, in Europe in general, or in the world at large, because as we all know this is a global problem. However, Czechia does have the distinction of being home to one of the world's most heavily-trafficked websites, which does happen to be a porn site. The technological aspect of this problem is also fairly new, which makes me wonder how much we know about the trajectory of the problem. Any exploration of that context might have been useful here, and it's pretty much totally lacking.
* We cut away to the film crew a lot, but we don't hear why they're here or what their takeaways are or what they hope to achieve beyond spreading awareness of the extent of an already pretty well-known problem. We DO hear about some of the actresses' personal experiences at the beginning, so it would have been nice to do that with the crew as well, beyond the makeup artist who recognized one of the perpetrators.
I pretty much agree with all of this. I barely see anything positive though.
matthewscott8 wrote: November 14th, 2022, 5:08 pm It seems the actresses are entranced by playing children again. I can't quite put words on how strange a lot of it made me feel.
The whole casting made me nauseous. The facts that indeed the actresses seemed to take the whole thing so lightly was certainly disturbing (also since all of them experienced this already, why would they want to live that again ? They were not posing themselves as feminist activist either).
sol wrote: November 14th, 2022, 12:43 pmRe: Caught in the Net,[...]

I imagine that this won't be a film for everyone,
Shoudn't this type of documentary be for everyone ? Or who is the audience target ? It is not experimenting anything with the medium, so what else than informing, or entertaining ?
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#33

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DavidAConrad wrote: November 16th, 2022, 2:46 am ADORATION (2019)

What I disliked:
* This is probably a me problem rather than a movie problem, but this narrative ground feels a little too well-traveled. I couldn't help but think of all the movies that have walked this path before, from SUMMER WITH MONIKA to BADLANDS to even a bit of KES near the beginning. Partly it's that I'm allergic to coming-of-age movies, and that's definitely a me problem, but I'm just not detecting anything new to say here. It's the kind of movie an AI might be writing in a few years if you feed it a diet of old-school festival bait.


How it ranked:
3 stars on Letterboxd
5/10 audience award
1. MAD GOD
2. CAUGHT IN THE NET
3. ADORATION
It is a little tough, I thought it had a genuine Belgium location and characters flavour that made it special. The young female lead in particular looked really raw and realistic, away from more romantic, over-written profiles. It was one of the highlight for me.
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blocho wrote: November 15th, 2022, 8:24 pm New Order -- 3/10
I think it’s more probable that writer/director/producer/editor Michel Franco has fashioned something that makes sense only to him. The result is a movie that is both confused and confusing.
I had that feeling with Franco before (incl. in the more recent Sundown) and am not really looking forward to that one.
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#35

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hurluberlu wrote: November 16th, 2022, 7:27 pm The whole casting made me nauseous. The facts that indeed the actresses seemed to take the whole thing so lightly was certainly disturbing (also since all of them experienced this already, why would they want to live that again ? They were not posing themselves as feminist activist either).
I never got the impression that the actresses were taking the matter lightly and I am very surprised that the casting section in particular nausea-inducing. To me it was one of the most genius choices the film made, both bringing us into the creation of the illusion/fabrication and film, but also bringing exposure to the severity and reach of the issue as so many of the actresses had experience pradatory online behavior themselves. It could certainly be described as disturbing to an extent as it showcases the reach of the issue, but that the demeanor of the actresses was nausea inducing is something I struggle to understand.

It is interesting to pose the question of why they were willing to expose themselves to this again, perhaps yet another layer that could have made the film stronger, but we do spend time with them and we do see the psycholocal torment they undergo, and I think that is really raw, powerful and human, having the experiences children can perhaps not fully process happen to adults who can. This is also part of the explanations given during the casting, that many did not understand how wrong it was, though it made thrm uncomfortable. I would argue that itself is important and revealing.

-

I never saw anything I felt to be exploitative in the film and I strongly disagree on the reading of some of the exchanges. The film makes it clear that the actresses are instructed to never bring the conversation to anything sexual, and I never got the impression they did, including with the "nice" guy - rather the actress was questioning why he was speaking to her.
sol wrote: November 14th, 2022, 12:43 pmRe: Caught in the Net,[...]

I imagine that this won't be a film for everyone,
Shoudn't this type of documentary be for everyone ? Or who is the audience target ? It is not experimenting anything with the medium, so what else than informing, or entertaining ?
[/quote]

I think what Sol refers to is that the graphic material as well as the topic at hand can be quite disturbing to many.

