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Author Topic: Rate The Last Movie You Saw  (Read 1765172 times)
dave jenkins
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« Reply #4725 on: November 09, 2008, 01:01:40 PM »

In the Mood For Love -
Imdb plot summary: A man and a woman move in to neighboring Hong Kong apartments and form a bond when they both suspect their spouses of extra-marital activities

2nd viewing. I think this is a wonderful movie and it stirs up a lot of emotions, something that only a few movies have been doing for me lately. The visuals are stunning. One of the most interesting things about this movie is that most of the time these kind of stories are about the people who are actually cheating on their spouses, but these two aren't really doing anything wrong, they're the victims in this situation; yet they feel guilty for seeing each other, even though they're not lovers, physically that is, because of 'what the neighbors might think', literally in this case.
I'm glad you put it that way. Believe it or not, there are lots of viewers who think that the couple did consummate their relationship, even though there is nothing in the film to suggest that. Apparently, in an earlier version of the film, there was footage of them making love, but WKW cut it. This bit of editing actually ended up changing the film, but supposedly, according to some things I've read, WKW expected audiences to infer a physical relationship nonetheless, and press kit material went out promoting that reading. Today there are two differing interpretations, the one foisted on us by the press corps, and the one that insists on reading the film for only what it actually contains. Needless to say, I prefer the latter approach, as it makes the picture more interesting.

Of the WKW films I've seen, this is my fave; I've seen Chunking Express several times, and the more I've seen it, the more I enjoy the first part and the less I enjoy the second. I don't know if it's just that I don't take to Fay Wong or if I get tired of hearing "California Dreamin'", but I pretty much turn the film off now as soon as the girl with the wig shoots her man.

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« Reply #4726 on: November 09, 2008, 01:17:47 PM »

In fact, if it were a style then Citizen Kane and Casablanca would be considered noirs; they aren't, although they share many of the hallmarks of the so-called noir style. Clearly, noir isn't a style, and it isn't a genre. In fact, it just isn't.

Well, Mr. Jenkins, the fact you stating that two particular films aren't considered noir is quite revealing: certain movies must be considered noir, then. That means something, doesn't it?

Kane, Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon (1941) were pioneers into creating a new kinda-sorta-but-not-really genre that has its roots in the gangster genre. I do agree that noir isn't a genre in the literal sense, but when hundreds of films released within a 17 year period share philoshical elements, character traits, STYLE, etc. it's quite appropiate to give these films a label.

Semantics aside (which would be akin to asking you not to breathe), noir is very real. You know it when you see it.

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« Reply #4727 on: November 09, 2008, 01:28:54 PM »

If we're going purely by style though - usng my example from film class - then Brief Encounter could be classified a noir film. It shares many stylistic traits with such films - use of voice over/flashback, expressive black-and-white cinematography, morally ambiguous characters - and yet it's categorically not by most definitions. If Laura had pushed Alec under a train, I guess that would have made it a noir.

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« Reply #4728 on: November 09, 2008, 01:56:12 PM »

Brief Encounter is obviously noir influenced in terms of its look. How does that complicate classification for films like The Asphalt Jungle?

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« Reply #4729 on: November 09, 2008, 01:56:52 PM »

Brief Encounter is obviously noir influenced in terms of its look.

Yes, but is it a noir film?

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« Reply #4730 on: November 09, 2008, 02:04:43 PM »

To repeat myself, it's noir influenced. It's not a noir.

I never said that noir is a genre. Of course, there are films like Brief Encounter, The Tall Target, Casablanca, etc. etc. that complicate matters. But again, when HUNDREDS of films are released in a 16-17 year period that share specific plot, character and stylistic elements, it's logical to give these films a label. We can play this useless game with specific genres: Is El Topo a western? Is A Woman is a Woman a musical? Is Woman in the Dunes Sci-fi?...Who cares?

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« Reply #4731 on: November 09, 2008, 02:06:34 PM »

To repeat myself, it's noir influenced. It's not a noir.

Then what's the distinction? I suppose that's my point.

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« Reply #4732 on: November 09, 2008, 02:11:11 PM »

Then what's the distinction? I suppose that's my point.

crime.

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« Reply #4733 on: November 09, 2008, 02:16:56 PM »

Crime and punishment, punishment and crime... IN THE HALL! Cheesy

I'm sure you're aware of how the notion of noir as a genre came about, yes? It wasn't considered such in 1944, when Brief Encounter was made, and while Lean was certainly familiar with American cinema I'm not sure how you'd argue it was noir influenced.

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« Reply #4734 on: November 09, 2008, 02:29:33 PM »

Crime and punishment, punishment and crime... IN THE HALL! Cheesy

I'm sure you're aware of how the notion of noir as a genre came about, yes? It wasn't considered such in 1944, when Brief Encounter was made, and while Lean was certainly familiar with American cinema I'm not sure how you'd argue it was noir influenced.

