What have you watched recently?

bingeonvogue

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What are you reading, the film edition—for discussing movies that are not necessarily your favorite but, as one would hope would be obvious, don't each require their own thread.

To start off:

Can honestly say the four hour cut of Visconti's Ludwig is absolutely worth it. One of the most stunning cinematic displays of extravagance I've seen in recent memory.

Incidentally it doesn't hurt that Helmut Berger's cheekbones in the titular role are wonderful (and adds to the horror of his progressive decay).

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Recent three, the first being a rewatch: Lady Snowblood, Pierrot Le Fou, and Satyajit Ray's Devi. What do these thematically very different movies have in common, apart from having excellent analyses on the Criterion website (Pierrot, Devi)?

Well...
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Windows to the soul, indeed.
 
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Two iterations of Joan of Arc—Dreyer’s The Passion and Bresson’s The Trial. Was hesitant to watch Bresson as I didn’t think anyone could present the subject better than Dreyer but both are sublime. Dreyer’s is originally silent but the post-hoc “Voices of Light” score is shockingly good.

The depth of emotion expressed in both is insane. Dreyer is ridiculous at the close-up…

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(@Vintagemiumiu you might like and/or would be interested in your thoughts on the depictions—all my friends are heretics!)
 
Was hesitant to watch Bresson as I didn’t think anyone could present the subject better than Dreyer but both are sublime.
I have the same feeling, I've yet to watch Bresson's rendition because of my belief that nothing can top Dreyer's (but mostly because I can't seem to find a place to watch it online!)
Dreyer is ridiculous at the close-up…
Absolutely! Incredible artistry on Falconetti's part; her large piercing eyes certainly helped. One of the parts I loved most about the film was how little she seemed to blink through most of it, as though she was in a God-inflicted trace - seeming almost intoxicated by faith it, as though she's having beatific visions throughout. The scene where she is asked her age and nervously tries to count the years on her fingers is ultimately chilling when you think about how this teenage illiterate peasant girl was able to conduct some of the greatest conquests in French and Catholic history, but also how timid she looks in front of these ecclesiastical jurists.

Contextually, Dreyer's depiction is perfect of someone so young convicted of heresy at the time; it's a sort of 'accidental' sin as it was used to condemn those who insulted the traditional ways of institutionalised religion; these 'heretics' tend to only want to take command from the Lord and care not for the man-made hierarchy of the church. To have educated theologians try to falsify her claims and accuse her of blasphemy... Falconetti's acting was nothing short of a spectacle.
 
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The scene where she is asked her age and nervously tries to count the years on her fingers is ultimately chilling when you think about how this teenage illiterate peasant girl was able to conduct some of the greatest conquests in French and Catholic history, but also how timid she looks in front of these ecclesiastical jurists.
Yes! Also the one where she can't sign her name and they move her hand for her... Agreed that her eyes are so unforgettable in the translucent reflection of ecstasy that Falconetti gives to them. I loved Dreyer's framing composition so much too! It would have been so easy for a film of this description to be flat considering it's domination by the close up and relatively non-existent action and it's incredible how much emotional depth he's able to imbue into the shots. :luv:

If you loved Dreyer I think you won't be disappointed by Bresson's (currently on Criterion Channel)! For me Bresson's genius is in managing to create a means of bringing out the affective via such sober ascetic means which it's incredible that he was able to accomplish.

Did you watch The Passion with the musical score by the way? I wasn't sure if it might have a different and interesting effect watching it silent but with my modern sensibility I felt it might be too much of a strain lol. (In my defense the Voices of Light is too divine!)
 
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Agreed that her eyes are so unforgettable in the translucent reflection of ecstasy that Falconetti gives to them.
That's the word I was looking for! It's complete biblical ecstasy perfect example of her communion and oneness with God. In some scenes she is heavily reminiscent of 'weeping' Virgin Mary statues.

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If you loved Dreyer I think you won't be disappointed by Bresson's (currently on Criterion Channel)!
Brilliant, I'll have a look around this website so I can make the most out of that 7-day free trail ;)
And yes! I did watch the version with "Voices of Light" it baffles me how some don't like it, the opera is raw and the instrumental fits beautifully, it adds that faultless level of emotional depth.
 
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I do admit I'm a bit partial as I really adore everything I've seen of Bresson's work, all through which faith and spirit is an obsessive motif. L'argent is obviously a classic but there's a good selection on Criterion. I'm not sure how sensitive you are to theological disputes as he doesn't seem entirely orthodox (i.e. Jansenism) but the achingly deep feeling for his mode of Catholicism is wonderfully conveyed.

