bresson, dreyer, ozu, schrader & me

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so there's that book that paul schrader wrote once upon a time, "transcendental style in film". haven't read it yet, but am becoming curious about the directors he writes about, all of whom i know next to nothing about.

i think i saw an ozu film in school once; it was really pretty, but i remember falling asleep midway through. then again, it may have been an early one of kurosawa's. pardon my ignorance/shabby memory.

tonight i watched bresson's "the diary of a country priest" and i really dug it, even though it was on a vhs tape & from a pretty badly deteriorated print. i found it quite, uh, downlifting, though very compelling. i just wish it had been a better print; i think the experience would have been greatly enhanced.

dunno if schrader discusses this elsewhere, but i can totally see how one could trace a connection from the priest in this movie to travis bickle, or, for that matter, george c. scott's character in "hardcore".

just curious as to what y'all think of these three directors. next i'm planning on checking out a dreyer film. recommendations, thoughts, reprimands, etc?

Dallas Yertle (Dallas Yertle), Monday, 20 October 2003 09:10 (nineteen years ago) link

If you're gunning for Dreyer, I'd say try out either Ordet or Gertrud.

Girolamo Savonarola, Monday, 20 October 2003 15:10 (nineteen years ago) link

Schrader's American Gigolo was highly influenced by Bresson's Pickpocket.

Anthony (Anthony F), Monday, 20 October 2003 16:18 (nineteen years ago) link

In any case, essentials (a la liste de master):

The Parson's Widow (1920)
Leaves from Satan's Book (1921)
Mikael (1924)
Master of the House (1925)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
Vampyr (1932)
Day of Wrath (1943)
Ordet (1955)
Gertrud (1964)

Angels of the Streets (1943)
The Ladies of the Bois de Boulogne (1945)
Diary of a Country Priest (1950)
A Man Escaped (1956)
Pickpocket (1959)
Au hasard Balthazar (1966)
Mouchette (1967)
Four Nights of a Dreamer (1971)
Lancelot of the Lake (1974)
The Devil, Probably (1977)
L'Argent (1983)

I Was Born, But… (1932)
A Story of Floating Weeds (1934)
The Brothers and Sisters of the Toda Family (1941)
The Record of a Tenement Gentleman (1947)
Late Spring (1949)
Early Summer (1951)
Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice (1952)
Tokyo Story (1953)
Early Spring (1956)
Equinox Flower (1958)
Floating Weeds (1959)
Good Morning (1959)
An Autumn Afternoon (1962)

Blue Collar (1978)
Hardcore (1979)
American Gigolo (1980)
Cat People (1982)
Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)
Light of Day (1987)
Patty Hearst (1988)
The Comfort of Strangers (1990)
Light Sleeper (1991)
Affliction (1997)

Girolamo Savonarola, Monday, 20 October 2003 17:55 (nineteen years ago) link


Dreyer: The Passion of Joan of Arc

Ozu: Tokyo Story/Floating Weeds



Pretty much everything Schrader isn't notorious/famous for, with the possible exception of Light Sleeper.

adaml (adaml), Tuesday, 21 October 2003 07:40 (nineteen years ago) link

three weeks pass...
Definite exception of Light Sleeper.

Gear! (Gear!), Tuesday, 11 November 2003 07:49 (nineteen years ago) link

In case you haven't heard, Ozu's Tokyo Story has been recently released by (you guessed it) Criterion in a 2-disc edition. I cannot express just how utterly brilliant, poignant, and life-changing this movie is.

Life-changing? Is he exaggerating?

See the film.

Ernest P. (ernestp), Tuesday, 11 November 2003 15:41 (nineteen years ago) link

please describe how it changed your life. have you lost weight? do you have a new girlfriend?

amateur!st (amateurist), Tuesday, 11 November 2003 18:38 (nineteen years ago) link

Mishima and Comfort are 2 incredibly underrated films. I'm shamefully unaquainted with Bresson, Ozu and Dreyer (but I like his ice cream yukyuk). Saw an Ozu's FLoating Weeds once -- thought it was touching and beautifully made but not really my cup of tea. Glad I saw it though.

