USA, 81 min
Archive for the ‘B’ Category
No matter what their flaws, the main characters in mainstream movies are almost always appealing in some way. If they are nebbishes, their klutziness is endearing. (Look at the work of Woody Allen.) If they are lonely, their alienation is grand and alluring. (Look at the work of Orson Welles.) If they are evil, their villainy is sexy and rakish. (Look at the work of Christopher Walken.) Ronald Bronstein strips away the Hollywood idealizations and asks us to spend time with genuinely unromantic characters leading genuinely unromantic lives. He creates characters we don’t want to see ourselves as, characters we refuse to identify with. There is much lip service paid to the importance of depictions of “otherness” in film; Frownland reveals that the concept of otherness as redemptive and transformative is a romantic myth. He gives us otherness we want to cross the street to avoid; otherness without sentimentality. Or is he just giving us ourselves with our self–deluded idealizations removed? – Ray Carney
There’s a certain type of person out there…one that we’re all familiar with…who provokes a kind of instant instinctive repulsion in nearly everyone they cross paths with. You run into these ‘off’ people now and again and it’s the social equivalent of pushing two magnets towards one another. By way of example, it’s the kind of person who might stop you on the street and ask you for directions and before you know it you’re claiming that you don’t know the way…even though you do….just to end the exchange as quickly as possible. In life, it’s just so easy to dismiss people like this. They don’t occupy enough real estate in your brain to force you to confront and reasonably gauge whether this instinctive aversion is justified. You simply go about your business and push them out of your mind as quickly as they entered into it. I guess i figured a movie theatre, where people are willing to be held captive for a few hours, is a good environment to make audiences spend time with someone like this, chew em over, swallow em, regurgitate em, chew some more, etc…and hopefully arrive at a more layered response. – Ronald Bronstein
Fractionally better than spending the evening watching crappy French tele in a Nantes hotel-room… Yes – last night, I had the choice of “Frownland” at Nantes’ Katorza art cinema or an evening of the direness that is currently being dished up for the TV-audience of France… I think “Frownland” was just worth leaving the hotel for. But, really, it is a car-crash of a film… Every character repelled and bored me, nothing happened, there was far too much snot, it looked so dated [despite apparently only having been made last year], etc., etc… I think the acting was OK – as far as it went – and I’m more than happy to turn a blind eye to a slightly grainy picture and an obviously low budget if the film-maker has got something genuinely interesting to say. [In fact, I'd encourage such film-makers, as we really do need an alternative to Hollywood.] But, a film needs to engage me much better than “Frownland” managed to. – badgerking10, imdb comment
At 106 minutes, it is at least 95 minutes too long. You get to watch the main character’s failed and drawn out attempts to communicate, in extended real time. The same grimaces, hand over mouth motions, kinetic and frantically repeated words and syllables over and over and over again – WE GET THE POINT.
One site actually compares this work to early Mike Leigh. What drugs would you have to be on to make that statement? – NJtoTX, imdb comment
USA, 6.5 min
Sp. & Fr., 26 min.
A parody of documentary, Buñuel’s exaggerations included covering a donkey in honey so that it would be killed by bees. The people of Las Hurdes have been stigmatized for generations, and the subject of some ill-conceived reconstruction plans. Now they live by tourism and bee-keeping. Watch this film for its surrealism and not its truth.
USA, 3 min.
The Wold-Shadow imposes a sheet of clear glass between the camera and its object, a shot of woodlands. Shooting in single frames, Brakhage applies stunning layers of paint to the glass. -here
One day, while walking in the woods, Stan Brakhage had a vision of an unaccountable anthropomorphic shadow amongst the trees. Returning to the place some time later, Brakhage could not find the shadow again. He decided, instead, to compose The Wold Shadow, a cinematic homage to the god of the forest. Brakhage returned to the woods and placed a piece of glass on an easel between the camera and the trees that he planned to film. After composing each shot, Brakhage would take a single photographic frame, paint on the glass and then shoot the glass again, and so on. -mark rumsby
USA, 3:21 min
An unintentional prequel companion to my previous watch, showing the time before the fall into listlessness, when unbound kinder-curiosity ran riot. Absurd to have a credits sequence on something like this, Bujalski, and you probably know it.
the Golden Age
FR, 63 min
Co-written by Buñuel and Salvador Dali, the film strings together various interrelated vignettes; a blend of Sadean themes and surreal sets by Dalí, who left the project halfway through. Wildly satirical, blasphemous and pornographic for its time.
The film was financed to the tune of a million francs by the nobleman Vicomte Charles de Noailles, who beginning in 1928 commissioned a film every year for the birthday of his wife Marie-Laure de Noailles. When it was first released, there was a storm of protest. The film premiered at Studio 28 in Paris on November 29 1930 after receiving its permit from the Board of Censors. In order to get the permit, Buñuel had to present the film to the Board as the dream of a madman.
On 3 December 1930, a group of incensed members of the fascist League of Patriots threw ink at the screen, assaulted members of the audience, and destroyed art work by Dalí, Joan Miró, Man Ray, Yves Tanguy and others on display in the lobby. On 10 December, the Paris Prefect of Police, Jean Chiappe, arranged to have the film banned after the Board of Censors reviewed the film. The film did not have its official US premiere until 1-15 November 1979 at the Roxie Cinema in San Francisco.