Anyone who has seen more than one Bergman film will recognise certain plot elements, settings, faces… Few artists have created their own individual universe through the use of recurrent themes, stylistic devices, settings and actors in quite the same way as Ingmar Bergman. Here is a guide to help you navigate these galaxies.
Posts tagged Film.
And certain things around us will change, become easier or harder, one thing or the other, but nothing will ever really be any different. I believe that. We have made our decisions, our lives have been set in motion, and they will go on and on until they stop. But if that is true, then what? I mean, what if you believe that, but you keep it covered up, until one day something happens that should change something, but then you see nothing is going to change after all. What then? Meanwhile, the people around you continue to talk and act as if you were the same person as yesterday, or last night, or five minutes before, but you are really undergoing a crisis, your heart feels damaged…
—Raymond Carver. Short Cuts: Selected Stories. 1993.
Jim: We played with life and lost.
Jules et Jim. François Truffaut. 1962.
Can you keep a secret? I’m trying to organize a prison break. I need like, what, an accomplice. We have to first get out of this bar, then the hotel, then the city, and then the country. Are you in or you out?
—Bob Harris. Lost In Translation.
Cop 663: Since she left, everything in the flat is sad. Everything needed lulling to sleep.
[to a bar of soap]
Cop 663: You’ve lost a lot of weight, you know. You used to be so chubby. Have more confidence in yourself.
[to a threadbare wet dishcloth]
Cop 663: You have to stop crying, you know. Where’s your strength and absorbency? You’re so shabby these days.
Today’s the 25th anniversary of the New York premiere one of my favorite films, Withnail and I by director Bruce Robinson.
I thought in honor of my trip to New York next month, I would start posting photos of my favorite New York things. A Perfect Day for Bananafish started when I moved to New York for a summer, after finishing my thesis and trying to sort out my life. I got lost, I figured out what I wanted to do, and in the process I fell in love with the city, and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.
I sort of go by a duck when I work on a film because if you study a duck, you’ll see certain things. You’ll see a bill, and the bill is a certain texture and a certain length. Then you’ll see a head, and the features on the head are a certain texture and it’s a certain shape and it goes into the neck. The texture of the bill for instance is very smooth and it has quite precise detail in it and it reminds you somewhat of the legs. The legs are a little bit bigger and a little more rubbery but it’s enough so that your eye goes back and forth. Now, the body being so big, it can be softer and the texture is not so detailed, it’s just kind of a cloud. And the key to the whole duck is the eye and where the eye is placed. And it has to be placed in the head and it’s the most detailed, and it’s like a little jewel. And if it was fixed, sitting on the bill, it would be two things that were too busy, battling, they would not do so well. And if it was sitting in the middle of the body, it would get lost. But it’s so perfectly placed to show off a jewel right in the middle of the head like that, next to this S-curve with the bill sitting out in front, but with enough distance so that the eye is very very very well secluded and set out. So when you’re working on a film, a lot of times you can get the bill and the legs and the body and everything, but this eye of the duck is a certain scene, this jewel, that if it’s there, it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s just fantastic.
“All my life I’ve been harassed by questions: Why is something this way and not another? How do you account for that? This rage to understand, to fill in the blanks, only makes life more banal. If we could only find the courage to leave our destiny to chance, to accept the fundamental mystery of our lives, then we might be closer to the sort of happiness that comes with innocence.”
Tonight, in the parking lot of my local Safeway, the Oscar Meyer Weinermobile drew a small crowd. There’s no reason it should be there at 9:30 p.m. on a Saturday night, except I just got back from watching Jean-Luc Godard’s Weekend and I feel like I haven’t left the movie.
Waiting in line to see Melancholia for free at the Embarcadero Cinema.
Thanks to prowling the Internet searching for free tickets to The Rum Diary, I managed to somehow make it to see a free advanced screening of the movie this fine evening in San Francisco.
To be fair, I wasn’t entirely sold on the movie. That is, until I started reading more about the antagonizing amount of time and effort it took for the movie to be made, and for the story to be developed into a workable on-screen narrative. With Bruce Robinson, the director of one of my favorite movies—Withnail and I—and the financial support of Johnny Depp, I was at least going to go see the movie, at some point.
But back to how the movie was free. Let me tell you—nothing is free. That’s because San Francisco will make you pay for it in one way or another. And before we delve into a Hunter S. Thompson-Rum Diary discussion, I’ll start with the pre-show entertainment. The line Devin and I waited in was really, just awful. It turns out, free things bring out all the crazies (myself included?) and boy howdy it was a spectacle.
A woman two people in front of Devin and I began loudly mumbling shortly after we arrived early to wait in line. When the movie workers came by to announce to the patient groundlings that they were to confiscate our cell phones upon entering the theatre, the woman became irate, and began urging moviegoers to storm the line. With the Occupy Oakland people not far from San Francisco, this did not seem wise. The woman then spent the remainder of our line time loudly screaming about anything ranging from this morning’s earthquake to how her magnifying glasses weren’t ever going to be strong enough to read the prices of popcorn and sodas at the movie theatre, and that it was “all a damn shame.”
Those of us who were strongly avoiding eye contact with the screaming eyeglass’d woman began crafting methods of deceiving the movie guards on their tyrannical cell phone decree. Plain and simple: we weren’t going to hand over our $500 phones without a fight. And even though we were there for free, we wanted to rebel. And so I did. The deranged man breathing down my neck behind me, who also happened to vaguely look like a shorter, more troll-like version of Jack Black if you squinted, suggested turning off my phone and hiding it somewhere on my person. I felt as if he too wanted to hide his phone on my person and I felt sick thinking about it. I announced to the line people and the trollmonster behind me that I would wedge my iPhone in my boot for safekeeping.
After I made it past Fort Knox with my iPhone hidden in my boot like a refugee, the guard asked me if I was there with the press. For a moment, I hesitated. I wanted to say yes, because I felt that I could be. A mini existential crisis then exploded in my mind- why am I not there with the press? I looked to Devin, thinking he was right behind me—but he had been had by the cell phone guards. I shook my head. No sir, I am not with the press. I am a groundling like all the other crazy people. Lead me to my seat like a lost cow.
Devin and I quietly reunited, both disturbed by our respective experiences. We looked at each other, perplexed, and the movie began.
The best performances of the film were by far, Giovanni Ribisi and Aaron Eckhart. Johnny Depp was a good Paul Kemp, and with him there, the movie just felt right. Ribisi’s performance of Mouburg during his Nazi tirades, the inane desires to murder his Editor in Chief and his obsession with dangerous substances in 1960s Puerto Rico were really quite fantastical. Eckhart’s blonde good looks as the role of Sanderson with a fake plastic smile made you want to hate him for the dirty rich bastard he was. And bastards were a-plenty in the truest Hunter S. Thompson sense of the word. The dirty feel of money, greed and power hungry people were rampant in the movie, and at times it all was a little too real. Why do the dirty rich people always have to come out on top?
Though the movie deviates from the book, the film is better for it. Robinson is peeking into this strange world that Paul Kemp wanders through, trying to find some sense of purpose or sanity in a cesspool of displaced Americans not in America who circle and huddle around some truth of real newspaper writing. The grotesqueness of Kemp’s surroundings: the dirty sinks, the bottles of rum, the heat and the crowds were vivid and true to Robinson’s transparent lens. He shows everything and suggests nothing. There is what you see before you, and you are left to make of it what you will. And Kemp tries to make something of it, and we want him to have fun for a moment in Sanderson’s rich world with the pretty women, and the beaches and the rhinestone encrusted turtle named Harry.
And even though I’m not part of the press, we were there for free tonight. And it was so much fun.