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I was just messing around with my response there. You were saying something to the effect that it was nothing you hadn't seen before, and I assume you were talking about the general narrative. On the other hand, it's a movie that's packaged as a thriller, yet it touched me deeply and made me feel a wide variety of emotions. That's why I love it, and in that way it is completely unique.
That's fair.

I agree with all that but just think the term sells it short.
I just wanted to be clear that I was using the term descriptively, not dismissively.

WARNING: spoilers below
That's an interesting POV. Mine is different. First off, I believe an audience always wants sweet revenge by the main character. The other thing is that while Esposito is the main character of the movie, I believe Morales is the central figure of the story. He gets his revenge, but it's not gratifying at all due to the cost to him.
So to me it all ties into the idea of what characters have lost in the name of pursuing justice. In Morales, we see
WARNING: spoilers below
that he has literally given his life over to revenge/justice, because he is also essentially held hostage by having to care for the killer. So Morales is almost a cautionary tale about being consumed by the case.

But why I think it lets the viewer off a bit easy is that the main character never hits the "point of no return". Because Morales takes on the burden of the final revenge/justice, Esposito is allowed to both have closure in the case (the killer is being punished) AND he gets to rekindle the romance that he abandoned.

I simply think that it would have been more powerful if Esposito had had to choose. Either closure or reclaim some of what he has lost. When I say the ending is people-pleasing, I'm talking about the fact that he gets a positive outcome in both conflicts.

I don't know if you've seen Gone Baby Gone so I will be super vague here, but I felt that film did a good job of showing just how complicated it can be to try to do the "right thing".

I just don't actually feel that there are conflicting emotions at the end. "I am sad he lost so much time with the woman he loved" and "I am happy he is with her now" are not conflicting. They are complementary.

For me, truly conflicting emotions would be something like Esposito having to take over the care of the killer. That would be a conflict because on one hand you'd want him to make sure the guy was off the streets and brought to justice, but on the other hand it would mean he couldn't be with the woman he loves. Then we feel the pain of him having to choose.


The Secret in Their Eyes is a very emotionally powerful film for me. Isn't it possible that the Academy voters felt the way I did?
Absolutely. But I also think that it helps that the film is packaged (again, not a negative term!) in a form that is very accessible.



The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
The Day of the Jackal (1973)

What a great piece of filmmaking! This film makes a very good companion piece to the Battle of Algiers, which I saw recently in one of these HoFs (can't recall if a general one or the Personal Rec HoF).
The story is quite linear but extremely well crafted and executed, and the 2+ hours this takes never seem boring even if the pacing is quite slow throughout the whole thing.
Great acting and script also from everyone involved, and Zimmerman deserves a lot more respect! Everything I've seen by him is an absolute delight.

+

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The Whisperers
(1967)

A very touching film. First of all, the title sequence is masterfully done! The soundtrack and those chimneys shots give the perfect atmosphere and the movie does a quite good job in carrying it till the end.
I think that, more than solitude, this film portraits how difficult it is for an old person to not feel needed or useful anymore. I look at my grandma and the way some members of my family treat her and it breaks my heart, and this is the precise effect this film goes for.
In that sense, the acting by Edith Evans is absolutely astonishing! Everything about this perfomance hits it perfectly. The rest of the cast is alright.
And I miss my grandma...

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The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
La Dolce Vita (1960)

Sorry, I really don't get it. I've tried 3 films by Fellini now, this one is a rewatch and I simply can't not be bored to death by it. This was the one I disliked the less though. There are some really great shots but everything seems so detached and I can't really care for anyone on screen.
I know how much this film is loved and I'm still hoping there comes a time where I get it (maybe when I'm 60?) but it's still ot happening.



