Author Topic: My Punch-Drunk Love Paper  (Read 5592 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

SHAFTR

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 2337
  • You brought two too many
  • Respect: +4
    • rmlumley.com
My Punch-Drunk Love Paper
« on: December 09, 2003, 10:15:56 PM »
0
I wrote a 16 page paper on Punch-Drunk Love and it's relation to Art Cinema.  I figured some might want to read it.  Also, I think there should be a forum for papers on this board.  Agreed?


Here We Go
-Rob Lumley

“La Strada, 8 ½, Wild Strawberries, The Seventh Seal, Persona, Ashes and Diamonds, Jules et Jim, Knife in the Water, Vivre sa Vie, Muriel”

At the beginning of David Bordwell’s “The Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice” he lists ten films that are considered art films.  The oldest film he listed is Federico Fellini’s La Strada, made in 1954 and the most recent film listed is Ingmar Bergman’s Persona, made in 1966.  Does this mean that the art cinema model that Bordwell proposes in his article only accounts for films made around that period?  Can the model still be used for a film made 40 years later, such as Paul Thomas Anderson’s 2002 release, Punch-Drunk Love?
   
Punch-Drunk Love is PT Anderson’s fourth film; it stars Adam Sandler and Emily Watson.  It is about a man, Barry Egan, who is prone to sudden outbursts of anger.  Along with living a lonely life, he is constantly hounded by his seven sisters.  After finding out about a Healthy Choice promotion, he buys large amounts of pudding to redeem for frequent flyer miles.  He meets and falls in love with Lena, who he ends up going to Hawaii with.  All the while, he finds himself being extorted for money from Dean Trumbell and four brothers in Utah because of a phone-sex line he called.
   
Does Punch-Drunk Love fit Bordwell’s model of art cinema?  First off, it’s important to have a further understanding of the model.  Bordwell states that, “the art cinema defines itself explicitly against the classical narrative mode” (95).  Realism, authorship and ambiguity motivate the art cinema narrative rather than classical narrative’s verisimilitude, generic appropriateness and compositional unity.  After looking at the use of realism, authorship and ambiguity in Punch-Drunk Love, it is clear that it is indeed proves that David Bordwell’s model of art cinema is still viable in today’s contemporary film.
   
Realism in art cinema refers to external and internal realism.  External realism is about “real locations and real problems” (Bordwell 95).  Punch-Drunk Love exhibits both of these qualities.  The film was shot on location at the San Fernando Valley, Utah and in Hawaii.  Not only that but he also was wrote part of the script when he was visiting Hawaii for two months (Brooks).  The aspect of shooting on location gives the film an authenticity that a studio wouldn’t provide, it also provides realism.  This is evident in a scene where Barry is on a payphone in Hawaii while a parade is happening in the background.  It turns out that the parade was real and the scene was filmed with hidden cameras (Cinerama Q&A).  Along with realism, this also gives the film a kind of authenticity that a studio set does not provide.
   
The on location shooting isn’t the only example of objective realism in the film.  Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Luis Guzman, Philip Seymour Hoffman & Mary Lynn Rajskub were the only professional actors in Punch-Drunk Love.  Everyone else was nonprofessional.  The four brothers from Utah are actually played by four brothers from Utah.  “Four of the seven sisters are actually related to each other (two are sisters, and two others are their cousins)” (Turan).  About the nonprofessional actors, PT Anderson said:
“I just thought that would be more fun or more interesting and I got a bit bored by casting sessions…You go on a location scout, you find a place with people and you say, ‘We’ve got to make the actors look like that.’ I thought, ‘Why don’t we just ask them if they want to be in the movie?’” (qtd. by Turan)

Continuing along with the idea of objective realism, a large part of the film’s plot is based on a true story.  Even though it may sound unbelievable, someone actually did collect enormous amounts of Healthy Choice pudding because of a frequent flyer promotion.  “David Phillips, a civil engineer at University of California, Davis, purchased 12,150 cups of Healthy Choice pudding two years ago, earning 1.25 million miles, for a total of $3,000” (MacDonald).  Realism plays an important part in PT Anderson films, almost to ridiculous extremes.  A careful viewer will notice that the typical fake Hollywood ‘555’ phone numbers are not used in his films.  Actual phone numbers are used.  If someone called the phone number mentioned in Magnolia, the film Anderson made prior to Punch-Drunk Love, they would hear a phone message related to the film (Caro 10/25).

