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the 2009 project

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Onderhond
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#201

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Not a terrible film and I quite liked the first (feel-good) part of it, but didn't feel the characters, nor the plot, nor the actors were strong enough for the more dramatic second part. I'm not a big fan of these feelgood/comedy -> drama shifts to begin with, it only rarely works for me.

Mulligan is a good actress, but I find that her choice in films is often a bit bland, which is why I don't really count her amongst my favorites.
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#202

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prodigalgodson wrote: May 8th, 2020, 12:44 am
matthewscott8 wrote: May 7th, 2020, 11:05 pm
prodigalgodson wrote: May 7th, 2020, 9:48 pm Nice review Matt. I wasn't particularly a fan but I didn't have that personal connection at all either.
It gets the feel of the country at the time, dour, racist, joyless, emotionally constipated. No point to life and success under the system just being another form of failure. The emotional constipation thing is still here. So much of life here is completely fake, and noone talks about it, noone talks about their emotions, their needs and the needs of others. It's been getting better, but slowly.
Interesting, here in Cali I feel like it's the opposite problem, emotional diarrhea and many people using their personal feelings as the yardstick for everything, complicates empathy and communication.
Yeah I mean, talking about one's emotions can just be selfish, narcissistic and shallow, it's not something that's amazing on its own, but it's on the team. In a relationship it at least avoids a lot of misccommunication, because empathy is great but it's not telepathy. There are also social problems like false consciousness that hinder good relations between people.
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#203

Post by matthewscott8 »

Onderhond wrote: May 8th, 2020, 8:57 am Not a terrible film and I quite liked the first (feel-good) part of it, but didn't feel the characters, nor the plot, nor the actors were strong enough for the more dramatic second part. I'm not a big fan of these feelgood/comedy -> drama shifts to begin with, it only rarely works for me.

Mulligan is a good actress, but I find that her choice in films is often a bit bland, which is why I don't really count her amongst my favorites.
She was in Inside Llewyn Davis which is a legitimately great film in my opinion, in which she was perfect. But I generally agree the choice of films isn't great, if indeed she gets to choose, I have no idea.
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#204

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matthewscott8 wrote: May 8th, 2020, 9:11 am She was in Inside Llewyn Davis which is a legitimately great film in my opinion
Worst Coen film for me :sweat:
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#205

Post by cinewest »

Onderhond wrote: May 8th, 2020, 9:38 am
matthewscott8 wrote: May 8th, 2020, 9:11 am She was in Inside Llewyn Davis which is a legitimately great film in my opinion
Worst Coen film for me :sweat:
One of my very favorites from the Coen's, and I like most of their films to some degree or another.
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#206

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Image

Taking Woodstock (2009 - Ang Lee)

Wow. This was absolutely incredible. At one point my whole body started tingling and my eyes were filling up. It got some appalling and appallingly written write ups back in the day.

It's a story about Elli, a nice guy young artist and designer who is busy supporting his parents' motel business in the Catskills. Once the Woodstock guys get kicked out of their original location, he organises for them to come to White Lake, and the motel becomes a focal point for the orgasm called Woodstock. His bridled frustrated life suddenly starts to get out and breathe.

Reviewers at the time said that there wasn't enough of the music shown, but that's not really the point, Woodstock was about more than music, it was about love. Suddenly for a few days in 1969 love was literally an unstoppable force.

I've been avoiding watching this for so long, d'oh.
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#207

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Image

Chun feng chen zui de ye wan / Spring Fever (2009 - Ye Lou)

Ah,this one is pretty beautiful and woozy. Spring Fever is a title relating to the restlessness at the onset of Spring. It's a story about people in love affairs, with the partners changing, as if in a dance. The movie uses its own metaphors of lotus flowers on a lake. It is shot in a verité style. There is a message, a man never ends up with the love of his life because of how different characters feel about sexuality, and shame. The characters are in the spring of their lives an they end up with their own stories and wounds, blossomings and regrets. It's really very special.
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#208

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So many years ago now I set myself the task of watching all 20 films from the main competition of Cannes 2009, that task is now complete. Notes below. I had a feeling half way through that I was going to pan the selection process as at that point it just seemed like a random bunch of films, but all the ones I like were in the second half of the process. I can see why the the Jury chose The White Ribbon to win as it was super "baity", but I didn't like the movie. I would have given the Grand Prix to Spring Fever. I don't think that would have been loud enough as a decision for the festival.

One thing I wanted to look into when I started the project was, if you ignore your premonitions about films and go watch stuff, do you catch a lot of great stuff you might not otherwise have done. Pretty conclusively yes, given Taking Woodstock and Spring Fever were the two I enjoyed the most from this list and I postopned them until last.

