Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

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domino harvey
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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#51 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:25 pm

It is most definitely not a key work, but it's fun, though it peaks in the first five minutes when you think it's just going to be Godard starring in a Tati movie. I actually haven't watched it since upgrading to the Olive Blu-ray, but I should, because the last time I saw it was on Facets' DVD that used burned in white subs that went invisible during large portions of the movie and I understood no French at the time. Tell you what, I'll revisit if you do

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#52 Post by Rayon Vert » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:28 pm

Deal.

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#53 Post by Rayon Vert » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:36 pm

The book I'm currently reading that has a chapter on it is Williams' Encounters with Godard. Here's a portion of a review of it on sensesofcinema that summarizes that chapter, although it doesn't do justice to it:
Williams continues to think about new cinematic technologies in the next chapter, “Silence, Gesture, Revelation”. He turns toward the potential for redemption Godard finds in these technologies in the madcap 1987 film Soigne ta droite: “Soigne ta droite thus offers a fascinating case of two different forms and means of revelation, one messianic, the other poetic, and it does so through set sequences of audiovisual decreation.” (p. 110) Digital imaging here becomes a means for transformation and new gesture. Employing Agamben, Williams argues persuasively that Soigne ta droite reveals an optimism about cinema’s ability to instill within the human form new senses of gesture through the distillation and contraction of montage. (p. 124)
Williams makes a big case of the importance of Godard's reading of Broch's The Death of Virgil on the film (never read it).

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#54 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:40 pm

I think any argument hinging on Godard having read an entire book is already suspect!

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#55 Post by Rayon Vert » Tue Jul 31, 2018 11:57 pm

Point taken. The author does state that Godard also references it in Soft and Hard and Episode 2B of Histoire(s).

As I started this project, I took a look to see what books are out there on Godard since I last read any, and especially dealing with his later work (80s to present). As that review mentioned, they've started coming in. Just before this one I read the just-out-this-month Godard and the Essay Film: A Form That Thinks (apparently essay films have become a very in-topic in films studies, and this author makes the case for Godard being an essay-filmmaker from the beginning, although it deals more thoroughly with his later works; in any event I recommend it). I also got another one (hefty price though) released this year that looks very interesting, Godard and Sound: Acoustic Innovation in the Late Films of Jean-Luc Godard. All three to some degree include analysis of the more recent films, including Goodbye to Language.

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#56 Post by domino harvey » Wed Aug 01, 2018 12:09 am

I'm reading the Amazon Look Inside excerpt for the chapter on Nouvelle Vague's soundtrack, which is the audio for the entire film split across two CDs, and the author is talking about this curio as a landmark in the history of cinema and I just can't right now

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#57 Post by Rayon Vert » Sun Aug 05, 2018 11:24 am

Flesh. In this MGM loan-out, Ford directs Wallace Berry as a lovable, gullible German wrestler who gets duped by an ex-con couple. It’s hard to tell it’s Ford because he doesn’t have his usual crew (except for the appearance of Ward Bond in an extremely minor part) and he’s stepping into material that doesn’t relate to his usual themes. Not bad overall but extremely conventional.


The Informer. I hadn’t seen this in a long time. There are superficial resemblances here with M; in both cases, a guilty wretch hiding out, who’s eventually found out and given a trial by a mob in a basement. It was a major film and celebrated in its day. But though the Expressionist photography and the vitality in the performances are sometimes enjoyable, the clichés and the heavy-handed theatrics bring it down quite a bit. Not to mention that it’s hard to identify/sympathize with that one hell of a half-witted drunken giant. In any event, it’s very removed from the nuances of the Will Rogers films or Pilgrimage from the same period.


Judge Priest. This time I think I preferred Doctor Bull, but this is fine work creating a post-Civil War Dixie film de moeurs that creates a very believable world, with all of its attitudes, commendable or reprehensible, intact. The courtroom sequences and other elements prefigure in certain ways Young Mr. Lincoln. I love the singing scenes.


