I would agree there are no hidden meanings per se, but it does portend so.
The meaning is quite simply that we find meaning in that ineffable aesthetic emotion – meaning is found in that which we ascribe meaning.
“marsyas It was easy to take this film as loaded with deeply philosophical meaning in 1961…not so now.
Why do you think that is true?
It’s just tedious.
How do you know it wasn’t tedious in 1961?
Art is dead – the expression never changes"
I have no pretensions to being a film historian, but the New Wave was about the conscious aim of overturning the classical literalness in film making that was more or less the norm. back then and was radical in its conception. I gather that its unusual opacity could easily have been taken for depth of insights in that situation. Unfortunately scribblings from pre-internet days are hard to come by, but I would bet money that many found it tedious while many differing interpretations were floated out that could be ascribed to the goings-on in the film.
To me the film attempted to induce a hypnotic state with its repeated phrases and slow movement over the surfaces of the hotel interior and repetition of situations among the players.That it was not successful with me doesn’t mean another could have been ,affected. The last film I saw that exerted a soothing if not hypnotic effect was Chantal Akerman’s The Captiive but others found it tedious. .
@Z BARTMarsyas: I’ve always seen The Twilight Zone as wonderfully substantial
It certainly was head and shoulders above its contemporaries in that regard and my comment was really a little tongue in cheek. .
And by the way, that toothpick game? It’s really not that complicated a game. It’s a more complicated version of the “You can take 1, 2, or 3 rocks, whoever takes the last rock loses” game. Only, there’s no simple mathematical equation. For every possible game state, you can either force a victory or you can not, and winning is just a matter of memorizing which states are winning states.
The algorithm is simple and recursive.
1. ‘|’ is a losing state
2. Any state where you can make a move to turn into a losing state is a winning state.
3. Any state where any possible move results in a winning state is a losing state
Using those rules you can work backwards and figure out the entire strategy, and there are only a few hundred possible positions many of which are functionally identical.
You could do the same thing for more complicated games like chess, only for that there are googles upon googles of possible states and no human or existing machine could possibly do all the work.
Also I suspect that if you did all the work, you’d find out the opening configuration of chess is a draw state.
“the kind Clive Bell would appreciate as it produces an ineffable aesthetic emotion”
The great modernist film.
Interesting passage here, which coincides with Langer’s description of film being a dream from which we abstract reality.
In Marienbad we are participants in the dream as it undermines any attempt to impose rational order,
liner time, or plausible explanation on its(sic) filmic world.
The key to appreciating Robbe-Grillet’s films….is from a sensory and aesthetic response …any attempt to explain Robbe-Grillet’s world through words immediately compromises the integrity of the non-verbal image.
Jirin, there is actually an algorithm to win the matchstick game. I can’t actually remember what it is at the moment, but I remember it involving the powers of 2 (so 1, 2, 4, 8 etc). I’ll scribble around and see if I can remember it.
Okay, think of Nim in terms of Binary. So for example, if you have this set-up
Line 1: ||||||| (7)
Line 2: ||| (3)
Line 3: |||||||||| (10)
Line 4: ||||| (5)
Now express each line in Binary
Line 1: 0111
Line 2: 0011
Line 3: 1010
Line 4: 0101
Now, sum these in the following way. If a line has an odd number of 1s then you get 1 in that line of the sum. If a line has an even number of 1s then you get a 0 in that line of the sum.
So here the sum is:
You want to take matchsticks on your turn in such a fashion that this ‘sum’ is reduced to all zeros. Once you have this sum at all zeros you just have to keep reverting it back to all zeros on your turn, until such a point that you can force your opponent in to an obvious losing setup.
I think that’s right…
So in the example above you would want to change Pile 3, 1010, so that it is actually 0001 (i.e. you would take 9 matches from Pile 3)
The Skin I Live In (Director: Pedro Almodovar)
a brilliant melodrama from the master of brilliant melodramas. To say any more would spoil the fun but if you are in fact into spoilers, I’m sure there’s a spoiler-heavy discussion on mubi somewhere.
Definately in my top 20 of the year!
I will say a little more lol
it’s kind of like Almodovar’s unique take on The Human Centipede (but a million times better than Tom Six’s films) ;)
hahaha – yes, my description of The Skin I Live In when I saw it was “The Human Centipede for the bourgeois.”
The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford 2007
DIR Andrew Dominik
SCR Andrew Dominik, Ron Hansen
CAST Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Mary-Louise Parker, Jeremy Renner, Paul Schneider, Sam Rockwell, Garret Dillahunt, Zooey Deschanel, Pat Healy, Ted Levine, Michael Parks, Tom Aldredge, Brooklynn Proulx, Alison Elliott, James Carville
MUSIC Nick Cave, Warren Ellis
This is the film to watch when you are sick in bed. You don’t have to dialog with it and the film asks nothing of you.
