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This Year In Film / Re: The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
« Last post by jenkins on Today at 10:27:33 PM »
watching it sometimes felt "difficult" but i absolutely adore thinking about it and describing what happened. therefore even without a second viewing the value of this movie illustrates itself to me. such rich characters and moments. and the Coens are the kings of wit, that's plain fact. the "O" on her face after the marriage proposal is an example.

you'd think, based on what i said, i'd talk about the movie more. but there aren't "revelations" so much as "fond remembrances," and watching the movie will show you what i mean
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DVD Talk / Re: Criterion News and Discussion
« Last post by jenkins on Today at 10:25:23 PM »


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Cuban director Tomas Gutierrez Alea’s Memories of Underdevelopment, from 1968, is one of the greatest pictures ever made, and it’s screening in a new restoration at the Coral Gables Art Cinema that you shouldn't miss. Don’t be surprised, however, if what you’re watching doesn’t always look brand new or slick or clean. Though fictional, Alea’s film mixes a variety of forms, incorporating both documentary footage shot by the director on the streets of Havana as well as archival historical images. As such, it’s also often purposefully grainy, washed out, imperfect. Alternating between immediacy and reflection, fantasy and honesty, lyricism and horror, Memories of Underdevelopment feels like it’s being created before our very eyes.

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Depending on one's position in history and on the political spectrum, the film seems to voice skepticism of both the Cuban Revolution and the consumer culture it opposes; it views the intellectuals seeking paths through this cultural minefield as do-nothings trying to make themselves feel important; it complains that the American most identified with the country, Ernest Hemingway, was a carpetbagger who "never cared about Cuba."

Stylistically, the film makes itself even harder to pin down. Gutierrez Alea blends documentary and feature devices, steals street scenes that put fictional characters in real situations, and offers New Wave-influenced insights into a man who resents what's around him but can't bring himself to leave it.

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He is, in fact, the sort of man with whom we can easily identify from our experience of European films and literature. The difference is that he is placed in exceptional circumstances and finds it difficult to understand them. Memories is one of the best films ever made about the sceptical individual's place in the march of history.
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There are even clips from a porno film - there were many made in Cuba under Batista - and Alea himself and the author of the original novel comment on what is going on in Sergio's mind. As one admiring critic has said, "the film insists that what we see is a function of how we believe, and that how we believe is what our history has made of us".

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No film in the history of cinema better captures the curse of the intellectual than Memories of Underdevelopment. Sergio doesn't leave with everyone else because he hates the rich. An intellectual can never side with those who make "callous cash payment" the entire meaning of society. The intellectual strives for a mental freedom that's immeasurable and promises no returns.
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The Art Gallery / Re: Don't Forget Me Calvary
« Last post by wilder on Today at 08:01:13 PM »
Watched it twice. I really like your premise of these two friends journeying to their friend’s gravesite, and the story becoming about their relationship to each other and how absolutely self-involved they are. The whole thing gave me Last Detail vibes. Dan, the driver, has a very strong screen presence. He kind of reminds me of Richard E. Grant. There are really funny moments between the two, which work most successfully when we have enough breathing room to take in the difference between them, and specifically when that breathing room lets us differentiate their differing reactions.

This said, I had a hard time with the first couple minutes, because we’re in the midst of getting to know the characters, but it becomes difficult to when they’re talking over each other and require additional effort to understand. If their dynamic with one another (which we do get, partially, from the opening photographs) was already well-established and afterward we saw them bickering to the point of unintelligibility, it would communicate more, but we’re right at the outset when they’re strangers to the audience.

If you’re open to going this direction, I think this can be remedied by cutting out about 30 seconds, a few 10 second chunks, from the opening driving scene — the parts where they’re repeating themselves and talking over each other, which would give us a more discernible linearity in the opening thread:

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From 1:27 - “You always do this, you always do this…” - 1:36. and begin with “The whole reason why I got the ticket…

From 1:40 “I give you time for special things…” - 1:50 and begin with “We got the the ticket because…

From 2:01 “I already feel like a failure” - 2:06 and begin with “The laws are there for a reason.

These are my suggestions based on the shots that I know are there. If you ran full takes of each angle in the driving scene, I'm sure you could finesse it in different ways.


Throughout, there are some really hilarious lines:

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You don’t think we…eclipsed…the funeral, do you? You don’t think that people were paying attention to the fact that we weren’t there and not, you know, the funeral?

