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 Female Gaze: Charu and Maiden Check Out Female Filmmakers 
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Izzy Black wrote:
I'd also be down to watch some her other lesser appreciated stuff from her back catalog like Golden Eighties, Night and Day, Tomorrow We Move, and Histoires d'Amérique.

I recommend Toute une nuit, too. One of my fave Akermans. Haven't seen Histoires, but out of those, I like Night and Day the most. Her short I'm Hungry, I'm Cold is pretty cool. It's, ummm, a little Hartley (flat/deadpan) + a little Chytilova (Daisies). More of the former than the latter, but I still thought of the latter a bit while watching it.


Mon Jul 07, 2014 8:36 pm
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News From Home - possibly my favorite after Je tu il elle, its rigor, melancholy and time capsule-ness are all so pretty and funny and fun

From the East - I guess her most difficult that I've seen, but just in terms of its narrativeless fly-on-wall Hotel Monterrey methodology applied to a less theme-ready series of vignettes. It's still gorgeously rhythmic and immersive

Almayer's Folly - Mesmerizing. Funny. Musical. Wonderful.


Wed Jul 16, 2014 8:28 pm
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Good to hear, wig. Unfortunately, you're way ahead of me.

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Sat Jul 19, 2014 11:11 pm
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We're a little behind schedule (busy summer!), but we haven't forgotten this.
We're also watching the short Verite recommended, J'ai faim, j'ai froid.

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Sat Jul 19, 2014 11:11 pm
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wigwam wrote:
Almayer's Folly - Mesmerizing. Funny. Musical. Wonderful.
Boy, you weren't kidding! :)

We're planning to start the Akerman discussion on Sunday the 27th, so if you haven't watched one of these, now's your chance!

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Fri Jul 25, 2014 5:16 am
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:fresh:

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Fri Jul 25, 2014 7:13 am
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Jedi, I hope you've watched Almayer's Folly. So much third persona-ing!

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Sat Jul 26, 2014 7:46 am
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Still didn't; send me your images? :(

This weekend I hope to get some Akerman in!

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Sat Jul 26, 2014 9:39 am
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
send me your images?
Done. But I hope you watch it, too. I need to talk about that one.

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Sat Jul 26, 2014 10:21 am
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Will do, thanks! :heart:

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Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:01 am
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Well, that's as close as I'm going to get to famous. :D

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Sat Jul 26, 2014 11:03 am
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Finally watched Les Rendez-vous d'Anna and loved it, surprising no one.

This is perhaps even more suited to the theme of isolation than others, and I enjoyed all the "aesthetics of passage" stuff that is such an important part of many Berlin School films we've discussed in the past. From hotel rooms and corridors to train stations and platforms; the character is practically defined by the fact that she is always in transit, though perhaps we don't realise this until she does return to Paris (I believe?) towards the end. I'm not sure if this is merely a commentary on the nomadic lifestyle of a filmmaker, or perhaps it's even closer to home: people of the East escaping terrors of War, just as Akerman's family did? I don't know. It's only after watching the film that I realised that Anna's mother is played by Lea Massari, the famous Roman actress who also played the girl who disappeared in Antonioni's L'Avventura. Conscious parallels? Like Vitti's character, Anna is a traveler, not quite at home in her own skin and never really at home in her surroundings. I've read people compare this to Rohmer and Bresson, but for me it seems to share more with non-French stuff: the journeys of Wenders, for example.

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Thu Jul 31, 2014 10:08 pm
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JediMoonShyne wrote:
It's only after watching the film that I realised that Anna's mother is played by Lea Massari, the famous Roman actress who also played the girl who disappeared in Antonioni's L'Avventura. Conscious parallels? Like Vitti's character, Anna is a traveler, not quite at home in her own skin and never really at home in her surroundings.
Ooh, nice call! It's like the second half of L'Avventura on its own, with the earlier incident not just unsolved but missing altogether. Thinking back, I mostly just remember the sense of those spaces, the stations, the hotels. It's a very enveloping movie. It also feels really modern to me. I guess that's Akerman's influence on European cinema?

Doesn't it have a lot of third persona shots?

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Fri Aug 01, 2014 8:31 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Ooh, nice call! It's like the second half of L'Avventura on its own, with the earlier incident not just unsolved but missing altogether. Thinking back, I mostly just remember the sense of those spaces, the stations, the hotels. It's a very enveloping movie. It also feels really modern to me. I guess that's Akerman's influence on European cinema?

Doesn't it have a lot of third persona shots?

Modern as in the way the film is made, or the locations and architecture and stuff? It is very enveloping, you're right: lots of walls, always presented in a linear or frontal fashion, and ceilings. In fact, the only external scenes I can recall are those where she goes to visit the guy's house on the edge of town (?) - yet they do seem somewhat out of place.

And so many! Her most symmetrical, too. :heart:

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Fri Aug 01, 2014 7:55 pm
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Love the symmetry! I meant modern in the sense of your allusion to the Berlin School. It feels like films that are being made today, so I assume it's Akerman's influence on the latter. Earlier I noted what appear to be actual quotes in The Portuguese Nun.