Realism continues past real locations, people and stories to characters with real problems.  These are often problems that people experience today.  In Punch-Drunk Love, Barry Egan often experiences loneliness and anxiety; two problems that plague many people in reality.  In order for this problem to come off as realistic, the character needs to be psychologically complex.  Bordwell claims this to be the most important aspect of realism in art cinema.  In a classical narrative, characters have “clear-cut traits and objectives”; where as “characters of the art cinema lack defined desires and goals” (96).  Barry Egan clearly falls into the category of an art cinema character.  We never really have an explanation for what Barry has just done.  Why, after telling his sister he won’t be there for their party, does he show up?  Why does he collect frequent flyer miles when he has no plans of traveling?  Why does he pick up and keep the harmonium that he finds on the street?  Why does Barry experience these sudden outbursts of anger?  These are questions that the viewer has a hard time answering and it’s probably safe to assume that Barry does too.

Bordwell also mentions that art films tend to have a “drifting episodic quality” (96).  The film sometimes drifts unexpectedly from one location to another.  Variety called Punch-Drunk Love, “a dark film that explores lonely characters adrift in a world of strip malls and soulless apartments” (“US comic Adam Sandler makes splash at Cannes.”).  There is a moment where after spending the entire film in San Fernando Valley, a series of Jeremy Blake paintings act as an interlude as the viewer is suddenly whisked away to Provo, Utah.  The viewer is unexpectedly shifted from one place to another; from San Fernando Valley to Provo , back to San Fernando than to Hawaii, back again to San Fernando than Provo and finally it ends back, once again, in the San Fernando Valley..  
Bordwell points out that although the characters in an art film are slow to act, they do tell all.  Characters often tell each other stories (96).  There are two scenes where stories about characters play a key role.  The first key scene is when the sisters recount to each other how they used to call Barry “gay boy” and he would get upset.  As the sisters continue to talk amongst themselves about the event, more information is revealed.  The teasing resulted in him putting a hammer through a sliding glass door.  The reason he had a hammer was because he was building a dog house.  All of these elements are told simply through characters telling a story.  
The second key scene is when Barry tells his brother in law about some of his problems.  He confesses that he doesn’t “like himself sometimes’ and that he “sometimes cries a lot for no reason.”  Also, Barry admits that he doesn’t know if anything is wrong with him because he “doesn’t know how other people are.”  This fits Bordwell’s idea that in an art film “the hero becomes a supersensitive individual” (96).  Bordwell also states that “the hero often shudders on the edge of breakdown” (96).  In Punch-Drunk Love, we see Barry explode with either anger, sadness or both due to his anxiety and loneliness.  This is shown when he breaks the windows at his sister’s house, tears up the bathroom at the restaurant or when he punches a hole through his wall in his office.  All of which are examples of seeing Barry on the edge of breakdown, or even at the point of breakdown.

Style can also be used to show realism.  One way this can be achieved is by using the stylistic devices Andre Bazin pointed out:  deep space, the moving camera and the long take (Bordwell 97).  The scene most evident of these practices is when Barry calls up the phone-sex line.  For three and a half minutes, we watch as he talks on the phone.  During this period, the camera films Barry from medium long shot as he wanders back and forth through his apartment, the camera panning left and right.  There is even a moment where we watch for about 25 seconds as Barry just sits still waiting for the phone to ring.  The moment when the phone rings is the first time we see a cut.  This begins another three and a half minute scene as Barry is on the phone-sex line.  The scene is shot in medium close-up as he, once again, wanders through his apartment.  The camera relies more on tracking shots than panning during this sequence.  The long takes allow for the viewer to feel the duration of the actual phone call.  The differences in framing portray to the viewer how comfortable Barry is in the situation.  When he is shot in medium long shot, he is very wary of giving out any information about himself.  When he is shot in medium close up, he seems more comfortable; he even tells the phone-sex girl about his business.  

The long take and camera movement aren’t the only examples of Bazin’s stylistic devices.  The glass walls of Barry’s office allow for an interesting use of deep space.  Often, Barry is in his office while action is going on in the warehouse in the background on the other side of the glass walls.  Moments such as when Lance is testing out the non-breakable glass toilet plunger handles and also when equipment crashes into some boxes highlight the use of deep focus.

