Sunday, September 10, 2006

Toronto Journal 1: Climates, etc.

I’m quickly realizing that a great highlight of this year’s Toronto International Film Festival is the chance to meet up and hang out with more filmbloggers than you could shake a stick at. So far I've had a chance to see: Doug Cummings of Film Journey; Rob Davis of Errata; Michael Guillen of The Evening Class; Darren Hughes of Long Pauses; Russell Lucas of Attorney/Wastrel; Ken Morefield of All Things Ken; Jason Morehead of Opus; J. Robert Parks of Framing Device; and Michael S. Smith of Culturespace. It’s like a filmbloggers convention over here, and we've been convening in restaurants, subway trains, and sidewalk ticket lines.

Ten of us shared a communal Ethiopian meal the other night at a restaurant off Yonge Street. And when I say communal, I mean it literally—no individual plates, but instead large circular pancakes the size of a small coffee table, shared by all.

* * *

Climates, the fourth and latest film by Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, was a solid kick-off to the fest. I’ve seen and enjoyed Ceylan’s first three features, The Small Town (1998), Clouds Of May (2000), and Distant (2003), especially the last. In Climates, a man breaks up with his girlfriend but can’t shake her from his mind; he’s an architecture prof unmotivated to finish up his thesis and she’s an art director working in television.

Because Ceylan himself plays the man and his wife Ebru plays the woman, it’s easy to imagine this film, sight unseen, as a cathartic Bergmanesque exercise in relationship-autobiography. But instead the movie is more distanced and observational, pulling away from (specific) character psychology and heading instead towards evoking a (universal) free-floating existential malaise and alienation reminiscent of Antonioni. The universal quality is underlined by the film’s three-act structure—summer, fall and winter—which echoes the film’s title.

Ceylan’s lead characters, both here and in Distant, are photographers, and the best thing about this movie is its impressive visual sense. There’s a pair of love scenes—one of them is animalistic, rough and funny; and the other is wispy, oblique and mystical—that is a little tour de force in contrasts. And it’s been a long time since I’ve seen a film that dwells long and patiently on faces; the story of this film is written not in dialogue and not even as much in its mise-en-scene as on these faces. The image above is the long-held opening shot of the film.

* * *

In the Romanian film 12:08 East Of Bucharest, by Corneliu Porumboiu, we see a TV talk show in real time shot from a single fixed camera position for nearly forty-five minutes. The host has rounded up two guests, a history teacher and an elderly villager, to recall the end of Communism in Romania, which occurred when the Ceausescu regime fell at 12:08 pm on December 22, 1989 (thus the film’s title).

The two guests on the talk show relate their accounts of that fateful day but then the phones start ringing and callers begin to flagrantly contradict these accounts. By film’s end, we are left hopelessly confused—in a good way—about that day of revolution, wondering if there was a revolution, the meaning of that historical moment destabilized by faulty memories colored by personal emotion, age, or even plain old alcohol. While much of the film is played as amusing but unexceptional comedy, it is these slightly unsettling (and unanswered) questions about history, time and memory that linger in the mind afterwards.

* * *

If someone wants to mount a defense of Aki Kaurismäki's Lights In The Dusk and shed light on the film—open it up for me—I can tell you that I will be eagerly suggestible. As a Kaurismäki fan, I want so badly to get and like this new film. But from what I have to go on so far, it's frustrating.

The good news first: Many of the familiar and well-loved Kaurismäkian touches are quietly on display. The tone is deadpan but with a light romantic tug; the mise-en-scene is precise and droll; the cutting is crisp; there is his usual deep affection for the socioeconomically discarded and disefranchised. Also present is his typically unerring use of music, everything from opera to rock n'roll, including a rock band performing a tune in its entirety (I always like this about Kaurismäki), the intruments recorded live, played by the performers themselves, not dubbed in the studio.