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Aniara (2018)

The perfect film to watch during the lockdown, isn't it?
It's quite immersive with a fine treatment of sound! The acting is decent from everyone involved though I wasn't impressed by anyone in particular. Also, the story seems incredibly fresh even if the initial premise is quite simple.
However, I didn't really like the editing and some plot holes with the science can be detected though I understand that's not the purpose of the film.
It leaves space to wonder how much society needs a purpose, especially during these challenging times which is something I've been pondering and reading a lot about. I wish this was better executed, though, and I wouldn't actually be against an American remake if taken by the right director.

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2 films left to the last day, one of them a Bergman... Damn, tomorrow will be depressing
In A Glass Cage is pretty laughable at least



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
So to me it all ties into the idea of what characters have lost in the name of pursuing justice. In Morales, we see
WARNING: spoilers below
that he has literally given his life over to revenge/justice, because he is also essentially held hostage by having to care for the killer. So Morales is almost a cautionary tale about being consumed by the case.

But why I think it lets the viewer off a bit easy is that the main character never hits the "point of no return". Because Morales takes on the burden of the final revenge/justice, Esposito is allowed to both have closure in the case (the killer is being punished) AND he gets to rekindle the romance that he abandoned.

I simply think that it would have been more powerful if Esposito had had to choose. Either closure or reclaim some of what he has lost. When I say the ending is people-pleasing, I'm talking about the fact that he gets a positive outcome in both conflicts.

I don't know if you've seen Gone Baby Gone so I will be super vague here, but I felt that film did a good job of showing just how complicated it can be to try to do the "right thing".

I just don't actually feel that there are conflicting emotions at the end. "I am sad he lost so much time with the woman he loved" and "I am happy he is with her now" are not conflicting. They are complementary.

For me, truly conflicting emotions would be something like Esposito having to take over the care of the killer. That would be a conflict because on one hand you'd want him to make sure the guy was off the streets and brought to justice, but on the other hand it would mean he couldn't be with the woman he loves. Then we feel the pain of him having to choose.
If you get into a terrible car accident and break half the bones in your body, some people will say you're lucky to be alive. I would say it's terrible what happened to you. An innocent man goes to prison for 25 years and is finally released. No matter how you look at it, he lost 25 years. He lost big time. Everybody lost something in this movie and gained nothing. It was good that a point came when they could move on, but it's tragic as a whole nonetheless. And he did choose, it just came earlier in the film.

Absolutely. But I also think that it helps that the film is packaged (again, not a negative term!) in a form that is very accessible.
I think it sounds like an excuse though. Instead of saying yea it's a great movie it won the Oscar, it's it won but it's because of this. It's taking something away from it. For me, the fact that's it's more accessible than a movie like Dogtooth is not only a non factor, but it works against it since I favor movies like Dogtooth. I would have voted for it because I think it's the best of that bunch, no other reason. To say it won for another reason is just a guess, and again is diminishing its accomplishment, intended or not. But it's fine to guess that, I just disagree with the idea because I agree with the result.



If you get into a terrible car accident and break half the bones in your body, some people will say you're lucky to be alive. I would say it's terrible what happened to you. An innocent man goes to prison for 25 years and is finally released. No matter how you look at it, he lost 25 years. He lost big time. Everybody lost something in this movie and gained nothing. It was good that a point came when they could move on, but it's tragic as a whole nonetheless. And he did choose, it just came earlier in the film.
But the entire arc of the film is predicated on the main character achieving closure on both the case he investigated and his cut-short romance.
WARNING: spoilers below
And both of these are resolved in an optimistic or positive way. There are aspects of it that are bittersweet or sad, but the progression of the film is toward something that works out in the main character's favor on both fronts. I'm not saying the film is all sunshine and rainbows, but the negative emotions it evokes are the kind of negative emotions that most people are more comfortable handling


I think it sounds like an excuse though. Instead of saying yea it's a great movie it won the Oscar, it's it won but it's because of this. It's taking something away from it. For me, the fact that's it's more accessible than a movie like Dogtooth is not only a non factor, but it works against it since I favor movies like Dogtooth. I would have voted for it because I think it's the best of that bunch, no other reason. To say it won for another reason is just a guess, and again is diminishing its accomplishment, intended or not. But it's fine to guess that, I just disagree with the idea because I agree with the result.
Your position is that it won the Oscar because it was genuinely the best film out of the field of contenders.