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Sat Aug 02, 2014 12:28 am
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        Maiden checks out Chantal Akerman Part II

I was just a tiny bit disappointed in these at first. While they all have charm and some beautiful, evocative images, none of them felt quite as 'important' as either Je, Tu, Il, Elle or Meetings with Anna from last time. Or, maybe it's just that they didn't sit as comfortably together as the batch you picked. I enjoyed them, but no curator would screen Almayer's Folly with the first two, would they? But, I'm writing this paragraph now with the benefit of hindsight, and, months after watching these, I know that D'est is the one that sticks, the one that retains its restless sway over me.


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I liked News from Home. As wig says above, it's a great time-capsule portrait of New York, and the graffiti-strewn streets are a striking contrast with her mother's provincial letters. From what I'd read, I expected her mother to be more toxic, but it turns out she's only a little querulous and very boring. There are never real changes at home; the last letter could be the first. And the way Akerman lets the sounds of the city occasionally drown out the voice is evocative, though pretty obvious. Seriously, though, how many mothers can compare to New York City? It's hardly fair! As for the images, was it my imagination, or does the camera get better as the film goes on? It seemed to me that the framing got better, the colors started to pop, and we eventually got some beautiful symmetry. The subway platform shots, especially, are like little jewels – that's the point where I really sat up and took notice. Up at street level, it was never quite as exciting, though I did like the sense of the architecture, the feel of the rough brick as we prowled by in our car, the scale conveyed by towers and water, alternately hidden and revealed. I think she she's expressing an almost Tati-like appreciation for the city spaces at the end there.



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D’est is a beautiful, strangely restless travelogue. If her city prowling was vaguely Tati-like in News, it's closer to Denis in this one, all about light and surfaces. This is the prettiest of the films we watched this time, with a steady glow behind the pictures, day or night, summer or winter. It's often breathtaking – the way the snow and rain turn the street scenes into watercolors and oils, the way light filters through the spaces! But, when the screen looks like a particularly wonderful painting, I want to linger, enjoy; trained, as we are here at Corrie, on Tsai and Bartas, I kept wishing she’d hold her shots longer, stop the car, let me study the faces. But, instead, we're one of the crowd, tired and restless, eager to get home. But, it's even worse when we do get "home." We get only the briefest of glimpses of rooms and families, then they're gone. Frustrating. Not that I didn't enjoy this quite a bit, and I was surprised by how quickly the time passed. I do think I got the point about the transitional state of the society from the first bus stop sequence, though. I'm not sure we really needed the other seventeen or so. :D



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J'ai faim j'ai froid is cute, but slight – a warm up, maybe, for Portrait of a Young Girl? I liked the deadpan delivery, and the hurried swipes of eyeliner to "age" them, haha. I've seen Maria de Medeiros in a few things lately, and it's nice to find her here, in such an early role.



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Almayer's Folly is a richly colored dream, a story deeply felt but only half remembered. Fresh from the L'intrus school of film editing, Akerman cuts the Conrad story into small pieces that she rearranges into tableaux, full of symbolic meaning if not narrative shape. I thought the first half, built on repetition and flashbacks, was full of power. The last half, where the "real" story emerges is less interesting, though I do like that all the bits from the first half don't necessarily fit when we're done; we're left holding extra pieces that hint of a more mysterious, more beautiful puzzle elsewhere.

Isn't Stanislas Merhar a strange choice to play Almayer? Or, maybe it's the way he's written, as if the weakness that ruins him is his only characteristic. While Merhar's vacant stare is appropriately disturbing at times, at others he seems like a child wearing someone else's clothes. And in that final Sokurovian scene, where the sun plays over his sickly face and we look for glimpses of grief or regret... Did Akerman mean for there to be nothing at all?

Has anyone here read the book? I've been reading/skimming it here, and it's quite interesting to see what Akerman and her fellow screenwriters have done. As you might expect, she's taken an emotional core from the book, and built around it. The strangest choice is the character of Chen, who isn't from the book at all. Which makes that opening scene even stranger (and more significant), doesn't it? Specifically...
In the book Dain is a prince (!) and he and Nina live happily ever after. I suppose Akerman wanted a more realistic story, where healing may be impossible and your prince turns out to be a petty crook or a lounge singer. But, where did that enigmatic murder scene come from? What does it mean?

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Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:40 pm
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        Charu checks out Chantal Akerman Part II

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News from Home | 1977


This one feels just as personal and confessional (for lack of a better term) as the first film we discussed in our first go-around with Akerman, Je, Tu, Il, Elle and yet, the approach is so different. Whereas that film opens with Akerman alone in that room, in this one Akerman chooses to remain completely behind the camera. Instead the film starts off seeming like a portrait of a city in these rigorously composed long shots of New York streets. It’s only when the voiceover emerges ever so slowly that we realize that Akerman is actually reading out a series letters sent by her mom from Brussels while Akerman was living and working in New York. It’s such a neat formal device to capture her experience in New York - the visuals and the diegetic sounds have us experiencing this city she is perhaps seeing for the very first time while simultaneously the letters proffer glimpses of the life and home she has left behind.
It’s pretty genius how Akerman manipulates these three formal devices - the long takes of the city often with minimal to no camera movement, the diegetic sounds and the voice-over to give us what I think is a very particular view of this time in her life. So to start with the images of the city, this is no tourist ride through the well-known landmarks of the city. Instead, the feeling I got was more of a person walking around the city looking at things at eye-level or standing in a corner for an extended period of time watching passers-by. It’s a great portrait of a living breathing city untarnished by specific pop culture representations that one has come to expect while watching a film set in NYC. Another thing I noticed was how the stationary camera means Akerman doesn’t choose to pursue any interesting stories of people that might enter the frame. Which makes the film feel verite or whatever. And yet, at the same time, it’s not just purely observational or “realistic”. Akerman will often switch from day to night abruptly.