The Fugitive. I dimly remembered this. Quite a dour film – I can’t think of another Ford film right now without a single note of humor – but then once you realize where the film is eventually going that starts to make more sense. Not bereft of qualities, especially in the visual department, but overall a miss. Fonda’s character, until the last act, is such an empty vessel that he’s more frustrating than anything else (particularly in that scene where he allows the hard-earned wine he needs for the mass to be drank for no obviously good reason). The film most comes alive in that potent scene where Del Rio dances on the bar to hide his escape.


7 Women. Not the greatest looking film to go out on (the sets are fairly awful), but it features some potent drama.


Drums Along the Mohawk. It’s set in the Revolutionary War but this is a film about settlers as much as anything, and I really like the portrayal of that community and some of the historical detail involved. An enjoyable film with lots of different, fun parts, and very pretty too.


Cheyenne Autumn. Really a mixed bag. Definitely unwieldy and a bit scattered, it misses the central character and charisma of a John Wayne, and features a few serious missteps like those dreadful process shots at the end for Edward G. Robinson (who was presumably too old and sick to make to it to the location). Those early scenes are really a little too slow and the visuals are occasionally good but not as impressive as in the masterpieces. Still there are plenty of good bits in sequences that are either moving or humorous (including that delightful digression that is the Dodge City episode), and the film’s theme is of course stirring.
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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#58 Post by Shrew » Mon Aug 06, 2018 5:07 pm

Steamboat Round the Bend
Will Rogers is captain of dilapidated steamboat whose nephew is to be hung for killing a “swamp person” over Anne Shirley. Vanished down the river is the only witness, an itinerant preacher called the “The New Moses,” a half-mad temperance screamer who may be the most likable character Berton Churchill ever played. Stepin Fetchit comes along to make everyone cringe. Rogers searches for the preacher, raising money by turning his boat into a floating waxworks museum stuffed with Confederate heroes. This is all very slight but knowingly ridiculous; at one point Rogers runs into a rival preacher, “The New Elijah,” and later he literally lassoes Churchill off a pier. And as far as paen’s to an America that probably never existed, this one introduces a broad, weird world, filled with strange intersections of class and race and regionalism.

This is still a Ford comedy, which means it often plays too broad, but this throw everything at the wall including the wax figures approach yields something that’s always watchable. If we made a minilist of Ford comedies, this would probably be my top vote, maybe even the only one. It’s at least tolerable, which is something of a miracle.

The Sun Shines Bright
I watched this as a double feature with Steamboat knowing almost nothing about either (including that this was a Judge Priest remake), and honestly got a little sick when Fetchit showed up again. Fortunately, this film is so much richer than any of Ford’s Southern paens from the 30s, one that understands the complexities of history, the ugliness and comfort of tradition, and far more nuances of race. It also understands Kentucky as a border state, one that grew and changed after the civil war. As such, the town is now split into former Union and Confederate camps, each now fading into history but leaving their mark. The judge’s rival is now a yankee, one with a reform agenda and some legitimate grievances, but at the same time that reform agenda carries its own air of intolerance (and here that’s not just reduced to old women ruining life for everyone; come at me, Griffith).
The film’s big grand gesture is beautifully staged and among Ford’s best sequences, even if its message isn’t as pure as it might like (a fallen woman may be worthy of respect, but only if she had a great name to begin with).

Judge Priest
Perhaps I would have enjoyed this more if I had seen it first, but Sun so eclipses this that I don’t have much to say. Rogers is good, and the black musical sequences give a sense of the other lives going about in this town, even if the 50s film will do the same thing better (but less musically).

Arrowsmith
Early sound adaptation of Sinclair Lewis’s novel about a philandering but dedicated scientist dealing with a host of ethical and practical issues. This gets distilled into Ronald Colman’s nice guy who sometimes gets a little distracted and forgets to eat or sleep. Helen Hayes as his wife reacts to this as if he’s giving into a debilitating drug habit. There isn’t much here that’s bad, but the film feels hoplessly sanitized and, in parts, cut down to nonsense. For example, Myrna Loy shows up late in the film as a wealthy colonial who tempts Colman, but while the camera ogles Loy aplenty, there’s only a few scenes where Colman shows any interest in her. This results in a nonsequitur sequence with Loy lying in a negligee in bed as Colman sits in the next room, but any linking sequence (i.e., of Colman sneaking a peek) has been cut.

