Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

Discuss films and filmmakers of the 20th century (and even a little of the 19th century). Threads may contain spoilers.
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Mr Sausage
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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#101 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Mar 27, 2014 8:57 pm

Tommaso wrote:Well, curiously you already said what I had in mind. If "Ran" doesn't offer the possibility, then indeed Kurosawa's three late films do. I'm not sure whether his films should be seen as individual 'building blocks' of a larger project or not, but even in its despair "Ran" is some sort of passageway to the later films, an extreme darkness which could be seen as a necessary (educational) negative which is overcome by the 'acceptance' of those late films. But even in the darkest moments of "Ran" there is still an enormous emotional commitment and impression on the viewer (think of Hidetora leaving the burning castle, or the scene with the fool in the fields shaken by the wind) that for me is far removed from an unemotional dissection of the going-ons. Even if the characters are helpless victims of destructive forces, we still do feel for them. And certainly, the despair is authentic, but that is what makes it all the more humane (humanistic?) for me.

For me, examples for 'nihilist' cinema (and curiously far more aligned to the notion of enlightenment, and its limitations) would be many films by Greenaway, where the characters and everything else are subject to the inhuman rules of numbers, alphabets or other structures which relentlessly drive the actions to their usually bad ending.
I don't know about "nihilist cinema," but I do know that nihilism is not the same thing as an absence of emotion. Nihilism--at least the existential sort--rejects the idea that there is observable or discoverable meaning to life or existence. I think the sheer cruelty and destruction in Ran leaves us in this position--certainly it leaves Kyoami, the fool, in this position, and he expresses it with real eloquence. It's hard not to agree with him. But we are absolutely meant to feel the despair and sorrow of this idea, that life is without value and that we are at the whims of some cruel, unknowable force that sows pain and discord without purpose. Such a world is meant to make us weep, but I do not think the movie is being sentimental or pedagogic here: it's not a scare tactic urging us to betterment; it's emphasizing just how impossible betterment may be. Our destinies are not in our control; the choices of human beings cannot reduce the suffering or the cruelty. It will happen in spite of our best plans.

This kind of despair has always been lurking in Kurosawa (the relativistic void of Rashomon is just barely saved by the affirmation behind the Woodcutter's final action; Throne of Blood is ugly and fatalistic; I Live in Fear ends in ruin and madness), but the sequence moving from Kagemusha (in which the most important meanings and values rest on empty totems) to Ran shows Kurosawa giving himself over to that despair without mediation from the humanism that had kept it at bay for so long. But he found his way back from it, and did indeed make a protest film in Dreams.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#102 Post by matrixschmatrix » Thu Mar 27, 2014 10:24 pm

Hmm, it sounds as though both of our ideas about how humanism operates revolve around questions of agency, at any rate- and I would think that by your definition, implicitly, if only one or two forces within a work appeared to have any real agency, while the rest were mindless automata, that would still not qualify as 'humanist', which seems to stress that for good or for evil, choice is something universal. Certainly, I think you would have a hard time justifying a narrative in which a Nietzschean superman rises up against confining forces through the power of will- Django Unchained, perhaps- as fitting the term, no?

I do think it's almost always used in conjunction with an idea of warmth, which is perhaps not well suited.

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Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#103 Post by Mr Sausage » Thu Mar 27, 2014 11:41 pm

I wouldn't say it's about the presence or absence of agency, but about where that agency is directed and to what ends. A film about achieving a kind of enlightenment through the relinquishing of the conscious mind and a return to oneness would not at all be humanist, but it would be equally concerned with individual agency. That agency is just not directed towards the same ends.

The thing to realize is that this isn't a binary: humanism vs the rest. Humanism is one way out of hundreds of ways to conceive of meaning and value and our role in the world.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#104 Post by colinr0380 » Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:29 am

I'll ask again then: how would you see Gaspar Noé's films in terms of 'humanism' and 'aesthetism'? His films seem aesthetic above all, yet are driven by characters in some ways making moral decisions, or failing to recognise they are making them. Is Seul Contre Tous, with its ranting and nihilistic protagonist but a branch into either full violent nihilism or tenuous redemption at the end more humanist than the back-to-front inevitability (where a happy ending, or hope, only comes at the beginning and is only present through the filmic technique of reversing the events) of Irreversible or the seeming lack of conscious thought (turning it into a kind of subconscious film) on display in Enter The Void?

