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Showing posts with label IMDb®. Show all posts
Showing posts with label IMDb®. Show all posts

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

John Berger ~ Always much more than the author of Ways of Seeing*

This is a response to The Seasons in Quincy : Four Portraits of John Berger (2016)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2017 (19 to 26 October)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

18 July

This is a response to The Seasons in Quincy : Four Portraits of John Berger (2016)

End-notes :

* Yet, at the same time, we see how much of him - and of his work - rightly came from properly seeing : to encompass 'listening', 'creating', 'being'...

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Friday, 18 March 2016

The intensity of poetry and of Bach Passions (work in progress)

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2015 (3 to 13 September)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

17 March

This is an accreting review of The Mirror (Zerkalo) (1975)

Words can’t express everything a person feels

Some people like the security of being told what a film means (or ‘is about’), especially if it is a difficult one (and, from when they first appeared there, Andrei Tarkovsky’s films attracted serious critical approval at Venice, and Cannes).

However, even if you really believe that a film such as The Mirror (Zerkalo) (1975) can be summarized in a couple of sentences, what appears on the film’s page on IMDb (@IMDb)) may not be they – where someone seems intent on imposing an interpretation as if it is definitive and conclusive of all :

One would imagine, from what is claimed, that The Mirror coheres or coalesces around the scene to which it refers (and from which it infers much) : it is, indeed, in the nature of some film-making, as perhaps it sometimes is here, that one’s understanding of what one sees and hears requires being patiently provisional, of waiting five or ten minutes for what that shot or comment was really saying to be confirmed or disclosed. (In other types of film, some aspects may not be revealed right until the closing shot, and then all makes sense.)

By contrast, The Mirror simply does not give the impression that there is one way of understanding it, and that, with that as a key, all is plain sailing and can be directly comprehended : it does not ever resemble that kind of film, and offering this token to the world at large is no real invitation in, although it is not without an element of truth.

For, having been quoted as having described the film as about a man who is seriously ill, Andrei Tarkovsky said about it (in an interview with Ian Christie) :

People ask themselves serious questions at different times, and especially in the face of death. [...] But I want to emphasize that this film was not constructed in this way for dry, dramatic reasons. It is important to see our hero in an extreme psychological situation, so that we don't feel his illness is entirely accidental. And it is the kind of illness where we don't know if he will survive, although it is not important to the meaning of the film — if there is any meaning !

[‘Against Interpretation : an Interview with Andrei Tarkovsky’ (1981) (collected and edited in Andrei Tarkovsky : Interviews¹, p. 67)]

And here is Tarkovsky, again in very simple terms (and from the same source-book¹), saying what he made the content of The Mirror²:

For example (as he told his later collaborator on Nostalghia (1983) and Tempo di Viaggio (1983)) :

[…] And my father came home very late one night. [...] He wanted me to go to live with him in the other house. [...] That night [...] I was asking myself what I should say the next day if they asked me who I wanted to live with. […]

[‘Interview with Andrei Tarkovsky’, Tonino Guerra (1978) (ibid., p. 47)]

At the same time, Tarkovsky says how he battled the film, or the film him :

The picture was simply not working out [...] Editing the picture I thought about dramatic composition. Only having made twenty edited versions did I realize that I had to try and paste together my material according to a completely different principle, without any regard for logic. This was the twenty-first version. And this is the version that you have seen on the movie screen.

[‘The Twentieth Century and The Artist’, V. Ishimov and R. Shejko (1984) (ibid., p. 128)]

Everything will still be ahead. Everything will be possible.

In its entry, IMDb (@IMDb) also appears to give prominence to the fact that Tarkovsky chooses to use Bach’s St Matthew Passion, BWV 244, whose aria Erbarme dich was to appear so sensitively in The Sacrifice (Offret) (1986) (the last film that he was able to make of those planned, on account of terminal cancer).

However, there is a very long section from the opening Chorus of the St John Passion, BWV 245, addressed to the Lordship of Jesus, which is just one of the many elements to the film : dialogue ; his father Arseni's poetry being read (three or four poems) ; scenes and sets (and their juxta- and interposition) ; sound-design / scoring for symphony orchestra ; archive footage (e.g. of nuclear-tests, or armaments and munitions being dragged, with much effort and by different soldiers, through shallow waters) ; existing compositions such as those works by Bach³.

The passage used from the St John Passion opens the work : maybe one is used to recent recordings and performances that bring out the contorted dissonance of the oboe-line, but Tarkovsky’s choice does not have that bite. If it did, would it fit better for us with the screen-time over which he has it play, perhaps feeding into the moments shown, by the superposition of the tension of the Passion story, in the way that the fevered mind or confused imagination may mix things together ?