Antichrist (Lars von Trier) - 9/10, I loved so much about the movie, but the self sabotage of the "chaos reigns" fox detracted a bit. Brilliant and scatological on the subject of relationships.
Bright Star (Jane Campion) - 5/10, pretty disposable for me, was no fan of the casting. Campion is best when dealing with sex (In the Cut, Top of the Lake)
Broken Embraces / Los abrazos rotos (Pedro Almodóvar) - 6/10 Indulgent, overly kooky, or not kooky enough? Has its moments but no particular point to exist?
Butchered / Kinatay (Brillante Mendoza) - 8/10 brilliantly made, though naturalistic enough that many were deceived on that point. Not something I'd want to see again though, social issue movie maybe best seen by those in the Philippines government.
Enter the Void / Soudain le vide (Gaspar Noé) - 2/10 taken together his corpus appears homophobic, incredible achievement, but tainted by homophobia
Face / Visage (Tsai Ming-liang) - 8/10 postmodern and hermetic, probably made for the director's own purposes?
Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold) - 9/10 lots of energy and wonder
Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino) - 1/10 pathetic
In the Beginning / À l'origine (Xavier Giannoli) - 6/10 a bit meh, maybe home bias to let this one into the lineup. Yes people require illusions, thanks for that
Looking for Eric (Ken Loach) - 7/10 nice but not really memorable, even for this Eric Cantona fan
Map of the Sounds of Tokyo / Mapa de los sonidos de Tokyo (Isabel Coixet) 8/10 nice camerawork, but a bit dour and uninspired.
A Prophet / Un prophète (Jacques Audiard) - 8/10 people fell hard for this in 2009, for me it was didn't stand out from the crowd of prison movies, certainly nowhere near A Man Escaped or Le Trou
Spring Fever / 春风沉醉的晚上 (Lou Ye) 10/10 tender
Taking Woodstock (Ang Lee) 10/10 :)
Thirst / 박쥐 (Park Chan-wook) 10/10 wacky, delirious, moving, Park keeps hitting those homers
The Time That Remains / الزمن الباقي (Elia Suleiman) 5/10 angst on the subject of the Palestinian occupation. Ponderous and probably not worthwhile, "worthy".
Wild Grass / Les herbes folles (Alain Resnais) - 10/10 sometimes infuriating experiment, ultimately satisyfing.
Vincere (Marco Bellocchio) - 5/10 biopic of Mussolini love interest that lacks insight
Vengeance / 復仇 (Johnnie To) - 5/10 badly written, with Johnny Hallyday painfully miscast, has its moments
The White Ribbon (Das weiße Band) - 2/10 blunt and pretentious
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#209

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Cool! Watching the full slate at Cannes sounds like a more doable project, and one where I'd have to see fewer films I can't really get into, or stomach (as with something like Inglorious Basterds). Looking at the list, I realize that I have only seen only a little more than half of these, so far, and disagree on your assessments of most (aside from the Tarantino). All were very watchable for me (a rating of 5 is the tipping point)

I thought The White Ribbon was outstanding. In fact it is among my top 5 for the decade (10/10)
I do pretty much agree with you about Antichrist
but I disagree about The Time That Remains, which is tied for third as an 8+
with Broken Embraces (one of my very favorites by Almodovar, and for some reason overlooked in comparison with others from his best period) 8+
Enter The Void- Have mixed feelings about this one, which was amazing (the drug trip) and so so (the rest) at the same time (7.5). Noe is definitely a provocateur, but he tends to deliver
A Prophet- Very solid crime drama that won more applause than it deserved, largely because a lot of people go in for this kind of thing (7.5). Pretty much how I feel about the director, too
Map of the Sounds of Tokyo- Took me by surprise as a nice little discovery, but I think you've gone overboard (7). Check out The Secret Life of Words, which is my favorite by this director
Bright Star- a period piece that some really seem to love. Me, not so much, though the lensing is pretty good (6.5). Doesn't come close to The Piano
Fish Tank- The director definitely showed some of her talent (which has subsequently flourished), but this one pales next to similar films I have seen (6.5). Check out American Honey
Looking for Eric- Not bad by any means, but pretty forgettable (6)
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#210

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cinewest wrote: May 29th, 2020, 2:12 am Cool! Watching the full slate at Cannes sounds like a more doable project, and one where I'd have to see fewer films I can't really get into, or stomach (as with something like Inglorious Basterds). Looking at the list, I realize that I have only seen only a little more than half of these, so far, and disagree on your assessments of most (aside from the Tarantino). All were very watchable for me (a rating of 5 is the tipping point)

I thought The White Ribbon was outstanding. In fact it is among my top 5 for the decade (10/10)
I do pretty much agree with you about Antichrist
but I disagree about The Time That Remains, which is tied for third as an 8+
with Broken Embraces (one of my very favorites by Almodovar, and for some reason overlooked in comparison with others from his best period) 8+
Enter The Void- Have mixed feelings about this one, which was amazing (the drug trip) and so so (the rest) at the same time (7.5). Noe is definitely a provocateur, but he tends to deliver
A Prophet- Very solid crime drama that won more applause than it deserved, largely because a lot of people go in for this kind of thing (7.5). Pretty much how I feel about the director, too
Map of the Sounds of Tokyo- Took me by surprise as a nice little discovery, but I think you've gone overboard (7). Check out The Secret Life of Words, which is my favorite by this director
Bright Star- a period piece that some really seem to love. Me, not so much, though the lensing is pretty good (6.5). Doesn't come close to The Piano
Fish Tank- The director definitely showed some of her talent (which has subsequently flourished), but this one pales next to similar films I have seen (6.5). Check out American Honey
Looking for Eric- Not bad by any means, but pretty forgettable (6)
I think I've been pretty harsh on films that to me don't come out as top of breed, The Time That Remains, I was fine with and initially positive about, but a lot has been said on the occupation of Palestine, what is novel here? The Bright Star / Piano comparison is right too, how does a film look vs its directors output.

