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I will catch up on tagging the thread and adding Siddon's nomination to the first post.

Siddon has nominated Anatomy of a Murder as well.



Thursday Next's Avatar
I never could get the hang of Thursdays.
Letter From an Unknown Woman


I didn’t actually join the 7th hall of fame but I did watch this movie. My thoughts at the time:

I watched Letter From an Unknown Woman. It's certainly one of the saddest films I have ever seen, but very beautiful, I loved the setting and the train ride through all the fake countries. At first I thought Lisa was silly, but I sympathised with her more after she was abandoned by Stefan.
Second viewing impressions:

A dreamy, romantic, tragic film. Romantic not just in the sense of the love story, but in the atmosphere, the way it was filmed, the gorgeous Viennese setting, all mirrors and teacups and parasols.

Thought of logically it’s actually quite an awful story of an obsessed stalker girl and an uncaring man who can’t even remember her name. But it works within the world of cinema. I felt Lise’s overwhelming emotion. The urgent narration and the music together help. The music saturates the film, adding to the atmosphere, almost making you wonder whether it is the music as much as the man Lisa is in love with.

Both leads are charming in their respective roles.

The best part of the film is when they visit the fairground in the snow and ride the train (which is really static, the scenery mere painted images). A nice metaphor for their relationship, which is never as she hopes it will be.



The best part of the film is when they visit the fairground in the snow and ride the train (which is really static, the scenery mere painted images).
I felt a little bad for (but also amused by) the old man operating the entire thing himself. He must have been exhausted by the end of their trip around the world.

Similarly, I also liked the orchestra ladies who were sneaking snacks while playing and conspired to run out the first opportunity they got haha.



The world doesn't owe you a damn thing
Felt the same way about the old man with the static train and the women stating they were out of there after that song.

I won't go into more detail since I just saw this and will save it for my review, but I will be mirroring a lot of what Thursday said about it.
__________________
What I actually said to win MovieGal's heart:
- I might not be a real King of Kinkiness, but I make good pancakes
~Mr Minio



Also answers to Jabba

Le Trou (1960)
First Watch: Yes
Director: Jacques Becker

I went into this hoping for a good film, based on the plot and IMDb rating. There are a lot of things I liked in this and right off the bat it was how the usual prison cliches were avoided. The inmates look like very decent people and so do most of the guards and of course the warden. It was refreshing to see this and piqued my interest early on.

The story itself is nothing groundbreaking and given that it was a French film you could probably see the bleak ending coming a mile away. The dynamic between the characters falls quite flat as most of them are not very fleshed out and melt into a blob of camaraderie with the exception of Gaspard who gets a lot more background information and for good reason. I think it is very clear that the event of breaking out is itself the protagonist which meant the run time that would normally be allocated to character development took a back seat. So lets take a look at some more intricate parts of the plan itself.

Some parts of the story seemed a little too convenient and unrealistic with the two most obvious ones being the noise level during the first attempts at digging the tunnel (while a bit later noise is a huge matter for consideration) as well as the creation of the passepartout which allows them access underground which is essentially just an unrefined hunk of metal (even though later on it is deemed necessary to manufacture a key). Perhaps two minor details, but they rubbed me the wrong way during the film as details like that are imperative in these situations. Another nonsensical decision was when Geo decided to stay afraid of what would happen to his mother when she found out he had escaped. In reality, Geo would be charged as an accessory and would have to spend a lot more years in prison. I would think that would be a chance worth taking.



On to the more important aspects which are responsible for how good a taste Le Trou leaves you with. The direction aids magnificently in telling the story and leaves traces of classic French cinema all through the run time.There is a lot of realism exhibited throughout the inmates' efforts via the use of grounded shots which are beautifully let to play out in their entirety. The shot in which they are breaking through the concrete floor lasts approximately 4 minutes during which you just see hands working. It was a very intelligent way of putting the viewer in the process of identifying with the characters' struggle and it is a technique used many times with various durations, but always with a closeup on the tools instead of the characters. Very few cuts are utilized during scenes like these -and only when necessary- which I found quite a unique approach to film making.

Another choice that made the experience more immersive was the decision to let the first expedition through the underground tunnels play uninterrupted from sequences taking place above ground. You follow the two characters in their exploratory journey and that helps the viewer focus on this alone. A special mention is required here towards the very short sequence during which the guard is feeding insects to the spider, which one could easily bypass as unimportant. I found it to be a very subtle allegory with the state playing the role of the spider, while the guards representing the authorities are throwing insects (or inmates) at its web. I am a sucker for multilayered story telling like this.

