I saw Colossal Youth last spring and while it had some arresting images and a few of the long-take dynamics were intriguing, I was left kinda cold.
So shd I go see In Vanda's Room tonight?
― Dr Morbius, Thursday, 9 August 2007 13:28 (fourteen years ago) link
Did you end going to this? How was it? I'm sad this screened while I'm out of town; initially, I wasn't sure I liked Colossal Youth but there are a few moments and shots that I haven't been able to forget.
― C0L1N B..., Friday, 10 August 2007 03:31 (fourteen years ago) link
I liked In V's Room a little better, or maybe I'm just warming up a bit to his DV-slum thing. He was there for Q&A after.
― Dr Morbius, Saturday, 11 August 2007 15:58 (fourteen years ago) link
― admrl, Thursday, 17 July 2008 22:27 (thirteen years ago) link
― Dr Morbius, Friday, 18 July 2008 20:33 (thirteen years ago) link
I just met him. Intense.
― admrl, Saturday, 19 July 2008 00:07 (thirteen years ago) link
can i just speak my peace here, as a unquestioned film nerd, and say that this guy is straight up pretentious? his movies too. don't believe the hype.
― by another name (amateurist), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 07:37 (eleven years ago) link
tell me interview quotes like this don't make you gag on his self-importance:
Yes, well, of course Akerman and Warhol and [Jean-Marie] Straub and Godard and more... Everything has its place in my filmhouse. Actually it's exactly like a house. It has the foundations that I cannot avoid—The Chaplins, The Fords, the Ozus and the Mizoguchis. You have to go there one way or another—every filmmaker does. Then you can go into the rooms. And a room that I'm very drawn to is that of Warhol.
not that this necessarily translates to bad filmmaking, but the same preposterousness infects his movies, too. what a dick.
― by another name (amateurist), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 07:38 (eleven years ago) link
you know all of those people actually live in his house, right?
― Earning your Masters in Library and Information Science is beautiful (schlump), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 11:24 (eleven years ago) link
― by another name (amateurist), Tuesday, 6 April 2010 19:39 (eleven years ago) link
Just watching the supplements DVD from "Letters From Fontainhas" - REALLY good.
I don't really find the above quote all that preposterous. Find me the rare artist who can talk about his influences in an interesting way without resorting to the odd faintly ridiculous extended metaphor. It's an inflated answer to what was probably of a boring question. Scorsese talks like this all the time and nobody calls him out in the same way.
― admrl, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 18:56 (eleven years ago) link
its kinda preposterous because he's talking about all these cats and then... WARHOL is the guy who he's most drawn to? really? warhol?
he's actually selling himself short with that
this whole thing of linking ford and straub[-huillet but he doesn't mention her] bugs me too, it's super pretentious, but it's not that big of a deal
― Norway, that's where I'm a viking! (history mayne), Tuesday, 27 April 2010 19:29 (eleven years ago) link
Warhol isn't significant? Or a good touchstone for Pedro Costa?
I think I have a different definition of pretentiousness, maybe...
― admrl, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 19:34 (eleven years ago) link
i don't think warhol is significant -- obviously some people do, and of course he's a symptomatic figure and sort of "interesting", up to a point. he certainly isn't a good touchstone for anyone, though, as a filmmaker or artist or thinker.
the straub/ford thing originates with straub himself, and i do think it's a mystification, and yet another attempt by cinema's highbrows to appropriate for themselves the medium in general. can't really see ford or chaplin sitting through "colossal youth". i like it when artists invent traditions on the whole, but agree with amateurist on this one.
also im starting a "back to montage" movement.
― Norway, that's where I'm a viking! (history mayne), Tuesday, 27 April 2010 19:42 (eleven years ago) link
I think Griffith might like Pedro Costa!
Sorry, I just disagree with you about Warhol. Like him or not, he's significant in terms of inspiring the most characteristic tendencies of late-twentieth century "arthouse" (or whatever) film, and more besides. Whether or not anyone would sit through Empire or Colossal Youth or Jeanne Dielman is not really the issue. I love montage, but it's not exactly like we're lacking in that right now, or ever will be.
