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27901   From: "Jerry Johnson"
Date: Wed Jun 8, 2005 2:56pm
Subject: Re: Eric Rohmer - A question about screen ratios  rastignac5
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "thebradstevens"
wrote:
> Just received Arrow's new box set of 8 Eric Rohmer films (the
> 6 'Comedies and Proverbs', L'AMOUR, L'APRES-MIDI and DIE MARQUISE
VON
> O), which I've been asked to review for SIGHT AND SOUND. At a quick
> glance, it would seem that all 8 films have been transferred at
> 1.33:1, just like every previous video release and television
> screening I have seen. Does anyone know if these films were shown
> theatrically at 1.33?

Actually, Pauline at the Beach is transferred at 1.66:1 (the other
seven are 1.33:1). The seven were definitely intended to be shown at
1.33:1, although I suppose it was up to each theater to actually do so.

Here's some a_film_by discussion on Rohmer's preference for 1.33:1

http://www.fredcamper.com/afilmby/0013201.html
27902  
From: "samfilms2003"
Date: Wed Jun 8, 2005 3:45pm
Subject: Re: Kazan (Was: Noel Murray intro)  samfilms2003
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> Incidentally, or not so incidentally, the hearings were a charade
> and the naming of names largely symbolical -- all the names Kazan
> gave were of people who had already been blacklisted or would have
> been anyway even if Kazan had taken the fifth. But of course
> symbolical acts are often viewed as more meaningful than the reality
> they cover.

But this *doesn't stand up to HUAC and the abuse of power HUAC represented.

Yes this is political and an attack.

Don't bother to remove me from this Group, I'm gone.

-Sam Wells
27903  
From: "samfilms2003"
Date: Wed Jun 8, 2005 4:16pm
Subject: Re: Kazan: Apology  samfilms2003
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OK Sorry that was harsh. But really you don't kick someone who may be about to get
shot in the back on the rationale "they're gonna get shot in the back anyway." And to
me that was Kazan's action.

FWIW I like some of Kazan's films and not others. But whether or not ine wants to
forgive Kazan and many others, the abuses that HUAC represented shoud NOT be
forgiven or "rehabiltated" as the right seems keen on doing.

There is i suggest *no way* this can't be a politcal discussion, OT or not.

I don't really want to start any kind of involuted "he said then he replied" thread about
the list (you know the kind of thing that nearly sunk Frameworks etc).

My apologies to JP for the tone of my reply.

Sam Wells
27904  
From: "Blake Lucas"
Date: Wed Jun 8, 2005 4:18pm
Subject: Re: Williams/Inge/Ray (Was:Glass Menagerie (Was:Kazan (Was: Noel Murray intro)  lukethedealer12
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
>
>
> I'm very much looking forward to this because Ang Lee
> made his fame on "The Wedding Banquet" -- which
> internationally was the most successful film the year
> of its release next to "Jusrassic Park."
>
> "Brokeback Mountain" was originally a Gus project,
> that he eventually passed on in his continued
> abandonment of conventional narrative forms.

"The Wedding Banquet" and "Jurassic Park"--that's quite a
juxtaposition! But that's cinema, isn't it? Of course, people
enjoyed "The Wedding Banquet"--it was wonderfully witty and
entertaining. This was my introduction to Lee. I loved it, and I
have liked most of his movies since. Sorry if we disagree, David,
but I like him much better than Van Sant and am glad "Brokeback
Mountain" came to him (didn't know it had been a Van Sant project).

But this is also because of what Lee's style and sensibility will
bring to the story. Annie Proulx has a really rough sensibility in
CLOSE RANGE-WYOMING STORIES, and though I read the whole book, I
almost gave it up several times, so unrelentingly harsh and cruel
is her view of human existence, and so casually mean-minded and
insensitive most of her characters. Finally, I kept going to the
end when I heard Ang Lee was directing "Brokeback Mountain" which is
the final story. And strangely, this was the only story I liked.
It doesn't take a different view of humanity than the others but
unexpectedly and belatedly brought out her compassionate side in the
story of a troubled homosexual affair between two cowboys which goes
on for many years--and which they keep secret from others in their
lives. It redeemed her in my eyes, but Lee is so different,
actually cooler but less cruel--it will be very interesting to see
what he does with this. Like a lot of short stories, this is ideal
material for a movie by the way.

Blake
>
>
>
> __________________________________
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27905  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Wed Jun 8, 2005 4:54pm
Subject: Re: Re: Williams/Inge/Ray (Was:Glass Menagerie (Was:Kazan (Was: Noel Murray intro)  cellar47
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--- Blake Lucas wrote:

Sorry if we
> disagree, David,
> but I like him much better than Van Sant and am glad
> "Brokeback
> Mountain" came to him (didn't know it had been a Van
> Sant project).
>

I mentioned it in my book, "Open Secret." It's been in
thr works that long.

> But this is also because of what Lee's style and
> sensibility will
> bring to the story. Annie Proulx has a really rough
> sensibility in
> CLOSE RANGE-WYOMING STORIES, and though I read the
> whole book, I
> almost gave it up several times, so unrelentingly
> harsh and cruel
> is her view of human existence, and so casually
> mean-minded and
> insensitive most of her characters.

Well you know who did the adaptation? Larry MacMurtry.
Curiously this wasn't mentioned in Sundays' NYT
Magazine mini- Q & A with MacMurtry.

Finally, I kept
> going to the
> end when I heard Ang Lee was directing "Brokeback
> Mountain" which is
> the final story. And strangely, this was the only
> story I liked.
> It doesn't take a different view of humanity than
> the others but
> unexpectedly and belatedly brought out her
> compassionate side in the
> story of a troubled homosexual affair between two
> cowboys which goes
> on for many years--and which they keep secret from
> others in their
> lives. It redeemed her in my eyes, but Lee is so
> different,
> actually cooler but less cruel--it will be very
> interesting to see
> what he does with this. Like a lot of short
> stories, this is ideal
> material for a movie by the way.
>

True. I'm looking forward to what Lee with do with it.
And Heath Ledger and Jake Glynnehall are great eye
candy.

However, I cannot help but add that this is still the
traditionally accepted "gay story" of "secret love,"
as opposed to the complete lack of secrecy promulgated
by Chereau, not only in "Those Who Love Me" but
"L'Homme Blesse" and "Son Frere" as well.



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27906  
From: BklynMagus
Date: Wed Jun 8, 2005 5:31pm
Subject: Re: Williams/Inge/Ray (Was:Glass Menagerie (Was:Kazan (Was: Noel Murray intro)  cinebklyn
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> True. I'm looking forward to what Lee with do with it.
And Heath Ledger and Jake Glynnehall are great eye
candy.

If you cannot wait for some queer cinema and are in NYC,
UN ANO SIN AMOR is playing tonight at 10:15 at the
NewFest at Loew's State at 45th Street and Broadway.

Not sure about the eye candy quotient, but it did win best
queer film at Berlin and was made by actual queer people,
so there is no secret love crap to deal.

Brian
27907  
From: "Blake Lucas"
Date: Wed Jun 8, 2005 6:08pm
Subject: Empathy Postscript (Was: Glass Menagerie)  lukethedealer12
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In post 27874 I wrote:

>... I can identify just as readily with
>a gay character as a straight one or anyone else and never feel this
>is forced on me--my empathy is probably about equal for say, Elvira
>in "A Year with 13 Moons" as for Cody in "Comanche Station."

No one asked for the reason why I chose these two examples and
perhaps assumed they were chosen arbitrarily as the two films and
characters may seem so completely different. But actually, my haste
in writing that post and addressing other things in it caused me to
overlook saying that I did choose them very deliberately, not for
difference but for affinity.

What we might call "the moment of highest emotion" for each of these
characters occurs in a scene involving another character with whom
each is in love. For Elvira/Erwin (Volker Spengler), the transexual
hero of "13 Moons" this occurs when he finally dares to reencounter
Anton Saitz (Gottfried John), in a break the powerful Saitz and his
minions are taking between imitations of Jerry Lewis singing "Every
Day's a Happy Day" in "You're Never Too Young." Elvira had
transformed himself and changed his life out of love for Saitz, but
to no avail. Saitz doesn't care--in fact, he cares more that his
name is spelled right than he does about anyone's feelings. But
Elvira handles the encounter with composure and courage, even in the
face of the final life meltdown which is beginning to occur. For
Cody (Randolph Scott), it comes at the end of "Comanche Station,"
when he returns Nancy Lowe to her husband, who turns out to be
blind. In ten years searching for his own wife, Cody has been a man
with only internalized feeling, but now he is in love and she is in
love with him, too, even if she also loves her husband. But the
situation is what it is, and in a moment, as he takes in the blind
man and he and Nancy exchange last looks, he understands she will
never be his. He is at last given forever to solitude, though freed
of his own "blindness." Both scenes involve someone in a final
moment with the person they desire and will never have.

There was an identification thread awhile ago that I just couldn't
seem to find the time to get in on, though I wanted to, so will add
a few thoughts here, though I prefer the word empathy in this
context. My empathy for Elvira and Cody is intense, but I feel it is
hard-won on the parts of both filmmakers. Boetticher has a very
simple but elegant and refined style--he spends the film letting us
observe the characters and their interaction within the story
without ever making any great show of emotion (and they also
suppress it). Cody is a rather reserved figure, likeable enough but
one actually warms to some of the others quicker, as is Boetticher's
way, and there aren't a lot of closeups or any other means of
signaling us to identify--these are always characters placed within
a landscape, at once narrative and literal, at a distance from us.
The emotion is earned as we watch the film reflectively.
Fassbinder's style seems completely different--the director has
formal ideas to burn, and in fact that is exactly what one often
feels him to be doing, "burning them" as the film goes (a pervasive,
and impressive, aspect of his work in my view). In this way, the
intensely and openly emotional figure of Elvira is "placed" so that
we feel a constant closeness to the emotion of the character but
a "distance" from the film that Fassbinder wants us to have. The
directors involved work in different ways but to similar effect.

These examples are important in my understanding of empathy in
cinema. I would urge anyone who has not done so to read Tag
Gallagher on "Stagecoach" in his Ford book, but especially his
analysis of a sequence at the first way station stop involving
Dallas, the Ringo Kid, Lucy, and Hatfield (p. 152-160), a key text
for me in showing how a filmmaker may permit or encourage (rather
than manipulating) shifts of feeling in response to characters
through how the mise-en-scene is organized. It may be elsewhere in
the book he takes up what I believe he calls "empathetic distance"
in Ford. I look for something like this in any filmmaker I am
willing to give my respect to--I don't like the feeling of being
manipulated, but I do appreciate being able to give an emotional
response that I feel is earned. What Gallagher called "empathetic
distance" I would consider much like the "reflective distance" I
like to see filmmakers have--his term is equally good, I acknowledge.

I don't believe we are tied to what we may be individually when we
watch a film--male, female, gay, straight, black, white, whatever--
though we of course bring that personal experience to it. In
"To Kill a Mockingbird" (Mulligan), I readily empathize with the
child's point of view. In "Life of Oharu" (Mizoguchi) I cannot
imagine anyone absorbed in that long film who is not deeply
empathatic throughout to every melodramatic turn of the heroine's
life (and note no obvious identification stragtegies from this
masterly long take artist). In "Tokyo Story" (Ozu) when the two
young women have the great "life is disappointing" scene, it doesn't
matter how old or young you are, or whether you are male or female,
you probably will feel they have it right--and express it exactly
right, too. And although they may be difficult characters to relate
to on the most literal level, others may especially draw us to
them. The tormented cop Jim Wilson in "On Dangerous Ground" (Ray)
is treated and filmed in such a way that he earns my empathy at
every moment, none more than when he is slapping a lowlife punk for
information and bitterly exclaiming "Why do you make me do it? You
know you're going to talk...I always make you punks talk!" And in
the same way the eternally restless, complaining, troubled,
unsettled Karin in "Stromboli" galvanizes one throughout in
Rossellini's mise-en-scene, dispassionate in seeing her in the wider
world in a way she does not, but compassionate in according her her
own place within it. I respond to these characters because I feel
them on a spiritual journey that I want to take with them.

In fact, though it seems to be the characters we empathize with in
all these cases, it is really the vision of the filmmakers which we
empathize with. This becomes obvious if we consider Rossellini in
say, one of the later historical films--it is much less likely that
we will empathize with an individual character (as we do with Karin)
as with Rossellini's view of history, which is itself always
humanistic and searching, and so just as spiritual. Similarly, an
abstract film by a Stan Brakhage may be a reflection of his vision
of life, reconstructed and reimagined in a form which may seem less
linear and has no human identification figures, but one may respond
to, even "identify with" his vision as intensely. I don't say this
to take away from the actors in the examples I've cited, who are all
especially good--indeed, it's hard for me to imagine finer film
acting than that of Tanaka, Bergman, or Ryan in the specific films
mentioned--but only to suggest that what we feel as empathy for
their characters is something actually much greater than their
characters and something they are playing one part in. It does come
back to the mise-en-scene and our relation to it--it is empathy of a
deep kind, but not based on sentiment.

Blake Lucas


Blake Lucas
27908  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Wed Jun 8, 2005 6:54pm
Subject: Re: Empathy Postscript (Was: Glass Menagerie)  cellar47
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--- Blake Lucas wrote:


> No one asked for the reason why I chose these two
> examples and
> perhaps assumed they were chosen arbitrarily as the
> two films and
> characters may seem so completely different. But
> actually, my haste
> in writing that post and addressing other things in
> it caused me to
> overlook saying that I did choose them very
> deliberately, not for
> difference but for affinity.
>

Well these are two strikingly different examples.
"Commanche Station" is a traditional mael-female
encounter with hushed, understated emotions. "13
Moons" is off the charts.

How and why we respond to emotional material is always
extremely subjective. Everyone wants to love and be
loved, but loving and being loved takes different
forms -- both personally and cinematically.



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27909  
From: "hotlove666"
Date: Wed Jun 8, 2005 7:00pm
Subject: Re: Empathy Postscript (Was: Glass Menagerie)  hotlove666
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Blake Lucas"
wrote:
>
> In fact, though it seems to be the characters we empathize with in
> all these cases, it is really the vision of the filmmakers which we
> empathize with

Different meanings, or at least different mechanisms. Neurologists
have isolated the parts of the brain that empathize: they call it
the "mirroring function." It means that we experience in attenuated
form the actions and emotions we see someone doing and experiencing,
as in a mirror. It's a mechanism that is apparently an evolutionary
plus to have - autistic kids don't seem to have it. But identifying
with the invisible man (usually) behind the camera does not involve
those parts of the brain except obluiquely: ie if we and the the
director are empathizing with the same character. I would call the
director-empathy "identification" in the senese Gurdjieff defined it:
becoming so absorbed by something you're looking at that you lose any
consciousness of self. This actually is our everyday state of mind
all the time, but film intensifies the identification with the unreal
world we're shown. We become it. And if we make the effort, we can
also observe ourselves being identified with the film, empathizing
with the characters, etc. Some filmmakers make their films in such a
way as to encouyrgfae us to do that - the Straubs, for instance.
27910  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Wed Jun 8, 2005 10:57pm
Subject: Re: Kazan: Apology  jpcoursodon
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "samfilms2003" wrote:
> OK Sorry that was harsh. But really you don't kick someone who may
be about to get
> shot in the back on the rationale "they're gonna get shot in the
back anyway." And to
> me that was Kazan's action.
>
> FWIW I like some of Kazan's films and not others. But whether or
not ine wants to
> forgive Kazan and many others, the abuses that HUAC represented
shoud NOT be
> forgiven or "rehabiltated" as the right seems keen on doing.
>
> There is i suggest *no way* this can't be a politcal discussion,
OT or not.
>
> I don't really want to start any kind of involuted "he said then
he replied" thread about
> the list (you know the kind of thing that nearly sunk Frameworks
etc).


