24th Hall of Fame

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I'm sorry guys, but I'm going to have to withdraw from this HoF. I don't think I'm going to be able to finish it. Too overwhelmed right now. I might join the next one though.


WARNING: spoilers below
April Fools lol!



The trick is not minding
Started to write out a review for Shame, and it started out something like this:

ďAny film that begins with a topless Liv Ullmann already starts with a passing grade from meĒ

I promptly deleted it, and will write a more proper review tonight. I may still make a reference about them, however.
........donít judge me.....



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Started to write out a review for Shame, and it started out something like this:

ďAny film that begins with a topless Liv Ullmann already starts with a passing grade from meĒ

I promptly deleted it, and will write a more proper review tonight. I may still make a reference about them, however.
........donít judge me.....
That was me too.

Hmm, okay, I'm invested.



I still haven't written my review for Shame either
actually, I have about three total for varying HoFs.
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What to do if you find yourself stuck with no hope of rescue:
Consider yourself lucky that life has been good to you so far. Alternatively, if life hasn't been good to you so far, which given your present circumstances seems more likely, consider yourself lucky that it won't be troubling you much longer.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
I'm sorry guys, but I'm going to have to withdraw from this HoF. I don't think I'm going to be able to finish it. Too overwhelmed right now. I might join the next one though.


WARNING: spoilers below
April Fools lol!
Banned from the 25th HoF!


WARNING: spoilers below
Kidding! Happy April 1st!
Oh, you mischievous sprites and your humorous hijinks







The trick is not minding
That was me too.

Hmm, okay, I'm invested.



I still haven't written my review for Shame either
actually, I have about three total for varying HoFs.
Yeah, I tend to take a day or so after watching certain films before I post a review because I want to think more on them, such as is the case with Shame and even La Dolce Vita before that.
But never more then one film at a time.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
Yeah, I tend to take a day or so after watching certain films before I post a review because I want to think more on them, such as is the case with Shame and even La Dolce Vita before that.
But never more then one film at a time.
Sometimes, I can knock out a few but not enough additional time to follow up with reviews.

I do agree certain movies do take a day or more to ponder over. Shame is an excellent example of that.
On the flip side, there are those hard-hitting emotional films that demand an instant write-up moments after the end credits.



For me, the longer I take to review a movie, the more my passion wanes. I liked to write a review immediately after watching it while I'm still fired up from the viewing...but usually I have to wait until the next day to write.



The trick is not minding
Shame

A marriage thatís already frayed unravels even further set to the backdrop of a unspecified war. As only Bergman can direct. Filmed gloriously in black and white.

Liv Ullmann and Max Von Sydow play the unhappy husband and wife, Eva and Jan respectively. They are former musicians in a Orchestra. Eva seems unhappy, holds resentment over Jans affairs during a break, and can not stand his childishness and his procrastination. Jan seems to lament the disbandment of the orchestra many years ago. He canít stand the way she is often times terse towards him. An early exchange has him in tears over her telling him, sternly I guess, to get his leather jacket. He may be a little sensitive.

Theyíre caught up in war, where their differences with each other is brought to the surface, forcing them to deal with their issues. Complicating matters is a General Jacobi, who insists on making things difficult for them. He clearly imposed himself on them, and is interested in Eva. She makes a decision involving Jacobi that makes little sense to me. She clearly doesnít want him around. So was it out of spite for her husband? Whatever it was, that decision sets in motion events that change their dynamic.

I didnít particularly care too much for this film much, surprisingly. I found the camera angle to be too close up at times. But despite those close up angles, there were many other great scenes that only his long time cinematographer, Sven Nyquist, is capable of capturing. Scenes like the burning of their house, and their subsequent travel to escape their dire situation.* And who can forget the sea of corpses?

The acting was ok, but nothing about this film really resonated with me. I found it interesting at a few points, the idea of the marriage unraveling as the war raged on around them, mimicking their own hostility. Their sudden role reversal. But Bergman never really fully delivers. Maybe I expected too much considering how much I love The Seventh Seal.

Thatís not to say it isnít a good film. I liked parts of it. But I get the suspicion that this is a film that will improve on a rewatch.



With the ballots I have I usually kept a running tally but I haven't calculated anything yet so it will be a total surprise even to me who's winning.



With the ballots I have I usually kept a running tally but I haven't calculated anything yet so it will be a total surprise even to me who's winning.
I heard In a Glass Cage is -200 favorite in Las Vegas.
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Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?
With the ballots I have I usually kept a running tally but I haven't calculated anything yet so it will be a total surprise even to me who's winning.
I do that when I Host. Since I'm normally one of the stragglers, I don't want my vote influenced even on a subconscious level. Though, for those who enjoy it, I'll do a series of counts according to when votes come in at the very end to show how the votes affected the count throughout.