^ I was surprised that one didn’t get more play in the CCC thread as it seems to be urging the contemplation of something, but unsure exactly what is the proper object of contemplation. The end, maybe? It’s almost Beckettian.
Yes Beckettian – so why show us Ford’s demise? who cares if “the light went out of his eyes”?
I really wanted to say it went nowhere, but then I would have to explain where every Western went.
Seriously though, this is a great film if you are somewhat brain-dead with the flu – I think there is only one flashback in the entire film.
In Krapp’s Last Tape, Krapp is alone on stage for the entire play, but a couple of times stares into the distance offstage without explanation. During rehearsals, Beckett told an actor that “Old Nick’s [the devil] there. Death is standing behind him and unconsciously he’s looking for it.” That last part is that film for me.
That last part is that film for me.
Also, Jesse looking at Ford’s reflection as he dusts the glass ?
if you handle enough snakes . . .
Response to Matt and Robert here
The movie is about you yankees that have the wrong idea about who heroes are throughout history ;-) It’s also about the stark difference between myth and reality, in regards to hero worship, and how culturally we often are quicker to accept the latter over the former. Robert Ford has a collision course with reality, and he doesn’t like what he sees. the irony is that he became an ugly footnote in history for killing a dangerous psychopath that was unfairly lionised, whereas Jesse’s legend continued to grow after his death.
I think there is something to Matt’s ‘psychological’ reading too, but i don’t think that’s what the film is really about. It just adds an extra dimension to the characters.
This is exactly the kind of historical revisionist film i wish Ned Kelly was. Australia is even worse than the U.S in this regard. Ned Kelly is more well known to Australians than Alfred Deakin, the leader of the Australian federation movement, and one of the most significant politicians/social reformers in our entire history.
and once again Dominik was riffing on ideas about crime and celebrity, just like he did in Chopper.
guy tried to copy Malick the only thing he thought of first was casting Pitt
“I think there is something to Matt’s ‘psychological’ reading too, but i don’t think that’s what the film is really about. It just adds an extra dimension to the characters.”
Except that extra dimension adds about another 80 minutes to the film.
^^^it’s more reflected in the mood though. i don’t think that’s what the story is about. it just adds a dreary element of fatalism, but certainly not why the film goes on for 80 more minutes. The point in the last reel was to emphasise Ford’s guilt and regret and possible existential crisis(from memory). perhaps there is a homoerotic undertone here, but i don’t like reading those kind of things into films.
I thought The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford was pretty darn good myself, but it’s been quite a while since I saw it last so I’ll have to try to refresh my memory before I could give any specific examples of why that is.
^^It’s actually one of my favourite American films of the last 4-5 years. it has its flaws, but yeah, i preferred it to most others.
There’s some self-selection involved in determining the “aboutness” I’m sure, but the point was there’s maybe a hour to an hour and a half of what you’re describing, Joks, then there’s at least as much again of shots of people silhouetted against the horizon, and people gazing off into the distance or at one another.
^^yeah well i think it has a lot to do with the atmospheric effect of the film, and slowing of pace to reflect the pace of life. the characters are more than a little isolated due to space. that is definitely part of it. but there is a psychological dimension to it, no doubt, but again, i think the main points are the ones i outlined earlier. Even if we accept that Jesse had a fatalistic acceptance of his own death(which i agree with btw and he was dying anyway), and even engineered it to a large extent, it still doesn’t explain the consequences we see later. The consequences are part of the irony, which is much of what the film is really about. and the sense of loss is also personal(psychological). he is trapped in a hell of his own making.
it’s probably not as tightly structured as it ought to be, but the second viewing was helpful in putting the pieces together.
Could be I was just bored by that aspect since it’s pretty much been the focus of a whole cycle of James films by everyone from Fritz Lang to Nick Ray to Sam Fuller, including:
Jesse James (1939)
The Return of Frank James (1940)
The True Story of Jesse James (1947)
I Shot Jesse James (1949)
The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972)
The Long Riders (1980)
^^I haven’t seen all those films, but i thought I Shot Jesse James was quite unimpressive. Do any of those films have a modern analogue though? I don’t think Dominik’s films is just about history.
But you are right there is a psychological dimension here. The sense of loss for Ford is also his loneliness. He regrets killing the person that he was largely co-dependent on for his (weak) sense of identity.
Here is a quote from a review that is close to my own opinion of the last 20-30 mins, and how the film’s basic ideas are captured, somewhat uniquely:
“After the sad assassination, Ford and his brother Charlie, a stirring turn from the under- or generally mis-used Sam Rockwell, take to the New York stage, recreating the killing in public over 800 times as though trapped in a very special type of hell. The repetition of the act, and its historical revisionism, exposes the artifice and mendacity of legend and the disconnect between a man and his mythos, and robs the murder of a ruthless robber of its potential heroism and rectitude”
“You cried for night – it falls. Now cry in darkness.”