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falderal : a moving images blog

Archive for the ‘1970s’ Category

And more films…

Saturday, May 16th, 2015

I’m not doing such a bad job with my film watching! Also, I plan to do a Thin Man marathon soon… or maybe a Fred and Ginger marathon. I hope I’m up to it! I WILL BLOG ALL OF THIS. I MUST BLOG.

I thought that seeing all text posts was depressing so I decided to put pictures of movie posters. Once I’m I grad school, I hope to write more thorough posts… or at least ones with screenshots! I have a feeling that my blog posts are going to be just like this though, haha~

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Amarcord (1973)
Director: Federico Fellini
Actors: Armando Brancia, Magali Noël, Ciccio Ingrassia, Bruno Zanin, Josiane Tanzilli, Maria Antonietta Beluzzi, Giuseppe Ianigro
Country: Italy, France

I seem to be watching Fellini’s self-referential films for some reason — I’m not doing it on purpose but the ones I happen to pick up are the ones that reflect Fellini. Or are all of his films like this? What do I know since I know nothing about Fellini!
I enjoyed this film so much and I don’t really know why. I found it to be so beautiful to watch with all of its lush colours and it was like an Antonioni film where each shot looks like something that would be a beautiful photograph. The film felt surreal at times but it always had my attention even though I feel like a film like this could easily make me lose interest.
There are so many hilarious moments that I thought that Fellini was a visual humour genius, just like how I view Lubitsch. I laughed so hard at the car scene when the boys were group masturbating and the car was shaking and the lights were flickering and at the scene where Titta is suffocated by the tobacco shop owner’s boobs. I also couldn’t help but laugh when Gradisca’s butt was pelted with snowballs. I really can’t wait to make gifs from this film and write about this film again.
The Fascist scenes were really interesting because it made me think of how I, as an American, respect the president, but let’s say that America wasn’t a superpower — it’s possible that the world might view the president in a very negative light, just like how we now view Mussolini. America isn’t a perfect country and I admit that I don’t want to know much about the war going on because it would probably make me sick. It’s probably how the Italians felt went Mussolini was in power but because Italy lost the war, the perspective on Mussolini is very different compared to the time when he was in power.
The one issue I had with the film was its portrayal of women. I felt that for the most part, they were dehumanized, although I suppose an argument can be made that it’s completely understandable because the film follows Titta and we find out that he’s a typical boy that gets turned on by women and only cares about sex and not much else.
Random thought, but did Fellini have Fred e Ginger in mind since the Fred and Ginger movie poster was so prominently shown in a shot? Or just a coincidence?
I definitely enjoyed this film more than and I look forward to seeing more of Fellini’s films!

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Laura (1944)
Director: Otto Preminger
Actors: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price, Judith Anderson
Country: U.S.A.

The first time I watched Laura, I remember that I wasn’t really impressed. I found it rather dull and kind of boring and the only thing that got me going was Gene Tierney’s gorgeous face.
Now that I rewatched it, I feel like I am kind of like Detective McPherson in that I’m growing more intrigued by this film and I’m growing to like it! And the thing is, I don’t know why!!! Sometimes I think about this film and think that it is a bad film because total wtfbbq at Laura and Det. McPherson falling in love like that because I see no reason why either of them would fall in love with each other. I found all the characters to be rather unlikable and unrelatable and found them to be so distant (that’s really the best way I can describe how I feel) with no motivation behind their actions. At the same time I wonder if Preminger is an amazing director because he can make a film look polished, feel empty (yet you wonder the emptiness of it), yet captivating. I need to rewatch Bonjour Tristesse because I remember feeling the same way about that film too.
The casting of this film is excellent and while I’m sure everyone agrees that Gene Tierney’s performance as the titular character is A+, I don’t think enough can be said about Clifton Webb’s performance because it was so, SO good. He really made the film and if it weren’t for his stellar acting, I don’t know if Gene Tierney’s performance alone could have carried this film. I can’t even imagine who else would have been just as good, if not better, as Waldo Lydecker as Clifton Webb was. Also, I think that Lydecker is the character that I like the most in this film, but I think it’s because I/the viewer knows about him the most. In regards to Dana Andrews, I don’t know what to make of him in this film. Sometimes I think he is perfect in it and at other times I think it’s really bad acting. I know he’s a competent actor and maybe it’s the kind of character that Detective McPherson is supposed to be, but I really do waffle back and forth about him. If I’m comparing him to another famous detective performance in cinema, Humphrey Bogart as Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon, both have this rough exterior but when I watch Bogart as Sam Spade, I am enthralled by his performance. Maybe it’s because Sam has such great lines that McPherson doesn’t really seem to shine? I feel like he’s a character that is just there because it’s necessary for the plot. AGH I AM SO CONFLICTED.

