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Monday Movies: Desert Island

This week I watched the following movies:

  • Le Petit Soldat — I’m trying to go through the classic New Wave-style Godard that I’ve missed. This one is a bit uncharacteristic, with its portrayal of torture (and in particular waterboarding, which made it feel especially contemporary), but I still enjoyed it. A little Anna Karina goes a long way.
  • Tokyo Story — a great family drama that motivated me to call my parents later that afternoon. I think I’ll continue to work my way through some of Ozu’s greatest hits, but I definitely preferred Early Spring to this one.

What did you watch, and how do you assess it?


October 4, 2010 - Posted by | Monday Movies


  1. i watched The Apartment a french movie about premonitions and unhappy people who kept slipping past each other and i got frustrated watching like hey look this side not the other side, stupid, empathizing
    and i empathized more with the nutter woman, cz the main heroine was too nice though she dies tragically in the end and should have been more like empathy deserving i guess
    maybe i should watch Tokyo story too, netflix keeps suggesting me it

    Comment by read | October 4, 2010

  2. We’ve paid about $40 for our most recent Netflix movie (The Lookout) so I’m stuck with either movies we have or what’s showing on cable. This weekend, I watched a guilty pleasure, Men In Black. I always felt like the movie was more enjoyable for what was going on around Will Smith’s character than anything he brought to it.

    Comment by Matt in Toledo | October 4, 2010

  3. We watched “Stonehenge Apocalypse” this weekend–another made-in-Canada, made-for-TV delight. Basically, we only watched it because Misha Collins played the main character. He’s hilarious, but I can’t say the same for anyone else. Peter Wingfield is basically intolerable and should likely give up “the trade.” I imagine that Torri Hinginson is a terrible actress in her native Canadian accent, but pretending to be British was just painful. Having said all this, with only a 4.4/10 rating on IMDB, I think some people are missing out on the sheer delight of an absolutely incomprehensible story. (Although readers of Meillassoux will no doubt appreciate the “arche-fossil” at the centre of it all.) Astute readers might note that Mischa Collins clearly stole from the wardrobe department of “Supernatural” where, of course, he plays the character of Castiel the angel. What I am implying is that he is clearly wearing Dean’s clothing in this film, but he may have had a bleach accident with his jeans–Dean, no doubt, will be disappointed because until recently, his character likely never did laundry.

    Comment by Craig | October 4, 2010

  4. Oh, and is a giant steaming pile of crap. Movie related, but not about a movie.

    Comment by Craig | October 4, 2010

  5. Jack Goes Boating was lovely. It rang of stage adaptation — some of the lines had that off-Broadway lilt — and I was occasionally unsure if the main characters’ inarticulate brokenness wasn’t a little fetishistic. But Philip Seymour Hoffman brings transcendence everywhere he goes, he just does. I’ve been in love with his acting since he ordered pr0n from Pink Dot in Magnolia.

    In re Netflix, On Demand was down last night so Mrs. K-sky had to spend down our Amazon VOD account to continue watching the Tudors. I was writing, but it was fun to catch the occasional shout of seventeenth-century fucking.

    Comment by k-sky | October 4, 2010

  6. The Fall by Tarsem Singh; strange
    The Edge of Heaven by Fatih Akin; I liked Head On better, but this was very good
    Up in the Air 1st half was clever;3 leads terrific
    Skyscraper Souls 1932;pre-code;dark,sexy
    The Hurt Locker meh
    double feature of Gun Crazy followed by Ray’s They Live by Night was terrific

    Comment by bob mcmanus | October 5, 2010

  7. Oh, forgot the original Swedish Let the Right One In

    Comment by bob mcmanus | October 5, 2010

  8. An Autumn Afternoon today, Late Spring tomorrow. I am thinking about taking a stopwatch to AAA to see how many minutes there are without people in them. Ozu satisfies my needs for very high-level abstraction and quotidian humanism simultaneously.

    I think I’m obsessed.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | October 6, 2010

  9. I really, really like Le petit soldat. I’ve actually taught it a couple of times. You should watch Beau Travail next. (It’s Bruno, still played by Michel Subor, commanding some French Foreign Legion forces in Africa.)

    Comment by oudemia | October 6, 2010

  10. Beau travail is absolutely beautiful.

    Comment by ben | October 6, 2010

  11. Late Spring

    Starts with Friedrich List. Confused with Liszt in the dialogue? Not so sure, List provided the model for the Japanese economy and an Japanese academic wouldn’t make that mistake.

    A book foregrounded very late in Kyoto is This Spake Zarathustra. I presume everyone knows Nietzsche, but you have to know a little List to guess at what ideas Ozu may be connecting to the story. Nation to individual oversimply.

    Early Summer next, or maybe Meshi by Naruse

    Comment by bob mcmanus | October 7, 2010

  12. Early Summer

    This is that formalist Bordwell’s favorite Ozu, and I must confess that the shear freaking Mondrianess of Ozu’s interiors made me a little dizzy at the start. A flat plane of frame within frame within frames doesn’t begin to describe the effect. But I think one intention is to force depth and interiority upon the viewer. There is also an accumulative effect of the same actors in different roles in very similar mise en scenes, and the repetition of symbols (e.g. 3 hanging lamps). Genius can kill the unhealthy. There is a darkness in Ozu, a desperate formalism, that I intend to contact. See Sontag on Japan.

    Tokyo Twilight Monday I think. I need a break.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | October 8, 2010

  13. Oh, and FWIW, the literature mentioned this time in Early Summer was Les Thibault which looks like some kind of Balzac-like series, apparently popular in Japan. Nobel Prize Winner Roger Martin du Gard. But I haven’t a clue.

    Comment by bob mcmanus | October 8, 2010

  14. Getting inspirational snippets from google books, I think Noel Burch’s To the Distant Observer 1979 gets to something about Ozu that has been bothering me since An Autumn Afternoon. A typical sequence:

    1) Streetlights (“Pillow shot”)
    2) Streetlights (PS)
    3) Hallway of home
    4) Room off hallway
    5) Actor enters room

    Now remember Ozu never shoots from a hallway into a room. So I asked myself why I was privileging shot 3 as a non-diagetic, narrative advancing, non-pillow shot. And I decided I was making more rational connections between shots than were justified by the text.

    Burch:”…related to the diagesis. Visually, however, they partake of the timeless stillness of the pillow-shot, and their diagetic relationship is in no sense part of the chain of necessary meaning…”

    Comment by bob mcmanus | October 9, 2010

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