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Thread: The 2008 MIami Festival's Comment Page

  1. #61
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    Let's hope it gets here. El Bonaerense's distributor doesn't seem to have a home video department. Maybe someone will acquire dvd rights for the film.

    A true artistic collaboration between Brazilians and Italians:
    ESTOMAGO: A GASTRONOMIC STORY

  2. #62
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    It's listed on Netflix as coming but not yet, that's all I know. Some of the "save" items have been on the list a long time already besides that one.

  3. #63
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    I don't know how they decide which films unreleased on dvd can be "saved". I've had Los Angeles Plays Itself and Love and Diane "saved" for about 3 years.

    KATRINA'S CHILDREN

  4. #64
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    I have Los Angeles Plays Itself too. Probably they were slated for DVD issue but it was delayed.

  5. #65
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    This geriatric road movie has a humanist core and sustained romantic overtones:

    KONYEC (Hungary)

  6. #66
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    The Hungarian Film Week is the only film festival I know that separates its Jury Prize into Best Auteur Film and Best Mainstream Film.
    I guess you're right, but do you think this is a very good idea? I suppose you do. But tell me, how do you define an "Auteur Film", how do you define an "auteur," how do you distinguish an "auteur" from a "mainstream" director, and can an "auteur" make a "mainstream" film and can a "mainstream" director make an "auteur" film, and thereby presumably become an "auteur"? And could an "auteur film" be made with material like this film (sorry, movie)?

  7. #67
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    Good questions. Perhaps without the jury award at Hungarian Film Week konyec wouldn't have made it into Cannes, where more programmers from other festivals saw it than those who go to Budapest in mid-winter. So that's why I would say it's a good thing. The audience in Miami liked it very much. Konyec has certain genre elements. police chasing the elderly couple (roadblocks, etc.) for instance, that one does not find in "art films" or "auteur films" but this labeling and categorizing is a very vague, inexact enterprise and I don't know how it's done at the HFW. Can the director or producer decide in which category a film is placed? One can take the early material about the plight of the elderly who subsist on entitlement programs or pensions and the indignities they suffer and how this affects the relationship between Emil and Heidi and tone down or remove the assertive genre elements that dominate the second half of the film. Then you'd have something closer to an "auteur" film. I guess.

  8. #68
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    There's also the complication that from the viewpoint of the American audience in general, the people who go to the cinemplex every week or two and see what everybody else is seeing, no Hungarian movie is the least bit "mainstream." It's an arty movie, and one with subtitles, which they would prefer to avoid.

    As your comment indicates, you could probably switch a few details around and change categories, or just enter a film in a different category and hype it as whatever you like.

    You might make this one less "mainstream" by toning down or removing the "genre" elements ("genre," however, being another completely vague term and one some reject), but would it then become "auteur"?

    When it comes down to it, "mainstream" Hollywood directors like John Ford, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, John Huston, et al. were the ones whom the Cahiers du Cinema boys originally referred to as "auteurs." Only they included Renoir. . . It only means a director with a distinctive style. Surely some very mainstream directors have that.

  9. #69
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    It's true that in certain circles (including certain media), anything spoken in a language other than English hence subtitled is treated like an "art movie" shown in an "alternative" or "art cinema" when actually most of what's distributed beyond the top 4 or 5 US markets is very accessible, "mainstream" stuff. Which of course has little to do with whether it's good although it often has to do with whether it's original, experimental or groundbreaking.

    This intense adaptation of an acclaimed Catalan play would please Bergman fans:
    BARCELONA (UN MAPA)
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 03-15-2008 at 11:28 PM.