But the story, of a security guard ensnared in a film noir heist plot, is treated in a bafflingly abstract, spare and diagrammatic manner. The film's main purpose is to check off all the points that form the character's grindingly inexorable downward trajectory. What's missing is the plethora of little character touches that made the previous films of this loose trilogy (Drifting Clouds, The Man Without A Past) so poignant and complex in their affect. Is this a Kaurismäki lab experiment in draining the narrative of the 'false complexities' of a pseudo-manipulative, traditional 'humanistic' character-driven narrative? Is Kaurismäki trying to prove some narrative theorem? Is this an essay film about narrative? As you can tell, I'm dying to give him the benefit of the doubt, but so far...I got nothin'.

Still, it's like seeing an old and dear friend you see every two years or so—as we do with so many contemporary filmmakers we cherish—only to discover that he's turned up for the lunch date hung over, in a laconic and slightly foul mood, not willing to say much; but it feels good to see him anyway. You shake hands afterwards and hope that at your next reunion, two years later, he'll be better and slightly more scrutable company.


Anonymous Barry said...

Still, it's like seeing an old and dear friend you see every two years or so—as we do with so many contemporary filmmakers we cherish—only to discover that he's turned up for the lunch date hung over, in a laconic and slightly foul mood, not willing to say much;

I've felt this on many occasions but was never capable of articulationg it. I'll have to see this film.

September 10, 2006 4:11 PM  
Blogger phyrephox said...

Great festival entries, Girish, I appreciate you having the time to blog your thoughts. Keep up the good work!

September 10, 2006 8:56 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Hey thanks, Barry and Phyrephox. I appreciate it.

Just returned from two terrific films: Bong Joon-Ho's The Host and Jafar Panahi's Offside. Tomorrow morning I'm meeting up for breakfast with Michael Guillen, then seeing Hong Sang-Soo's Woman On The Beach before heading home to teach for a couple of days and returning to Toronto mid-week. Not looking forward to crossing into the States tomorrow, September 11--guaranteed border delays and a long wait.

September 10, 2006 10:28 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Great stuff, girish. I love your geniune, admittedly biased but just-as-admittedly disappointed take on Lights in the Dusk. It's the delightful opposite of the kind of pose so many film writers tend to employ (perhaps because it's imposed by an editor): that they have an objective, unbiased "solution"-like understanding of every film they see.

September 11, 2006 12:26 AM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

Thanks for the report Girish, it's been unusually quiet around here... hehe. That's a great starting trio! I hope we'll get a chance to discuss Lights in the dusk when you come back. I too felt a little frustrated, but I didn't find it to be so different from his other films. I didn't read much about his intentions, but I doubt there is any grand theory to "comment" traditional narration... I'd say it's just an intentionally low-brow story, as anti-dramatic as in real life. Common feelings and common people. Like an overstated ultimate humility, and I like all it implies. The photography is more interesting than in his previous films I thought.

September 11, 2006 7:44 AM  
Anonymous maya said...

As I was mentioning on Darren's site, Girish, it's so cool to talk about movies in person with each of you and then to see how you burnish your reactions into words. Always a fine shine to your writing and I look forward to reading more. I hadn't connected that you would be crossing back into the states on the anniversary of 9/11. Oh my. Peace to you.

September 11, 2006 10:02 AM  
Anonymous mike said...

I am very disappointed I didn't get to see Climates, scheduling conflicts prevented me from seeing either screening. Would you say it was better or worse or about the same sort of quality experience that Distant was?

September 11, 2006 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Filmbrain said...

Can't wait to hear your thoughts on Hong Sang-soo's latest. I won't get to see it until 26 September.

Is Hong at the festival?

September 11, 2006 12:52 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Salut, Brian, Harry, Maya, Mike, Filmbrain.

Brian, You're too kind! Thank you.

Mike, I liked Climates a great deal, and in a dead heat I just might pick Distant, but I love 'em both.