>
> My apologies to JP for the tone of my reply.
>
> Sam Wells


I didn't take your remark as "ad hominem" so no apology was
necessary. I am used to your kind of reaction -- have seen, heard,
read it for fifty years -- and I understand it and to a degree share
it. But part of me has always fought the tendency to embrace it.

Let me say that my revulsion at HUAC and all it stood for is
boundless, and I have said and written so more than once. Tavernier,
who is fiercely liberal and some kind of specialist of the witch
hunts and the black list, wouldn't have accepted an almost life-long
collaboration with me if he had thought that i had the slightest
indulgence for HUAC. Incidentally I wrote in a post here some time
ago that I considered HUAC and its methods a tragic mockery of the
American Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

I don't see this exchange as a "political" discussion -- more as a
discussion on ethics.

JPC
27911  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Wed Jun 8, 2005 11:15pm
Subject: Re: Empathy Postscript (Was: Glass Menagerie)  jpcoursodon
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666" wrote:

I would call the
> director-empathy "identification" in the senese Gurdjieff defined
it:
> becoming so absorbed by something you're looking at that you lose
any
> consciousness of self. This actually is our everyday state of mind
> all the time, but film intensifies the identification with the
unreal
> world we're shown. We become it.

Could you clarify this for me, please? You're saying that "our
everyday state of mind all the time" is losing consciousness of self?
What does that mean?

I can't really think of any circumstance, whether in real life or
while watching a movie, when I completely lost consciousness of self.
I don't even see how that's possible. Perhaps under the influence of
some drugs...

JPC
27912  
From: "Yoel Meranda"
Date: Wed Jun 8, 2005 11:39pm
Subject: OT - Re: Fatih Akin is Neither East nor West  ymeranda
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This is OT, but...

The title of the film, "Crossing the Bridge", would have not been
chosen by someone who lives in Istanbul. Many people in Istanbul cross
the bridge at least twice a day and nobody I know thinks about this as
a profound situation. It is a non-issue for us. The first time I
realized that it was actually a bit interesting that I kept changing
continents, was when an American friend came to visit me and thought
it was so cool that we were going from Europe to Asia.

The trip takes about 20 minutes (less than it takes to go to many
places in the same continent) and there isn't really any big cultural
difference between the two sides. There is, however, a felt difference
between Istanbul (both sides of it) and the rest of the country and
that is an issue that was dealt with perfectly by Nuri Bilge Ceylan in
his "Uzak" ("Distant"). The cultural variation between the different
neighborhoods of Istanbul would also make a great subject for a
documentary.

If Fatih Akin was born and lived in Istanbul, he would have known that
the issue that concerns people the most while crossing the bridge is
the traffic jams, especially if it is rush hour. Whether you're
changing continents or not does not really matter if you're trying to
get home as quickly as possible after a long day at school or at work.

Yoel
27913  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 1:17am
Subject: Re: Re: Kazan: Apology  cellar47
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--- jpcoursodon wrote:


>
> I don't see this exchange as a "political"
> discussion -- more as a
> discussion on ethics.
>

"Ethics are the aesthetics of the future." -- V. Lenin



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27914  
From: Fred Camper
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 1:37am
Subject: Re: OT - Re: Fatih Akin is Neither East nor West (also form and conntent)  fredcamper
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I haven't seen the film, but you doubtless know of the Western
mythologizing of Turkey as the beginning of the Mysterious Orient, the
place where East meets West, and so on.

The funny thing about all this is that as far as I can tell the division
between Europe and Asia at the Bosporus is pretty arbitrary, no? I mean,
Australia as a separate continent actually means something, if only that
it's a giant island with a lotta water around it, but what fundamental
feature of geology determines that one continent ends and another begins
in Istanbul? That these are just arbitrary human acts of naming makes
the oohing and aahing over it ("Oooh, look, there's ASIA") seem even
weirder.

I have the same reaction sometimes to reading criticism, and discussions
in this group. "Form" and "content" are just the names we give to what
we think of as certain elements; they're not fundamental qualities in
most cases, especially in great works. For a mediocre director filming a
script picture-book style, I suppose the distinction might be worth
making. But which is the form and which is the content in "Au Hasard,
Balthazar"?

As my high school physics teacher once explained to us, "force" and
"momentum" are not actual physical entities, but merely the names we
choose to give to abstractions that we create out of measurements we
take. This may seem obvious today, but understanding it when I was 15
was pretty profound.

Fred Camper
27915  
From: "hotlove666"
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 8:11am
Subject: Re: Empathy Postscript (Was: Glass Menagerie)  hotlove666
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jpcoursodon"
wrote:
>
> Could you clarify this for me, please? You're saying that "our
> everyday state of mind all the time" is losing consciousness of self?
> What does that mean?
>
> I can't really think of any circumstance, whether in real life or
> while watching a movie, when I completely lost consciousness of self.


I hate to be the bearer of grim tidings, but you have been conscious of
yourself for perhaps 38 minutes all-in during your entire life, JP. But
every time someone reminds you of this fact, you become self-conscious
for a few seconds, then go back to sleep, so you are fooled by what
Gurdjieff calls "the trick of consciousness" into thinking you're
always that way. If you want to follow up on this, we should discuss it
OT.
27916  
From: "Zach Campbell"
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 11:28am
Subject: OT - Re: Fatih Akin is Neither East nor West (also form and conntent)  rashomon82
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Fred:
> "Form" and "content" are just the names we give to what
> we think of as certain elements; they're not fundamental qualities
> in most cases,

OK -- now how to explain the application of terms "cinematic"
and "uncinematic"?

--Zach
27917  
From: Fred Camper
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 0:46pm
Subject: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  fredcamper
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Zach Campbell wrote:

>
> OK -- now how to explain the application of terms "cinematic"
> and "uncinematic"?

OK, I'll come out and admit it:

"cinematic" = Fred likes it
"uncinematic" = Fred doesn't like it

I mean, my own use of those terms can certainly be criticized in the
same way I've criticized "form" and "content," if that's your point.

A bit more precisely, "cinematic" is used in the modernist
truth-to-materials sense of denoting uses of film that seem to be using,
aesthetically, elements that are unique to the medium -- framing,
composition, lighting, camera movement, filmic use of sound. I suppose a
filmic use of acting could be included, that is, acting styles that
wouldn't make sense if simply translated to live theater. Performances
that might have the same or even stronger effects if delivered on stage
wouldn't be "cinematic."

You have presumably seen some of those early-30s Hollywood films
directed by New York theater directors in which the static camera stays
far from the characters as they enact a drama? In the ones I've seen the
camera angles don't seem aesthetically expressive of anything, but
rather placed simply to "contain" the performances. Such films are
extremely uncinematic. They do separate out into "form" and "content"
too. Warhol's early films, by contrast, are generally very cinematic
despite their 33-minute, static-camera long takes because the
composition is dynamic and expressive and the way it is distended in
time adds to its statement, rendering the characters almost as insects
observed by Warhol's cruel yet almost dead passive-aggressive eye.

Perhaps one might posit that if you can make a genuine separation
between "form" and "content" without seriously misrepresenting the
experience of the film, the film is "uncinematic."

I admit an uncinemtic film could be aesthetically great, as a
consequence of my view that anything can be great. I don't think I
personally have any examples of this though, which doubtless says
something about my preferences.

If you look at many of the things that are said about film in the
mainstream press, and even in this group, they don't seem to be
describing elements of a film in terms of the film medium. This morning
I had to go back a half-dozen posts (except for the one that started
this thread, which admits to being OT) for a post that says anything
about a specific film at all. (And please, I say this as an observer,
not as the voice-of-authority moderator.)

Fred Camper
27918  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 0:48pm
Subject: Re: Empathy Postscript (Was: Glass Menagerie)  jpcoursodon
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666" wrote:

>
> I hate to be the bearer of grim tidings, but you have been conscious
of
> yourself for perhaps 38 minutes all-in during your entire life, JP.
But
> every time someone reminds you of this fact, you become self-
conscious
> for a few seconds, then go back to sleep, so you are fooled by what
> Gurdjieff calls "the trick of consciousness" into thinking you're
> always that way. If you want to follow up on this, we should discuss
it
> OT.

Gee, I'm crushed! I would have thought I had been conscious for at
least 45 minutes during my entire life, not a mere 38'.

Seriously, it's a bit like saying that we don't exist at all unless
we keep repeating 24/7: "Cogito ergo sum."

I can't decide whether this discussion is too serious or too frivolous
for the OT Line. Better drop it.

(From what I read about Gurdjieff the guy was nutty as a fruitcake.
No offence intended in case you're a disciple. )

JPC
27919  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 1:16pm
Subject: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  jpcoursodon
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Fred Camper wrote:
>>
> OK, I'll come out and admit it:
>
> "cinematic" = Fred likes it
> "uncinematic" = Fred doesn't like it
>
Exactly. "Cinematic" is a value judgement and entirely, or
overwhelmingly, subjective. It's more often than not used as
shorthand for "I like it."

However, if we define "cinematic" more generally and
objectively as "pertaining to cinema" it becomes difficult to decide
what, if anything, is "uncinematic." Everything put on film is, by
definition, "cinema". Even those stagey early talkies you mention
use "elements that are unique to the medium" -- it's just impossible
to make a film of any kind differently. They may be bad cinema, but
their specificity as belonging to the medium cannot be denied.

JPC
.
>
27920  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 1:52pm
Subject: Re: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  cellar47
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--- jpcoursodon wrote:


>
> However, if we define "cinematic" more
> generally and
> objectively as "pertaining to cinema" it becomes
> difficult to decide
> what, if anything, is "uncinematic." Everything put
> on film is, by
> definition, "cinema". Even those stagey early
> talkies you mention
> use "elements that are unique to the medium" -- it's
> just impossible
> to make a film of any kind differently. They may be
> bad cinema, but
> their specificity as belonging to the medium cannot
> be denied.
>
Quite true. The whole "cinematic" /"uncinematic" thing
arose from an ideological imperative to separatefilm
from theater. Anything that suggested the theatrical
was "uncinematic."This is part of the reason why
Sarris was so cold to Mankiewicz. Fred's bringing up
of Warhol is interesting in that (as I have argued
many years ago) his career constitutes a "history of
the cinema" in and of itself. Had he not been
short-curcuited by Valerie Solanis I have no doubt he
would have made a far more robust contribution to
video than he did in his later years.

Alain Resnais' evolution is especially interesting in
regard to the "uncinematic" as the filmmaker whose
career was made on the ediotiral brevoty of "Muriel"
has now fully embraced the "filmed theater" aesthetic
of Sacha Guitry and made it something entirely his
own.



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27921  
From: BklynMagus
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 3:02pm
Subject: Re: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  cinebklyn
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Fred writes:

> A bit more precisely, "cinematic" is used in the modernist
truth-to-materials sense of denoting uses of film that seem
to be using, aesthetically, elements that are unique to the
medium -- framing, composition, lighting, camera movement,
filmic use of sound.

But why limit the list to elements that are unique to film? Film
employs more elements than those that are unique to it. What
is the justification for your demarcation? Doesn't your
approach run the risk of becoming nothing more than a
procedural aethetics?

Also, isn't truth constructed by the using of materials and not
found/embedded in the materials themselves? Are you making
an essentialist argument here?

Brian
27922  
From: "Richard Modiano"
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 3:10pm
Subject: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  tharpa2002
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Fred Camper wrote:

"A bit more precisely, "cinematic" is used in the modernist truth-to-
materials sense of denoting uses of film that seem to be using,
aesthetically, elements that are unique to the medium -- framing,
composition, lighting, camera movement, filmic use of sound..."

That sounds valid to me, especially when one considers the history of
the visual arts in general and sees how representation is changed to
adapt to new media (fresco and encaustic mural painting to free
standing oil painting, oil painting to water color, etc.) Another
test of the truth-to-materials criterion is the translation of one
medium into another (an oil painting into a serigraph for example)and
the attendent aesthetic loss. Of course one could label this as
entirely subjective, but even so, it's a widely shared subjectivity.

"You have presumably seen some of those early-30s Hollywood films
directed by New York theater directors in which the static camera
stays far from the characters as they enact a drama? In the ones I've
seen the camera angles don't seem aesthetically expressive of
anything, but rather placed simply to 'contain' the performances.
Such films are extremely uncinematic. They do separate out
into 'form' and 'content' too..."

A very interesting item of supporting evidence is the incomplete
print of "The Balck Watch" which has scenes shot by both Ford and the
stage director (who's name I forget. It was shown at LACMA at the
Ford Centenary Retrospective.) The non-Ford scenes exactly fit your
description.

Richard
27923  
From: "Jerry Johnson"
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 4:02pm
Subject: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  rastignac5
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jpcoursodon"
wrote:
Everything put on film is, by
> definition, "cinema". Even those stagey early talkies you mention
> use "elements that are unique to the medium" -- it's just impossible
> to make a film of any kind differently. They may be bad cinema, but
> their specificity as belonging to the medium cannot be denied.
>
> JPC


But you can define or evaluate those early talkies in ways that are
taste-based. They may or may not be "bad" cinema, but they're
undeniably "primitive," or under-developed cinema. Isn't the
term "uncinematic" used to criticize a film's lack of cinematic
development? It's more than a matter of taste.
27924  
From: "Blake Lucas"
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 4:36pm
Subject: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  lukethedealer12
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Modiano"
wrote:
>> A very interesting item of supporting evidence is the incomplete
> print of "The Balck Watch" which has scenes shot by both Ford and
the
> stage director (who's name I forget. It was shown at LACMA at the
> Ford Centenary Retrospective.) The non-Ford scenes exactly fit your
> description.
>
That was a pretty rare screening of that one, wasn't it, Richard?
I, for one, was very grateful to see it, along with "Mother Machree"
fragment and the sublime "Pilgrimage" which I consider Ford's first
all-out masterpiece.