Likewise with the sound mix which again Akerman seems to be manipulating at least to a degree. I don’t recall a single instance where we actually hear any passers-by talking and yet, they seem to be passing by the camera. On the other hand, the traffic sounds and such are loud and pronounced and sometimes even drown out the voice-over narration.

And then there are the letters themselves. On the surface they are pretty prosaic - a mom worried about her daughter’s well-being in a foreign country, updating her on things that are happening on the home-front, developments in the family and so on, offers of financial aid. And yet, there are hints of emotional manipulation (this may just be me projecting) perhaps. The repeated requests for responses not just to the mom but also exhorting her to write to other relatives and friends, the repeated references to either one parent or the other being unwell in some way. At the very least, one gets the impression that the mother would like a reciprocal, “News from New York” and while there are references to Akerman replying to these letters on occasion, for the most part, Akerman seems unable (or unwilling) to reduce her experience into mere words or stories.


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J’ai faim, j’ai froid | 1984

I really enjoyed this one but am afraid I don’t have a lot to say about it. It’s quite a contrast even while dealing with something somewhat akin to News From Home in a way. Two young girls (from Brussels perhaps?) find themselves in Paris and as the title suggests, hungry and cold. But that doesn’t entirely deter them as they go around having a bunch of experiences. It’s a fun and funny film and I see why Verite thought of Daisies while watching it. After all, they seem to be hungry all the time and eat voraciously when they do find food. My favorite thing about the film is their sense of complicity… girls having adventures together.. reminiscent of Daisies, Celine and Julie etc etc..


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D’Est | 1993

This one’s even more structurally rigorous than News From Home. Whereas with that film, we at least have the voiceover offering some kind of backbone to hang on to, here there’s none of that. The whole film is just a series of shots both indoors and outdoors of people and landscapes in the Soviet Union at a particular point in history. The film opens with just these images of summer that make the region seem foreign and yet not completely alien. People go about their lives shopping, playing cards in their homes, drinking tea, watching musical performances. But then soon the film shifts to the cold oppressive winter and the outdoor scenes start to feel more alien. Most of the film (per my memory anyway) alternates between shots of people navigating the harsh weather and quotidian indoor scenes of people just going about daily life while a television or the radio plays in the background. Not all of it is joyless necessarily in that these indoor scenes have this playful quality to them wherein the sound of the tv or music playing on the radio often juxtaposes nicely with some action that’s taking place in the scene - a child playing or a woman enjoying a cup of tea. The outdoor scenes contrast these though in that they often capture people standing in queues with no real context as to what it is they are queuing up for. There are also several scenes of people in grand railway stations seemingly just waiting for a train to take them somewhere. I guess it’s possible to read something into these images of what these scenes might say about the state the Soviet Union was in, about the economic and other hardships that these people were facing, about the uncertainty that almost certainly plagued the region at the time. But even without a lot of context, the film has a certain rhythm to it that keeps it from turning into just fragmented ethnography. I wasn’t bored or disengaged while watching it but perhaps because of lack of context or perhaps because of it’s necessarily distancing structure, I couldn’t quite fall in love with it the way I did with say, News from Home.


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Almayer’s Folly | 2011

This one otoh invited me right in. I’ve watched those opening 6-7 minutes about half a dozen times now and I’m still not tired of it. Give me a silent pop music-based montage with un-contextualized drama and I’m immediately hooked. I haven’t read the Conrad novel although omg, how badly do I want to now! I don’t want to get into the plot stuff but Akerman doesn’t seem to want to especially either. All we get are fragments of the story - a father who is driven by his desire to keep his mixed-race daughter away from her Malaysian roots and as white (in upbringing, in character) as possible; a daughter who loves her father but finds it impossible to fit into this white upbringing that has been imposed upon her, a mother who is almost driven insane at being harshly separated from her daughter and a sometimes narrator who is loyal to Almayer while still completely able to see and feel Nina’s predicament. The film feels like a fever dream as characters navigate these lush Malaysian jungles and rivers wherein the impossibility of the terrain parallels the racial/social/psychological separation between Almayer and Nina. I absolutely loved this film, Maiden and am hoping that our discussion will help me better articulate why it moved me so much. For now, I’ll just say that it reminded me Pola X, another film with a maudit protagonist that I really love. Perhaps, it’s also because so much of the film is just people wandering through a jungle having these feverish frenzied conversations that hints at so much more despair and history than the film is able to contain. I talked about how much I love that opening shot but then it’s bookended by an equally amazing closing shot.. a long take that reminded me of Vive L’Amour in that it crushed my heart.

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Sat Nov 29, 2014 12:51 pm
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charulata wrote:
This one feels just as personal and confessional (for lack of a better term) as the first film we discussed in our first go-around with Akerman, Je, Tu, Il, Elle and yet, the approach is so different.
Huh. I didn't think that one was necessarily autobiographical. The sugar eating? The sculpture sex? Hmm.

Quote:
And then there are the letters themselves. On the surface they are pretty prosaic - a mom worried about her daughter’s well-being in a foreign country, updating her on things that are happening on the home-front, developments in the family and so on, offers of financial aid. And yet, there are hints of emotional manipulation (this may just be me projecting) perhaps.
Yeah, interviews and reviews had led to me to expect much worse. But, sure, she's constantly asking for more than she's getting...

