What’s all the buzz around that shit? This is the most pretentious film ever made. I really don’t understand why so many people litteray learned to love that shit. Well if you want to look like a pseudo intellectual snob parisian its the perfect movie to “love”. The new wave movement of France seems to be an “How to look smart” movement led by the Cahiers du cinema. When I read something like this; « Nécessité de la politique des auteurs: André Bazin aime beaucoup Citizen Kane, les Amberson, un peu La Dame de Shanghai et Othello, guère Voyage au pays de la peur et Macbeth, pas du tout Le criminel. Sadoul aime assez Kane et les Amberson mais pas du tout Voyage au pays de la peur et Macbeth. Qui à raison? Malgré le respect que je porte à Cocteau, Bazin et Sadoul, je préfère me ranger à l’avis d’Astruc, Rivette et tutti quanti qui aiment sans distinction tous les films de Welles pour ce qu’ils sont des films de Welles » I just feel that the world of auteur cinema is lead by a few critics and a lot of critics fanboy just follow their favorite critics as their “bible”… I’m a fan of Bresson but I don’t need a complete analysis and comparison of all his films by Jean Michel Frodon to love some of his films. I feel some critics are sometimes very strong because they are afraid to have to change their so well builded point of view about something ; they are going to rate a very nice film as awfull because the director changed his point of view since his last film.
A movie is a movie. Please don’t give a shit about the earlier or later films of the director of his sad or happy childhood or about the book it as been inspired of… Don’t give a fucking shit about those critics who are just selling their taste because they think they are the kings of the world (referring to critics a la cahiers du cinema who doesn’t really cares about the good moment you could pass in front of the screen and telling you how to watch a movie and how to become a real film fan à la Parisienne… I’m reading a lot of critics but I much prefer the ones who tell us their personnal apreciation and how they feel about the movie. I don,t need an out of ten rating to decide to watch or not a movie…
Sorry for the lack of explanation and for my awful English. I really had to say that.
P.s. I’m not bashing the new wave here!
YES I CERTAINLY DESERVE ABOUT 20 THUMBS DOWN BECAUSE I HATED A MOVIE LOVED BY THE CRITICS…
DON’T CARE ABOUT WHAT I MEAN IN THIS TOPIC JUST GIVE ME A THUMB DOWN FOR MY INSOLENCE EVEN IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN THE MOTHER AND THE WHORE…
wait are you talking strictly about the mother and the whore?
No, I’m talking about pretentious films made for critics and snobism of some critics in general… The Mother and the whore and the Cahiers are the best examples…
The Mother and the Whore, pretentious?
It’s (male) characters certainly are, but we’re not supposed to identify with them except as self-critique.
It’s not a model for how to live, but a cautionary tale.
It’s certainly not a movie one might love the way one might love Breathless (that is, as a model of a certain form of cool to which you aspire). If Belmondo’s character in Breathless is damaged by his cultural consumption in the direction of a form of legitimate cool, then Leaud’s Alexandre is damaged in the direction of self-conscious academicism, over-intellectuality, and paralysis in normal human relations. He’s an idealist (in the sense of living in a world of ideas) who seems unable to commit to what exists in the world.
Eustache’s other major fiction work, Mes Petites Amoureuses, is similarly an autobiographical self-critique that ends with the hopefulness of a change in the main character’s way of situating himself in the world.
As for the critic-led snobbery of pretentious films, don’t believe the hype. ‘Critics,’ even if they were the monolithically pretentious club you imply, only exist by virtue if a post-Renaissance cultural belief in the gap between high and low art, an offshoot of the colonizing of culture by bourgeois taste. I think you’re defining ‘critics’ tautologically as those who like pretentious films, rather than looking at the group of people who write about movies, or who write about them ‘professionally.’ I’m willing to bet that the critics who write for Maxim or the Fox news affiliate in Sheboygan, Wisconsin aren’t big Eustache fans, but you never know. I also wonder where you get the idea that ‘critics’ decide what’s good or not good. Criticism is a conversation about the world told through points of view on cinema. It is either polyphonous or irrelevant (or perhaps both).
^ what he said.
The Mother and the Whore was hated by critics when it first came out.
And stop saying it’s pretentious, just because you didn’t understand it doesn’t mean you have to spit on the pseudo-intellectual concept.
it’s obvious that this Olivier, Probably dude doesn’t know a thing about film-making…
I think that Edwin is right, not understanding the movie is not reason enough to say all this!!