While you're there, Fellini and Buñuel are among my favorites if you haven't seen them yet and are open to some suggestions! Fellini's Catholicism and faith is certainly far less orthodox lmao, but seems for all that authentic and his own way of getting out of a type of hypocrisy. It's so well known but I literally never tire of 8½, and the religious imagery is completely different from Bresson and Dreyer but gorgeous. Buñuel purportedly left the church but as he said, "a religious education and surrealism have marked me for life" and his work is so interestingly animated by it (one of my favorites aesthetically is The Exterminating Angel!).

Of course feel free to ignore and I don't mean to pigeonhole you into religious viewings—only if you think they would be interesting obviously—but people I know who share my tastes typically don't seem to share my interest in excursions into faith. :lol:
 
Hope you all don't mind my jumping in with an aside on where you can watch all these films should your Criterion trial expire (Dreyer's Passion and Bresson's work as a whole also occupy their spots in my heart, aesthetic minimalism and faith being key points of interest for me, but much of that's been covered well here).

For those of us with designer-shoe taste and shoestring budgets—so, certainly not 100% of the people in this thread, but still—the Russian video sharing site Odnoklassniki has just about every Criterion film uploaded in full. This user in particular has most of them covered, organized by geographic region. Fewer popups to shoot down than other piracy mainstays like 123movies, too.
 
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Russian video sharing site
Russian pirate sites are hands down the best—also Criterion periodically takes down some offerings and some are never up. (Notably, and on a different tenor, Salò, which is forever officially steaming nowhere, lol, and which I finally ended up just getting on blu ray. This would have saved me some time!)
 
Fellini's Catholicism and faith is certainly far less orthodox lmao
Not a problem! Though I practice orthodoxy, I have great interest and love for all the sects of Christendom, we have our differences but Catholicism is like our younger brother that we're always fighting!
I don't mean to pigeonhole you into religious viewings
Don't be! I'm loving it- I'm serious when I say literally none of my peers have even heard of the media we talk about. I always thought it was extremely niche and obscure; it's amazing that there are people on here who are so widely educated with such expansive interests. The masses have genuinely no idea what they are talking about when they chalk this place up to be some "pro-ana fashion brain-rot website."
Gosh I fall more and more in love with this forum as the days go by. :luv:
 
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Quite a while ago I had the pleasure of watching Vladimir Bortko's Heart of a Dog; not to be confused with Laurie Anderson's film adaptation of the book which I unfortunately haven't seen yet.

I happen to live in a Post-Soviet country, which makes Soviet novels and films feel astonishingly close to home. I deeply cherish Soviet art in general; ranging from the grey brutalist architecture to the exquisite patterns and classy coats, I find it all extremely homely, almost as if I were looking at old photographs of my family or even shots of the country itself.

I don't want to gush about the film itself for too long, so all that I'm going to say is that the cinematography is truly magnificent, the acting is excellent and the satirical nature of it all makes the experience surprisingly hilarious. All in all, a lovely adaptation of a lovely novel.

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About a week ago, I watched Eyes Wide Shut for the first time - I had been wanting to add another Kubrick movie to my list.
A friend recommended it to me because I said I liked V for Vendetta and Collateral. I used to watch a lot of thrillers with my dad growing up, so this was very nostalgic. Also, there's something very beautiful about thrillers shot on film vs on digital, especially in city settings; I feel like the atmosphere becomes a lot more sinister.

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Odnoklassniki
Have been looking around especially for Visconti (the official Criterion streaming selection is really pitiful!) and do you happen to know if there's a specific way to turn a subtitle option on for videos where they might be added as opposed to superimposed on the screen, if that makes sense?

For example in this version of his The Damned it seems contextually like there might be an option for English subtitles (as the description's in English and there's an English comment) but I'm flailing about trying to obtain subtitles for my severely linguistically limited ass. :cry:

Actually even for movies in languages I can speak I like to have subtitles because I'm incompetent at listening apparently, but that's besides the point.
 
Have been looking around especially for Visconti (the official Criterion streaming selection is really pitiful!) and do you happen to know if there's a specific way to turn a subtitle option on for videos where they might be added as opposed to superimposed on the screen, if that makes sense?

For example in this version of his The Damned...
I get what you mean and empathize! Unfortunately, I do not believe OK has a dedicated closed caption option, and it can be a real pain digging around for an upload that has decent subtitles in a language you can read at all.