I've not yet see anyone come out with any text on why The White Ribbon is a great movie. Dead Man is another one. Everyone says they're great, but they tend to have no words to explain why. I don't really see the purpose of having a character with Down's Syndrome beaten for no reason. There are allusions that this is something to do with fascism, but kids who are taught that masturbation is bad end up kicking the shit into a disabled person, I don't think so; of course Haneke has a get out clause because anyone can say, well that didn't necessarily happen Matt; but I'm happy to argue it either way, if this movie has nothing to do with Reich then it's obscure unpleasant nonsense. For Reich, whose work this movie seems based on, sexual attachment is healing, for Buddhists sexual attachment leads to murder. Many people I know believe both of these things, because we're motley. For me I'm taking this in and vomiting it. I think at least Reich could have broadened out Marxism as a theory, but it didn't happen.

With Noé every single homosexual character in his movies is portrayed in an ultra negative light. Seul Contre Tous, Irreversible, Enter the Void, we see homophobic ranting, a gay man beaten to death, unrealistic portrayal of a gay S&M club, and in Enter The Void the vibe is
A tragedy befalls our youngster hero in the early part of the film, and flashbacks then provide us with answers as to how it happened. Of course, a gay man turns out to be responsible for the downfall of this lost but essentially wholesome straight boy. The film seems to pose this question: How will wholesome straight people ever survive in a world being taken over by “dirty” gay men? The word dirty is used in the film to describe gay men, followed by a detailed description of fecal material being involved in gay sex. The implication is that men become gay because they are attracted to fecal material. (Reminder: the gay bar that Noe imagines in “Irreversible” is called The Rectum. Where do you begin to do a psychoanalysis of a person like this? What is Noe struggling with inside himself and then projecting onto gay men?)
http://dunmyer.blogspot.com/2010/11/ent ... -back.html
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#211

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cinewest wrote: May 29th, 2020, 2:12 amCool! Watching the full slate at Cannes sounds like a more doable project, and one where I'd have to see fewer films I can't really get into, or stomach (as with something like Inglorious Basterds).
It's tricky to do this thing off one list, I mean straight up with this example a problem is that I think the movie cinéphiles love the most from this year was at Cannes, but it was in the Un Certain Regard Section, Dogtooth. That was what people were excited about on movie forums in 2009, The White Ribbon was more respected than adored. My favourite film of the year was also at Cannes, but it screened Out of Competition, Panique au village. Also if you then expanded to include these pieces, you are generally wading through the swamp, there are some terrible films in Un Certain Regard and OOC. I will publish another list I've gone through today, which is again problematic. There is perhaps no real shortcut, unless you find someone whose taste aligns with your own and has treated the ground before you. For some who are very canonical in taste, the Sight & Sound annual critics poll top list is usually going to be the one stop shop of choice (it was only 10 movies long in 2009 though was up to 50 in length last year).
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#212

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matthewscott8 wrote: May 29th, 2020, 10:20 am There are allusions that this is something to do with fascism, but kids who are taught that masturbation is bad end up kicking the shit into a disabled person, I don't think so
Repression leads to violent behavior? Could be a Hitler thing. I didn't like The White Ribbon at all though, so don't ask me.

Also that reading of Noé is hilarious. I hope regular psychology goes beyond the tripe written there.
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#213

Post by matthewscott8 »

Onderhond wrote: May 29th, 2020, 11:00 am
matthewscott8 wrote: May 29th, 2020, 10:20 am There are allusions that this is something to do with fascism, but kids who are taught that masturbation is bad end up kicking the shit into a disabled person, I don't think so
Repression leads to violent behavior? Could be a Hitler thing. I didn't like The White Ribbon at all though, so don't ask me.

Also that reading of Noé is hilarious. I hope regular psychology goes beyond the tripe written there.
I agree that the homophobe is just a repressed gay guy a la Freud is generally not true. Stil Noé does appear to be a massive homophobe. No-one really seems to disagree with that, it's just an inconvenient truth. It would be in my all time top 10 films if I overlooked it. I mean the film is incredible and blew my away when I saw it in the cinema, but I do think Noé is basically a Nazi.
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#214

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This was the result of a poll of cinephiles I did in 2014 on IMDb. Relied upon two stages, nominations, then voting on everything 1-10/10:

Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl (Manoel de Oliveira)
Face / Visage (Ming-liang Tsai)
Hadewijch (Bruno Dumont)
Alamar (Pedro González-Rubio)
Like You Know It All / Jal aljido mothamyeonseo (Sang-soo Hong)
Sweet Rush / Tatarak (Andrzej Wajda)
Amer (Hélène Cattet, Bruno Forzani)
Petropolis: Aerial Perspectives On The Alberta Tar Sands (Peter Mettler)
Ruhr (James Benning)
Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold)
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#215

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matthewscott8 wrote: May 29th, 2020, 11:06 am I agree that the homophobe is just a repressed gay guy a la Freud is generally not true. Stil Noé does appear to be a massive homophobe. No-one really seems to disagree with that, it's just an inconvenient truth. It would be in my all time top 10 films if I overlooked it. I mean the film is incredible and blew my away when I saw it in the cinema, but I do think Noé is basically a Nazi.
These criticisms were also launched at “Irreversible,” primarily because of its notorious rape sequence and arguably unfavorable depiction of gay characters. Yet the filmmaker has consistently denied such claims, and is already prepared to ignore them this time around.