Cinema, in contrast to literature, is the film-maker's experience caught on film. And if this personal experience is really sincerely expressed then the viewer accepts the film.
I've noticed, from my own experience, if the external, emotional construction of images in a film are [sic] based on the filmmaker's own memory, on the kinship of one's personal experience with the fabric of the film, then the film will have the power to affect those who see it.

[‘Dialogue with Andrei Tarkovsky about Science-Fiction on the Screen’, Naum Abramov (1970) (ibid., p. 35)]


Perhaps The Mirror might have been what Tarkosvky had in mind when he said to Gideon Bachmann (during the 1962 Venice Film Festival) that he was seeking a principle of montage that will allow me to expose the subjective logic — the thought, the dream, the memory — instead of the logic of the subject.

Though those twenty editorial versions that he alluded to above (in talking to Ishimov and Shejko) do not suggest that he was instinctual in making this film... If, as Tarkovsky himself says in that interview, he had to cut loose from ideas of dramatic composition and any regard for logic, then maybe we need to consider ourselves encouraged by these words about our response to the film (immediately preceding what Bachmann quotes):

One doesn’t need to explain in film, but rather to directly affect the feelings of the audience. It is this awakened emotion that then drives the thoughts forward.

[‘Encounter with Andrei Tarkovsky’, Gideon Bachmann (1962) (ibid., p. 11)]


¹ Andrei Tarkovsky : Interviews, edited by John Giavinto. University Press of Mississippi, Jackson (2006). Other quotations will appear above, as indicated.)

² To Ian Strick, He admitted, with regret [as to the 'autobiographical aspects' of The Mirror], that the film had lost him a lot of friends. 'It was rather silly ; they reproached me for being too personal in telling my own story. But, if I show things that I didn't understand when they happened, how can I explain them now ? [...]' [‘Tarkovsky’s Translations’, Ian Strick (1981) (ibid., pp. 71-72)].

³ During the opening credits, we also hear Das alte Jahre vergangen ist, BWV 614, from Das Orgelb├╝chlein (BWV 599–644). (Does one also think that one hears Mozart's Requiem Mass ?)

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Sunday, 9 August 2015

Seen at – or adjacent to – Cambridge Film Festival (in its earlier, one-screen venue of The Arts Cinema)

Seen at (or because of) Cambridge Film Festival in the mid-1980s

More views of or before Cambridge Film Festival 2015 (3 to 13 September)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

9 August

Seen at (or because of) Cambridge Film Festival in the mid-1980s

It was necessary to borrow Hugh Taylor’s copies of Cambridge Film Festival (@camfilmfest / #CamFF) programme-booklets from the early to middle 1980s (two of which, within Apsley Towers (@THEAGENTAPSLEY), are conveniently to hand), so one, almost necessarily, has not located ticket-stubs that could clinch whether one did watch any film, listed below as seen at around that time, at the Festival itself : hence ‘at or adjacent to Cambridge Film Festival’ in the title of this posting…

That said, one just knows as fact that one chose to see Woody Allen’s Hannah and Her Sisters (1986) in what, then, would have still been called a Festival gala performance (not ‘a screening’) : the Festival atmosphere even then with enviably comfortable seats in the snug premises in Market Passage* was so good, and one wanted to be part of it, rather than waiting for the film to come on release.

And, before anyone talked about ‘ear-worms’, that is what the catchy, jazzy principal theme of Hannah already was, on leaving the cinema after the credits, to both one’s fellow viewer (@AJRigbyTweet) and one's self (and for a number of days or weeks), courtesy of Dick Hyman’s arrangements, band, and leadership / playing**. The same had been true of the score of Broadway Danny Rose (1984), for which IMDb® (@IMDb) does give Hyman credit as the ‘music supervisor’ : the themes from both films have such a hook to them that one easily recalls them now. (However, at the time that when the Festival booklet had been printed, that film was said to be ‘unconfirmed’ (as may be legible, in the image below, in the column next to that for El Norte), so it did not have a date / time slot in the programme of events at the back, but was later confirmed and came on sale.)

All that being said, and for the two years in question (being those of the 8th and 10th Festivals, respectively), here was what was seen, if not at the Festival in 1984 and 1986, then as a result of it in each case, the date and time are given simply of the first performance listed in the programme (except for Danny Rose, where one is having to guess when it would have ended by being shown) :

8th Cambridge Film Festival (1529 July 1984)

Sunday 15 July

* 3.00 The Dresser (1983)

* 6.00 Swann in Love (1984)

* 8.30 El Norte (1983)

Thursday 19 July

* 6.30 The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum (Die verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum) (1975)

Saturday 21 July

* 2.00 Cal (1984)

?? Friday 27 July ??

