Greg, I disagree I think we have heard people say they didn’t like A Serious Man because they didn’t get the Jewishness of it, that if they were Jewish they have have “got” it.
^ Which is also ridiculous since I loved that film and I’m not Jewish at all.
It is ridiculous, yet the statements have been made, remember we just had the brilliant thread asking if Americans can get Chinese cinema and some people actually wanted to say no the stupid americans can’t understand.
There are many shortsighted people and opinions, and because of those even an open-minded person can be accused of being less so because he/she may not like something, even if they explain in detail their issue.
Oh, Polaris, I hoped it was clear that I wasn’t going after you for your vote against Sebastiane, liking the film one way or the other isn’t really the issue I was trying to address, and, as I said, I wasn’t really going after you specifically either, just backing up Cat since i think, in general, her request had merit. I will, however, use you for an example of what I mean now that I said that, just because you are so much more effusive than most other posters. In the Brakhage thread, your defense of Seeing was eloquent and heartfelt, and I understood and agreed with everything you were saying up to the point of evaluating the worth of the statements. I didn’t find as much worth in the things you clearly did, or perhaps more to the point, there were competing ideas that rendered your arguments less effective with me than they might have been with others and as they clearly were to yourself. As much as that applies here, I obviously have no problem with you, or anyone else, not liking the film. The question is more whether the same system of understanding is being applied. Brakhage’s confrontation seems to have elicited a different type of response as people, mostly, went out of their way to deny the “Yuck” factor being a part of their decision, here there seems to be more comments on the “yuckish” side, or that is playing a larger role in the way the discussion about the film is being shaped. I think calling attention to that was a perfectly reasonable thing to do just as your calling attention to aspects of Brakhage’s work was a reasonable thing to do. I obviously don’t know what anyone is thinking or why they are voting the way they are, but I wanted to put out some defense or questions about Sebastiane to see if they resonated with anyone and made them think about their response more. I haven’t finished Lost Highway yet, so I don’t have a stake in the vote myself.
(Although I do think Lynch is a particularly apt opponent for Jarman given how he often uses straight male anxiety as a key part of his films. It’s open for debate whether he is doing that in a postive way or not however…)
The only invalid opinion (in my opinion) is one borne of ignorance. Anyone can like or dislike anything they want as long as they go in with an open mind.
BTW—Uli, none of those comments are directed at you.
Uli, yes, those kinds of comments do creep up, but whereas in A Serious Man they generally took the form of questioning themselves around whether they missed something, here the question was more over whether the film is capable of providing anything more if one isn’t gay. Here it is a physical response to stimuli and not a question of possible esoteric knowledge in other words.
Or to put it more directly, I think it is a big mistake to think of Sebatiane as being somehow aimed at a gay or niche market when I believe it was or is to be seen by straights in a way that confronts them with their sublimated understanding of religion and sex in general. Sebastiane, in other words, is a straight film about homosexuality.
I think it transcends even that. Depending on one’s cultural/historical background it wouldn’t seem “queer” (in any sense of the word) at all.
Would the majority’s perception on Sebastiane as a film per se be different had the plotline been an Ancient Greece centerfold, considering multi-sexuality in those lands was neither a taboo nor a “peculiarity” as opposed to today’s standards?
Well, in the defense of the film’s ideas (Dimitris are you reading this?) I would say that to call this film " a gay film" would be like calling Killer of Sheep “a black film.”
Yeah, I think this is a film for all people of all tastes… And if you were to call Killer of Sheep, an important film in regard to films made by, for and about African Americans, you’d be right.
David Lynch (Lost Highway) 1 vs Derek Jarman (Sebastiane) 0
most films are structured around a presumed norm that can often tend to fetishize females without complaint or even notice
hallelujah! thank you greg. the way this thread has gone makes me sad and decides some future viewing – overtly lesbian films, to see if i am not a hypocrite….
12 – 10 for Lynch but please correct me if I’m wrong because I counted after Brady made a mistake.
David Lynch (Lost Highway) 0 vs Derek Jarman (Sebastiane) 1
How come Sebastiane was a captain if he denied to fight as a Christian? Leaving aside this question, Sebastiane was beautiful. A movie with at least 4 terrific characters, interactions — subtle and violent, striking images — A great film.