My position is that it won the Oscar because it is a good film and it's more "friendly" than some of its competitors, which gave it a leg up.

Ultimately it's all subjective--up to and including the people who actually voted for it to win the Oscar. I'm not mad that it won. Like I said before, I rated all three films about the same, but would personally put the other two over it. But it's not by some huge margin. And I happen to think that there are a lot of movies/people who win awards because of other elements than them being the best (*cough* Crash *cough*). Being a film that happens to be in a form that is easier to digest is hardly some malicious sin on the film's part.



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
But the entire arc of the film is predicated on the main character achieving closure on both the case he investigated and his cut-short romance.
WARNING: spoilers below
And both of these are resolved in an optimistic or positive way. There are aspects of it that are bittersweet or sad, but the progression of the film is toward something that works out in the main character's favor on both fronts. I'm not saying the film is all sunshine and rainbows, but the negative emotions it evokes are the kind of negative emotions that most people are more comfortable handling
See I don't think he achieved closure at all especially regarding the case. I think he was disgusted how it turned out. All that time lost and it would turn out it was for nothing. Suddenly he realizes he did it all for nothing. Imagine how that would feel? Yes, he was still able to look toward the future, but he could have done that without losing all of those years. That's not something a person can just get over.

Your position is that it won the Oscar because it was genuinely the best film out of the field of contenders.

My position is that it won the Oscar because it is a good film and it's more "friendly" than some of its competitors, which gave it a leg up.
So that always happens? If not, why this time?



See I don't think he achieved closure at all especially regarding the case. I think he was disgusted how it turned out. All that time lost and it would turn out it was for nothing. Suddenly he realizes he did it all for nothing. Imagine how that would feel? Yes, he was still able to look toward the future, but he could have done that without losing all of those years. That's not something a person can just get over.
I guess I just see the film as being more optimistic than you do. At the time he made a decision that seemed like the best one for everybody involved, and he had no way of knowing it wasn't.

So that always happens? If not, why this time?
I honestly don't follow the Oscars all that closely. But I feel that when it comes to awarding stories, the ones that are easier to follow and with simpler/broader emotional beats tend to get more recognition. Maybe someone more in tune with the Oscars can set me straight here if I am wrong, but that'm my general impression.

The Secret in Their Eyes is by no means an undeserving winner, it's just not the one that I would have picked. I had stronger emotional responses to the other films and enjoyed their style a bit more.



cricket's Avatar
Registered User
I guess I just see the film as being more optimistic than you do. At the time he made a decision that seemed like the best one for everybody involved, and he had no way of knowing it wasn't.
There's nothing wrong with seeing it a certain way, and in fact I was fascinated with your review because you noticed a lot that I didn't. For me, one of the bigger themes of the movie is regret, and I see that as the opposite of closure. Of course being able to pick up the pieces is a good thing, but I saw that as a consolation prize.

I honestly don't follow the Oscars all that closely. But I feel that when it comes to awarding stories, the ones that are easier to follow and with simpler/broader emotional beats tend to get more recognition. Maybe someone more in tune with the Oscars can set me straight here if I am wrong, but that'm my general impression.
I don't follow them that closely either but I know Moonlight and Parasite both won recently.

The Secret in Their Eyes is by no means an undeserving winner, it's just not the one that I would have picked. I had stronger emotional responses to the other films and enjoyed their style a bit more.
Exactly. It doesn't make you wrong, but it is the reason you suspect there was more to it winning.