There are a few great sequences here that show Ford’s touch: Colman’s first meeting with Hayes’s family, who disdain him as a gold-digger (though this is made somewhat ridiculous by Colman’s diction) particularly Hayes speaking up for him, the country doctoring scenes, most of the scenes in the tropics, especially Hayes’ final fate.

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#59 Post by Rayon Vert » Wed Aug 08, 2018 12:51 pm

Rio Grande. This is once again typical of many of Ford’s westerns in the very relaxed flow of its narrative. The action only comes at the very end of the film, but it’s impressive and satisfying when it does. The visuals are top-notch, with both Wayne and O’Hara often beautifully photographed. I’ll have to revise my ranking of the cavalry pictures and put this one ahead of Ribbon.


The Hurricane. I always enjoy this one. It’s unlike most of Ford’s work in that it leaves behind realism to some degree for something quite close to a fable, with recurrent biblical symbolism. The prison escape drama segment recalls The Prisoner of Shark Island, while the civilization-vs.-lawless nature & natives theme relates to the Ford westerns (with the martinet governor anticipating Fonda in Fort Apache). Much lighter, less serious fare than usual in some ways, but on the other hand it’s a handsome, really fun and entertaining adventure film, with quite a spectacular finish.


Stagecoach. I’m guessing this pretty flawless film will make it to the top echelons of the list. But even though it’s got my full admiration, for some reason it’s never been among my very favorites. Incredible construction and characterizations, though, and that prolonged action sequence isn’t only thrilling but also a masterpiece of visual storytelling.


The Long Voyage Home. A Ford wet dream – drunk Irish and Swedes at sea, fighting and singing. I gave this one another shot because it gets accolades, but I still don’t see it. Toland’s ambitious photography doesn’t find a match in the material. The episodic nature of the different main sections don’t carry over particularly well from one to the other, and though there are some stronger moments, the film finally collapses in its last, overly predictable section that features too much comedy and too many Irish clichés. Just about every most known Irish tune is featured prominently in this film, while Wayne has trouble with his Swedish accent.


The Sun Shines Bright. Shrew summed this up nicely, and I also prefer it, but only slightly, to Judge Priest, although I miss Rogers, who had more presence than Winninger, and the singing. But they are quite different films – I was struck at how many of the scenes, in this one especially, do not have equivalents in the other one. Tag Gallagher said that this was one of Ford’s two or three best (and he makes a good case for it in his book, analyzing the film’s formal virtuosity), and Ford has himself called it his favorite at times. I don’t know that on a more immediate level I like it to that extent – many other Fords are more gripping for my money, but it’s the kind of exquisitely artful film he could make that well showcases the director’s unique style and talents and that no one in Hollywood could replicate.


Wagon Master. A compact, unassuming little western where every touch is gracefully done and that is a pleasure from beginning to end. There’s a parallel with Stagecoach here, not only in the perilous journey of a traveling group, but how we witness a clash and making of community between different cultures – horse traders, Mormons, show people, bad men, even Navajo Indians (that cute flirtation between Travis and Denver the prostitute replays the Ringo-Dallas liaison). Delightful and will be high on my list.

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#60 Post by domino harvey » Sat Aug 11, 2018 11:08 am

An unexpectedly nice looking HD copy of Le Petit théâtre de Jean Renoir has popped up on back channels. The widescreen seemed a bit sketch for a 70s TV production, but a comparison shows it's been opened up on the sides by quite a bit and just loses a touch of the top and bottom from the circulating VHS rip

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#61 Post by Rayon Vert » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:35 am

Four Men and Prayer. This is a new one for me, a film Ford did because he had to, a “job of work” as he was fond of saying. An adventure film, sort of, wildly going back and forth between drama and comedy, about four sons who travel to exotic places to find their father’s killer. Good actors here – Loretta Young, David Niven, George Sanders – and they’re fine but the script is just mediocre as hell. Not awful, but eminently forgettable.


