Ok I started a thread on The Clay Bird. Any good or bad comments will be greatly appreciated…………..
A Thousand Months
There’s some nice bits in the film, the presence of the chair (particularly the lovelorn teacher’s obsession with it, and the madness resulting from it at the end) is very amusing, but for the most part, it is too much of a by-the-numbers “realist drama” for my liking. A solid film nonetheless.
^That film appeared to be a bit confused in its approach. At one point it looked like a contemplative melancholic piece with political overtones until it started getting funnier and eventually it ended like a farce. The mood changes were too drastic for me.
This was one ROFL moment.
An artist living in a big city returns to the small town he grew up in after his mother dies. It’s the Turkish Garden State!
Did anyone find that Kaplanoglu’s film beared striking resemblences in style and aesthetic to the films of his compatriot Nuri Bilge Ceylan?
At one point it looked like a contemplative melancholic piece with political overtones until it started getting funnier and eventually it ended like a farce.
This sounds right up my alley! Good thing it’s next on my list.
hello. i’m interested. :)
yeah. like a toddler with a crayon up his nose resembles titian. by the time we got to the dog, i was lacking surprise.
So far, The Clay Bird is my favorite discovery of the Cup. Starting with the overall look of the film, which is beautiful, it takes on a epic quality despite having most of the action take place off screen.
What struck me is that, even while emphasizing the distinctive culture of the area, the film could not be more universal. It is not surprising that Masud was a Muslim because religion was not his target fundamentalism was. Both Muslim and Hindi ceremonies are shown in splendor, but the tragedy results from extremism as embodied by the father. As a duet arguing this very dichotomy is sung, The Clay Bird is not just criticizing, but seeking solutions to complex problems that are faced around the globe.
That it also touchingly deals with a child’s loss of innocence is a bonus.
like a toddler with a crayon up his nose resembles titian
no one has mentioned la nación clandestina but i found it really powerful. i was moved by that film. and i love stuff about native americans anyway. apursansar has promised a thread on this so i will say no more
^I wanted an explanation on the ending of that film. It was a fascinating story otherwise.
This is a response to the user R.
Indeed I label “La vendedora de rosas” as poverty porn. Imo, the film obviously exploits the disanvantage conditions of a human group, such as children/teenagers misery and drug-addiction in the streets of a city. Looking constantly for shock value, Gaviria conceives and weaves the lives of these children into journeys of family breakdowns, delinquency, accidental killings, and vendettas. Many of those children were casted from a convent/orphanage and from the very streets. I regret being so enthusiastic by moments: “La vendedora de rosas” isn’t really an interesting film. By the end of the film, the resolutions of many of the conflicts in the plot point to reaffirm the status quo and parochial morality, and to assure a world where “natural selection” rules and right-thinking distant viewers can safely rejoice, while witness the destruction of others and the “dangerous” distant world of the latter. I’m not saying these topics on drugs, violence and poverty are unnecessary or must remain untouched in colombian cinema: all the contrary! They have to be present, but filmmakers must be many steps beyond in terms of forms, analysis and synthesis of the supposed realities.. Or else, we’re going back to the porno-misery concept denounced mainly by Colombian filmmaker Carlos Mayolo in the times of the 1960-1970’s “over-prices” (sobre-precio) in Colombia, where lots of shortfilms on mendacity, misery, were produced to impact and seduce foreign audiences, funded with the extra-profits of special taxes to film industry. In porno-misery filmmaking, directors and producers promote their films as redemptive works where marginalized groups or individuals come to light. They reinforce stereotypes and prejudices, and there’s a notorious lack of analysis, prudent distance and consciousness on image and representation. It isn’t the first nor the last director or film trying to turn misery, mendacity and glue sniffing into something sublime, and that’s why so delicate to compose an image or sequence. The end cannot justify the means. Who (and how) gets into the supposed “reality” here and from what privileged position is s/he talking about?
Victor Gaviria’s notes and statements on La vendedora de rosas
Sr. R, thanks for your questioning. I’m very anxious to read your introduction to “La vendedora de rosas”. I also want to know, why did you choose this film?
I will write and introduction for The Rose Seller.
For now, note this: to speak of “poverty porn” is to speak of some kind of pornography. Traditional pornography, as we know, is the exploitation of that which is totally forbidden by moral law to be show: the sexual act. The sexual act is the “what” aspect of porn. The exploitative aspect, the objectification of sex for purposes of power is the “how” aspect of porn.
To speak of poverty porn is to imply the acceptance of the premise that poverty needs to be hidden by virtue of traditional morality. Poverty, in this view, is in itself obscene, immoral, and thus its representation needs to be sanitized or somehow channeled through an “artistic” lens before it can be shown, like nudity in painting.