Although the viewer is never given a clear sense of Barry’s objectives or goals, we are given the chance to feel his emotions.  This is an example of internal realism.  Punch-Drunk Love allows the viewer to enter Barry’s mind through the use of subjective reality.  PT Anderson uses various methods to portray psychological subjectivity.  The most interesting way that PT Anderson plays with psychological subjectivity is through music.  The sound structure of Punch-Drunk Love is very different than the typical Hollywood hierarchy of sound first, sound effects second and music third.  Instead, the viewer is constantly struggling to hear the dialogue through the music.  The score by Jon Brion is a blend of music and loud clanks and scratches.  These clanks and scratches create an interesting effect in the film.  There are moments when the viewer is unaware if the noise they just heard is from the music or is a diegetic sound.  The scenes when Barry is playing the harmonium are perfect examples of this.  It is difficult to tell which sounds are coming from the harmonium and which are from the music.  The Chicago Tribune mentioned how the “sometimes-aggressive percussive score from Jon Brion.  Anderson makes the viewer share Barry’s early frustration to such an extent that you’re ready to smash glass doors yourself” (Caro 10/16).  Sound is used in Punch-Drunk Love to give the viewer a gateway into Barry Egan’s mind and feel what he is feeling.  Further proof of this is that the grating clanks in the music stop once Barry goes to Hawaii with Lena (Brooks).  Much like he is relieved of his anxiety, so is the viewer.

Punch-Drunk Love isn’t the only film that PT Anderson uses sound in interesting ways.  There is the scene in Magnolia when all of the characters, each in different locations, are singing along to Aimee Mann’s “Wise Up”.  In Boogie Nights, Anderson inserts a character that randomly throws firecrackers on the ground during the climax of the film.  Not only do these firecrackers make the characters jumpy, but the viewer also becomes jumpy.  

The idea that Anderson uses similar devices throughout his films touches on Bordwell’s next principle in his model of art cinema.  The idea of authorship, that “the author becomes a formal component, the overriding intelligence organizing the film for our comprehension” (Bordwell 97).  When someone goes to see Punch-Drunk Love, Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, or Magnolia they are seeing a PT Anderson film.  Although they are all very different stories; they still contain similar stylistic tendencies and motifs.

First off, just like Michelangelo Antonioni often placed his films in the Po Valley; Anderson often places his films in the San Fernando Valley.  Boogie Nights, Magnolia and Punch-Drunk Love all take place in the San Fernando Valley.  The New York Times called Anderson “the unofficial poet laureate of the San Fernando Valley” (Kehr).  He often uses the same actors throughout his films, similar to Akira Kurosawa and Ingmar Bergman.  Luis Guzman and Philip Seymour Hoffman are two examples of this in Punch-Drunk Love.  Guzman was also in Boogie Nights and Magnolia.  Hoffman has been in all of Anderson’s other films:  Hard Eight, Magnolia & Boogie Nights.  In four films; Julianne Moore, John C Reilly, William H Macy, and Philip Baker Hall have all had two or more appearances.

Since PT Anderson, not only directs, but also wrote all four of his films it is important to look at the screenplay.  In Punch-Drunk Love, Lena plays a character type that is common in Anderson’s films.  She is a guardian angel figure, a caregiver who out of nowhere appears and offers “protection and redemption” (Kehr).  She is the individual that turns Barry from a lonely, anxiety filled individual and shows him love.  Another example of this character type is Sydney in Hard Eight who offers a stranger coffee, breakfast and a trip to Reno.  Throughout the film, Sydney guides and instructs the stranger, John.  Also in Boogie Nights, Jack Horner offers Eddie Adams (soon to be Dirk Diggler) a job and gives him a place to stay.  In Magnolia, Officer Jim Kurring meets and falls in love with Claudia, a drug addict.  He seems to be the only one who understands and listens to her.

There is also the “child man” that often occurs in PT Anderson’s films.  “These men might seem slow at first glance but all prove remarkable:  superheroes whose special power is innocence” (“Paul Thomas Anderson:  Young and Breathless”).  Examples of this character include John in Hard Eight, Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights, Officer Jim Kurring and Donnie Smith in Magnolia and Barry Egan in Punch-Drunk Love.  These characters are often not the brightest but seem to feel the same way Donnie Smith does in Magnolia when he says, “I really do have love to give; I just don’t know where to put it.”

