Sergio Leone Web Board
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 16, 2017, 07:48:40 PM
Home Help Search Calendar Login Register
News:


+  Sergio Leone Web Board
|-+  Other/Miscellaneous
| |-+  Off-Topic Discussion (Moderators: cigar joe, moviesceleton, Dust Devil)
| | |-+  Jean-Pierre Melville
0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic. « previous next »
Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 ... 8 Go Down Print
Author Topic: Jean-Pierre Melville  (Read 3850 times)
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Online Online

Posts: 8297

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« Reply #45 on: May 16, 2017, 02:04:15 AM »

continuing discussion regarding Quand tu liras cette lettre aka When You Read This Letter(1953) ... and, I'll say this for the final time in this thread, there are spoilers


More thoughts on this fascinating film. Needless to say--but I'm saying it anyway, because, apparently, idiots read this board--there are SPOILERS ahead.

Ginette Vincendeau believes that there is ambiguity in the movie’s ending. It is generally supposed that Therese is travelling by train to rejoin her convent, but GV suggests she may have decided to join Max instead. True, she had told her sister that it was to the convent she was going, but GV notes that she could have been lying or may have changed her mind. GV thinks this makes the ending more interesting. What she fails to mention, though, is that later we actually see Therese at the convent. (Is there perhaps another print of the film that does not contain this scene?) Of course, you could construct a chain of events in your mind that justifies Therese’s change of heart yet again (after she learns of Max’s death, she decides to actually go to the convent she hadn’t really intended returning to at first), but such a multiplication of assumptions doesn’t seem to me very convincing. The simplest answer seems best: she said she was going to the convent, and because she meant what she said, that’s where she went.

Vincendeau spends so much effort on her clever reading that she fails to explore a much more interesting ambiguity. The train that kills Max is the one on which Therese is riding (to go back to the convent or wherever). Had he not been killed, Max would have certainly boarded the train. His informant told him Therese was on the train, so he would have gone looking for her. He believes that Therese is coming to meet him, so even if that is not her intention, meet him she shall. Intervening circumstance prevent us from learning what might have happened, but we are free to speculate. Even if Therese was convent-bound, would the reunion with Max have changed that? Maybe Therese would not have been able to resist his blandishments a second time.  Maybe Max had to die so that Therese’s destiny as a nun could be fulfilled? Years before Kieslowski's cinema-of-chance, Melville was prompting this kind of discussion.


I think there is enough ambiguity in the ending that – even if you think one or the other is more likely – GV was correct to mention and discuss the ambiguity, and the possibilities. I do believe there is good argument for it being ambiguous.

(It's too bad that no disc is available, so I can't go back and refer to the movie; I have to remember what we saw) :

A) You say that Therese "said she was going to the convent, and because she meant what she said, that’s where she went." Whom did she say this to? Max or Denise? I seem to recall that before Therese left, she told Denise specifically saying that she will not be leaving her for good, but will be coming back. Am I wrong? If she is really intending going back to the convent and become a nun, would she really tell Denise a blatant lie like that?

B) RE: "What she fails to mention, though, is that later we actually see Therese at the convent. (Is there perhaps another print of the film that does not contain this scene?)"
 To me, the fact that we see Therese at the convent at the end is not proof that she was intending to go there all along. You can certainly say that she was indeed going to Max, but once he is killed, she returns to the convent?  Once Max is dead she has nothing left for her outside the convent. Maybe she even takes it as a sign from God: He has punished the evil Max; he is now punished for his sins, and now Therese no longer has the temptation of Max, and she eventually returns to the convent. Of course, she has to take care of Denise, but maybe she waits a few years before returning to the convent. We don't know how long after Max's death that final scene takes place. Think of that scene as the epilogue. It's nice matching scenes, opening and closing at the convent. Much better than if the movie had ended simply with Max's death. I can't believe there was any version without that closing scene at the convent