Quote:
I guess it’s possible to read something into these images of what these scenes might say about the state the Soviet Union was in, about the economic and other hardships that these people were facing, about the uncertainty that almost certainly plagued the region at the time. But even without a lot of context, the film has a certain rhythm to it that keeps it from turning into just fragmented ethnography. I wasn’t bored or disengaged while watching it but perhaps because of lack of context or perhaps because of it’s necessarily distancing structure, I couldn’t quite fall in love with it the way I did with say, News from Home.
This is how I took it, although, yeah, it seems like a sort of small statement for such a labor of love. As I mentioned above, this one is my favorite of the four, though it's hard to say why. It's pretty!

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I’ve watched those opening 6-7 minutes about half a dozen times now and I’m still not tired of it. Give me a silent pop music-based montage with un-contextualized drama and I’m immediately hooked
Yes, that scene is completely amazing. It was almost too good, because the rest of the time I was waiting for more of the same. I liked this one very much when I first watched it, but have to admit that it faded over time.

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Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:10 pm
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charulata wrote:
I talked about how much I love that opening shot but then it’s bookended by an equally amazing closing shot.. a long take that reminded me of Vive L’Amour in that it crushed my heart.
Speaking of which, when I was skimming the book, I specifically looked for the scene on the beach where the subtitles get spotty, and I couldn't tell who was speaking. Turns out it's a very literal translation of the scene, except that Almayer speaks in the film what he only mouths in the book:

Quote:
“Master,” he said timidly, “time to get house now. Long way off to pull. All ready, sir.”

“Wait,” whispered Almayer.

Now she was gone his business was to forget, and he had a strange notion that it should be done systematically and in order. To Ali’s great dismay he fell on his hands and knees, and, creeping along the sand, erased carefully with his hand all traces of Nina’s footsteps. He piled up small heaps of sand, leaving behind him a line of miniature graves right down to the water. After burying the last slight imprint of Nina’s slipper he stood up, and, turning his face towards the headland where he had last seen the prau, he made an effort to shout out loud again his firm resolve to never forgive. Ali watching him uneasily saw only his lips move, but heard no sound. He brought his foot down with a stamp. He was a firm man—firm as a rock. Let her go. He never had a daughter. He would forget. He was forgetting already.

Ali approached him again, insisting on immediate departure, and this time he consented, and they went together towards their canoe, Almayer leading. For all his firmness he looked very dejected and feeble as he dragged his feet slowly through the sand on the beach; and by his side—invisible to Ali—stalked that particular fiend whose mission it is to jog the memories of men, lest they should forget the meaning of life. He whispered into Almayer’s ear a childish prattle of many years ago. Almayer, his head bent on one side, seemed to listen to his invisible companion, but his face was like the face of a man that has died struck from behind—a face from which all feelings and all expression are suddenly wiped off by the hand of unexpected death.
And, that last paragraph proves how wrong I was about that scene. (And you were right.) She did want his face empty of feeling, and that extended take with the sunlight on his face is a remarkable representation of this passage!

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Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:12 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
I was just a tiny bit disappointed in these at first. While they all have charm and some beautiful, evocative images, none of them felt quite as 'important' as either Je, Tu, Il, Elle or Meetings with Anna from last time. Or, maybe it's just that they didn't sit as comfortably together as the batch you picked. I enjoyed them, but no curator would screen Almayer's Folly with the first two, would they? But, I'm writing this paragraph now with the benefit of hindsight, and, months after watching these, I know that D'est is the one that sticks, the one that retains its restless sway over me.

I like the first batch we picked better as well, overall but the two you highlight from that batch remain my favorite, Je, Tu, Il, Elle in particular. But after that we differ in that D'Est is perhaps the least of these for me.. which I think reveals my plebeian need for some sort of in when it comes to more structural / experimental work.

Shieldmaiden wrote:
I liked News from Home. As wig says above, it's a great time-capsule portrait of New York, and the graffiti-strewn streets are a striking contrast with her mother's provincial letters. From what I'd read, I expected her mother to be more toxic, but it turns out she's only a little querulous and very boring. There are never real changes at home; the last letter could be the first. And the way Akerman lets the sounds of the city occasionally drown out the voice is evocative, though pretty obvious. Seriously, though, how many mothers can compare to New York City? It's hardly fair! As for the images, was it my imagination, or does the camera get better as the film goes on? It seemed to me that the framing got better, the colors started to pop, and we eventually got some beautiful symmetry. The subway platform shots, especially, are like little jewels – that's the point where I really sat up and took notice. Up at street level, it was never quite as exciting, though I did like the sense of the architecture, the feel of the rough brick as we prowled by in our car, the scale conveyed by towers and water, alternately hidden and revealed. I think she she's expressing an almost Tati-like appreciation for the city spaces at the end there.

The framing does get better but I assumed it was her getting more accustomed to the city and being able to look at it with more hmm subjectivity. I am editorializing, of course, but she's falling in love with specific images as opposed to searching for what it is this city is about. And the great last shot is finally her being able to see and show us the city overall per se.. with its tall buildings and architecture et al. I did love the little portraits of small locales in the first few long shots though.. the little portraits of locals etc.