“They can say whatever they want,” Noé says. “I’m not homophobic. Anybody who knows me knows that I’m not. I’d rather have the [critics] say that I’m anti-religious or something like that. I don’t care when people attack me for things that are not true. Those sorts of reviews say much more about the people writing them than about the movie itself.”
Source: https://www.hollywoodchicago.com/news/1 ... r-the-void

That's not to say he couldn't be lying of course, but trying to psychoanalyze a director through his films is just insane. It could be a fun pass-time among friends, but labeling someone racist, homophobic or even a Nazi is way more uncomfortable than Noé's films ever will be.
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#216

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matthewscott8 wrote: May 29th, 2020, 10:20 am
cinewest wrote: May 29th, 2020, 2:12 am Cool! Watching the full slate at Cannes sounds like a more doable project, and one where I'd have to see fewer films I can't really get into, or stomach (as with something like Inglorious Basterds). Looking at the list, I realize that I have only seen only a little more than half of these, so far, and disagree on your assessments of most (aside from the Tarantino). All were very watchable for me (a rating of 5 is the tipping point)

I thought The White Ribbon was outstanding. In fact it is among my top 5 for the decade (10/10)
I do pretty much agree with you about Antichrist
but I disagree about The Time That Remains, which is tied for third as an 8+
with Broken Embraces (one of my very favorites by Almodovar, and for some reason overlooked in comparison with others from his best period) 8+
Enter The Void- Have mixed feelings about this one, which was amazing (the drug trip) and so so (the rest) at the same time (7.5). Noe is definitely a provocateur, but he tends to deliver
A Prophet- Very solid crime drama that won more applause than it deserved, largely because a lot of people go in for this kind of thing (7.5). Pretty much how I feel about the director, too
Map of the Sounds of Tokyo- Took me by surprise as a nice little discovery, but I think you've gone overboard (7). Check out The Secret Life of Words, which is my favorite by this director
Bright Star- a period piece that some really seem to love. Me, not so much, though the lensing is pretty good (6.5). Doesn't come close to The Piano
Fish Tank- The director definitely showed some of her talent (which has subsequently flourished), but this one pales next to similar films I have seen (6.5). Check out American Honey
Looking for Eric- Not bad by any means, but pretty forgettable (6)
I think I've been pretty harsh on films that to me don't come out as top of breed, The Time That Remains, I was fine with and initially positive about, but a lot has been said on the occupation of Palestine, what is novel here? The Bright Star / Piano comparison is right too, how does a film look vs its directors output.

I've not yet see anyone come out with any text on why The White Ribbon is a great movie. Dead Man is another one. Everyone says they're great, but they tend to have no words to explain why. I don't really see the purpose of having a character with Down's Syndrome beaten for no reason. There are allusions that this is something to do with fascism, but kids who are taught that masturbation is bad end up kicking the shit into a disabled person, I don't think so; of course Haneke has a get out clause because anyone can say, well that didn't necessarily happen Matt; but I'm happy to argue it either way, if this movie has nothing to do with Reich then it's obscure unpleasant nonsense. For Reich, whose work this movie seems based on, sexual attachment is healing, for Buddhists sexual attachment leads to murder. Many people I know believe both of these things, because we're motley. For me I'm taking this in and vomiting it. I think at least Reich could have broadened out Marxism as a theory, but it didn't happen.

With Noé every single homosexual character in his movies is portrayed in an ultra negative light. Seul Contre Tous, Irreversible, Enter the Void, we see homophobic ranting, a gay man beaten to death, unrealistic portrayal of a gay S&M club, and in Enter The Void the vibe is
A tragedy befalls our youngster hero in the early part of the film, and flashbacks then provide us with answers as to how it happened. Of course, a gay man turns out to be responsible for the downfall of this lost but essentially wholesome straight boy. The film seems to pose this question: How will wholesome straight people ever survive in a world being taken over by “dirty” gay men? The word dirty is used in the film to describe gay men, followed by a detailed description of fecal material being involved in gay sex. The implication is that men become gay because they are attracted to fecal material. (Reminder: the gay bar that Noe imagines in “Irreversible” is called The Rectum. Where do you begin to do a psychoanalysis of a person like this? What is Noe struggling with inside himself and then projecting onto gay men?)
http://dunmyer.blogspot.com/2010/11/ent ... -back.html
I have always enjoyed chatting about films with you Matt, but, obviously, we perceived the ones in dispute here very differently, and none of the arguments you have provided are very compelling or engaging. I haven't picked up on any of the "gay bashing" stuff in the two Noe films I have seen, though there is plenty that is negative about people that populate his films. At the same time, he has been willing to explore things that most filmmakers shy away from even when they touch the same territory. The basic difference between our two appraisals of Enter the Void id that I saw something unique and interesting within it that you did not.

As for White ribbon, I thought it a brilliant portrait of a particular kind of Germanic protestant perfectionism, repression, punishment, and hypocrisy, scapegoating and denial was the perfect set up for a leader like Hitler and Hitler youth, given the crushing conditions and sense of shame in Germany between the wars. I happen to think that Haneke is probably the most brilliant, uncompromising thinker in film that there is at the moment, and he was at the peak of his powers from Funny Games until Amour.