There's nothing wrong with seeing it a certain way, and in fact I was fascinated with your review because you noticed a lot that I didn't. For me, one of the bigger themes of the movie is regret, and I see that as the opposite of closure. Of course being able to pick up the pieces is a good thing, but I saw that as a consolation prize.
I think that it is very possible to experience regret either with or without closure. In the case of this film, I think that the regret does come with closure.
WARNING: spoilers below
He is able to literally talk out his feelings with all of the relevant parties. And, further, neither he nor his love interest are in a position that makes a future relationship impossible. What if her character had died? Or been in a loving, committed marriage? Instead she is available and still into him.


Exactly. It doesn't make you wrong, but it is the reason you suspect there was more to it winning.
Right, but "suspect" makes it sound like I think there's something untoward happening. I just think that the film happens to have a lot going for it in terms of appealing to a broader audience. And that's what counts when a lot of people are voting for you. If you told me that 10 people were going to watch all three films and pick their favorite, I would be entirely unsurprised if most of them picked Secret in Their Eyes despite me thinking it's not the best of the three. If I had to recommend one of them to a stranger knowing little about their tastes, I'd recommend Secret in Their Eyes, know what I mean? Between the murder mystery, the themes about coming to terms with the past, and (what I see as) an optimistic ending, it's just the most broadly appealing of the bunch.



Well, Barry Lyndon is out of the way; will write my review tomorrow. Beasts of the Southern Wild will be left for the eleventh hour, I guess. If not, I still have my original review from back when I saw it.
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The Whisperers (1967) -


Though this film was hard to watch, I appreciated a lot about it. Most notably, Edith Evans' spectacular performance. As others have noted, she effectively captures the solitude and isolation of someone who's lived in isolation throughout so much of her life to the point she has imaginary conversations in her apartment. Overall, her work in this film is pretty incredible. I normally don't pay attention to acting when I watch films, but her performance here would definitely make a short list of my favorite acting performances.

While there's a focus on her current mental state, we mainly see instances of other people mistreating her. Well, a lot of them, actually. She's mistreated when she goes to church, she's mistreated by her son, she's betrayed by a friend, she's insulted by a neighbor when she voices her concern for her safety, she's mistreated by her husband, etc. While this isn't all that happens to her in the film (the hospital sequence is one of the only instances that anyone shows genuine care for her), a lot of this film consists of her being mistreated, verbally abused, and neglected by those around her. Due to this, I imagine a lot of people will be depressed by this film.

WARNING: spoilers below
While Mrs. Ross's arc could be simplified to her being mistreated over and over again, I think a lot more is going on. Finding the money her son left acted as her opportunity to find solace from her current state of isolation and discomfort. It's implied that, before the events of the film, Mrs. Ross didn't have many social communications, nor did she talk to many people. She mainly spent her life living in isolation from the outside world. The heart of the film can be found in Mrs. Ross's desire to break free from her current mental state and her continued attempts to pursue this goal, even as they keep falling flat. (if you're reading this sentence, reply to this review with "Butternut Squash"; I'm curious if anyone will notice this sentence) Yes, none of her efforts work out, and yes, she ultimately goes back to her life of solitude. Looking back, however, the film ultimately didn't leave me depressed when it ended. I think the ending is more hopeful and layered than it seems on the surface. This is because her apartment has now become a place of comfort for her instead of a torturous environment. I got the sense from the ending that she's more comfortable with her life of isolation than she was in the beginning, reacting to the leaky faucet in her apartment with a smile and a content "Are you there?" rather than the nervous "I know you're there! You leave me alone!" she exclaimed at the start of the film. The Whisperers is about Mrs. Ross attempting to break free from her current unhealthy living condition, being unable to accomplish this task, but obtaining a new fondness for and a sense of comfort with her apartment in the process. While it was a bumpy road, she became better off in the end.

Since it's past 3 AM, I'll submit my ranked list tomorrow.



The Whisperers (1967) -


Though this film was hard to watch, I appreciated a lot about it. Most notably, Edith Evans' spectacular performance. As others have noted, she effectively captures the solitude and isolation of someone who's lived in isolation throughout so much of her life to the point she has imaginary conversations in her apartment. Overall, her work in this film is pretty incredible. I normally don't pay attention to acting when I watch films, but her performance here would definitely make a short list of my favorite acting performances.