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#105 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Mar 28, 2014 7:39 am

I don't know if that's in any way directed at me, but I'll have to leave the question to someone who's seen a Gaspar Noe film. I haven't yet seen one.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#106 Post by Roger Ryan » Fri Mar 28, 2014 8:58 am

colinr0380 wrote:I'll ask again then: how would you see Gaspar Noé's films in terms of 'humanism' and 'aesthetism'? His films seem aesthetic above all, yet are driven by characters in some ways making moral decisions, or failing to recognise they are making them. Is Seul Contre Tous, with its ranting and nihilistic protagonist but a branch into either full violent nihilism or tenuous redemption at the end more humanist than the back-to-front inevitability (where a happy ending, or hope, only comes at the beginning and is only present through the filmic technique of reversing the events) of Irreversible or the seeming lack of conscious thought (turning it into a kind of subconscious film) on display in Enter The Void?
"Hell is other people"?

I agree with your take on Noé's films. Apart from the supernatural elements in ENTER THE VOID ostensibly portraying a form of afterlife/reincarnation, these films seem to be about people causing significant pain to themselves and others by making really bad moral decisions. The question may be: at what point does others' actions determine one's role in the world? I'm specifically thinking of the scene in IRREVERSIBLE where...
SpoilerShow
Marcus murders an "innocent" man in the club believing he is the one responsible for raping Alex.
This veers in the direction of one's fate being controlled by forces beyond one's control and, therefore, not a particularly "humanist" idea.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#107 Post by ex-cowboy » Fri Mar 28, 2014 9:54 am

colinr0380 wrote:I'll ask again then: how would you see Gaspar Noé's films in terms of 'humanism' and 'aesthetism'? His films seem aesthetic above all, yet are driven by characters in some ways making moral decisions, or failing to recognise they are making them. Is Seul Contre Tous, with its ranting and nihilistic protagonist but a branch into either full violent nihilism or tenuous redemption at the end more humanist than the back-to-front inevitability (where a happy ending, or hope, only comes at the beginning and is only present through the filmic technique of reversing the events) of Irreversible or the seeming lack of conscious thought (turning it into a kind of subconscious film) on display in Enter The Void?

Sorry, I was going to reply to your original question, but got side-tracked. I would agree that based on these discussions it is hard to draw a simple conclusion. And as you've said, there seems to be a gradual and consitent transition from more apparently 'material' cinema (material in terms of not relating to the transcendent) in I Stand Alone, to a less grounded approach in Irreversible and Enter The Void. However, in Irreversible, I would argue that technique aside, the issues in the film are still nihilistic in the existentialist sense of the term in that the film directly examines the descent of two men from normal citizens into violence. However, to call this inevitable is to perhaps minsunderstand the apparaoch of the film. I would argue that the use of reverse chronology is an explicit attempt to question the actions and motivations of the characters as the causality is less explicit. When the film 'cuts', or should I say 'shifts' or 'flows' from one action to the next/previous, we are not only narratively dislocated, but psychologically dislocated as the acts of violence are not exaplined as rationally as they would be in a revenge film told in the correct order.

I suppose with Irreversible, the main issue is with the technique, or more precisly the approach to filming, which could suggest a higher, ominiscient, if not omnipotent entity overseeing events. I would argue, however, that this is possibly more in line with the use of the constantly moving camera in Riddles of the Sphinx, where it is used to disrupt normal ways of seeing and also to suggest the immaterial, yet still 'man-made' systems at work that form a large basis of Marxist philosophy. This is not to suggest that Noe is a Marxist, but that he may be alluding to invisible systems at work that cuase and exacerbate the events in Irreversible (such as the attitude towards women across the world and the masculine incliniation to violence). In this case the reverse chronology also has another effect; to suggest that because of these systems and forces (psychological, not divine), the power of choice is even more marginal, yet still as vital to examine.