Shieldmaiden wrote:
D’est is a beautiful, strangely restless travelogue. If her city prowling was vaguely Tati-like in News, it's closer to Denis in this one, all about light and surfaces. This is the prettiest of the films we watched this time, with a steady glow behind the pictures, day or night, summer or winter. It's often breathtaking – the way the snow and rain turn the street scenes into watercolors and oils, the way light filters through the spaces! But, when the screen looks like a particularly wonderful painting, I want to linger, enjoy; trained, as we are here at Corrie, on Tsai and Bartas, I kept wishing she’d hold her shots longer, stop the car, let me study the faces. But, instead, we're one of the crowd, tired and restless, eager to get home. But, it's even worse when we do get "home." We get only the briefest of glimpses of rooms and families, then they're gone. Frustrating. Not that I didn't enjoy this quite a bit, and I was surprised by how quickly the time passed. I do think I got the point about the transitional state of the society from the first bus stop sequence, though. I'm not sure we really needed the other seventeen or so. :D

I agree on wishing we'd linger longer. I wondered if it's because I was used to her long takes by the time I watched this one (the last one I watched fwiw). It's pretty, yes.. but I wish I was as hypnotized by the painterliness and all the blue. Like I said in my writeup, I wasn't bored or anything but ultimately, it just felt like a really great travelogue or something. I'd remember that trip, of course, but I like my travel to have stories of people too maybe.

Shieldmaiden wrote:
Almayer's Folly is a richly colored dream, a story deeply felt but only half remembered. Fresh from the L'intrus school of film editing, Akerman cuts the Conrad story into small pieces that she rearranges into tableaux, full of symbolic meaning if not narrative shape. I thought the first half, built on repetition and flashbacks, was full of power. The last half, where the "real" story emerges is less interesting, though I do like that all the bits from the first half don't necessarily fit when we're done; we're left holding extra pieces that hint of a more mysterious, more beautiful puzzle elsewhere.

Oh it reminded me of Denis as well. White Material and L'Intrus especially ... coz in both films, like you mention in your writeup, all the pieces don't necessarily fit in neatly. We seem to be missing information and yet, the films all work.

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Isn't Stanislas Merhar a strange choice to play Almayer? Or, maybe it's the way he's written, as if the weakness that ruins him is his only characteristic. While Merhar's vacant stare is appropriately disturbing at times, at others he seems like a child wearing someone else's clothes. And in that final Sokurovian scene, where the sun plays over his sickly face and we look for glimpses of grief or regret... Did Akerman mean for there to be nothing at all?

I liked him. He looks young and naive which I thought was appropriate. He's a weak man, too easily influenced, too unable to see what he's doing to his beloved daughter. When she returns, he is so excited... does he not see the dead look in her eyes :(?

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Has anyone here read the book? I've been reading/skimming it here, and it's quite interesting to see what Akerman and her fellow screenwriters have done. As you might expect, she's taken an emotional core from the book, and built around it. The strangest choice is the character of Chen, who isn't from the book at all. Which makes that opening scene even stranger (and more significant), doesn't it? Specifically...
In the book Dain is a prince (!) and he and Nina live happily ever after. I suppose Akerman wanted a more realistic story, where healing may be impossible and your prince turns out to be a petty crook or a lounge singer. But, where did that enigmatic murder scene come from? What does it mean?
[/box]

wow, I didn't read the book but the whole prince thing is strange. I thought the murder scene (like you mention) just negates any possibility of happiness for anyone. But even before that, her dancing in the background as a part of the chorus line, is hardly a picture of happiness. She mentions in an interview I read that she was very inspired by Murnau's Tabu and so desperately wanting the two lovers in that film to end up together. But somehow here, their union is anything but joyful to me. As for the murder, I am not sure what it's about or why it's necessary other than to really make any kind of normality impossible. But to the extent that it made it possible for her to have that be the opening of the film, I don't even need it to fit in terms of story/meaning.

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Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:29 pm
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The interview I mentioned with Akerman (am still reading it)..

https://mubi.com/notebook/posts/madwome ... al-akerman

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Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:34 pm
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charulata wrote:
The interview I mentioned with Akerman (am still reading it)..

https://mubi.com/notebook/posts/madwome ... al-akerman
Ah, great stuff. More about that last shot:

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It was not easy to shoot this. We worked a lot on that sequence in the editing, because it wasn't originally supposed to be like that—dreamy—but we realize he's out of his mind. He's ranting and we feel Almayer is totally out of place. He says, "you'll never have my daughter!" Yet when he finds her and holds her, he hands her right over to the Captain. I have great sympathy for him because that guy is always manipulated and he made all the wrong choices. At the end, it drives him crazy. That last shot . . . I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that last shot. You see him losing his mind.

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Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:40 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Huh. I didn't think that one was necessarily autobiographical. The sugar eating? The sculpture sex? Hmm.

I didn't mean autobiographical in any literal sense at all. Just personal. But maybe I'm wrong about that too. I think I may be thinking that because of how much she's putting herself out there on screen there..


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This is how I took it, although, yeah, it seems like a sort of small statement for such a labor of love. As I mentioned above, this one is my favorite of the four, though it's hard to say why. It's pretty!