― admrl, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 20:26 (eleven years ago) link
i don't mean montage as in fast cutting, but as collision of ideas etc. we lack that, especially in art house cinema, which is sorta long take crazy from bucharest to beijing.
but is that true about warhol? which filmmakers do you mean, and which warhol films?
late 20C art house to me means: the iranian dudes, the taiwanese dudes, wong kar wai, jia, the dardennes, haneke, almodovar, bela tarr, von trier -- is warhol important for any of those guys? maybe to fellow charlatan von trier. and i can see that he mattered to some underground filmmakers, and to a fair number of US indie filmmakers, kinda.
for the taiwanese guys isn't ozu way more of a thing?
warhol's films are so bad.
― rolling stupid fruity crazy frog (history mayne), Tuesday, 27 April 2010 20:39 (eleven years ago) link
He's important at least to anyone that makes work that deals at all with extended duration, not in that he did it first or best but most visibly. So yeah, he's important when considering what any of Bela Tarr, Tsai Ming-liang, Chantal Akerman, James Benning, Jia Zhangke, Pedro Costa, Lisandro Alonso or the Straubs have done. Plenty of other filmmakers have used duration, but not so many have made it it a subject in itself and in such a popular context.
― admrl, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 20:56 (eleven years ago) link
I do kind of agree about montage but I feel like that is increasingly becoming a tendency in part of the art world, with the "video essay" and such. But there's also people like Harun Farocki and Gustav Deutsch working in that fashion.
― admrl, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 20:58 (eleven years ago) link
Also how "long" are the takes in "long take movies"? I sometimes feel like people confuse less dialogue and onscreen action with excessive running time.
― admrl, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 21:02 (eleven years ago) link
admrl i am on yr side fwiw, but i wld dispute the idea that warhol's investigations of duration is in any more of a 'popular context' than rivette's, or tarr's, or whoever. duration might even be something of a red herring, in terms of warhol's influence, i dunno. obv the whole thing abt 'stardom'/celebrity has proved to be at least as...enduring
nrq, at one point yr demanding that admrl be specific - "which warhol films"? - then a cpl of paras later you're off-handedly saying "warhol's films are so bad", w/out of course being in any way specific abt their badness (as spectacle? narrative? entertainment? as failed experiments or provocations?) or bothering to distinguish between say CHELSEA GIRLS or FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN (ie yr position doesn't acknowledge that there is more than one kind of warhol film, bad or o/wise.) i don't disdain the charlatan figure/role as much as you seem to - charlatans can be gd fun! - and i really really don't think the 'fact' that john ford wldn't sit through a pedro costa movie means or proves anything at all - i mean, so fuckin' what? ford had a public persona - perhaps costa has the public persona of a pretentious fop, or a dreamer, or a student of cinema, or maybe something has been lost in translation - but the tracking shot near the end of MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, the way the film frames ppl and landscape, is felt in a thousand subsequent tracking shots, in those austere arthouse moments of 'transcendental style', just as warhol is an inescapable figure for anyone making arthouse movies nowadays, even as someone to disavow, go the other way from.
― Ward Fowler, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 21:49 (eleven years ago) link
im not saying he's nothing to all of them, but i don't think he's much to tsai, tarr, jia, or straub-huillet. dunno about alonso. im pretty sure straub has explicitly said so. i was watching some tsai films this week. they're ok. but just because they use long takes... i don't see any connection with warhol, or the ones i've seen. the intricacy of movement within tsai's frame, the opening up of space within a static composition -- way above warhol's level. but yeah i'll fess, the idea of duration "as a subject" holds out no appeal whatever for me. not a mnml guy.
― rolling stupid fruity crazy frog (history mayne), Tuesday, 27 April 2010 21:56 (eleven years ago) link
Yeah I know. Duration isn't what most people who have heard of Andy Warhol think about when they think about Andy Warhol, but it's a context I hear him mentioned in a lot! (you have to be there, I guess)
I didn't know history mayne was nrq!