I had a lot of problems with Lost Highway. In a conventional movie of this sort, a normal world is slowly taken over by the creeps, but Lynch decides to start the movie in a decidedly weird world. This made his grip on mood brittle, I was thrown out of the movie every time a conventionally type cast character showed up. Similarly, this created very exacting requirements on dialogue, which, imo, Lynch fails at. The second “segment” is better, probably because it was more conventional in many ways.
I do have a hard time “getting” Chinese cinema fwiw.
In what way?
tie at 12
law it’s too slow for me.
David Lynch (Lost Highway)-0 vs Derek Jarman (Sebastiane)-1
Besides the Interview Project, I don’t like Lynch.
Lost Highway (1) – Sebastiane (0)
I blame my own ignorance for not “getting” Sebastiane, the history part though not the art. I thought it was well made but my major issue is Sebastiane himself. It wasn’t effective for me at all. As for Lost Highway, not the best film I’ve watched in all this week, but I enjoyed it more than I did Sebastiane…
It’s surprising how we’re so easy to pinpoint or refer to the “explicit” (when I thought it was rather tame, compared to other films) homosexual imagery in Sebastiane when there’s also a more exploitive, more hetero-friendly, more deviant and less sensual lesbian porn in Lost Highway, both not crucial parts to the story. Or, I guess we’re so desensitized by that kind of stuff we see in popular culture that it isn’t even worth the criticism. I don’t know what the filmmaker’s intent was, based on his editing and putting it together with the murder in the end, maybe to show it for how truly cold and demeaning the porn is (what with the perverse and malicious spectators) or to just merely please our straight male fanboys.
I respect all your decisions, and even some of the users whom I admire for their taste and knowledge in film have voted against Lost Highway but please do understand me when I criticize it for the way I see it. And no one else has been able to explain his/her interpretation of the film.
No character drives, no motives. Muddled plot and themes. The filmmaker doesn’t go all the way to at least explain what this whole shebang is. For the way I see it, he doesn’t even know what’s going on either. A femme fatale who has no greater scheme other than fucking our supposedly sympathetic heroes. Time travel? Morphing? What is it going to be? Something that I think would have been totally ignored and criticized, if the credits were not to this particular filmmaker.
More sensual, more passionate sex. Not exploitive. Ahead of its time (not that that can be used as a reason to call this a masterpiece). Homosexual activity in an otherwise patriarchal society, that still considers it as a sin, an abomination. Suggesting that a historical figure might have been possibly gay. Jarman’s lyricism and the luscious imagery of the sea.
And I at least thought some would be able to relate to Sebastiane being hit on by another man whom he doesn’t feel anything towards, sexually. :P Haha.
Seriously, I’m lost.
I’m surprised that there haven’t been more attempts at untangling Lost Highway’s plot. Is it assumed that everyone is already familiar with in the possible interpretations of this movie? Nothing I’ve read resolves all the issues (mainly the innocent version of Bill Paxton getting released from prison and the snake-eating-its-tale time line), but I like the 5 stages of grief explanation.
Lost Highway 0 – Sebastiane 1
This was really difficult. Lost Highway may have a bit more going for it, but it’s not my favorite Lynch by any means. I don’t know how to describe it, but Jarman’s film leaves a better aftertaste as opposed to LH. Also…I kinda liked the men in Sebastiane…
I remember Jarman saying in his 1993 interview (seen in Derek) that if he knew anything about movie-making then Sebastiane would’ve never happened.
“Muddled plot and themes.”
I think you wanted to say something similar about Ruiz’s film too Scorpio, but you love me too much to do that ;)
DImitris will kill me for saying this, but, Didn’t anyone found Sebastiane to be a little campy and pretentious?
@Greg — “Sebastiene” was made by a gay man for other gay men.
Me for example.
That you find something of interest in it concerns us not.
@Polarisdib — The fact that the scene “doesn’t arouse” you is arguably crucial.
No hard-on, no mise en scene.
Re the other films you mention “Performance” is not a gay movie per se, though it has gay characters and the murder that jump-starts the plot proceeds from a same-sex affair gone wrong. It’s a film very much interested in transgressing sexual and gender boundaries and relentlessly criticizes conventional macho.
“A Single Man” is a very tender love story with gay characters. It’s not confrontational at all. “Sebastiene” very much is.
Since there were so many different results floating around, I did a count and I’m certain it is the correct one, so the current score is:
David Lynch – Lost Highway (12) vs Derek Jarman – Sebastiane (14)