I only just skimmed this article but it talks about the film as Akerman taking a particular approach to history and memory with this film.. trying to retrace her roots but not in a literal sense and in fact, avoiding the town her family is from etc. Seems like an interesting read.
http://www.academia.edu/3676782/Memory_ ... rmans_Dest

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Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:46 pm
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It was not easy to shoot this. We worked a lot on that sequence in the editing, because it wasn't originally supposed to be like that—dreamy—but we realize he's out of his mind. He's ranting and we feel Almayer is totally out of place. He says, "you'll never have my daughter!" Yet when he finds her and holds her, he hands her right over to the Captain. I have great sympathy for him because that guy is always manipulated and he made all the wrong choices. At the end, it drives him crazy. That last shot . . . I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like that last shot. You see him losing his mind.



Neat. Kinda coincides with my interpretation when I was responding to your casting question that he's just a man who let other ppl influence his choices. Weak of mind etc. Pitiable rather than hateful. Sad film. I kinda kept thinking about The Princess of Kaguya too while watching this one... wildly different film, of course.. but the whole misguided fathers and strong-willed daughters thing. I love what Akerman says about Nina in the interview ... The girl will find her way. Denis had similar things to say about the daughter in Bastards.. that she was ultimately a warrior.

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Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:50 pm
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charulata wrote:
But after that we differ in that D'Est is perhaps the least of these for me.. which I think reveals my plebeian need for some sort of in when it comes to more structural / experimental work.
Haha. I feel like I've been training for this (with Bartas, etc.) the whole time I've been posting/reading here.

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The framing does get better but I assumed it was her getting more accustomed to the city and being able to look at it with more hmm subjectivity. I am editorializing, of course, but she's falling in love with specific images as opposed to searching for what it is this city is about. And the great last shot is finally her being able to see and show us the city overall per se.. with its tall buildings and architecture et al.
OK, I love this explanation. It feels absolutely true.

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I liked him. He looks young and naive which I thought was appropriate. He's a weak man, too easily influenced, too unable to see what he's doing to his beloved daughter. When she returns, he is so excited... does he not see the dead look in her eyes :(?
Yeah, that's terrible. He certainly good at portraying weak characters. That interview you linked makes it clear that's what she wanted, but she sees other things in him, too. Oh well. I had similar problems with him in La Captive. It's probably just me.

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As for the murder, I am not sure what it's about or why it's necessary other than to really make any kind of normality impossible. But to the extent that it made it possible for her to have that be the opening of the film, I don't even need it to fit in terms of story/meaning.
Yes, I think I can agree with that. Again, the interview helps, especially since she distances herself so thoroughly from Conrad there.

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Seems like an interesting read.
Ooh, that looks interesting! Thanks!

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Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:57 pm
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Some more images from these films. I took a ton of screencaps in all of these, (except the short, since I had a terrible copy). But D'est is the clear winner. Gorgeous!

Image Image


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Sat Nov 29, 2014 1:59 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Image

Hey there. ;)

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Sat Nov 29, 2014 5:34 pm
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More images from me as well... all from Almayer's Folly for now..

Image Image
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Image Image

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Sun Nov 30, 2014 12:32 am
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Interview with Sally Potter in the latest issue of Cléo

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Thu Dec 04, 2014 11:42 pm
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Hey, I know someone who writes for Cléo...

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Fri Dec 05, 2014 12:57 am
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I just read Mulvey's famous 1975 essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, which is an interesting piece with loads of room for contention in a thread like this!

I enjoyed the Cleo issue, too. Aside from what you posted and what Rouge wrote, the discussion on teen party films is good as well.


Fri Dec 05, 2014 1:56 am
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That Eminence Grise fellow doesn't post enough - I've always said so!

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Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:20 am
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Eminence Grise wrote:
I just read Mulvey's famous 1975 essay Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema, which is an interesting piece with loads of room for contention in a thread like this!
Hmm. That brings us back to the discussion of misogyny in noir from Jedi's thread. I'm woefully uninformed about Freud, but I can’t understand a social or symbolic system that involves looking at a woman’s body and seeing primarily a lack of penis. Is there anyone (outside of academia and Lars von Trier*) who actually interacts with the world this way?

*Mostly a joke, though I admit I didn’t understand Antichrist at all, so who knows?

JediMoonShyne wrote:
That Eminence Grise fellow doesn't post enough - I've always said so!
Agreed!

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Fri Dec 05, 2014 2:57 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Hmm. That brings us back to the discussion of misogyny in noir from Jedi's thread. I'm woefully uninformed about Freud, but I can’t understand a social or symbolic system that involves looking at a woman’s body and seeing primarily a lack of penis. Is there anyone (outside of academia and Lars von Trier*) who actually interacts with the world this way?

*Mostly a joke, though I admit I didn’t understand Antichrist at all, so who knows?

Agreed!

Without looking at the noir thread (I haven’t the time to do so, right now), I’ll try and comment. It’s an interesting piece, and it really brings up some absurd notions, however, notions that deserve the attention of vision and gender relations (which both posit enormous ontological issues). I, like you, don’t see exactly where Von Trier is coming from, in a direct sense, with Antichrist, but it’s certainly not only in Antichrist, its a thematic motif within all of his cinema (or at least all that I’ve seen): that of the “troubled female”. His issues with women and their subject/object relations is very complex and stems from a place of displaced misogyny and opposed masculinity within the culture (western culture, exclusively?). The notions seem to be that, the feminine lack of participation in the symbolic order (by not having a penis) seems to identify directly with the male authoritarian gaze--directly because of that lack. Moreover, because men suffer from “castration anxiety”, they make it a point of subjegating the female symbology as an object of desire and frustration--thus, the male gaze is birthed. This theory is troubling to me because it’s an inescapable maze of frustration that negates feminine agency within vision and perception. I hate it, and that’s why it interests me. This gaze does seem to be everywhere and it’s troubling for women and men alike (think Cleo from 5 to 7). I’m certainly interested in at least something moving past the gaze--perhaps it might be some of these “teen party” films that the latest issue of Cleo was talking about, or maybe it lies in the stylistics of someone like Ozu, who seems to cast a neutral gaze upon their own culture (furthered perhaps by Hou HH, etc.). But I don’t know. It’s troubling, but an interesting topic, and I’m more interested in what female cineastes have to say about it than males, at least in part.