― admrl, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 21:56 (eleven years ago) link
another key duration guy w/o much warhol in him: angelopous
or jean-louis comolli yo
― rolling stupid fruity crazy frog (history mayne), Tuesday, 27 April 2010 21:57 (eleven years ago) link
I've come around to duration-as-subject. Must be all the yoga.
― admrl, Tuesday, 27 April 2010 21:58 (eleven years ago) link
nrq, at one point yr demanding that admrl be specific - "which warhol films"? - then a cpl of paras later you're off-handedly saying "warhol's films are so bad", w/out of course being in any way specific abt their badness (as spectacle? narrative? entertainment? as failed experiments or provocations?) or bothering to distinguish between say CHELSEA GIRLS or FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN (ie yr position doesn't acknowledge that there is more than one kind of warhol film, bad or o/wise.)
yeah nah i mean CHELSEA GIRLS primarily. i haven't seen all of them, and won't: CG is the one that got distributed. and EMPIRE is famous in 4'33 stylee, as an idea rather than as s.thing ppl have necessarily "seen". i mean you have to ask if jia or hou or whoever could even have seen a warhol film.
but yeah the ones i have seen are... bad as all of those things. i don't say every film has to be a narrative, but i just don't think he repays the attention. time/reward ratio all screwed up. not trying to be iconoclastic or w/e, but i've put in the hours and it's a no from me.
the tracking shot near the end of MY DARLING CLEMENTINE, the way the film frames ppl and landscape, is felt in a thousand subsequent tracking shots, in those austere arthouse moments of 'transcendental style', just as warhol is an inescapable figure for anyone making arthouse movies nowadays, even as someone to disavow, go the other way from.
i think that's true for a lot of art-house long-takers. but not warhol! though it's economical, as 1920s-40s hollywood tended to be, it's still narrative cinema. and not really playing with duration. i don't think costa is being insincere, btw, just, yeah, kind of foppish.
another one: JANCSO.
― rolling stupid fruity crazy frog (history mayne), Tuesday, 27 April 2010 22:30 (eleven years ago) link
I'm finding it hard to believe you've actually seen much beyond (or before) Chelsea Girls (which was not "the one" that got distributed; many Warhol films got distribution even before Chelsea Girls, chief amongst them My Hustler). But if Empire, etc. is famous as an idea rather than something people have seen, then why would Jia or Hou or anyone really have had to have actually seen Warhol films in order to engage with his ideas of duration or whatnot? (Fwiw, people have actually seen Empire and, as usual with most Warhol films, it's been misdescribed, often hideously so.)
And why couldn't the tracking shot near the end of My Darling Clementine be plucked out of its narrative casing for inspiration? Countless avant-garde and art house directors take moments in narrative films as inspiration/modus operandi: Tracey Moffatt, Martin Arnold, Peter Tscherkassky, Ken Jacobs, on and on. Besides, Ford's strong point was never narrative to begin with, esp. in his greatest films ( Wagon Master, The Long Grey Line, How Green Was My Valley, etc.).
But the true director of durée in classical Hollywood cinema wasn't Ford; it was Preminger.
― Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 28 April 2010 11:22 (eleven years ago) link
"chelsea girls" was way more seen than any of the earlier ones -- and we're talking about global distribution here anyway.
but if we're being asked to provide references, i've also seen vinyl, the velvet underground film, kiss, mario banana, blow job, bits of empire, and some of the portrait things. why do you find it "hard to believe"? i don't think i've ever read a piece explaining why warhol's films are worth seeing -- plenty that have made the effort.
anyway, yes, obviously some people have seen all of "empire", good for them, but i'm still right and it is still more famous as an idea. indeed, perhaps jia and hou got all they needed about duration from warhol (rather than ozu or whoever) -- need evidence for this though. the delicacy of hou's work makes the comparison especially unworthy imo.
think you're going full challops on ford's strong point but im not super-invested in that question, nor on preminger. can't recall a use of a "duree" in one of his films that comes close to any of the directors we've been talking about above.
