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 Female Gaze: Charu and Maiden Check Out Female Filmmakers 
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Ah, well in this one, it's the same thing, right? But exaggerated for comic effect. That apartment is so overstuffed and stereotypically female... and another young man living with his mother. No idea about the graveside one, though. :)

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:17 pm
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Yeah, probably doesn't mean anything at all. I just came away with the feeling that I saw a lot of dolls for some reason or maybe I was subconsciously looking for points of comparison to Daisies or female representation or something. Who knows :D?!

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:19 pm
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There we go. I could post pictures of Asthenic Syndrome all night. Just love the way it looks!

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:26 pm
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charulata wrote:
Thanks for that quote. I haven't seen any Paradjanov at all. Did you sense any of his influence in the films, Maiden?
Hmm, the Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors Paradjanov maybe, in the open emotionalism, anyway; I don't see the frenetic pace or crazy camera. I do remember music playing a very important role in that one, so there's that, too.

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Yeah, probably doesn't mean anything at all. I just came away with the feeling that I saw a lot of dolls for some reason or maybe I was subconsciously looking for points of comparison to Daisies or female representation or something. Who knows ?!
So, I take it you didn't find any similarities between Passions and Daisies? Of course, I didn't either. :P

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:35 pm
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And I could talk about that movie all night :). So since my doll motif idea misfired, I was thinking a bit more about what that doll might signify in isolation at the start of the film juxtaposed over that funeral scene. I was thinking of the 3 images she cuts to from the funeral: the first is the doll lying over a heap of garbage. The second is the boy blowing the bubble. And the third are the old women that are chanting empty platitudes, "It's useful for everyone to read Lev Tolstoy so they will understand everything and become goodhearted and intelligent."

I don't need to read all this meaning into the symbols but it struck me that maybe the doll and the boy are symbols for the innocence of childhood and the doll lying dead over the garbage is the death of said innocence? The aged are unable to offer any sort of wisdom either and the strong and able (the construction workers) are too busy engaging in meaningless cruelty and sadism for their own amusement? Social commentary :)?

Also, did you make anything of the fact that she chooses to make Natalya, the woman, the aggressive one whereas the man is extremely passive. Did you think of it as deliberate switching of gender-roles?

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:47 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
So, I take it you didn't find any similarities between Passions and Daisies? Of course, I didn't either. :P


Not really, at all :(. And I like Daisies quite a good bit more, I have to confess. Despite being the lightest of the four films, I found it the least humorous, lacking even the dark sense of humor that manifests so much better in The Asthenic Syndrome. Well, at least it helped me figure out where that avatar of yours is from :).

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:51 pm
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I have Brief Encounters on my hard drive. You guys should watch it, thus further enticing me to watch it.

I suck at movies lately.

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 12:55 pm
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charulata wrote:
And I could talk about that movie all night :).
Yes! I love how effective the tragicomedy is. It's always funny, but devastating. The things she says about the education system, for example -- that Turgenev joke is quite serious. Also, at some point at least, I remember being reminded of Roy Andersson, with the tableau-like episodes and the very dark humor, but with the biggest difference being that Russians and Swedes apparently have very different personalities. :P

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I don't need to read all this meaning into the symbols but it struck me that maybe the doll and the boy are symbols for the innocence of childhood and the doll lying dead over the garbage is the death of said innocence? The aged are unable to offer any sort of wisdom either and the strong and able (the construction workers) are too busy engaging in meaningless cruelty and sadism for their own amusement? Social commentary :)?
I'm not at all sure what most of it means, but I do think it's all social commentary. One thought, though. Considering Muratova's dramatic declarations of love for Tolstoy, I don't think the three women should be seen as giving empty or bad advice.

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Also, did you make anything of the fact that she chooses to make Natalya, the woman, the aggressive one whereas the man is extremely passive. Did you think of it as deliberate switching of gender-roles?
Definitely deliberate. Two of her three murderers are female also.

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:04 pm
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Did charmander tell you we were getting married, Shield?

Sorry for interrupting your discussion with useless posts. I don't feel very good and need a distraction.

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:06 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
One thought, though. Considering Muratova's dramatic declarations of love for Tolstoy, I don't think the three women should be seen as giving empty or bad advice.