This is an awfully cynical use of language, notwithstanding my appreciation for the work of Mayolo and Ospina. The term “exploitation” suffices for the purposes of this discussion.
I, of course, reject the notion that poverty needs to be sanitized before it can be shown, even if there is a risk of reaching levels of exploitation that are unacceptable (coz narrative arts always exploit something for the puroposes of its art, of course), which I don’t think The Rose Seller reaches, at least not by the time’s standards of what can be shown and is shown regularly in films. There isn’t a single scene of nudity nor is any of the violent scenes as graphic as mainstream (and even arthouse) cinema has us accustomed to.
The Rose Seller aims to marry a level of representation of its immediate social milieu while aiming to accomplish a work of art that transcends the immediate and reach for the timeless. It is born in a classic tale by Hans Christian Andersen ( The Little Match Girl ) and is placed in a very specific context, under the conviction that artistic truth can be reached by representing, with utmost faithfulness to its subjects (not objects), an all-too-real way of living.
(Thanks so much for Gaviria’s notes on the making of the film. They made me appreciate the film even more!).
I’ll leave it here, so as to have something more to say in the intro.
Nicely put, sir.
okay…with the caveat that i haven’t see the rose seller yet so this has nothing to do with that film….
the reason that i’m wary of seeing poverty films is that i don’t see the point of being punched in the head.
this: Traditional pornography, as we know, is the exploitation of that which is totally forbidden by moral law to be show: the sexual act
and why is the sexual act forbidden? why is it immoral? because viewing it is a sensation. it bypasses the brains to suckerpunch the groin and other animals. sure it’s automatic participation, it’s empathy, but it’s blind and therefore limited. it’s a loss of rational control, it’s reaction without thought. – and i imagine the ‘control’ aspect is why it is censured in a lot of societies, and why it becomes ‘immoral’. but that doesn’t mean that just showing the forbidden somehow constitutes a freedom to see things clearly…
…exploitation goes both ways….both sides of the camera, including the audience…seeing something terrible, in the throes of an emotional response, i see nothing, recognise nothing. we’re blind vampires without even knowing it. why did lanzmann document everything but actual footage of the holocaust in shoah (which in a sense, still failed because i blubbed my eyes out regardless)……why did harun farocki say this in nicht löschbares feuer, before stubbing a cigarette out on his arm? How can we show you napalm in action? And how can we show you the injuries caused by napalm? If we show you pictures of napalm burns, you’ll close your eyes. First you’ll close your eyes to the pictures. Then you’ll close your eyes to the memory. Then you’ll close your eyes to the facts. Then you’ll close your eyes to the entire context.
maybe it’s just my problem (i couldn’t sit through brakhage’s act of corpse-busting though) there are things in the world that need witnessing. but the in the majority of films that show them i’m too busy wailing and gnashing my teeth and making a noose of my heartstrings to approach any ‘truth’ with any sense or understanding. that’s why i’d prefer my poverty porn…not sanitized for the sake of disgust…but filtered, so that i can approach it rationally…like with pedro costa or margot benacerraf, as heavenly, beatific images…or like wiseman….who looks at the institutions that make lives ghastly (and no one but kafka could make bureaucracy too nightmarish to interrogate)…or perhaps the most distancing of all, humour…
all these well-meaning filmmakers out to document injustice…i’m not sure they achieve what they set out to if by wanting to show us that something is awful, they have to show us something awful. did everyone that went ‘ewww’ at a film of a slaughterhouse go vegetarian? no. they just went ew gross and then went to burger king.
There is nothing wrong with the sexual act in itself, except when it is the remnant of power dynamics. Same with poverty. But traditional morality does have a problem with the sexual act and even the naked body, the showing of it. It has been placed under the exploration of ethics. Traditionally, and I’m not just talking about priests and pastors, but also you and me, the immorality of the sexual act is understood in terms of who commits it and shows it, not who censors it. Problematizing poverty under the same categorizations is suspect because,
1) Poverty is not an act whose exposition is traditionally condemned by morality. On the contrary, the poor, questionably or not, have been redeemed by Christianity as virtuous.
2) Poverty is not common to all of humanity, as sex is. The immorality of sex, as it were, puts all people under the same frame of guilt. Which brings me to…
3) Poverty is prevalent in all of the world and is largely a result unequal exploitation and distribution of resources (no, I’m not a communist); it is a dynamic in which all people participate, directly or indirectly. The “sensation” of exposing and witnessing a sexual act is the sensation of seeing something that need to be confined and hidden in our usual behavior. Implying that something as prevalent as poverty causes, when exposed, the same type of sensation as sex is to imply that poverty is also something that needs to be confined so as not to offend the good moral sensibilities of this world. It is to deny the poor a equal status of human beings in a way that the privileged classes around the world are human beings.