* ?? Broadway Danny Rose (1984) ??

Saturday 28 July

* 1.30 Paris, Texas (1984) [referenced in The Night Elvis Died (La Nit Que Va Morir L’Elvis) (2010), and referred to in What is Catalan cinema ?]

* * * * *

10th Cambridge Film Festival (1027 July 1986)

Thursday 10 July : Opening night

* 8.00 Mona Lisa (1986)

Sunday 13 July

* 6.30 Plenty (1985)

Friday 18 July

* 11.00 After Hours (1985) [How Time views After Hours (1985)]

Saturday 19 July

* 11.00 Sid and Nancy (1986)

Sunday 20 July

* 8.45 Hannah and Her Sisters (1986)

* * * * *

Twenty-five Festivals later (this will be the 35th), Director of #CamFF
Tony Jones is still in charge


* Which runs between Market Street and Sidney Street, when that separated Joshua Taylor from Eden Lilley (one fantasized that they were lovers, cruelly separated by Victorian parents. [Or later ? One thinks of the lyrics of ‘They Can’t Take That Away from Me’ whose meaning Tommy Smith queried at The Stables lately…]).

Well, anyway, before that became bar / club land, and when, upstairs, had been Angeline’s, a lovely restaurant in which to be made very welcome, and luxuriate in continental cuisine.

** Although not credited by IMDb®, proving unreliable again (and making one doubt oneself and one’s memory, despite owning the soundtrack (on LP)).

*** Probably less famous than Hannah, although with Allen magic of its own, Broadway Danny Rose is a super film in monochrome : with Allen as Danny (an indulgent theatrical agent), his star turn Lou Canova (Nick Apollo Forte), Mia F. as Lou’s unsympathetic secret lover (whose life-or-death attitude Danny finds immediately and alarmingly frank), and gangsters, in the funniest shoot-out in a hangar that you will ever see !

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Thursday, 8 January 2015

The audience on Blogger® for the past month

More views of - or before - Cambridge Film Festival 2014 (28 August to 7 September)
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

9 January

In mental-health roles, as well as those in nursing or social care, it will be quite common to encounter reflective practice, which has even become the stuff of [the obligation to undertake] CPD (or Continuing Professional Development, as, say, a practising lawyer or doctor) :

This posting is nothing much to do with reflective practice, yet - the phrase has it (which Eliot made unavoidable - ineluctable, if you are a Joycean character and / or adherent) - Everything connects.

For (1) Google® owns (2) Blogger®, (3) Amazon® owns (4) IMDb®, and Tweeting a link from (2) on (1) soon leads to potential purchases on (3) being promoted in adverts on (4)... - just try it and see !

Meanwhile, for the statistical month just gone, this indicates where visitors to this blog have come from, in a Top Five by Page-View :

1. United States ~ 29,621

2. France ~ 5,988

3. Germany ~ 958

4. United Kingdom ~ 685

5. Czech Republic ~ 664

And, for the lifetime of the blog, we have a changed perspective - as to players and priority :

1. United States ~ 200675

2. France ~ 46652

3. Russia ~ 37539

4. United Kingdom ~ 13915

5. Germany ~ 13668

Maybe more Tweets / blogging about Svetlana might bump Russia back into prominence for the month (placed only sixth, on 350)...

Unless stated otherwise, all films reviewed were screened at Festival Central (Arts Picturehouse, Cambridge)

Monday, 21 November 2011

The cat in The Future

More views of - or after - Cambridge Film Festival 2011
(Click here to go directly to the Festival web-site)

22 November

The cat in The Future

No, not what we will breed friends like my Molly to be, as I understood our Egyptian colleagues did some millennia back to give rise to her (with her red streak of tortoiseshell), but rather who gives Paw-Paw spoken words in this rather dismal no.

I am sure that someone claimed that it was Ms July - if only that didn't have connotations - but, at the same time, I recollect someone else having a credit :

Now that's, maybe, where I have been misled by the credits, as, now that I think of it, some animal actors have names that are indistinguishable in form from those of a human actor... I was, perhaps, looking at the form of Paw-Paw as shown in the only shot that I saw where he is not just animatronic, and not very convincing (in fact, it seemed like a pretty poor attempt to gloss over the failure to have engaged a co-operative animal actor, now that I think of it).

Can one rely on what IMDb tells us, in the absence of any desire to see this again? - or opportunity, as it lasted just two weeks at my cinema, from which I infer the lack of an audience (maybe 20 people watched it when I did, on its last day).