As for Enter the Void, having only seen it once and on it's release, I'm not sure I've assessed it to the degree required and recently enough to offer anything worthy of this space, except for the fact that I have read some people say that the focus on the book of the dead was purely Noe's excuse to make the film in such a way evoking the spirit world. I'm not sure I wholeheartedly agree with that, but I'd love to hear what others have to say on this and Noe's other work.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#108 Post by zedz » Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:23 pm

colinr0380 wrote:I'll ask again then: how would you see Gaspar Noé's films in terms of 'humanism' and 'aesthetism'? His films seem aesthetic above all, yet are driven by characters in some ways making moral decisions, or failing to recognise they are making them.
I can't see that there's any value in pursuing this false dichotomy up its own troll-hole. As Sausage and others have pointed out, there's no reason why any given work can't be both humanist and aesthetic. The terms aren't mutually exclusive. In fact, they're not even related in any meaningful way, and just because something looks good doesn't mean it's soulless.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#109 Post by Michael Kerpan » Fri Mar 28, 2014 3:26 pm

zedz wrote:...just because something looks good doesn't mean it's soulless.
And looking ratty doesn't make a movie (necessarily) soulful. ;~}

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#110 Post by ex-cowboy » Fri Mar 28, 2014 5:51 pm

I think the interesting point about Noe, and what I was trying to get at, rather than the false dichotomy between humanist and aesthete is the gradual but distinct change in Noe's work from a filmmaker of the material, to one more interested in the immaterial, or at least the relationship between the material and immaterial, and how the "inevitability" of the outcome/starting point of Irreversible is anything but.

Michael Kerpan - Absolutely, that seems to be a tenet of quite a lot of criticism, that something that might just be badly made has character, or dare I say it charm, I've never bought that line of argument.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#111 Post by MichaelB » Sat Mar 29, 2014 5:53 am

rrenault wrote:I never meant to imply Stanley Kramer was a more noble than Kieslowski. In fact, I like Kieslowski to a certain extent.
I'd be intrigued to know to what extent, because I'm getting the impression that your knowledge of Kieślowski's films is pretty limited, and heavily biased towards the more metaphysically-oriented films that he made in the 1990s.

I've seen the overwhelming majority of Kieślowski's films, including virtually all the documentaries and most of the TV work, and to me the emphatic statement "Kieślowski is not a humanist" is utterly absurd. Indeed, it's hard to think of many other filmmakers whose entire career has been so demonstrably dedicated towards affirming the core principles of humanism - often, as Zedz points out above, in very complex and challenging ways.

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Re: Cahiers Catch-All Thread: From Auteur to Z

#112 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Mar 29, 2014 9:01 am

I do agree ex-cowboy, and this is what makes Noé such a fascinating-frustrating director to me, as I feel he understands this some of grey area of the frustrations inherent in moral judgement, of visual imagery being revelatory, of characterisation being revelatory as well perhaps, even the point at which to decide on a start and end point of a film. I think Noé's film are a lot about arbitrariness in all of its forms taken to extreme, even meta-filmic, degrees that are primarily intended to create an effect (if not assault) the audience as much as the characters.

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Re: 733 La dolce vita

#113 Post by rrenault » Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:42 pm

Aspect wrote:While La Dolce Vita seems to be a work of disillusionment, it is one of the most lively and festive cinematic confections ever devised. Fellini, in his magnanimous wisdom, both celebrates and criticizes his enormous cast of characters. He never judges unfairly. He sees himself in many of them, their weakness and strengths, and presents them at their most vital. Like any great artist, and Fellini most certainly was, he doesn't condemn any of them to the waste-bin of history. Especially Marcello. Oh, what will happen to our lost hero? Fellini had reached a creative dead-end after La Dolce Vita, just like his main character. Who doesn't after creating a colossal masterpiece? I think 8 1/2 was his solution. For Fellini, creativity was religion, and the epiphany at the end of 8 1/2, of immense value for anyone who aspires to be an artist, is a celebration of art for art's sake, of creativity as the ultimate human expression. It's what kept him going as a filmmaker for the next 30 years, and partly explains his wacky, yet equally brilliant, later output. I like to think Marcello, maybe a year after the end of La Dolce Vita, took a good look around him, saw past the facade, and wrote his book. Kind of like Jep in The Great Beauty, a movie that sort of combines the cynicism of La Dolce Vita with the creative victory of 8 1/2.
You know, it's funny. This is precisely the issue I was looking for an excuse in this thread, since it's been on my mind a lot lately, although not specifically with respect to Fellini. Thanks for the alibi Aspect.