This is the same Visconti film with English subtitles, albeit superimposed; I'll often search for a film with a combination of director surname and year, then try different language versions of the title.

If you prefer closed captioning, archive.org is more accommodating but also much worse to sift through.

Much(!!) more consistent and fantastic with subtitle options, but not always free, are tubi.tv and Soviet / Eastern European / Asian movies online. The last three have 1-day pass options.
 
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This is the same Visconti film with English subtitles, albeit superimposed; I'll often search for a film with a combination of director surname and year, then try different language versions of the title.
Thank you! Agh the image quality of pirate sites always leaves something to be desired but wonderful to know as a resource for when I can't find it anywhere else. I will literally never figure out PirateBay in my life; I cannot manage to learn and it's ridiculously petty but the site's design/UX is too ugly.

Have had the five hour cut of Gance's Napoleon and the four hour version of Stroheim's Greed on my bookmarks for a while for when I manage to muster the stamina. :nervous: (Cannot find, nor do I think I could withstand the idea of the 8-10 hour cut of each.)

Have just tried looking and to my delighted surprise archive.org seems very good for Kurosawa!
 
Fanfic was certainly cheesy (in all the best ways!) and heartwarming. It’s a Polish film on Netflix; a coming-of-age, first-love type story starring Alin Szewczyk, a non-binary model (they closed for Prada SS23 exclusively). I found Alin to be so attractive and beautiful, and I cried a lot during the film (again, it’s super cheesy, but I’m a sap). The movie highlights the main character’s transition from Toska to Tosiek, his relationship with gay classmate Leon, classroom antics, & more but it was based on a book and my Polish friends say the book was way better. Even so, the intimate shots of chest binding, the home movies during childhood, the rich imagination of Tosiek, the affirmation of gender identity, and the tender and delicate emotions that come with the first ever feelings of gender euphoria made me fall in love with this movie. I’m non-binary as well but I make a pretty sexy girl, so I rarely present as anything else (presenting as a pretty, skinny, feminine, cisgender woman gets me a lot of perks, no surprise there). This movie felt like a hug to me, and gave me the confidence to dress masculine and bind again. It was a beautiful feeling!:flower: Also, self harm scars are clearly shown on their thighs and wrists, which I didn’t expect but was really pleased by.

Thank you for bearing with my ramble. I think Alin is really fucking hot. Here’s a couple shameless screen shots of their body from a shitty pirate site, so apologies for the low quality.
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Not too long ago I watched Incantation (2022), a Taiwanese found footage horror film. It’s about a woman who re-adopts her young daughter years after giving her up due to undisclosed “mental health issues,” which are actually a result of being cursed from violating a religious taboo years prior. After their reunion, the curse makes its way back into the mother and daughter’s lives. The film follows the mother in her process of trying to protect her daughter and break the curse.

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I really enjoyed Incantation—I normally hate found footage movies, but I found this one’s viewing experience to be truly immersive. It’s centered on East Asian taboos and a fictitious sect of Buddhism, and for this I found it to be the best horror movie I’ve seen in a long time. Director Kevin Ko did an excellent job building the atmosphere, the characters’ stories, and the world in which they live. I highly recommend it if you’re particularly interested in Asian horror and folk beliefs.

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And tangentially, I love the marketing for this film :lol: Another thing that makes Incantation so immersive is how it breaks the fourth wall (won’t go into detail here due to spoilers). When the film first came out in the U.S., these questions immediately came up in its Google search:

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All these recommendations are so good! Haven't seen all of them, but Heart of a Dog is such a hidden gem, and
Incantation (2022)
Yes! :luvluv: I especially loved how Taiwanese specific the setting felt; it's such an immersive film, as you mentioned, and the little details between the urban and rural environments, like older characters speaking Hokkien and the protagonists understanding but responding in Mandarin, absolutely contribute to that.

For a similar found footage film, I buddy-watched Noroi: The Curse (2005) with a friend last week and heartily enjoyed it. It shares its subtler storytelling style and emphasis on folk horror with Incantation. Actually, Incantation and Noroi have the same title in their native languages—咒—so it's interesting to see how they're still translated differently into English.
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It's admittedly far from highbrow, but I just watched The Man From UNCLE and found it to be stylish, campy fun. Lots of charismatic actors dialing up the charm- especially Elizabeth Debicki. (Would love any recommendation for movies with similar 60s style, either modern or from the era!)

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