This is as you say a very dramatic example of what is being talked
about in this thread because "The Black Watch" overall seemed an
especially strong film in the Ford part of it, which I remember as
most of it--it was sophisticated visual storytelling of the kind one
associates with him, and the subject plainly engaged him, one of the
powerful and complexly treated military stories he generally does so
well. The question is, would it have been a great film if it had not
had those static "talky" scenes which undermined it not only as a
piece of "cinema" but its deeper poetry and artistic subtlety? It's a
little vague in my mind in one viewing after this much time, but my
memory is that Ford seemed to have directed most of it--is this just
because his part of it was so much more compelling? Something did
seem to limit it and maybe it was just this sense that those other
scenes had made it different than the movie he intended. Of course, I
am yearning to see it again and be able to address this more fully.

A wider question occurs, in that cinema and classic American cinema
especially absolutely abounds in tampering, retakes by hands other
than the original director's, editing not intended by the director,
cuts of sequences the filmmaker intended as key, and so on. And there
are films many members of this list would consider great which this
applies to. A complication is that sometimes this tampering is done
gracefully enough that even discerning film critics are not aware of
it until it is made known to us, and we have in fact accepted the film
as stylistically of a piece (for example Fujiwara's book on Tourneur
reveals that the competent but pedestrian Henry Levin did retakes
on "Way of a Gaucho" that might now be readily evident to me looking
at the film with this knowledge, but I admit I never had this sense
before) How much of such treatment definitively unsettles a film as a
coherent work of art by an individual filmmaker? I believe this is a
question worth exploring.

Blake
27925  
From: "peckinpah20012000"
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 5:06pm
Subject: Re: Williams/Inge/Ray (Was:Glass Menagerie (Was:Kazan (Was: Noel Murray intro)  peckinpah200...
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, David Ehrenstein
wrote:
>
>
> > However, I cannot help but add that this is still the
> traditionally accepted "gay story" of "secret love,"
> as opposed to the complete lack of secrecy promulgated
> by Chereau, not only in "Those Who Love Me" but
> "L'Homme Blesse" and "Son Frere" as well.

David,

Your respect and support for THOSE WHO LOVE ME is well known. But
I'd like to know whether you have seen Evans Chan's THE MAP OF SEX
AND LOVE (2002) now available of DVD which also involves a "complete
lack of secrecy? If so, I and the rest of the group would be
extremely interested in your comments.

Tony Williams
>
>
>
> __________________________________
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27926  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 5:18pm
Subject: Re: Re: Williams/Inge/Ray (Was:Glass Menagerie (Was:Kazan (Was: Noel Murray intro)  cellar47
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--- peckinpah20012000
wrote:


>
> Your respect and support for THOSE WHO LOVE ME is
> well known. But
> I'd like to know whether you have seen Evans Chan's
> THE MAP OF SEX
> AND LOVE (2002) now available of DVD which also
> involves a "complete
> lack of secrecy? If so, I and the rest of the group
> would be
> extremely interested in your comments.
>

Haven't seen it, so thanks for the heads-up. He has a
new film opening shortly.

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27927  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 5:26pm
Subject: Dr. Emilio Lizardo to Address Harvard Graduating Class  cellar47
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http://www.boston.com/news/education/higher/articles/2005/06/09/big_man_back_on_campus/?page=1

I'd certainly be willing to make the case for Lithgow
as an actor-auteur. There's a genuine consistency to
his willingness to take on "extreme" roles and serve
them up in a highly sympathetic style. He makes for a
useful contrast with other "eccentric" stars like
Malkovich and Depp. Even when he's play a "heavy" as
he does in "Kinsey," he manages to leave room for
feeling -- without "plucking the heartstrings" or
doing anything fancy.



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27928  
From: "Blake Lucas"
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 6:18pm
Subject: Re: Empathy Postscript (Was: Glass Menagerie)  lukethedealer12
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Blake Lucas"

> wrote:
> >
> > In fact, though it seems to be the characters we empathize with
in
> > all these cases, it is really the vision of the filmmakers which
we
> > empathize with
>
But identifying
> with the invisible man (usually) behind the camera does not
involve
> those parts of the brain except obluiquely: ie if we and the the
> director are empathizing with the same character. I would call the
> director-empathy "identification" in the senese Gurdjieff defined
it:
> becoming so absorbed by something you're looking at that you lose
any
> consciousness of self.

Bill, I left just what you cut of my post 27909 because it's still
recent enough for anyone to find easily, and just the pertinent part
of yours. Maybe my phrase "it is really the vision of the filmmakers
which we empathize with" did not have sufficient clarity though I
thought it did especially in context of the whole. "Vision of the
filmmaker" is not the same as the filmmaker himself--that "invisible
man" (but shouldn't we add "or invisible woman") is not someone I
identify with nor do I feel we should ever do so. Rather, it is a
consciousness working upon the elements of the film and creating
what is there that we respond to.

I'll just take what is perhaps the most obvious example in my post,
Robert Ryan's bitter, alienated detective in "On Dangerous Ground."
Any student of Nicholas Ray sees him as having a profound
understanding of alienation which pervades his body of work, whether
he originated the stories or not (more often not in fact). No doubt
this comes from his own experience, but although I met and talked
with him and felt some rapport (was glad for that opportunity, of
course) and would say he was a compelling man, I don't return to his
films with that in mind. We empathize here THROUGH the Ryan
character, who becomes a vehicle for Ray's understanding and
expressiveness within the dramatic situation. Here, as in any other
case I cited, or any other I might have, we come away feeling that
we have empathized with and even "identified with" the character.

But Bill, it was you yourself who so memorably said in an earlier
incarnation of this thread something like "These folks aren't
real..." (wish I could find the exact phrase easily because it was
just wonderful). You elaborated that we are attaching ourselves to
fictional characters in (usually) two-dimensional imagery (no matter
how much a filmmaker might layer it to give an impression of depth).
So while this empathy or identification with the characters serves a
purpose in guiding our understanding and feeling (and the Ray is a
memorable example), it is some other reality, which I am identifying
as "the vision of the filmmaker" but not the filmmaker as a person,
that is really the locus of our feeling. I would add that whatever
spiritual journey was completed by Nicholas Ray in his life is
something we can't really know, though we feel we do know that of
Wilson/Ryan in that movie.

Of course, people are known to literally identify with filmmakers,
and we've probably all done it at some point. But that's a very
romantic notion, and it's a healthy thing to separate our sense of
the work from our sense of the individual. Even if Jean Renoir was
exactly the great guy everyone says he was, it's something much more
from within him that we are responding to in his films. Conversely,
there are plenty of people we might not be as keen to have known--
one of them recently given his ritual pilloring here in a_f_b in a
recent thread--but they imbue something in their works that is
perhaps the best part of them, just not a part we would otherwise
know.

Sometimes you will hear critics rhapsodize about a Sam Peckinpah as
a rather romantic figure, at one in every way with his films--you
get the sense they'd like to be like him in some way. But I wonder
if they would feel that way if they actually were him. I can relate
pretty strongly to the maverick iconoclast, a real Westerner out of
his time and all that, so I'm quite sympathetic to this romantic
fantasy of him. But I also have a feeling that a few days on a
tequila jag with Peckinpah raising hell as we go, though it might be
a memorable experience, wouldn't work easily for me as a way of life.

Blake
27929  
From: "Blake Lucas"
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 6:32pm
Subject: Empathy Postscript (Correction to Previous)  lukethedealer12
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I inadvertently garbled identification of my own post in 27928 just
posted. Mine was 27907, and Bill's reply was 27909.
27930  
From: LiLiPUT1@...
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 2:47pm
Subject: Re: What is cinematic (was:  OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  scil1973
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In a message dated 6/9/05 7:49:18 AM, f@... writes:


> This morning I had to go back a half-dozen posts (except for the one that
> started this thread, which admits to being OT) for a post that says anything
> about a specific film at all. (And please, I say this as an observer, not as
> the voice-of-authority moderator.)
>

Isn't this a bit like asking the jury to disregard this piece of evidence or
that remark when there is really no way for a jury to disregard anything once
it's been introduced?

Kevin John (whose last post was on a specific film described in terms that HE
would deem cinematic)




[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27931  
From: "Blake Lucas"
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 7:25pm
Subject: What is cinematic (was:  OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  lukethedealer12
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, LiLiPUT1@a... wrote:
>
> In a message dated 6/9/05 7:49:18 AM, f@... writes:
>
>
> > This morning I had to go back a half-dozen posts (except for the
one that
> > started this thread, which admits to being OT) for a post that
says anything
> > about a specific film at all. (And please, I say this as an
observer, not as
> > the voice-of-authority moderator.)
> >
>
> Isn't this a bit like asking the jury to disregard this piece of
evidence or
> that remark when there is really no way for a jury to disregard
anything once
> it's been introduced?

>
> Kevin John (whose last post was on a specific film described in
terms that HE
> would deem cinematic)
>
May I second this? When I read the above from Fred I looked at the
positioning of my post 27907, which I spent sometime on, and which
cited a number of films, all of which I was trying to look at in
terms of cinematic specifics, and wondered if I could possibly be
included in Fred's statement (I was about half a dozen posts back).
Even if mine was the one acknowledged to say "anything about a
specific film," there is still that dismissive "at all" as opposed
to "which is meaningful." If so, I must admit it was a little
annoying and even depressing to be dismissed in that way.

The relationship of the viewer to the film and the film's world (and
characters when there are characters) and how the filmmaker deals
with it seems to me to be one subject that is at the heart and soul
of what this group is about, especially as so many filmmakers,
conspicuously in Hollywood, have often taken this to such a
meretricious level in more recent times. And whether anyone agrees
with what I say about it, it couldn't be more on topic. To me it is
at once an aesthetic and spiritual issue. I felt this important
enough that I confined myself only to great films and filmmakers for
my examples, many if not most of which I'd guess Fred values based
on my reading of him.

I'd just like to say if I'm going to be patronized or dismissed in
some way, I'd prefer it be direct and unambiguous rather than as
above.

Blake Lucas
27932  
From: Peter Henne
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 8:19pm
Subject: Re: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  peterhenne
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Whenever this idea of a stubbornly fixed and narrowly expressive set-up comes up, I think not of "The Black Watch" but several of the long, awkward dialogue shots between two brothers who are cadets in "Salute." The camera just rolls on recording, not even selecting an attractive or strong composition, and making matters worse is the indecisive acting. I realize we are talking about John Ford, Joseph August, and George O'Brien here. But little is going right: in one instance in particular, I can remember the camera distance is too close to convey the bodily vitality of either man on screen, but not close enough to make the words register over and above their physical presence. James K. McGuinness's script tends toward speechiness over and over. The actors (O'Brien was in about his fourth talkie) seem to not make up their minds to act for the camera or stage, and divide their efforts which makes their performances even clumsier than if they had just been theatrical. Tag Gallagher
commends the "surreal quality of the performances" and the "realistic photography," but the dialogue scenes between the brothers have no force of life coming from either the dramatic or pre-Brechtian side of the artifice fence. (There are some amazing anti-dramatic elements going on in "Seas Beneath," soon to follow, a film that experiments aggressively with the edge between drama and documentary and which I find a crucial Ford film.) From an aesthetic point of view, several of these dialogue scenes in "Salute" exemplify "filmed theatre," in which the choices that must be made for filming actors and their setting are treated with indifference.

It is hard to explain the stiffness in camera technique and performance as a reflection of the formality of the setting, life at the Naval Academy at Annapolis--that just seems like an easy excuse for paltry filmmaking in this case. Yet if the dialogue had strayed to the social clumsiness or tentative feelings of either man, or about how life is mechanized at Annapolis, then maybe these scenes would be more of a piece, and at least pass as more directed. As it is the camera placement does not take into account the impact of speech you can hear. The stuffy script does compound the total effect of woodenness. If the camerawork had been more adroit, these scenes might have been partially saved or transformed.

Like other directors crossing from silent to sound, Ford does not take a direct path in demonstrating his prowess over technique but lurches forward and backward while going along the way. The integration of sound in "Arrowsmith" is shockingly smooth, when you look at the features Ford had done just before it.

Peter Henne



Richard Modiano wrote:


A very interesting item of supporting evidence is the incomplete
print of "The Balck Watch" which has scenes shot by both Ford and the
stage director (who's name I forget. It was shown at LACMA at the
Ford Centenary Retrospective.) The non-Ford scenes exactly fit your
description.

Richard


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27933  
From: Fred Camper
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 8:35pm
Subject: Re: What is cinematic  fredcamper
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Kevin, I suppose you're right, but it's getting annoying because
anything I say about the group is taken as from the moderators -- I
don't think a statement like mine made by anyone other than a moderator
would be questioned this way. I was simply trying to make the point that
film as formal medium is not he main topic even in this group, which is
a point other non-moderator members have made as well.

Blake, I certainly didn't mean to include your post; I had counted back
and thought that I was stopping just before yours, though the way I
wrote it is admittedly not so clear. Sorry for the confusion.

I will respond to Brian's comments later.

Fred Camper
27934  
From: Peter Henne
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 8:37pm
Subject: Re: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  peterhenne
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I just wanted to add that I'm aware Ford had to record sound directly in "Salute." But other directors managed this limitation much more satisfyingly--Sternberg is an obvious example. I don't think direct sound recording alone explains the artlessness which I cited in "Salute."

Peter Henne


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27935  
From: "Richard Modiano"
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 9:28pm
Subject: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  tharpa2002
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Blake Lucas"
wrote:

"That was a pretty rare screening of that one, wasn't it, Richard?
I, for one, was very grateful to see it, along with 'Mother Machree'
fragment and the sublime 'Pilgrimage' which I consider Ford's first
all-out masterpiece."

It certainly was. "Pilgramage" was shown on the old AMC and a friend
of mine taped it for me so it's one I've been able to view again.
Stylistically it seems more radical than any of his previous films
with only "Seas Benaeth" coming close.

"The question is, would it have been a great film if it had not
had those static "talky" scenes which undermined it not only as a
piece of 'cinema' but its deeper poetry and artistic subtlety? It's
a little vague in my mind in one viewing after this much time, but
my memory is that Ford seemed to have directed most of it--is this
just because his part of it was so much more compelling?"

As I recall there were only two non-Ford scenes in the extant print,
and aside from the static camera the lighting scheme was different.
Ford was still using an expressionist kind of lighting and also his
more charcateristic back-lighting for the battle scene. Thes non-
Ford scens had a flat, even lighting.

"A wider question occurs, in that cinema and classic American cinema
especially absolutely abounds in tampering, retakes by hands other
than the original director's, editing not intended by the director,
cuts of sequences the filmmaker intended as key, and so on...How much
of such treatment definitively unsettles a film as a coherent work of
art by an individual filmmaker? I believe this is a question worth
exploring."

I agree. We know that some pictures, like "The Magnificent
Ambersons" for example, exist in a fragnmentary form. It's tempting
to look at them in the same way one looks at an unfinished
Michaelangelo torso which in purely formal terms has value as a work
of art in and of itself. Whether or not this is transferable to
cinema or not merits further discussion.

