WHAT FILMS HAVE YOU SEEN LATELY?

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MikeBSG
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Post by MikeBSG »

I watched Akira Kurosawa's "Rhapsody in August" on DVD lately. While it won't ever be my favorite Kurosawa film, I have to say that it was very interesting and it held me rapt. My only problem with the film was that while I liked the first half of the movie a lot, when it was just the grandmother and the children, in the second half of the movie I felt that the children got pushed into the background once the middle generation showed up.

When "Rhapsody" first came out, it touched off some controversy about it having Richard Gere appologize for the atomic bomb. Well, he doesn't. He appologizes because his side of the (Japanese-American) family shunned their Japanese relatives until the present. And the movie is very clear about this.

I can't really understand where the controversy came from. "Rhapsody in August" is a good movie that shows Kurosawa surprisingly adept at presenting young people.
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charliechaplinfan
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Post by charliechaplinfan »

I read your review with interest Mike. I've been watching a few Japanese films recently and I've looked at renting this film.

I did rent (following a recommendation on the Japanese thread) Tokyo Drifter, quite a lot more modern than I usually watch. It has a very definite 60's theme to it, the colours are very vivid. One of the strongest things about this film wasthe use of the theme tune running through the film. I think it might have been used in Kill Bill. In fact the film reminded me of a cross between Kill Bill and the early Bonds. It was an interesting experience.

An extremely moving experience was Akasen Chitai the last film that Mizoguchi directed. It is extraordinary, I love tales about the Japanese way of life. I've watched a few revolving around Geisha houses but this one was about a whorehouse, it didn't have the pretence of being a Geisha house. All the prostitutes had a different tale and a different reason for becoming a prostitute, some had been sold into the business, one was in it because she had been widowed, another was married to an invalid and had a small child. They seem to live a hand to mout existence, frequently being subbed by their employer. A thread running through the story is a bill getting passed through parliament to outlaw prostitution, thi is the 3rd time of going through, it doesn't get passed. Who would look after these girls if it did? Prostitution is treated very differently in Japan of the 1950's. It's extremely poignant, it poses many questions but gives few definite answers. What would the girls do in a society that has no employment or social care for these people?
Failure is unimportant. It takes courage to make a fool of yourself - Charlie Chaplin
MikeBSG
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Post by MikeBSG »

I saw "Akasen Chitai" about 20 years ago. It was called "Street of Shame" but it was a very powerful and thought-provoking film, as you pointed out. I think that film and "Sansho the Baliff" are my favorite Mizoguchi films. On the whole, I am probably a stereotypical Westerner and prefer Kurosawa's films of the Japanese films that I've seen, although I liked Kobayashi's "Hara-Kiri" and "The Human Condition."
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Post by feaito »

I watched the very touching and sentimental "Lassie Come Home" (1943) and I enjoyed it just like when I watched many years ago, when I was a boy. It's the quintessential Louis B. Mayer family film and it works perfectly. The dog (Pal) is awesome and the cast uniformly good. The Technicolor is somewhat washed out though.
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ChiO
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Post by ChiO »

What better to do on a cold dreary windy autumn afternoon than to sit in a theatre and luxuriate in the camera and colors of a restored print of LOLA MONTES (Max Ophuls, 1955).

From the opening shot of what appears to be a magnificent and somber cathedral being revealed as a raucous circus, to the closing shot of a captive caged beauty drowning in a sea of men who want to be a part of what they perceive her to be, it is two glorious hours of cinema.

It is reminiscent of CITIZEN KANE structurally and thematically. We see and learn everything about Lola, but ultimately know nothing of her. But like Welles (and Murnau) every frame tells the story and is near perfection.

Watching THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE yet again Saturday night on TCM, it struck me that despite the presence of Robert Siodmak and the great cinematograher, Nicholas Musuraca, it is far less of a film noir than LOLA MONTES. Mystery, suspense and chiaroscuro effects cannot surpass the dread and inevitability of a downfall that Ophuls' tale gives us, even if it is with a moving camera and in color.

Is it better than THE EARRINGS OF MADAME DE...? As one friend put it, why do we ever have to choose?
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles
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inglis
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no happening

Post by inglis »

rented The Happening I did not like it bad movie .There was no story line at all and it just seemed to drag on.I was waiting for something to HAPPEN but nothing did :lol:
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Ann Harding
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Post by Ann Harding »

Yesterday I watched a rare Detlef Sierck picture: Das Mädchen vom Moorhof (The Girl from the Marsh Croft, 1935). In case, you are wondering Detlef Sierck emigrated later on to the US to become Douglas Sirk. :wink:
The film is based on a story by Selma Lagerlöf. Sirk transpose the original settings to Northern Germany (between Bremen and Hamburg). The girl from the title, Helga, comes from a farm deep into the Marshland where peasants work in peat bog. She accuses her former employer to have seduced her and made her pregnant with child. But in the end, she resolves to drop the case and accepts a job as servant on another farm. The farmer's son, Karsten, is promised to the local mayor's daughter, Gertrud. Gertrud soon develops an intense jealousy towards the young Helga....
This was Sirk's second feature film and it uses beautifully the locations. Around Hamburg, you have a vast windswept plain with its peat bog that farmers exploit to make 'bricks'. The title character, the young Helga turns out to be far more complex than previously thought. She has certainly been abused by her employer, but she wants to protect her child. She becomes a real heroine by her selfless love for Karsten.
The print shown on French TV wasn't perfect and looked like an analog copy, but it was a really satisfying feature. 8)
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ChiO
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Post by ChiO »