C) If I recall correctly: When the train pulls into the station – where Max is supposed to come on, but unbeknownst to Therese, he is dead – I seem to remember that Therese pulls the window shade down, but not right away; she waits a good few moments, and eventually pulls the shade down. Do you recall that as well? Or am I wrong? If that is correct, that can be interpreted as that she was conflicted ... It was only after some time that she is able to pull the shade down (i.e., trying to hide from Max, to make sure he doesn't see her). Until she pulls the shade down, she was hoping he would come on. Or perhaps we can even say she was conflicted and unsure herself of what she would do. She took the train that night, praying that God give her the strength to resist Max's advances ... she really was not sure if she'd go off with him or go on to the convent, even all the way until they pulled into the station. Finally, only after they are in the station for a while, she is able to conquer her temptations and shut him out of her life.

Bottom line: from the fact that - if I recall correctly - she waits  a few moments before pulling down that shade, it means she is expecting Max to be at the station, and in some way conflicted.

D) If you want to read it as Therese clearly, unambiguously, and unconflictedly going back to the convent, then why the hell did she take that specific train? She knows Max is expecting her to be on that train. She knows he is waiting for her at that station, and will walk on and try to seduce her into coming with him. If she really just wanted to go back to the convent and absolutely did not want to see him, why the hell would she take the one specific train that he is expecting to meet her on?

To be clear: I'm not trying to argue that she was definitely going to meet Max. What I am saying is that there is very good reason to say that she is at least conflicted or that the ending is intended to be ambiguous.

E) RE: your final paragraph: speculating what coulda-woulda-shoulda happened if Max had not died, that's not very interesting to me


F) I'll throw in here another possibility - perhaps it seems a bit far-fetched, but maybe not impossible: Is it possible that Therese never finds out what happens to Max?
We obviously know that at the time of Max's death, neither Therese nor anyone else on the train (except the engineer) knows that Max has been run over by the train. So we just assume that she found out sometime later? Perhaps not. Perhaps she simply thinks that Max never showed up. Maybe she thinks that he believed her when she said she won't be meeting him. Whatever. Maybe she was hoping to meet him, maybe not. Now she thinks he got discouraged and ran away. Whatever. But she never finds out what happened to him. As I recall, in the final scene she asks forgiveness simply for having kept Max and Denise apart - there's no mention of Max's death, correct? In that case, maybe Therese is still unaware of his death. She feels guilty that because Max loved her, he did not marry Denise. So she asks forgiveness for being the cause of Denise not having married Max. But she has no idea about his death. I don't think this is so far-fetched, actually. Because we know that nobody on the train is aware that the train has run over somebody.  The train pulls out of the station and travels on, and nobody knows it has killed someone. If we are to assume that by the end of the movie Therese is indeed aware of Max's death, what is the significance of her not being aware by the time the train pulls put of the station? Wouldn't that be truly awesome if Therese goes back to the convent – either because she was always intending to do so; or because once Max failed to show up, she figured he had ditched her and she was done with him, whatever – without ever having known that he has died. She feels guilty for being responsible for keeping him and Denise apart, without ever knowing that she is actually responsible for his death?

 Evil Evil Evil Evil Evil

Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13625

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #46 on: May 16, 2017, 06:47:55 AM »

continuing discussion regarding Quand tu liras cette lettre aka When You Read This Letter(1953) ... and, I'll say this for the final time in this thread, there are spoilers


I think there is enough ambiguity in the ending that – even if you think one or the other is more likely – GV was correct to mention and discuss the ambiguity, and the possibilities. I do believe there is good argument for it being ambiguous.

(It's too bad that no disc is available, so I can't go back and refer to the movie; I have to remember what we saw) :

A) You say that Therese "said she was going to the convent, and because she meant what she said, that’s where she went." Whom did she say this to? Max or Denise? I seem to recall that before Therese left, she told Denise specifically saying that she will not be leaving her for good, but will be coming back. Am I wrong? If she is really intending going back to the convent and become a nun, would she really tell Denise a blatant lie like that?