Yeah, but the singsong way in which they all chant that dictum seemed so comic to me that I read it as a warning against blindly reading him as a path to wisdom as opposed to trying to really imbibe him in life/behavior etc.

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:07 pm
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B-Side wrote:
Did charmander tell you we were getting married, Shield?

...I don't feel very good.


Ha! Not anymore, we aren't :x.

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:09 pm
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Hey, Shield.

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:09 pm
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charulata wrote:
Ha! Not anymore :x.


I meant mostly physically! :P :heart:

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:09 pm
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It's just cold feet :D.

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:11 pm
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charulata wrote:
It's just cold feet :D.


About marrying you? Never.

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:13 pm
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Trip wrote:
Hey, Shield.
Why don't you love me anymore? :(

And shouldn't you be somewhere watching a Muratova (or two)?

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:17 pm
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B-Side wrote:

About marrying you? Never.

If only I was the marrying type :) :heart:.

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:17 pm
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so it turns out char gets around

not so sure about this whole marriage thing anymore

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:18 pm
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It's all either angel or slut with you men Image

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:30 pm
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charulata wrote:
It's all either angel or slut with you men Image


:D

i'm just intimidated, i promise!

:oops:

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:34 pm
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Craziness. Am least intimidating :).

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:40 pm
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charulata wrote:
Craziness. Am least intimidating :).


but you're so purdy and i'm so... not

k i'm done derailing this thread with my silliness

come be silly with me in the hamsterdam :P

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:43 pm
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charulata wrote:
Yeah, but the singsong way in which they all chant that dictum seemed so comic to me that I read it as a warning against blindly reading him as a path to wisdom as opposed to trying to really imbibe him in life/behavior etc.
Ha, true. I can't help coming back to the school-system stuff, though. What the women are good-naturedly chanting is better than anything the kids are memorizing in the classroom.

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:49 pm
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True that. That school looks so uninviting too.

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:52 pm
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women

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:54 pm
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Sorry, Shield. All work and no Muratova makes Trip a dull boy.

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Fri Jun 29, 2012 1:55 pm
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charulata wrote:
The Asthenic Syndrome | 1989

continues to haunt me days after I've watched the film


I was thinking abt those dogs earlier today and nearly cried :(


Fri Jun 29, 2012 5:13 pm
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Trip wrote:
All work and no Muratova makes Trip a dull boy.
Easy to fix...

wigwam wrote:
I was thinking abt those dogs earlier today and nearly cried :(
It's the people haunting me. What a movie!

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Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:24 am
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By the way, I'm still counting on some of you to watch at least one of these films. I'll be happy to talk about any of them at any time down the line. That's what the thread is for! I'm sure Char would agree.

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Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:59 am
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
By the way, I'm still counting on some of you to watch at least one of these films. I'll be happy to talk about any of them at any time down the line. That's what the thread is for! I'm sure Char would agree.


Absolutely. As for MrCarmady, Trip and Willow.. you're all dead to me unless you post some Muratova thoughts soonish :x :(.

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Sat Jun 30, 2012 10:14 am
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Shield.

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Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:26 pm
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Tripophobia.

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Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:29 pm
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I'm partial to Tripe.

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Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:32 pm
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Ha. Did you watch a Muratova?

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Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:33 pm
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I chose Techine instead for some reason. I'm awful. Now I just have to work. It's definitely gonna be watched. Dunno about Three Stories, though. You guys weren't too enthusiastic. Another short sentence. How was Sucker Punch?

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Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:42 pm
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Trip wrote:
How was Sucker Punch?
I enjoyed it. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I played video games. But I had fun thinking of it as Hadzihalilovic's Innocence, with all the ominous stuff made explicit. And I liked the games it played with perception. I watched it because I'm on an Abbie Cornish kick, but she was sort of wasted.

Hey, I got Face to Face and will watch in the next day or two.

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Sat Jun 30, 2012 1:19 pm
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Shieldmaiden wrote:
I enjoyed it. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I played video games. But I had fun thinking of it as Hadzihalilovic's Innocence, with all the ominous stuff made explicit. And I liked the games it played with perception. I watched it because I'm on an Abbie Cornish kick, but she was sort of wasted.

Hey, I got Face to Face and will watch in the next day or two.

