Author Topic: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Le Fils [The Son], L'Enfant, etc.)  (Read 4255 times)

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ono

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Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Le Fils [The Son], L'Enfant, etc.)
« on: November 28, 2005, 04:56:17 AM »
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I watched The Son after reading GT drool about it sometime ago, and Ebert drool about it as well (although who knows if that was just from the stroke).  My reaction is, "So?"  I've gone back to get the reactions again, from both Ebert and GT.  I always like hearing about films from people like GT, and pete, and 03 that otherwise I'd never hear about, because I'm usually well rewarded.  This time, not so much.  Some good scenes, but so much fat in this film.  You call this good storytelling?  It took over an hour and a half to tell what could've been told in an hour or less.  So I just thought I'd throw this thread up here to get comments on this, and other movies of theirs I should be aware of.

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Re: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Le Fils [The Son], L'Enfant, etc.)
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2005, 12:47:05 PM »
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Of their films, I've only seen The Son, and I thought it was absolutely outstanding, with not an ounce of fat on it. However, I'm on the way out the door and will have to defend it further later on today...

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Re: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Le Fils [The Son], L'Enfant, etc.)
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2005, 02:06:01 PM »
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I can't respond adaquately right now either. Until tomorrow night, I am booked of time with an exam paper. Expect a very large reply.

Pubrick

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Re: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Le Fils [The Son], L'Enfant, etc.)
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2005, 07:47:26 PM »
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i have to go now. i'll be back later to leave again..
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Re: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Le Fils [The Son], L'Enfant, etc.)
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2005, 12:49:47 PM »
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There's this part towards the beginning of The Son in which the camera is following Olivier, we don't know who Francis is yet or why he will be important to the story, but the camera is following Olivier and he turns around and looks back and his face tells you what the story will be and how it will end.

I can't get that face out of my head.
Raven haired Linda and her school mate Linnea are studying after school, when their desires take over and they kiss and strip off their clothes. They take turns fingering and licking one another's trimmed pussies on the desks, then fuck each other to intense orgasms with colorful vibrators.

pete

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Re: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Le Fils [The Son], L'Enfant, etc.)
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2005, 07:37:00 PM »
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.  My reaction is, "So?"  I've gone back to get the reactions again, from both Ebert and GT.  I always like hearing about films from people like GT, and pete, and 03 that otherwise I'd never hear about, because I'm usually well rewarded. 

AW really?  my threads rarely get replies so I thought no one was interested.  I guess I was one person off.
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Re: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Le Fils [The Son], L'Enfant, etc.)
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2005, 08:34:56 PM »
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.  My reaction is, "So?"  I've gone back to get the reactions again, from both Ebert and GT.  I always like hearing about films from people like GT, and pete, and 03 that otherwise I'd never hear about, because I'm usually well rewarded. 

AW really?  my threads rarely get replies so I thought no one was interested.  I guess I was one person off.

I take that with a grain of salt. Ono cursed me out pretty bad one time that made me assume he thinks everything I say is shit.

ono

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Re: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Le Fils [The Son], L'Enfant, etc.)
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2005, 07:15:11 PM »
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Haha.  That was 'cause you trashed Eternal Sunshine, if I recall correctly, and did so poorly.  You recanted later on, so all is good.  Besides, it's not a perfect movie.  But, before then, way before then, I said this:  http://xixax.com/index.php?topic=1549.msg37178#msg37178

I don't think everything you say is shit.  Now the way you say it... and where you get some of your opinions... well, that's debatable.  Looking forward to your thoughts on The Son, but I gotta leave for a second first.

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Re: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Le Fils [The Son], L'Enfant, etc.)
« Reply #8 on: December 02, 2005, 02:35:24 PM »
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I watched The Son after reading GT drool about it sometime ago, and Ebert drool about it as well (although who knows if that was just from the stroke).  My reaction is, "So?"  I've gone back to get the reactions again, from both Ebert and GT.  I always like hearing about films from people like GT, and pete, and 03 that otherwise I'd never hear about, because I'm usually well rewarded.  This time, not so much.  Some good scenes, but so much fat in this film.  You call this good storytelling?  It took over an hour and a half to tell what could've been told in an hour or less.  So I just thought I'd throw this thread up here to get comments on this, and other movies of theirs I should be aware of.

Actually, the storytelling of the film is the key. The film does not look to its content as points to relate to the audience. The points are actually of minimal concern. The pattern of the film is the storytelling is its attempt to document the "personal experience." In the first part of the film, as the protoganist shows unkown interest in this boy who is new to the school where he teaches, the beauty is that you don't know why he is following this boy. It isn't the simple matter of keeping the audience guessing, but illustrating the viewpoint really is first person. All films are so thoroughly from the third person point of view we sometimes forget the option is there for another.