I am actually very surprised that Caught in the Net is garnering an overall negative reception, as this was along with Adoration and just a few others, films that every programmer (from a large spectrum of different tastes and viewpoints) supported, and because my read of the film really was that (beyond those who can't handle the material or darker topics like this) it has something for absolutely everyone. Clearly I was mistaken there.

I do actually think it is experimenting with the medium, it is one of the reasons why I felt it was such a shoe-in even with the arthouse crowd and why I signed of on it entering as our centerpiece. It has a complex meta narrative that works on multiple levels at the same time, both emotionally and theoretically, and brings this kind of exciting filmmaking into a narrative that is engaging to regular viewers while also revealing harsh and dark truths.

I am a little shocked that the severity of the issue, ie thousands of men contacting what they believe to be underage girls over a single week, is just common knowledge. That predatory online behaviour happens certainly is, but the severity, which is showcased throughout, is horrifying and certainly shocked me.

That this kind of activity/project can compromise police investigations is to be fair something I did not consider, and I can understand that those more familiar with this aspect could take issue with the approach. I would however say getting this message/knowledge out does more than justify the project morally. I do hope the project was done responsibly in terms of not wasting the police time, and the fact that it was shortlived, singular and that the information was handed to the police - with one person being arrested after, makes me hope this was the case - but even if not I would say it is still a very powerful and important piece of cinema.
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#36

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St. Gloede wrote: November 16th, 2022, 8:52 pm
hurluberlu wrote: November 16th, 2022, 7:27 pm The whole casting made me nauseous. The facts that indeed the actresses seemed to take the whole thing so lightly was certainly disturbing (also since all of them experienced this already, why would they want to live that again ? They were not posing themselves as feminist activist either).
I never got the impression that the actresses were taking the matter lightly and I am very surprised that the casting section in particular nausea-inducing. To me it was one of the most genius choices the film made, both bringing us into the creation of the illusion/fabrication and film, but also bringing exposure to the severity and reach of the issue as so many of the actresses had experience pradatory online behavior themselves. It could certainly be described as disturbing to an extent as it showcases the reach of the issue, but that the demeanor of the actresses was nausea inducing is something I struggle to understand.
It is not the demeanours of the actresses that made me nauseous but the casting itself, the fact there is a casting and the way it was shot. What were the criteria applied ? The girl that looks the most innocent ? the prettiest ? In the eyes of the directors, the pedophiles, the audience ?
And again the concept is not new. You can’t just come up with this format and not even trying to address the issues that were raised with the same format twenty years ago.
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#37

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hurluberlu wrote: November 16th, 2022, 9:13 pm
St. Gloede wrote: November 16th, 2022, 8:52 pm
hurluberlu wrote: November 16th, 2022, 7:27 pm The whole casting made me nauseous. The facts that indeed the actresses seemed to take the whole thing so lightly was certainly disturbing (also since all of them experienced this already, why would they want to live that again ? They were not posing themselves as feminist activist either).
I never got the impression that the actresses were taking the matter lightly and I am very surprised that the casting section in particular nausea-inducing. To me it was one of the most genius choices the film made, both bringing us into the creation of the illusion/fabrication and film, but also bringing exposure to the severity and reach of the issue as so many of the actresses had experience pradatory online behavior themselves. It could certainly be described as disturbing to an extent as it showcases the reach of the issue, but that the demeanor of the actresses was nausea inducing is something I struggle to understand.
It is not the demeanours of the actresses that made me nauseous but the casting itself, the fact there is a casting and the way it was shot. What were the criteria applied ? The girl that looks the most innocent ? the prettiest ? In the eyes of the directors, the pedophiles, the audience ?
What about how it was shot or the fact that there was a casting made you feel nauseous?

The casting was to find women who could pass for being children, which the film was quite clear about. If you need actresses you have a casting call. I could perhaps see that speculating that there could be something unseamly in how they were selected, be it the casting crew thinking like pedophiles, though I font see anything problematic in this myself.
And again the concept is not new. You can’t just come up with this format and not even trying to address the issues that were raised with the same format twenty years ago.
What is the issue that was raised with the format twenty years ago? Is this referring to the potential obstruction/complication of police investigations or something else?

I have never heard of a project/format similar to this before myself. Are you referring to "To catch a predator"?