― rolling stupid fruity crazy frog (history mayne), Wednesday, 28 April 2010 11:32 (eleven years ago) link
i don't think i've ever read a piece explaining why warhol's films are worth seeing -- plenty that have made the effort.
Let's fix this: "I've read many pieces explaining why Warhol's films are worth seeing. I just don't agree with any of them."
but i'm still right and it is still more famous as an idea.
Never said anything to the contrary and, in fact, pretty much agree(d) with you.
need evidence for this though
ugh here you go with this "evidence" thing again. Ok so Hou tells you he was waaay influenced by Warhol. Now what are you going to do with the rest of your life?
can't recall a use of a "duree" in one of his films that comes close to any of the directors we've been talking about above.
You talk as if Ford's films must be exactly like art house cinema in order for them to be an inspiration to any of the directors we've been talking about above. You really find it impossible to believe that an art film director could be inspired by, say, the tracking shot near the end of My Darling Clementine and use that inspiration to very different/art house/even non-narrative ends? Costa already said Ford inspired him. What kind of evidence do you require?
― Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 28 April 2010 12:14 (eleven years ago) link
i'd probably still figure there were more important people in his formation. but you do need evidence for this sort of thing, seriously.
i don't think i've doubted costa, just that i find what he says (and what straub before him says) a bit pretentious, a bit eclectic, very auteurist.
― rolling stupid fruity crazy frog (history mayne), Wednesday, 28 April 2010 12:26 (eleven years ago) link
but you do need evidence for this sort of thing, seriously.
― Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 28 April 2010 12:37 (eleven years ago) link
yup. it's a serious business. otherwise you're just pulling it from yer colon.
and i think getting the "real story" is more interesting anyway, coz it tells a story about how films and ideas circulate. did hou know of bazin? that sort of thing would interest me.
― rolling stupid fruity crazy frog (history mayne), Wednesday, 28 April 2010 12:40 (eleven years ago) link
otherwise you're just pulling it from yer colon.
Ah! This is way off topic now but that's the precise spot where evidence of homosexuality (supposedly) resides. You yourself said as much on some other thread.
― Kevin John Bozelka, Wednesday, 28 April 2010 12:52 (eleven years ago) link
A thorough long treatment of Pedro Costa's work.
― oscar, Wednesday, 26 May 2010 21:54 (eleven years ago) link
on a quick scan, lines like "von Trier’s dizzying talent and erudition" have me loling in anticipaish
― long time listener, first time balla (history mayne), Wednesday, 26 May 2010 22:16 (eleven years ago) link
― flesh, the devil, and a wolf (wolf) (amateurist), Saturday, 22 October 2011 00:10 (nine years ago) link
― incredibly middlebrow (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 22 October 2011 00:28 (nine years ago) link
― De La Soil (admrl), Monday, 13 February 2012 23:33 (nine years ago) link
He should make a film in Iowa, or Wisconsin
Not seen a film by him but he sounds like he'd be up my street (although if he's like Von trier count me out, but it doesn't look like it).
The interviews quote excerpts here are fine. I've seen worse by other filmmakers I like. Comes across a someone who is intense, knows a lot about cinema, happy to bullshit away. But not an attention seeker like Von Trier.
I don't think any of his films have ever been screened at the BFI but at the Tate? Anyone confirm?
― xyzzzz__, Saturday, 3 March 2012 20:31 (nine years ago) link
He is not like Von Trier whatsoever. And if you'll allow me to namedrop, I have met him a few times and he is totally sincere, just very serious. I like his films a lot. The documentary about his process included in the recent DVD set is very illuminating.
― My mouth was wiard shut! (admrl), Saturday, 3 March 2012 20:49 (nine years ago) link
Oops sorry I was just skimming the article above which talked a lot about VT, but looking again the analysis is in terms of career trajectory..
Excellent, I read an interview on n+1. 'serious' is how he came across and I totally don't mind that...look fwd to Colossal Youth.
