Showing posts from October, 2007

DVD Review Of Eternity And A Day

Copyright © by Dan Schneider The 1998 film by Greek director Theo Angelopoulos, Eternity And A Day ( Mia Aioniotita Kai Mia Mera or Μια αιωνιότητα και μια μέρα ), is not merely another film about a supposed poet wherein the art of poetry and the act of poesizing are never on display. Yes, it’s true that, technically, neither are onscreen, but it is a superior film about a supposed poet wherein the art of poetry and the act of poesizing are never on display, for the film does capture the dead cliché of ‘a soul of a poet’ as well as just about any I’ve ever seen. It does it with imagery, and Angelopoulos’s patented long takes, but it does capture it, and exceedingly well. The film was not only directed by Angelopoulos, but he wrote the screenplay. That it won that year’s Cannes Film Festival’s coveted Palm D’Or shows that, sometimes, quality still counts. The tale subtly weaves the past, present, and future tenses of a dying man, the bearded poet Alexander (Bruno Ganz, best k

Satantango by Rosenbaum

Already cited in a previous post , The Importance of Being Sarcastic : Satantango , review by Jonathan Rosenbaum ( Chicago Reader , October 14, 1994, also in Essential Cinema ) : "(...) So far I could almost be describing a painting. But even though the action of Satantango covers only two consecutive fall days, followed by a couple of mordant epilogues occurring later the same month, this is a narrative constantly in motion -- at least in the way we experience it -- thanks to Tarr's elaborately choreographed camera style and respect for duration. Filmed in extremely long takes, the movie makes us share a lot of time as well as space with its characters, and the overall effect is to give a moral weight as well as narrative weight to every shot: as detestable as these people are, we're so fully with them for such extended stretches that we can't help but feel deeply involved, even implicated in their various manoeuvres. (This is somewhat less true of Tarr's two imp


TARR Béla (born 21 July 1955, Hungary) = 53 yold in 2008 16 films / 12 screenplays (1st film: 1978/latest film: 2011) INSPIRED BY: Robert Bresson, Yasujiro Ozu, Miklós Jancsó, Andrei Tarkovsky, Rainer Fassbinder, John Cassavetes, Larissa Shepitko, paintings (?) ... C.C.C. films : The Turin Horse (2011); The Man From London (2007); Prologue (2004); Werckmeister harmóniák (2000); Sátántangó (1994); Damnation (1988), Almanac of Fall (1985); The Prefab People (1982); The Outsider (1981); Family Nest (1979); INFLUENCE ON: Gus Van Sant, Wang Bing, Benedek Fliegauf, György Fehér... The Turin Horse (2011) Press kit [ PDF ]  Press conférence Berlinale 2011 (15 Feb 2011) video 47'17"  The Turin horse (Jonathan Romney, 15 Feb 2011, Screen Daily)  Michel Ciment - 61e Berlinale  (France Culture, 19 Février 2011) webcast 59' [ MP3 ]  Berlin viewing 4 (Robert Koehler, Film Journey, 22 Feb 2011)  (add reference here) The Man from London (2007) 132' V

Prix L'Age D'Or

Via David Bordwell's blog (October 24th, 2006) : The Belgian Cinematheque awards in an annual international competition, a prize to films that challenge and disturb accepted notions of cinema. Dans l’esprit de Jacques Ledoux, cette redéfinition du Prix correspondait à une préoccupation précise, à laquelle n’est pas étranger le contexte de Mai ’68. Le cinéma était, en effet, alors « engagé », et dans les films de combat, le propos l’emportait sur l’écriture cinématographique. C’est précisément contre cela que s’insurgeait Jacques Ledoux, contre cette désinvolture et ce dédain à l’encontre du langage cinématographique, convaincu qu’il était qu’une écriture négligée, académique, conventionnelle, ne pouvait que déforcer, voire trahir, un propos révolutionnaire et subversif. L’Âge d’Or de Buñuel était pour Ledoux, l’exemple type d’un film dont le langage novateur rendait plus percutante encore la subversion du propos. (...) Établie en 1973, cette première définition allait ensuite co

Review Of Landscape In The Mist

Copyright © by Dan Schneider There is a superlative scene in Theo Angelopoulos’s 1988 film Landscape In The Mist ( Τοπίο στην ομίχλη or Topio Stin Omichli ) that is amongst the best filmic depictions of sexual abuse ever shown, and should be shown as a primer to Hollywood directors on how to be subtle and poetic, especially when dealing with such terminally PC topics. In it, the young ten or twelve year heroine of the film, Voula (Tania Palaiologou), who is on the run, in search of her nonexistent father (whom her never seen onscreen mother has told the children resides in Germany, even though she has no idea who their father/s is/are), with her five or six year old brother Alexandre (Michalis Zeke), has hitched a ride with a nameless truck driver (Vassilis Kolovos). After he tries to dump the kids off at a truck stop diner, but they follow him, he pulls over on the side of a road, as the boy sleeps. He tells her to get out of the truck, and then grabs her into the body of the t

The story is always a part of the image

In an interview with Bela Tarr (unknown date) : "STEVE ERICKSON : It seems to me that there are certain sections of SATANTANGO which emphasize the image far more than the story, and vice versa. Do you see a tension between image and narrative? BELA TARR : I don't think they are detached, because the story is always a part of the image. In my vocabulary, story doesn't mean the same thing it means in American film language. There are human stories, natural stories, all kinds of stories. The question lies in where you put the emphasis on what's most important. There are everyday titbits that are very important. For instance, in DAMNATION , we leave the story and look at a close-up of beer mugs. But for me, that's also an important story. This is what I mean when I say that I'm trying to look at things from a cosmic dimension. If I could describe a film fully by telling you the narrative, I wouldn't want to make the film. It's time that film frees itself

Yvette Biro on Bela Tarr

notes on Yvette Biro's book " Le Temps au Cinéma / Turbulence and Flow " (2007), Chapter 7 : Odysseus . Atemporal Time About Satantango (1994) "Nothing happens, but we feel that everything is determined from above or from away : human distress, petty hatred and suspicion dominate the rituals of fear, lie and vague attempt to escape." She uses an interesting term : the intertwined fabric of this human "vegetation". "Everyone is overwhelmed by the weight of an existence drowned in mud and destined to a hopeless wait, as if they were devoured by the village itself. (...) Each gesture takes an infinite time to be accomplished. (...) Tarr's characters are never conscious of their conditions they drag themselves blindly to the next move, then fall down again suddenly and lose themselves in their quagmire." "Where nothing moves, reign deafness. (...) In fact, only the vegetative daily life and the lancinate desire to run far away exist. Sl

Béla Tarr by David Bordwell

The recent films of Bela Tarr constitute a referential archetype of what we call here " Contemplative Cinema ", for lack of a better terminology (I don't know how to call it anymore), as they embody every aspect of this marginal trend of contemporary art cinema. The characteristics detailed in a previous post are Plotlessness, Slowness, Wordlessness, Alienation. Bela Tarr eschews plot and storytelling, even refuses to answer questions dealing with that matter. He feels strongly about this choice to shift the focus of a film away from the narrative tradition, which is determinant for this "contemplative" generation of filmmakers. Bela Tarr is famous for his monumental long takes, the absence of onscreen action and the slowness of his characters. As far as dialogue, Bela Tarr is one of the most verbal of this trend, according to me), because he likes to give importance, at times, to a long piece of text (usually monologues), while other filmmakers avoid altogethe