The most obvious theme in Anderson’s films is that they all examine the family.  In Hard Eight, Sydney acts as John’s father figure because, as we find out later, he had killed John’s father years ago.  Boogie Nights looks at Jack Horner’s porn set as a family, with Jack acting as Dirk’s father and adult star, Amber Waves acting as a mother figure.  Magnolia centers around nine characters in a span of a day, examining a lot of father/son and husband/wife relationships.  In Punch-Drunk Love, Barry’s seven sisters play an enormous role in creating his anxiety.  Lena, along with being someone he falls in love with, also plays a sort of mother figure to him.  It is easy to see that there are certain themes and motifs that run through a PT Anderson film.

Stylistically, there are also themes that run through his films.  The most obvious of these is the long take and the moving camera.  During a period when Average Shot Lengths continue to drop in the average Hollywood film, Anderson’s films normally have quite high ASLs.  The moving camera plays a huge role in his films; it is very similar to a Jean Renoir film.  Both of them normally have many characters in the films so the camera often follows a character until he meets another character.  The best example of this is the opening scene in Boogie Nights.  A two minute and 45 second long take starts outside a club, goes into the club and introduces the viewer to all the characters without a single cut.  In Punch-Drunk Love, the camera often follows Barry as he wanders from place to place.  An example of this is in Barry’s warehouse.  We often follow him as he walks from his office, outside and sometimes to the road.  This is done with camera movement rather than a cut that shows him leaving the office and than outside.

Another way Punch-Drunk Love exhibits Anderson’s authorial commentary is with his use of intertextuality.  There are various instances of this in Punch-Drunk Love.  The most obvious of which is the inclusion of the song “He Needs Me”.  The song appears when Barry decides to travel to Hawaii to see Lena.  The song is from Robert Altman’s Popeye, sung by Shelley Duvall.  This is interesting because Altman is one of PT Anderson’s biggest influences.  Anderson said, “Oh yeah, Magnolia is obviously influenced by Nashville, and “He Needs Me” comes from Popeye. And that's fine. If people want to call me Little Bobbie Altman, then I have no problem with that at all. He's always been a big influence” (qtd by Brooks).  This isn’t the only time that Anderson shows off his influences.  The end of Boogie Nights is very similar to the end of Martin Scorsese’s Raging Bull.

Along with the Popeye reference there is also a reference to musicals in Punch-Drunk Love.  Barry’s blue suit reminded some critics of “Gene Kelly in Singin’ in the Rain as well as Jack Lemmon in Save the Tiger (Morris).  When asked about the blue suit, Anderson said, “We kinda had a little obsession for different Technicolor musicals.  And if you’ve watched many of them, there always seems to be a standard blue suit.  There’s a great blue suit in Bandwagon, and I can remember seeing that and saying ‘I want the color blue’” (New York Film Festival Q&A).  He told the New York Times, “It’s a little bit like a musical thing.  It’s an MGM suit” (qtd by Kehr).  It seems that Punch-Drunk Love is Anderson’s attempt at a romantic comedy or as he says it, “a movie that I would like to watch on a Saturday night.”  In the same interview, he mentions how Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers films are the ones he likes to go home and watch on a Saturday night (Morris).  Even the casting of Adam Sandler supports this idea.  Sandler is often in comedies that would be considered “Saturday night movies.”  Much like Francois Truffaut’s Shoot the Piano Player is an ode to film noirs; Purnch-Drunk Love is an Anderson’s ode to the romantic comedy genre, or the Saturday night film.
After closer examination, Shoot the Piano Player and Punch-Drunk Love share more in common with each other than just loves for a particular genre.  The scene when the four brothers are chasing Barry is shot very similar, and some claim exactly (Cigarettes & Coffee) as the beginning of Shoot the Piano Player.  Also, both films feature female leads named Lena.  Among other films that critics see that Punch-Drunk Love references is Night of the Hunter, when the marks on Barry’s hand seem to spell out love after he punches the wall (Portugal Press Conference).  Also, Anderson admitted to being “in a real love affair with Jacques Tati’s movies” after citing him as an influence of Punch-Drunk Love. (qtd by Kehr).  It’s easy to see that PT Anderson loves movies and he isn’t afraid to show this love in his own films by constantly referring to them either explicitly or implicitly

