Sunday, September 12, 2010

Miscellania: Claude Chabrol (RIP), Venice (Post-Mortem), TIFF (First Impressions)

As you've undoubtedly heard, the French auteur Claude Chabrol passed away at 80. Both The Telegraph and Glenn Kenny have fine obits for your reading pleasure and if you can read French, Le Monde collects testimonials from many cinematic luminaries to honor him. I didn't know his career as well as I should but I quite liked both L'Enfer (1994) and the recent Ludivine Sagnier love/murder triangle A Girl Cut in Two. (The two of them are pictured to your left.) The prolific director's Le Beau Serge was the first French New Wave offering and we should all probably program ourselves mini-fests to catch up on his best work. Any suggestions? I'm reading these titles a lot: The Cry of the Owl, Les Biches and Le Boucher. I suppose it wouldn't hurt to catch up with any of his Isabelle Huppert collaborations either. Here's his available filmography from Netflix, LOVEFilm or GreenCine, depending on your rental pleasure.

A much less permanent goodbye, is the Venice Festival Post Mortem. Venice will be back next year... perhaps I should start saving those non-existent pennies? In Contention's Guy Lodge says arrivederci with some thoughts on the surprise jury decisions. But a lot of people are crying foul or, rather, "favoritism!" since Tarantino once dated Sofia Coppola and is also friends with Monte Hellman, who received a special award.

a disturbing still from Balada Triste de Trompeta

CineEuropa also shares a few interesting words from the double winner writer/director Alex de la Iglesias the man behind the "political slasher" Balada Triste de Trompeta aka The Last Circus. It sounds like he was on the (happy) defensive as early as the awards ceremony. His film was not one of the festival's well received entries, at least not critically.

Meanwhile TIFF is in full swing.

My day is a little crowded today with off blog happenings to investigate everything, but for now a few links. The Mickey Rourke / Megan Fox Passion Play has been declared a head-scratcher, Robert Redford's Lincoln assassination aftermath drama (aka The Conspirator) is actually getting good press and has modern political resonance. Unfortunately, it still needs a distributor to win Oscar buzz. Speaking of Oscar buzz, Miranda Richardson's definitely going to get it (the buzz I mean... not neccessarily the statue) for Made in Dagenham since the early reviews all single her out. Sally Hawkins could be a Best Actress contender as well but that awful snubbing for Happy Go Lucky might indicate that they just don't respond to her. I've adjusted my supporting actress page because it didn't look right to me anyhow and the virtual ink hadn't yet dried. Excitement is also building for the premiere of Rabbit Hole tomorrow -- here's a pic I hadn't seen from the set.

Are you joining us for the next "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" roundups? All you have to do is...
  1. watch the movie
  2. post your favorite single image to your twitpic, blog, site, or other online shareable space and we'll link up.
Consider it an eye-candy focused mini blogathon each week. I've included the "instant watch" options if available for Netflix. Otherwise you have plenty of time to rent.

09/15 Pandora's Box (1929) instant watch
09/22 Se7en (1995, exact 15th anniversary!)
09/29 La Dolce Vita (1960) instant watch
10/06 Requiem for a Dream (2000, exact 10th anniversary!)
10/13 ...and then maybe a horror film for a possible Season 1 HMWYBS finale ... but which? (Trying to decide if we'll have the stamina to keep it up. Perhaps we should go monthly? Certainly more participation would invigorate. hint hint.)

Add your discerning eyeballs to ours to honor these fine movies.


Volvagia said...

I've suggested The Night of the Hunter a few times. I think that would be a perfect way to end the season.

stjeans said...

OK you don't know Isabelle Huppert's work if you haven't seen
"Une Affaire de Femmes" "Madame Bovary" & "La Cérémonie". 3 of Chabrol's best film. Another favorite of mine is "Betty" with the sublime Marie Trintignant & Stephane Audran. Chabrol was a master. So sad...

James T said...

Nathaniel - Why not wait to (kind of) finalise your predictions until the Rabbit Hole has premiered? I mean, things could change for Kidman and Wiest. Since you already made a change for Richardson,I think it makes sense though I get that even if the performances wow people, the matter of distribution will probably not be settled the same day it premieres.

Anyway, fingers crossed for the film and the performances!

Monkey said...

I agree with James T nathaniel you should atleast what on till TIFF is over until you finalize yopur predictions cause you never know what might slip through the cracks


oh there will be other updates. now that we're in the prestige season, you won't have to wait for 3 months for updates. :)

but i suspect Rabbit Hole is going to 2011. they might think that actress is too stacked already (and they might be right)

MrW said...

It's odd about Chabrol: Although he's undeniably a fine director with dozens of really good films under his belt and although he was probably even more important than Michael Haneke when it comes to shaping Isabelle Huppert's on-screen persona - I just somehow never quite considered him en par with the first league of Nouvelle Vague directors. His filmography, good and solid as it is overall, is simply lacking in the masterpieces I can love unconditionally (in other words: you're just no Truffaut or Godard or Resnais if you never directed a '400 Blows', 'Jules and Jim', 'The Bride Wore Black', 'Day for Night', 'Breathless', 'Vivre sa vie', 'Bande à part', 'Week End', 'Hiroshima mon amour' or 'Last Year at Marienbad').