Filmbrain, I really dug the Hong film, and like all his films, it'll take me a while to process, roll around in my head and make sense of. It's interesting how his films sometimes look simpler at first glance than they really are. Hong was at the screening and told an anecdote about the idea that he developed into the film.

Harry, My first reaction was that the Kaurismaki film was unlike the real life of common people in so many ways--the film noir genre, the femme fatale (a first in his work?), the lack of character development and motivation in the lead character, etc. All these aspects seemed somewhat stylized to to the point of abstraction, not 'real', and so they threw me off. I'm still hanging on though, not giving up on the film...!

Which is why I want to ponder your ideas for a few days and I'm very glad you shared them with me.

Maya, it was great to have that large breakfast with you and Darren this morning. Have a good rest-of-the-fest...

Off home to the States now.

September 11, 2006 1:23 PM  
Blogger girish said...

--Zach on Schrader's article in the new Film Comment.

--Great news. Jia Zhangke's brand new film, Still Life, the celluloid still dripping wet, won the Golden Lion at Venice over the weekend and has just been added to TIFF today. Doug and Darren (bless their souls) got me tickets while I'm here at home grading and prepping classes for tomorrow.

--Dave Kehr on the Resnais film we're seeing later in the week; sounds great.

--The cover of the new Artforum, which just came in the mail, is the Zidane documentary that I couldn't squeeze into my TIFF schedule.

September 11, 2006 10:56 PM  
Blogger venkiteswaran said...

stimulating comments, girish, thank you. they really make one think and ponder

September 12, 2006 3:09 AM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

Personally I prefered Distant to Climates for its deeper content, and stronger scenes, but I'd need to rewatch Climates again.

Girish, there is of course Kaurismaki's stylized camera language, it is formalist in a way, ok. But I meant the taciturn, introspected, frustrated are representative of a certain kind of population, and I would argue are closer to existing people than the idealized "Hollywood" characters whose dialogue is scripted, cued and overdramatized. That's why this film is less abstract in this sense IMHO. Well we might elaborate later.
This heist story feels familiar, with the same plot details, but I can't place what other film it reminds me of. Maybe a Mamet film? Anybody knows?

September 12, 2006 9:50 AM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

"Jia Zhangke's brand new film, Still Life, the celluloid still dripping wet, won the Golden Lion at Venice over the weekend and has just been added to TIFF today."

Nice! I must admit, although the chaos and free-for-all atmosphere of TIFF don't really appeal to me, this kind of spontaneity is something I wish NYFF would do as well. Sometimes, it's too much of an institution.

I haven't seen Lights in the Dusk yet, but Kaurismäki's an admirer of Godard and I believe Melville as well, which is why a lot of his earlier films are very noirish (and also why he cast Jean-Pierre Leaud in I Hired a Contract Killer and Vie de bohème). Or maybe it's a literary source, he's been known to pinch a few ideas from Dostoevsky, Shakespeare, and Flaubert. :)

September 12, 2006 10:48 AM  
Blogger Sachin G. said...

Girish, thanks for the comments so far. Disappointed to hear that the final installement in the "loser" trilogy is not as good. But then again, I have read more negative things about it than positive and whoever had something positive to say didn't elaborate too much.

Radiant City is a movie you not be able to catch at TIFF (I think the final show is tonight) but I am looking forward to this canadian doc. I got to see an advance media promo for it a few days ago where director Gary Burns was in attendance. This movie might not make a blip at TIFF but since Burns is a local filmmaker here, it will create a lot of noise. Especially since the topic is suburban sprawl and that is a topic that is very hot in our city right now given the abudance of housing construction that is going on in the city. Will let you know how it ends up.
Also curious about this Canadian film, Monkey Warfare. It seems to be getting a lot of hype but that is expected since Don McKellar is in it :) Have you heard anything good about it?

September 12, 2006 1:19 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, Harry and Acquarello.

Sachin, I read a good review of the Harkema film at Greencine, and I also find his Godard obsession interesting, but the film's not on my schedule.