  10. #70
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    It's true that in certain circles (including certain media), anything spoken in a language other than English hence subtitled is treated like an "art movie" shown in an "alternative" or "art cinema" when actually most of what's distributed beyond the top 4 or 5 US markets is very accessible, "mainstream" stuff.
    This is true, of course, but being in a foreign language makes films esoteric to most audiences; hence the dubbing that is common in Italy, France, etc. Is there any country where the entire general movie-going public regularly seeks out subtitled films in a language remote from their own? People do not want to read subtitles. Obviously that doesn't apply to us, but I know quite ordinary (but educated) people who prefer to avoid subtitled films. I pretty much grew up with them--particularly French, Italian, Japanese, and German ones. Then, in the post-war era, when England produced great films and the Italian neorealists were active, Fellini and Antonioni were emerging and the French New Wave filmmakers were serving their apprenticeships, it seems like the subtitled films we saw were much more serious and the sweet, easy, unchallenging foreign films were yet to come. Now they are all too prevalent. But The Lives of Others seems to have done very well and that's not exactly Amelie or Il Postino.

  11. #71
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    BARCELONA (UN MAPA) Sounds good. I hope I don't have to like Saraband to like it. It was in the Rome film festival last fall.

  12. #72
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    Originally posted by Chris Knipp
    Is there any country where the entire general movie-going public regularly seeks out subtitled films in a language remote from their own?
    In El Salvador, and I presume all of Latin America, films were rarely dubbed into Spanish. Most of the films distributed were/are English language films with Spanish subtitles. For me, it became secondhand. There were exceptions: to this day I prefer the dubbed version of Peter Pan to the original English-language version, especially the songs. When I moved to the US in 1978 and watched Spanish-language films, I had great difficulty ignoring the English subs and would often read them even though I understodd every word spoken. As a little kid I'd watch subtitled The Three Stooges and Popeye the Sailor on TV.

    Maybe the SFIFF will show Barcelona (Un Mapa). I have no idea what you'd opine based on your Saraband review, which I've re-read.

  13. #73
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    Subtitling vs. dubbing--a complicated subject.

    Wikipedia has an article, on this, I find. So complicated I wish they had a chart to break it down. I think you're right about Latin America--but the opposite is true of Spain, a heavy dubber, and in Latin America, TV shows are dubbed now. Subtitling is cheaper, and the dubbing industry is still in its infancy in some places, oldest in Italy, growing in many other places--while multiple-option DVDs and subtitle-option special TV channels are also growing. Countries that stick to subtitles widely for adult feature films (children's movies being often dubbed because small kids can't read well enough yet) are Latin America, as mentioned, plus the English speaking and Scandinavian countries and Slovenia, Serbia and Croatia, Greece, Portugal, Brazil, Poland and Romania. The others dub, when they can, and TV series are very often dubbed. In Asia the dubbing industry is growing. In Israel and the Arab countries subtitles is preferred, because citizens are multilingual, and want to know when the dialogue shifts from one language to another. As you might know from Hong Kong movies, there are sometimes subtitles in two languages. Two kinds of Chinese; or in Cairo in French and English, for an Arabic film, or Arabic and French, for an English language film, etc. I saw Alexander Nevsky in Athens with Greek subtitles with the Russian soundtrack. I didn't understand much. Sometimes dubbing really works. It worked for me for Roy Andersson's You the Living film in Italian. I didn't think it detracted. Of course we know better.....dubbing "destroys" a movie. But does it? Supposing you can't read--in any language?

    The SFIFF selections are so far still largely a mystery. They've chosen Catherine Breillat's Last Mistress for their opening gala, which seems a bit odd; it's kind of old hat by now? I was implying that in my review of it I was not crazy about Saraband, not as entranced as others, including you, ere. I said "there isn't the anguished power of Bergman's best work," and "it leaves an immediate good impression and then is quickly forgotten." I think that gives a clear picture of how I'd feel about Barcelona: A Map if I reacted to it as to Saraband so I would hope not.