Somewhat related is the film prepared by an auteur and filmed by
someone else. I remember wanting to see "Osaka Mongatari" because
Mizoguchi approved the script, cast the picture, and had the sets
built to accomodate his camera moves before he was hospitalized for
his terminal illness. I wanted to see what remained of Mizoguchi in
a picture completed by his usual collaborators and directed by his
assistant director. There was almost nothing of Mizo present.

Richard
27936  
From: "Richard Modiano"
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 9:46pm
Subject: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  tharpa2002
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Peter Henne wrote:

"Whenever this idea of a stubbornly fixed and narrowly expressive set-
up comes up, I think not of "The Black Watch" but several of the
long, awkward dialogue shots between two brothers who are cadets
in "Salute." The camera just rolls on recording, not even selecting
an attractive or strong composition, and making matters worse is the
indecisive acting."

Well, that's true. But there are two differences bewteen "Salute"
and "The Black Watch": one feels that the same man is behind the
camera throughout "Salute," and Stepin' Fetchit provides the surreal
element Tag Gallagher mentions. I don't think a stage director would
have allowed his bizzare locutions and muttered asides.

Maybe Ford was going along to get along (i.e., doing what was
expected so he wouldn't have to share directing chores with a stage
director,) but unless the sound version of "Men Without Women" turns
up it's an unprovable hypothesis. "Up the River" was better
than "filmed theater" if not particularly innovative. Anyway, I'm
glad to see that you find merit in "Seas Beneath."

Richrad
27937  
From: Peter Henne
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 10:44pm
Subject: Re: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  peterhenne
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Most of the early sound films by Ford I've seen are better than filmed theatre--much better. I singled out "Salute" to show that Ford's progress in adapting to sound was not steady. And while "Arrowsmith" measured by conventional standards is a big leap ahead in seamlessly integrating dialogue and sound with image, "Seas Beneath" is a much more exciting experiment for incorporating dramatic and non-dramatic material with little attention given to smoothing edges.

Peter

Richard Modiano wrote:
"Up the River" was better
than "filmed theater" if not particularly innovative. Anyway, I'm
glad to see that you find merit in "Seas Beneath."

Richrad

---------------------------------
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27938  
From: "hotlove666"
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 10:55pm
Subject: Re: Empathy Postscript (Was: Glass Menagerie)  hotlove666
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "jpcoursodon" wrote:
>
I would have thought I had been conscious for at
> least 45 minutes during my entire life, not a mere 38'.

Self-conscious.

> (From what I read about Gurdjieff the guy was nutty as a fruitcake.
> No offence intended in case you're a disciple. )
>
The secret keeps itself.
27939  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 11:13pm
Subject: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  jpcoursodon
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Peter Henne wrote:
>
> I just wanted to add that I'm aware Ford had to record sound
directly in "Salute." But other directors managed this limitation much
more satisfyingly--Sternberg is an obvious example. I don't think
direct sound recording alone explains the artlessness which I cited
in "Salute."
>
> Peter Henne
>
> My understanding is that Ford wanted (as opposed to "had to")to
record sound directly-- and shooting a sound film on location was
pretty daring in 1929! The result is creaky but Ford has to be praised
for his insistance on going to Annapolis when hardly anybody dared to
go out of the sound stage. Tag Gallagher has been trying to convince
me that the film is great, especially the scene where they
sing "Anchors Aweigh" with the girl at the window. I'm not convinced,
but on the other hand "Salute" turned out to be an amazingly
personal, even autobiographical kind of film, the two brothers'
rivalry echoing the Francis Ford-Jack Ford one etc...

"Seas Beneath" was mentioned. I think it's by far the finest of the
early Ford talkies (or anybody's early talkie) in spite ofclumsy,
studio-bound expository scenes. All the stuff at sea is visually
wonderful and looks strikingly authentic. I still remember vividly the
sequences of the sinking fishing boat and of the rescue of the
submarine crew, and I haven't seen the film in more than 25 years.
Another great early one is the very much underrated "Up the River"...

JPC
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>
> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27940  
From: "Andy Rector"
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 11:45pm
Subject: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  kinoslang
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> "The question is, would PILGRIMAGE have been a great film if it had
not
> had those static "talky" scenes which undermined it not only as a
> piece of 'cinema' but its deeper poetry and artistic subtlety?
It's
> a little vague in my mind in one viewing after this much time, but
> my memory is that Ford seemed to have directed most of it--is this
> just because his part of it was so much more compelling?"

Without these dialog scenes he might have been accused of being a
pedant. Many of the greatest moments in Ford are static and talky:
Widmark and Stewart on the riverbank in TWO RODE TOGETHER, Wayne and
the British girl in LONG VOYAGE HOME, the beginning of WAGONMASTER
(against the fence, bartering), the two soldiers in front of the
river (pink with blood) in CIVIL WAR (How the West was Won)...

The cinema is fragile!

yours,
andy
27941  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Thu Jun 9, 2005 7:52pm
Subject: Re: John Ford at the Sound Barrier (was: What is cinematic)  nzkpzq
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Have only seen a handful of the early Ford sound films. Agree that "Up the
River" and "Pilgrimage" are superb. And did not like "Salute" - thought it was
the weakest Ford picture ever seen here.
Ford was so creative in the late silent era. Pictures like "3 Bad Men", "The
Blue Eagle", "Four Sons" and "Hangman's House" are all classics. And all so
different from each other, Ford was really feeling his cheerios, and
experimenting in all directions.
The year before Ford filmed "Salute" on location in Annapolis, Edward
Sedgwick made the silent movie "West Point" at the school - a forgotten gem of the
silent screen. And didn't Rouben Mamoulian make the early talkie "Applause" on
location all over Manhattan? This is a pretty good movie, until its gratuitous
bummer of a finale.

Mike Grost
27942  
From: "Blake Lucas"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 1:17am
Subject: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  lukethedealer12
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Andy Rector"
wrote:
>
> > "The question is, would PILGRIMAGE have been a great film if it
had
> not
> > had those static "talky" scenes which undermined it not only as
a
> > piece of 'cinema' but its deeper poetry and artistic subtlety?
> It's
> > a little vague in my mind in one viewing after this much time,
but
> > my memory is that Ford seemed to have directed most of it--is
this
> > just because his part of it was so much more compelling?"
>
The above is something I wrote but I looked back to make sure and
find that somehow the title PILGRIMAGE is now inserted when it was
not when I wrote it (!?). This entire paragraph was strictly about
THE BLACK WATCH. That said I agree with what you say in the
following (the dialogue scenes Richard and I alluded to in THE BLACK
WATCH were not directed by Ford), except that I wanted describe any
of these scenes as static just because the camera is fixed and there
is a lot of dialogue. There is a lot going on them.

> Without these dialog scenes he might have been accused of being a
> pedant. Many of the greatest moments in Ford are static and talky:
> Widmark and Stewart on the riverbank in TWO RODE TOGETHER, Wayne
and
> the British girl in LONG VOYAGE HOME, the beginning of WAGONMASTER
> (against the fence, bartering), the two soldiers in front of the
> river (pink with blood) in CIVIL WAR (How the West was Won)...
>
> The cinema is fragile!
>
> yours,
> andy
27943  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:52am
Subject: Evil on TCM  jpcoursodon
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I randomly switched to TCM at 10:45 PM Eastern and saw to my horror
that they were showing "Touch of Evil" in a wide-screen format. I
immediately turned it off.

Can such things be?

Alas, they can.

JPC
27944  
From: Fred Camper
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:59am
Subject: Re: What is cinematic  fredcamper
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Brian asks:

"But why limit the list to elements that are unique to film? Film
employs more elements than those that are unique to it...."

Perhaps I didn't say this right. Obviously many films use music,
elements of literature, dance, and so on. What I meant was that I want
these elements to be used cinematically. I don't see the point in
watching a mere recording of a play, or a dance, or a concert, unless I
have some special interest in that event. I suspect that soccer can be
as beautiful as one friend of mine argues it is, but that doesn't make a
televised soccer match beautiful as video, though it may be beautiful as
soccer.

Just about all my aesthetic experiences of film have been experiences of
film space, light, rhythm, sound. Others can disagree. But I don't think
my position is all that far out or unusual, especially if one thinks not
of cinephilia but of the other arts, as Richard points out. Most of us
wouldn't recommend a Church or Bierstadt show by saying, "In their
paintings you can see how beautiful the forest and the mountains really
are," yet people discuss film -- indeed, this is the main way people
discuss film -- as if the things that happened on the screen were real
events in some miraculous live theater.

Fred Camper
27945  
From: Craig M Keller
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 3:37am
Subject: Re: Evil on TCM  evillights
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On Thursday, June 09, 2005, at 10:52PM, jpcoursodon wrote:

>I randomly switched to TCM at 10:45 PM Eastern and saw to my horror
>that they were showing "Touch of Evil" in a wide-screen format. I
>immediately turned it off.
>
>Can such things be?
>
>Alas, they can.

And this is the ratio in which the reconstruction-version has been released on DVD (not to mention shown in most theaters in c. 1998). I think the issue of the correct aspect ratio of 'Touch of Evil' has been brought up on a_f_b before, with the consensus being it looks best and most mis en scene Welles in 1.33. When I brought this up to Tag several months ago, he refused to buy into the fact that the intended ratio might be Academy, and noted that for a 1958 film Welles would have been foolish to compose for Academy when he knew that the new standard for framing (i.e., matting/exhibition) had shifted to 1.85. At the same time, I can't help thinking that composing for open-matte 1.33 was a typically iconoclastic maneuver on the part of OW.

And yet, it seems like you and maybe other members on here are familiar with seeing the film in 1.33 -- so who knows! for sure, for the time being...

craig.
27946  
From: "Richard Modiano"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:20am
Subject: Re: Evil on TCM  tharpa2002
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Craig M Keller
wrote:

"And this is the ratio in which the reconstruction-version has been
released on DVD (not to mention shown in most theaters in c. 1998).
I think the issue of the correct aspect ratio of 'Touch of Evil' has
been brought up on a_f_b before, with the consensus being it looks
best and most mis en scene Welles in 1.33. When I brought this up
to Tag several months ago, he refused to buy into the fact that the
intended ratio might be Academy, and noted that for a 1958 film
Welles would have been foolish to compose for Academy when he knew
that the new standard for framing (i.e., matting/exhibition) had
shifted to 1.85."

I saw the 1998 release in either 1.33 or 1.66 I don't rember now, but
definitely not in 1.85. The evidence for it not being in 1.85 is
that the polar caps of the Universal globe are cut off in that
format. Compare Jack Arnold's "The Man in the Shadows" at the same
studio in the same year for supporting evidence that the 1.85 aspect
ratio was not yet completely established as the new standard. I
suspect that the DVD is a transfer blunder.

Richard
27947  
From: Matt Teichman
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:32am
Subject: Re: faith in the image/faith in reality  bufordrat
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Fred Camper wrote:

>I think this helps make my point. Bazin was interested in aesthetic
>constructions that redeemed, in some pseudo-mystical sense, his notion
>of reality. A documentary, by his lights, might be, well, just a "slice
>of life." His excellent analysis of "Paisan" shows that he's looking for
>things that aren't all that likely in a documentary.
>
>
Hmm...I'll have to look at that piece again. Somehow I think we're in
agreement on Bazin, but maybe in disagreement about documentary. I'm
tempted to mention Bazin's discussion of _Boudu sauve des eaux_ (from
the Renoir book), which does seem to be interested in the sort of
aesthetic one finds in documentaries (namely, the spontaneity that comes
from those qualities of the photographic image that lie beyond the
filmmaker's direct control, so that the film becomes a collaboration
between filmmaker and nature).

I'm reminded of the distinction in your 1971 article on Sirk between his
and Murnau's use of objects. If you will permit me to quote you,

"In the films of Murnau--_Tabu_, for instance--one feels the ships and
the sun and the moon and the ocean mainly as elements of Murnau's
vision. But there is a constant sense of transformation. His use of
the moon, or of the sea, recalls to our mind various associations we
have with the real moon and the real sea. While he is describing the
machinations of a cosmic kind of fatalism which is ultimately only of
his own imagination, he roots that fatalism and its visual description
in the physical world. Thus his films have a sense of reality insofar
as they seem to be calling upon, and then transforming, real physical
things. His images work in terms of this single transformation: that of
the photographed object being transformed into an element of his
vision. In a sense, it is this transformation, the arrival at his
vision, that along with the vision itself is the deepest subject of his
films. _Arrival_ rather than vision arrived at, so our attention is
fixed on his imaginative ordering and conversion of hte things, the
objects--ultimately, the light--which we have already come to know in
everyday life."

The distinction, then, between Murnau and Sirk turns out to be that
Sirk's represented objects bear no ties to any real-world referent,
whereas Murnau's, transfigured as they are into components of his
aesthetic, feel as though they are still undergoing that process of
transfiguration, making it impossible to forget their real-world
etiology. This remark strikes me as correct, at least in the case of
_Tabu_, and illustrative of your reading of Bazin.

-Matt
27948  
From: Matt Teichman
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:40am
Subject: Re: tampering (was: What is cinematic?)  bufordrat
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Blake Lucas wrote:

>A wider question occurs, in that cinema and classic American cinema
>especially absolutely abounds in tampering, retakes by hands other
>than the original director's, editing not intended by the director,
>cuts of sequences the filmmaker intended as key, and so on. And there
>are films many members of this list would consider great which this
>applies to.
>
Wasn't there an article in _Positif_ claiming that most of the closeups
of Rita Hayworth in _The Lady From Shanghai_ were shot and inserted
without Welles' approval, and yet that they fit in so seamlessly it's
difficult to tell which?