I advise you to go over the it an other time (If you can find it, since it’s a very rare film and getting to see it is, for me, a real privilege) then check out your topic and you’ll know what we are talking about.
Fuck critics, “La maman et la putain” déchire sa mère.
Don’t like it, don’t rewatch it.
“Critics,’ even if they were the monolithically pretentious club you imply, only exist by virtue if a post-Renaissance cultural belief in the gap between high and low art, an offshoot of the colonizing of culture by bourgeois taste.”
I agree, the division between “high” and “low” art is totally ridiculous (that actually began well after the Renaissance, but that’s another story). First off, a movie should stand on it’s own. If it has to be profoundly interpreted by a “connoisseur” or is somehow reactionary or political, I think it would probably fall into the “mindless pretension” category. I don’t speak for everyone, but I greatly prefer good, simple, old-fashioned storytelling to anything else. Entertainment can be art (look at The Iliad and, even more appropriately, The Odyssey). I like to think of modern cinema as descended from the bards of old. The sort of way we look at fairy tales and legends is what I like to see in cinema. Multi-layered, complex but easily accessible. Something that communicates to our most profound, but in sort of simple and intuitive manner.
“A movie is a movie”
Then stick with “Hot Tub Time Machine” and leave “The Mother and the Whore” to those of us who care about the cinema.
“Entertainment can be art (look at The Iliad and, even more appropriately, The Odyssey).”
Iliad and Odyssey are NOT ENTERTAINMENT, unless you’re taliking about the bastardized “American” versions.
“The Mother and the Whore” is a very precise rendering of the post May ‘68 mood among a substrata of Left Bank types. While its length and inimacy suggest Rivette, unlike "L’Amour Fou" and “Out 1” every word of Eustache’s film was scripted. Leaud gives one of his greatest performances in it as does Bernadette laffonr.
Francoise Lebrun went on to appear as one of the off-screen voices in “India Song.”
“I don’t speak for everyone, but I greatly prefer good, simple, old-fashioned storytelling to anything else. Entertainment can be art (look at The Iliad and, even more appropriately, The Odyssey). I like to think of modern cinema as descended from the bards of old. "
I agree with this, from Dimitris:
“Iliad and Odyssey are NOT ENTERTAINMENT, unless you’re taliking about the bastardized “American” versions.”
I have never read the Iliad but The Odyssey is not “simple, old-fashioned storytelling.” Everything that is truly great has to be “profoundly interpreted.”
Art and Entertainment are not mutually exclusive categories.
“The Mother and the Whore” is not to every taste, but to dismiss this thoughtful and deeply felt work as “the most pretentious film ever made” is beneath contempt.
Another good example of this is Lewis Carrol’s Alice in Wonderland books, which were viscous satires but never adapted as such (that I know of). The adaptations always take just the very surface idea—the part that can serve as “entertainment” alone.
This thread should be a metaphor to how some people can actually far more stupid than you’d think.
@Dimitris: You know you’re talking to a classicist, right? Take a look at the place The Iliad and the Odyssey held in ancient Greek culture. The poems were read aloud to hundreds of spectators over the course of several days all across Greece at numerous spectacles and festivals. Yes, it was a form of entertainment (as well as several other things at the same time). Similar practices still hold today all around the world. Bards still exist.
“I have never read the Iliad but The Odyssey is not “simple, old-fashioned storytelling.” Everything that is truly great has to be “profoundly interpreted.””
I’ve personally read both many times (including in Ancient Greek). The Odyssey, actually, is pretty much a long suite of fairy tales. I’m completely serious, there is a ton of academic literature on this. Almost every “episode” of the story appears in other folk tales all around the indo-european world. There’s even a Korean epic which strangely (and probabally coincidentally) ressembles The Odyssey.