Edit (quick statement on Noir (without having read the thread)): Femme Fatales, to me, "exploit" the gaze. This is one of the first thematic shifts as subjugation of the gaze: that of the female taking advantage of her place in within the male gaze and using it for her own insidious advantages. However, this seems to be the only way to respond: through exploitation. Is this the only agency she can assert? It's petty and I don't like it. Of course, this does--at least in part--disorient the male and allows a place for feminine critique, which is good. This always reminds me of Madonna and her exploitations.


Fri Dec 05, 2014 6:31 am
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Nice!
Eminence Grise wrote:
I, like you, don’t see exactly where Von Trier is coming from, in a direct sense, with Antichrist, but it’s certainly not only in Antichrist, its a thematic motif within all of his cinema (or at least all that I’ve seen): that of the “troubled female”. His issues with women and their subject/object relations is very complex and stems from a place of displaced misogyny and opposed masculinity within the culture (western culture, exclusively?).
I got a somewhat different impression from Nymphomaniac, but I couldn't resist the potshot at LvT, having just watched Breaking the Waves. Such an emotionally sadistic film! Ugh.
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Moreover, because men suffer from “castration anxiety”, they make it a point of subjegating the female symbology as an object of desire and frustration--thus, the male gaze is birthed. This theory is troubling to me because it’s an inescapable maze of frustration that negates feminine agency within vision and perception. I hate it, and that’s why it interests me.
Yes! And, that's what I cannot understand. Why come up with this tortured, roundabout psychological explanation for desire (within the symbology or outside of it)? Surely, biology has it covered? Reading back through the link, I notice the idea of tension between very different responses, which makes more sense. But, I can't help wanting to defend the male gaze from its more negative connotations – not just to restore feminine agency, but out of a kind of recognition/reciprocity.

I feel like maybe everything I've said in this post is gibberish, but I do think I have a slightly better handle on the Mulvey argument now. Thank you. :)

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Fri Dec 05, 2014 9:19 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
just watched Breaking the Waves. Such an emotionally sadistic film!


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Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:11 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Nice!
I got a somewhat different impression from Nymphomaniac, but I couldn't resist the potshot at LvT, having just watched Breaking the Waves. Such an emotionally sadistic film! Ugh.
Yes! And, that's what I cannot understand. Why come up with this tortured, roundabout psychological explanation for desire (within the symbology or outside of it)? Surely, biology has it covered? Reading back through the link, I notice the idea of tension between very different responses, which makes more sense. But, I can't escape an instinctive need to defend the male gaze from its more negative connotations – not just to restore feminine agency, but out of a kind of recognition/reciprocity.

I feel like maybe everything I've said in this post is gibberish, but I do think I have a slightly better handle on the Mulvey argument now. Thank you. :)

I've yet to see Nympho.

Regarding the gaze: Are you saying that the argument is antiquated, or is it just a self-fulfilling prophecy, or both?

Regarding the bolded: Are you're saying that the male gaze is not demeaning toward females? I agree that there is recognition there, and it can be seen by many male filmmakers (someone like Almodóvar, who provides interesting insight, perhaps?). But is that enough? Maybe it is enough to critique the gaze--using the male gaze against itself can have profound implications, I think. But the limited frequency that that occurs in modern cinema is scarce and downright preposterous.

Edit: What do you make of the examples at the end of the essay on Hitchcock and Sternberg?


Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:47 am
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Eminence Grise wrote:
Regarding the gaze: Are you saying that the argument is antiquated, or is it just a self-fulfilling prophecy, or both?
The former, I guess. And it doesn't have to be demeaning, does it? But, I mostly meant that it's easy to see why it happens (minus the castration thing, haha), and I'm guilty of a female gaze myself. But, that brings us to the only real solution, doesn't it, which has always been: more female filmmakers!!

Quote:
Edit: What do you make of the examples at the end of the essay on Hitchcock and Sternberg?
I've only seen Morocco, but the Sternberg critique was quite interesting and made more sense to me than the Hitchcock. That's a very negative reading of Rear Window. And Vertigo is too easy, isn't it? It's the whole point!

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Fri Dec 05, 2014 10:40 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
The former, I guess. And it doesn't have to be demeaning, does it? But, I mostly meant that it's easy to see why it happens (minus the castration thing, haha), and I'm guilty of a female gaze myself. But, that brings us to the only real solution, doesn't it, which has always been: more female filmmakers!!

I hope not! And of course I agree, we need more female filmmakers that are willing to use their cameras and their portrayals of women in unique ways.

Shieldmaiden wrote:
I've only seen Morocco, but the Sternberg critique was quite interesting and made more sense to me than the Hitchcock. That's a very negative reading of Rear Window. And Vertigo is too easy, isn't it? It's the whole point!