The Rising of the Moon. First time seeing this one too. All filmed on location in Ireland with Irish actors, this is an anthology film of three pieces, all in the comedic mode, even the last one that takes us back to the historical setting of The Informer. I didn’t catch it but Joseph McBride says liberty is the theme that ties the stories together. The film was obviously done with care and it looks good, but with the first two vignettes especially, you really have to be into an Irish comedy of manners that’s almost only conversation to appreciate it. That only goes so far with me.


Steamboat Round the Bend. The charm of this has worn off a little in the last few times I’ve watched it but I’m with shrew still thinking this is one of Ford’s better comedies, and the river photography is a great bonus. That whole “swamp girl”/”swamp trash” segment is a reminder of how frequently the topic of class, ethnic or racial differences/visions feature in his films in some way.


The Horse Soldiers. I guess officially this is a (civil) war film rather than a western. It’s not counted among Ford’s great films, and it is imperfect (the rhythm is sometimes off), but I think it’s underrated. The second half is where things falter, as it gets more inconsistent, but the film has plenty of interesting scenes and good actors throughout, with another strong turn by Wayne, and the location shooting in woodlands also makes for a different but still very handsome Ford film. I always enjoy it.


The Quiet Man. Every time I see this it’s through a new upgrade, and the film just keeps impressing me more and more. In order to enjoy it, you must take it for the fairly sentimental, semi-fantasy that it is, with its broad caricatures, which in the meeting of a stylized nature and the meeting of passion recalls somewhat Powell and Pressburger’s Gone to Earth. The story is silly as hell but it’s such a gorgeous film – incredible photography but also just exquisitely beautiful scenes in terms of the mise-en-scène and the actors. Ford finally did the full Irish thing and did it stupendously.


Mogambo. A good, enjoyable film that tends to get forgotten. Great location shooting in Africa, and Ford’s lyrical framing and editing meets a romantic drama that’s full of complex adult emotions. Note also the absence of a musical score and reliance instead on (mostly diegetic) African drumming and singing. Deception and self-deception are confronted as the individuals struggle on their journey and confront dangers and wild animals. Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly are a terrific pair of actresses here, as their romantic entanglements with Clark Gable act as a catalyst for painful self-knowledge. In need of a restoration and an upgrade to blu. (Very good close-analysis video piece by Tag Gallagher here.)
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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#62 Post by domino harvey » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:40 am

Mogambo is in my Top Ten and yes, at this point it's my most wanted Blu-ray upgrade for Ford. Having seen (too) many of these African safari-type Hollywood films, it pretty much is head and shoulders above its brethren

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#63 Post by Rayon Vert » Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:54 am

In terms of blu upgrades, I'll take Wagon Master first, but this is a close second. Especially if it could get restored (the image is fuzzy in some places). I can only imagine what it would like if it got the Quiet Man treatment.

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#64 Post by knives » Fri Aug 17, 2018 8:44 am

I'll third the sentiment. By all factors it should be an awful film, but instead it's quietly one of Ford's best with a great use of his relaxation for character drama.

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#65 Post by bottled spider » Sat Aug 18, 2018 2:20 am

Rayon Vert wrote:
Fri Aug 17, 2018 12:35 am
Mogambo. ... (Very good close-analysis video piece by Tag Gallagher here.)
THANKS! That was excellent.

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#66 Post by Rayon Vert » Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:59 pm

Soigne ta droite. I didn’t remember the film as being as much in the comic mode throughout. This was to some degree more comprehensible to me this time, though that doesn’t mean I enjoyed all that much more! The Rita Mitsouko segments are captivating, and perhaps one way they connect with the main “plot line” involving The Idiot/Prince and how it indirectly comments on the film industry, is that we see the making of art outside of the realm of the “industry” (recording in their apartment), and in that way the male-female artistic “couple”/duo can be linked to the outside-the-system Godard-Miéville couple, trying to “find a place” (“a place on earth”: the film’s subtitle). Although there are references to music also in a mystical sense in the off-screen commentary; even more than any kind of current state of the world (which the film title would have us think), the film seems to be more preoccupied with the topic of human existence and death, and Godard’s usual, obscure poetico-philosophical reflections about the role of cinema in illuminating these concerns. But still a lot of this (like many of the Jacques Villeret scenes/gags) either went over my head and/or didn’t feel revelatory or cinematically brilliant to me. From the same time period, the equally philosophically ambitious (sharing similar themes of salvation and death/resurrection) King Lear amounts to a more impressive film.

