307 Naked

Discuss DVDs and Blu-rays released by Criterion and the films on them. If it's got a spine number, it's in here. Threads may contain spoilers.
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Martha
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307 Naked

#1 Post by Martha » Thu Jul 07, 2005 6:59 pm

Naked

Image Image

The brilliant and controversial Naked, from director Mike Leigh, stars David Thewlis as Johnny, a charming and eloquent but relentlessly vicious drifter. Rejecting anyone who might care for him, the volcanic Johnny hurls himself through a nocturnal odyssey around London, colliding with a succession of other desperate and dispossessed people, and scorching everyone in his path. With a virtuoso script and raw performances from Thewlis and costars Katrin Cartlidge and Lesley Sharp, Leigh’s picture of England’s underbelly is an amalgam of black comedy and doomsday prophecy that took the best director and best actor prizes at the 1993 Cannes International Film Festival.

Special Features

- Restored high-definition digital transfer, supervised and approved by director Mike Leigh, with DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack on the Blu-ray edition
- Audio commentary by Leigh and actors David Thewlis and Katrin Cartlidge
- Exclusive video interview with director Neil LaBute
- An episode of the BBC program The Art Zone in which author Will Self interviews Leigh
- The Short and Curlies, a short comedy from 1982 directed by Leigh and starring Thewlis, with audio commentary by Leigh
- Original theatrical trailer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring essays by film critics Derek Malcolm and Amy Taubin

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Anthony
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#2 Post by Anthony » Thu Jul 07, 2005 9:28 pm

Let 's hope this is just the beginning of the many great Leigh movies to come from Criterion.

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#3 Post by viridiana » Thu Jul 07, 2005 11:26 pm

Anthony wrote:Let 's hope this is just the beginning of the many great Leigh movies to come from Criterion.
Yes, let's. I've been praying for any DVD release of Life is Sweet for years now! But, I ain't complaining about getting Naked which is still an extremely fine film.

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#4 Post by Theodore R. Stockton » Wed Aug 24, 2005 1:28 pm

On the laser disc there was a radio drama called "Too Much of a Good Thing", I know nothing of the movie. So, I want to know what this has to do with the film.

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#5 Post by tavernier » Tue Sep 06, 2005 10:54 pm

Just got my copy of NAKED....haven't watched it yet, but I will tell you that the "more!" listed on Criterion's site consists only of Leigh's great short film, "The Short and Curlies." Oh, and the "video introduction by Neil LaBute" is now a "video interview."

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#6 Post by What A Disgrace » Sat Sep 17, 2005 12:22 pm

I just got my own copy, as well.

It isn't listed anywhere on the box, or in any run-down of the film's specs, but The Short and Curlies has an (optional, of course) audio commentary by Leigh. Also, the two essays are contained within a 16 page booklet.

The transfer looks spectacular, of course.

Oddly, my copy of Angel At My Table hasn't even shipped.

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#7 Post by FilmFanSea » Sun Sep 18, 2005 9:55 pm

First review I've seen is up at DVD Journal.

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#8 Post by oldsheperd » Mon Sep 19, 2005 9:24 am

Awesome film. Just watched my copy Saturday. Don't forget to look at the inside joke on the back of the liner notes book. What A... Angel At My Table is still on schedule but has been delayed a bit by the distibutor.

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#9 Post by Lino » Wed Sep 21, 2005 1:17 pm


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#10 Post by lull » Thu Sep 22, 2005 10:29 am

not only does Amazon.ca ship Naked "within 11 to 13 days" now, but the price has gone up from $33.14 to $35.51 (while a set like An Angel at my Table remains at $33.14). weird.

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#11 Post by flambeur » Thu Sep 22, 2005 12:13 pm

lull wrote:not only does Amazon.ca ship Naked "within 11 to 13 days" now, but the price has gone up from $33.14 to $35.51 (while a set like An Angel at my Table remains at $33.14). weird.
Preorder price is always cheaper.

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#12 Post by lull » Thu Sep 22, 2005 12:18 pm

yeah but Angel is still the same price as the pre-order.

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#13 Post by porquenegar » Thu Sep 29, 2005 2:31 pm

Very nice DVD set for an exceptional movie. Anyone else take a look at the trailer? The advertising makes it seem like a feel good, quirky film. I can only imagine the reactions of people who went to see it based on the trailers. They must have had quite a shock.