  14. #74
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    Introduced as "the most celebrated Latin American film in the past year" at the festival. I would add that it was as good a year for Latin American Cinema as any other:

    SILENT LIGHT (Mexico)

  15. #75
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    SILENT LIGHT (not really Mexico, but really Menninite)

    Some nitpicking, which may annoy you. But remember that we both love this film.
    The reception received at Cannes and elsewhere by the third feature by Mexican director Carlos Reygadas leaves no doubt that he has entered the unofficial pantheon of modern practitioners of the art of cinema.
    Right. But Cannes etc. approval means the pantheon isn't so "unofficial" after all. I like to think that I would have put this last, not first.
    It has since become de facto to include Andrei Tarkovsky, among others, as a maker of transcendental films.
    Wrong word. You meant to say "come de facto to include," not "become."
    It's a simple story. . .
    Is it? I should say its ramifications are fairly complex.

    Bresson referred to his non-actors as "models". Reygadas fancies himself a pupeteer: "Sometimes I get down and tie strings to their legs to tell them when to say their line or to move".
    Sounds like the (presumably quite un-transcendental) Alfred Hitchcock. As you know, Hitchcock's ideal actor was someone who could hit the marks, deliver the lines, and do the job. "I never said all actors are cattle; what I said was all actors should be treated like cattle." Etc. The difference is that Hitchcock was blunt about it, and didn't use non-actors (though he did use some). This is an interesting question I guess, whether a somewhat manipulative directing style is part of working with non-actors, or just a way of directing, period. And whether it has any effect or is just a sign that the director is a control freak.

    [Reygadas] is not interested in the Mennonites per se. He likes the landscape there and the fact that they are a "uniform, monolithic" community that can serve as a blank canvas that won't detract attention from the essential story.
    That is almost more offensive than Hitchcock, and I think misleading or innacuate on Reygadas' part. He would not have been able to achieve the same mood in just any "uniform, monolithic" community, whatever that means (it's very vague). The Mennonites and their world create a very special mood which indeed is "the essential story," and which means they don't have to "act" because the environment speaks for them. Reygadas' controlling the people in his film and holding them back, keeping them from acting, maybe, helps that feeling to come out more clearly. But to regard them as a "blank canvas" is mistaken on his part. Since this is so different from his previous work, it's hard not to wonder if he'll do as well next time.
    We learn significantly less about the Mennonites during Silent Light's 142 minutes than we do about Chihuahua's Raramuri Indians
    Maybe so, and that's relevant, since the areas are nearby, but I still don't think that makes them a "blank canvas" at all. The sense of a discipline, of a family structure, of an attitude toward work--it's all there, whether writing into the "simple story" or not.
    ...personally found myself thinking of Ordet much earlier. . .
    I think everybody who thinks of Ordet thinks of it much earlier.http://www.reverseshot.com/article/silent_light. --Michael Joshua Rowin in that comment refers to a general influence of Ordet on this film; I think others have too--though they grant the connection is most overt at the end.
    He stands, by all appearances, against the very much in-vogue tendency of covering a scene by moving those new, lighter cameras all over the place often without a sense of purpose.
    Isn't that a somewhat pointless contrast? Obviously Reygadas isn't of that generally more commercial school and so many cinephile-admired filmmakers today are of the slow-moving or static camera school after all. Bit of a straw man here.
    Now back to the story. . .
    That sounds kind of funny coming in a tiny final section. You unintentionally call attention to the fact that you devote a disproportionate amount of space to how pantheon-ready Reygadas is, how grand the tradition he works in is, how important he is to the world of cinephilia, how his style here links him with the transcendent style of Dreyer, Tarkovsky, Bresson, et al.--and not as much space as you might have given over to the very rich and special experience of watching this particular film. I loved Silent Light and found it impressive, absorbing, a great pleasure to watch. You convey that you think it's great more than you convey that it is great. Your heavy air of solemnity tends to prevent you from conveying the fact that Silent Lightmight actually be something that gives enjoyment to the viewer. That problem starts with your focusing on the approval of Reygadas by cinephiles before you get to the experience and feel of the film. That's my main criticism.

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