PVC (peeveecee), Tuesday, 11 November 2003 23:21 (nineteen years ago) link

i guess the ozu retrospective has been floating it's coming to the bay area; apparently they're gonna show pretty much all of his films at the pacific film archive in berkeley, and a bunch at the castro theater in sf. cool.

Dallas Yertle (Dallas Yertle), Wednesday, 12 November 2003 00:10 (nineteen years ago) link

I am going to go on a a hunger strike until the Ozu retro comes to Minneapolis...

Eric H. (Eric H.), Wednesday, 12 November 2003 06:54 (nineteen years ago) link

amateur!st wrote: please describe how it changed your life. have you lost weight? do you have a new girlfriend?

I try to treat my parents better than I have done in the past. Seriously.

Ernest P. (ernestp), Wednesday, 12 November 2003 12:23 (nineteen years ago) link

I have to say that Ozu's prime influence on Tokyo Story was Leo McCarey's quadruple-great Make Way for Tomorrow, which actually did alter my perceptions of my grandparents, as I watched it (ironically) while we were in the process of moving them out of their house for 40 years into an assisted living apartment complex.

Eric H. (Eric H.), Thursday, 13 November 2003 22:51 (nineteen years ago) link

two years pass...
I watched Dreyer's Vampyr last night, and it's the first of his that seemed like Guy Maddin without jokes. And I have seen Ordet.

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Friday, 3 March 2006 16:10 (sixteen years ago) link

i've seen three bressons - pickpocket, lancelot du lac, and trial of joan of arc. pickpocket i loved, it might be one of my favorite movies. i found lancelot impossible to take seriously - monty python did it better. joan is a pretty obscure one, i caught it on TCM one night right after the dreyer version. it's almost perversely undramatic, and strangely gripping. i recommend it.

J.D. (Justyn Dillingham), Saturday, 4 March 2006 00:22 (sixteen years ago) link

we kind of agree on lancelot/python. still it had something.

see A Man Escaped, wow.

Dr Morbius (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 4 March 2006 18:40 (sixteen years ago) link

i loved lancelot, it just seemed suffused with such doom. i guess obv that's a very find line to walk before entering python territory.

ryan (ryan), Saturday, 4 March 2006 22:14 (sixteen years ago) link

three years pass...

Brooklyn retro for Dreyer; JRo in Artforum:

Dr Morbius, Friday, 13 March 2009 19:24 (thirteen years ago) link

two years pass...

The library finally got a copy of the Criterion version of Gertrud. Yes?

The Edge of Gloryhole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 24 May 2011 18:07 (eleven years ago) link

d thomson speaks v highly of it in his biographical dictionary, but i found it a bit of a snooze the one time i saw it in a cinema - lots of long, long takes and tracking shots and repressed emotions and so on.

saw day of wrath again v recently and that has aged much better, imho - really shows off dreyer's genius for capturing all the emotions/feelings flitting across the faces of his v closely scrutinised subjects.

Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 24 May 2011 19:44 (eleven years ago) link

Gertrud was a snooze – enervated Bergman.

Yeah, Day of Wrath scared the hell out of me when I saw it five years ago on crappy VHS. Now that the library stocks the Criterion edition, I might check it out again.

The Edge of Gloryhole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 7 June 2011 18:06 (eleven years ago) link

Given how my tastes in movies (and, well, everything) have devolved in the last five years or so, there's no way I'm RESCREENING Gertrud anytime soon. I'll just keep calling it a masterpiece.

scissorlocks and the three bears (Eric H.), Tuesday, 7 June 2011 18:09 (eleven years ago) link

No reason to watch Gertrud when most of the horror movies you like convey existential dread more convincingly.