Bordwell mentions that “a small industry is devoted to informing viewers of such authorial marks.  International film festivals, reviews and essays in the press, published scripts, film series, career retrospectives, and film education all introduce viewers to authorial codes” (97).  As you can, a lot of the information I found about references to other films I found in reviews, interviews and essays from the press.  The film itself debuted at the Cannes Film Festival where PT Anderson won Best Director and the film was nominated for the Golden Palm.  At the Gijon International Film Festival it won Best Actor and Best Screenplay along with being nominated for Best Feature.  At the Motovun International Film Festival it won Best Picture (Cigarettes and Coffee).  The film also played at the Toronto Film Festival.  City Beat said “Of the 345 films that played at this year's Toronto Fest, Punch-Drunk Love could be the film that receives the strongest and most universal praise, as well as the biggest critical boost in its profile. Basically, during the festival's final days, nobody could stop talking about how much they liked the film” (Ramos).  This follows Bordwell’s model of art films and the importance of film festivals.  Punch-Drunk Love debuted at Cannes and other film festivals than it opened only at New York and Los Angeles for its first week.  Only after that did it receive a wide theatrical release (Cigarettes & Coffee).  This follows the art cinema trend of starting small than opening up large, rather than current Hollywood blockbusters that open up on thousands of screens the first week.

Bordwell summarizes authorial commentary “as recurrent violations of the classical norm” (98 ).  This would also include the use of solar flares in the film.  A solar flare used in a Hollywood film is normally the result of a mistake, in Punch-Drunk Love they are there on purpose and occur at specific moments.  Also, as mentioned earlier, the breakdown of the classical sound hierarchy is another example of authorial commentary.
   
The final principle of Bordwell’s art cinema model covers everything that the other two do not.  He mentions that “verisimilitude, objective or subjective, is inconsistent with an intrusive author” (98 ).  The solution to this problem is ambiguity.  Any gaps or problems in the film that cannot be solved by either realism or authorial commentary result in ambiguity.  Just as Punch-Drunk Love follows the other principles, it follows this one just the same.

Ambiguity does exist in Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love in a number of forms.  There is the strange inclusion and storyline with the harmonium.  There are also strange interludes and the question of diegism with the soundtrack.  The ending of the film, as well as possible interpretations of the entire film, is also left ambiguous.

The interludes between the scenes are created using artwork by Jeremy Blake.  They appear four times in the film.  The first of which is during the opening credit sequence that occurs after Barry tries playing the harmonium in his office.  They also appear when the film switches to Provo, Utah to show Dean Trumbell as he asks the four brothers to go check on Barry and when Barry goes to Provo to confront Dean.  They make their last appearance during the closing credits.  These interludes appear without warning and startle the viewer.  Why would Anderson include these when they seem to disrupt the story?  Are they meant to represent Barry’s emotions and state of mind (subjective realism)?  Are they just clever ways to perform transitions between locations (authorship)?  The viewer is left wondering about the purpose of the interludes.

The most obvious example of ambiguity in Punch-Drunk Love is the actions that take place during the opening scene.  The film starts out with an extreme long shot of Barry Egan as he is on the phone with a Healthy Choice operator.  He hears some kind of noise that causes him to hang up and go outside the warehouse.  Barry walks to the road, shown using a point of view shot, and observes a car flip over for no apparent reason in the background.  The car skids past Barry, and than immediately after a Checker Cab Co van pulls into the foreground dropping off a harmonium and drives away.  This is how the film opens.  “The Star” mentions how audiences “might also scratch their head over Anderson's use of a beat-up harmonium, a piano-like instrument that literally drops into Barry Egan's life, as a recurring symbol more typical of films by the likes of Ingmar Bergman and Luis Buñuel” (Howell).  The viewer is left asking quite a few questions:  Why did Barry suddenly decide to go to the road?  What made the car flip over?  Why was a harmonium dropped off?  These questions are never answered during the film and since they cannot be explained by realism because it isn’t a reflection of reality nor does it seem to be a dream sequence since all of the other characters in the film are aware of the harmonium, the result is ambiguity.  This harmonium must be symbolic of something.  This is where the audience is allowed to interpret the harmonium however they wish.  
One theory is that the harmonium symbolizes Barry and Lena’s relationship.  There is a lot of evidence supporting this theory.  The harmonium and Lena both enter into Barry’s lives around the same time.  When they begin dating they even have a conversation about the harmonium.  Lena tells him that it is his and asks if he is learning to play it.  This could be interpreted as Barry getting the chance to have Lena and learn to love her.  When Barry goes to tell Lena he always wants to be with him, he takes the harmonium with him and carries it all the way to her apartment door.  This theme continues until the end when the last shot of the film is when Lena walks to Barry and looks over his shoulder as he plays the harmonium.  This theme also fits in with the notes that Barry plays and the soundtrack.  “The first string of notes Barry plays on the harmonium is B, A#, A, C, D; he later refines this to B, A#, C, D.  These notes are the root of the score.  During the last scene of the film, he plays along with Jon Brion's score, and harmonizes perfectly with it” (Cigarettes and Coffee).