A lot of the humor stems from each character's ability to see the flaws in one another, but their blindness to the same qualities in themselves. For me, these comedic moments work best in your short when cut like the above exchange: One character’s absurd statement, followed by the other’s momentary, quiet indignation, underlining it, before responding. I think these brief pauses that acknowledge the ridiculousness of each other’s personalities help ground the tone of the thing, whereas the speedier rhythm makes them run a bit too fleetingly. The areas where there’s a defined statement and defined response (without overlap) sound better, to my ear, not least because it’s easier to attribute separate attitudes to Jack and Dan.

This kind of great comedic exchange happens again, later, when they’re standing at the actual grave site @ 6:36:

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Eric……your kind….smile….and….loving....disposition…was never lost…on your dear friends…Jack and Danny, respectively. Though you likely died screaming, gasping for air….” (Dan turns his head incredulously)

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I like to think that...for a moment...somewhere between the frantic calls to loved ones, dangling air masks, unbuckled children…rocketing about the cabin, that at some point in that abject chaos you thought about us, and you thought about how much we mean to you.

It’s fun to watch Dan’s face judging every word of Jack’s attempt at elegant public speaking, especially after it was set up on the opening drive that he’s vehemently opposed to it. They’re not even in the presence of other people at the funeral as they were initially supposed to be, at this point, haha, the whole thing becomes purely performative, for one another. 

Given how well this worked, Jack painfully reciting his off-the-cuff eulogy juxtaposed with Dan’s reaction, I also wanted to see Jack responding to Dan in the same way, with his attempt. The close up of Dan definitely breaks it up, but I also wanted at least a few inserts of Jack’s face taking in Dan’s own shortcomings, as well.

I appreciated the contrast in pace between the first and second half: the anticipatory anxiety of visiting their friend’s gravesite necessitating a snappier, ramped up rhythm on the drive there, and then the reality of the situation settling in and the characters assuming a more somber tone once they arrive. I think even if you cut some of the argumentative overlap from the beginning, you would still maintain this later contrast, because the opening is just that: argumentative, and the later section is their attempt to cooperate with each other out of respect for their friend, which just results in more hilarity because of both their inabilities to get out of their own heads.

I actually lost it when the plane started flying overhead. Your shot of it somehow gave the jet personality, as if it were anthropomorphized and doing it on purpose. Literally laughed out loud. This moment felt very Hal Ashby to me, too, going along with the Last Detail feeling of your beginning. It’s a great high note that your short finishes on.

Congratulations on getting the whole thing in the can!



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This Year In Film / Re: Suspiria
« Last post by Shughes on Today at 07:28:38 PM »
Just back from seeing this and not sure what my opinion is. I think I liked it. It sure is overlong and problematic and not for everybody, but it has a way of getting under your skin. Six people walked out during the screening I was at - two of them after arguing with me as I first asked politely, and then told them firmly, to put their phones away - and four due to the pacing from what I could tell.

Spoilers

I don't get why Tilda played multiple roles. I could tell it was her under make up from the first trailer but there was no cinematic payoff to it. I just don't get why they did it - all it did was distract me as I was waiting for some kind of reveal to this obvious trickery.

I also agree that slow motion looks terrible unless it's shot with slow motion in mind. There is an amateur feel to the film at times but I think that rough quality is part of it's alluring charm. It made me think of Nic Roeg during some of the montage work. And it's a lot better than Mother! in my opinion. Thom Yorke's score is excellent - some of the parts with lyrics reminded me of In Rainbows era Radiohead.
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News and Theory / Re: Who's Next To Croak?
« Last post by Reelist on Today at 05:51:04 PM »
Tonight we just so happened to be screening “The Princess Bride” at the theater where I work. No, we did not plan to show it on the day that he died, things just worked out that way. Wouldn’t it be cool if we had that power though? It was a real honor to be showing one of his most beloved films today, even though the crowd was small it just really felt like we were doing him a solid.

RIP William Goldman

Show Rush Hour next.



Were doing a double feature of Annie Hall and Rosemary’s Baby
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The Art Gallery / Re: Don't Forget Me Calvary
« Last post by eward on Today at 08:40:22 AM »
Silly me: Calvary18
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The Director's Chair / Re: Alejandro Jodorowsky
« Last post by Something Spanish on Today at 08:34:54 AM »
Just finished Endless Poetry...incredible, one of the best bios put on film.
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The Art Gallery / Re: Don't Forget Me Calvary
« Last post by WorldForgot on Today at 02:29:25 AM »
We need a password tho  :)
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News and Theory / Re: Horror
« Last post by WorldForgot on Today at 02:26:58 AM »
And Samantha Robinson delights, for you Love Witch fanz.
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News and Theory / Re: Who's Next To Croak?
« Last post by polkablues on Today at 01:33:07 AM »
Show Rush Hour next.
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