― xyzzzz__, Saturday, 3 March 2012 21:00 (nine years ago) link
hey xyzzzz, second run dvd have been promising casa de lava for some time now (you probably know that they they have already issued blood) but looking at their website it still seems tbc, and yeah, looking also forward to the MOC colossal youth set
― Ward Fowler, Saturday, 3 March 2012 23:11 (nine years ago) link
'looking also forward' to going to sleep, gnight
― Ward Fowler, Saturday, 3 March 2012 23:12 (nine years ago) link
Morning -- yeah, know about Blood, just keep not getting round to it.
Just struck me: isn't the reason Warhol might be a deal for Costa isn't so much static-ness as a way of working w/others? From what I've read he worked in commune like conditions in Colossal Youth and Vanda's room.
Isn't that analogous to the Factory? Except the former isn't going for an idea of Hollywood glamour. I've not seen any Warhol either, only excerpts.
― xyzzzz__, Sunday, 4 March 2012 10:19 (nine years ago) link
new flick was gonna be co-written w ... gil scott heron
― schlump, Thursday, 4 September 2014 03:29 (seven years ago) link
I've written a bit on Horse Money: http://centrifugue.blogspot.com/2014/11/cphdox-day-9-lack-horse-money.html
― Frederik B, Tuesday, 18 November 2014 17:01 (six years ago) link
Watching this on Friday (Q&A with Costa and Laura Mulvey). Love the song on the trailer, going all Ghost Town organ.
― xyzzzz__, Wednesday, 16 September 2015 14:04 (six years ago) link
so Horse Money then...its not just the way he uses light and the effects he achieves with digital (his stuff really looks so much better than a lot of much digital work I've seen) but also how impressive he achieves an unity of tech + politics, i.e. the context and something I realised whilst watching but confirmed during the Q&A after as an intention, which is to capture light as the thing these people -- exhausted and brutalised as they are by where they have been placed and how they've been treated -- have left. And that is literally ALL they have left.
Costa is very serious (as Adam said above), pessimistic, and ambivalent about what he has achieved. Laura Mulvey (who chaired the Q&A, and someone else in the audience) was trying to talk up his films as an act of resistance, that something so beautiful could emerge from the chaos but...he wasn't buying it. The thing I got from it is he has spent so long trying to get into Ventura and Fontainhas' other inhabitants -- like their heads and psyche -- that he just can't help and carry the weight of their world on his shoulders. It was sorta chilling how he described that he has had to "become a bit like them".
Yet there he was at the ICA, presenting this film to us. So you do wonder the way by which he carries himself is his own way of dealing with certain questions that he is well aware of, that of being from the other of the fence. I attended a talk by Valerie Wilmer (jazz writer and photographer etc.) a few weeks ago and she was describing how she got a grant from the Arts Council to go to Mississippi and do a project with the locals there and she gave up in the end as she felt it was tourism, basically. Not suggesting its so much like that with Costa, the circumstances in which he got there were different and allowed him to stay for a while. But you can tell it rankles, like he used Fontainhas to get out of more commercial film and saving himself in the process BUT IS HE? Has he not found his perfect zombies instead for that Tourneu remake he hated? Costa is emphasized the 'concrete' of the doc aspect ("film is for the bed, you don't dream in the cinema") but you can't forget the pacing of some of the scenes, disjointedness of plot, the look. All these things that are taken to such an extent that make him tough to screen at even yer local arthouse cinema.
― xyzzzz__, Saturday, 19 September 2015 20:12 (six years ago) link
("film is for the bed, you don't dream in the cinema")
Sorry that should be "dreams are.." etc
― xyzzzz__, Saturday, 19 September 2015 20:14 (six years ago) link
HM is one of my favorites of the year thus far (ran exactly one week in cosmopolitan film capital NYC)
― skateboards are the new combover (Dr Morbius), Saturday, 19 September 2015 20:26 (six years ago) link
Do you need to have seen the previous films? Because I haven't, and our cinema is screening them, but after the new one has finished its run.