I found Le trou to be a very well made film in which technical brilliance overshadows the story. It was very enjoyable although not without flaws, and it takes a somewhat more experienced eye to fully appreciate it.



The world doesn't owe you a damn thing
@rauldc14






Letter From an Unknown Woman

SPOILERS

Thursday gives a VERY apt and beautiful description of this film:
"A dreamy, romantic, tragic film. Romantic not just in the sense of the love story, but in the atmosphere, the way it was filmed, the gorgeous Viennese setting, all mirrors and teacups and parasols."

Which captures the essence of this Love Lost Story of a girl who falls for a pianist with an exceedingly "in the moment" outlook on life.
Where the moment is everything and while we only see glimpses of other said moments, there is a romantic magic in those shared with Lisa. But not enough for him to remember those moments the next time they meet. Only that there is something special and there is the most sincere wish to experience that moment again with this woman he believes he's only just met that somehow knows everything about him that very few truly do.
We see Lisa from the very first time she meets and falls in love with Stefan and all the times since as the years go by and their paths cross again and her heart breaks with each time he doesn't recognize her.

The story is also portrayed beautifully through the reading of a letter late into the night before Stefan is looking to skip out on a duel that he must go to before dawn. The opening lines "By the time you read this, I may be dead" capturing his attention much like each time he sees Lisa and something clicks.
The heartbreak and the beauty of this sad love story is the final discovery and full recognition of what he believed was lost and he'd searched for, that was already found. Without him knowing til it was too late.

This sublime film is captured in a sublime beauty of the cinematography that brings the dreamy beauty of both when they are together and those times when they are not.

I am so glad I've had the opportunity to finally finish this film.



I fully intended to rewatch Memento this evening, but I decided to watch the first episode of The Haunting of Hill House, and then the next one, and another, and another...

On the plus side, I can probably finish the series off tomorrow, then it'll at least be out of the way haha.



Weird is relative.
Raise the Red Lantern (1991)



A beautifully filmed and unsettling tale of misogyny and despair.

The strict adherance to centuries old family traditions in China, even in the emergence of more modern societal mores in the 1920s (such as females going to university to further their education), meant that a woman's marriage with a wealthy man was a prison, devoid of much happiness, and filled only with pain and jealousy of his multiple other wives and mistresses.

As depicted in this film, a woman was so subjugated that she was barely allowed to have her own tastes and opinions, and certainly was never to find an outside lover, unless she had a desire for torture and death.
She was supposed to be quiet, cheerful, follow the rules, and wait patiently until her husband decided to call on her and spend the night, rather than with one of the other wives, and give him a son.
Of course, in this kind of setting it's easy to fall into competitiveness and vicious backstabbing amongst the other women.

This was a difficult watch because it was so upsetting knowing this reality has been true for countless women over time, and even continues today in certain cultures. It's now an international law as decreed by the United Nations that marriage is not to be unwillingly forced upon anyone; it should also be an international law that no one should be able to have "marriage arrangements" with more than one person at a time. This might save some young girls from having their lives destroyed by their parents selling them to rich older men.
(It should be stated, however, that in this film, it was the main character's independent choice to become a concubine, although her mother had been pressuring her to marry.)



Weird is relative.
@MijaFrost I haven't ever seen Raise the Red Lantern (1991), so I will wait to read your review after I've seen the film
No worries, I often wait to read reviews as well.





Memento
(2000)
Directed By: Christopher Nolan
Starring: Guy Pearce, Joe Pantoliano, Carrie-Anne Moss

With its complex narrative structure, Memento keeps the audience on the same page as its lead character, preventing viewers from having more information than Lenny does in any given scene. While it may initially be disorienting, the order of events quickly becomes more evident, since the colour sequences overlap slightly, allowing the puzzle pieces to more easily fall into place. Since many recent movies tend to over explain things, it's refreshing to revisit a film that is willing to put some faith in its audience.

Memento is actually the only Christopher Nolan film that I liked when it was new, and still enjoy today. I hadn't seen the film in maybe ten years or so, and the last time I watched it, I decided to check out the chronological edit. The film definitely loses most of its impact without the intertwining forward and reverse time sequences, since the dramatic reveal takes place halfway through the film when viewed this way. It's really just a novelty for fans of the original timeline who are curious to see how the story unfolds when it is divorced from Lenny's perspective.

