Title Comment Comment Date Comment Link
Birds

Thanks. We are able to see a remarkable number of birds here. Still searching for my first Cedar Waxwing though!

4/6/2014 View
Jarrod's Favorite Films

You're right: Dreyer is Dreyer, no matter what! The sense of speed in They Caught the Ferry is really fun and effectively foreboding. There are a few of the shorts I've still been unable to find, chiefly The Village Church that is on the BFI Gertrude disc. I have a copy of the film Two People, which Dreyer apparently disowned, but haven't been able to locate subtitles! Arggh!

Napoleon is all about the thrill of spectacle and the possibilities presented by the tools of film. I can't think of any movie as legitimately and profoundly Spectacular as it is. I imagine seeing it on the big screen would be absolutely awe-inspiring. It is gargantuan, gimmicky and manipulative in the very best possible way. Definitely not an intellectual experience, but one that is moving by the sheer delight you experience through Gance's dedication to exploring every last thing he can find to make the theater-goer sit up in their seat, shocked to life. His story-telling could obviously be seen as silly, but I think its simplicity is balanced by the virtuosity of his style. I've sometimes thought of it as the greatest children's movie ever made. Gance's creative energy seems inexhaustible and it lifts you up joyously. I don't know if you've ever read Pauline Kael's review of the film or not, but she really sums it up beautifully. One of the lines I like best is where she says that Gance had a "fever in his work which came out of love of the medium itself, and this love was the real subject of his movies."

Let me know what you think of Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors! In some ways I think it has a similar spirit to Napoleon. I just noticed The Color of Pomegranates on your list. What a film!!!

Also, how would you describe Pialat? I need to see his stuff!

4/12/2010 View
Jarrod's Favorite Films

Sorry I didn't respond to this! :D Although it is pretty daunting to attempt to say even a few words about one of my absolute favorite films. I certainly agree about Dreyer's mastery of the medium and it would be easy for me to ramble on and on about the many things in Ordet I love and think about often. What I most admire about the film though is its portrayal of religious belief. Dreyer's view of people is so full and decent and the way he depicts the sincerity of belief in this film is extraordinarily moving. It's the difference between merely showing the idea of common religious virtues (piety, faith, forgiveness) and understanding what those things actually mean to the people who sincerely try to be guided by God in their pursuit of them. The woman's simple prayer at the Bible gathering and Peter the Tailor's awareness of needing to ask Morten for forgiveness in Ordet are two incredibly beautiful expressions of this. Even in Day of Wrath, when the tone is more critical, the decency of Absalon, despite his many failings, is given emphasis. I saw a quote recently by Jonathan Rosenbaum (describing a completely different film) where he responded to its "complex perception of goodness." That sense of goodness is what I respect most about Dreyer and Ordet in particular.

I've been trying to see most of the short films he made for the Danish government recently. Have you seen any of those? They're hard to come by unless you have the BFI DVDs but Good Mothers, The Struggle Against Cancer, Thorvaldsen and They Caught the Ferry are wonderful.

1/23/2010 View
Jarrod's Favorite Films

Thanks for commenting! Those three are certainly a triple-threat of Glory in my (and many people's) book! And as for that last one: man o man, PT really did it, didn't he?

1/19/2010 View
Jarrod's Favorite Films

Thanks for your comments. It's always wonderful how talking to fellow film lovers and hearing their favorites inspires a renewed interest and perspective on them. I need to revisit your top 2 films again in particular, it's been a while...and as far as Tarkovsky goes, let's hope those rumors of Criterion re-releasing Andrei Rublev actually happen soon!

As for Ordet and Nashville, I see them as 2 sides of the same great heavenly coin. Above all else, I admire and love them for their fundamental benevolence and see this as indicative of something much greater. Kind masterpieces are hard to find. Both are deeply spiritual to me; Ordet naturally being the more obvious in this regard, but Nashville, for its joyous compassion toward humanity and exhilaration in depicting life, is certainly its earthy Chestertonian equal. I would say Altman made something like 8 perfect films in the 70s and everything else is just varying degrees of fascinating icing on the cake. Quintet? Yow! And (as I'm always quick to mention) I even like OC and Stiggs! As far as benevolence, I view Frederick Wiseman in much the same way. It's tempting with him to just list "all films" because his work is so interconnected. By virtue of "Near Death"'s profundity and length, it wins by a nose. These films offer so much all you can really do is sit back and be grateful.

8/30/2009 View
Unique American Churches

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8/27/2009 View