― the siteban for the hilarious 'lbzc' dom ips (wins), Sunday, 20 September 2015 10:03 (six years ago) link
I think it might actually be better to start with the new one. I still think it's slightly depressing to see Ventura aged so much after his commanding presence in Colossal Youth. I might recommend checking the carnation revolution on wikipedia to understand all of that, though. His last five films are kinda connected, and watching them all adds something, but they're also perfectly stand alone
(Casa de Lava more important than Ossos, imo, though it's not part of the 'Fontainhais quartet', but it's filmed on Cape Verde and introduces a letter which plays a big role in Colossal Youth. The whole fixation on Fontainhais by critics misses a lot of what makes these films special, the digital imagery and the transitive nature of the experiences shown. imo it should either be the digital trilogy or the cape verde quintet, but who cares)
Also it's awesome, but I need to watch it again. Have watched it twice but both times at the end of festivals, and while I think I got a lot of it, I was very tired both times.
― Frederik B, Sunday, 20 September 2015 10:52 (six years ago) link
wins - try and get the DVD of Colossal Youth if you can before otherwise its fine to see it retrospectively.
― xyzzzz__, Sunday, 20 September 2015 11:46 (six years ago) link
Its a v dense and draining film - friend I was with just didn't have the energy for a drink after (although drinks before didn't help).
I still think it's slightly depressing to see Ventura aged so much after his commanding presence in Colossal Youth.
See what you mean but I can't highlight this enough: few films capture that utter exhaustion w/life and what it throws at you. It was exemplified by Ventura the most but its there in the atmosphere and the others and how they walk and talk - Vitalina's whisper.
Most of us here don't need to be reminded but this is the migrant's lot. Weird to see this during the Syrian crisis although the people in the film come from the post-colonial end of exploitation.
― xyzzzz__, Sunday, 20 September 2015 11:59 (six years ago) link
Colossal youth isn't screening till october but I think I'll hang on for it & just see the latest one first. It's remiss of me but I only vaguely recall cy coming around & don't know costa at all, but the new one played at the recent fest here & I loved the poster and the title cavallo dinheiro, but I skipped it cause I try not to go to things during the festival that will have proper distribution later. totally get the fatigue thing Fred alludes to, and don't see nearly as many films during the 2 weeks of the fest
― the siteban for the hilarious 'lbzc' dom ips (wins), Sunday, 20 September 2015 12:07 (six years ago) link
The solution to festival-fatigue, btw, is to travel to another festival somewhere! Two weeks to AFFR!
― Frederik B, Sunday, 20 September 2015 12:43 (six years ago) link
you crazy cat
― the siteban for the hilarious 'lbzc' dom ips (wins), Sunday, 20 September 2015 12:47 (six years ago) link
It's only a couple of days. I'm still not able to go to more than three bigger festivals a year (the ones right by) though I got a few I'd love to go to.
Back to Costa, xyzzzz, you're absolutely right that exhaustion is the point, and it's an important point. It's also a depressive point, and seeing it documentary-style is doubly depressing. On the other hand, apparently Vanda from In Vanda's Room is doing much better now.
― Frederik B, Sunday, 20 September 2015 13:05 (six years ago) link
Saw HM this afternoon with a friend (and about five other people in the cinema oh dear), who joked afterwards that it was like a Portuguese remake of Britannia Hospital.
― sʌxihɔːl (Ward Fowler), Sunday, 20 September 2015 17:47 (six years ago) link
7 ppl in the theater; well, the rest of the world also views Fury Road as the ultimate in cinema aesthetics, it's not just ILX.
― skateboards are the new combover (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 20 September 2015 18:21 (six years ago) link
You guys should come to Gothenburg in january. Not really Copenhagen, but in Gothenburg, it was pretty full for an early morning showing.
― Frederik B, Sunday, 20 September 2015 18:27 (six years ago) link
aside from comedies, my ideal audience situation is me alone in a 300-seat theater.