No, I mean it is her intention to go to the convent and then come back but her plans change once Max is dead--she decides to stay at the convent (I'm assuming she knows he died--it would have been announced in the newspaper, such things were big news in those days). I don't think Therese ever lies, so I don't believe she would tell Denise an untruth if she were intending to run away with Max. She meant what she said at the time she said it but things changed. Of course, when we see Therese at the end, we don't know how much time has passed. Maybe she went to the convent, returned to Denise, then went back to the convent after finding out Max had died.

One of the things GV doesn't take into consideration is Therese's character as it is demonstrated throughout the film. She is trying very hard to resist Max--hence the bit where she slams her hand in the dresser drawer, mortifying her flesh. Remember, it is not only her religious scruples that concern her--Denise is in love with Max, and Therese would be stealing her man if she took him for herself. Since leaving the convent, her entire program has been about doing things for Denise. She would certainly sublimate her own desires to fulfill those of her sister.

Sure, ambiguity is usually more interesting than obviousness, but in this case I have a very hard time believing that Therese would throw over everything she has stood for to be with Max.

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for lying in the middle of the road.
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Online Online

Posts: 8297

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« Reply #47 on: May 16, 2017, 09:05:55 AM »


One of the things GV doesn't take into consideration is Therese's character as it is demonstrated throughout the film. She is trying very hard to resist Max--hence the bit where she slams her hand in the dresser drawer, mortifying her flesh. Remember, it is not only her religious scruples that concern her--Denise is in love with Max, and Therese would be stealing her man if she took him for herself. Since leaving the convent, her entire program has been about doing things for Denise. She would certainly sublimate her own desires to fulfill those of her sister.

Sure, ambiguity is usually more interesting than obviousness, but in this case I have a very hard time believing that Therese would throw over everything she has stood for to be with Max.

We have already seen that she is conflicted about Max.  Love makes people do foolish things that they wouldn't do otherwise. I'm not ready to say that I'm 100% sure that she would conquer feelings for Max just because Denise loves Max. She is conflicted.

Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13625

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #48 on: May 16, 2017, 09:59:34 AM »

We have already seen that she is conflicted about Max.  Love makes people do foolish things that they wouldn't do otherwise. I'm not ready to say that I'm 100% sure that she would conquer feelings for Max just because Denise loves Max. She is conflicted.
This film is structured like a tragedy, which means somebody has to die at the end. It turns out to be Max in a surprising turn of events, but it could have been Therese. Returning to the convent is one way to die (mortifying the flesh). A literal death was possible too: conflicted about her desire for Max and her need to gratify her sister, she jumps in front of the train so that Max and her sister won't be separated on her account. Of course, a good Catholic wouldn't usually consider suicide, but if "love makes people do foolish things that they wouldn't otherwise" is true, we would have to allow the possibility.

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for lying in the middle of the road.
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13625

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #49 on: May 16, 2017, 04:18:43 PM »

D) If you want to read it as Therese clearly, unambiguously, and unconflictedly going back to the convent, then why the hell did she take that specific train? She knows Max is expecting her to be on that train. She knows he is waiting for her at that station, and will walk on and try to seduce her into coming with him. If she really just wanted to go back to the convent and absolutely did not want to see him, why the hell would she take the one specific train that he is expecting to meet her on?
I don't believe this is the case (and yeah, it would be nice to have a disc to check). Max told Therese to meet him the next day at a specific place, but I don't believe he gave her a definite time. Isn't that the whole point of having the woman informant watching for her so that she can call Max and tell him if/when she's coming? Otherwise, why does he need this info? He can simply wait for Therese to show up at the rendezvous time and if she doesn't he'll know she decided against him. Also, the inserts we see of Therese on the train are not consistent with a character waiting for someone. She never looks like she expects someone to show up. In fact, if she thought Max was going to join her on the train, but didn't see him on the platform, wouldn't she get off to see if she could find him? I never got the idea there was a definite plan ("I'll board the train and find you"). When Max crosses the tracks for the platform on the other side he waits for the last minute because he knows Theresa is on the train. Otherwise he would have crossed earlier to look for her. But Therese doesn't definitely know Max is coming. In fact, she seems oblivious to the possibility that someone will join her. Maybe, even, she was hoping to sneak through the station without Max realizing she was on the train. Maybe that's the significance of pulling down the blinds?