-Matt
27949  
From: "Blake Lucas"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 5:03am
Subject: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  lukethedealer12
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Modiano"
wrote:
> Somewhat related is the film prepared by an auteur and filmed by
> someone else. I remember wanting to see "Osaka Mongatari" because
> Mizoguchi approved the script, cast the picture, and had the sets
> built to accomodate his camera moves before he was hospitalized for
> his terminal illness. I wanted to see what remained of Mizoguchi in
> a picture completed by his usual collaborators and directed by his
> assistant director. There was almost nothing of Mizo present.
>
This was very interesting to read, because I always wanted to see this
movie for exactly the same reason as you wanted to see it. But unlike
you, I've never managed to. Now, I'm trying to decide whether to just
take your word for it, which I'm inclined to do--except why not see it
anyway if the opportunity comes up? But I think I'll be a little less
inclined to worry about it anyway.
27950  
From: "hotlove666"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 5:29am
Subject: Re: Evil on TCM  hotlove666
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Craig M Keller
wrote:

> And this is the ratio in which the reconstruction-version has been
released on DVD (not to mention shown in most theaters in c. 1998).
I think the issue of the correct aspect ratio of 'Touch of Evil' has
been brought up on a_f_b before, with the consensus being it looks
best and most mis en scene Welles in 1.33. When I brought this up
to Tag several months ago, he refused to buy into the fact that the
intended ratio might be Academy, and noted that for a 1958 film
Welles would have been foolish to compose for Academy when he knew
that the new standard for framing (i.e., matting/exhibition) had
shifted to 1.85.>


Tag loves to argue. As quoted here before (cf. The Unknown Welles, if
you have a copy), Welles told me in 1982 that 1.33 was the only
aspect ratio for a feature. I believe the decision to release the
1998 reconstruction in a different aspect ratio - and my recollection
is, it was 1.85, Richard - was made by Walter Murch based on looking
at the compositions and deciding that Welles was composing for a
wider apect ratio.
27951  
From: "Andy Rector"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 7:27am
Subject: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  kinoslang
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Blake Lucas"
wrote:

> The above is something I wrote but I looked back to make sure and
> find that somehow the title PILGRIMAGE is now inserted when it was
> not when I wrote it (!?). This entire paragraph was strictly about
> THE BLACK WATCH. That said I agree with what you say in the
> following (the dialogue scenes Richard and I alluded to in THE
BLACK
> WATCH were not directed by Ford), except that I wanted describe any
> of these scenes as static just because the camera is fixed and
there
> is a lot of dialogue. There is a lot going on them.
>
>

Sorry about the mix up Blake, my fault!
Glad we agree about PILGRIMAGE.
Thing is, for me, there's no such thing as filmed theatre. Maybe if a
whole play was filmed from the seats but Straub/Huillet did this in
BRIDEGROOM,COMEDIENNE, AND THE PIMP and the result is definately not
ONLY filmed theatre. I know now that you weren't referring to
PILGRIMAGE but there's the scene with the mothers in France, sitting
in a parlor, talking, static, when the background music suddenly
makes itelf known by way of driving one of the mothers mad (among
other things). That's pure cinema. Another example of great stasis is
in most of LAUGHTER (D'Arrast). It plays so well on shot distance and
duration, music and movement. Less exciting examples of stasis seem
to contain the same elements to a lesser or more obvious degree, but
still delineating themselves as cinema not theatre. But perhaps I'm
just rehashing; I don't want to compound inaccuracies so I'll shut up.

yours,
andy
27952  
From: "thebradstevens"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 9:42am
Subject: Rohmer ratios (was Re: Evil on TCM  thebradstevens
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This ties in with my earlier question about Eric Rohmer's screen
ratios. Of the 8 films in Arrow's new box set, 7 are framed at
1.33:1, while PAULINE A LA PLAGE is at 1.85:1. I have compared the
disc of PAULINE with a 1.33 video transfer, and found that the video
includes more visual information at the top and bottom of the image.
The image on the DVD looks consistently compromised, with the tops of
the actors' heads frequently cut off by the upper matte.

I really have to wonder why this film was framed at 1.85, while the
other 7 were framed at 1.33. Is it possible that Rohmer specified a
1.85 ratio for the DVD of PAULINE?
27953  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 10:26am
Subject: NYC: Filipino film fest  sallitt1
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A week-long Filipino film festival begins today in NYC at the ImaginAsian
theater. I don't see too many of the names that have been discussed here,
except for Brocka. Would Noel V. or anyone else like to make
recommendations? - Dan

http://www.theimaginasian.com/FFF2005.php
27954  
From: "Zach Campbell"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 11:56am
Subject: Re: What is cinematic  rashomon82
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Fred:
> Most of us wouldn't recommend a Church or Bierstadt show by
> saying, "In their paintings you can see how beautiful the forest
> and the mountains really are,"

Most of us also wouldn't praise a painting by calling it "painterly."
Or a poem by calling it "poetic." Or a novel by calling
it "novelistic." Etc.

What I don't quite understand is the necessity to conflate aesthetic
expressivity (understood here to be something 'good,' although I'm
sure when it gets down to it that we would all agree there can be an
expressive film that is bad) with the quality of being cinematic. I
can't think of any films that don't use "film space, light, rhythm,
sound." I can only think of films that don't use them in interesting
ways. But I can't figure out how to justify that 'uninterestingness'
as being uncinematic.

--Zach
27955  
From: "Michael E. Kerpan, Jr."
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 0:05pm
Subject: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  michaelkerpan
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Blake Lucas"
wrote:

> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Richard Modiano"
> wrote:
> > Somewhat related is the film prepared by an auteur and filmed by
> > someone else. I remember wanting to see "Osaka Mongatari" because
> > Mizoguchi approved the script, cast the picture, and had the sets
> > built to accomodate his camera moves before he was hospitalized for
> > his terminal illness. I wanted to see what remained of Mizoguchi in
> > a picture completed by his usual collaborators and directed by his
> > assistant director. There was almost nothing of Mizo present.
> >
> This was very interesting to read, because I always wanted to see this
> movie for exactly the same reason as you wanted to see it. But unlike
> you, I've never managed to. Now, I'm trying to decide whether to just
> take your word for it, which I'm inclined to do--except why not see it
> anyway if the opportunity comes up? But I think I'll be a little less
> inclined to worry about it anyway.

I don't know that I would describe Kozaburo YOSHIMURA as Mizoguchi's
"assistant director". I won't swear he never served in this capcity,
but he seems to have done his "apprentice" work as Shochiku, working
with directors like Yasujiro Shimazu. He directed his first film in
1931, and began directing on a regular basis in 1934.

I've only seen one of Yoshimura's films so far -- his "Ball at the
Anjo House". While definitely an interesting film, it struck me as
having a certain aura of "staginess". Judging solely by this one film
(definitely not fair, though it is his most famous), I would not place
Yoshimura in the top rank of directors of his era.
27957  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 0:48pm
Subject: Re: Evil on TCM  jpcoursodon
Offline Offline
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "hotlove666"
wrote:
> --- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Craig M Keller
> wrote:
>
> > And this is the ratio in which the reconstruction-version has
been
> released on DVD (not to mention shown in most theaters in c.
1998).
> I think the issue of the correct aspect ratio of 'Touch of Evil'
has
> been brought up on a_f_b before, with the consensus being it looks
> best and most mis en scene Welles in 1.33. When I brought this
up
> to Tag several months ago, he refused to buy into the fact that
the
> intended ratio might be Academy, and noted that for a 1958 film
> Welles would have been foolish to compose for Academy when he knew
> that the new standard for framing (i.e., matting/exhibition) had
> shifted to 1.85.>
>
>
> Tag loves to argue. As quoted here before (cf. The Unknown Welles,
if
> you have a copy), Welles told me in 1982 that 1.33 was the only
> aspect ratio for a feature. I believe the decision to release the
> 1998 reconstruction in a different aspect ratio - and my
recollection
> is, it was 1.85, Richard - was made by Walter Murch based on
looking
> at the compositions and deciding that Welles was composing for a
> wider apect ratio.


This is mind-boggling and would seem to suggest that Murch never
saw the film in the proper aspect ratio, which clearly was 1.33 as
confirmed by Welles himself. The film in 1.85 looks all wrong.

By the time it was released in France most movie theatres had
converted to "wide screen" and when TOUCH OF EVIL was shown in Paris
the top of many shots wa badly cropped as a result. I can't remember
who wrote an indignant article about it in I can't remember what
weekly, probably ARTS.

Incidentally, TCM played the reconstruction version before, and
the one I taped is full screen, that is, as close as TV gets to
1.33.

JPC
27958  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 0:52pm
Subject: 27956  jpcoursodon
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My previous post was a case of hitting "send" before writing anything.
Please disregard.
27959  
From: Fred Camper
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 2:25pm
Subject: Re: Re: What is cinematic  fredcamper
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Zach Campbell wrote:


> What I don't quite understand is the necessity to conflate aesthetic
> expressivity ....with the quality of being cinematic. I
> can't think of any films that don't use "film space, light, rhythm,
> sound." ...

I guess I take a modernist position that aesthetic merit comes out of
using one's medium.

I'd like the think the inclusion of Hawks and Cukor and Rossellini and
even Ricky Leacock (for a few films, anyway) in my personal Pantheon
shows that I don't take a simple-minded view of how one uses one's
medium, and that in my view this can include relatively "transparent"
uses whose subtleties aren't necessarily apparent at first.

This is something that people can disagree about, obviously. But it
seems to me that aesthetic expressively involves using the medium. I
don't know any other kind. Everything else -- such as, for example, the
expressively of a performance captured on film -- seems to me kin to a
reproduction.

Cinematic films can be good or bad, agreed. The same with uncinematic
films. As to the existence of "uncinematic" films, perhaps you're just
saying that almost tautologically every film uses film space etc. Fine.
That's a not unreasonable way to use the language, but it seems to me
that it makes the word "cinematic" almost redundant, if I understand you
right, because by definition all films are "cinematic." So, I have
another way of using it. A doc that does nothing interesting or
expressive with the camera, that simply tries to "show" the subject, is
not cinematic. Or there's Capra's "Rain or Shine," an example I've
trotted out here before. I have a capsule review at
http://onfilm.chicagoreader.com/movies/capsules/16736_RAIN_OR_SHINE
I liked this film enough to make it a "Critic's Choice" when I wrote
about it, but entirely because of the lead's performance. This
performance is wonderful, full of verbal sleights-of-the-tongue, great
rhythm. It made me understand how cons work, even better than I had
before: it's largely a question of rhythm, at least for some cons, such
as the shell game I got caught in once (the only time I was a victim).
But as a film? It's nothing. That is to say, I would have liked the
stage version just as much, or maybe more. Treating the outdoor scenes
with painted flats would have worked just fine, something I wouldn't say
of almost any great film I can think of -- including de Oliveira's
sublime "The Satin Slipper," which uses theatrical propos as cinematic
devices. I don't see the point of calling a film like "Rain or Shine"
"cinematic." In such films, the camera functions as a kind of dead eye.

Admittedly such judgments are as subjective as judgments of merit. To
Brakhage, my description of "Rain or Shine" would apply to most of the
masterpieces of classical Hollywood. He just didn't see what I see. But
just because a term is subjective doesn't mean it shouldn't be used.

There's a point behind this. Using cinema as a transparent container of
its content is to me aesthetically, socially, and intellectually
regressive. It sets the viewer up for accepting the image, rather than
questioning its truth and means of conveyance and hidden biases. When I
look at the footage of Bush in that Florida schoolroom in "Fahrenheit
9/11," all I'm doing is looking at Bush (and trying to avoid retching).
Even Hawks, if you're sensitive to what he's doing, causes you to
question film light and space and rhythm. That active position seems to
me to be the only way to break the hypnotic, propagandistic trap that
film and video tries to lock you into. This also gets at my objection to
film as simple "entertainment," a film that you like because of the
story, performances, and so on. I can like such films too. But these are
enjoyments that leave me feeling empty, unstimulated, manipulated,
irritated. So I go home and listen to Bach. His music tells me what to
think as well ("God our Lord is sun and shield"), but in a way that's
infinitely complex, that opens vast spaces, that allows me to argue.
Just like Mizoguchi, Rosselini, Brakhage, Hawks, Bresson.

Fred Camper
27960  
From: Craig Keller
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 3:34pm
Subject: Re: Re: Evil on TCM  evillights
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On Jun 10, 2005, at 8:48 AM, jpcoursodon wrote:
>
> This is mind-boggling and would seem to suggest that Murch never
> saw the film in the proper aspect ratio, which clearly was 1.33 as
> confirmed by Welles himself. The film in 1.85 looks all wrong.
>
> By the time it was released in France most movie theatres had
> converted to "wide screen" and when TOUCH OF EVIL was shown in Paris
> the top of many shots wa badly cropped as a result. I can't remember
> who wrote an indignant article about it in I can't remember what
> weekly, probably ARTS.

I've been noticing that in recent years, the European standard of
1.66 has been gradually (now completely?) phased out in favor of the
American standard of 1.85. I wouldn't say this bothers me a great
deal, but at the same time I don't want the permeation of widescreen
televisions (all 1.85) to suggest to undiscerning studios that they
can release DVDs of 1.66 films cropped on the top and bottom to 1.85.

craig.

[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27961  
From: "Zach Campbell"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:07pm
Subject: Re: What is cinematic  rashomon82
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Fred:
> Cinematic films can be good or bad, agreed. The same with uncinematic
> films. As to the existence of "uncinematic" films, perhaps you're just
> saying that almost tautologically every film uses film space etc. Fine.
> That's a not unreasonable way to use the language, but it seems to me
> that it makes the word "cinematic" almost redundant, if I understand you
> right, because by definition all films are "cinematic."

Sure--but to me the term "cinematic" seems to make the most sense in "non-cinematic"
contexts. Which is why words like "painterly," "theatrical," "poetic," "novelistic," "epic," and
so on make the most sense when applied to concepts outside of their namesake. A
Norman Rockwell "uses paint" to express itself, just as much as a Hals does. (Same goes
for the cinema with Woody Allen and Mizoguchi.) To me the difference is a matter of
critical and/or productive utilization of such medium/materiality--I'm sure you and I
would agree heartily that in the latter cases we're talking about gods among mere mortals,
and in the former, just plain folks. Mizoguchi is doing things with the medium that are
astounding (and he's often doing the same on "less cinematic" lines of narrative and
characterization), but the "more astounding" just doesn't seem, to me, to make a logical
leap to the "more cinematic." It uses the medium more intelligently, and in some cases
great (usually modernist) art can also be about that very medium, but I don't see how it
embodies the medium any more intrinsically.

> So, I have
> another way of using it. A doc that does nothing interesting or
> expressive with the camera, that simply tries to "show" the subject, is
> not cinematic.

Well here's where I'd part ways, and say that no piece of cinema ever "simply shows" a
subject. Just because we're caught in the conventional and normative experience of a
"bland" work doesn't mean that's objectively the case. It's incumbent on us as critical
viewers to cultivate a detachment to all images, to try our best to "de-naturalize" that
which only seems natural (and thus pure, thus "representational" or "reproductive"). So
when you say:

> In such films, the camera functions as a kind of dead eye.

I'd reply that maybe we are the ones with the dead eye in these cases. And I can think of
no more appropriate way of being active viewers than to turn our active gaze upon those
films which try to lull us into passivity (rather than ONLY letting it happen when films
encourage us to do so). These passive-enabling films are uninterestting (by and large),
but I simply do not see evidence that they are uncinematic.

--Zach
27962  
From: "samfilms2003"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:11pm
Subject: Allakazan  samfilms2003
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> I didn't take your remark as "ad hominem" so no apology was
> necessary.

>>I hate to be the bearer of grim tidings, but you have been conscious of
>> yourself for perhaps 38 minutes all-in during your entire life, JP.

Now I feel better as this suggests you might not have known it was an "ad hominem"
attack even if I'd intended it - unless I got in in during the 38 minute window of
opportunity.......