― skateboards are the new combover (Dr Morbius), Sunday, 20 September 2015 18:40 (six years ago) link
I actually prefer a small number of silent people to a bigger crowd - the handful of us who sat through the last Diaz at the same cinema had a ball - but it can't be good business
I have yet to achieve the dream of seeing a film entirely alone
― sʌxihɔːl (Ward Fowler), Sunday, 20 September 2015 18:43 (six years ago) link
The film itself, I'm adding to my list of horror films that aren't horror films - many of the shots are very scary - great faces and bodies suddenly looming out of the darkness, the brokeness and decay of everything. Yes to 'dense and draining' - and dark literally figuratively - in its way a kind of 'terminal cinema' like godard's weekend (of course another hf that isn't a hf.)
― sʌxihɔːl (Ward Fowler), Sunday, 20 September 2015 18:50 (six years ago) link
I saw Wong Kar-wai's The Grandmaster completely alone. That is, right before it started a couple came in and asked 'Is this where Before Midnight is screened?' Then there was a woman who saw the first ten minutes, and then left. The rest of the time I was alone. When I saw Journey to the West at DOX we were just a handful, and it seemed as if half the people left while the camera was still filming Levant's eyes. In Gothenburg I had to sit in front row, because it was so packed, to the same film.
We showed Colossal Youth this year at CAF, where I work, and apparently there were very few people. But it overlapped with the 5,5 hour showing of Jonas Mekas' As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty, so the film buffs went to see that one, I think.
― Frederik B, Sunday, 20 September 2015 18:56 (six years ago) link
“There’s no use to try and make a film about the past; it’s stupid and impossible. Cinema is always the present. Old mistakes are today’s failures. History is always now. That’s what the Spanish writer Unamuno used to call the tragic sense of life. Horse Money will always play in an everlasting present.”
― skateboards are the new combover (Dr Morbius), Tuesday, 22 September 2015 16:38 (six years ago) link
Anyone watch Vitalina Varela yet?
― Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Monday, 23 November 2020 21:59 (ten months ago) link
caught it at last years lff, a really remarkable work. made everything else i saw at the festival seem rather trivial. had been hoping to catch again when it released but the cinema's closed before i could.
― devvvine, Monday, 23 November 2020 22:50 (ten months ago) link
makes clear he's as much an heir to ford as to straub/huillet
― devvvine, Monday, 23 November 2020 22:52 (ten months ago) link
I haven't seen his latest, but I've seen all the others except for his first. I'm not excited that he's still filming the same locations with the same actors/people; it feels almost like a hairshirt he's donning to prove that this is Heavy Cinema about Real Issues. Ossos and Vanda's Room were his first films in that milieu, and his best.
The extended elevator scene (with the soldier) in Horse Money was so jarringly off-kilter with the rest of the movie, it made me wonder if he realizes he needs to change things up but no longer knows which way to go.
― Halfway there but for you, Tuesday, 24 November 2020 01:20 (ten months ago) link
VV is the only one I've seen but I liked it a lot. I might have struggled with a solo home viewing, though.
― it bangs for thee (Simon H.), Tuesday, 24 November 2020 01:21 (ten months ago) link
Criterion's streaming most of them; Casa de Lava is a change, practically a Rohmer film.
― Patriotic Goiter (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 24 November 2020 01:26 (ten months ago) link
It's really excellent, think I had it as top 3.
― xyzzzz__, Friday, 27 November 2020 15:49 (ten months ago) link
"Colonialism" is a harsh accusation for a white American dude to be throwing around but fwiw the absence of liveliness he refers to is something I've also noticed as a major difference between how African communities actually live in Portugal and how they are portrayed by Costa.