I am now taking a class on Detlef Sierck. The downside is that I've seen four of the six films that will be screened and only one of the films, LA HABANERA, is German. The upside is that we will watch and discuss six Sirk movies.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles
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Ann Harding
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Post by Ann Harding »

That sounds great, ChiO! Which films are you going to see? Among his lesser-know features, I am particularly fond of Summer Storm (adapted from Tchekhov) and A Scandal in Paris.
In two weeks, French TV is showing another rare German Sierck: Stützen der Gesellschaft. Can't wait to see it! :)
jdb1

Post by jdb1 »

I watched First a Girl last week on TCM. This is an early 30s British version of the play Viktor und Viktoria, which most of us know as the Julie Andrews musical Victor/Victoria.

Well, I liked First a Girl about 5,000 times more than that other one. But then, Julie Andrews is one of my least favorite performers, and I think she's a lousy actress. Jessie Matthews, in the earlier film, was wonderful. It seems to me that in her movie, Andrews was obviously dressed and made up to recall Matthews as the androgynous musical performer. But Matthews is not all oh-so-sincere-and-heartwarming treacle like Andrews. She gave the part some bite, silly as the movie may have been. And it was rather silly and dated, but also very funny, and those lavish production numbers tried to out-Busby Berkley Mr. Berkley. Anna Lee added some oomph as Matthews' rival as well. And the excellent song and dance man Sonnie Hale added real spice as Matthews' co-conspirator in the man/woman deception. They danced together beautifully, Fred and Ginger style, and Hale was really funny, and pretty androgynous himself at times.
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ChiO
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Post by ChiO »

Which films are you going to see? Among his lesser-know features, I am particularly fond of Summer Storm (adapted from Tchekhov) and A Scandal in Paris.
Mostly the usual suspects:

LA HABANERA
LURED (don't you want to pronounce it LURID?)
SLEEP MY LOVE (haven't seen this one)
ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS
WRITTEN ON THE WIND
IMITATION OF LIFE (of the 9 or so Sirk films I've seen, the one I'm least fond of)

I, too, am very fond of A SCANDAL IN PARIS. My favorite, THE TARNISHED ANGELS, is missing. The class has met once and is very promising -- a nice mix of Sirk fans and newcomers, and a moderator who knows her stuff (she spent a few years in Germany and taught classes on Sirk there). After having just taken a disaster of a class on Fritz Lang, this one is welcome.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles
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moira finnie
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Post by moira finnie »

ChiO wrote: After having just taken a disaster of a class on Fritz Lang, this one is welcome
I hope that I don't seem too nosy, but what happened in the Fritz Lang class that made it a disaster?
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ChiO
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Post by ChiO »

I hope that I don't seem too nosy, but what happened in the Fritz Lang class that made it a disaster?
Oh, the Horror!

Context is everything: The classes are populated by adults, many of whom have taken film classes for years, and standard operating procedure is for the teacher/moderator/instructor to introduce the film (something about the director, period, things to look for, gossip, etc.), watch the film, and discuss the film with the t/m/i raising questions and leading or moderating a classwide discussion.

In the Lang class, after viewing the film, the t/m/i would hand out a list of questions, read them aloud to the class, require 3 minutes of silence for meditation over the questions, then -- one-by-one -- have each attendee respond to the question of his or her choice and the t/m/i would then give her reflections on said response. The best discussions were on the break immediately following the film, which -- having once acknowledged as insightful -- she affirmatively and knowingly cut-off. Once she even chastised we children for having deviated from her hand-out.

After one class, I mentioned that I had just seen LE PLAISIR and asked she had had the opportunity. I got an blank look. Thinking that I'd mangled the pronunciation, I said, "It's a film by Max Ophuls." Another blank look, followed by, "I'm sorry. I don't know him. I'm not really a film buff." ARRGGHHH!!!

P.S. I ditched the last class (THE BIG HEAT) in order to see FASTER, PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL! on the big screen and meet Tura Satana (who was so happy to be back in the town where she grew up). I needed the intellectual stimulation.
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles
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moira finnie
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Post by moira finnie »

Hmmm, do you really think that your teacher/moderator/instructor in the Fritz Lang class might have gone by the name of "Maria" aka Brigitte Helm? I have it on the very best authority that the photo below is a candid shot of you greeting your pedagogue on the first day of class. Perhaps things might have gone better if you'd brought her an apple (or perhaps a can of WD-40) on the first day of school, young Master ChiO.
Image

Based on the fact that you ditched poor Fritz for Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!, would I be correct that you are planning on taking a class in Russ Meyer 101 eventually?
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ChiO
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Post by ChiO »

would I be correct that you are planning on taking a class in Russ Meyer 101 eventually?
Wouldn't that be special. As a diehard auteurist, I can think of many worse classes. It could be a tribute to Roger Ebert's screenplays. But it needs to happen soon because if I get much older, my heart may not be able to take it. Luckily, I was much, much younger when I saw Kitten Natividad perform live. Ahhh, the days of a wayward youth (me, not Kitten).
Everyday people...that's what's wrong with the world. -- Morgan Morgan
I love movies. But don't get me wrong. I hate Hollywood. -- Orson Welles
Movies can only go forward in spite of the motion picture industry. -- Orson Welles
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