Heading back north right now to catch two films this evening, including the Jia Zhangke; god bless caffeine.

September 12, 2006 3:50 PM  
Anonymous Jim Emerson said...

Girish -- what night were you at the Ethiopian place? Some friends and I had a feast there -- I think it was Friday night. So far, my only sit-down dinner! I hope we can meet up later in the week when things cool down a bit for me...

September 13, 2006 12:29 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Hi Jim, we were *also* there on Friday night, but not until late (we got there at 9 pm). Let's try to get together this week if we can; you have my schedule, so pl. drop an email or call me if you have a time-sliver free for a bite or a drink...

The Jia Zhangke film hit one right out of the frickin' park tonight.

Big day tomorrow including Tsai, Oliveira and Alonso.

September 13, 2006 1:29 AM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

Thanks acquarello. Do you think Kaurismaki develops this cynical/theoretical distance to cinema that Godard does?

I had a strange deja-vu feeling, especially with the scene when the security guard takes the femme fatale in the mall, and the surveillance cameras. It's a very common plot for a heist, so I could have seen this in a bad film (Ocean Eleven?). I'm not suggesting "plagiarism" or conscious film reference, Kaurismaki's film is unique. Just a deja-vu I can't figure out...

September 13, 2006 4:03 AM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

I don't know that Kaurismäki is that self-conscious, I get the sense that he just finds appropriated culture interesting, in the way early Godard films never feel like American films even though the structural elements are very American. Sometimes, I think he just relishes being the jokester, enfant terrible of contemporary Finnish cinema, especially when contemporaries like Mika Taanila or Pirjo Honkasalo are so serious-minded.

September 13, 2006 12:31 PM  
Blogger HarryTuttle said...

Going back to Girish's idea, I see him more in line with the "stylization+realism" school (if you allow me this hypothetical label), down to earth, pragmatical, with Bresson and Tati. We find such silent, clumsy, simple, low class heroes in the films of Dumont, Alonso, Angelopoulos or Ceylan.

Your "immanence/transcendence" comment in the previous post was an interesting distinction in this sense. Although maybe I'm oversimplifying it all. Just thinking out loud. ;)

September 13, 2006 12:50 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Hi, off-topic, but for those stuck in their respective homes and unable to gallivant off to Toronto to meet y'all, may I humbly suggest an evening of Netflix DVDs:

Filipino films on Netflix / DVD (updated 9/13/06)

September 13, 2006 7:59 PM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

Vancouver screens Out 1: Noli Me Tangere.

September 14, 2006 10:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm fascinated by some of the film made in Finland.

September 14, 2006 2:26 PM  
Blogger Dennis Cozzalio said...

Girish, everyone: Looks like Blog-a-Thon season is fully underway. Having had some time to regroup after Brian Darr’s wonderful Friz Freleng celebration, I’ve gotten wind of four proposed Blog-a-Thons to take us up to Christmas. First, Squish at The Film Vituperatem is calling for an Alfred Hitchcock Blog-a-Thon on November 15.

Flickhead is marshaling the troops for a November 24 blog-a-thon to celebrate the 90th birthday of Famous Monsters of Filmland’s beloved Forrest J. Ackerman. I’ve given Tim Lucas at Video Watchblog a heads-up on this, and he might be able to corral some celebrity participants for this one!

Andy Horbal at No More Marriages has got a great idea: a Blog-a-Thon devoted to considering a broad and fairly hot topic these days: film criticism. He's shooting for December 1-3.

And on my own blog, I’ve called for October 16 to be devoted to a Blog-a-Thon regarding the not-exactly-forgotten but deserving-of-a-closer-look director Robert Aldrich.

Finally, a little off-topic, but fascinating nonetheless—Craig Phillips asks a good question regarding the after-life for film geeks: If, after you died, you were given the choice of spending eternity in a world created by one specific filmmaker, whose world would that be?