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#14 Post by lord_clyde » Fri Sep 30, 2005 2:51 am

oldsheperd wrote:Awesome film. Just watched my copy Saturday. Don't forget to look at the inside joke on the back of the liner notes book.
Yeah, :lol: I caught that too.

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#15 Post by yukiyuki » Fri Sep 30, 2005 10:08 am

has Grown-Ups been released in States?

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#16 Post by peerpee » Sat Oct 01, 2005 10:57 am

I was a little disappointed that the whole of disc 2 of NAKED was interlaced, including the new interview with LaBute. It makes it difficult to view on a progressive display, and some other recent Criterion discs have had progressively encoded interviews so I was expecting this to have also.

The Will Self BBC interview has some serious motion problems when displayed progressively (probably from a PAL > NTSC conversion) - luckily once the interview starts it's not really noticeable because there's so little movement. THE SHORT AND CURLIES looks like it's off old 1987 analogue betacam tape, ie. exactly the same interlaced old mess as the LD. I thought they might have tried to remaster this.

(Funny how Leigh says "hairdressing saloon" instead of "salon" on the commentary, and his explanation of the title (THE SHORT AND CURLIES) strangely sidesteps the fact that it's a euphemism for pubic hair)

Hadn't seen NAKED since release in 1993 and it stands up really well twelve years on. Definitely one of the best British films of the 90s, and a wonderful transfer on the feature, as usual.

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#17 Post by Narshty » Sun Oct 02, 2005 4:05 pm

I saw a video copy of this earlier in the week, and while any fool can see it's a truly great film, I find it too overwhelmingly bleak and unsettling to actually revisit it, let alone have a copy staring at me from the shelf. But, by jove, see it.

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#18 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Oct 08, 2005 9:44 am

I was thinking about the 'homeless' comment that it is mentioned on the commentary that many critics made about the film and I think it might have been made due to all the characters living in places that they do not own. But rather than homelessness it perhaps feels more like the characters are in an alien (or alienated) world where there is no sense of security - they are in their situations only as long as the person who owns it is allowing them to be there. The landlord is a grotesque but I think it is illustrating the fear that most of the characters have of what they will do when the 'owners' return.

That is one way of thinking that links the security guard to the woman in the window or the girl in the cafe or Louise, Sophie and Sandra. They have all been left looking after the city while the people who built and paid for it seem to have escaped (most likely to the suburbs or country homes). Also, from the items in their homes (Sandra's boomerang and 'diminishing pachyderms', the map of Ireland in the woman in the window's flat and the Greek objects in the flat the café girl lives in) when the owners of the houses are around they are thinking of being somewhere else!

These ideas of people not being able to afford to even think about buying a house or flat where they live seems to be another dire comment on society. It also makes the nightwatchman guarding empty offices especially ironic. He is in a sense the live-in tenant of a different type of owner, one hired to keep potential squatters out or as Johnny puts it "from stealing all the space".

Looking at the characters who have jobs: Louise, Sandra and Brian the nightwatchman, they are all either dreaming of going somewhere else, of actually escaping on holiday for a short time (but still ending up in the same flat minus boyfriend!), or of being teased with a thought of a different life back in Manchester.

But they are all destroyed. Johnny dashing Brian's illusions of the woman in the window (who he perhaps thinks of taking with him to the country) is suggesting that all his hopes are worthless. Sandra seems the most together of the three flatmates but she comes across as neurotic and a thief (with her NHS towels - also another comment on the kind of poor pay that public sector jobs bring?). Louise seems able to rebuff Johnny by correctly saying that things would be no better in Manchester than in London, but she also shows a naïve hope for the future by saying she will leave her job and return with Johnny. Johnny and the landlord are performing a similar function - if they were not around the other characters would be able to carry on with their lives and keep their fragile dreams without having to think of the future, of getting a job, of actually talking to the woman in the other building. While Johnny is around he forces them to confront their lives, which is both cruel and kind as on the one hand he is pushing them into finding something else that could perhaps be better and becoming an eternal traveller like himself, but on the other hand he is destroying people's defences and leaving them completely unprotected from their fears.

