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Thread: Nyff 2013

  1. #91
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    P.s. I love Vincent Lindon's robin's egg blue Alfa Romeo in BASTARDS. One of the prettiest cars in movies. That's why I used that still.

    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 05-26-2014 at 02:39 AM.

  2. #92
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    My evaluations of films directed by Denis are mostly in agreement with the composite French critics' ratings you quote except I would put 35 Rums first (but its 3.8 is still a high rating so I'm not really in disagreement here).
    I would qualify your NYFF review of Bastards as "mixed". When you listed it 4th in your 2013 best foreign film list, I thought to myself that you probably had re-watched it and liked it more the second time around.

    "Do you not like shallow focus? What would you think of Xavier Dolan's 1:1 screen ratio for his new film, MOMMY?(CK)"

    As you know, multiple elements of cinematography function jointly (to form what David Bordwell calls simply "style"). Of course, one cannot isolate a single element such as depth of field and state that one likes or doesn't like, for instance, shallow focus. My specific point is that in this film, the frequent use of shallow focus in combination with the way the film is lit and its use of color makes for visuals that look downright ugly to me. Film students tend to overuse shallow focus because they don't have to bother with staging-in-depth and blocking (of course Denis is no "student"). Shallow focus is also highly directive, even dictatorial (if I may) in that there is no freedom to look around and figure out the hierarchical relationships between elements in the visual frame. The film tells the viewer that the only thing that matters is the narrow area that is sharply focused. Chris, I cannot help but admire the artistry and preparation involved in compositions-in-depth in films by Orson Welles and William Wyler (with and without Toland) but shallow focus can be just as admirable.

    I like Xavier Dolan's films, including how they look. I watched Tom at the Farm recently at the Miami Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and I thought it was very good. Why bring him up here? Does he use a substantial amount of shallow focus in Mommy? One filmmaker that uses shallow focus substantially and to beautiful effect is Andrea Arnold (Red Road, Fish Tank and, especially, Wuthering Heights).

    P.S. I love that car also.

  3. #93
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    Again, nothing to take exception to. Agree I'd rate 35 RHUMS over WHITE MATERIAL but yes, 3.8 is high, 3.9 not that much higher. Main thing is how much lower BASTARDS is than all the others. I just like Denis more than other filmmakers, so I ranked BASTARDS high in a list. I contradict myself, I contain multitudes. I also probably like the storyline however shallow in theme as well as focus the movie is.

    Brought up Dolan up here because I wanted to talk about the Cannes press conference. Also if shallow focus is an "innovation" or a high style gesture, so is his use of the square ratio in MOMMY. Have not seen TOM AT THE FARM and would like to. Some don't like Dolan. Yough whippersnapper full of himself etc. So glad to see he showed no signs of snootiness on camera for 40 mins. I do think clearly as Rooney of HOLLYWOOD REPORTER says his technical craft outruns his dramatic depth, so far. It's easy to like his images and visual style. He was wise to leave himself out of MOMMY and NOT do another portrait of himself and his own mom. Time will tell. A prodigy can crash later; or will have to change and grow up.

  4. #94
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    Handsome, charming and talented young man. I'm enjoying watching Xavier Dolan develop as a filmmaker. I'll keep track of any distribution deals or video releases of Tom at the Farm and Mommy. I don't know of any films shot in "square" or 1:1 ratio. Some of the great silents of the 1920s were shot in 1.19:1 aspect ratio, but it has seldom been used since then. Dolan says 1:1 is the preferred ratio for photographic portraiture, and also the shape of music albums (records and CDs). It's obvious from his films that he is a music fan, and that he has a special knack for matching music to visuals.

  5. #95
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    Catherine Breillat: Abuse of Weakness/Abus de faiblesse (2013)

    Reviewed on Filmleaf in the 2013 NYFF. Limited US theatrical release begins 15 August 2014 at Lincoln Center. Distributed by Strand Releasing. Watch for other dates and locations, or the US DVD. Current Metacritic rating (2 August 2014): 79%.

  6. #96
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    Great stuff. And I love that car too!
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  7. #97
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    Don't get me started on how boring most contempo cars are, and the drab, monotonous colors. That robin's egg blue is sweet and unique. Just seeing a car like that in a tasteful and imaginative color can make my day. My own car is silver, like so many others, but at least it is a natty Mazda Miata with a light tan top. If I could afford a Porsche or BMW sports car I'd have one. Not Italian. Those are exciting to look at but too unreliable, as were the classic English ones. I have owned two MG's. An a black MG Midget I got new when my grandmother died and left me a little money, and a hunter green MGB/GT with a hand crafted wooden driver's wheel and Blaupunct AM/FM radio so nifty I guy who stole it and got arrested on Telegraph hill while driving it tried to reclaim it pretending it was his. By a truly absurd coincidence we both went in to claim it at the same time and in the same place, the San Francisco Hall of Justice. I had had a description of the thief and knew this was the guy. He did not leave. I did.


    1966 black MG Midget


    1970 hunter green MGB/GT

    The MGB/GT was the niftier looking; the Midget more fun to drive.

    Some find Isabelle Huppert's Breillat-standin character in ABUSE OF WEAKNESS too cold and unappealing. I think she embodies well the neutrality and passivity of the character, still imbuing her with her signature cool.

  8. #98
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    I love Isabelle, but yes, she is intense sometimes. I watch 8 Women every now and then, and she seems to be having the least fun, even though she fits perfectly into the movie. Cars today are indeed drab and blah. You have to go to car shows to see any good vintage or custom cars these days. God Bless the antique collector crowd.
    "Set the controls for the heart of the Sun" - Pink Floyd

  9. #99
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    I agree on both counts.

  10. #100
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    Just a reminder that Catherine Breillat's ABUSE OF WEAKNESS/ABUS DE FAIBLESSE came out in NYC (Lincoln Center) today, Friday, August 15, 2014. It may now appear at a theater near you, or be available as VOD or on DVD. It is a unique film that only Breillat and Isabelle Hukppert could have made, and only you could properly appreciate. Strand Releasing's DVD release date is November 10.

    Catherine Breillat: Abuse of Weakness/Abus de faiblesse (2013)

    Reviewed on Filmleaf in the 2013 NYFF. Limited US theatrical release begins 15 August 2014 at Lincoln Center. Distributed by Strand Releasing. Watch for other dates and locations, or the US DVD. Current Metacritic rating (2 August 2014): 79%.

    "Of all living actresses, only Huppert could capture nuances that alternately elicit sympathy and fierce sexual attraction to a recent stroke victim."--Peter Debruge, Variety.

    "Abuse of Weakness is a frustrating experience, yet one that feels utterly unique and relentlessly watchable." -- Christopher Schobert, The Playlist.

    "Abuse Of Weakness is the director’s attempt to account for actions that seem inexplicable, and make the audience understand and sympathize in kind."--Scott Tobias, The Dissolve.


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