While there's a focus on her current mental state, we mainly see instances of other people mistreating her. Well, a lot of them, actually. She's mistreated when she goes to church, she's mistreated by her son, she's betrayed by a friend, she's insulted by a neighbor when she voices her concern for her safety, she's mistreated by her husband, etc. While this isn't all that happens to her in the film (the hospital sequence is one of the only instances that anyone shows genuine care for her), a lot of this film consists of her being mistreated, verbally abused, and neglected by those around her. Due to this, I imagine a lot of people will be depressed by this film.

WARNING: spoilers below
While Mrs. Ross's arc could be simplified to her being mistreated over and over again, I think a lot more is going on. Finding the money her son left acted as her opportunity to find solace from her current state of isolation and discomfort. It's implied that, before the events of the film, Mrs. Ross didn't have many social communications, nor did she talk to many people. She mainly spent her life living in isolation from the outside world. The heart of the film can be found in Mrs. Ross's desire to break free from her current mental state and her continued attempts to pursue this goal, even as they keep falling flat. (if you're reading this sentence, reply to this review with "Butternut Squash"; I'm curious if anyone will notice this sentence) Yes, none of her efforts work out, and yes, she ultimately goes back to her life of solitude. Looking back, however, the film ultimately didn't leave me depressed when it ended. I think the ending is more hopeful and layered than it seems on the surface. This is because her apartment has now become a place of comfort for her instead of a torturous environment. I got the sense from the ending that she's more comfortable with her life of isolation than she was in the beginning, reacting to the leaky faucet in her apartment with a smile and a content "Are you there?" rather than the nervous "I know you're there! You leave me alone!" she exclaimed at the start of the film. The Whisperers is about Mrs. Ross attempting to break free from her current unhealthy living condition, being unable to accomplish this task, but obtaining a new fondness for and a sense of comfort with her apartment in the process. While it was a bumpy road, she became better off in the end.

Since it's past 3 AM, I'll submit my ranked list tomorrow.
Umm, butternut squash?

Seriously, though...

WARNING: spoilers below

I agree. Ross' return to her apartment and her usual loneliness is a return to "normalcy" for her, and there's some solace to be had that she's at least free of the mistreatment from her no-good husband, at least. But it's a heartbreaking snapshot of the loneliness of growing old.



Umm, butternut squash?


Seriously, though...

WARNING: spoilers below

I agree. Ross' return to her apartment and her usual loneliness is a return to "normalcy" for her, and there's some solace to be had that she's at least free of the mistreatment from her no-good husband, at least. But it's a heartbreaking snapshot of the loneliness of growing old.
WARNING: spoilers below
Yeah, what I like about the ending is that, though her arc seems to be a case of her winding up right back at the beginning, there's a sense that she feels more content with her living condition, welcoming the noises in her apartment rather than fearing them. Not being able to find a change in scenery worked out for her in the end. It's a powerful ending, in my opinion.



The thing isolated becomes incomprehensible
In a Glass Cage (1986)

Ok...

While I definitely don't feel as angry as some of the people here, this film raises the question: "is there a wrong film to an HoF?". Not that I don't see its merits, only that one has to be able to see that many people here will hate it and they will still have to watch it. And nominating it either way, while not against the rules, is simply rude.

I started this film 8 hours ago. I just finished it. And it wasn't because I had to get up and puke every 5 minutes but just because I hate this type of film. Not in a disgusting type of way, just it's not my thing at all.
It always seems lazy when people go to the shock just for the sake of it or, even worse, with some supposed pseudo-intellectual justification, as if people who don't like it, aren't just smart enough because they don't get it. Every symbolism used here is so damn on the nose, with such a lack of elegance and refinement. It's just bad film making, in my opinion.
I'll give it some credit cause it's actually well shot, but that's pretty much it.

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Now how the f*** am I supposed to watch a Bergman without wanting to kill myself?