The Rear Window critique is interesting, and yes, negative. But having watched it recently, it's still an interesting, and perhaps quite accurate, reading of the film. Lets look at this clip maybe? It's fascinating.

The first couple of shots are interesting--we see Jeff, then what seems to be his POV, but that's impossible because we know he has his eyes closed--so our first shot of her is US looking, and her looking back. I think because we get to see her first, in this particular way, we have to look at her as object because she has yet to become a subject. She becomes a narrative subject as soon as Jeff opens his eyes, they kiss, and looks and says "who are you?". Then, when she introduces herself ("from top to bottom", and the camera shows her that way, too!), she acknowledges herself as object when she parades around the room, turning on the lights, and finally poses.


Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:48 am
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Eminence Grise wrote:
The first couple of shots are interesting--we see Jeff, then what seems to be his POV, but that's impossible because we know he has his eyes closed--so our first shot of her is US looking, and her looking back.
Ooh, good point! I watched it, and, yes, it makes sense. I just got hung up on that idea that he wasn't sexually interested until she was in danger; I think your clip disproves that, too. :)

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And of course I agree, we need more female filmmakers that are willing to use their cameras and their portrayals of women in unique ways.
So, who do you think does this today? Akerman, Denis, Maren Ade... ?

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Tue Dec 09, 2014 1:10 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
Ooh, good point! I watched it, and, yes, it makes sense. I just got hung up on that idea that he wasn't sexually interested until she was in danger; I think your clip disproves that, too. :)

Ya, I think he might be. But even more is that I think that we become sexually interested in her too, even before he does! So it's like we're looking, and he's looking, and we're looking at him look at her... ugh.

Shieldmaiden wrote:
So, who do you think does this today? Akerman, Denis, Maren Ade... ?

All of them! Although I feel remiss when I say I'm very naive towards Akerman and Denis' cinema--I've only seen one film from each :shifty: . And I always forget how great The Forest for the Trees is.


Tue Dec 09, 2014 2:25 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
So, who do you think does this today? Akerman, Denis, Maren Ade... ?
For some reason I was limiting my answer above to female directors' depictions of the female form. Bad reading comprehension. Obviously, there are plenty of ways to bring a distinctly female perspective to their work, and the list should be much longer.

Eminence Grise wrote:
Although I feel remiss when I say I'm very naive towards Akerman and Denis' cinema--I've only seen one film from each.
What an admission to make in the Female Gaze thread! You should watch Almayer's Folly and 35 Rhums as (enjoyable) penance. Father-daughter relationships!

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Wed Dec 10, 2014 4:27 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
You should watch Almayer's Folly and 35 Rhums as (enjoyable) penance. Father-daughter relationships!

I don't have access to the former, but I do for the latter! :D


Thu Dec 11, 2014 9:05 am
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Eminence Grise wrote:
I don't have access to the former...
Aw, sorry, I try not to do that. Do you have access to Je, Tu, Il, Elle? From the same year as that Mulvey essay, and still maybe the ultimate in female gaze!

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Wonder Woman ▪ The Running Man ▪ Mohabbatein ▪ Veer-Zaara ▪ Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 ▪ Pierrot le fou ▪ Highway ▪ Leningrad Cowboys Go America ▪ Band Baaja Baaraat ▪ Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi ▪ Jab We Met

Voyage | Female Gaze | MACBETH | Sokurov | Fassbinder | Greenaway | Denis | Book Shelf


Fri Dec 12, 2014 12:00 pm
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Breaking the Waves, best Trier ever?

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Fri Dec 12, 2014 5:50 pm
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worst movie ever*

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Fri Dec 12, 2014 6:00 pm
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also the most sickeningly misogynistic piece of work i've ever seen i do not support its mention in this thread

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Latest notable first-time viewings:

* Birth Certificate / Różewicz
Bush Mama / Gerima
** Paris Is Burning / Livingston
The Love Witch / Biller
Edward Hopper / Peck
Les signes / Green
Time and Tide / Hutton
* Ordinary Matter / Frampton
Vertical Features Remake / Greenaway
* Chickens / Amiralay


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Fri Dec 12, 2014 6:01 pm
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if you continue to talk about it i will literally fly to italy and find you and vomit all over you

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Latest notable first-time viewings:

* Birth Certificate / Różewicz
Bush Mama / Gerima
** Paris Is Burning / Livingston
The Love Witch / Biller
Edward Hopper / Peck
Les signes / Green
Time and Tide / Hutton
* Ordinary Matter / Frampton
Vertical Features Remake / Greenaway
* Chickens / Amiralay


TWEET1 | TWEET2 | FACE | BOXD | TUMBL1 | TUMBL2


Fri Dec 12, 2014 6:01 pm
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Mmm, sounds like a promise. :heart:

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WCoF I II IIIL'EtàL'Eau한국88ShadowsBerlin thırd ISOLATIONVistaVision


Fri Dec 12, 2014 6:03 pm
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no omg ew shut up

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Latest notable first-time viewings:

* Birth Certificate / Różewicz
Bush Mama / Gerima
** Paris Is Burning / Livingston
The Love Witch / Biller
Edward Hopper / Peck
Les signes / Green
Time and Tide / Hutton
* Ordinary Matter / Frampton
Vertical Features Remake / Greenaway
* Chickens / Amiralay


TWEET1 | TWEET2 | FACE | BOXD | TUMBL1 | TUMBL2


Fri Dec 12, 2014 6:07 pm
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