In that sense Johnny is the character who can best cope and he seems to treat the city as the empty place suitable only for passing through, using the various flats and people in them as stepping stones to keep his head above water. In a way he is perhaps the best example of the newly created short term cultural mindset; the inevitable legacy of various political policies in Britain where there is no job for life, no security of circumstances that can allow people to settle down in long term relationships, therefore creating a highly mobile, poorly-paid workforce. Plus his insane ramblings about barcodes allows him to rail against the world without having to focus on any of the actual issues that might be wrong with society.

I would also add the way Johnny steals the car to drive down to London as a similar act to hopping between the flats - it is an unplanned occurrence, but one which he capitalises on, a 'found object' in the landscape that is used and then discarded without any further thought. This idea also informs that very first scene of the film where the viewer is not sure whether they are witnessing a rape or just very rough sex - sex that got out of hand because Johnny is not interested in his partner, just reaching his own short term climax.

The more I think of it I feel that putting the most blunt and brutal example of such behaviour at the very start of the film helps to slightly obscure the function of the scene as being thematically similar to all the others while creating the tone and letting the implications of the opening hang over the rest of the film, and creates a frisson in the treatment of the extremely vulnerable Sophie in her scenes with the landlord and Johnny himself. Perhaps a more classically made film (or even something like Twentynine Palms) would have taken the approach of building to the moment where a shattering violent act occurs that puts what came previously into some sort of context - maybe Johnny would move towards a climactic rough sex/rape scene of a 'significant' character such as Louise that would make the themes of the film brutally explicit and reframe the action of the film. Instead, by opening with the most troubling scene and having the woman be an extremely minor character who never appears in the film again the issue is raised but does not overpower the other events in the film that are just as important in themselves but can seem anticlimactic compared to more shocking violent acts.

(EDIT: Also compare the way that Sophie is almost forced out of the film by the way she is treated, stumbling off into oblivion down a back street behind the house, to the way Johnny leaves the house behind him and lurches out at the retreating camera, as if he might be able to smash through the screen itself. He is a (relative) master of his domain, while Sophie has been cowed and humiliated)

Something that I've noticed in some reviews that The Art Zone is referred to as a BBC programme, while it was actually a series grouping various art programmes together. The BBC got into 'zoning' in 1998 when The Animal Zone was created on early Sunday evenings (usually from about 5.15p.m.- 7p.m) for wildlife programmes. Then in 1999 the History Zone was set up on Saturday nights between 7.30p.m. and 10 p.m. each week. Finally in 2000 the Art Zone was created to group various artistic programmes together on Sunday evenings between about 7.15p.m. to around 9.00 p.m.

The Art Zone only lasted two seasons, and I think part of this was to do with some criticism starting about the way that programmes were being ghettoised into blocks of programming. It did seem that a once weekly 'Art Zone' allowed the rest of the week to be art free - it got all those arty programmes out of the way!

Another reason for the Art Zone only lasting for a couple of seasons was probably the creation of the digital channels, as BBC Four launched soon after, which was a channel completely dedicated to the more arty, esoteric stuff. Unfortunately to me this still seems like ghettoisation, since people have to make a conscious decision to want to switch to that channel, if they can receive the signal for it at all!

Anyway I've checked through the listings for the Art Zone's first season and am posting them here to demonstrate that The Art Zone was not specific to this one programme but was more of an attempt by the BBC to create a season of art programming:

19th March 2000

Review:

A live discussion programme reflecting the current arts scene

How Proust Can Change Your Life:

A drama-documentary portrait of the early 20th-century French author Marcel Proust, based on Alain de Botton's updated analysis of his work as a modern-day self-help guide. Ralph Fiennes plays Proust, with Phyllida Law and Donald Sinden as his contemporaries, while commentators including de Botton, Louis de Bernieres and Doris Lessing explain their enthusiasm for his work. Narrated by Felicity Kendal

Picasso Days:

A French documentary charting the life of the Spanish artist Pablo Picasso through the events of 13 significant days in his life, including his marriage to Olga Kokhlova, the birth of his daughter, the bombing of Guernica and the death of Stalin.

Wings of Hope by Werner Herzog

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser by Werner Herzog

26th March 2000

Review

Tell Me The Truth About Love:

A look at the theme of love in the life of poet WH Auden.

Premiere of Love Is The Devil by John Mabury

2nd, 9th, 16th, and 23rd April 2000

Review

Seeing Salvation:

Four part series exploring how the image of Christ has been shaped through art over 2,000 years.