If I had to recommend a definite Chabrol set, that would definitly include 'La femme infidèle' and 'Le boucher' (his two films that probably come closest to being masterpieces), 'Violette Nozière' and 'La cérémonie' and 'La cérémonie' (for two of Isabelle Huppert's finest performances), and, to add two lesser known films from his body of work, 'Les innocents aux mains salés'(because every film starring Romy Schneider is worthwhile, and also because Jean Rochefort steals every scene he's in) and 'Masques' (with a great lead performance by Philippe Noiret).

Derreck said...

I might try for Se7en and La Dolce Vita, but i don't think i have the gumption to watch Requiem for a Dream again. lol.

NicksFlickPicks said...

Re: October. Requiem is enough of a horror film for me!

Jackal said...

IMO, both Swank and Wright are out. Reviews for both performances have been 'meh' at best, with Rockwell having the most praised performance in Conviction and James McAvoy apparently being the standout in The Conspirator.

Unknown said...

@ Jackal, and that is indeed good news ;)

Luke said...

Is anyone all that excited about Somewhere? Ever since the abomination known as Cold Creek Manor, I can't be excited about anything Stephen Dorff does...

Andrew R. said...

Sadly, I have not seen ANY Claude Chabrol films.

I do think the award for Somewhere was favoritism, based solely on the reviews, but I still want to see it.

The next few rounds of Hit Me With Your Best Shot are really easy choices for me, especially since Pandora's Box and Se7en are my picks for best film of their year. I won't spoil my picks.

(As far as picking a horror film...The Exorcist would be excellent. Linda Blair gets some great, creepy shots)

OtherRobert said...

Beautiful/visually striking horror films FYC:

Cat People (original)
Don't Look Now
The Wicker Man (original)
The Hunger
The Exorcist
Ginger Snaps
Sleepy Hollow

I believe I'll be joining the festivities for Se7en and returning for Requiem for a Dream. I just needed you to pick a film I have ready access to. I prefer not to use Instant for screengrabs because the quality isn't as good.

RJ said...

The Last Circus...Lord, what is this movie?! Awards Daily has a video from it with a bunch of half naked girls singing and stripping in front of a large picture of Telly Savalas and now that TERRIFYING clown picture.

cal roth said...

On Chabrol: he has at least 4 masterpieces: La Femme Infidele (remember Unfaithful, with Diane Lane? remake), The Beast Must Die, Story of Women and, his greatest movie, Le Boucher, the supreme work of his cold style of thrillers.

I've seen more than 20 movies of him and these are the ones I recommend more enthusiastically. For the actressexual inside you, DON'T MISS Story of Women, Isabelle Huppert's best performance ever, the single most brilliant work of acting of the 80's and one of the most complicated turns ever delivered by an actor. Huppert is a masterpiece herself in this movie.

If you want to get deep in their collaboration, see also Violette, La Ceremonie and the recent L'Ivresse du Pouvoir, her most perfect work of the 2000's after The Piano Teacher, of course. She's unbelieavable subtle and restrained in this movie, refusing every single trick she made us expect from her and Chabrol together (they get a little repetitive in movies like Merci Pour Le chocolat and The Swindle).

But if you have to choose only one movie by Chabrol, go with Le Boucher. It'll make your heart stop.

Michael said...

Se7en and Requiem would be plenty of horror for me, but if you want one more I would be thrilled to pour over The Shining.

Glenn said...

Carrie would be a perfect horror one since, being a Brian De Palma film, there's plenty of options.


hmmm funny that when i was dreaming up the list i wasnt even thinking of SEVEN and REQUIEM as horror but they are horrific so maybe we should end with a comedy.

Mierzwiak said...

For October 13th I suggest "The Ring" (US version).

Volvagia said...

Except can you think of many comedies worthy of this series? Even Kind Hearts and Coronets, the best film comedy of any stripe ever made, is defined almost solely by the lines and the deliveries. If you decided to do a spin off, "Hit Me With Your Best Line", I think comedies would be huge in that. Although, you haven't done an epic yet. There's Gone With the Wind, Lawrence of Arabia, Doctor Zhivago and many other examples to choose from.

Andrew R. said...

I agree and disagree with Volvagia. While I can think of some good shots from comedies, those films tend to have only a few good shots. Here are four examples.

Sideways-Miles and Jack sitting while Miles contemplates suicide and his failure.

Lost in Translation-Beside Scarlett No-Pants-On's opening scene, there's the obvious shot of Bill Murray sitting on the bed.

Eternal Sunshine-All right, this is the exception. Too many great shots.

Almost Famous-This is the opposite of Eternal Sunshine...I can't really think of an amazing shot. But I love the poster and the film as a whole.

Weird fact: All four of these films won for Screenplay. And what do you know, they all deserved it.

Volvagia said...

Nat said he wants to increase audience participation. A comedy wouldn't really seem to be the way to do that. Usually too few great shots to accomplish what he wants, and one movie getting two shout outs within 45 days of each other? Uncanny.

Brian Owens said...

In the midst of that post you referred to The Conspirator. I saw it. All the elements are fine. Robing Wright was great. But it was like eating poorly-seasoned mashed potatoes. Bland, bland, bland.

Joe Nolan said...

This is great. A fine tribute. Chabrol isn't as well known as Godard but in a sense I enjoy his films more consistently. His marrying of genre tropes with audacious artistry continues to engage me even upon repeated viewings of his films. For those of you who haven't seen Les Biches - or those who'd like to watch it again - I am screening it at my site with a goodbye of my own: