Friday, December 8, 2017

THE SCHOOL OF TARKOVSKY PART 12


I certainly appreciate the positive feedback that I've been getting on these over the years but like any human being I sometimes focus on the 2 or 3 negative comments I get when I really shouldn't. In the last year I've seen the occasional hostile comment regarding image comparisons to the work of Tarkovsky and it really perplexes me. I mean - these are some of the same people who literally use the word "influential" to describe Tarkovsky and his work but when you show them an image like the one below they get all worked up...

Andrei Rublev  / The Element Of Crime

And you know what - I'm not even going to look up another Lars Von Trier interview where he gushes over & praises Tarkovsky. Go back and look at some of my previous entries or read a book (something I'm convinced these 20 year old know-it-all cinephiles are not doing because they think collecting all the criterion movies is what you need to do in order to understand cinema).

Just look at what this guy wrote recently on twitter about a comparison made by my friend Martin Kessler...



while he does kind of have point on some level, this was a Tree Of Life comparison. At this point does anyone (besides blindly combative people or stupid people) need any convincing that The Mirror was a major influence on The Tree Of Life both visually and story-wise?

With that being said, check out the next comparison in this new entry...

The Mirror / The Tree Of Life

Above you see a reenactment of each of the respective director's parents having an intimate moment rolling around in the grass. Both scenes are shot similarly. Both mothers have read hair. But there's probably someone out there who would still argue that these have nothing in common. Can I just say that people who are blindly combative or just want to argue something for no reason are the absolute worst and need to go away forever?

look at what this other guy wrote to me a while back...

Is it really that serious? I do appreciate the power I have to get a rise out of people by just posting images (I also appreciate the power I have to ruin cinema) but still...

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this latest entry made up of comparisons by filmmakers who were either directly influenced by Tarkovsky (as in, they said it themselves in books and interviews that people are obviously not reading) or have worked under older filmmakers (Carlos Reygadas) who were heavily influenced by Tarkovsky and it may have rubbed off in one way or another (Amat Escalante).

Oh and yes I admit that some of these are complete reaches (the David Gordon Green comparisons) but they still look cool next to each other. Enjoy...
Stalker / 4

Sacrifice / There Will Be Blood

Andrei Rublev / Wicker Man

Solaris / Les Rendezvous D'Anna

Stalker / The Untamed

Solaris / The Untamed

Ivan's Childhood / Undertow

Andrei Rublev / Undertow


Friday, December 1, 2017

UNDERRATED '97



Here is my contribution to the ongoing series over at Rupert Pupkin Speaks where guest bloggers/writers/critics examine various underrated films from 1997.

Click here or click the image above to go to the piece.


and make sure you follow their wonderful podcast as well (click the image below)



ZEBRAS IN AMERICA EPISODE 35!!


On this episode of Zebras, Scott & I talk about all things Marvel & DC-related and delve in to Thor Ragnarok & Justice League.

enjoy...

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

WRONG REEL EPISODE 342: THE CINEMA OF SIDNEY LUMET


I'm back on Wrong Reel with James alongside returning guests Rob Cotto & Adam Schartoff of Filmwax radio to talk about the cinema of Sidney Lumet. Click here or the image above to go to the episode.

And if you have the ability to support, please check out Adam Schartoff's very important kickstarter campaign (below) which is being backed by everyone from Neil Labute to Larry Fessenden...

Sunday, November 26, 2017

WOMEN ON THE SCREEN EPISODE 5: CHAMELEON STREET


After an intimate screening of Chameleon Street at Video Revival, I took part in another post-movie discussion with Carlo.

Enjoy...

(make sure to check out my piece on the film from a few years ago)


Wednesday, November 22, 2017

ZEBRAS IN AMERICA EPISODE 34!


After a week off we're back in full force! On latest episode of Zebras Scott does an impromptu live performance from his home studio then we talk about one of the best movies of 2017.

Enjoy...

Friday, November 17, 2017

THE SCHOOL OF TARKOVSKY PART 11

I have stolen so much from Tarkovsky over the years... - Lars Von Trier

I admit that some of what you're about to see below is totally coincidental and forced on my part. But nevertheless - you have to admit that these comparisons do look interesting next to each other.

Notice the framing & composition of the child tilting his head towards the camera in Nostalghia next to the opening scene from Gone Girl or the placement of the dog in On The Beach Alone At Night...
The scenes in Onibaba could very well just be a coincidence but they do look similar to the scenes in Ivan’s Childhood which did come before it.
And I don’t even think it’s up for debate when it comes to the well scene in The Element Of Crime (see Lars Von Trier’s quote at the start of this piece)

Nostalghia / Gone Girl

Ivan's Childhood / Onibaba

Ivan's Childhood / The Element Of Crime

Solaris Electric Relaxation

Solaris / LK de L'Hotel Moscou

Solaris / The Addiction

Solaris / Song To Song

Nostalghia / On The Beach Alone At Night

Solaris / The Empty Box



Wednesday, November 8, 2017

THE WHOLE HISTORY OF MY LIFE PART SEVEN: THE SEVENTH CONTINENT



Check out the latest installment of the Whole History Of My Life series over at The Pink Smoke where I talk about my The Seventh Continent and the overall frustrating year that has been 2017 (click here or click the image above to read).

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

THE CINEMA OF...



It was another great & somewhat diverse year in the "Cinema Of..." series. In an effort to save you some time, I compiled them all in to one post (click each of the images to go to the individual pieces).



