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The Razor’s Edge (1946)
Director: Edmund Goulding
Actors: Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, John Payne, Anne Baxter, Clifton Webb, Herbert Marshall, Elsa Lanchester, Fritz Kortner
Country: U.S.A.

I was SO looking forward to watching this film (I mean, look at that cast!) because I’ve read so much about Gene Tierney’s performance in this film, but I didn’t really enjoy the film. I wouldn’t mind watching it again, but overall, I felt indifferent about it. I’m surprised by this because the cast is superb and I love film adaptations of W. Somerset Maugham’s works but I found the story to be dull. Thankfully the acting kept me going because Herbert Marshall was elegant as usual as Somerset Maugham, Clifton Webb was great and elegant as always, and Anne Baxter was flipping amazing as Sophie, especially during the scenes after her character loses her child and husband. I thought Gene Tierney was alright until the end when you saw the vehemence when her and Tyrone Power’s character talk about Sophie’s death because she totally stole the scene. What is so amazing about Gene Tierney is that she is one heck of an actress and she has the face of an angel so she excels at playing scenes and characters where the most ugly parts of the human psyche is exposed. What I was surprised about was Fritz Kortner’s appearance in this film because I never thought I’d see him in an American film. It was like how I felt when I saw Alexander Granach in Ninotchka because I associate German silent films to Kortner. I see Kortner as one of the best Expressionist actors so to see him play his role in The Razor’s Edge with subtlety was really a treat to see. I thought that his acting alone made the film worth watching.

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Image credit: Wikipedia.org

Jakob, der Lügner (Jacob the Liar) ; 1975

Friday, June 19th, 2009

Director: Frank Beyer
Actors: Vlastimil Brodský, Erwin Geschonneck, Henry Hübchen, Blanche Kommerell, Manuela Simon
Country: German Democratic Republic (East Germany)

Jakob, der Lügner is a film that I would have never expected from the GDR, but then again, my view of the GDR is completely skewed. Thank goodness I’m slowly starting to get out of my “EAST GERMANS ARE CRAZY COMMUNISTS” mindset. It’s not the story that was shocking but the way the film was shot seemed a bit experimental to me. I haven’t watched many East German films, but for some reason, the editing of this film made me think of the various European New Waves.

Most people might know this film due to the fact that it was remade into a film starring Robin Williams. I haven’t watched that version yet, but I was rather satisfied with this version. I also read the book, which I highly recommend because I think it adds more to the film and I can see why certain aspects were filmed a certain way and it just gives more depth to the scenes. I didn’t think the acting was all that great, but at the same time, it just felt right for this film. I did have a little crush on Henry Hübchen, who plays Mischa, but that’s not really relevant. I was glad that Vlastimil Brodský was chosen to play the titular character because he was PERFECT. This film was also my first film with Erwin Geschonneck, one of the biggest stars in DEFA films, except I didn’t know it was him until I watched two other films with him. Ok, I’m digressing. I really don’t know what to say because whenever I watch it, I think, “Wow, this is great! I want to post about this, and this, and this…” and then I just forget all that.

An interesting fact is that it’s the only DEFA film that was nominated for an Academy Award. Makes you think a little about why that is so.

One scene that particularly struck me was the scene of Kowalski’s (Geschonneck) suicide because of the way it was shot. Even before you see Kowalski’s body, you know that it is him. Trust me, when you see the shot, it’ll leave an impression

This film also had me thinking a lot because of how the film ends. Although ambiguous, I still think that it is quite certain that all of them are being sent to concentration camps. Whether or not the characters we saw in this film survive, they still go through something that were even more terrible than the ghettos. Then what was the point of Jakob telling all these lies? It’s as if everything was irrelevant such as the actions of the characters in this film and the film itself. Even the film starts with proclamations that imply subjectivity and the uncertainty of things. When I saw them I scoffed and said to myself witheringly, “Oh, how ~*postmodern*~”, but now that I watched it again, I think that it adds more to the film.

And I just have to add, Lina (Simon) WAS THE MOST ANNOYING THING EVER. I just wanted to smack her every time I she came on the screen. Somehow I feel like I’m the only one who thinks this.

IMDb Link: Jakob, der Lügner
Where to buy: Amazon.com, DEFA Film Library