The film doesn't work as well outside of his limited view, because that altered perception is what made Memento great. The performances certainly help sell the story as well, but the editing is what connects viewers to Lenny's state of mind, and allows the audience to actively participate in piecing together the mystery. I don't really have anything else to say about the film, since I tend to avoid spoilers in my write-ups, and even bringing up some of the film's central themes could ruin certain elements of the story. I did briefly consider reordering the paragraphs here, but I don't think my reviews are typically structured enough that a reversal would even be noticeable.


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I just requested from my library most of the movies. Though they didn't have my own nom, but luckily Netflix did. I should be able to start soon, I promise! Right now I'm in 3 different HoFs and have quite the full plate.



The world doesn't owe you a damn thing
@rauldc14

(rather like this idea of mentioning the host from the 17th, so I think I'll keep doing this for others)





Memento


OK, so what am I doing?

Oh, I'm chasing this guy.

No, he's chasing me.

I remember the first time seeing this at a small theater for Independent Films and being totally amazed by it.
A movie set in reverse.

With the opening of a Polaroid that is fading out in our leading character's hand we are placed, blindly, into Leonard Shelby's Condition.
You see, he cannot make new memories and he's tracking down the man who raped and killed his wife.
Armed with photographs and notes tattooed on his body, we go backward as he figures out where he is and what's going on. Where one scene starts with him trying to figure out what's going on and then bringing it back around as we discover for ourselves.
Which you would think is a VERY confusing concept, but Nolan does an incredible job of keeping us within the lead character's lack of memory without losing sight of all the puzzle pieces that get put together as the film continues.
Culminating in some excellent story telling reveals that, even on rewatches, (and when this first came out, there dozens of them for me. A lot of them were playing the film for others.) It still keeps the intrigue and enjoyment at full tilt for this film.

This has to be very short since saying anything more is simply revealing too much. So. . .

Those of you who haven't seen this, I hope you enjoy, those of you who have, I hope the rewatch is as equally enjoyable.



Memento

I remember the first time seeing this at a small theater for Independent Films and being totally amazed by it.
A movie set in reverse.

I haven't watched it yet, but there's a version of the movie Memento in chronological order. It used to be on YouTube, but I don't know if it's still there. I think it's also on Vimeo and Archive.org if anyone wants to watch it, but DO NOT WATCH IT UNTIL AFTER YOU SEE THE THEATRICAL VERSION OF THE MOVIE!!!



(rather like this idea of mentioning the host from the 17th, so I think I'll keep doing this for others)
Funnily enough, I almost tagged Miss Vicky in my Letter from an Unknown Woman review. I had it typed out and everything.



The world doesn't owe you a damn thing
Funnily enough, I almost tagged Miss Vicky in my Letter from an Unknown Woman review. I had it typed out and everything.
I was good at doing it for a while and then started to slip up as well.



Following edarsenal's lead - @rauldc14

Pierrot le Fou (1965)


I'm in a 60s mood.

I think this is where Godard's pondering is most successful due to how Belmondo's character is established as a lackadaisical idea focused cynic who feels totally out of place. I'm confident that Godard is projecting into Ferdinand aspects of his own character. Both in terms of strength and weakness. The weakness shining through in Anna Karina's Marianne (Not enough positives to throw in Karina's direction here. She is fantastic!). I think the film touches on an interesting topic and I liked the cuts to Ferdinand's diary writing to support the film's inner conflict. Nice use of art and popular culture too to push the film's momentum. Having seen the majority of Godard's 60s work before Pierrot le Fou I knew what to expect on first watch but it's avant-garde to say the least.

Especially when you combine the film's philosophy with creative quirks such as musical numbers, fourth wall breaking, a voiceover that's interrupted and morphs into a double voiceover where either voice could be unreliable and a plot that totally expels any thought of a seamless narrative. I found it to be compelling. The creativity is off the charts but stylistically there are things that I'm not as keen on nowadays. Eg. some of the improv dialogue that I used to like when I was a student doesn't hit me the same way now. I also think that Godard's sense of humour is atrocious to the point where I find his films more amusing when they're trying to be serious. I'm completely onboard with its stunning camerawork, score and visuals though. That entire sequence in Marianne's apartment is amazing.

Top three Godard.



Good to hear that you liked it that much! I might be able to watch that one tonight. I need to get crakin' on some of the noms. Wish me luck
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Ahck, no luck. I went to watch Pierrot le Fou (1965) only to remember that I don't speak French I forgot to get subtitles. But I did watch another nom.