The Ancient Greeks would have intuitively understood what was happening in the two stories, just like we do with fairy tales and legends like the tales of King Arthur. In fact, The Odyssey was written in pretty much the same way as the round table legends. Sorry, but practically noone seriously believes Homer actually existed. Read into it, you’ll see a ton of inconsitencies (even ancient authors noticed this kind of stuff. Helenistic scholars debated all this for thousands of pages). The story takes place in the bronze age, but the social order in the Odyssey ressembles that of the iron age (for only one example) no to mention that several episodes of the siege of Troy (recounted by Helen) were never even written in the Iliad… like the Trojan Horse. Besides, the Odyssey is basically a comedy (this is Aristotle talking, not me) while the Iliad is a tragedy. The Odyssey is full of comic episodes, like Odysseus appearing naked in front of Nausicaa (a virgin “about of wedding age”) covered in sea weed like a “monster.” As I was saying, the ancient Greek audience would have got this kind of thing… today, less. The two poems were mega-hits. They were seriously massively popular. Education at the time consisted of basically memorising and copying Homer. I’m sorry guys, I’ve been studying the classics for years. I stand by what I said. Obviously the Iliad and the Odyssey (especially the Iliad) are enormously complex books, and are extremely profound. To say they are “NOT ENTERTAINMENT” however in my oppinion is completely absurd. Read up a bit on your Archaic and Classical Greek History, then come back and tell me they were somehow un-democratic books. It’s very, very fine literature yes, but that really doesen’t change anything at all. Art is entertainment at it’s very base. To be all pretentious about Shakespeare is to miss half it’s value. He was popular among all social classes, as was Homer. You do not (do not) need to have some special knowledge really to understand what is going on (to understand how an Ancient Greek or an Elizabethan Englishman would have seen it however, yes you do). When you get all snooty, you just ruin the whole experience (and even worse, you’re not even seeing or understanding the work as it was intended).
“Everything that is truly great has to be “profoundly interpreted.””
As for this, I never said great things shouldnt be “profoundly interpreted.” I’ll quote myself: “If it has to be profoundly interpreted by a “connoisseur” or is somehow reactionary or political, I think it would probably fall into the “mindless pretension” category.” Essentially, I meant so long as something can only be understood by an “insider/ intellectual” minority, it’s probabally bunk. Filming your feet for two hours to show the “shortsightedness of man” is idiotic.
“Art and Entertainment are not mutually exclusive categories. The Mother and the Whore is not to every taste, but to dismiss this thoughtful and deeply felt work as the most pretentious film ever made is beneath contempt.”
I’m with David Ehrenstein. To dismiss the movie as “the most pretention flim ever made” is idiotic, but so is undervaluing stuff like (oh, dare I say it?) “mainstream” media. Both parties are just as bad, take things for what they are. Shakespeare cracks ass jokes and “Homer” (who was really dozens of people) appealed to (ghastly, ghastly!) a “mainsteam audience” in his own way, too. The division between “high” and “low” art is pretty slim and highly permeable. Besides, the best art is generally both “high” and “low” at the same time.
Let me clarify my position.
“Obviously the Iliad and the Odyssey (especially the Iliad) are enormously complex books, and are extremely profound.”
This is what i was saying. I agree that art and entertainment should not be mutually exclusive but, unfortunately, these words don’t necessarily mean the same things to everyone. Entertainment, as in Homer, Haydn, and Herman Melville, is not pursuing the same ends as what most people mean when they say “it’s just entertainment.”
Comedy is another word which has lost it’s meaning and value. Most people think that slapstick type comedy, from The Three Stooges to Ace Ventura is the purest form of comedy and that any comedy with a meaning or idea must be a dark comedy but we both know that that isn’t the case. Of course there is comedy in these works but what kind of comedy? There is comedy in Elaine May’s Mikey and Nicky and there is comedy in The Whole Ten yards but they are not doing the same things. We also know that, even aside from not understanding the language, what makes Shakespeare not very appealing to the masses of today is what makes him great.
Also, the intentions of the author, or authors make no real difference here. It doesn’t matter if Shakespeare was trying to appeal to the masses any more than it matters that Spielberg thought he was making a profound masterpiece with Schindler’s List. The bard created stunningly humane works that still speak to our everyday existence while the mogul creates crap. Intentions mean nothing here.
Sorry, but dismissing The Mother and The Whore as pretentious is not equivalent to undervaluing mainstream media because the latter has no value. We should all be dismissing Avatar, Meet the Browns and Beyonce because they aren’t worth valuing.
“You do not (do not) need to have some special knowledge really to understand what is going on (to understand how an Ancient Greek or an Elizabethan Englishman would have seen it however, yes you do). When you get all snooty, you just ruin the whole experience (and even worse, you’re not even seeing or understanding the work as it was intended).”