Sorry for hijacking your space, Girish, but I just thought everyone might be interested in some of these developments. I hope you’re having a great time in Toronto. Jim Emerson told me about spotting you in line. I hope I can somehow join you all next year.

September 14, 2006 7:48 PM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

There's also the call for a horror film blogathon for Halloween, assuming anyone's interested.

September 14, 2006 9:07 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

That Halloween blogathon might actually be a real blast. What to write, what to write...?

Filmmakers' afterlife? I want to be the great conqueror Akbar in K. Asif's Mughal-E-Azam, even if after a week of that I'll probably want to rip my eyes out (too much sensory input). Either that, or I want to live in Mohsen Makhmalbaf's Gabbeh (see above, re: Mughal, a week later).

September 15, 2006 2:27 AM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

A horror film blog-a-thon on Holloween? Anyways, I'm glad the date for Aldrich has been announced. I plan to write about Hustle.

September 15, 2006 8:55 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thank you, everyone, and especially Dennis for all those links!
Dennis ~ Like Peter, I'd like to do something on Hustle.

The fest is rolling strong and fast, and I'm struggling with some sleep deprivation as well. I had hoped to post often but that's completely fallen by the wayside. I'm realizing that I'm really bad at quick, gut-driven, instant responses to movies.

But I will be hopefully doing a small series of posts soon, even if it takes me a few days to process the movies and figure out what I think...

At the top of the favorites list so far:
Jia Zhangke's Still Life; Pedro Costa's Colossal Youth; Alain Resnais's Coeurs; and Ceylan's Climates.

September 15, 2006 11:59 AM  
Anonymous Thom said...

So many blogathons coming up...where's my Visine?

Tuwa's idea for a horror blogathon on Halloween sounds like it could be fun, but with all of the broader blogathon subjects on deck maybe we should take a stab at something more specific? What about a single horror film, scene or even shot? Or take one single image (Filmbrain could find the perfect screencaputre, I'll wager) and we all post about why it is/is not horrific? Just throwing out ideas.

September 15, 2006 12:29 PM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

Sorry to hear about the sleep deprivation, Girish. I admire your ability to put off judgment of films, and to think about them for days afterwards with any certainty you remember all the salient details! I have neither of those abilities; sometimes I'll hate a film immediately, find something interesting in it years later, have to watch it several times, and only then realize how completely wrong I was. Sometimes I miss the most obvious things....

Thom, those are interesting ideas. Originally I wanted something broadly interesting, but maybe the original idea too broad to be interesting. :-) More specific projects might provide more challenge and/or more interesting posts. At any rate, I'd be willing to take on more specific themes; what are others' thoughts on it?

September 15, 2006 2:03 PM  
Anonymous andyhorbal said...

I'll put together another post for an organized Halloween blog-a-thon with a specific subject, but my current plan for that ghoulish day is to write about contemporary horror movies like Slither the Eli Roth films and the way they exploit the fear that our own bodies might turn against us. Or something like that--it's still a ways off, yeah?

September 15, 2006 3:20 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

Speaking as someone trying to help organize a colossal neighborhood haunted house that evening, I have to say it feels like it's right around the corner.

I'm trying not to commit to too many writing projects between now and then, so if I do get involved in a Horror Blog-a-Thon, it will likely be like a trick-or-treater: short and sweet.

Thom, I love the idea of a Blog-a-Thon on a single scene shot. I hope it gets off the ground, whether for a Horror-thon or for something else.

September 15, 2006 3:31 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Tuwa, rather than trust my memory, I try to make quick notes of some details afterwards. If I can remember to do that, anyway...

I'd love to work with the single-image idea; it was fun to experiment with it when Zach, Eric and I did those De Palma images of the day mini-posts.

Postscript: Adding 2 more TIFF faves I forgot to mention earlier: Hong's Woman On The Beach and Sissako's Bamako.

September 15, 2006 4:49 PM  
Blogger Ouyang Feng said...