-Sam
27963  
From: "samfilms2003"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:18pm
Subject: Re: tampering (was: What is cinematic?) - Lady From Shanghai  samfilms2003
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> Wasn't there an article in _Positif_ claiming that most of the closeups
> of Rita Hayworth in _The Lady From Shanghai_ were shot and inserted
> without Welles' approval, and yet that they fit in so seamlessly it's
> difficult to tell which?
>
> -Matt

Really ? Do you know more - is there historical evidence ?
I ask because I have an elaborate theory on how Harry Stradling Jr. shot
Welles' and Hayworth's singles and 2-shots on that film (not so
much scholarship as something I noticed watching a very good 35mm print).

My theory's sort of blown to hell if they're right ;-)

Well not exactly - i.e. they are not *quite* seamless...
I'll explain further but want to know more.....

-Sam
27964  
From: Fred Camper
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 5:08pm
Subject: Re: Re: What is cinematic  fredcamper
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Zach,

Actually, I agree with you that "more astounding" shouldn't also mean
"more cinematic." On the Mizoguchi level, "more cinematic" doesn't get
at what's so great. But I hope I never suggested that "more cinematic"
meant better aesthetically. Thinking all this through, it seems to me
that for me, the cinematic/uncinematic distinction is most useful at
getting at a certain kind of bad film.

You're right that "no piece of cinema ever 'simply shows' a subject."
There's always something going on in the choices made. Even if you chose
camera angles and shot lengths using random numbers, "readings" would be
possible. But how meaningful would those "readings" be? It's a simple
fact of algebra that for any data set you can construct an equation that
would have "predicted" it. Thus given the random number pairs 36/67,
57/10, 19/33, 43/15, 26/81 (which I got from
http://www.random.org/sform.html ), there's a simple equation of the
form y=ax^5+bx^4... that would "predict" all of the second numbers given
the first. But it won't predict too many others, because they're
randomly generated. Accounting for what you see doesn't mean there's any
meaning or intentionality behind what you see, other than what you've
invented for yourself.

Forgive this mathematical excursion: the point is, meanings can be found
anywhere. That's a mission of many or most humans, actually, to make
meaning, even where there is none. A lot of Aztec children got
sacrificed to the rain god Tlaloc on that basis.

My point is this: I think it's worth making a distinction between a
Fellini (whose films I don't like, but many of which are organized works
of cinematic expression) and a William Wyler or Sidney Lumet (though
there's a big Lumet lover out there who wrote me once to protest that I
was undervaluing Lumet). And I'm no Wyler or Lumet expert, and not
prepared to debate them in detail, but I'm using them as an example of
filmmakers whose films lack, for me, expressive "cinematic" coherence.
One of my limitations as a film viewer is that I rarely see more than a
few films by a director that seems "that way" to me.

Keep in mind also that for many or even most viewers (not in this group,
but in the larger "public," and including most mainstream film critics),
all films are "uncinematic," if you can go by the way they talk about
them: "And then he did this, and then she did that." Surely they are
being affected by camera angles too, but they don't seem to notice this
consciously.

Fred Camper
27965  
From: BklynMagus
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 5:49pm
Subject: Re: tampering (was: What is cinematic?) - Lady From Shanghai  cinebklyn
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Really ? Do you know more - is there historical evidence ?

I remember reading in one of my Welles books (I think the
volume published by Cinema 1 in the late 70's) that
Harry Cohn was shocked that Welles was not taking
any close-ups of Rita and ordered him to do so. Welles
proceeded (according to the book) to make them as
banal as possible.

Brian
27966  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 5:52pm
Subject: Re: Fellini Antipathy [Was:What is cinematic]  cellar47
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--- Fred Camper wrote:
I think it's worth making a
> distinction between a
> Fellini (whose films I don't like, but many of which
> are organized works
> of cinematic expression) and a William Wyler or
> Sidney Lumet

And my question is "WHY?" I've always felt the most
astounding paradox to auteurism is auteurist antipathy
to the greatest auteur in the history of the cinema.
His name is emblazoned in the titles of almost all of
his works. His entire cinematic output is premised on
the fact that what we're seeing on the screen isn't
merely a dramatic narrative or picaresque tale but
something entirely dependent on the highly specified
view of one man. Fellini is of course, like all
directors, dependent on collaboratos -- in his case
scriptwriters like Zapponi and Flaiano, Pinnelli and
Rondi, actors like Mastroianni, Masina, Aimee,
Cardinale and Eckberg, cinematographers like Gianni
DiVenanzo and Gieuseppe Rotunno, and above all Nino
Rota. And yet when we put it all together it spells
Fellini.

He's one of the few filmmakers whose name has become
adjectival: Felliniesque rivalling Hitchcockian.

Yet he can't get no respect!

As someone whose entire personal and professional life
was altered by "La Dolce Vita" I REALLY don't
understand this and LONG for a serious, extended
discussion of the matter.

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27967  
From: "Brian Dauth"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 6:20pm
Subject: Re: What is cinematic  cinebklyn
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Fred writes:

> What I meant was that I want these elements to be used
cinematically.

Now I understand. I agree.

> I suspect that soccer can be as beautiful as one friend of mine
argues it is, but that doesn't make a televised soccer match
beautiful as video, though it may be beautiful as soccer.

Though I am a sports nut, soccer is slowly creeping up on me. But I
will say that production values on some sports broadcasts have gotten
to the point where the presentation is more than a mere recording of
the event. There is definitely and aesthetic value present, e.g.,
last night's Game 1 of the NBA finals (Go Spurs!).

> Just about all my aesthetic experiences of film have been
experiences of film space, light, rhythm, sound. Others can disagree.

There is no point in diagreeing since that is how you experience
filmic art. And on that topic . . .

Since the time I posted about dialogue in Sirk films, I have gone
back and explored yet again ART AS EXPERIENCE by John Dewey, an
important text for me.

Dewey writes: "In a work of art, the proof of the pudding is
decidedly in the eating." So there is no way to invalidate your (or
anyone else's) experience of a work of art.

Where we disagree is that I follow Dewey toward immanence, while you
opt for transcendence. For me, a great auteur presents (in Dewey's
words) "a unique transcription of the energy of the world" that
offers "a deeper and wider sensitivity to some aspect of the rhythms
of existence than had previously existed."

Taking my man Mankiewicz as an example: for me he deepens my
sensitivity to the ritual and theatrical rhythms that pervade
everyday existence.

Or to continue in a sports vein: watching last night's game heightens
my appreciation for the artistry of the youth involved in the Rucker
tournament.

Brian
27968  
From: "Zach Campbell"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 6:40pm
Subject: Re: What is cinematic  rashomon82
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Fred:
> Thinking all this through, it seems to me that for me, the cinematic/uncinematic
> distinction is most useful at getting at a certain kind of bad film.

Could be. To me this certain kind of bad film is something I'd be more willing to call a
"lazy" film. Polish-and-prestige it all one wants, but the operating system is still the same
methodology for constructing a cinematic work, which is what makes the film
uninteresting.

> Forgive this mathematical excursion: the point is, meanings can be found
> anywhere. That's a mission of many or most humans, actually, to make
> meaning, even where there is none.

Sure. I'm not trying to argue for the possibilities of deep meanings in any and every
work--only the fact that every film is a construction of some experience through various
raw materials, never solely a window-function.

> My point is this: I think it's worth making a distinction between a
> Fellini (whose films I don't like, but many of which are organized works
> of cinematic expression) and a William Wyler or Sidney Lumet (though
> there's a big Lumet lover out there who wrote me once to protest that I
> was undervaluing Lumet).

And yet Bazin loved Wyler, and weren't some early auteurists and even some of the more
mainstream-friendly avant-gardists of the 1950s/60s quite open to Lumet? (Perhaps I'm
wrong, it's just my impression.) I'm not the world's biggest fan of Wyler or Lumet (or
Fellini for that matter), and as a result there are major films by all of them that I've not yet
seen. But I think there is something in all of these filmmakers that can't be described in
terms outside of how they make their images, how they compose their film trajectories (in
both narrative and in "musical"--or "real"--time).

Perhaps what we need is a filmic term analogous to "literary," which is what I gather you
(and others, and at one point in my life myself) are really going for. It's not about the
medium but about the approach to the medium that a work takes. You can write a novel
or a poem, and describing them as "novelistic" or "poetic" tells you very little about the
work in question. But saying one of these works is literary tells you something
substantial. (But then what's 'literary' for sure, anyway? It's not a cut-and-dried issue ...)

--Zach
27969  
From: Mathieu Ricordi
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 6:52pm
Subject: Re: Fellini Antipathy [Was:What is cinematic]  mathieu_ricordi
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Quoting David Ehrenstein :

> And my question is "WHY?" I've always felt the most
>
> astounding paradox to auteurism is auteurist antipathy
>
> to the greatest auteur in the history of the cinema.


Funny, it sounds like your talking about Kubrick here.




> He's one of the few filmmakers whose name has become
>
> adjectival: Felliniesque rivalling Hitchcockian.
> Yet he can't get no respect!

This is really funny, almost surreal. From someone who's just
come out of film school, take it from me, if there's one director
who gets all the respect, too much respect, it's Fellini. I've heard
him foolishly described as the only filmmaker who can truly be called
an artist, and usually he's one of the starting points in discussions
about who is a true-blue, full-blown auteur. If your using Fred Camper's
(understandable) less then enthusiastic Fellini talk as any indication
of no respect coming the director's way, you won't have to go very
far to see that's a minority opinion.


> As someone whose entire personal and professional life
>
> was altered by "La Dolce Vita" I REALLY don't
>
> understand this and LONG for a serious, extended
>
> discussion of the matter.

I seriuosly regret that's a discussion I won't be able to play a large part
in; I haven't seen nearly enough Fellinni to speak with enough
authority on the matter. But about "La Dolce Vita", it's the first
of his that I saw, and let's say it didn't exactly make me salivate
to see many subsequant others (perhaps even more downgraded by its
inflated reputation). I think (in a rather simplified way) Dave
Kehr says it best about this film in his capsul on it for the
Chicago Reader. It may be irresponsible of me to even answer
this query without being able to really follow up on it,
but take this away: Fellinni is not underrated!

Mathieu Ricordi
27970  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 7:00pm
Subject: Re: Fellini Antipathy [Was:What is cinematic]  cellar47
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--- Mathieu Ricordi wrote:

From someone
> who's just
> come out of film school, take it from me, if there's
> one director
> who gets all the respect, too much respect, it's
> Fellini. I've heard
> him foolishly described as the only filmmaker who
> can truly be called
> an artist, and usually he's one of the starting
> points in discussions
> about who is a true-blue, full-blown auteur.

Well hat's encouraging.

If your
> using Fred Camper's
> (understandable) less then enthusiastic Fellini talk
> as any indication
> of no respect coming the director's way, you won't
> have to go very
> far to see that's a minority opinion.
>

Why is it "understandable"?


>
> I seriuosly regret that's a discussion I won't be
> able to play a large part
> in; I haven't seen nearly enough Fellinni to speak
> with enough
> authority on the matter.

Oh go ahead anyway.

But about "La Dolce Vita",
> it's the first
> of his that I saw, and let's say it didn't exactly
> make me salivate
> to see many subsequant others (perhaps even more
> downgraded by its
> inflated reputation). I think (in a rather
> simplified way) Dave
> Kehr says it best about this film in his capsul on
> it for the
> Chicago Reader.

Do you have it handy?

It may be irresponsible of me to
> even answer
> this query without being able to really follow up on
> it,
> but take this away: Fellinni is not underrated!
>

See what I mean? Fellini being "overrated" is regarded
as a self-evident "truth."

Back it up!





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27971  
From: BklynMagus
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 7:13pm
Subject: Re: Fellini Antipathy [Was:What is cinematic]  cinebklyn
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Here is the Dave Kehr capsule:

"Federico Fellini's 1960 tour of modern decadence and vulgarity, with Marcello Mastroianni as an alienated, enervated everyman. The film was hugely successful and widely praised in its time, though it's really nothing more than the old C.B. De Mille formula of titillation and moralizing--Roman orgies and Christian martyrs--with only a fraction of De Mille's showmanship. With Anita Ekberg as the Flesh (too much) and Anouk Aimee as the Spirit (too little). In Italian with subtitles. 174 min."

And to answer David's call to back things up: the problem for me is that over the years, re-viewings of his films have proven to be less and less robust. For me, one pass at the cinematic buffet that is Fellini is enough.

Brian
27972  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 7:32pm
Subject: Re: Re: Fellini Antipathy [Was:What is cinematic]  cellar47
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--- BklynMagus wrote:

> Here is the Dave Kehr capsule:
>
> "Federico Fellini's 1960 tour of modern decadence
> and vulgarity, with Marcello Mastroianni as an
> alienated, enervated everyman. The film was hugely
> successful and widely praised in its time, though
> it's really nothing more than the old C.B. De Mille
> formula of titillation and moralizing--Roman orgies
> and Christian martyrs--with only a fraction of De
> Mille's showmanship. With Anita Ekberg as the Flesh
> (too much) and Anouk Aimee as the Spirit (too
> little). In Italian with subtitles. 174 min."
>

Dave Kehr is worng on both counts. Fellini is not
DeMille. That's screamingly obvious from the opening
in which a statue of chirst is replaced by a dancer
costumed as an oriental God. The false miracle
sequence drives that point hom evern more. As for
Ekberg she is both flesh and spirit, as is obvious to
all save film critics. (Anouk Aimee is Anouk Aimee.)

Kehr is likewise ignorant of the Montessi scandal
(which inspired the entire film and is explcitly
parodied in its finale) or anything else about "Il
Boom" of which the film is a very important
expression. Moreover "La Doce Vita" is a newspaper
comedy, like "Chicago" (the Maurine Watkins original
and Fosse's show, but not marshall's film) and "Sweet
Smell of Success."

> And to answer David's call to back things up: the
> problem for me is that over the years, re-viewings
> of his films have proven to be less and less robust.
> For me, one pass at the cinematic buffet that is
> Fellini is enough.
>

Really? Didn't you want to go back for seconds at the
Bassano di Sutri sequence with Nico?



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27973  
From: "Richard Modiano"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 7:48pm
Subject: What is cinematic (was: OT - Re: Fatih Akin ...)  tharpa2002
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, "Blake Lucas"
wrote:

"...I always wanted to see this movie ["Osaka Monogatari"] for
exactly the same reason as you wanted to see it..."

A Mizoguchi completist should see it if the oppertunity presents
itself. After all, he co-wrote the original story, but the picture
dosen't look like a Mizoguchi film. "Osaka Monogatari" is also a
kind of auteurist test case since all of the auteur's usual
collaborators were there for the shooting of a senario made the
auteur's original story. But since the auteur was not behind the
camera it dosen't look like a chacteristic work.

As Michael Kerpen noted, the direction was credited to Yoshimura, but
the picture was started by Mizo's assistant Tsuji Hisakazu.

Concerning Mizo's working methods, Yoda reports that he discussed
camera movemnets with the set designer first and then with the
cameraman. During production he would rehearse actors and sometimes
change dialog, so he always wanted the writer present on set. Though
he always seemed to be certain of which scenes he was going to treat
in a long take with a moving camera before shooting began, during
shooting he would re-conceive other scenes as long takes too.