Huh, there really is a lot of ambiguity in that ending!

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for lying in the middle of the road.
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13625

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #50 on: May 17, 2017, 11:16:35 AM »

FF is extending their Leon Morin run over the weekend. I'm starting to feel like I may go down after all. Those extra 11 minutes have really piqued my interest.

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for lying in the middle of the road.
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Online Online

Posts: 8297

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« Reply #51 on: May 18, 2017, 12:17:50 AM »

FF is extending their Leon Morin run over the weekend. I'm starting to feel like I may go down after all. Those extra 11 minutes have really piqued my interest.
If I were you - i.e., I had a chance to see 11 extra minutes of a movie I love - I'd definitely go.

I went last week. I saw the dvd once, a few years ago; I do remember it enough to know which material at FF is new. If you do go, I'd appreciate if you'd let me know which scenes are new.

I saw somewhere, a few years ago, that in the final film Melville did not use a lot of his footage of the Occupation aspect of the story, but focused on the religion stuff. So my guess is that the added material probably has to do with the Occupation. But it's just a guess. (I do not know if Melville cut the Occupation scenes simply because the movie would've been too long otherwise, or if he made a specific decision to do it this way.

GV quotes Melville  as saying that this book was the best book he ever read about the Occupation, but to me the movie really does not focus on the Occupation. The story could've been anywhere, anytime; the Occupation has little bearing on the story. This is much more about the conversations with the priest. And these conversations have almost nothing to do with the Occupation. IMO The movie could've been said anywhere anytime, and that would not have been much different.


I am not a big fan of this movie. It was filmed beautifully, looks great, and the performances by Riva and Belmondo - especially Riva - were terrific. But the story just doesn't interest me. Religion has never interested me as a movie topic.

« Last Edit: May 18, 2017, 08:54:56 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13625

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #52 on: May 18, 2017, 05:19:49 AM »


I saw somewhere, a few years ago, that in the final film Melville did not use a lot of his footage of the Occupation aspect of the story, but focused on the religion stuff. So my guess is that the added material probably has to do with the Occupation. But it's just a guess. (I do not know if Melville cut the Occupation scenes simply because the movie would've been too long otherwise, or if he made a specific decision to do it this way.

GV quotes Melville  as saying that this book was the best book he ever read about the Occupation, but to me the movie really does not focus on the Occupation. The story could've been anywhere, anytime; the Occupation has little bearing on the story. This is much more about the conversations with the priest. And these conversations have almost nothing to do with the Occupation. IMO The movie could've been said anywhere anytime, and that would not have been much different.
Except that the film repeatedly makes the point that Morin is a babe magnet largely because all the men in town are gone. It's doubtful Barny would have spent so much time with him if her husband had lived and/or there were other desirable men around. The war and Occupation provide a specific set of circumstances that allow for what transpires. Hard to imagine a similar set of circumstances occurring under different scenarios.

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for lying in the middle of the road.
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13625

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #53 on: May 23, 2017, 11:55:10 AM »

I only just noticed this now: https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/2711-out-of-print-announcement

Army of Shadows is now with StudioCanal, so no possibility of a Criterion reprint (but the StudioCanal release looks very good). This explains why Leon Morin is out of print (also The Red Circle and Le Doulos): StudioCanal owns them all. I guess I have to look to SC for the new expanded Leon Morin I want. The bad thing about SC is that they only infrequently release in the States. But since I have a region-free player that's not such a big deal . . .