Even the ending of the film is left partly ambiguous.  Bordwell states that in an art film, “The solution is the open-ended narrative” and “the pensive ending acknowledges the author as a peculiarly humble intelligence; s/he knows that life is more complex than art can ever be, and the only way to respect this complexity is to leave causes dangling, questions unanswered” (99).  Punch-Drunk Love ends with Lena and Barry at the harmonium and she says to him, “Here we go”.  It appears that they are together but the question still remains, for how long?  Rather than showing a montage of a marriage proposal, their marriage and finally a look at them taking their kids to school, the viewer is left to finish the story on their own.

I have also read theories that Lena is actually an alien.  As ridiculous as this may sound, there is some evidence that supports this theory.  The only thing that is ever being shown on the characters’ television sets during the film is the Apollo moon landing.  One of the chapter names on the DVD is called, “Alien Abduction”.  This theory would also explain the strange alien like solar flares that constantly appear.  When asked about the theory, Anderson answered, “I stand by that. Have you ever met anyone as lovely as Emily Watson that WASN'T from outer space?” (qtd by Cigarettes and Coffee); an ambiguous answer.
   
Ambiguity plays a huge role in Punch-Drunk Love.  Any film that appears to be a love story and the viewers can still be left with theories of aliens has to have a large amount of ambiguity in it.  It is one of the qualities that separate the film as an example of art cinema rather than just another romantic comedy. It is an example of how “we are to watch less for the tale than the telling” (Bordwell 99).

After examining Bordwell’s art cinema model, it appears that it is still a viable model even for a film made in 2002.  Realism, authorship and ambiguity still work as principles of art cinema.  Paul Thomas Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love exhibits all of these qualities and is an example of a contemporary art film.  The impressive property of Bordwell’s model is that it’s rigid enough to be easily defined, but flexible enough to allow all types of films to be considered art films.  Punch-Drunk Love stars Adam Sandler, a Hollywood actor who normally stars in very typical comedic blockbusters.  Punch-Drunk Love was produced by Revolution Studios, the same company that has produced XXX, The New Guy and Daddy Day Care (All Movie Guide). What is impressive about Bordwell’s model is that even a film made within the Hollywood system with a Hollywood star can still be considered an art film because it defines itself against the classical narrative mode.  As Anderson said, “it’s like an art-house Adam Sandler movie” (qtd by Ebert).

The film certainly contains objective realism with its use of real locations, real people, psychologically complex characters and the film itself is based upon a real life true story.  The film also contains subjective realism with the long takes, moving camera and use of the film’s score to allow the audience to enter into the mind of Barry Egan.  The idea of authorship is shown through the use of stylistic and story elements that are typical of PT Anderson films.  The moving camera and long takes, along with recurring actors and character types reinforce the idea of authorial commentary.  Anderson also likes to pay tribute to his influences with the use of intertextuality.  Lastly, ambiguity is used to allow the viewer to interpret the film in his or her own way instead of giving out all the answers.  Reasons for events in the film, such as the harmonium, are often left unexplained.

Perhaps the beginning of David Bordwell’s “The Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice” needs to be slightly updated.  It should include films such as PT Anderson’s Punch-Drunk Love, Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction, Wes Anderson’s Royal Tenenbaums and Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation.  Art cinema is just as alive today as it was in the 1960s.  Besides the update in films discussed, an examination of Punch-Drunk Love proves that Bordwell’s model of art cinema still works.

Works Cited

All Movie Guide.  2003.  <http://www.allmovie.com/>

Bordwell, David.  “The Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice.”  The European Cinema Reader.  Ed. Catherine Fowler.  London:  Routledge,  2002.  94-102.

Brooks, Xan.  “I can be a real arrogant brat.”  Guardian 27 Jan 2003.

