“Giliap”

I’ve seen all of Andersson’s movies over the past few years — but in approximately reverse order. So I’m now back to 1975!

He didn’t direct a movie after this for 25 years, so I’m guessing this is gonna be the best movie ever.

OK, I’m pretty proficient in Swedish, but some slang is beyond me. And I’m not sure whether some of the utterances are supposed to be absurd, or whether they make sense. Like, these guys just mest and that guy sitting there said “jämna plågor” which (non-idiomatically means) “even pains”, which… er… doesn’t mean much…

And unfortunately there’s not Swedish 1975 Slang Search Engine!!! Who knew!

This is a fascinating film. I would never have guessed that it’s from the 70s — it has a sort of eternal/modern quality thing going on. So perhaps it seemed very old-fashioned in 1975?

Oh wow:

The reviews were very negative with almost no exception, calling it pretentious, old fashioned and reactionary on the level of a high school student caught up in French films from the 30s.

So I guessed right about people at the time finding it old-fashioned. But I don’t get a 30s vibe, either.

This is a very strange film, and I have no idea where Andersson is going with this. I mean, much much weirder than his 2000s films — they’re more stylised and clearly arteesteeque. This is like a normal film, only that none of the scenes make any sense.

So I guess it’s not an idiomatic problem:

“These people are evasively walking around each other, saying curious things of the type ‘we are destruction people’ and ‘we live like migratory birds’ and in the end I get the impression that Roy Andersson has got his whole philosophy of life from some film club that has gone through the dark French pre-war cinema with him, you know the one in which Jean Gabin always got shot right on the final step towards liberation.”

Well… it’s a Swedish movie from the 70s… I think there was a law about boobs.

Yes, I feel like that guy.

“wat”

This movie is, like, about that guy there, who seemingly has no personality to speak of, who meets these other absurd people, and then nothing happens.

It’s the sort of thing where you’re (I mean I’m) thinking “perhaps this is brilliant and I just don’t get it?” But I suspect that this is just shite. But it’s shite in a way that’s really original.

Hm:

Andersson admitted that the film contains flaws, and he said that the main reason for them was that he was not completely in control of the production, and therefore he had to compromise in several scenes.

I’m totally open to the idea that this is a work of genius, but I kinda don’t think so? So:

“Giliap”. Roy Andersson. 1975.

The Tree of Life

Oh god, this is some kind of religiousey thing?

Filmed on digital? It looks like digital from like 2002, but it’s 2011? Or was it filmed over a decade? It’s got that high-ISO blown out look that plagued movies for a few years until they figured out the sensors and were able to make better cameras, but I thought happened before 2011.

But the heavy-handed colour grading is totally typical for 2011 — desaturated with lots of greens. Perhaps it was shot on film and then just… digitised a bit too much?

I remember during the run-up to the Sight & Sound 2022 poll, people were talking about how this should be a shoe-in for at least the bottom half of the list. Instead Jeanne Dielman, 23 Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles became number one and everybody started talking about that instead, so I wonder whether the Malick fans are doing well.

(It’s been fun reading Twitter reactions to Dielman, by the way — at first there was a bunch of “think pieces” from er assholes that said that it winning made a mockery of Cinema and that people were gonna be put off from Film totally for ever, and then reading people going to theatres showing it now and being totally being blown away. It’s like… people will actually enjoy great stuff if they just get an opportunity and an impetus to experience it.)

Oh, I was watching a movie, not kvetching about Twitter…

Oh, this was shot in 1.85:1 but this bluray is 1.77:1. Fuckers! Why does everything have to suck? *inchoate fury at people that don’t like “black borders” on their tvs*

He really likes shoving the cameras into people’s noses, right?

Oooh the grandeur!

Somehow, everything about this movie is rubbing me the wrong way. It feels like undiluted kitch. Perhaps I should try to reset expectations, stop writing snarky comments and try to get actually pay attention..

OK! RESET! NOW!

Nice CGI.

But I’m not sure using CGI this aggressively is a smart choice, because it just leaves the viewer going “is this animation or real? now then? now?” I guess the tell-tale sign here is that when the image sucks, it’s real, because the digital camera he’s using isn’t all there, but then it’s animation, it looks better?

Why so much rubber on Brad Pitt’s poor face? And insets to make his chin and cheeks bigger… is he gonna be younger later in the movie?

Oops, I forgot I was resetting. RESET!

Kitteh!

DADDY ISSUES

Oops reset.

The kid actors are great, though. And somehow seem to be right for the time period in both look and how they act; it’s very impressive.

Hm… perhaps Pitt doesn’t have any rubber prosthetics on his face? It’s just the cheek inserts and an jaw brace to make his jaw jut out like that? It looks kinda eeh.