As for your comment about the Occupation of Palestine being overdone, I personally hadn't seen anything by a Palestinian filmmaker before, and I thought his fictionalized account not only conveyed a different sense of the Palestinian plight, but also a dark biting humor and well conceived narrative.
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#217

Post by matthewscott8 »

Onderhond wrote: May 29th, 2020, 11:25 am
matthewscott8 wrote: May 29th, 2020, 11:06 am I agree that the homophobe is just a repressed gay guy a la Freud is generally not true. Stil Noé does appear to be a massive homophobe. No-one really seems to disagree with that, it's just an inconvenient truth. It would be in my all time top 10 films if I overlooked it. I mean the film is incredible and blew my away when I saw it in the cinema, but I do think Noé is basically a Nazi.
These criticisms were also launched at “Irreversible,” primarily because of its notorious rape sequence and arguably unfavorable depiction of gay characters. Yet the filmmaker has consistently denied such claims, and is already prepared to ignore them this time around.

“They can say whatever they want,” Noé says. “I’m not homophobic. Anybody who knows me knows that I’m not. I’d rather have the [critics] say that I’m anti-religious or something like that. I don’t care when people attack me for things that are not true. Those sorts of reviews say much more about the people writing them than about the movie itself.”
Source: https://www.hollywoodchicago.com/news/1 ... r-the-void

That's not to say he couldn't be lying of course, but trying to psychoanalyze a director through his films is just insane. It could be a fun pass-time among friends, but labeling someone racist, homophobic or even a Nazi is way more uncomfortable than Noé's films ever will be.
Haha well to hoist you by your own petard, I haven't said or done anything hateful, and what you have said says more about you than me. Beat your own logic?
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#218

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matthewscott8 wrote: May 29th, 2020, 1:29 pm I haven't said or done anything hateful
I would say you have. How you want to read Noé's films is your own choice of course, but using your own reading to brand someone a homophobe or Nazi is quite something else.
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#219

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Matt's hardly the first person to say these kinds of things about Noé though - pretty common criticisms of him actually. It's one of the things that's kept me away from seeing any of his work, apart from his first film which I saw when new and when he had no reputation (and I don't remember it well now), though I'm sure I will get to Irréversible at some point at least. "Provocateur", "shocking" and similar terms - also applicable to Lars von Trier and Haneke in different ways - aren't really positives to me, at least not anymore, and given that I have quite mixed feelings about the latter two directors, I can't say I find a strong impetus to investigate Noé's later stuff, or at the very least, he's not likely to become a priority.
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OldAle1 wrote: May 29th, 2020, 2:17 pm Matt's hardly the first person to say these kinds of things about Noé though - pretty common criticisms of him actually.
I'm sure it is, but that doesn't make it any more valid does it? I'm aware that these kind of "basic" readings (ie translating subject matter from films to character traits) are quite common, but it's an extremely simplistic and often erroneous way to look at the relationship between art/entertainment and the people who enjoy them.

It's on the same level as "metal is for satanists", "violent video games make you violent" and "you can only enjoy horror if you are deranged".

(and I'll just say add this, pre-empting certain replies: should there be statistical evidence that these ideas are generally correct, that still doesn't give you the right to apply it to an individual).
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Post by cinewest »

OldAle1 wrote: May 29th, 2020, 2:17 pm Matt's hardly the first person to say these kinds of things about Noé though - pretty common criticisms of him actually. It's one of the things that's kept me away from seeing any of his work, apart from his first film which I saw when new and when he had no reputation (and I don't remember it well now), though I'm sure I will get to Irréversible at some point at least. "Provocateur", "shocking" and similar terms - also applicable to Lars von Trier and Haneke in different ways - aren't really positives to me, at least not anymore, and given that I have quite mixed feelings about the latter two directors, I can't say I find a strong impetus to investigate Noé's later stuff, or at the very least, he's not likely to become a priority.
I can see associating Von Trier with Noe for their desire to be "bad boys" in some sense, but there is something authentic about them in a way that I don't find true about some of the arty hipster filmmakers like Winding-Refn. I think that Von Trier is a much greater filmmaker than Noe (as well as most other contemporary filmmakers) based on what I have seen, and I don't see the connection to Haneke at all, who is kind of a cross between Bergman and Hitchcock, but with a style all his own.
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Post by Onderhond »

I think Haneke is known for his dark, grim films, which does put him somewhat closer to Noe and von Trier (his "horror" films also have something to do with it I guess) . Depends from what angle you look at it I guess. His general approach is quite a bit different though.

Also, it isn't my intention to attack you directly Matthew, but I really dislike that kind of reading/pigeonholing.
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Post by matthewscott8 »

Onderhond wrote: May 29th, 2020, 3:15 pm
OldAle1 wrote: May 29th, 2020, 2:17 pm Matt's hardly the first person to say these kinds of things about Noé though - pretty common criticisms of him actually.
I'm sure it is, but that doesn't make it any more valid does it? I'm aware that these kind of "basic" readings (ie translating subject matter from films to character traits) are quite common, but it's an extremely simplistic and often erroneous way to look at the relationship between art/entertainment and the people who enjoy them.

It's on the same level as "metal is for satanists", "violent video games make you violent" and "you can only enjoy horror if you are deranged".