Caro, Mark.  “Paul Thomas Anderson casts wider net with Punch-Drunk Love.” Chicago Tribune 16 Oct 2002.

Caro, Mark.  “Love Might do a Number on Paul.”  Chicago Tribune 25 Oct 2002.

Cigarettes & Coffee.  Greg Mariotti, Ed. 2003. <http://www.ptanderson.com/>

Cinerama Q&A.  Trans. Greg Mariotti.  Seattle.  3 Oct 2002.

Ebert, Roger.  “Love at First Sight.” Chicago Sun Times 13 Oct 2002.

Howell, Peter.  “Punch in the Dark.” The Star 11 Oct 2002.

Kehr, Dave.  “A Poet of Love and Chaos in the Valley.” New York Times 6 Oct 2002.

MacDonald, Moira.  “Director now ‘Punch Drunk’ over Comedy.”  Seattle Times  13 Oct 2002.

Morris, Wesley. “Out There.”  Boston Globe 13 Oct. 2002.

Nechak, Paula.  “Director ‘Punch Drunk’ with Joy.”  Seattle PI  19 Oct 2002.

New York Film Festival Q&A.  Trans. Greg Mariotti, Shaun Sages & Todd Parker.  10 May 2002.

“Paul Thomas Anderson:  Young and Breathless” Independent 24 Jan 2003.

Portugal Press Conference.  Trans. Ruth Goncalves.  Lisbon.  5 Feb 2003.

Ramos, Steve.  “Who’s Laughing Now?”  City Beat 19 Sept 2002.

Turan, Kenneth.  “Crazy for Love” LA Times 20 May 2002.

“US comic Adam Sandler makes splash at Cannes.”  Variety  19 May 2002.
"Talking shit about a pretty sunset
Blanketing opinions that i'll probably regret soon"

Jeremy Blackman

  • Admin
  • *****
  • Posts: 10866
  • Respect: +1274
Re: My Punch-Drunk Love Paper
« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2003, 10:19:05 PM »
0
Quote from: SHAFTR
Works Cited


Where's the Xixax link?
"Hunger is the purest sin"

SHAFTR

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 2337
  • You brought two too many
  • Respect: +4
    • rmlumley.com
Re: My Punch-Drunk Love Paper
« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2003, 10:23:28 PM »
0
Quote from: Jeremy Blackman
Quote from: SHAFTR
Works Cited


Where's the Xixax link?


nothing was cited from this board; closest thing was cigarettes and coffee (which i cited).

EDIT: although had i not found this board, i doubt my interest in PTA would be what it is and I would have wrote a paper on one of his films.
"Talking shit about a pretty sunset
Blanketing opinions that i'll probably regret soon"

Duck Sauce

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 1986
  • Respect: +4
My Punch-Drunk Love Paper
« Reply #3 on: December 09, 2003, 10:27:18 PM »
0
Ill read it tmw, looks promising though. Im writing a short paper on Boogie Nights that isnt coming together all that well

sickfins

  • Electrician
  • *****
  • Posts: 368
  • Respect: 0
My Punch-Drunk Love Paper
« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2003, 09:20:28 AM »
0
C, B, A#, C, D, fucker

SHAFTR

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 2337
  • You brought two too many
  • Respect: +4
    • rmlumley.com
My Punch-Drunk Love Paper
« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2003, 09:52:45 PM »
0
anyone read it?  :roll:
"Talking shit about a pretty sunset
Blanketing opinions that i'll probably regret soon"

Pubrick

  • Admin
  • *****
  • Posts: 12170
  • Lynchian identity mystery
  • Respect: +769
My Punch-Drunk Love Paper
« Reply #6 on: December 11, 2003, 10:57:52 PM »
0
Quote from: SHAFTR
anyone read it?  :roll:

sickkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkfins.
endless 'nothing is what it seems'-isms

Sleepless

  • The Master of Three Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 1782
  • I told you I would eat you
  • Respect: +330
My Punch-Drunk Love Paper
« Reply #7 on: December 12, 2003, 04:52:39 AM »
0
Pretyy good. I think most people on here will know most of it already anyway, since we're all big PTA fans, so we've read all the interviews too. That said, there were a couple of cool things in there I hadn't realised before  :-D

I think the idea for a forum where we can publish our papers and essays for each other to read is a good idea, too. I wrote something on Magnolia last year... I can't remember if it's much good, but I'll try and dig it out soon.