All the films by the Dardennes are trying to break the usual conventions of storytelling. If you look at Rosetta, you realize the attempt is even riskier than in The Son. The entire film is just following this girl as she goes from place to place looking for a job and chances to get by. Her emotional anxiety is the film's guideline to how the story will be told. It is by handheld camera and literally 'following' her; the viewpoint at her back much of the time. When she encounters a situation, the camera swings around and gets in the face of the person she is encountering, like the camera is her anger taking over. Hardly does the film really situate itself to a balanced viewpoint or calm feeling. The film, as it tries to be, is an emotionally draining experience. Also, with the film so rooted in this character's anger, the physical nature of the film always feels violent. Funny, the major criticism by fans of the Dardennes is that when the film ends on a final shot of the main character, it looks too 'cinematic'. I actually agee with that.

But, I also feel the Dardennes have not really got to the strength of their talent. The Son was a major progress after Rosetta. It incorporated a larger theme that gave the action a stronger purpose, such as the father finding redemption in the killer of his son. But it is my belief that if the Dardennes continue to push themselves to larger social issues, the results can be even more breathtaking. Their filmmaking is not the attempt to dramaticize through variations of different points by the characters, but to bleed the characters to their core that the larger themes come through. For the past year, I've been obcessed with the novels of Philip Roth. His early work from the 60s and 70s were attempts of confessional realism, to forfeit the novel of a usual plot and render it simply as a man saying everything he has to say if he was speaking. The novels were quite angry, trying also to bleed these characters of everything they were to really understand who they were. The major progression for Roth was in the 90s when he allowed this style to incorporate social issues. His writing gained a new freedom because in the span of just one page, you had the feeling his character could be talking about any social issues as well as personal one. The feeling was his writing was starting to mirror the wild thought process we all have. The high art was that it was truly trying to rectify the human experience on page. When he won a Pulitzer for American Pastoral, the first 40 pages of the book is usual character introduction. Then the rest of the 300 page book is pure anger. The sight of watching a man explode on page as he sees his family destroyed because his 16 year old daughter became a terrorist. Paragraphs hardly matter. The book can go 10 pages sometimes without a single one.

Thing is, Roth never believed in structure or style being the matter of avante garde. He once said he would fail any student who focused on those principles when learning how to write. Roth's writing feels wholly personal and very close to the subject. The Dardennes have a similiar feel as they progress to root out all the superficial corners out of their films in to truly capture their characters. I think they are relating the personal experience as well as any filmmaker ever has. That says a lot because Antonioni achieved amazing things with La Notte. My hope is that the Dardennes continue to progress and try to encapture the whole experience of a man as it roots down to everything he is thinking and feeling. It will be the toughest thing to do, but filmmakers before have captured the "photographed thought."

mutinyco

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Re: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Le Fils [The Son], L'Enfant, etc.)
« Reply #9 on: December 02, 2005, 05:40:19 PM »
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All I have to say is, The Child is pure excruciating.
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Re: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Le Fils [The Son], L'Enfant, etc.)
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2005, 06:33:18 PM »
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All I have to say is, The Child is pure excruciating.

For you, I'll try to love it as much as possible. It only won the Palme D'Or.

mutinyco

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Re: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Le Fils [The Son], L'Enfant, etc.)
« Reply #11 on: December 02, 2005, 06:44:46 PM »
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So did Fahrenheit 9/11. What's your point?
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Re: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Le Fils [The Son], L'Enfant, etc.)
« Reply #12 on: December 02, 2005, 06:51:09 PM »
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So did Fahrenheit 9/11. What's your point?


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Re: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Le Fils [The Son], L'Enfant, etc.)
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2006, 08:04:34 AM »
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Funny, the major criticism by fans of the Dardennes is that when the film ends on a final shot of the main character, it looks too 'cinematic'. I actually agee with that.

But that was planned, and worked perfect, imo. They said that it was the first time in the film that Rosetta actually "saw" someone else. So if Cinema is "the Gaze", then this act of finally "seeing" should be done in a cinematic fashion.

Anyway, that movie was incredible. Glad you're a fan of these guys, GT. As to this ending, what it achieves as an ending... one of those perfect times to end a film, and they did it. Ballsy, it might seem on first glance, but then obvious (in the right way) when you think about it. Would be silly of fans to criticize this moment, but of course, stodgy "fans" of realism always did hate it when a filmmaker used his right to be a bit magical. They should be happy; the Dardennes seem to be taking everything Bresson talked about, but not situating it in his stiff ascetic world, but an almost perfect doc-type recording of a situation (which should, in theory, make it more accessible to the movie-going public). Quite an interesting achievement...

Oh, also, just to comment on the last few posts: the Dardennes did a hilarious interview where they trashed the shit out of Farenheit 9/11, and said "we don't like manipulative propaganda"... hehehe, wonderful...
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Re: Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne (Le Fils [The Son], L'Enfant, etc.)
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2006, 01:03:09 PM »
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Maybe I did put too much importance on one shot of the film, but I stand by that comment. The shot does not destroy the film, but its important to note because the Dardennes never tried a shot like that again. Their films have diligently avvoided a "cinematic" touch.

On the other hand, I recently watched "A Short Film About Killing". I saw the fantasia elements of Kieslowski's 90s films done to a documentary realism. That collision destroyed the film for me.

 

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