(and I'll just say add this, pre-empting certain replies: should there be statistical evidence that these ideas are generally correct, that still doesn't give you the right to apply it to an individual).
I haven't said anything about people who enjoy Noe's films. Or about any broad category or genre. Nor have I provided a reading of the film. I have found an element of the film extremely troubling. Also all three of his films that I watched had this element. Maybe he'll surprise me and make a film about a loving gay couple who encounter hetero deviants. Maybe Jennifer Aniston will marry me.
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I did expand on my "simplistic" take at the time, in 2009 I was ok to overlook the homophobia, although I did mention it was there:

Ambitious, deeply mystic and provocative movie with earth-shattering FX
17 October 2009

Gaspar Noé's big beast of a Cannes entrant showed for the first time in the UK this week in October. Gaspar Noé was there to introduce the film, which was a great kick for me, even though he didn't do a Q&A. His intro was quite funny, because he's not a grand intellectual, he's more of a sensualist. It's clear that he had a pretty dissipated youth and he talked about his experimentation with hallucinogenics and he always wondered as a kid why nobody was making movies with the images like he was seeing whilst high in them. So this is a movie I think he's wanted to make for a very long time, perhaps a couple of decades, but only now has he been able to get the freedom and funding to do it.

He said he had seen the film Lady in the Lake after taking a magic mushroom; this is a 1947 Raymond Chandler adaptation which is shot in POV (that is, the camera is like the eyes of the lead). Gaspar had also been reading about life after death experiences, or near death experiences. So he wanted to combine the hallucinations, POV shooting, and out-of-body experience material. The result is 2 hour and 43 minutes of masterpiece. It will leave the ciné-gourmand gorged and bewildered. For me it's a clear step-up, even an evolution, from his last feature film in 2002, Irréversible. The idea of having out-of-body experiences really frees up the concept of POV, Noé's not limited by the body (which can't just glide forty feet into the air, or halfway across the city). He's really freed up to shoot the fluorescent sexual labyrinth of Tokyo, which is shot only at night-time and in POV.

The story in the movie concerns a brother and sister (Oscar and Linda) who have a childhood trauma and end up moving to Tokyo in their late teens where they become involved in a heaving underworld. I think though that Tokyo is more of a metaphor in this film, I don't think he's trying to tell you anything about Tokyo the city per se, I think it's just the perfect pre-fabricated set for Noé. In the film it's a nerve centre, it's that place in life where we meet lovers, copulate, produce new life, and die. It's the mayfly (order Ephemeroptera, from the Greek for short-lived) part of the human lifecycle, which we experience in a heightened fashion through the eyes of Oscar.

There's a lot of stuff in here for you to take offence to if you want, If you have ever taken offence to a film on content grounds as opposed to intellectual grounds, you're likely to take offence here. Pornographic linkages between adult sexuality and the Oedipus complex, for me are brilliant, but will upset many filmgoers.

Those people who have decided that Noé is homophobic or misogynistic after seeing Irréversible are not going to have their minds changed by this movie at all. There seems to be a very strong link in his mind between sex and procreation. You don't have to consume the movie in a homophobic way in my opinion, but there may be a lot of upset gays after seeing this movie. Particularly as the gay character in this movie is portrayed as being on the same level as the rapist in Irréversible. There's no direct comment, but if you read between the lines, you may not like what you read.

I think the androphiles are going to love Nathaniel Brown who plays the lead teen, Oscar, in this movie, which is his first credited role on IMDb, straight as I am, even I can tell he's a heartthrob. Paz de la Huerta as Linda, his sister, is very eye candyish too. If you like to see beautiful things writhing (we're talking eye popping next level FX hallucinations here, as well as copious sex), then this is the movie for you.

I walked out of the cinema still tripping, the POV is so spectacularly well delivered that you feel almost like you're still in the movie when you come out, because the mode of perception hasn't changed.

The lasting images I am left with are from the Love hotel, a very strange pastel and fluorescent building that has holo-reflectors design on the outside and which Noé dedicates a lot of the later part of the movie to, the FX emanations are spectacular.
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#225

Post by Onderhond »

matthewscott8 wrote: May 29th, 2020, 7:27 pm I have found an element of the film extremely troubling.
And labelled someone a homophobe (or at least having the semblance of one) and Nazi (or basically that) because of that. The other examples I gave were of similar simplistic conclusions. They lack all complexities of human taste, interest and artistic expression.
matthewscott8 wrote: May 29th, 2020, 7:27 pmAlso all three of his films that I watched had this element.
Leone must be a gun-touting maniac then. I bet he also hated Native Americans since he preferred to focus on the cowboys.

I do agree that Noés films could be read as homophobic, then again everything can be read as anything. It says more about the person reading them like that than it says about Noé's beliefs and personality.
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Post by kongs_speech »

It's one thing to point out that Noe has elements of his work that could be read as homophobic. That's raising a valid issue. But a Nazi, really? In a world where actual fascism and white supremacy are thriving, it seems very tasteless to apply that label to a filmmaker with some possibly insensitive characters in his work. Not exactly the same thing.
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Post by matthewscott8 »

Calling me tasteless for not swallowing Noé's homophobia whole does seem like a pretty high irony. I mean the guy has turned tastelessness into an art form, which you are presumably celebrating? Presumably his calling a gay S&M club Le Rectum, is tasteful? Anyway, I'm not sorry my conduct hasn't met your standards of behaviour, which appear utterly abritrary to me, as I'm sure mine do to you.
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Alle Anderen / Everyone Else (2009 - Maren Ade)

A relationship movie set in Sardinia. Chris and Gitti, a couple seemingly still in the early stages of their relationship, holiday in Chris' parents' place. Chris is an architect and that seems to matter a lot to him, basically he is a snob. After various microagressions snowball, Chris decides to play cold and masculine to teach Gitti a lesson. In her turn she will teach him a lesson. An old story of criticism, but the film suffers from no likeable characters syndrome. It even made me feel good about being single!

