“All the memory of the world”. Twenty minute short on the French National Library. The long middle section is a class-filmstrip-type movie in that it tours the facility and shows how everything works, but with the gliding hallway cameras and poetic narration of a Resnais or Marker film. Posits the library as man’s collective memory, sort of like the library in that guy’s head in Dreamcatcher. Credits say “with the collaboration of… Chris and Magic Marker” and Agnes Varda, among many others. At the end, after comparing people to insects, over a shot of a hundred library visitors reading the books they’ve selected, it closes: “Astrophysics, physiology, theology, taxonomy, philology, cosmology, mechanics, logic, poetics, technology. Here we catch a glimpse of a future in which all mysteries are resolved. A time when we are handed the keys to this and other universes. And this will come about because these readers, each working on his slice of universal memory, will lay the fragments of a single secret end to end, a secret with a beautiful name, a secret called happiness.” Nice little movie.

Chris Marker’s book:
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Hiding in the stacks, a guard attacks:
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“L’Annee derniere a Marienbad.” “Rarely has a film been more talked about since its release in 1961. Whether considered a pretentious chore or an aesthetic revolution, this is one of the few truly mythic films in the history of cinema” – Luc Lagier

I rewatched the movie, checked out the documentary by Luc Lagier and the introduction by Ginette Vincendeau on the DVD, and read author Alain Robbe-Grillet’s introduction to the book. Two of the three say that there are two ways of appreciating the film… analyzing the hell out of it, or simply letting the images flow over you and getting lost in it. Never being too big on analysis, of course I prefer the latter.

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Mr. X approaches Mrs. A and tells her they had an affair last year, which she doesn’t remember. He gradually convinces her, while her husband Mr. M lurks behind, playing games with other guests. The whole movie’s a game or a maze, with unannounced flashbacks, false memories, repetition, and breaks in time and space.

Lots of different interpretations mentioned in the DVD features. X is doomed to repeat this day a hundred times and this is the first time he’s convinced A of his scheme and broken out of the loop (kinda star trek / groundhog day). X and A are aping the play they see at the start of the movie. X is aware that he’s an actor in a film, and is using A to break out of the film. The Shining is a virtual remake of the movie. The movie is a virtual remake of North By Northwest.

Could that be Alfred Hitchcock on the right?!
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Katy jumped ship before half the movie was over. Can’t blame her – she didn’t know what she was in for, and it’s rough if you’re trying to follow the plot.

Volker Schlöndorff (The Tin Drum) was an assistant. No Chris Marker involvement, but maybe I can use his proxy appearance in “Tout la memoire du monde” to kick off my oft-delayed Marker fest.

As for Last Year At Marienbad, I appreciate all the theories and discussion, but most importantly it’s a beautiful movie and should be seen again and again and again and…

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The first film I see in theater in over a month is “Snakes on a Plane”. Sure it wasn’t good, but it also wasn’t bad enough or campy enough or aware enough to justify the hype. Not that I didn’t have a good time.

Things not to forget:
– the surfing scenes at the intro and outro
– the inflatable raft keeping the snakes in the main cabin
– snake expert vs. snake dealer showdown on the ground
– Sam Jackson shooting the witness in the chest at the end
– snakes are on the plane because the baddie had “exhausted every other option”
– movie would’ve been better without the witness

Gone with the Wind! Currently sits at #170 in the IMDB Top 250. Strangelove is #19.

Agreed it’s a damn good movie, with lots and lots and lots of nice scenery and nice costumes and quotable lines and expensive-looking business all over. I found the first half (Scarlett O’Hara’s family plantation is slow to adjust to the losing Civil War) much more interesting and easier to sit through than the second (her relationship to Rhett Butler, reclaiming her Tara estate and worrying about her crush Ashley and his pregnant wife Melanie).

Lotta talk about Atlanta and Georgia. Mammy was fun, always talking to herself. I liked the fiddle-dee-dees.

IMDB trivia quotes a memo written by producer David Selznick about the firing of George Cukor as director of Gone With The Wind: “I think the biggest black mark against our management to date is the Cukor situation and we can no longer be sentimental about it… We are a business concern and not patrons of the arts.”

Under an hour long and just packed full of goodies. No reason not to watch this all the time.