Still, exploitation does happen. Whether The Rose Seller is exploitative or not is another issue. I say it is not. That this issue has been raised, in the context of such a film, speaks volumes to me about how the fault lies not so much in the subject of the story, as in the squeamishness of the (privileged?) viewer. The Rose Seller is as much about friendship, solidarity and teen angst as it is about symbols of poverty (glue sniffing, parental abandonment, homelessness, etc.).
Mizoguchi has shown that systematic pain is acceptable when is pretty and wears a kimono (don’t hate me Kenji, just trying to make a point). The biggest sin commited by the subjects of The Rose Seller are their awful hairdos and dirty, unmatched clothes. We are all consumers after all.
This is all really a crock of shit, but I’m trying really hard to be “rational” about it.
The “sensation” of exposing and witnessing a sexual act is the sensation of seeing something that need to be confined and hidden in our usual behavior
okay i disagree. what is it about the sexual act that allows it to be seized upon as a medium of power dynamics, and therefore placed under the purview of ethics in the first place? viewing sex generates an inescapable evolved physical response before you even get to whether it needs to be confined or hidden. seeing poverty generates an evolved altruistic or otherwise distress (which is debatably common to all humans) before you get to any purpose in showing it. i’m not linking sex and poverty, i’m linking the reaction to seeing sex and poverty. forcing squeamish priviliged people to sit through what to them is a horrorshow is not going to make them able to approach the horrorshow as a real situation. they’ll just shut their eyes. which is the point farocki makes.
and i haven’t seen the rose seller yet, like i prefaced my comment with, so you don’t need to defend it from me.
but thank you for telling me there’s nothing wrong with sex. my problem is with films that generate blind emotional reactions to the occlusion of the object/subject/process that is generating them (mizoguchi very much included, and naruse even more)
I honestly think you are skipping many steps in order to successfully (?) compare reactions to sex and poverty. Sexual drive may be physical, but sexual identity and the sexual act are largely psychological, symbolic constructions. Pornography exploits this in terms of power. At least male-oriented porn, which is what mostly comes out of the porn vaults.
Poverty does not guarantee an altruistic response… If only! (And when it does, it’s not a “natural, physical response”, but a product of culture.
If that were so, the privileged classes of Latin America and other places would have ended poverty long ago, as it happens to be right in the middle of their cities, there for all to see. Indifference and cruelty are also common responses to the sight of the poor.
But you know what? Watch the film or don’t watch it. I really don’t care at this point. I’ll do an intro coz I already committed to it and that will be it from me. Ta tah.
and i think you’re conflating reaction to sex and poverty with reactions to the depiction of sex and poverty. however sexual identity is constructed, my point is that a response to viewing it (be it physical, psychological, symbolic, cultural etc) is immediate, and unmediated by the conscious brain of the viewer. (which not a lot is anyway, but you’ve got to be given the chance)
and you’re telling me that all the privileged classes of latin america need to do is feel sorry for poor people and poverty will somehow go away? maybe indifference is the overstimulated and exhausted response of sympathy in the face of the monster of capitalism. they shut their eyes
but yeah, there’s really no point discussing it any further since i’ve no idea what this has to do with the rose seller. i was just saying what i don’t like about misery-films.
It is born in a classic tale by Hans Christian Andersen ( The Little Match Girl ) and is placed in a very specific context, under the conviction that artistic truth can be reached by representing, with utmost faithfulness to its subjects (not objects), an all-too-real way of living.
This is what our resident poverty prudes fail to grasp. It’s high concept melodrama (heroes and villains abound), which all Western cultures (and many non-Western cultures as well) utilize for their narratives, as it grants human agency to a sociopolitical environment. That lower class urban Latin American cultures should be exempt from such narrative strategies is a completely arbitrary declaration.
The majority of the films in the Cup so far have been about poor people, but this has been the first poverty-prude attack, and I’m not sure why. Probably because it’s the first poverty film of the Cup (that I’ve seen) where the povertors resist vehemently, violently, and heroically. That always unsettles the comfort classes.
Who wants to watch films about poor people?
As for the whole porn analogy: porn is repetitive, non-narrative action between anti-protagonists that culminates in ejaculation. There are several Cup poverty films so far that have followed this basic format, but Rosas isn’t one of them.
Wealthy people tend to look the same all around the world. The working class is where you get the variety of culture.
oh. i can’t be bothered.
No longer relevant.