Noir's visuals were birthed primarily in the gangster genre and films like John Ford's The Informer, which had to influence Lean's BE.

For the record, many label the noir years from 41-59. 1944 falls into that timeframe.

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« Reply #4735 on: November 09, 2008, 02:36:56 PM »


Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) 9/10

See rrpower. I rated it just for you.  Afro

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« Reply #4736 on: November 09, 2008, 03:47:25 PM »

Well, Mr. Jenkins, the fact you stating that two particular films aren't considered noir is quite revealing: certain movies must be considered noir, then. That means something, doesn't it?
It only means that the selection process is arbitrary.

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Kane, Casablanca and The Maltese Falcon (1941) were pioneers into creating a new kinda-sorta-but-not-really genre that has its roots in the gangster genre.
Actually, those holding to a belief in noir usually point to Stranger on the Third Floor (1940) as the original noir or proto-noir. In fact, I Wake Up Screaming (1941) has all the elements associated with noir (expressionist lighting, flashback structure, femme fatale, corrupt police, etc.) but required, apparently, little in the way of "influences" (it was in production at the same time as Falcon and could not have benefited from any of its "innovations.") How is it that a movement can emerge fully formed, with no need of development? Indeed, Paul Schrader,  in his seminal essay on noir, is at pains to organize the subject into three sub-periods, simply because there is no consistent style over the period 1941-1958. That being the case, why is it necessary to group these films together at all? Or why is it necessary to exclude the gangster pictures of the 30s? The practice is merely historical, and therefore, arbitrary.

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I do agree that noir isn't a genre in the literal sense, but when hundreds of films released within a 17 year period share philoshical elements, character traits, STYLE, etc. it's quite appropiate to give these films a label.
Yes, and the label should be: Standard Industry Practice.

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Semantics aside (which would be akin to asking you not to breathe), noir is very real. You know it when you see it.
I know Technicolor when I see it, too, and it is neither a genre nor a style.

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« Reply #4737 on: November 09, 2008, 03:48:30 PM »

I know Technicolor when I see it, too, and it is neither a genre nor a style.

 Grin

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« Reply #4738 on: November 09, 2008, 04:51:18 PM »

It only means that the selection process is arbitrary.

Your semantics based argument is arbitrary. I'm basing my case on logic and reasoning.

 Actually, those holding to a belief in noir usually point to Stranger on the Third Floor (1940) as the original noir or proto-noir. In fact, I Wake Up Screaming (1941) has all the elements associated with noir (expressionist lighting, flashback structure, femme fatale, corrupt police, etc.) but required, apparently, little in the way of "influences" (it was in production at the same time as Falcon and could not have benefited from any of its "innovations.") How is it that a movement can emerge fully formed, with no need of development? Indeed, Paul Schrader,  in his seminal essay on noir, is at pains to organize the subject into three sub-periods, simply because there is no consistent style over the period 1941-1958. That being the case, why is it necessary to group these films together at all? Or why is it necessary to exclude the gangster pictures of the 30s? The practice is merely historical, and therefore, arbitrary.

Noir is the evlotion of the gangster film. It is branched out into categories: PI, police procedural, heist, etc. etc. If you want to compeltely dismiss the impact of WW2, and its effect on American films, then be my guest. You know damn well that these pictures, which extended to many genres involving crime, share commonalities and hence the label noir. You're essentially arguing against convience.
 
Yes, and the label should be: Standard Industry Practice.

Well, at least you admit these gritty B&W movies share common ground, that's a start.
 
I know Technicolor when I see it, too, and it is neither a genre nor a style.

I know a baseless argument when I see it, too. Here's why I am right and you are wrong: When I say noir, you know exactly what the type of film I'm referring to, the same can not be said for technicolor. Its purpose is served. That's the reason for labels in the first place: to group, classify. Noir is just an abbreviated way to describe the 1940s and 50s stark B&W crime films usually dealing with moral decisions. These particular films may or may not include a femme fatale. These films may include a private investigator. These films may include a murder mystery or a build up to a murder...  

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dave jenkins
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« Reply #4739 on: November 09, 2008, 05:13:46 PM »

If all you want to say is that the term "noir" is a shorthand way of referring to b&w crime films of the 40s and 50s, then that's fine. The term is therefore one of convenience. However, once having granted the term, I expect to limit the meaning to no more than that: no backdoor introduction of film crit nonsense about the deeper social meanings that attach to films that are essentially escapist fare.

I note your mentioning WWII. You are right that it had an influence on Hollywood cinema, but only because it sped up the process of bringing European technicians (with their experience in Expressionism, French Poetic Realism, etc) to the U.S. These professionals had a profound effect on American film, but their influence was industry-wide.

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