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Poet grows a mouth on his hand, transfers it to an armless statue, awakening her. She traps him in the room but he escapes through the mirror into a Cocteau Crooked Hallway™ where he peeps through some keyholes seeing drugs and death and poetry. Later a boy is knocked down by a snowball and left bleeding while the poet and the statue woman play cards. Then some Cocteau Mysterious Poetic Stuff™ floats the film to a close.

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Dargelos and the Killer Snowball:

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The scene below was originally shot with the Viscount who financed the film and his wife, for whom the film was some kind of birthday present. Cocteau: “But when their families saw that they were applauding a suicide, they forbade it. We had to reshoot the scene of the loges with extras.” The real Viscount fled Paris for a while and delayed the release of Blood of a Poet for over a year while the furor from the Viscount’s other production, Bunuel’s L’Age d’Or cooled down.

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Cocteau calls the movie “a disturbing series of voyeuristic tableaux, a descent into oneself, a way of using the mechanism of the dream without sleeping, a crooked candle, often mysteriously blown out, carried about in the night of the human body.”

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Ebert calls Cocteau’s Testament of Orpheus minor, and Les Parents Terribles a masterpiece. Of course I’ll have to watch both of them again.

Not much left to say about Dr. Strangelove, since I’ve nearly memorized it by now.

Groovy font on the titles.

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George C. Scott is actually better than Peter Sellers in this movie.

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Thought I’d try to pay attention to the editing this time around… the whole idea that at the start of the movie when Rufus is disoriented, the cutting is very quick, and it gets slower towards the end as he builds confidence. That lasted about a minute before I started watching the lighting and trying to figure out what’s up with Keifer Sutherland’s eyes instead.

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Got some sci-fi genre embarassment attached to it, but it’s way too enjoyable to worry about that. Lotta plot crammed into this little movie. Also: Jennifer Connelly is pretty.

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Hmmm, these screen shots barely show up on my monitor at work. Dark Movie.

Circus strongman Anthony Quinn pops into poor village, visits poor family, mentions that their oldest girl has died, and skips off with the next-oldest, the simpleminded and very facially-expressive Giulietta Masina. She eventually learns to be useful in the act, but he never warms up to her, disappearing all night with whores and the like. Guy robs a convent and kills the clown she likes, then leaves her to die on her own, and carries on for years with his lame chain-busting bit. Not one of those “tough guy with the heart of gold” stories then.

La Strada 1

Not as dismal as I’ve made it sound above, but still pretty dismal. Very watchably dismal though, whenever Giulietta Masina is onscreen, which is almost always. Mixes Fellini’s clown obsession with his bummer realist stuff very successfully. To think that I was afraid of this movie after seeing La Dolce Vita. Wonder if Katy would’ve enjoyed it.

La Strada 2

Thrilling movie, loved it. Also the gayest movie I’ve seen all year… and I’m not just saying that ’cause of the neckerchief. Very manly sweaty back-slapping kinda movie, and a weird subplot where our neckerchiefed hero loudly neglects his “girlfriend”. Movie also features lead characters named Mario and Luigi. That’s not adding to the gaiety, I’m just saying. Odd to see actors speaking Italian with synchronized sound.

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Everyone’s stuck in this poor town and hangs out at the bar but nobody ever pays their tab. One day, an apparently rich fat man shows up and Neckerchief befriends him, then tries to start a little two-man gang to intimidate the others, when he’s not mistreating his girlfriend and his roommate. Fortunately, an oil refinery some miles away has an uncontrollable fire and they need a buncha nitro to block off the flames (fight fire with fire?). Nitro is loaded into two trucks and drivers are hired. Neckerchief gets in and helps the fat man cheat his way in… then roomie Luigi and some other guy drive the other truck. That part out of the way, the rest of the movie is a thrilling, bumpy ride.

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After dude’s friends die and he gets the explosives truck to the burning oil fields, he gets WAY too happy and drives himself off a cliff. Is he happy cuz he’s now rich enough to leave town? To afford more whisky? To marry his “girlfriend” who’s waiting for him? I don’t know! I was talking to someone recently who hated this… was it Trevor & Robert? Anyhow, they’re so wrong. This kicks some ass, even if I can’t always figure out the lead characters’ behavior (hey, they’re Italian). First film ever to win both the Golden Palm (Cannes) and Golden Bear (Berlin), and has been remade twice so far.

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