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Thread: Favorites Of 1999

  1. #31
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    Boy, this is a very difficult year. Lots of great films, so this list has to be taken with a grain of salt.


    1. Pola X (Les Carax / France, Switzerland, Germany, Japan)
    2. Being John Malkovich (Spike Jonze / USA)
    3. Sweet and Lowdown (Woody Allen / USA)
    4. Human Resources (Laurent Cantet / France, UK)
    5. Jesus' Son (Alison Maclean / Canada, USA)
    6. The Wind will carry us (Abbas Kiarostami / Iran, France)
    7. Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson / USA)
    8. Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick / USA, UK)
    9. Bringing out the Dead (Martin Scorsese / USA)
    10. Balkan baroque (Pierre Coulibeuf / France)
    www.foreignfilms.com/boards

  2. #32
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    Eyes Wide Shut and The Wind Will Carry Us are masterful and I'm glad to find them on your list. You do like Woody Allen, don't you? Did you watch Rosetta by the Dardennes?

  3. #33
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    I like Woody Allen, but not as much as it might apeear. I'm one of the very few people (Ih ope there ARE OTHERS) who thinks that Sweet and Lowdown and Celebrity are the two best films from the 15 films of his I've seen so far. But I'd like to rewatch Celebrity. Last time I saw it, I liked it even more than its inspiration, La dolce vita by Fellini. The cinematography is just masterful. I think it was the last film Sven Nyqvist shot...

    I saw Rosetta, and though i liked it a lot, I didn't find it as masterful as the majority of people. I enjoyed their subsequent "Le fils" (2002) much more. Haven't seen L'enfant yet, and La Promesse is sitting on my shelf for a long time now. So many films, so little time ;-)
    www.foreignfilms.com/boards

  4. #34
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    Originally posted by Sano
    But I'd like to rewatch Celebrity. Last time I saw it, I liked it even more than its inspiration, La dolce vita by Fellini.

    You've certainly managed to raise my bushy eyebrows as high as they can go.

    The cinematography is just masterful. I think it was the last film Sven Nyqvist shot...

    Nykvist's last lensing job was Peter Yates' Curtain Call.

  5. #35
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    I would second Oscar on Celebrity--pretty forgettable.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johann View Post
    Your eyes will be widened with Chion's book.
    He's thinks Eyes Wide Shut & Barry Lyndon are Kubrick's best films. Can't argue with that...

    It's a small book, but it's jammed from cover to cover with intellectual (illuminating) & relevant info.

    It's the best book I've read on the movie.

    He also tells us why Tom Cruise's performance is remarkable.
    That role goes against his whole "persona".
    He's homogenic, he speaks and acts slowly, etc..
    I can see why Tom got an ulcer making the film.
    Well you were right. Chion's book on EYES WIDE SHUT is everything you say it is. Thanks.

    On another note, that refers to my original topic of Best Films of 1999: I have changed my opinion about a film I listed as #5 in the foreign-language list: HUMANITE (Bruno Dumont/ France). I watched the film again tonight. I still think Dumont is a very interesting filmmaker and I hope to catch up with his last two films soon. I still appreciate the absurdist touches in the film and I find reasons to justify the close-ups of vaginas some may find gratuitous. My issue is that I don't believe in the protagonist. Rosenbaum's admiring review states: "I'll concede that he's not entirely believable...", which is for me is a serious flaw given his constant presence, centrality to the narrative, etc. The '99 foreign list has been edited to mark this change of opinion.
    I still think EYES WIDE SHUT and THE WIND WILL CARRY US were the best in cinema that year.

  7. #37
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    I agree.

    And I'm glad you read Chion's BFI book- it sits on a shelf in my house with pride.
    BTW, can I buy your book from you directly? Signed? :)
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  8. #38
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    So nice of you to show interest in it. I'd send you a signed book but all that's left is my own copy. Martel's trilogy is definitely a must-watch and well worth studying. The book is a revised version of a thesis I wrote in 2009 which I insisted on making available for free because of the institutional pricing adopted by the publisher.
    Free download here:
    http://scholarlyrepository.miami.edu/oa_theses/234/

    My most recent publication consists of a couple of essays included in this book, released 2 mos. ago on Intellect Press:
    http://www.amazon.com/Directory-Worl.../dp/1841505633
    If you like French cinema, or are curious about it, I highly and prejudicially recommend it.

    I am in the tortuous process of writing a second book, with the very provisional title:
    Freedom and Closure in Modernist Cinema: Antonioni/Resnais/Duras/Haneke/Martel
    I expect to finish it next spring and then submit to editors and peers for review.
    If all goes well, that is.

  9. #39
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    Fair enough.
    I don't think I'd have enough to say to fill out a whole book, on one film one director or many.
    So Bravo to you for being able to do it!
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  10. #40
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    Thanks for this info, Oscar. I'll look into the open access 2009 download. Have you written about Antonioni, or is that coming?

  11. #41
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    Thanks Chris and Johann. I've written an introduction and I'm about 20 pages into the Antonioni chapter. I've read a lot of Antonioni material lately and perhaps the key Antonioni debate in film studies is how one should read the images he uses to narrate. There is a group who advocates reading the images as simple metonyms, which goes hand in hand with thinking of him as a realist/documentarist director vs. others who advocate a more symbolic and metaphorical approach to interpretation that think of M.A. predominantly as a visual poet. There are many nuances to this issue, but I explain it in a dialectic, either/or fashion for the sake of clarity.

  12. #42
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    I'd be interested in seeing what you have to say about Antonioni. Is your topic still ambiguous endings? He was the sort of artist who must have been conscious of metaphorical implications, I should think, though the problem is, who decides what they are? Sometimes I guess Wittgenstein's famous "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent" has to apply.

  13. #43
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    Very conscious indeed about metaphorical implications. The idea was not to have to impose voice-over narration or dialogue on characters who in reality would not be fully conscious of their feelings/conditions or able to put them into words. So Antonioni's impetus is not to use classic conventions of drama to put words into characters' mouths but to find visual correlatives for these emotions, hence the desire to utilize visual symbolism and other techniques to make images signify in and of themselves. You would not want to ignore this type of material in his movies.
    My position is that metonymic versus symbolic reading is an either/or fallacy or a false dilemma. Thus it is a matter of moderation.
    If you want to look at the Antonioni chapter, I can send you a first draft next month.

  14. #44
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    Okay, I'll be glad to look at it and comment.

  15. #45
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    Thanks. It's the first draft "dissertation version", before four critiques and revisions. I could also wait and send it when it has gone through the fire...

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