Was very well fancied back in the day and won a significant gong at the Berlinale.
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I watched Everyone Else since it's leaving the Criterion Channel at the end of the month, thought it was pretty solid. My basic take was it was nice to see a film with a realistic look at a relationship, off the top of my head I can't think of many I've seen that do. I didn't think about the characters' likeability, but it's kinda true now that you mention it. I liked how cinematically vivacious Ade kept it considering the low-key subject matter.
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Post by matthewscott8 »

prodigalgodson wrote: May 31st, 2020, 7:34 pm I watched Everyone Else since it's leaving the Criterion Channel at the end of the month, thought it was pretty solid. My basic take was it was nice to see a film with a realistic look at a relationship, off the top of my head I can't think of many I've seen that do. I didn't think about the characters' likeability, but it's kinda true now that you mention it. I liked how cinematically vivacious Ade kept it considering the low-key subject matter.
yeah it's very accurate about relationship dynamics. I was thinking something similar to one of the IMDb reviewers, if I want to see couples gaslighting each other and microagressing, I can just invite some married friends around for drinks (except lockdown stopping me at the mo). The snobbery of Chris is really offputting, the way he clearly thinks it's beneath him to go on the boat of the "little people" they meet on the ferry, and how he is conatantly hiding from people. Lots of cool people do this and end up having to work out that they are the dick. The striding away he does on the walk is another classic dick move.
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Zum Vergleich / In Comparison (2009 - Harun Farocki)

A DtC revote for this year so finally gave me the excuse to watch it. This was an enjoyable watch. Farocki and crew travel to various parts of Africa, India and continental Europe to document brick building. When I have lunch with some friends this afternoon I fully expect them to laugh at me for watching a documentary about bricks. However, it's Farocki and it was profound. The project starts in Burkina Faso where very simple bricks are made using processes that must be old as the hills and involving a large number of people, we also see factories in Germany and Switzerland where highly complicated bricks and brick walls are made but there are very few people. In some cases you get the feel of Lang's Metropolis, people have become components in a machine. One factory in France is behind the times for Europe but saves on costs by employing Moroccan migrants. The segment in Auroville was the most affirming for me, a utopian city project, combining the community aspects you see in some of the films projects, with the innovative approaches in others.

Emotionally it's very textured, I occasionally felt frustrated for the people who were employed as drudges. It feels awkward when you see a heavily pregnant woman carrying a large load of bricks on her head, or where a young child is clinging to his mum all day whilst she prepares mortar, because there's no daycare. But there's also a sense of solidarity and gentleness and hope.

The is formally beautiful as well so can be appreciated solely for its aesthetics. It made me appreciate the labour that has gone into all the buildings around me.
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Ruínas / Ruins (2009 - Manuel Mozos)

This is a strangely affecting documentary, which visits ruins in Portugal, accompanying them with diverse texts that breathe old life into structures. Whilst quite an unassuming film, languorous in its sinews, I found it creeping up on me some minutes after it stopped playing, and felt close to tears.

The reiminiscences are mostly from living memory, but also from the 19th century. The older they get the more inexplicable, passionate and surreal. Some of the texts are more matter of fact, company memoranda, hotel booking correspondence, others are more artistic.

What has been lost? A certain fickleness of fate, and its accompanying awe, and a certain esprit de corps and solidarity. All this of course leaves one's reveries tracing curlicues of saudade.

As a milestone for me, this takes me to having seen 76 of the 151 movies mentioned in the Sight and Sound 2009 poll for the end of the years (poll of professional critics), that is, just over halfway. Many of the remainders were 2008 films and many hard to see so I am pleased to get to this point.

Available quite cheaply on Vimeo on Demand. £2.49 for 48 hours for me.
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I watched Two Lovers (2008 - James Gray), because it was in a lot of 2009 lists. It started pretty turgidly but got better. Main issue is how contrived it feels, mentally ill guy living with his parents has two hot women interested in him, actors too good looking for a realistic movie. But without a doubt in the second hour some of the scenes are quite powerful. Some kudos for showing how love really works, I've seen tonnes of people "playing", i.e. more than one love interest on the go at the same time. I felt bad after because I've been single for such a long time, and it just seemed so easy for the main character, despite him not even slightly having his shit together.