Your turn, domino!


Adieu au langage. This film is such a sensual delight and opens up fresh, original formal possibilities in Godard’s work (not only the 3D, but the color saturation and other digital and visual effects, the heavy play with stereo sound and volume, or the way, for example, old film clips are used not, mostly, through editing them in the main frame, as he usually does, but by showing them on the television sets film’s characters are watching). But it also works for me because it’s a particularly cogent expression of the director’s recent themes (starting at least with Éloge de l’amour), and an aesthetically powerful way of rendering them. The philosopher Jacques Ellul and his ideas are heavily highlighted early on and obviously articulate Godard’s ongoing concerns (expressed in the other films of his late period) about society being at the mercy of the state’s essential totalitarianism, only here more specifically how Ellul foresaw technology taking over people’s lives for that purpose, right into their behaviors and thoughts (the images meanwhile showing the characters lost in their smart phones rather than in books, gleaning “knowledge” through Google, etc).

These ideas marry Godard’s other reoccurring theme (which find its nearest intellectual articulation in Lévinas’s philosophy of alterity, who is also referenced here early on, as he is in the other films of this period), about people not seeing or relating to or communicating with each other as others. This seems to be what is exhibited to a significant effect in the “stereo” couples in the film’s two major central portions, while we are offered in contrast Roxy in his world, who is able to relate unselfishly to others, and inhabit nature, in a way they (we) cannot (made explicit in some comments by a narrator in the middle of the film, e.g. humans’ verbal consciousness precludes us from accessing reality). My sole criticism would be, which is something I mentioned I found particularly striking in Notre musique but I feel is generally true of a lot of Godard’s later output, is that the characters aren’t fleshed out or individuated enough for us to care about them a lot. (I think generally the work of this century is as strong as anything Godard ever did, but in that sense this is at least one thing the 60s films have something going for them that these don’t as much.)

As in the other films close of this time, there’s something at once despairing (or least discouraging) and hopeful in the film, as Roxy is set up perhaps a model or an idea of another way, while on the soundtrack in the last instances we have references/calls to revolution, as in Film socialisme.

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#67 Post by domino harvey » Fri Aug 31, 2018 12:22 am

Rayon Vert wrote:
Sun Aug 19, 2018 11:59 pm
Soigne ta droite. I didn’t remember the film as being as much in the comic mode throughout. This was to some degree more comprehensible to me this time, though that doesn’t mean I enjoyed all that much more! The Rita Mitsouko segments are captivating, and perhaps one way they connect with the main “plot line” involving The Idiot/Prince and how it indirectly comments on the film industry, is that we see the making of art outside of the realm of the “industry” (recording in their apartment), and in that way the male-female artistic “couple”/duo can be linked to the outside-the-system Godard-Miéville couple, trying to “find a place” (“a place on earth”: the film’s subtitle). Although there are references to music also in a mystical sense in the off-screen commentary; even more than any kind of current state of the world (which the film title would have us think), the film seems to be more preoccupied with the topic of human existence and death, and Godard’s usual, obscure poetico-philosophical reflections about the role of cinema in illuminating these concerns. But still a lot of this (like many of the Jacques Villeret scenes/gags) either went over my head and/or didn’t feel revelatory or cinematically brilliant to me. From the same time period, the equally philosophically ambitious (sharing similar themes of salvation and death/resurrection) King Lear amounts to a more impressive film.

