Federico Fellini’s great Nights of Cabiria, and Bob Fosse’s rendition of the same story Sweet Charity, which despite the blasphemy of the statement I actually prefer.
@CINEMATIC CTEVE: A bit of trivia that you probably know about:
Pink Floyd re-recorded the track of “Careful with That Axe, Eugene” for Antonioni’s film Zabriskie Point, retitling it “Come in Number 51, Your Time Is Up” on the film’s soundtrack album.
For the re-recording whispering and a choir were added. David Gilmour and Roger Waters provided the vocals, and Waters’ screaming is noticeably louder. “Come in Number 51, Your Time Is Up” does not contain the words “Careful with that axe, Eugene,” and is in the key of E minor rather than the original D minor. “Come in Number 51; your time is up” is a line from the Beatles’ movie A Hard Day’s Night. Ringo Starr yells this to some canoers in a canal.
My kind of films.
I want to point out a difference between the films OP mentioned:
Taxi Driver and LiT are films about loneliness and alienation, but there is a distinct difference.
The former film’s protagonist is unaware about his situation. He is unable to see his inability to relate to and integrate within society.
Not so in LiT. The leads are alienated and lonely but they are not oblivious to this fact. They even understand the why….they even get why they are unable to fit in society.
This difference creates 2 very different moods in both films.
Punch Drunk Love was noted, but I also think There Will Be Blood fits in. Plainview’s insanity/alcoholism is exacerbated by the more people he pushes away (including his own son) in favor of greed.
There Will Be Blood certainly deals with alienation, though not loneliness. Plainview seems perfectly comfortable beign alone. It is also plain to me that both Plainview and Eli are sociopaths; ultimately Plainview proves to be the tougher and more resilient of the two.
I haven’t thought about this film in a few years, but on reflection, I think it will eventually receive a critical re-evaluation and be seen as a classic in much the same way that Kubrick’s films sometimes took years to find an audience and critical praise.
Blood seemed to attract unfair comparison with No Country for Old Men, released the same year. Despite the bleak Texas setting common to both, to me these are completely different films, with settings more than 70 years apart.
Blood deals more with the complex relationship Americans have with capitalism — the driving forces of ambition and greed at the sacrifice of basic humanity, chief among its themes. Plainview becomes alienated from his world as his obsession with striking oil and, later, with dominating everyone in his path, gradually consumes him.
Not sure what to make of his alcoholism toward the end. Becoming a drunkard might imply some level of remorse in Plainview that he is trying to suppress. Remorse is certainly not a feeling commonly held by sociopaths, so perhaps his character has changed at the end. I need to tread carefully here: concluding his business with Eli and declaring “I am finished” suggests Plainview’s final goal in life is complete. If he does indeed feel remorse and tries to bury it with booze, perhaps it is remorse over the estrangment with his adopted son. I can think of no other reason why this character would devolve into an alcoholic.
I do believe this film will eventually be seen as a great classic. I would argue that Blood and Boogie Nights are Anderson’s best films. I was unable to cultivate an appreciation for Punch Drunk and thought the ideas bubbling below the surface in Magnolia execeeded his grasp — hence the clumsy metaphors of falling frogs and other such Biblical references.
The swimmer with Burt Lancaster.
“Despite the bleak Texas setting common to both”
Isn’t There Will Be Blood set in California?
Matt. Both Blood and No Country for Old Men were shot principally in Marfa, Texas. I know part of the plot of Blood involves an effort to build a pipeline to the California coast, but I thought the picture started out in Texas. It’s been five years since I saw it.
Most of TWBB is in desert Cali I believe (which is where “Little Boston” is supposed to be). I actually don’t think any of it actually takes place in Texas since there are references to Silver City in the opening portion which is in New Mexico. I might be wrong though.
I agree with Cteve that Boogie and Blood are PTA’s best films. I felt the same way you did re: Magnolia.
TWBB is based on Oil!, which is definitely set in California. I don’t recall PTA making it a point to tell the audience that they were in Texas, so I’d assume that the intended place is CA.
Central Coast, California (San Luis Obispo, etc.)
@ Santino, Adrock, et. al.. Thanks.
In the five years since the movie came out, I have read many times about it shooting in proximity to the Coen Brothers’ film in Marfa, Texas, and the idea that Blood was also set principally in Texas got stuck in my head.
After reading a few essays here and there on the film, I need to re-watch Blood, as there are critiques of organized religion and faux-piety at least as scathing as Anderson’s commentary on capitalism & obsession with wealth = madness. Not much of Upton Sinclair’s book carries over into the film.
Some of my personal favorites are Angus and Ghost World. If you want recent, try Pariah and Terri (a bit like Angus, but a lot darker in content).
Terri <3…second that!
Good call on Terri and Ghost World.
Wendy and Lucy – she’s completely cut off from mainstream society
Somewhere – another sofia flick dealing with loneliness
Leaving Las Vegas
The Station Agent
Off the Map