In attempting to illuminate the lives of his characters and their world, Costa’s severe aestheticism instead kills them. Where Costa says he makes these films to give voice to the lives of these immigrants, instead he confines them to a narrow aesthetic trap, his aesthetic trap, far more limited than the socio-political realm to which they are confined in reality. The truth is that precious few people will ever see this film, and of those who do most live in an esoteric realm in which cinema is a bizarre host, in which watching movies, it is believed, will give you insight into the truth of life, a delusion which they share with their fellow cineastes. Costa – by his own admission – grew up in a cathedral, the Cinemateca Portuguese, ingesting his communions there, where he learned the vast catechisms of the cinema and came away with a litany of things he’d learned. He puts these on display for those in the know, a nod to this great name and and that and then another, for the priests to decipher and nod approvingly. Like Biblical citations or the Torah.
As it happens, I have lived in Lisboa a bit, and in the late 90’s visited Fontainhas when it was alive, a favela of homemade houses, mostly of immigrants from Cabo Verde, but also others. It was indeed a place of drugs and booze (just like classier neighborhoods), and it was very poor. But as other similar places around the world, it was also lively, colorful, energetic. As it were, compared to the dour Portuguese surrounding it, it had “rhythm” which came with the African source of its residents.
In Costa’s portrayals, commencing with his early 35mm films, this liveliness is largely absent and in Vitalina Verena, it is utterly absent – perhaps the men playing cards in the suffocating shadows being the only exception. So while Costa claims to be giving these people a voice, showing them to the world from which they are hidden, he is not really doing so; rather he is imposing his grim dour view upon them and claiming it is their voice. Just like colonialists always assert they are doing good for those they have occupied, bringing them salvation through Christ or capitalism. Of course Pedro would counter that his entourage of regulars are full participants, voluntarily sharing this work, and hence it is an expression of themselves, and not just Pedro’s vision. And in the muffled confines of the inner sanctum of his church, this will likely beget assent. As colonizers invariably find reason to ethically and morally take the high ground in their own minds.
― Daniel_Rf, Monday, 9 August 2021 13:15 (two months ago) link
That's a well-written piece, but I basically made the same point above in one paragraph that took Jost several pages. I don't feel qualified to judge the movie as either crypto-Catholicism or patronizing colonialism. In the earlier Costa films, there was at least the feeling that life was continuing somewhere else, just offscreen - you might not expect main characters who were desperate parents or drug addicts to have the "liveliness" you mention, but there was a feeling that the unhappy events he was showing were just a part of the tapestry of the community. With Colossal Youth and Horse Money, heaviness combined with aestheticism grew overwhelming.I still haven't seen Vitalina Varela. I'm curious what the other three posters upthread who said they liked the film would make of this essay.
― Halfway there but for you, Tuesday, 10 August 2021 03:23 (two months ago) link
What I've heard from people is a lot of gushing about this being Costa's most painterly film yet, which the essay also addresses. Zero interest in watching it but I will probably have to at some point.
Anyway it's weird to me that Costa has this standing as The Authentic Portrayer Of The Underclass while being a rich white dude whose films are mostly seen by other rich white dudes, in Portugal at least. I realise this is by no means unique in world cinema.
― Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 10 August 2021 10:31 (two months ago) link
In terms of things to criticise in the essay I think he's very wrong about the saudade element - yes it's originally a product of colonialism, arriving as it did with the Portuguese language, but I think if you suggested that to be its standing now to anyone from a Portuguese language country they'd look at you like you're mad. João Gilberto's "Chega De Saudade", Cesária Evóra's godamn signature song for crying out loud, lots of other examples. And of course it resonates for immigrant populations in particular.
― Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 10 August 2021 10:35 (two months ago) link
Costa is rich?
which watching movies, it is believed, will give you insight into the truth of life, a delusion which they share with their fellow cineastes.
this is just a bizarre statement btw
― groovemaaan, Tuesday, 10 August 2021 12:31 (two months ago) link
and weird sentence
― So who you gonna call? The martini police (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 10 August 2021 12:32 (two months ago) link
It's excessive and snide sure but it is true that a lot of ppl feel more comfortable gaining that insight from movies about community x rather than engaging with members of that community, even if they're living right next to them.
Well-off, upper class, yes. He's not a billionaire or anything.
― Daniel_Rf, Tuesday, 10 August 2021 13:39 (two months ago) link