I'm so looking forward to see Still-Life by Jia Zhangke. I will watch his documentary in a couple of days. So many Chinese documentaries nowadays... and we only see a little of what is produced.

September 15, 2006 5:09 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Ouyang, a belated thanks for all those recommendations you made on my earlier TIFF post!

September 15, 2006 5:14 PM  
Blogger Ouyang Feng said...

no problem. :)
so many films in these kinds of festivals. I love the atmostphere, so particular.
Thanks for your comments.

September 15, 2006 5:30 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

I was thinking of writing about some Filipino horror films, myself.

Not too sure I'd be able to participate in the film critic's blog-a-thon; I don't like self-analysis. Or it doesn't come easy.

September 16, 2006 4:36 AM  
Blogger Maya said...

Ah, I take it you liked "Bamako", Girish? So glad to hear that and look forward to reading what both you and Darren have to say.

September 16, 2006 1:04 PM  
Blogger Eric Henderson said...

I know I haven't written in a blogpile (or at all, really) in quite awhile, but I guarantee I would participate in a Halloween round.

September 17, 2006 3:39 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Whoa Eric, you're quoted in the NY Times today. (Mr. Henderson, if you please...)

Michael, I liked Bamako a lot. And I think I'm fired up to do some belated TIFF-blogging this week.

September 17, 2006 4:06 PM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

Congratulations, Eric.

And that's an interesting question behind the Times piece, something that could easily be fodder for an extended conversation (e.g. if De Palma is to be revered for his visual sense above all else, does that mean that all three Qatsi films are equally good since they use essentially the same storytelling methods and adhere to the same stunning visual sense?).

September 17, 2006 5:25 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Looking forward to that, Girish!!

September 18, 2006 12:27 AM  
Anonymous andyhorbal said...

I don't think that the Qatsi films differentiate themselves enough to merit significant individual attention. De Palma, on the other hand, applies his visual aesthetic to a wide variety of genres, of stories, of themes. And through his eyes we see each of these worlds differently.

Of course, I can see how someone might take the opposite view...

September 18, 2006 9:41 AM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

Neil Gaiman writes (briefly) about Pan's Labyrinth and its use of fantasy. As if I weren't already eager to see it....

September 18, 2006 12:52 PM  
Blogger Dennis Cozzalio said...

Like Andy, I've got something cookin' for around Halloween, but I'd be open to a horror blog-a-thon for the day itself. And I kind of like the single image idea too. Maybe three images to open it up just a bit without causing a flood? But whatever comes along, I'll be glad to try and squeeze it in! (This fall is looking awfully busy all of the sudden.)

September 18, 2006 7:17 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Hi, just when you thought De Palma couldn't provoke any more discussion, a friendly (for now) debate on whether The Black Dahlia is a failure or a masterpiece

September 19, 2006 1:22 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

Your comments in that thread are very helpful, Noel. I just contributed to another Black Dahlia discussion myself.

September 19, 2006 2:11 AM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Thanks, Brian. Interesting, your linking the landlord subplot to Thom Anderson. Also, I think you're right on about your LA Confidential mention.

Check out MZS' blog again; he's added a post responding to TLHRB. I agree with him on one point: this is a stranger, far more fascinating film than LA Confidential.

September 19, 2006 5:05 AM  
Blogger That Little Round-Headed Boy said...

Noel, I've responded to the response. This has been sort of enjoyable. I still think it comes down to some of us trying to intellectually accept what really doesn't work in the film, and finding a lot of "art film" metaphors/excuses for its shortcomings. But I also agree that DAHLIA is much more interesting than LA CONFIDENTIAL, and the simple fact we're engaged in all this talk proves that there's something worth talking about. How I became the anti-De Palma debater in all this is still a mystery to me...

Girish: You seen it yet?

September 19, 2006 11:22 AM  
Anonymous andyhorbal said...

