Minio's Ramblings on Cinema

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The trick is not minding
I was thinking of avante-garde/arthouse directors that I plan on watching in the future, and I was wondering who else youd recommend that I may have either forgotten or never heard of. So far Im thinking of the following:

Straub-Huillet
Kenneth Anger*
Jan Svankmajer
Stan Brakhage
Chris Marker (starting some of his films up next month)
Derek Jarman (next month!)
Guy Gilles
Robbie-Grillet
Philippe Garrel.


Anyone I might have forgotten or be unaware of?



I was thinking of avante-garde/arthouse directors that I plan on watching in the future, and I was wondering who else youd recommend that I may have either forgotten or never heard of. So far Im thinking of the following:

Straub-Huillet
Kenneth Anger*
Jan Svankmajer
Stan Brakhage
Chris Marker (starting some of his films up next month)
Derek Jarman (next month!)
Guy Gilles
Robbie-Grillet
Philippe Garrel.


Anyone I might have forgotten or be unaware of?
Wavelength



It's a movie by Michael Snow

Flaming Creatures - Jack Smith

Andy Warhol' Factory era films (not the Paul Morrisey films, even though they are also great in their own right)

Maya Deren



The trick is not minding
It's a movie by Michael Snow

Flaming Creatures - Jack Smith

Andy Warhol' Factory era films (not the Paul Morrisey films, even though they are also great in their own right)
Michael Snow, thanks. That is more what Im looking for haha



I recently watched a bunch of Norman McLaren's films. Most of his films were rather hit or miss for me, but I'd highly recommend Neighbours, Pas de Deux, Camera Makes Whoopee, and Begone Dull Care, in particular.
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Also, though I've only seen a few of his films, I haven't been able to get into Andy Worhol.

Warhol's films are pretty reluctant to reveal themselves. And in some ways they are a bit of a prank that is being pulled on audiences. But the more you know about Warhol.the man, and the more one appreciates what he did with painting, the easier it is to grasp his approach. Which is basically, much of the time, turn on a camera and walk away.


Bike Boy is my favorite. But ones affection for this will depend very much on how much one can tolerate the self involved weirdos that surrounded him. Same with Chelsea Girls (which is more punishing, butore indicative of his general non-aesthetic)



Subtle Slayer of Normies
Forget arthouse.

Watch more Arnold Fanck movies, people!
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I apologize for any and all perceived slights which I did not intend to send your way. Sincerely. If someone reads a different tone, then they cannot but also read a different message. And as for those slights which I did intend, well you probably deserved those. Let's be honest. You're not exactly a picture of moderation.



I can kind of see that with Jess Franco. The more of his films you see, the more you get a feel for his style and can appreciate it.
Dude, you're killing me.



Subtle Slayer of Normies
Dude, you're killing me.
Franco is one of the most misunderstood & underappreciated auteurs in cinema's history. He churned out so many films it was hard to maintain their quality, but when he really tried, he made some great films.



Franco is one of the most misunderstood & underappreciated auteurs in cinema's history. He churned out so many films it was hard to maintain their quality, but when he really tried, he made some great films.
Which one's would you reccommend?



Dude, you're killing me.
I promise Im not trying to kill anyone. Some of his movies are pretty entertaining though and I like that he did his own thing. Even his bad movies are amusing in their own way.



Subtle Slayer of Normies
I was quite unsure if it's a good idea to post this review/analysis/write-up/thing here because most of it is full of spoilers and I don't think too many people here have seen this film. But I'm going for it anyway for two reasons:
  1. Maybe it will make somebody interested in this film.
  2. It was a rewatch, I knew the plot and the ending but it still destroyed me. I'll still use spoiler tags, but the older I am, the less I care about spoilers. Because truly great movies can be spoiled and still have the same effect. Hell, some of them even spoil THEMSELVES, as if arrogantly saying "Look, this is gonna happen! But even though you know this, you'll be destroyed anyway!".

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二十四の瞳 [Twenty-Four Eyes] (1954) [REWATCH]



A rewatch of an old favorite.

There's just something about little Japanese children singing school songs that makes me cry. I already started crying on the opening titles when you only hear the children singing and the credits rolling! It only went downhill from there. I haven't bawled so hard and consecutively on a film since I rewatched Sansho the Bailiff. My head and eyes hurt from crying.

Twenty-Four Eyes is a powerful film on what it means to be a teacher, to be a student, and to truly teach. One could say that there isn't much teaching here per se. It's true in a way that the actual classroom lessons never go further than just attendance checks. But it's essential that the lessons in this film are far and beyond the school bench. The wonderful teacher nicknamed Miss Pebble is there for her pupils WHENEVER they need her. She teaches them both in a classroom and, above all, outside it.

