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If we do not say all words, however absurd, we will never say the essential words.

José Saramago


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Friday, November 10th, 2006

Cleo de 17h à 19h

I am watching this movie right now and it is just stunningly good. Check out this lyric:

With all doors open wide
With the wind rushing through
I'm like an empty house
Without you
Without you
Like a derserted isle
Invaded by seas
My sands slip away
Without you
Without you
With beauty unseen
Exposed to cruel winter
My soul cannot dream
Without you
Without you
Gnawed away by despair
My body decays
In an open bier
Without you
Without you
If you wait too long
I'll have been laid to rest
Ashen, pale and alone
Without you
Without you
Without you

(This sort of reminded me of Syd Barrett's performance of "Golden Hair" by Joyce -- I'm not sure why though.)

There is a sort of interesting thing going on too, with a sort of hedonistic or romantic refusal to engage reality, I'm not sure if it is exactly a criticism of that tendency, it might be a self-criticism or a derogatory description of an other, or something else.

Also: Pee-wee Herman's inspiration must be the character in the film shown during the "Projectionist's Booth" sequence. (Wow -- just looked at IMDB and realized that the actor I am saying is Pee-wee's inspiration, is Jean-Luc Godard.)

(Here is a pretty interesting post about this film.)

posted evening of November 10th, 2006: Respond
➳ More posts about Cléo from 5 to 7

Saturday, November 11th, 2006

Cleo from 5 to 7

I watched it again tonight, and I am hoping to do so tomorrow as well. So many little bits are catching my attention! I want to make observations about it here but i fear they would mostly just be on the order of, "and then that scene, the one where the Cléo broke her mirror and AngèleDorothée was trying to reassure her [or whatever the content is of the scene that I am talking about], wasn't that just amazing?" and not have much to say about it that would help if you haven't already seen the movie. So see it, then we'll talk.

posted evening of November 11th, 2006: Respond
➳ More posts about The Movies

Sunday, November 12th, 2006

Subtitles

This movie "Cleo from 5 to 7" is making me think about subtitles (and wish, wish I understood French better than the very minimal amount I do, so I could understand the cross-talk and the background noise). It is subtitled very well, actually -- I seem to sense a certain self-consciousness on the part of whoever did the translation, about the limitations they faced. Two elements of filmmaking that I don't think are recognized as art forms in themselves, are subtitling and colorizing.

At one point Angèle asks Cléo something like "But I thought he adored you?" and she replies, "Il m'adore!" which is translated as "He does!" -- I picked up on this and was wondering why the translation isn't "He adores me!" and then I realized French doesn't have a verb which could be used in a reply like English "does", so the translation is probably correct idiomatically.

posted afternoon of November 12th, 2006: Respond
➳ More posts about Agnès Varda

Sunday, January 14th, 2007

Vagabond

Last night I watched "Vagabond" (originally "Sans Toit ni Loi") by Agnès Varda, who directed "Cléo de 5 à 7" -- I had watched "Cléo" back in November and been utterly fascinated by it. "Vagabond" is very nearly as powerful a movie. The two movies have a lot in common -- are recognizably the work of the same hand -- and are completely different from one another. Where "Cléo" is whimsical and madcap, "Vagabond" is bleak. There is a deterministic thread running through both movies that would be worth puzzling out. I need to watch "Vagabond" a few more times to get past being totally in thrall to the beautiful camera work. Also I need to rent "Le Bonheur" and "Jacquot de Nantes". It seems to me like Varda is in the same league as Hitchcock in terms of her command of the visual composition of the movie.

posted morning of January 14th, 2007: Respond
➳ More posts about Vagabond

Tonight I am watching Vagabond again -- having seen it yesterday is really helping with the comprehension. So I don't have to pay as much attention to the subtitles and I'm catching more of Varda's visual genius. Also, some plot elements that didn't quite click for me last night are coming together, though there are still a few scenes that don't make sense -- like I'm not sure who the woman is that is saying, 40 minutes in, (approximately) "She's got a good head on her shoulders -- if I'd have thrown you out at her age, my life would have been better", or whom she's talking to, or whom she's talking about.

posted evening of January 14th, 2007: Respond

More thoughts on Vagabond -- I kept coming back to wondering how closely the events of the movie matched the events of Mona's final days, and what Varda's research had looked like. I have an image of her conducting interviews with the people portrayed, and then building on those interviews to create dialogue. I felt so strongly the spectre of death hovering over Mona! Especially starting around the time she hitched a ride with Mme. Landier -- who seemed downright creepy on the second viewing. The final sequence, from when Mona flees the fire, to when she is assaulted by the wine-makers, to her wandering into the field and falling, had me crawling out of my skin. How true to life is that image of the wine-makers carousing and chasing random pedestrians around, dowsing them with dregs?

posted evening of January 14th, 2007: Respond

Friday, November second, 2007

Four Movies about Outcasts

I want to be able to see the following four movies in a combined viewing, or at least close in time to one another:

I think the middle two movies are better movies than the first and last; but they seem to sort of go together well. The movement from the final scene of Vagabond into Even Dwarfs would be pretty cool. Thinking about it, I am really liking this line-up as a quadruple feature.

(Also, this video goes very nicely with the Herzog, though it does not really bring any of the others to mind.)

posted evening of November second, 2007: Respond
➳ More posts about Even Dwarfs Started Small

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

There is a comparison to be made between Into the Wild, and Vagabond -- the structures of the two films are not identical but they have a similar project in mind. Sean Penn is (obviously) no Varda, oh well. I am interested to read Krakauer's book; my expectation is that a lot of what came off in the movie as sappy, was Penn's additions.

posted evening of May 11th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Into the Wild

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Happy Birthday, Agnès!

Agnès Varda has her 80th birthday today. What a great life she has led these 80 years. (And oh boy! A new movie in post-production! Click on the picture for more info.) If any of you have not seen her movies, check my archives for some recommendations. One of the greatest (though hardly the most prolific) filmmakers of the 20th Century.

posted morning of May 30th, 2008: Respond
➳ More posts about Les Plages d'Agnès

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Gleaning

Megan of Arctic Oak posted yesterday about the movies of Agnès Varda, one of my favorites; today in comments she links to a lecture by Varda on YouTube; and following the link I see there are several more available. (Or maybe they are all part of the same lecture -- I can't watch them right now so I'm not sure.)

posted morning of June 27th, 2008: Respond

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