Your turn, domino!
I forgot all about my commitment, but I dutifully revisited it via the Olive Blu-ray tonight and... I liked it more than you, and more than I remembered myself liking it. My first response, however, was the same as yours: I didn't remember it being this comic (apart from the unforgettable opening gag with the car). I think Godard's casting of Villeret as the ostensible comic actor one would expect to be playing the Godard role here is key, especially in how Villeret becomes increasingly less comic as he is beaten down by "work"-- scenes of him swimming atop a ladder soon are replaced by the wealthy golfer slapping his Mickey comics out of his hand and eventually being handcuffed to a train. You can see Godard's logic by quoting the French version of "the Ant and the Grasshopper," (which is the same story only with a cicada), and Villeret's ant is left to watch as the cicadas of the world do indeed dance and still collect their food stores, as shown with Jane Birkin and her fiance. And the three strands become: Villeret: Hard work doesn't pay off; Godard: Filmmaking is easy work (and we don't get to see it), selling/funding filmmaking is hard work; Les Rita Mitsouko: Diligence of work may pay off, but we don't hear it-- Godard tops himself from One Plus One and uses the audio mixes provided to him by the band to distort their preferred final product whenever their music is used external from their recording/practicing in the film, purposely using raw takes and flubs and even different elements from different songs to restructure them into a final product in eternal limbo between done and not: the Sisyphean by way of Camus struggle of work embodied in songs (ie the result of work) that are never completed, even when they are!

Also, it's not advertised on the Olive disc, but after the film ends, there's a minute of black and then the trailer plays, so that's also included here! I don't remember seeing it before, but it's a good reminder that we could probably have a Godard Trailer Top 10 too...

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#68 Post by movielocke » Tue Sep 11, 2018 4:51 am

I'm winding down my Renoir viewings and revisits, and a bit annoyed with myself for not seeing more of his films when filmstruck had the big batch available. I still may try and watch a couple of the non-filmstruck titles via other streaming rentals, but other than that I'm mostly done with new films, just revisits remaining.

Toni was pretty incredible in terms of pure technique. The ravishing locations and intense realist performances completely made my day. having seen this in the context of having seen a lot more rosssellini as well as film's like the Marseille trilogy made me appreciate this film far more than I probably would have otherwise.

La Marseillaise This was a surprise at just how BIG the film is, and how Renoir was able to scale up his realist methods to include a cast of thousands. The film is constantly striking and amazing, but it is also a bit frustrating. Because the Marseille main characters are utterly wonderful. and the flip perspective of the "Aristos" as the Marseille denigrate them, is also a film-stealing highlight. Renoir's perspective and perception of the aristos is the film's strongest point, but it's a point that also detracts from the fine construction of the Marseille main characters. So it's a shame that we don't have two films from Renoir, telling this Revolution story from two distinct perspectives.

Boudu I hated this film when I watched it on VHS. at least now I can appreciate the film's sly dialog and fantastic humor. I still don't know if Boudu's anarchic attack on the structures of society--like washing hands--is meant to be a deconstruction of those structures, or more simply is just slapstick comedy meant to "send up" the loathed bourgeoisie. but my central problem with the film's rapeyness still remains.

Rules of the Game I think I must have slept through the first act of the film last time I watched it (which would have been a second viewing at least), because I didn't remember anything of the pre-fancy house act of the film other than the prlogue at the airport. I also completely missed that the love triangles are so intimately paralleled. Much more impressed than I was before. particularly with the camera angles and blocking.

Grand Illusion The final act kills me every time. The rendition of the Marseillaise hit much harder this time around having just watched the abovementioned titular film. this is a fairly special film to me, as I think it was the first "art" film I "discovered" on my own, that it was an "art" film outside the proscribed viewings of educational film classes I was in, and as such an important first step in expanding my horizons myself. Probably one of my most watched criterions even though until this project, I haven't watched my DVD in over a decade!

A Day in the CountryI wonder what me too has to say about performative-resistance-as-courtship-behavior. she says no because of her mother, then she sees her mother saying yes, then she says nothing--but the regret is on the other side of the space time divide and the regret is about a life not requited, not a love unrequited. So very very interesting and sad, and warm and wonderful all at once. Kind of a glorious simple human mess.
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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#69 Post by Michael Kerpan » Tue Sep 11, 2018 9:38 am

Toni -- and then Grand Illusion -- are my 2 Renoir favorites. I found Bondu unpleasant, even if "interesting". I had mixed feelings about Marseillaise. Rules of the Game, alas, simply didn't work for me....