Dangit! I wanted to bookmark that video to watch later when I had sound, and now it’s gone….
I’ll watch struggling people in films with all the empathy in the world, really be with it, think about a whole bunch of stuff ( and maybe reflect on my admirable capacity for compassion!) then finally end up thinking… you know, that wasn’t so clear, I really do need to go get that HDMI cable today and blow what would be to them six months wages on the thing
and you’re telling me that all the privileged classes of latin america need to do is feel sorry for poor people and poverty will somehow go away?
I don’t think r said that actually in fact seemed to say the opposite but I haven’t read this in great detail
Memories of Underdevelopment
One of the most interesting films I’ve seen in a long time. How does a free mind assert free will within a communist dictatorship? With rape, of course.
I imagine two images in the making of this motion picture. First, I imagine Castro desperately wanting a film festival hit made by an authentic Cuban director. And then I imagine Alea tasked with this task and finding himself faced with Shakespearean mandates.
Alea’s only choice is to present a European protagonist. And we get one worthy of Antonioni. This protagonist frets the entire film about his own alienation. He’s rich and handsome, and at the beginning of the movie, he never needs eye-glasses, but by the end he’s found some and can’t take them off.
Back to the rape: our 38-year-old Antonioni protagonist invites a 16-year-old to his deluxe apartment and forces a cat-and-mouse game into sexual intercourse. Rape. And in between this rape, our protagonist eschews bureaucracy.
Can’t say I really understand what people find so special about Village People Radio Show. I tried to get on board with it, and it was pleasant enough, but it felt kind of, for lack of a better word, “mundane” (I can’t quite explain why it didn’t work for me in this regard without risking seeming dumb – especially since I have nothing against mundaneness in films – but all I will say is that there are plenty of other films which find profundity in their “mundaneness” and this one didn’t for me) and its idiosyncrasies were more distracting than enlightening. Maybe I just find guerilla warfare uninteresting (when the guy expressed sadness that his son wanted a normal job instead of going around killing people I cringed..). Still, I quite enjoyed it and I’m happy others seem to be getting more out of watching it than I did.
Now seen 5 Cup films! Ranked below from favourite to least..
1. Lust for Gold 10/10
2. Happy End 8/10
3. Tropical Fish 7/10
4. Village People Radio Show 6/10
5. The Runner 4/10
Films I’m most looking forward to watching:
The Dream of a Ridiculous Man
Tree of Knowledge
Mother Joan of Angels
After watching La vendedora de rosas I went searching to read Gaviria’s notes in the link provided by Javier. Forget that! haha, was aslo denied the comments on youtube which was frustrating as I saw “porno” amidst the Spanish text here and there and wanted to know what was being said.
I don’t know how this compares to the Colombian films branded poverty porn in the 70’s, or what exactly the criteria is to quality but I imagine it would be the lack of any raisen d’etre for a film’s existence outside a window of observation for a dissociated audience, gratuitious acts, crude exploitation taken too far with the feeling the man behind the camera is enjoying himself in documenting miserable creatures either through some streak of sadism or to feel superior and safe, then inviting others to do the same. Well if poverty porn is about titillation I can’t imagine what type of sensibility might be titillated by La vendedora de rosas, it did not appear to me at least to extend itself into that territory to any notable degree whatsoever.
it isn’t the first nor the last director or film trying to turn misery, mendacity and glue sniffing into something sublime Javier implies that to inject an artful complexity is not enough to raise the work above the mire of poverty porn, and I see his point. The film is still, thought well crafted, that window of obseration without context. R speaks of the film being about a lot more then symbols of poverty but also about friendship, teen angst etc it is also about grief and loss, family violence, addiction, ennui – things that permeate every society rich and poor alike. But yes, the film is certainly at pains to highlight the camaraderie amongst its subjects and the duty felt to help and protect each other in this landscape of the hopelessness and abandonment. But the subjects were not depicted as hopeless, they were defiant and spirited. Gaviria seeks to casually observe with constraint, considerable constraint I thought, to the point of perhaps losing a more realistic take on the inevitable abiding brutality through caution (no doubt to avoid the dreaded label) and without imposing anything of himself or what an outside observer might have needed these people to be.
There must have been much lost in translation as far as the swearing is concerned, or there are just not equivalent words in the boring Anglo cursing vocab, the general default seemed to be motherfucker…and not a single cunt. I thought there was but no.. it was only runt. heh I just read my post up there, I have made myself sound quite shallow and insincere of feeling, I’m not (honest!!) I was just thinking then how easy it is to compartmentalise oneself off from the suffering of others even if you really do feel for them for a time, especially when it seems too vast to do anythig about, and far away.