Oh god, it just goes on and on with this picayune daddy issue stuff… Yes, we know that men suck. We know! This isn’t saying anything interesting about that, but is instead presenting this trite material as if it’s the most groundbreaking thing ever.

Is nominating a movie for a bunch of rewards and then giving it none a bigger insult than not nominating it at all? I hope so.

Those wacky Wacoans.

0.0 points!? I’ve gotta read this… Heh heh:

And for the record, a boy’s inner monologue (circa 1960) would in no way sound like Yoda (“Wrestle inside me mother and father does! Always you will!”)

That’s brilliant, but:

Incredible cinematography? Check. Beautiful soundtrack? Check. Narrative? You won’t find any such thing ’round these parts.

My problems with this movie seem to be perpendicular to this guy’s problems. I think this movie has too much narrative, really — it the movie was nothing but CGI dinosaurs, I’d be fine. (I’m exaggerating slightly.) The problem is that there’s a lot of narrative, and it’s all trite.

Ooh! A door in the desert! How deep!

OK, I guess we’re in the allegorical end section now.

Hm… hey, this is kinda good! The ending works — it’s the best part of the movie, really.

Oh, that’s snarky even beyond me…

I think there’s several scenes here that connect emotionally, and it’s mostly down to the performances of the kids. They’re really great.

But this movie mostly sucks. There’s no two ways about it. It’s like listening to the innermost, deepest thoughts of somebody that’s totally uninteresting.

The Tree of Life. Terrence Malick. 2011.

One From The Heart

*gasp* I wasn’t sure until this very scene, when they’re using screens and lighting to shift between that guy in the sofa and a different scene behind the screen.

I remember seeing this movie when I was thirteen (with one of my older sisters). I have no idea what made us (or probably me) choose this movie — I remember knowing that it was a film people hated (or at least “critically slated”), but I don’t remember why I dragged us to watch this film. On the other hand, when I was visiting Oslo when I was twelve, I remember just going to a multiplex and staying there all day, watching like five movies in a day. I was starved for cinema — in my home town, the cinema had just like the biggest movies (and only a couple per week), which I wasn’t that interested in anyway.

So I (presumably) dragged my sister to watch this movie (did it have a higher-than-thirteen age limit?) and I remember just being riveted by the colours and these flourishes of artificiality…

But I forgot what actual movie it was we were watching, and I’ve been trying to triangulate, and finally I found it.

Ooh! I thought this was in real Las Vegas for a while, but it obviously can’t be. So Coppola built all this in his studio?

The neon cost alone must be more than the budged of most movies!

And all these people on the lot!!!

It’s sometimes not clear whether they’re supposed to be in a dreamscape or actually outdoors… It looks amazing anyway.

Most of the actors here are perfect, but I think this guy (Frederic Forrest?) isn’t quite right for the role. I know he’s supposed to be an average Joe, but he’s er lacking in charm, and he’s a hammy actor.

The mattes!

I remember from when I was thirteen that I walked out of the cinema, discussing this with my sister, and I thought that it was a really cool movie. I loved the artifice of it all (although I phrased that as “those screens were near”), but I wasn’t totally enthused about it. I thought… that it wasn’t the disaster the critics made it out to be? But that the storyline left something to be desired.

But now, 42 years later, my brain has obviously atrophied, and I like this movie even more. I’m flabbergasted at how great and how artificial it is, and I’m just wondering how it was made. And… like… did Coppola spend absolutely all his Godfather money on making this fever dream a reality?

Ah, right.

Well, I made my sister contribute at least $10 of that worldwide gross. (I forget how much cinema tickets were at the time.)

So it was a total, absolute box office bomb with a pretty big budget.

Oh, the music really is by Tom Waits? I thought it sounded like… somebody trying to do Tom Waits, but softer…

Yeah!

The film’s cinematography has come to be lauded in recent years. In the Los Angeles Times, Susan King praised One from the Heart as “so visually arresting, it’s shocking that it wasn’t well received back in 1982.”

[time passes]

This DVD has a bunch of extras and documentaries, and they’re interesting. Coppola really bet everything on this movie, and it was really panned by the critics. And his Zoetrope Studios went up for sale after the premiere, because he was out of money, and he spent the next decade paying off his debt from this film.

There’s an entire DVD of extras, and they’re longer than the actual movie. Coppola is amazingly forthright about what he was trying to do… it’s interesting stuff.

This has never been released on blu-ray. The DVD I have is in 1.33:1, which it was filmed in 1.37:1. So I guess they cut off the edges? But it’s not a lot of edge.

I think when I was thirteen, I would have given this… . I was riveted while watching it, but not entirely convinced by the hokey ending. I’m more sentimental now, so:

One From The Heart. Francis Ford Coppola. 1981.