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Thread: The Longest Post On Filmwurld

  1. #136
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    When I attended film school in the 1970's, they placed a large emphasis on European directors (Fellini, Bergman, Godard, Renoir, Lean, etc), some Japanese directors (Kurosawa), and very few American directors. It wasn't until I started to attend revival movie theaters in the late 70's when I lived in Los Angeles that I began to read about and discover William Wyler. He was still alive at the time and they had several retro's of his work in local theaters. Billy Wilder spoke at one of them. You can't appreciate a film unless you see 35mm film projected on a screen with an audience. The New York film critics raved about Wilder, Preston Sturges, Scorsese, and Hitch (pointing more toward the English side of his work, right around the same time Spoto published his first work). They mentioned Welles, too. They said very little about John Ford and downplayed his work as mostly "westerns." But when I started to speak with actors about Wyler, I got an entirely different response. They spoke of a man obsessed with realism; hence the reason for numerous takes. If an actor didn't convince Willie it was real, he made them do it again. He said, "I'll know it when I feel it." No wonder actors wanted him to make their movies. His films placed more actors in AA nominations than any director in film history. The more I read about Wyler, the more I found his life and his film work fascinating. Like most directors, he had his list of "bad" or unsuccessful films due to one aspect or another. Overall, he produced an incredible body of work I've found quite wonderful to review as my film library has many Wyler films in its pantheon.
    Colige suspectos semper habitos

  2. #137
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    I think that every film school had unique tendencies depending on who was in charge and who he hired to teach. Some schools emphasized Hollywood directors more than the one you attended (I base this comment on the European slant you remember at your school). Andrew Sarris' 1968 book "The American Cinema" was a major influence on how different directors were regarded.

    As far as Wyler and realism, he is associated with a technique considered realistic because it replicates characteristics of human vision: deep-focus cinematography (Shots with a large depth of field). The DP most associated with deep-focus in Hollywood was, as you know, Greg Toland. He lensed 6 films for Wyler. It's interesting to note that after Toland died, Wyler's films continue to use the same technique consistently (see "The Heiress", "Carrie", etc.), no matter who was the DP. So that, I think, it's fair to associate this realistic rendering of the space in front of the camera as being also characteristic of Wyler. It's the most important aspect of the realistic aesthetic you rightfully ascribe to Wyler.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 08-06-2019 at 07:31 PM.

  3. #138
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    Nice to hear from you, Cinemabon.
    I hope you're cruising the daytime lines too and perused some of the festival coverage.

  4. #139
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Knipp View Post
    Nice to hear from you, Cinemabon.
    I hope you're cruising the daytime lines too and perused some of the festival coverage.
    I want to state (or re-state) how important it is the coverage of film festivals, new releases, and other events related to the culture of cinema that you provide in your reportage and film criticism. I don't really read anything else about these events/contempo films. I don't feel I need to resort to other sources given your excellence and thoroughness. As you know, most of my reading revolves around the courses I teach and the history of the medium and that consumes most of my available time. I love your NYFF coverage and I look forward to new films from Serra, Desplechin, Dardennes, and other favorite filmmakers. Thanks!

  5. #140
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    THERE ARE NOW 7 FILMS DIRECTED BY KENJI MIZOGUCHI IN MY LIST OF FAVORITE FILMS OF ALL TIME. IT IS
    THE CRUCIFIED LOVERS (1954)
    which has been released by Criterion under the title A STORY FROM CHIKAMATSU
    Period melodrama at its finest!
    Dave Kehr says it's got the most experimental soundtrack of all his films.

  6. #141
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    I have not seen it but I am aware that Criterion is issuing some great Japanese film classics.

  7. #142
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    Ditto Oscar's comments. I "keep up" with contemporary cinema thanks in most, if not all, part to you Chris. I read your posts often and marvel at the depth of your insights. I wish more film critics were as easy to read and understand as you are. I'm not here to bolster your ego. I'm just writing what I consider to be observations. As a journalist, I've always sought clarity to reporting. However, my background doesn't have the breadth of psychological insights your reviews reveal in so many aspects. If I haven't said this before, I'm saying it now, you should have written for a major publication so that the public (at large) could benefit from your effort as we do here. Thanks, Chris, for years of film viewing dedication, intrinsic vision, and insightful journalism.
    Colige suspectos semper habitos

  8. #143
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    Thanks a lot. It's nice to be appreciated. I don't know about "psychological insights." I do like to be clear and informative and I may, at times, succeed. Just go on reading, please, and comment whenever you can.

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