ZEBRAS IN AMERICA EPISODE 32 & 33



These last couple of episodes of Zebras In America have quite a few things in common. Not only do they both feature guests/friends of ours (Mikhail Karadimov & The Pink Smoke respectively) but both episodes are also centered around Hal Hartley to some extent (Scott has been getting acquainted with the films of Hartley over the last few weeks).

Listen as we go from my living room in Brooklyn with Mikhail (episode 32) to Parsippany New Jersey to meet celebrities & buy bootleg DVD's at the Chiller convention (episode 33).

enjoy..




Wednesday, October 25, 2017

A FEW WORDS ON FOUR NIGHTS OF A DREAMER


This is a summarized version of a talk I participated in on Robert Bresson's Four Nights Of A Dreamer at Video Revival in Brooklyn.

Enjoy...



The motivation of Robert Bresson's characters seem predetermined. It's as if they're essentially going through the motions without any say or input on their own lives or actions. Bresson is kind of like a cinematic puppet master in a sense. While it's totally understandable that this would be off-putting & unappealing to some folks (Robert Bresson does have his share of detractors) it is intriguing to me and quite a few of the filmmakers he has directly inspired (Four Nights Of A Dreamer is a loose adaptation of Dostoyevsky’s White Nights so it's rooted in influence right off the bat).

The predetermined aspect in Robert Bresson's films were in full force from the late 60's (Une Femme Douce) until his final film (L'argent). That's not to say Bresson hadn't found his footing prior to Une Femme Douce (this is evident in The Diary Of A Country Priest which, in my opinion, is when he finally found his signature style), but it was cemented in the late 60's. Four Nights Of A Dreamer is a prime example of this. Besides the basic plot (two strangers fall in love after one saves the other from a suicide attempt), we're given expressionless faces (even in scenarios concerning intimacy and suicide attempts), emotionless/apathetic gestures (at the start of the film our hitchhiking protagonist is asked where he is going and he throws up his arms, with an expressionless look, as if to say; “I Don't know and I don't really care).

Four Nights Of A Dreamer / Slacker
(In Slacker, the character on the right kills his mother like it was a menial chore. This is very Bressionian)

Like I already said - lack of emotion & spirit could seem unappealing to some people (especially in cinema) but at the same time life can break us and make us apathetic & emotionless. Again – it's understandable if some audiences want nothing to do with that. Movies are supposed to be an escape for some people. The films of Bresson are a reflection of society to some degree and no one wants to spend their time watching their lives on the big screen or on a television. Some people want a momentary escape to make them forget about their (very real) Bressonian problems from time to time (living life set to an alarm clock, boredom, mindless commuting, etc). But at the same time that aspect of life shouldn't go ignored.

Bresson's influence knows no bounds especially in the world of french arthouse cinema. Take Michael Haneke for example. All of his Austrian films deal with the same problems in Bresson's films (depression, broken spirits, existentialism, predetermined lives, etc). Haneke's first three films look like stories from an extended Bresson universe.
In The Seventh Continent we see a family live life in the same predetermined depressed fashion (until they snap out of it and handle in their own way). Both The Seventh Continent & Four Nights Of A Dreamer show the same pointless/banal things we do on a daily basis...

Four Nights Of A Dreamer / The Seventh Continent

The same could be said about Hal Hartley who considers Bresson to be one of his favorite filmmakers (Bresson's Au Hasard Balthazar is one of his favorite movies). The opening scene of The Unvelievable Truth is a clear homage to the opening of Four Nights Of A Dreamer in which both protagonists are aimlessly/hopelessly hitchhiking somewhere...

Four Nights Of A Dreamer / The Unbelievable Truth

Bruno Dumont, who at one point was nicknamed “The Son Of Bresson” due to the similar themes & acting style in his earlier movies, regularly borrows the same scenes from the films of Bresson as well...

Four Nights Of A Dreamer / Hors Satan
Four Nights Of A Dreamer / Slack Bay

I'd also be remiss if I didnt bring up Leos Carax's possible reference to Four Nights Of Dreamer in The Lovers On Bridge (both movies are shot in some of the exact same locations)...

Four Nights Of A Dreamer / The Lovers On The Bridge
Perhaps Four Nights inspired Leos Carax earlier than The Lovers On The Bridge...

Four Nights Of A Dreamer / Boy Meets Girl
(Both films start with pivotal scenes on a bridge and deal with tough break ups. The delivery of dialogue in Boy Meets Girl is also very Bressonian)


there's also Soderbergh's Solaris...

Four Nights Of A Dreamer / Solaris
Four Nights Of A Dreamer / Solaris


It should be noted that all the movies compared to Four Nights Of A Dreamer in this piece have similar plot points & scenarios.
In Soderbergh’s Solaris, Chris Kelvin’s wife tries to commit suicide like Marthe at the start of Four Nights Of A Dreamer (and the characters in The Seventh Continent are successful in their suicide).
Both “Emmet” (The Unbelievable Truth) & Michele (The Lovers On The Bridge) refuse to accept that their respective relationship is over much like Marthe.

So while some of these comparisons could be perceived as vague at first glance, there is some depth & validity behind these images...


ZEBRAS IN AMERICA EPISODE 31!!



On episode 31 we delve in to everything from the recent Meyerowitz Stories to men both in & out of Hollywood who need to do better in terms of sexual assault & harassment against women.

enjoy...

Monday, October 23, 2017

WRONG REEL EPISODE 330: THE CINEMA OF MARTIN SCORSESE

Check me out on the latest episode of Wrong Reel with my good friend/PINNLAND EMPIRE contributor Rob Cotto. Click the image below to go to the episode. Enjoy...



Also make sure to listen to this all-star wrong reel lineup where we discuss the 2017 New York Film Festival.

Enjoy...


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