I’m almost with you here. I would say “special knowledge” may in fact hinder some forms of understanding. The concepts, plots and themes are relatively easy to grasp but what about the tonal contrasts in the language between characters and sometimes within characters? What about understanding what we learn about character through bawdy jokes? What about shifting levels of meaning and feeling in each soliloquy? What about the telling inconsistencies in characters? These things often involve a perceptual receptiveness that neither the masses or many academics are willing or able to embrace, instead favoring easy action or symbolic puzzles.
Yes, bards exist today but let’s not call every hack that makes a 3D extravaganza a bard. Eustache, sure. Cameron, not even close, more like a ba-sta-rd:)
“Entertainment, as in Homer, Haydn, and Herman Melville, is not pursuing the same ends as what most people mean when they say “it’s just entertainment.” …Comedy is another word which has lost it’s meaning and value.”
I agree, the problem here is largely symantical (the qui pro quo of every day life). As for comedy, check out Plautus (mostly redone by Moliere in the 17th century).
“Sorry, but dismissing The Mother and The Whore as pretentious is not equivalent to undervaluing mainstream media because the latter has no value. We should all be dismissing Avatar, Meet the Browns and Beyonce because they aren’t worth valuing.”
I wasn’t actually refering to La maman et la putain specifically, but was rather just speaking in general. In any case, I don’t think mainstream media “has no value.” I could accept “little or no meaningful value,” but Avatar afterall is… what most people are watching. That says something. Watching theatre bougeois tells us alot more about life in the early 19th century France than Victor Hugo (Hernani…) or Stendhal (Racine et Shakespeare…). Besides, sometimes you just want to eat potato chips and watch something explode.
“The concepts, plots and themes are relatively easy to grasp but what about the tonal contrasts in the language between characters and sometimes within characters? What about understanding what we learn about character through bawdy jokes? What about shifting levels of meaning and feeling in each soliloquy? What about the telling inconsistencies in characters?”
I think you underestimate the average ‘everyman.’ Most of the time, this sort of thing (with Shakespeare for example, or The Odyssey) would have been more easily understood by contemporary audiences. The work was done in their native language and was made to be representative of their culture. Tonal contrasts are lost with literature. It’s like classical music, each musician can interpret the text the way they want. You can hold notes, speed up portions etc. Where film is concerned, I still think you underestimate the everyman. Generally people aren’t engaged enough to pick up on the sort of things you’re describing, and that often is the biggest problem with academic interpretations of art (PS: I’m not a big fan of academics). You could pretty much relaunch the “subtitles/ dubbing” debate on this issue, however.
In any case, that’s not really what I was getting when I said “…insider/intellectual minority.” I was more talking about stuff like formal adaptations which serve no real function and inbred, “art” catering to specific “intellectual” audiences. Stuff that only makes sense to, can be understoof by and is considered tripe to anyone but “insiders.” By “special knowledge,” I really meant the metaphorical “key” to unlocking the grand mystery of “what the f*ck this movie is about.” If the work (be it of cinema or other) requires an explication to get anything out of it, it’s probabally in this category. This, in my oppinion, is what I would term “pretentious film.” I’m obviously just speaking generally, and have deliberately refrained from naming titles (because everytime I give a general example, someone inevitably responds with a comment like “(that is) NOT ENTERTAINMENT.” This is the fifth time that’s happened to me on this site by my wildly inaccurate count). However, I will say that many “experimental films” are of this genre. Again, I name no titles. I’m just saying that film should at least be accessible.
“Yes, bards exist today but let’s not call every hack that makes a 3D extravaganza a bard. Eustache, sure. Cameron, not even close, more like a ba-sta-rd:)”
No, I meant real bards. There’s still one or two professional bards living in Ireland, and there are several known ones in Central/ Asia Minor and India. I was just using this as an example of the fact that epic poetry is practiced today as it was (more or less) in Ancient Greece and that, even though we may find it strange, people find it entertaining. Bards preform at weddings, birthdays etc. in the same way that we’d go see the latest Star Wars. I have a scanned copy of a chapter from an anthropological treatise on the issue I can send you if you want (that goes for you too, Dimitris).
Ah, I think we are closer on this issue than I originally thought. The only thing in your last post I’d quibble with is that i don’t think what people are watching really counts for much, except in too many academic circles where they are more concerned with writing papers on the cultural significance of Lady Gaga’s impact on modern teenage girls than with what the actions or inactions in a George Eliot novel can tell us about life. I don’t think history and art need to be as consistently connected as some make them out to be.