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for lying in the middle of the road.
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Online Online

Posts: 8297

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« Reply #54 on: May 23, 2017, 12:33:18 PM »

I only just noticed this now: https://www.criterion.com/current/posts/2711-out-of-print-announcement

Army of Shadows is now with StudioCanal, so no possibility of a Criterion reprint (but the StudioCanal release looks very good). This explains why Leon Morin is out of print (also The Red Circle and Le Doulos): StudioCanal owns them all. I guess I have to look to SC for the new expanded Leon Morin I want. The bad thing about SC is that they only infrequently release in the States. But since I have a region-free player that's not such a big deal . . .

did you see Leon Morin, Priest at Film Forum? Do you think the new version will be released on disc?

RE: Army of Shadows: do you know if the Studio Canal is better or worse than the Criterion? (of course, Criterion is more expensive).

Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13625

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #55 on: May 23, 2017, 01:28:57 PM »

did you see Leon Morin, Priest at Film Forum? Do you think the new version will be released on disc?
I saw the new version and I think it will get a disc release.
Quote
RE: Army of Shadows: do you know if the Studio Canal is better or worse than the Criterion? (of course, Criterion is more expensive).
I don't own the Criterion blu (I may have the DVD somewhere) but I have the SC and it looks good. According to reports one isn't better than the other, but they have different color schemes. There is no way to know if either or neither is correct per the original colors in the theatrical release. But that's the world we now live in: it's harder and harder to know what films looked like in the past. Re-grading is the order of the day, and there seems to be no way to stop it.

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for lying in the middle of the road.
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Online Online

Posts: 8297

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« Reply #56 on: May 23, 2017, 05:57:27 PM »

Which scenes from LM,P are the new ones?

Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
dave jenkins
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 13625

"One banana, two banana, three banana, four...."


View Profile
« Reply #57 on: May 24, 2017, 07:42:37 AM »

Which scenes from LM,P are the new ones?
There's a sequence where a family of 3 comes to hide out in Barny's flat. I wasn't sure if they were Jews or Communists or maybe both, but Barny knows them and doesn't like them. But she helps them. Eventually she places them with one of the women from the baptism scene, who has a house out of town (we see the house earlier in the film when they're getting the children dressed for church). The scene where Barny uses a combination of threats and humor to convince the woman to take the family in has a lot of charm. There is also a sequence (which is on the Criterion disc in the supplements as a deleted scene) about a woman Barny befriends who is later executed by the partisans. There are also extra seconds added to certain scenes: I noticed that the initial "confession" Barny makes to Morin was slightly extended. I think there are other cases, but I've forgotten them. I liked all the additional material, and I look forward to buying the new disc when/if it comes out.

I found my CC DVD of Army of Shadows last night and did a quick comparison with the StudioCanal Blu. The DVD upscales very nicely and looks amazing. In fact, I prefer the image to the SC, even with the lowered resolution. The colors on the Criterion look better to me than those on the SC (which seem artificially brightened). Also, dark clothing on the SC appeared to lose detail. And then you get a lot of supplements with the CC, including a feature-length commentary by GV (and she talks for almost the whole 145 minutes). In fact, there's a second disc entirely of supplements on the CC DVD. If you can get a copy of this you should (the SC blu has only a single extra, a modest documentary).

Logged


That's what you get, Drink, for lying in the middle of the road.
drinkanddestroy
Global Moderator
Bounty Killer
*****
Online Online

Posts: 8297

trust a man who wears both a belt and suspenders?


View Profile
« Reply #58 on: May 24, 2017, 08:45:36 AM »

Thanks for the info  Afro

Logged

There are three types of people in the world, my friend: those who can add, and those who can't.
mike siegel
Bounty Killer
*****
Offline Offline

Posts: 866


Call me Kowalski, like the guy in Vanishing Point


View Profile WWW
« Reply #59 on: May 24, 2017, 10:26:50 AM »

The film was lit that way. I saw it on 35mm and 16mm.

Logged


New Sam Peckinpah forum online!  www.earnedinblood.com
Pages: 1 2 3 [4] 5 6 ... 8 Go Up Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  



Visit FISTFUL-OF-LEONE.COM

Powered by SMF 1.1.21 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
Page created in 0.034 seconds with 18 queries.