I still think it comes down to some of us trying to intellectually accept what really doesn't work in the film, and finding a lot of "art film" metaphors/excuses for its shortcomings.

I'm comfortable with that! :-)

September 19, 2006 1:03 PM  
Anonymous acquarello said...

So did anyone from the TIFF crowd get to see Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn's Journals of Knud Rasmussen? I thought Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner was only an okay film so I haven't bought a ticket for this one, but if someone's pretty high it, I could be easily persuaded to plunk down another $20 for this puppy. :)

September 19, 2006 1:45 PM  
Anonymous Darren said...

Acquarello, with almost any other potentially interesting TIFF film I could at least give you a report on word-of-mouth, but I missed Knud Rasmussen and, stangely, I never spoke to a single person who saw it.

September 19, 2006 4:02 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Hey everyone.

Acquarello, I didn't meet anyone who saw the Kunuk film either.

Haven't made it out to Black Dahlia yet. Unfortunately, I'm at home in bed with the flu and had to cancel all my classes today. If I'm all better by the weekend, I'm planning on seeing the De Palma then. Now, back to rice and chicken soup and therapeutic DVD's [Veronica Mars].

September 19, 2006 5:20 PM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

Sorry to hear it, Girish. Rest up; I hope it's over soon.

September 19, 2006 6:32 PM  
Blogger That Little Round-Headed Boy said...

Andy Horbal Alert! Hey Andy, it's impossible to post on your site, from my Macs at least, with this new Beta Blogger you have. Of course, that might be a good thing from your perspective...Sorry, Girish, not sure how to get hold of the Horbal otherwise...Hope you're feeling better soon. If Kristin Bell can't help ya, no one can.

September 19, 2006 8:36 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, guys. Don't apologize, TLRHB; that's what this comments box is for.
Either I'm medicated to the hilt or the mise-en-scene in Veronica Mars is awesomely psychedelic...

September 19, 2006 9:18 PM  
Anonymous andyhorbal said...

Hey Round-Headed Boy: my inability to comment at your site has been driving me mad! Seriously, there have been at least two or three occasions on which I've composed a comment only to be thwarted in my attempt to post it!

September 19, 2006 10:17 PM  
Blogger Tuwa said...

Both of y'all (or youse, if you prefer): I had that same problem. I was logged in with my original account; logging out and logging back in with my Google Accounts login/pwd made the problem go away. It says you can log in with either, but that's not really the case; it will only let you post as yourself on Beta Blogger blogs if you're logged into with the Google acount.

It's still a good idea to copy the message first (for anonymous or "other" posting, if nothing else). I've lost a couple of posts by not copying them and then getting the error message about being logged in.

September 19, 2006 10:50 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

"I still think it comes down to some of us trying to intellectually accept what really doesn't work in the film"

Occured to me that maybe I'm the ideal audience for the film--someone who hasn't read the novel and isn't a die-hard fan of De Palma (who likes some of his stuff nevertheless). Not too many of us out there, apparently.

September 19, 2006 11:23 PM  
Anonymous Darren said...

Noel, I'm in the same boat. I'm always surprised by the love for DePalma expressed by so many friends and critics whose opinions I respect and whose tastes I typically share. I've never disliked any of his films, but, for whatever reason, they've never done much for me either.

Regardless, The Black Dahlia is the first film in quite some time that both my wife and I are eager to see, so hopefully we'll be able to catch it in the next day or two.

September 20, 2006 10:46 AM  
Blogger That Little Round-Headed Boy said...

OK, Andy, well, it might be because your Beta blocker, er, blogger, doesn't translate to my version, and vice versa. Hell, I don't understand this stuff. It's free, that's all I know. All I wanted to tell ya was that Ross Ruediger's site, THE RUED MORGUE, has an interesting interview that a guy interested in film criticism such as yourself should check out. Ross trashed a director's movie; the director asked Ross to interview him and he makes some interesting observations on the nature of film criticism. Beta out...