23rd April 2000

The Conversation

30th April, 7th 14th and 21st May

Tate Modern:

Stories behind London's art gallery: 1: Rothko's Rooms; 2: Moving Stories; 3: The Enemy Within; 4: Rebecca Horn
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#19 Post by jorencain » Sat Oct 08, 2005 9:58 am

colinr0380 wrote:Also, from the items in their homes (Sandra's boomerang and ‘diminishing pachyderms', the map of Ireland in the woman in the window's flat and the Greek objects in the flat the café girl lives in) when the owners of the houses are around they are thinking of being somewhere else!
Great post, Colin. Regarding Ireland specifically, not only is there that map, but Johnny meets the Irish guy, he asks someone else (I forget who; maybe the waitress who brings him home) if she is from Ireland, and he uses an ashtray that says "Ireland" across the side of it. This really jumped out at me, and I'm wondering why there would be so many references to Ireland in this film. It sure seems like a conscious inclusion on Leigh's part. Any ideas? As a stupid American, am I missing something?

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#20 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Oct 10, 2005 5:15 am

jorencain wrote: This really jumped out at me, and I'm wondering why there would be so many references to Ireland in this film. It sure seems like a conscious inclusion on Leigh's part.
I think it probably was very conscious - perhaps a way of showing how London is the focus of people from across the UK looking for work or to lose themselves. There is Ireland, the Scottish couple and Johnny and Louise from the north of England all arriving in the city - no Welsh though which is a little strange!
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#21 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Dec 06, 2005 6:50 am

I went back to my television recording of The Conversation as I was sure that there had been more clips than just those from Naked and sure enough there were. They weren't essential and the clips from Naked were the longest ones in the programme, but I thought it might be interesting to post what the others were here:

Most of the clips are from the beginning sequence with Will Self before he meets Mike Leigh.

The first clip comes just after Will Self closes the cupboard in his kitchen - this is from Abigail's Party and is the scene when Angela is told by her husband to get out of her chair because they are going in no uncertain terms!

The next clip is between Will Self opening his letters in his kitchen and walking up the stairs to his office and is from High Hopes - the scene where Shirley is asked whether she has an open relationship.

After Will Self leaves his house and uses the crossing the next clip is from Secrets and Lies and is the famous scene with Timothy Spall's characters breakdown.

That is really it for film clips in the programme. The only film clip that occurs in the interview itself apart from those for Naked that have stayed in is one that comes just after Mike Leigh talks about Topsy Turvy and if he were to be asked "whether there was any Gilbert in me". There is a short clip from Topsy Turvy from the scene where the actors are performing for the Japanese ladies.

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#22 Post by blindside8zao » Wed Jul 26, 2006 7:28 pm

one of the most amazing parts of thewlis' performance for me was after he returns to the house at the end of the movie and is kneeling before the "landlord", and he babbles something that sounds jarbled and meaningless, but I think a lot of meaning can be construed. The emotional "naked"ness in Thewlis' eyes is all the more moving because it's the only point in the movie that he's vulnerable.

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#23 Post by colinr0380 » Mon Oct 30, 2006 4:12 pm

Perhaps there was something to all that barcode ranting Johnny does in the film? These people certainly think so! :D

To add to the comments I made about the film earlier, about how people are coming from different parts of the country and that there seem to be comments on poor jobs and public sector pay (with the NHS towels), I think one of the major areas Leigh doesn't address in the film is race and immigration. It seems a conscious absence from the film, although one I don't really miss since it would open up an enormous range of difficult and sensitive issues that it would take a much longer and complex film to deal with sensitively. It is interesting however to watch the film with the idea of this being a simpler metaphor for what has become an even more complex reality of employer/employee or landlord/tenant power relationships; north/south or Scottish/Irish/English divides; and communities being isolated whether geographically, ethnically or politically by a fundamentally selfish society looking for ways to easily apportion blame for their problems. In this light, Johnny having created his own rambling ideas of who is to blame for society seems no less absurd and self-serving than other explanations we may hear through the media or from politicians!
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#24 Post by teddyleevin » Sun Jun 03, 2007 12:13 am

oldsheperd wrote:Awesome film. Just watched my copy Saturday. Don't forget to look at the inside joke on the back of the liner notes book.
That little barcode gag is great. Reason number 537 why I love Criterion. That entire sequence between Johnny and Brian was my favorite part of the film.

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#25 Post by colinr0380 » Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:27 am


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