Edit: When we talk about the "project" it is very possible that we see it differently. If you are referring to simply baiting or luring in pedophiles this is of course not new, what I think of in reference to the "project" is the hiring of actresses, immersing them into the roles and shooting/observing them over a period of time as they are approached by predators. I don't see the project as "capturing" predators, only the final 10 minute follow-up (which was not the most interesting to me) had an air of this, but rather of showcasing the depth of the problem and let us experience the emotional toll and sheer turbulence of it.
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#38

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THE LONG WALK (2019)

What I liked:
* I'm a huge fan of ghost stories that view haunting as a kind of pleasure, or at least something that feels normal to the person/s being haunted. I love the relationship the adult and child main character have with the primary ghost. It reminds me of that excellent line from the first scene of Flanagan's HILL HOUSE: "But most of all, a ghost is a wish."
* It's mind-bendy and time-twisty without being showy about it. It gets going quick, it doesn't play coy, and you catch up and get on with it. So much sci-fi and fantasy naval-gazes about its supposedly fresh spins on these things, but this one uses its tricks matter-of-factly because they're necessary for the story it wants to tell. It's such a vivid picture of its actual time(s) and place while also existing on its own unique plane.
* So often these kinds of stories try to accentuate their darkness by being literally dark, with desaturated colors and diffused light, but this one - again, without being too showy about it - is super colorful, with a diverse palette.
* I kept expecting the movie to get a little sentimental and sappy, either with its old version/young version relationship or one of the other relationships, but it went a different direction and didn't fall into that trap.
* This movie grabbed me by the worldview. I feel seen and attacked and intellectually discomfited, and I love it. I read a review that sees it as a condemnation of Western "aid" that isn't really aid, and I like that interpretation. But I think there's an even more universal and individualized message here about arrogance.

What I disliked:
* The diverging realities of the last act feel too extreme to me and fall a bit flat as a result. Something subtler could have put this into all-time territory. But maybe I'm just resisting what was necessary because I haven't had time to process it yet.

How it ranked:
5 stars on Letterboxd
10/10 audience award
1. THE LONG WALK
2. MAD GOD
3. CAUGHT IN THE NET
4. ADORATION
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DavidAConrad wrote: November 17th, 2022, 2:53 am THE LONG WALK (2019)

What I liked:
* I'm a huge fan of ghost stories that view haunting as a kind of pleasure, or at least something that feels normal to the person/s being haunted. I love the relationship the adult and child main character have with the primary ghost. It reminds me of that excellent line from the first scene of Flanagan's HILL HOUSE: "But most of all, a ghost is a wish."
* It's mind-bendy and time-twisty without being showy about it. It gets going quick, it doesn't play coy, and you catch up and get on with it. So much sci-fi and fantasy naval-gazes about its supposedly fresh spins on these things, but this one uses its tricks matter-of-factly because they're necessary for the story it wants to tell. It's such a vivid picture of its actual time(s) and place while also existing on its own unique plane.
* So often these kinds of stories try to accentuate their darkness by being literally dark, with desaturated colors and diffused light, but this one - again, without being too showy about it - is super colorful, with a diverse palette.
* I kept expecting the movie to get a little sentimental and sappy, either with its old version/young version relationship or one of the other relationships, but it went a different direction and didn't fall into that trap.
* This movie grabbed me by the worldview. I feel seen and attacked and intellectually discomfited, and I love it. I read a review that sees it as a condemnation of Western "aid" that isn't really aid, and I like that interpretation. But I think there's an even more universal and individualized message here about arrogance.

What I disliked:
* The diverging realities of the last act feel too extreme to me and fall a bit flat as a result. Something subtler could have put this into all-time territory. But maybe I'm just resisting what was necessary because I haven't had time to process it yet.

How it ranked:
5 stars on Letterboxd
10/10 audience award
1. THE LONG WALK
2. MAD GOD
3. CAUGHT IN THE NET
4. ADORATION
Some really nice thoughts. The solar panel installation when what the guy wants is a tractor is very spot on the point that people in crises prefer to be given money not things. If you give them the thing you think they need, they go sell it for what they really do need and that's frictional, they probably get ripped off and it takes time. One of the politicians here in the UK is called Rory Stewart and he has become the leader of charity GiveDirectly. They basically just give people in sub saharan Africa money by mobile payments. Radical, simple, effective. Apparently when the idea was initially pitched internally at Google by the head of philanthropy, her boss told her, "you must be smoking crack".

With Hill House is that a miniseries, I just looked at it and felt I'd like to see it, and I liked your description of it. Basically, is it a complete work. I can get really annoyed when stuff isn't complete.

I think I'd go with your general point that the movie is a warning against arrogance, rather than the whole movie is about foreign aid. I came very close to giving this movie first place. Particularly with the top 3 I struggled to choose betwern them, very high quality new favourite films.
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#40

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The Hill House miniseries is a complete work (so-called Season 2 is an unrelated story). It's not perfect, but as a big fan of the original movie and the novel by Shirley Jackson, I enjoyed this mostly-smart, sensitive remix of the material.
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