September 20, 2006 12:41 PM  
Anonymous andyhorbal said...

Thanks for the heads-up TLR-HB! Hopefully one day soon a new technology will come along to bring us back together again, repairing the damage of this technology that has torn us apart...

September 20, 2006 1:21 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Sven Nykvist, 1922 - 2006]

September 20, 2006 11:52 PM  
Blogger Maya said...

Sure hope you're feeling better by now, Girish.

September 21, 2006 12:49 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

Sad news about Nykvit. He was so essential to Bergman's films.

September 21, 2006 12:50 PM  
Anonymous Michael said...

[Oops. Nyvkist, of course. I mistyped as I often do.]

September 21, 2006 12:51 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Weirdly, Maya, I'm still sick as a dog. Taught all day today (big mistake) but can't remember a thing I said. I'm hoping a long weekend of sleep, starting immediately, will do the trick...

September 21, 2006 5:14 PM  
Blogger Brian said...

I hope it works!

September 21, 2006 5:57 PM  
Anonymous andyhorbal said...

Get better, Girish! I'm still hoping for more TIFF write-ups! And maybe a few notes on the psychadelic properties of Veronica Mars... ?

September 21, 2006 10:15 PM  
Anonymous David Lowery said...

This flu seems to be going around the country. I had it three weeks ago, and I still haven't completely recovered. Of course, I didn't follow Girish's example and stay home and rest - I shot two music videos and now I'm on a three week feature film shoot. Expect me to be dead by October....but at least I can finally hear out of both my ears again.

Get well soon Girish, and I can't wait to hear your TIFF recaps!

September 22, 2006 12:25 AM  
Blogger girish said...

A weekend spent in bed watching Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers musicals has only slightly improved matters; this bug is a damn tenacious one.

I am however (finally) working on a TIFF post.

September 25, 2006 9:04 AM  
Blogger Maya said...

Glad to hear you're finally facing the music to dance, Girish. Start out with a softshoe shuffle, my friend.

September 25, 2006 11:41 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thank you, Michael. Feeling sorta chipper, actually.
I've missed the blogosphere, and am eager to dive back in.

September 25, 2006 11:50 AM  
Blogger Campaspe said...

Girish, I am so glad you are feeling better, and I am looking forward to seeing your TIFF post.

I am still on the Cinematheque mailing list and am quite jealous of what is on offer this fall. The Vietnam War series looks particularly interesting.

September 25, 2006 12:21 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Ah Campaspe--I hope you're well. Loved your new gym class post.
I'm driving up to see one of those Vietnam films, directed by Joris Ivens. And also Warhol's The Chelsea Girls, which I've only read about but never seen.

September 25, 2006 7:53 PM  
Blogger Paul Martin said...

Saw this film at Melbourne International Film Festival and it was the favourite of the 15 films I saw. It was visual poetry, with the changing seasons reflecting the deterioration of the relationship.

The other highlights were Gabrielle (France), Be With Me (Singapore) and Fallen (Latvia). Em 4 Jay was my favourite film of 2006 and also showed at the festival, but I didn't see it until later. I believe it screened at Montreal, but may not have a commercial release yet.

December 30, 2006 6:13 AM  
Anonymous peter said...

Hi Girish,
I haven't yet seen Aki Kaurismäki's Lights in The Dusk but I look forward to doing so. I love all his movies. I still have a special fondness for Arei. I would agree with your question/comment:"Is this a Kaurismäki lab experiment in draining the narrative of the 'false complexities' of a pseudo-manipulative, traditional 'humanistic' character-driven narrative?" He does this in all his films, I think, but I would not call it a lab experiment, but a brilliant choice at elaborating a new kind of humanist cinema.

January 20, 2007 5:47 AM  
Anonymous peter said...

Finally got to see Lights in the Dusk at a cinema yesterday. In a word, I think it is a masterpiece.

February 19, 2007 12:00 PM  
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