As far as your average lessons in a classroom with Miss Pebbles go, there are two of them (there's also a lesson with another teacher played by Chishu Ryu to portray how special Miss Pebble really is!). One near the beginning of the film and another near the end. And both are immensely moving, though for different reasons. The first classroom scene may not sound like anything special. It portrays the teacher reading the pupils' names. However, there's something weird going on. Nobody says "Here!" when Miss Pebble reads the first name. It doesn't take long to figure out that every child has a nickname and prefers to be addressed by that nickname. So, the teacher decides to use them from now on, scribbling the nicknames next to their proper names in the class diary. This is moving for at least two reasons. First, the teacher recognizes the children for who they really are. Not who they want to be, really, but who they already are. (Though, she pays close attention to who wants to become who once they grow up and takes issue with boys announcing that they want to become soldiers!). The children have a nickname for the teacher, too, so it's only natural she'd call them by nicknames as well. That's what others call them. This nickname thing clears the stiff atmosphere and wins the children's hearts right away. But there's another reason why this scene is moving, and it's something that's hard to put into words. Well, it's the children themselves. Their innocent faces as they say "Here!" and we can only wonder what will happen to them in the future. And also, their eponymous eyes, that, as Miss Pebble hopes, will never lose their spark. This scene is a harbinger of what happens in the film next, but also something anybody who was a teacher (and anybody who was a pupil, too, to an extent) knows. Schoolyears are finite. Once you graduate, you are separated from your teacher. Whatever bond they had is broken by life. But this is now, and the children are playing, singing, and being innocent and lovely. And it's nostalgic in a way that I can't pinpoint because it's like nothing I remember and, in some ways, it's like nothing I've ever seen in any other movie. The bucolic landscapes masterfully shot by Hiroshi Kusuda and the sentimental yet beautiful soundtrack by the director's brother Chuji Kinoshita work so well in tandem that when coupled with the story, they create a rocket launcher of emotions.


So, there's that new teacher at the school, riding a bike, wearing Western clothes, apparently using unusual teaching techniques, teaching old folk songs to the children. Old folk songs instead of some generic new songs. But who'd have thought an even worse thing would come. Nationalistic songs. Now you can't teach children love and beauty. You have to teach them it's OK to die for the country. You have to teach boys to become soldiers.

WARNING: "Twenty-Four Eyes" spoilers below
And Miss Pebble hates this new thing, which is why she resigns. She resolves to give up teaching and make her class the only class she ever had. It's worth noting that this resolution has another layer to it. Miss Pebble may think she can only maintain a true motherly bond with her pupils if she stays true to them by never teaching another class. However, the war comes, and she loses her husband (directly) and her daughter (indirectly). When the war ends, she resolves to get back to teaching, which is the right decision because it would be a pity if a person with her heart chose to never put her humanity into young souls again.

And then, another attendance check scene comes. And the new pupils are a sister or a daughter of a child from her first class. Sure, it's moving in and of itself. But it also gives so much more meaning to Miss Pebble's mission. She did all she could to bring up a group of children, and now it's her duty to do it again and again. Losing those you love is inevitable. This applies to both your pupils and your actual children. So when you see another twenty-four eyes and innocent souls within them, this gives you more faith in your mission and in what you're doing. Despite all the gloom and tragedy that precedes it, this is a wonderfully optimistic scene.


There's obviously an anti-war film here, just like Kinoshita's early war-time films are also anti-war movies at heart. Take Jubilation Street or Army - they're anti-war without being openly anti-war. And it's understandable given when they were made. But here, the anti-war theme is strong. While the girls have to suffer due to poverty, the boys get drafted and die on the battlefields. Miss Pebble's harsh opposition to the new nationalist reality puts her in danger of being marked a Red, something she mercifully avoids.


One immensely moving scene shows the picture Miss Pebble took with the children after the little boys and girls decided to walk to her home and pay her a visit after she had ruptured her Achilles tendon. As the camera zooms in on the innocent faces, the music changes from a beautiful children's folk song to a nationalist hymn.

WARNING: "Twenty-Four Eyes" spoilers below
While the whole movie was incredibly moving, the ending is just another level. The gift scene is incredible. But there's much more to the ending. The blind boy saying he "sees" the picture is such beautiful proof of Miss Pebble's role in those people's lives. Times of yore, 18 years ago, seem so distant but yet so close to everybody's hearts. But that's not all there is to the final scene. Another reveal is that the Mother Crow from the song is Miss Pebble, and the seven birds are the children who survived! And this is a beautiful ending because it fits right into how Miss Pebble (or Mrs. Crybaby, as young children now call her! ) was a mother figure to them while their parents were too busy working their backs off on that poor island.


It's the true spirit of teaching. Teaching goes far beyond books. It's about rearing kind, responsible, and good people. It's about trying to teach them love and humanity EVEN IF the world is mad and teaches them hate. And it's crucial EVEN IF it's so hard, and EVEN IF it will probably fail. Yes, Miss Pebble says that herself in an earlier scene. She says she wishes she could do something, and have a say, but she can't. It's about a young girl who wants to become a singer. But Miss Pebble tries and that's important!

One final note about the usual quips about the film being too sentimental. If you have a heart of stone and never cry on movies or think that maudlin movies are somehow weaker or unbecoming, or whatever, more power to you. But I've seen too many people who cried their hearts out on a weepy but as long as the films ended put their serious film critic cap on and started if not downright scolding the film for being overemotional then at least spitefully treating it as a downside, completely ignoring their emotional reaction to the film they just had. I think these people are missing the point.

PS: 1954 was such an incredible year for Japanese cinema. Seven Samurai, Sansho the Bailiff, Sound of the Mountain, Twenty-Four Eyes, The Crucified Lovers, and more!



Nice write up. I don't remember the movie particularly well, since I watched it at least ten years ago, but I believe I own it so it could be due for a rewatch.


Critics who believe there is something cheap in sentiment are boobs. Like anything, you can do sentiment well or not. Without sentiment their is no Ozu or Sirk, and who want to live in a crap world like that.


As for children singing, it's probably markedly different than the music in 24 Eyes, but there was a release from the East Coast of Canada which is exactly this, called the Langley Music Experiment, that everyone I know hates, but I find beautiful. And I'm pretty sure I'm correct on this and all my friends are dopes (per usual)