Richard
27974  
From: BklynMagus
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:20pm
Subject: Re: William Wyler (was: What is cinematic)  cinebklyn
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Zack writes:

> And yet Bazin loved Wyler, and weren't some early auteurists
and even some of the more mainstream-friendly avant-gardists
of the 1950s/60s quite open to Lumet?

Well, I will put in a good word for Wyler. For me, he is definitely
an auteur who falls into the immanent category rather than the
transcendent. (As Nietzsche said: "The notion of the 'beyond' is
the death of life.")

A great piece on Wyler appears in the current issue of Senses of
Cinema. It makes a strong (and to my mind) convincing case
for Wyler's importance.

http://www.sensesofcinema.com/contents/directors/05/wyler.html

I recently watched the newly released dvd's of THE LETTER, CARRIE
and DEAD END, and was amazed yet again at Wyler's complete
control of the medium of film. As David Cairns points out in his in
piece, Wyler was not a termite artist: he wrestled film into the shape
that best suited his purposes like other great auteurs: Kurosawa;
Huston; Welles; Mankiewicz; Imamura; Fassbinder.

To quote Dewey again, I think Wyler's art helps people "keep alive
the power to experience the common world in its fullness" (which
is maybe why I find Fellini less appealing: his art only helps me to
experience the world of Fellini in its fullness).

Brian
27975  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:25pm
Subject: Re: Re: William Wyler (was: What is cinematic)  cellar47
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--- BklynMagus wrote:

>
> To quote Dewey again, I think Wyler's art helps
> people "keep alive
> the power to experience the common world in its
> fullness" (which
> is maybe why I find Fellini less appealing: his art
> only helps me to
> experience the world of Fellini in its fullness).
>
>

I don't find Wyler having anything to do with "the
common world." And that's precisely what I like about
him -- his taste in artifice (eg. "Counselor-at-Law,"
"The Letter," "The Collector." ) He couldn't have made
"Nights of Cabiria" or"I Vitteloni"
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>




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27976  
From: BklynMagus
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:39pm
Subject: Re: William Wyler (was: What is cinematic)  cinebklyn
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David E writes:

> I don't find Wyler having anything to do with "the
common world." And that's precisely what I like about
him -- his taste in artifice (eg. "Counselor-at-Law,"
"The Letter," "The Collector." )

For me, Wyler employs artifice brilliantly in his effort
to work toward the truths of the common world. Just
because a filmmaker sets a film in a "realistic" world,
doesn't mean he has any sense of that world, or that
his work will lead to the experience of immanence.

Artifice as exquisite as Wyler's often leads to immanence.

Brian
27977  
From: Peter Henne
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:49pm
Subject: Re: Re: William Wyler (was: What is cinematic)  peterhenne
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Well, Wyler had everything to do with using Harold Russell's disability in "Best Years." Wartime dismemberment is a preeminent part of the common world.

Aren't you both right? Wyler's accumulation of common reality and elegance in traversing it gives some definition to that over-used category, poetic realism.

Peter Henne

David Ehrenstein wrote:


--- BklynMagus wrote:

>
> To quote Dewey again, I think Wyler's art helps
> people "keep alive
> the power to experience the common world in its
> fullness" (which
> is maybe why I find Fellini less appealing: his art
> only helps me to
> experience the world of Fellini in its fullness).
>
>

I don't find Wyler having anything to do with "the
common world." And that's precisely what I like about
him -- his taste in artifice (eg. "Counselor-at-Law,"
"The Letter," "The Collector." ) He couldn't have made
"Nights of Cabiria" or"I Vitteloni"


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27978  
From: LiLiPUT1@...
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 4:53pm
Subject: Re: Fellini Antipathy  scil1973
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As I said of LA DOLCE VITA in an earlier post:


""Fellini seemed to be mourning the loss of organic experience or
aura or whatever, especially in relation to sound (a particularly
counterintuitive argument given the dubbing in the film). And, of course,
it's precisely this
type of preposterous hand wringing that would become one of the more rotten
legacies of the counterculture. Plus the thing is too goddamned long. But
the
argument is well mounted.""

A decent enough film, I suppose. But no masterpiece. Too hippy dippy for me.
And yes, yes, yes, I know it supposedly has nothing whatsoever to do with the
counterculture a measly six or seven years later, a distinction cultures 1000
years from now won't be able to make (I see little need in making it right
now). But that's neither here nor there. Is there anything in LA DOLCE VITA that
makes it a masterpiece BESIDES the fact that it documents Il Boom?

Haven't seen 8 1/2 in a billion years. Auteurists might not dig it but
sheesh, for decades, it was as praised as any film ever made. For instance, it's
been on every subsequent Sight & Sound best film of all time poll save for
1992's. It's as hoary a "great film" as CITIZEN KANE, POTEMKIN, or LA REGLE DU JEU.
I'm certain that the non-auteurist, non-critic, non-cinephile viewer could
pick it out as a "great film" by rote. Maybe the reason it hasn't been praised
recently (although it made the S&S 2002 list) is because it now seems like a
throwback to the times when films were praised for their adherence to standards
of (gawd, I hate to drag this out but...) literary rather than cinematic
excellence. To me, it seems quaintly and (here's the rub) legibly autobiographical,
little more. Again, not a bad film. But a masterpiece?

Too beat to talk about SATYRICON and others although I still need to see
CASANOVA. I have a feeling I'll flip over it.

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27979  
From: Craig Keller
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 9:33pm
Subject: Re: Re: Fellini Antipathy  evillights
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On Jun 10, 2005, at 4:53 PM, LiLiPUT1@... wrote:
> "...Plus the thing is too goddamned long. But
> the
> argument is well mounted.""
>
> A decent enough film, I suppose. But no masterpiece.

I would have loved if the film went for another three hours. I find
it completely enthralling, and part of what marks it as a masterpiece
to my mind is its very scale, its room for so many manifestations of
the then-current and still-to-come-at-that-point zeitgeist
(decadence, amnesia, commodification, liberation, revolution,
violence -- I certainly wouldn't say it has "nothing whatsoever to do
with the counterculture ... six or seven years later"), and its
portrait of the complexities of class in multi-tiered society. And
I'll agree with David on the fact that the entire Nico sequence is
graceful and sublime -- the exploration of the chateau, and Fellini's
particular expression of these "walking dead" during the adventure,
doesn't strike me as a metaphor for "il boom" so exclusively as a
lament for all modern society and its uneasy relationship with
history -- which of course is a common theme in the Italian
masterpieces of this period. But its execution strikes me as even
more haunting, and thus maybe superior, to the (albeit similarly
masterful) sequence of Delon and Cardinale traipsing about the rat-
infested mansion in 'Il gattopardo.'

> Haven't seen 8 1/2 in a billion years. Auteurists might not dig it but
> sheesh, for decades, it was as praised as any film ever made.

Self-proclaimed auteurists are only equipped to make cases for Henry
Hathaway, not stare into the abyss.

craig.



[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27980  
From: LiLiPUT1@...
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 6:03pm
Subject: Immanence vs. Transcendence (WAS: What is cinematic)  scil1973
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In a message dated 6/10/05 1:21:47 PM, magcomm@... writes:


>
> Where we disagree is that I follow Dewey toward immanence, while you opt for
> transcendence.
>
I'm of two minds on this (which is not surprising - I'm a Gemini, a
postmodernist, a child of the 1980s, etc.). As I've said before, I think Camper's take
on film is quite beautiful, necessary even. He yearns for an experience that
isn't reducible to commodification or even language, something eternally and
rhapsodically Other. In short, he yearns for transcendence (of this world, of
capitalism, of language, etc.) In this (and many other things), he reminds me of
Adorno who blasted immanence every chance he got. I have a great deal of
respect for this viewpoint as I scramble to see this film or hear that record and
read that book and wonder where the outside of all of this activity is, if
anywhere.

But then Camper will send lightning bolts down to those who post on beefcake,
song lyrics, politics, story, actors, etc. and you're reminded to stick with
form, form, form, aesthetics, aesthetics, aesthetics, specific films, specific
films, specific films at which point I take Brian's hand and off we go
skipping to see ALL ABOUT EVE for the 90th time. Trust me - I know the pitfalls of
perpetually looking at everything through the lens of homosexuality (or sex or
story or song or politics). But I also know that form, form, form is a FAR
from innocent way to avoid any of the above that makes the formalist
uncomfortable. Even worse, it can become a justification for all sorts of horrors directed
at the above.

Is there a midpoint between immanence and transcendence?

Kevin John




[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27981  
From: LiLiPUT1@...
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 6:13pm
Subject: Re: Re: Fellini Antipathy  scil1973
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In a message dated 6/10/05 4:33:52 PM, evillights@... writes:


> I certainly wouldn't say it has "nothing whatsoever to do
> with the counterculture ... six or seven years later")
>

Just to be perfectly clear, I didn't say that.

You've given me something to chew on here, though. "...lament for all modern
society and its uneasy relationship with history." Not bad. But it's the
"lament" part I have trouble with. Why isn't an uneasy rapport w/history a cause
for celebration?

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27982  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 10:16pm
Subject: Re: Re: Fellini Antipathy  cellar47
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--- LiLiPUT1@... wrote:


>
> A decent enough film, I suppose. But no masterpiece.
> Too hippy dippy for me.
> And yes, yes, yes, I know it supposedly has nothing
> whatsoever to do with the
> counterculture a measly six or seven years later,

at which time Fellini makes his mini-masterpiece "Toby
Dammit"

I'm sure you don't know it, and don't care to either.

a
> distinction cultures 1000
> years from now won't be able to make (I see little
> need in making it right
> now). But that's neither here nor there. Is there
> anything in LA DOLCE VITA that
> makes it a masterpiece BESIDES the fact that it
> documents Il Boom?
>

Yes. The performances, the mixture of actual settings
and studio recreations, the insight into the nature
and practice of journalism WHICH CONTINUES TO THIS
DAY!
and the fact that the false miracle scene was
recreated TO PRACTICALLY THE LAST FUCKING DETAIL in
the Terry Schaivo insanity.

Do you live in this world?!?!!!

> Haven't seen 8 1/2 in a billion years. Auteurists
> might not dig it but
> sheesh, for decades, it was as praised as any film
> ever made. For instance, it's
> been on every subsequent Sight & Sound best film of
> all time poll save for
> 1992's. It's as hoary a "great film" as CITIZEN
> KANE, POTEMKIN, or LA REGLE DU JEU.
> I'm certain that the non-auteurist, non-critic,
> non-cinephile viewer could
> pick it out as a "great film" by rote. Maybe the
> reason it hasn't been praised
> recently (although it made the S&S 2002 list) is
> because it now seems like a
> throwback to the times when films were praised for
> their adherence to standards
> of (gawd, I hate to drag this out but...) literary
> rather than cinematic
> excellence. To me, it seems quaintly and (here's the
> rub) legibly autobiographical,
> little more. Again, not a bad film. But a
> masterpiece?

Yes a masterpiece. (Number two on my all-time top ten,
BTW) 'Literary"? What work of literature does it ape,
praytell?

>
> Too beat to talk about SATYRICON and others although
> I still need to see
> CASANOVA. I have a feeling I'll flip over it.
>

I don't



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27983  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 10:23pm
Subject: Re: Re: Fellini Antipathy  cellar47
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--- Craig Keller wrote:


>
> I would have loved if the film went for another
> three hours. I find
> it completely enthralling, and part of what marks it
> as a masterpiece
> to my mind is its very scale, its room for so many
> manifestations of
> the then-current and still-to-come-at-that-point
> zeitgeist
> (decadence, amnesia, commodification, liberation,
> revolution,
> violence -- I certainly wouldn't say it has "nothing
> whatsoever to do
> with the counterculture ... six or seven years
> later"), and its
> portrait of the complexities of class in
> multi-tiered society. And
> I'll agree with David on the fact that the entire
> Nico sequence is
> graceful and sublime -- the exploration of the
> chateau, and Fellini's
> particular expression of these "walking dead" during
> the adventure,
> doesn't strike me as a metaphor for "il boom" so
> exclusively as a
> lament for all modern society and its uneasy
> relationship with
> history -- which of course is a common theme in the
> Italian
> masterpieces of this period. But its execution
> strikes me as even
> more haunting, and thus maybe superior, to the
> (albeit similarly
> masterful) sequence of Delon and Cardinale traipsing
> about the rat-
> infested mansion in 'Il gattopardo.'
>

Thanks Craig!

It's relation to "Il Boom" has to do with the fact
that it was right on time for identifying the fact
that Rome had suddenly become THE place to be by 1959.
The War was over and Italy was flush with the money
provided by visiting tourists (kindly insert "The
Talented Mr. Ripley") When a Fellini retrospective was
held at LACMA two years ago Barbara Steele chose to
speak at "La Dolce Vita" rather than "8 1/2" (in which
she so memorably appeared) because it provided an
ideal opportunity to explain why she and so many
others were in Italy at that moment, and what it all
was like when Fellini captured "Il Boom" at the very
moment it was happening.



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27984  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 10:34pm
Subject: Re: William Wyler (was: What is cinematic)  jpcoursodon
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Peter Henne
wrote:
> Well, Wyler had everything to do with using Harold Russell's
disability in "Best Years." Wartime dismemberment is a preeminent
part of the common world.
>
> Aren't you both right? Wyler's accumulation of common reality and
elegance in traversing it gives some definition to that over-used
category, poetic realism.
>
> Peter Henne
>
Although I agree with Peter's remark on Russell in "Best Years" I
would not apply the certainly over-used label of "poetic realism" to
any Wyler film I know. The term usually describes a kind of late
thirties to forties French cinema best examplified by Marcel Carne
and the Prevert scripts, and their films are very far from anything
by Wyler (although in a sense Carne could be described as the French
Wyler, and vice versa). I really don't see anything very "poetic" in
anything Wyler has done (unless you consider those insistant shots
of the moon in "The Letter" -- a great movie, by the way -- to be
somehow poetic). Except perhaps the plane graveyard sequence
in "Best Years"...

I'm not sure what the "common world" is (as opposed to the uncommon
world?)but if that's another term for "realism" ("common reality"
presents the same problem) I'd say that Wyler is about as close to
it as anybody else in Hollywood in his time -- that is both close
enough and immensely far away... Bazin, who pointed out that there
are many kinds of realism (each period has its own) admired the fact
that in the drug store of "Best Years" "you can always distinguish
every object for sale, and almost the prices on the labels as well
as all the customers, and even the manager far away up in his glass
cage.' ("Wyler et le jansenisme de la mise en scene" in Revue du
Cinema, February 1948). "The common world"?

JPC
27985  
From: "Noel Vera"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 11:26pm
Subject: Re: NYC: Filipino film fest  noelbotevera
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I've known this for some time yet put it off till now; I hope my
late post isn't too late.