Good comments. I'm kinda intrigued by W.E.

Oh, gooood.

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Sat Jun 30, 2012 1:25 pm
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Trip wrote:
I'm kinda intrigued by W.E.
I would be, but Madonna.

Quote:
Oh, gooood.
:) I'll let you know when I watch it.

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Sat Jun 30, 2012 1:35 pm
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Despite my many apparently dissuasive qualities, I'm hoping to talk someone else into watching a Muratova. If you're having trouble deciding which one to watch, the word "masterpiece" has been applied un-ironically to The Asthenic Syndrome in this thread, and Charulata and I are both on record as craving more discussion about that one. Even though it's about depression, it's far from depressing itself. I found it instead to be filled with a bittersweet love for humanity in all its silliness and failings. It's also very funny. And don't pretend you're not curious about what's happening here:

Image

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Tue Jul 03, 2012 1:28 am
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      Image

    Chantal Akerman, born June 6, 1950, is a Brussels-born and now Paris-based filmmaker, writer, actor,
    producer and composer, and one of the most important European directors of her generation. As a teenager, she saw
    Godard's Pierrot le fou and realized that filmmaking could be personal and experimental. Akerman started making her own
    films in the late '60s and gave a new meaning to the term "independent film" as an embodiment of pure independence and
    creativity. (More here.)


Shieldmaiden and I are going to be continuing this series by watching and discussing three films by Chantal Akerman.
She seems to have plenty vocal endorsers here (Epi, Blevo, not sure who else I'm missing) and even the ones that haven't
seen a lot of her work seem motivated to check out more. Plus, with both Criterion and Netflix adding titles from her
filmography to her catalog, it's time for us to begin closing some of these blind spots.

We really hope others will join us and are posting this a few days in advance of the actual discussion (likely to be posted middle
of next week) so as to give everyone a chance to procure and watch these films.


Update: The Akerman discussion begins here.

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Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:18 am
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ugh Netflix took off Tomorrow We Move before I could get to it

Je tu il elle is a perfect film, so great

I will totally watch Rendezvous w/ Anna and participate!


Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:22 am
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lame

nora ephron!

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Wed Jul 04, 2012 2:56 pm
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Late as usual, and only part of what I promised, but I watched Passions. I can't help but think that a lot of it must be lost in translation - not so much the substance, just that it's much harder to detect all the vocal quirks, repetitions and modulations when it's a language one doesn't understand. It has a certain musical quality as you mentioned, its narrative aimlessness complementing the wistfulness and the absurdity well. The two girls are captivating, as are the visuals. I'd say I enjoyed it more than The Long Goodbye, but I did watch that one when my film taste was less developed, so I am second-guessing there. So I'll either re-watch that or try out one of the other two next.
BTW, it says something about the film that I wasn't sure whether the centaurs were real in the context of it or faked by the photographer all along - he sounds so convincing!


Wed Jul 04, 2012 8:09 pm
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Post Re: Female Gaze: Charu and Maiden Check Out Female Filmmakers

Yay, you did end up watching some Muratova <3. Yeah, those vocal patterns in Passions were almost entirely lost on me. But I do recall at least a couple of exchanges in the movie where the characters are discussing / debating the meaning of certain words and in general, got the sense that the dialogues / choice of words were important somehow and were probably adding to the humor. This despite the fact that no one is actually listening to one another for the most part. I just had the feeling that the seemingly nonsensical stuff that the characters are often spouting over one another was probably chosen with care and that some of that interplay was perhaps getting lost in translation.

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Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:24 pm
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Aw, there's no such thing as late in this thread. I'm glad you liked Passions. It's definitely not for everyone.

MrCarmady wrote:
I can't help but think that a lot of it must be lost in translation - not so much the substance, just that it's much harder to detect all the vocal quirks, repetitions and modulations when it's a language one doesn't understand.
Yeah, I thought about that. Subtitles are woefully inadequate where the dialogue is layered, like in the scene in the stables. I watched and rewatched that scene, so I could start to hear it tonally and not just rely on the subtitles, but I'm sure I missed a lot.

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BTW, it says something about the film that I wasn't sure whether the centaurs were real in the context of it or faked by the photographer all along - he sounds so convincing!
Hahaha. I never even considered that they might be real, but they totally should be!