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#70 Post by movielocke » Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:54 pm

La Bete Humaine - I have logged this as watching it nine years ago back in 2009, but I did not remember one little bit of the film--other than the early scene of Gabin nearly strangling a woman on the grass.

It's a very very pretty film, and I feel like I should like it more, but it also feels sort of all-over-the-place with social consciousness, crime, insincere romantic leaps, and noir like tropes. It makes it all a bit of a mess, like it's trying to be all things to all people at all times but just never really hitting a homerun in any of the genres its dabbling in. Except the trains, the trains are awesome, Renoir nailed the trains.

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#71 Post by Rayon Vert » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:04 pm

Le Crime de Monsieur Lange. I waited for the blu ray release to revisit this. A strange film to categorize, about the goings-on, work-wise, romantic-wise and human-wise, in a publishing company, with a free-flowing narrative and rhythm. As Renoir said, he started to want to showcase that life wasn’t about the individual and the film reflects this as it goes from one set of characters to another. The overall effect may be a bit diluted, but the characterizations and the direction of the actors are excellent and strong throughout (I particularly enjoy Jules Berry’s portrayal of the odious Batala), while we also get one of those communal courtyards that feature in other Renoir films, notably the more somber but spiritually similar Les Bas-fonds. I prefer the latter film though. (I’m not an expert at all in these matters but I was wondering if the restoration suffered from some excessive DNR because some bits look quite soft, but possibly this is the result of the original elements and perhaps some not very sharply-focused camera shots?) (The extra on the new BR is almost exclusively an interview with a Renoir biographer, but it's very informative on the making of the film, the Renoir-Prévert collaboration, and aspects of Renoir as a filmmaker, and person, in general.)

Partie de campagne
. Truffaut said of Lange that of all the director’s films “the most spontaneous, the most dense set of miracles and camera, the busiest of truth and pure beauty, a film we would say touched by grace." (Wiki). I’d say that’s an apt summary of this movie instead.

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#72 Post by movielocke » Mon Sep 24, 2018 2:38 pm

wow, December 7th which just popped up in the 82 minute version on Filmstruck, is utterly horrific. 75% of the film is teaching people how to be (more) racist towards japanese, and teaching people to not think of Jpanese Americans as american citizens, but as loyal footsoldiers of Japan.

Really gross. Also a lot of exceptionally terrible acting and writing.

On the other hand, the Hollywood SFX extravaganza recreating the attack on Pearl Harbor is fairly stunning. But this only comprises about 25% of the film.

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#73 Post by Shrew » Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:56 pm

Mark Harris gets into December 7th a bit in Five Came Back. The long version was mostly the work of Gregg Toland, though Ford initially oversaw some of the production until Midway came along, and the War Department refused to release it, both because of its Japanese xenophobia and its criticism of American preparedness. This was probably also aggravated by Toland taking so long to complete it (late 42/early 43); both of its problematic areas were much more in vogue early in the war. Anyway, Ford was brought in after the War Dept rejected it to recut it down to the (less racist) 34 minute version.

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#74 Post by movielocke » Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:27 pm

saw netflix had a few of the war films: How to Operate behind Enemy Lines is mainly interesting for the pair of John Ford Cameos, which are quite fun. It's also significantly better than December 7th, but it does have the dull on-the-nose ploddingness of educational films.

The Battle of Midway short has some truly astonishing compositions and natural lighting, and it is incredibly well edited.

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Re: Summer With Jean, Jean, and John (Auteur List Projects)

#75 Post by movielocke » Wed Sep 26, 2018 3:28 pm

Shrew wrote:
Mon Sep 24, 2018 4:56 pm
Mark Harris gets into December 7th a bit in Five Came Back. The long version was mostly the work of Gregg Toland, though Ford initially oversaw some of the production until Midway came along, and the War Department refused to release it, both because of its Japanese xenophobia and its criticism of American preparedness. This was probably also aggravated by Toland taking so long to complete it (late 42/early 43); both of its problematic areas were much more in vogue early in the war. Anyway, Ford was brought in after the War Dept rejected it to recut it down to the (less racist) 34 minute version.
Did Ford not direct any of it then? just recut it into the shorter version?

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