The Edge of Gloryhole (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 7 June 2011 18:10 (eleven years ago) link

But how many so successfully convey the smug masochism of preemptive sexual lobotomization?

scissorlocks and the three bears (Eric H.), Tuesday, 7 June 2011 18:18 (eleven years ago) link

two years pass...

Gertrud was a snooze

i have to agree. i know dreyer is meant to be a master but stagy acting and that looking off into the distance while speaking reminded me of that bit in "love and death" when the characters say "wheat....wheat"

subaltern 8 (Michael B), Wednesday, 25 December 2013 03:02 (eight years ago) link

one year passes...

Saw Schrader's The Comfort of Strangers in 35mm tonight, adapted by Pinter from Ian McEwan's novel. It is WACK. And maybe the best of PS's violent bisexual fetish movies.

the increasing costive borborygmi (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 19 May 2015 04:12 (seven years ago) link

two years pass...
one year passes...

American Gigolo might've been better as a silent; looks great and sleek, silly whenever anyone talks for too long. Was that Mozart piece at the end used in Pickpocket?

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Thursday, 4 July 2019 13:52 (three years ago) link

“Don’t get me started on Brian De Palma. I re-watched ‘Redacted’ last night because (I) thought that given total artistic freedom he could reach for the stars. And he did. But the stars were beyond his reach. The script is trite, it is weak. That’s because Brian is trite, Brian is artistically weak. Skate fast on thin ice. That’s his story. That’s his con.”

Pauline Male (Eric H.), Thursday, 4 July 2019 15:48 (three years ago) link

I watched AG again over Memorial Day weekend; it looked better than it ever had.

TikTok to the (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Thursday, 4 July 2019 15:55 (three years ago) link

two months pass...

Coming December 10th!

Blue Collar (1978) with optional English subtitles
• Audio Commentary with Co-Writer/Director Paul Schrader and Journalist Maitland McDonagh
• Theatrical Trailer

From Paul Schrader, the legendary director of Hardcore, American Gigolo & Cat People!

— KLStudioClassics (@KLStudioClassic) September 26, 2019

a Mets fan who gave up on everything in the mid '80s (Dr Morbius), Friday, 27 September 2019 16:12 (three years ago) link

one year passes...

Gonna watch The Card Collector tomorrow. Catching up with his approach by (re)watchingMishima, though I dread its Glassware.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 18 September 2021 20:29 (one year ago) link

have you seen Light Sleeper, al? one of my favs

flopson, Saturday, 18 September 2021 20:32 (one year ago) link

I saw it again last year. The casting's odd but it works.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 18 September 2021 20:37 (one year ago) link

*The Card Counter

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 18 September 2021 20:37 (one year ago) link

at one point during lockdown my gf and i were watching all the films in schrader’s transcendental film book. watched a bunch of ozu and bresson, don’t think we ever made it to dreyer. the two that really stuck with me are ‘a man escaped’ and ‘diary of a country priest’. both totally unique and genius. also so different from each other. my fav ozu is actually one that iirc isn’t mentioned in the book; ‘good morning’, about two kids on a quest to watch tv. i’m not a huge fan of ozu but i like how cozily domestic low-stakes his movies are. im often in the mood for that sort of thing, so i’ve watched like a dozen of his films and would watch another at the drop of a hat

flopson, Saturday, 18 September 2021 20:42 (one year ago) link

The quality of the farts is what matters.

So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 18 September 2021 20:53 (one year ago) link

I prefer Dreyer farts

i carry the torch for disco inauthenticity (Eric H.), Sunday, 19 September 2021 03:14 (one year ago) link

really enjoyed The Card Collector. not quite as good as First Reformed, but less of a fall off than i was expecting

flopson, Thursday, 23 September 2021 05:22 (one year ago) link

somewhat disappointed that it isn't about a guy getting banned from zoom poker nights

Daniel_Rf, Thursday, 23 September 2021 09:31 (one year ago) link

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