A Long Goodbye is definitely worth a rewatch, but I'd hate for you to miss out on all that Asthenic Syndrome goodness.

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Wed Jul 04, 2012 10:39 pm
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Doesn't like a third of the film take place in the stables? :P


Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:11 pm
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MrCarmady wrote:
Doesn't like a third of the film take place in the stables? :P
Ha. I'm talking about the extended conversation about 'pace,' where everyone is talking over everyone else. Very musical, very layered. The subtitles do a pretty good job of indicating what's going on, but I wish I could actually hear it. The same goes for that conversation near the beginning about the horse's primary calling in life.

Mysticism!

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Wed Jul 04, 2012 11:21 pm
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Before I read things (again/fully), I'll just say I kinda loved A Long Goodbye. Best use of stark silences in cinema? Maybe. And the approach to the girl he likes at the manor place; she's unattainable to the camera and the son. Beautiful focus movements. The end made me cry for some reason. I'm starting to forget the film already, though. It's very small. That shot of the phone booth. The naked baby against the window w spotlight. I know Char mentions animals, and the slide projector thingy features animals, then when the son goes to high jump, all sound is omitted except this bizarre screeching from some kind of animal, what was that? Unnerving.

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Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:27 pm
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char char wrote:
Communication Breakdown
Zhenia in The Long Goodbyes is a translator by profession. However, her work only requires her to be a mouthpiece, a medium, for the person communicating while she herself barely gets to express her own ideas. While she uses language confidently and vivaciously (her suitor at the start of the film even remarks on this), she comes off as unable to articulate her feelings in her own life. There's a huge dichotomy between her professional life or how others seem to view her and her more internal life. This breakdown in communication is perhaps also reflected in what Muratova lets us listen to. The son is talking to his father over the telephone and we only hear his side of the conversation. Most of what we hear is just Sasha repeating the word, "Papa" with increasing urgency, thereby conveying his desperate need for a father figure. The scene is also devastating in that it not only communicates Sasha's desperation but also marks the breakdown of the mother-son relationship as Zhenia is both literally and figuratively outside this conversation. She is left eavesdropping on a conversation she is not supposed to be privy to.

Zhenia's vivacity (esp. with the external world) is contrasted with the taciturnity of her son. He is quite the opposite of Zhenia in that when he does speak, he comes across as thoughtful, observant and articulate (qualities his mother doesn't seem to see in him). He also plays with poetry and rhythm when he's alone. He is articulate on his own or when pushed but seemingly dumbstruck otherwise.

Communication, or lack thereof, also seems to mark the relationship between mother and son here. On the train, Zhenia is garrulous and chides her son repeatedly while he chooses instead to open the window and look outside. Zhenia uses words to avoid feeling while Sasha chooses the opposite. He uses silence to be able to escape into his own thoughts and enter a world of his own.

This is what makes that ending scene so powerful for me. Finally mother and son find a middle ground and confront the silence between them. Zhenia is finally honest with her son (the removal of the wig is a telling gesture) and Sasha realizes his own attachment to her.


:up: :)

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Thu Jul 05, 2012 11:44 pm
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Trip wrote:
Before I read things (again/fully), I'll just say I kinda loved A Long Goodbye. Best use of stark silences in cinema? Maybe. And the approach to the girl he likes at the manor place; she's unattainable to the camera and the son. Beautiful focus movements. The end made me cry for some reason. I'm starting to forget the film already, though. It's very small. That shot of the phone booth. The naked baby against the window w spotlight. I know Char mentions animals, and the slide projector thingy features animals, then when the son goes to high jump, all sound is omitted except this bizarre screeching from some kind of animal, what was that? Unnerving.
It's small, but beautiful. And, yes, the sound (and silence) was very good. In her later films, the sound gets more... bombastic. I still love it though.

About the communication issues, I thought that they understood each other extremely well, despite their differences and the normal strains of that age. The one piece missing is how much she really needs him, which is what he gets to see at the end. I kind of hope he still goes to his father, though. Is that terrible?

I loved the way the words explode out of him when he's alone! When he's with people, he's trying so hard to appear wise and mature. He's very young.

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Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:11 am
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