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December 21-26, 2007
some thoughts on film after seeing:

Chris Marker’s Sans Soleil [1983] and La Jetee [1963]
Agnes Varda’s The Gleaners and I, and after two years [2000/2002]
John Cassavetes’ Shadows [1959]
Jean-Luc Godard’s masculin feminin [1966]
Todd Haynes’ Far From Heaven [2002]
Abbas Kiarostami’s Five [2004]

and late on the 26th adding – la double vie de Veronique by Kieslowski

– all for the first time.
and enjoying Jarmusch’s Dead Man [1995?] for the first time in a dozen years.

also earlier this year, in June, marks my first viewing of:

Godard’s Vivre sa vie and Bande a part [early 60’s: ’63, ’64 …breathless is ‘60]
Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood, Sanshiro Sugata and I Live in Fear [mid,late 50’s bxw] Fellini’s City of Women [early seventies]

Marker’s two works separated by 20 years and varda’s doc have uncommonly sharp and fluid writing, that merges seamlessly and profoundly with the audio and film – I find it confident.

Christian Francois Bouche-Villeneuve

Krasna is the author of the texts and the images (separately), Marker the editor, conceptualist. and choosing the woman to voice the thing is great third layer (nonlinear). she delivering: “he wrote” is mechanical-vox. AWESOME. [Kubrick’s HAL is a male, but tenor]

Sandor Krasna, Hungarian cameraman, b. 1932 in Kolozsvar, Budapest Film Academy made Erdelyi Tancok (Transylvanian Dances), and assisted in another film, left Hungary in 1956 (returned in 1966 does travel diary piece) chances to join with a volcanologist Haroun Tazieff (footage), travels, shoots Cabo Verde, Guinnea Bissau and Japan, where he stays longest and has a deep affinity for culture.

THE FELLING OF A GIRAFFE, the volcano claiming a town and images of his long years in Japan and visits to Africa, specifically Guinea-bissau and Cabo Verde? are the visually intense gems of sans soleil.

Marker’s contextualization of the letters of his cameraman is a masterpiece of editing but all of it is still less to me, now, today, 24 years later, than the wordless entirety of the felling of the giraffe. there’s IMAGE (seule) and TEXT (seule) … and then there’s crossing over into the merge and all the “infinity” that comes with it. But still there is this solitude right now, that exists – you can get people there … with footage, nearly raw, of the felling of a giraffe by rifle – for how many years more, we don’t know, maybe few.

Marker comments: “I write this in 2002, as a new wave is rising, of which my young comrades of Kourtrajme (french collective of actors, directors, writers, filmmakers) offer a heartwarming example, and which perhaps has already found its Breathless in Isild Le Besco’s Demi-tarif.” [[half price] made in 2002, young actress, maybe her only film, definitely her first. film about/involving youth.-helen]

and from the notes on Marker himself, comes this gem:
“… and quietly lending a hand to fellow committed filmmakers like Patricio Guzman, whose landmark film on the downfall of the Allende government, The Battle of Chile [1975], reputedly owed to Marker an indispensable gift of film stock.”

The intensely slow, long takes in Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood with a single move in the middle of the take (i.e. the wife moving slightly forward on the tatami mat and then stillness again), return with the stick on the beach in ONE of FIVE, Kiarostami for Ozu

the period music in Haynes’ film isn’t from the period of the film. the male-male kiss here and her reaction is amazing. she is a genius. she is so good. how old is she?

by the time we get to masculin feminin, (hindsightedly) Godard’s conceit is played out: (fashionista, too chic) also, it’s all quite hetero-sexy and even the toilet kiss is played with such outsider

anti-vietnam punk, text blams all great. close-ups of cute girls (bo-ring). straight guys chasing cute girls (boring). sudden-gun-blam has become his trademark. by ’66.

December 30, 2007, sunday
just finished Shoot The Piano Player [1960]
Truffaut/Moussy [Goodis]/Aznavour

excellent passage when Saroyan’s wife lays into him for his “fame” and arrogance.
‘you repeat yourself ten times’

the flash to the fight poster just before the fight.

the too-slow before entering the impresario’s office to the wordless exchange of violin for piano music by the two musicians at audition

the flashback to his previous life as transition, fullness of this flashback (Pulp Fiction)

the “day that changes everything” starts with them deciding to quit. but it was the day that ended, the day before – when they escaped the bandits – that keys this.

a crime movie. an emotionless and sympathetic central figure (Bogart’s Rick).

and last night, December 29

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind [2004]
Gondry/Kaufmann/Jim Carrey
[Alexander Pope as delivered by “Mary”]
hammer to kid thing is a moment. weird running though the psyche stuff.
the magicality of it ends up linearizing a mental territory that has multiple dimensions – I don’t like this. even in science of sleep I find it sorta lame … too linear a dimensionality even with all its magical elements is still too linear a dimension to describe the mind – the psyche. point. and it smacks of creative dearth. an engine running out of steam.

Last Day of 2007
a list of my contemporary favorite feature length
films/movies/directors of the last 50 years

1. 2001: A Space Odyssey [Kubrick]
2. Singin in the Rain [Kelly]
3. Dead Man [Jarmusch]
4. Throne of Blood/The Bad Sleep Well [Kurosawa]
5. The Nights of Cabiria [Fellini]
6. Vivre sa Vie/Weekend [Godard]
7. Jackie Brown [Tarantino]
8. Bladerunner [Scott]
9. Shoot the Piano Player/Small Change [Truffaut]
10. Do The Right Thing/He Got Game/She Hate Me [Lee]
11. Crimes and Misdemeanors [Allen]
12. Blood Simple/Barton Fink/No Country for Old Men [Coen Brothers]
13. Gandhi [Attenborough]
14. The Gleaners and I [Varda]
15. As Tears Go By/Days of Being Wild/Chung-King Express [Wong Kar Wai]
16. Sans Soleil/La Jetee [Marker]
17. Brazil/Time Bandits [Gilliam]
18. Putney Swope [Downey]
19. Bowling for Columbine [Moore]
20. Minority Report [Spielberg]