All the Brocka and Bernal films are worth watching, but
Brocka's "Makiusap sa Diyos" is at best well-made melodrama with a
wooden actress in the forefront. Likewise more recent
efforts: "Naglalayag" features the Philippines' finest actress, Nora
Aunor, being pretty good, if not at her best; "Magnifico" features a
script by a Japanese writer that has a nice understated quality--no
loud histrionics, no high drama, just ordinary life with a touch of
humor, a touch of (for want of a better word) enchantment; "Sakay"
is the first feature length film of Raymond Red, whom Tony Rayns
(and I agree with him) considers an extraordinary filmmaker (his
best works are shorts; this one moves slow, but has a hypnotic pull
to it).

But the priority films I'd say are the following:

"Relasyon" (Relation): Ishmael Bernal's finely wrought low-key
kitchen-sink drama, about a woman having an affair with a married
man. June 14 at 5.30

"Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang" (You Were Judged and Found Wanting):
Lino Brocka's first great film, a cross between "I Vitelloni"
and "The Last Picture Show," but infused with Brocka's sense of
neorealist urgency. Not just important artistically, important
historically: this was the film that signalled the beginning of
the '70s golden age of Philippine cinema. With a great performance
(and script) by Brocka's collaborator, Mario O'Hara. June 10 at
9.30, June 11 at 3.

"Batang West Side" (West Side Aveneu): Lav Diaz's 5 hour epic, about
a Filipino-American community in West Side Avenue, Jersey City.
Diaz's masterpiece, I think (even over "Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang
Pilipino"), and one of two great films made A.B. (After Brocka).
June 16, 6 pm.

To confirm schedules and venue, check their website:

http://www.theimaginasian.com/FFF2005.php
27986  
From: "Noel Vera"
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 11:33pm
Subject: Re: Fellini Antipathy  noelbotevera
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Count me in as someone who can't believe anyone can feel Fellini can
be overrated. Even if "8 1/2" or "La Dolce Vita" isn't everyone's cup
of tea, they aren't all of Fellini--there's his early neorealist works
("La Strada," "I Vitelloni") too.

He's just such a huge polymorphous part of Italian cinema you can't
count him out altogether.
27987  
From: LiLiPUT1@...
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:17pm
Subject: Re: Re: Fellini Antipathy  scil1973
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In a message dated 6/10/05 5:17:07 PM, cellar47@... writes:


> Do you live in this world?!?!!!
>

Nope. Terry who? Toby who?

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27988  
From: Peter Henne
Date: Sat Jun 11, 2005 0:20am
Subject: Re: Re: William Wyler (was: What is cinematic)  peterhenne
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JPC,

I was picking up on terms which had sprung up in the thread, but yes, "common world" and "realism" are the flimsiest of terms. What I had in mind was the way Wyler's camera lingers on commonly known social objects in "Best Years" and "The Heiress," which are far and away my two favorites by him so far. There is an insistence on characters and the camera stationing or manuevering around these objects, which serve more than their traditional decorative purpose in movies. Their occupation of physical space, which denies the camera certain positions and views, seems emphasized to me. This additional "factual" quality lends the objects a concreteness. And I feel justified in saying this factuality is a kind of realism. As for the poetic quality, I would say that comes from how Wyler negotiates, and unifies, the very limitations I've just described. To me he successfully impresses his style upon the milieu, as the camerawork and editing rhythm (prescribed by the longish takes) for both of
these films nicely line up together. "The Heiress" was the film which immediately followed "Best Years," and Wyler was handed a good deal of control over it.

The term "poetic realism" has been strewn about often, and I probably should not have grabbed it so casually. But I feel that the way Wyler regards a set as a part of the world which the camera must negotiate through is not so different from Renoir shooting around foliage along the river in "Une Partie de Campagne," and that film is a touchstone for poetic realism for me.

Peter Henne


jpcoursodon wrote:

I
would not apply the certainly over-used label of "poetic realism" to
any Wyler film I know. The term usually describes a kind of late
thirties to forties French cinema best examplified by Marcel Carne
and the Prevert scripts, and their films are very far from anything
by Wyler (although in a sense Carne could be described as the French
Wyler, and vice versa). I really don't see anything very "poetic" in
anything Wyler has done (unless you consider those insistant shots
of the moon in "The Letter" -- a great movie, by the way -- to be
somehow poetic). Except perhaps the plane graveyard sequence
in "Best Years"...



JPC






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27989  
From: LiLiPUT1@...
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 8:21pm
Subject: Re: Re: Fellini Antipathy  scil1973
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In a message dated 6/10/05 6:35:05 PM, noelbotevera@... writes:


> He's just such a huge polymorphous part of Italian cinema you can't
> count him out altogether.
>

Just because I think LA DOLCE VITA and 8 1/2 are good not great doesn't mean
I'm counting Fellini out altogether. Sheesh.

Kevin John


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
27990  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sat Jun 11, 2005 0:56am
Subject: Re: Re: NYC: Filipino film fest  sallitt1
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> "Batang West Side" (West Side Aveneu): Lav Diaz's 5 hour epic, about
> a Filipino-American community in West Side Avenue, Jersey City.
> Diaz's masterpiece, I think (even over "Ebolusyon ng Isang Pamilyang
> Pilipino"), and one of two great films made A.B. (After Brocka).
> June 16, 6 pm.

I don't see this listed on the ImaginAsian web site - do you have inside
information?

Thanks for the tips. - Dan
27991  
From: Fred Camper
Date: Sat Jun 11, 2005 1:11am
Subject: Do not paste in copyrighted material (was: Fellini Antipathy)  fredcamper
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BklynMagus wrote:

> Here is the Dave Kehr capsule:

Will everyone PLEASE respect the "firm prohibition" in our statement of
purpose against using this group to violate federal copyright laws? If a
piece of copyrighted writing is online, please post the url; do NOT
paste in the article.

The Chicago Reader, and other publications who make massive amounts of
material available free on the Web, do so in the hope that people will
read this material on their sites, and consequently see the advertising
that is supposed to help pay for the sites. We want to encourage
publications to post material for free, don't we?

The Reader's database of 10,000 movie capsules, including caps by Dave
Kehr, Jonathan Rosenbaum, and myself, can be searched at
http://onfilm.chicagoreader.com/search/briefs?search_type=advanced
Dave Kehr's capsule is at
http://onfilm.chicagoreader.com/movies/capsules/2801_DOLCE_VITA

Copyright violations could potentially result in Yahoo deleting a group.

Fred Camper
27992  
From: Fred Camper
Date: Sat Jun 11, 2005 1:19am
Subject: Re: Fellini Antipathy [Was:What is cinematic]  fredcamper
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David Ehrenstein wrote:

>>
> And my question is "WHY?"

David, I can sympathize with your exasperation even as I don't
sympathize with Fellini, but a google search for names as exact phrases
shows that Fellini out-hits two noted Camper faves, Sirk by 8 to 1 and
Brakhage by 12 to 1. I'll bet DVD sales would be even more skewed.

I probably can't give you a very good reason for my dislike, and
anything I say is likely to feed my reputation as some kind of
formalist, but, to take 8-1/2, I recognize a distinctive visual style, I
can see that the style connected with the film's meaning, and I still
don't like it. Why? Something about its visual spaces seemed too thick
and insufficiently articulated, as if he were gooping it on with a
trowel. A cut in Bresson can be a seismic event, completely changing the
space and feel and "spiritual level" of the film at every moment, and
it's in those "articulations" between shots (a Kubelka word) that the
film gradually shapes itself. By contrast, Fellini just seems redundant
and shapeless to me.

Or, you could say my "taste" is much narrower than yours, since you seem
to like most of the films I like, but the reverse isn't true.

Fred Camper
27993  
From: MG4273@...
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 10:39pm
Subject: Re: Fellini Antipathy [Was:What is cinematic]  nzkpzq
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Getting any sort of read on whether a filmmaker is admired is going to be
difficult.
Very few non-auteurists rank film directors.
There is a strong auteurist tradition, going back to French writers of the
1950's, of making lists of recommended directors, films, etc.
But once you get away from auteurists, it becomes real hard to tell what most
film scholars think about film history as a whole. This is true whether the
non-auteurist is a reviewer or academic or whatever. They just don't make their
general preferences public.
In these circumstances, it is hard to tell what film people (as a group)
"really" think about Fellini, or Brakage, or Sirk, or anyone from Aldrich to Zhang
Yi-mou.
Discussion about what Fred Camper or Kevin John or Craig Keller or David E
think about Fellini is fascinating (and I have really been enjoying it).
But discussion about what the "world" thinks about Fellini is futile. The
data just does not exist.

Mike Grost
27994  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sat Jun 11, 2005 2:47am
Subject: What is cinematic, Hawks  sallitt1
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> I guess I take a modernist position that aesthetic merit comes out of
> using one's medium.

Here is something to think about. When I saw DEEP THROAT, I was struck by
a closeup of Linda Lovelace that showed her nose running while she gave a
blowjob. I said to my companion, "Behold the great power of the cinema!
What other medium could depict such a thing? Not theater, that's for
sure."

This isn't really a facetious example. Cinema is infinitely flexible in
depicting human behavior - not only can it adopt any scale (unlike
theater), but it isn't restricted by the conceptual mindset of the artist
(unlike literature). You can make an argument that observing people is
quite cinematic.

And, on the other hand, many of the tools that we use to analyze visuals
are derived from art criticism.

> Even Hawks, if you're sensitive to what he's doing, causes you to
> question film light and space and rhythm.

I do agree with this. I'd say that the lighting in a Hawks film suggests
a movie that the studio or the genre would have made. Meanwhile the
actors are busy with some other movie, something faster and lighter. - Dan
27995  
From: "jpcoursodon"
Date: Sat Jun 11, 2005 2:52am
Subject: Re: What is cinematic, Hawks  jpcoursodon
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--- In a_film_by@yahoogroups.com, Dan Sallitt wrote:
>
> I do agree with this. I'd say that the lighting in a Hawks film
suggests
> a movie that the studio or the genre would have made. Meanwhile the
> actors are busy with some other movie, something faster and
lighter. - Dan

I suspect Fred is not going to like this at all...
27996  
From: "Zach Campbell"
Date: Sat Jun 11, 2005 2:58am
Subject: Re: NYC: Filipino film fest  rashomon82
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Dan:
> I don't see this listed on the ImaginAsian web site - do you have
> inside information?

Try this - http://www.theimaginasian.com/nowplaying/index.php?
cid=900&date=20050616 ... I hope I can make it there!

--Zach
27997  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sat Jun 11, 2005 3:08am
Subject: Re: Re: What is cinematic, Hawks  sallitt1
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>> I do agree with this. I'd say that the lighting in a Hawks film
> suggests
>> a movie that the studio or the genre would have made. Meanwhile the
>> actors are busy with some other movie, something faster and
> lighter. - Dan
>
> I suspect Fred is not going to like this at all...

Let me just add that the lighting in Hawks films is quite distinctive, not
just something left to the studio technicians. But it's almost a
stylization of glamour lighting, with that insistent, brilliant
backlighting and the dramatic use of shadow. - Dan
27998  
From: Dan Sallitt
Date: Sat Jun 11, 2005 3:17am
Subject: Re: Re: NYC: Filipino film fest  sallitt1
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>> I don't see this listed on the ImaginAsian web site - do you have
>> inside information?
>
> Try this - http://www.theimaginasian.com/nowplaying/index.php?
> cid=900&date=20050616 ... I hope I can make it there!

Ah, I see...they just left it off their big list. Thanks. - Dan
27999  
From: LiLiPUT1@...
Date: Fri Jun 10, 2005 11:26pm
Subject: Fellini (and Kubrick) Antipathy - does it even exist?  scil1973
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In a message dated 6/10/05 8:21:39 PM, f@... writes:


> a google search for names as exact phrases
> shows that Fellini out-hits two noted Camper faves, Sirk by 8 to 1 and
> Brakhage by 12 to 1. I'll bet DVD sales would be even more skewed.
>
Thanx for doing this, Fred! All this antipathy business is grossly
overstated. Ok so auteurists (who exactly, though?) turn their noses up at Fellini.
Whoop dee freakin' doo!! And a lot of (not all, though) American critics panned
EYES WIDE SHUT. Big deal!! Again, 8 1/2 is FIRMLY ensconced in the collective
unconscious as a great film. I knew about the fucker when I was, what, 11, 12
years old tops and saw it very soon after that. It's on almost every cheese-ass
greatest films of all-time list I've ever seen. The man's rep is MORE than
fine.

And Kubrick. Oh yeah right - he's WIDELY reviled. Everybody just hates him.
Gimme a break! Not sure if Rosenbaum fancies himself an auteurist but almost
every film Kubrick ever made showed up on JR's Top 1000 list. But again, who
exactly are these auteurs who show antipathy towards the dude? And guess who (and
what) shows up on Sight & Sound's list - Stan and his 2001 (steadily rising
too!). And guess what's showing in a classic movies series here in Austin this
summer right alongside CITIZEN KANE, GONE WITH THE WIND and THE WIZARD OF
OZZZZZZZZ - 2001, baby!

Here's a little test. Guess what Kubrick film is forming a double feature
with 2001 in that classic movie series. I predict everyone will know EXACTLY
which film it is and we will thus have some sort of measure of how utterly
received (and please - NOT false, just received) the notion of Kubrick-as-genius is.
(Answer below.)

Interesting sidenote: I took an undergrad film course as a grad student while
I was at McGill. I asked my prof how the final papers were. "The papers from
the girls were generally excellent. The boys - eh. Almost all of them wrote
about Kubrick." And that includes my fellow grad student who took the course
with me.

So worshippers of Fellini and Kubrick, take note! Your idols are fine! Their
reps are MORE THAN secure! They are resting VERY easy in their graves! You can
relax now.

And if anyone should be bitching, it should be ME! I won't even bother
googling James B. Harris and Jack Chambers. But do you ever hear me bitching about
the antipathy towards them? Noooooo!

Now I'm just waiting (just waiting!) for the Welles antipathy thread.

Kevin John

Answer: DR. STRANGELOVE...duh!


[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
28000  
From: David Ehrenstein
Date: Sat Jun 11, 2005 3:34am
Subject: Re: Fellini Antipathy [Was:What is cinematic]  cellar47
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--- Fred Camper wrote:
Something about its visual
> spaces seemed too thick
> and insufficiently articulated, as if he were
> gooping it on with a
> trowel.

Thick, yes. As for its articulation its manner
aprently rubs you the worng way. Fellini offers a
sense of space the viewer isinvited to swim in. It
seems boundles at first, but it's as controlled and
precise as Bresson. The cut from Ian Dallas asking
"What doesn it mean?" (ie. "Asa Nisi Masa") to the
"flashback" to the farmhouse is as absolute as kubrick
cut from the bone to the space ship in "2001." I put
quotes around "flashback" because the entire film is
devoted to articulating past and present, memory and
fantasy as a continum. At the end of the film Guido is
not "havign a fantasy," he is simply THERE.

And so are we.

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