Think you used enough dynamite there, Butch?



Shame aka Skammen (1968)

It does appear that, like others, this would definitely benefit from a second viewing. A definite solid Bergman film that I did remain engaged throughout, I was never entirely captivated. (OK, there was that opening when Liv Ullman shrugged her way out of bed). And, of course, that boat ride at the very end. I was very captivated with the occasional momentum entrenched scenes that spoke outward involving the diminishing relationship, their switching of personas, and the military's interference and insistence that their side is the Right Side. Yet, both acted like selfish, insecure teenagers with guns.
Of course, the cinematic aspect was the usual quality work by Sven Nyquist, and Bergman does deliver, not at the top of his game, but significantly.
As I write this, I am very much aware that this could change on a second viewing of this film. Not extensively, but enough to raise the enjoyment a few notches, thereby bringing the gap a bit closer between Enjoyment and Respect. With a mutual Appreciation growing a little stronger across the board.

Still, I do welcome another opportunity to explore further a Director that I fully respect. Even though I lack the learned knowledge to appreciate in-depth fully, I am thankful for these opportunities to discover.



Still sticking to this for the most part...

With the deadline set at April 20, this is my tentative schedule to which I will not subject...

March, Week 1: In a Glass Cage
March, Week 2: The Whisperers
March, Week 3: The Secret in Their Eyes
March, Week 4: Vampyr
March/April, Week 5/1: La Dolce Vita, Hard Times
April, Week 2: The Day of the Jackal
April, Week 3: Barry Lyndon, The Sea Inside
April, Week 4: Beasts of the Southern Wild
Will try to catch up with The Secret in Their Eyes and maybe Hard Times this week.
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VAMPYR
(1932, Dreyer)
A film from the 1930s



"Who can solve the riddle of life and death or fathom the dark secrets hidden from the light of day?"

Death has always been a mystery. What awaits for us after has been the subject of studies, theories, beliefs, and fantasies, particularly because, well, there's no way to tell. From established religions to cults, from attempts to bring people back from the dead or avoid it altogether. Perhaps those were some of the questions in the mind of Allan Gray, the main character in this film from Carl Theodore Dreyer.

Vampyr follows Gray (Nicolas de Gunzburg) as his studies of devils and vampires take him to the village of Courtempierre. It is there that he finds himself immersed in a dreamlike journey where death is not only a matter of investigation, but a constant threat to him, and everyone around him; especially the family that he's trying to protect.

Early in the film, as Gray arrives at an inn, we see a ferryman that's traveling across the river. His silhouetted image, with the sickle in hand, reminded me of the mythical Charon, the ferryman that carried the souls of the deceased through the river Styx and into Hades. And that image made me wonder about the reality of what we're seeing, how much of it is actually in Gray's mind while in an afterlife dreamlike state.

But that's the thing. Just like death itself, it is never clear what is real and what is a dream. Through the film, Gray himself steps in and out of his body, and experiences hallucinations of his own death. But even if the film doesn't really try to answer its own questions, what really stands out is the imagery that Dreyer presents; from the sickled silhouette that adorns most of the film's promotional pictures, to the images of ghastly soldiers and people marching or dancing; death is everywhere.

This is my second time watching this film and, even though I still find it hard to peg down, I still find it visually mesmerizing and captivating anyway. Much like Gray himself seemed eager to dive into this journey, I was looking forward to rewatching it myself.

Grade:



Shame (1968) -


This war drama is another impressive addition to Bergman's large body of films. Though some of the themes it boasts (dehumanization) aren't the most original for the genre, I really appreciated the way it handled this aspect. The various struggles that Eva and Jan experienced influenced their connection to each other and their willingness to commit heinous acts to survive. Early on in the film, for example, Jan was unable to kill a chicken, but later developed the stomach to kill another person. By contrast, while Eva was more sympathetic, Jan's actions lead to her despair and her feeling of disconnection from him later on. While the characterizations were effective though, I was mainly drawn to how the film appeared to be anti-war. For instance, we never learn what war was going on in the film. It might as well be a fictitious war. We also don't learn much about why the war is going on. Given the lack of insight over those details, Bergman didn't appear to glamourize either side. While the invading forces obviously caused problems for the two protagonists and other people around them, the army on their side wasn't depicted in a positive light either. In addition to a couple scenes of the soldiers mistreating their own citizens, Col. Jacobi also took advantage of and used Eva and Jan for his own purposes, just like the invading forces who interviewed the couple did. For the most part, I really loved this film, though I wasn't sure what to make of the ending sequence. While it contained some of the most horrifying imagery in the film, the tonal jump from war drama to survival thriller felt like a strange culmination to the film's themes. In spite of that, I really enjoyed my time with this film.

Next up: Vampyr