Anyway, Film Comment posted a 2009 readers top 25 in 2010, and after Two Lovers, I'm complete:

1. The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow) - 6/10 suspensful, inaccurate, uncerebral
2. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino) - 1/10 pathetic
3. A Serious Man (Joel & Ethan Coen) - 5/10 Zama handled this sort of stuff better.
4. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson) - 7/10 annoying unrelateable characters, Kris particularly, extra soy please; but it's Anderson
5. Summer Hours (Olivier Assayas) - 8/10 had its moments but uninspiring
6. The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke) - 2/10 blunt and pretentious, and booby trapped for reviewers hehe
7. Up (Peter Docter & Bob Peterson) - 3/10 I just hate Pixar everything-looks-like-a-boiled-sweet visuals tbh, and hated the storyline
8. Up in the Air (Jason Reitman) - 8/10 aimless downer with some oofs
9. The Headless Woman (Lucrecia Martel) - 5/10 could be in the "matt didn't get it camp", but I gave it three goes and couldn't stay the course
10. Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze) - 8/10 didactic?
11. Bright Star (Jane Campion) - 5/10 , pretty disposable for me, was no fan of the casting. Campion is best when dealing with sex (In the Cut, Top of the Lake)
12. Avatar (James Cameron) - 4/10 derivative, retarded
13. Hunger (Steve McQueen) - 10/10 made me ashamed to be a man, aesthetically unimpeachable and emotionally earthquaking
14. 35 Shots of Rum (Claire Denis) - 8/10 needs a rewatch, couldn't identify with it at the time
15. Coraline (Henry Selick) - 7/10 minor
16. District 9 (Neill Blomkamp) - 7/10 shut it you fracking prawn, too silly or nor silly enough?
17. Public Enemies (Michael Mann) - 5/10 fugly misfire from Mann
18. An Education (Lone Scherfig) - 7/10 chalk another up to unlikeable characters
19. Adventureland (Greg Mottola) - 5/10 and another
20. Antichrist (Lars von Trier) - 9/10, I loved so much about the movie, but the self sabotage of the "chaos reigns" fox detracted a bit. Brilliant and scatological on the subject of relationships.
21. Police, Adjective (Corneliu Porumboiu) - 9/10 felt a sliver away from being right on, good observational realism
22. In the Loop (Armando Iannucci) - 9/10 funny but fluff
23. The Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch) - 10/10 good looking film, some half baked chat, but kind of the point
24. (500) Days of Summer (Marc Webb) - 3/10 Banal characters living in a banal time and place.
25. Two Lovers (James Gray) - 6/10 as above so below

I didn't really like this list! Worryingly I just realised there's an extended 50 list on their website :hmph:
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#234

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Symbol / Shimboru (2009 - Hitoshi Matsumoto)

For sure the most unique movie of the two hundred-ish I've seen from 2009. The symbolic and oft comic ascent of a soul is one storyline, starting in a white cube, whilst the preparation of a luchador for a Mexican wrestling match is another. For a long time watching this I was mystified and annoyed, but it started to really creep up on me, and this is kind of a brilliant joke, because it's what the soul is going through in the movie.

In the end Matsumoto creates an entire new theology, one based around continual progress, and a karmic butterfly effect. I had to admit in the end, despite the early intense befuddlement, that it was intensely beautiful.

PS: a lot of people had suggested I watch this so thanks for that! :wub:
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Down Terrace (2009 - Ben Wheatley)

Super low budget comedy crime film shot over 8 days in the home of the producer's parents. It's about a crime family in Brighton looking to clean house after a narrow brush with the law. Killings follow unsentimentally in the Coens' style. All the characters are screw-ups, most have severe personality disorders; acting is pretty good, they are all believable monsters, nauses except maybe Garvey. The movie is funny but never laugh out loud funny. Cheap and cheerful feature debut from Wheatley, with occasional resonance on the subject of family dysfunction. His movies started really cooking on gas when Amy Jump got involved as co-writer.

#10,819 in the TSPDT's 20,000 greatest films list for what it's worth. In terms of crime-tasticness, not a patch on the superb Red Riding movies from this year.
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#236

Post by OldAle1 »

I have mixed feelings about Wheatley so far - loved High Rise, mostly liked A Field in England, so-so on Free Fire. But he's an interesting filmmaker for sure, seems to want to keep doing different stuff (if a re-make of Rebecca last year can be considered "different" - hope he's not selling out).
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#237

Post by matthewscott8 »

OldAle1 wrote: August 1st, 2021, 6:44 pm I have mixed feelings about Wheatley so far - loved High Rise, mostly liked A Field in England, so-so on Free Fire. But he's an interesting filmmaker for sure, seems to want to keep doing different stuff (if a re-make of Rebecca last year can be considered "different" - hope he's not selling out).
IMDb says he's been signed to directed Meg 2, the sequel to the crass shark movie, The Meg. Hard to see that as anything other than a sell out. I agree with your ranking of his other features. I adore High Rise, one of the great underrated movies. Key collaborator Amy Jump is not listed for any of the upcoming movies yet.
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#238

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matthewscott8 wrote: August 1st, 2021, 7:14 pm IMDb says he's been signed to directed Meg 2, the sequel to the crass shark movie, The Meg.
What? lol. That's even more unexpected than Chloé Zhao for Marvel ..
Wheatley is an "interesting" filmmaker with improvable films, at least in my book. I enjoyed Kill List the most, High-Rise not so much.
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#239

Post by GruesomeTwosome »

Wheatley was also set to direct the follow-up to the latest Tomb Raider film (you know, with Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft) but it looks like Wheatley dropped out of that thankfully. I really like Kill List and High Rise from him; don’t think I’ve seen anything else of his yet.
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#240

Post by kongs_speech »

Wheatley is as hit and miss as it gets, but In the Earth is a damn fun time.
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