Duck Sauce

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 1986
  • Respect: +4
My Punch-Drunk Love Paper
« Reply #8 on: December 12, 2003, 12:21:01 PM »
0
Quote from: P
Quote from: SHAFTR
anyone read it?  :roll:

sickkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkfins.


i love it when you do that

TheVoiceOfNick

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 1087
  • Respect: +2
My Punch-Drunk Love Paper
« Reply #9 on: December 12, 2003, 12:43:33 PM »
0
This is a really well written paper!  I enjoyed reading it, and thought it was very academic.  In my master's program, I'm considering writing about PTA as well... i'm interested in exploring the various parental figures in his movies.

©brad

  • Admin
  • *****
  • Posts: 4506
  • Respect: +218
My Punch-Drunk Love Paper
« Reply #10 on: December 12, 2003, 03:38:09 PM »
0
Quote from: Duck Sauce
Quote from: P
Quote from: SHAFTR
anyone read it?  :roll:

sickkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkfins.


i love it when you do that


get a room u two.

SHAFTR

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 2337
  • You brought two too many
  • Respect: +4
    • rmlumley.com
My Punch-Drunk Love Paper
« Reply #11 on: December 12, 2003, 08:05:53 PM »
0
Quote from: TheVoiceOfNick
This is a really well written paper!  I enjoyed reading it, and thought it was very academic.  In my master's program, I'm considering writing about PTA as well... i'm interested in exploring the various parental figures in his movies.


thanks.  To graduate with honors, I have to write a thesis...I'm not sure yet what I will write.
"Talking shit about a pretty sunset
Blanketing opinions that i'll probably regret soon"

ᾦɐļᵲʊʂ

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 5894
  • :boxing:
  • Respect: +20
My Punch-Drunk Love Paper
« Reply #12 on: December 12, 2003, 10:10:22 PM »
0
Kubrick's use of the bathroom.
"As a matter of fact I only work with the feeling of something magical, something seemingly significant. And to keep it magical I don't want to know the story involved, I just want the hypnotic effect of it somehow seeming significant without knowing why." - Len Lye

SHAFTR

  • The Master of Two Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 2337
  • You brought two too many
  • Respect: +4
    • rmlumley.com
My Punch-Drunk Love Paper
« Reply #13 on: December 12, 2003, 10:21:32 PM »
0
Quote from: aClockworkWalrus
Kubrick's use of the bathroom.


kubrick, ughh
"Talking shit about a pretty sunset
Blanketing opinions that i'll probably regret soon"

Gold Trumpet

  • The Master of Three Worlds
  • *****
  • Posts: 5770
  • Respect: +153
My Punch-Drunk Love Paper
« Reply #14 on: December 13, 2003, 08:56:46 PM »
0
The essay is well thought for what it wanted to be, but I still have problems with most of it. The problems lie in the basis of assuming Bordwell thought the last art film was in 1966 and just trying to prove Punch-Drunk Love is an art film in general according to Bordwell's ideas. Thing is, I don't think anyone serious about films would say the last art film was in 1966 at all and Bordwell's ideas instead seem to be general ideas to base art films on. The essay goes paragraph by paragraph in covering an idea by Bordwell and proving how Punch-Drunk Love fits it. While reading it, I thought some points were too obvious and not worth mentioning. The essay seems to try to cover every rule Bordwell has said and this approach goes only so far into describing what makes the film unique. When an idea I thought really central or important to the film would be covered, little would be delved because usually the essay would move on to another point in the next paragraph.

What I would have done is started from analyzing the few things I thought were central to Punch-Drunk Love and then went from there but have kept the observations to fit a certain framework of what I thought the film went for and why it is unique. The uniquesness of Punch-Drunk Love also seems misfitting to describe in relation to Bordwell's general rules. As films have progressed from the 1960s with new ideas, filmmaking styles and equipment in which to film fron, Bordwell's general rules just seem too general. They can't be asked to be high comment for a film made now because so much has changed and will continue to change. What he says can fit Punch-Drunk Love, but it only can do so much.

Finally, let me quote something from the essay:
"Art cinema is just as alive today as it was in the 1960s."

Woah. A big statement for a small ending comment. Can you really back this statement up by writing an essay to only how PDL is an art film? I wouldn't have included that.

 

DMCA & Copyright | Terms & Conditions | Privacy Policy