So why is art for art's sake a bad thing? It's often associated with narcissism and seflishness, as if the ultimate end of the artist in question is to be seen as a "great artist". Well my response is so what. If you're not driven by a burning desire to make a mark on a medium and be recognized for it then the arts probably aren't for you, which is why the false humility of someone like Pedro Costa, for me at least, even if Colossal Youth itself is a highly compelling film. Artistic expression is a 'selfish' endeavor. It's inward looking. It's a way of awakening others by first awakening yourself, leading by example. You're an artist. Wear it. If you're great enough it then you're allowed to be pompous and selfish, regardless of cultural Maxrist crypto jealousy. You can't expect an artist to be Gandhi or Che Guevara. That's an artist's job. They're job is to awaken us in a manner that transcends politics, focusing more on the macro than the micro.

Now yes I realizing I'm addressing the issue here in layman's terms and would be happy to discuss this issue in a more nuanced manner, but whatever helps to provoke debate in the first place. ;-)


But this begs to question what exactly art for art's sake is. Is a film that addresses and examines the vanity of mid-century Roman society truly art for art's sake, since there's still that 'sense of place' there. Is Ingmar Bergman a reactionary, since he only explores angst and existentialism in a macro manner without ever tackling on-the-ground political issues. Where do we draw the line? At what point is an artist being selfish and narcissistic to the detriment of his own art? Why do people choose to engage in artistic expression? Is it to directly address starvation in Africa? I would think not. If that's the case you could be a journalist or just a general humanitarian. I'd say artistic expression serves as an escape while calling into question general mores that inevitably lead to things such as starvation in Africa. Now it's true that art became far more inward looking as the 20th century neared, but I also think that may have been because the increasingly industrialized world of the late 19th century became more and more intolerable for the highly sensitive people great artists generally are. The world of 1780 was quaint and soothing enough that HSPs didn't quite crave that same sort of escape. This is all just conjecture, but it's worth exploring I think.

So while there's plenty of great art that tackles modernity and industrialization head on, no question, perhaps it's disingenuous to dismiss inward looking "art for art's sake" art as a symptom of selfishness and narcissism and realize it's the result of an HSP with a system and temperament too fragile to integrate him or herself into the foreboding cesspool much of the 21st century world has become. So maybe what we dismiss as Bergman's narcissism for instance is just hyper sensitivity. Why the f**k else would he take refuge on the island of Faro for decades? Now of course, a certain camp of cinephiles these days seem to be convinced that because Fellini and Bergman don't directly address starvation in Africa and exhibit Marxist sympathies they're dirty pseudo-highbrow narcissists, which I'm suggesting is bullshit. Feel free to agree or disagree. In my mind, they're artists. End of story.

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Re: 733 La dolce vita

#114 Post by Aspect » Fri Jul 18, 2014 4:47 pm

Oh yeah, Fellini and Bergman are most definitely cinematic artists of the highest caliber. Every artist has his or her own specific artistic concerns, and those concerns are often very personal. It's not anyone's right to say that one set of concerns is definitively "better" than the other. The important thing is that each concern is explored to the fullest via whatever medium the artist is using. In the case of Fellini and Bergman, and many other filmmakers who both write and direct their own films, it's interesting to see their themes evolve over the course of their careers. I happen to think that the two of them had extremely interesting ideas that they were able to successfully translate to the screen (each in their own ways), even if some of them are difficult to grasp at first due to the nature of cinema, especially in Fellini's case. He communicated primarily in pictures (not that Bergman didn't either, but he made it easier for the viewer with his use of dialogue, e.g. characters giving voice to their innermost thoughts), and those images are extremely potent. No two people read them in exactly the same way. His confidence was such that he trusted the audience to take the journey with him, even if they became confused along the way. Journeys of great personal importance to him and to a lot of us as well.

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Re: 733 La dolce vita

#115 Post by rrenault » Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:02 pm

Here's a J.Hoberman review, which exemplifies the issue I have, especially this sentence:
As with many post-World War II Italian movies, unemployment is an underlying concern; Fellini, however, submerges social critique in nostalgia. Set in his hometown of Rimini, I Vitelloni is in some sense autobiographical. An intermittent voice-over pushes the action into the past, although it clearly unfolds in the 1953 present.
Since when was "social critique" for judging art, for f**k's sake. Artistic expression is an "elitist" endeavor? Who knew? Now to channel Adorno or anything, but the mere existence of a film like 8 1/2 or Persona is the social critique. A truly seminal film like Persona, Breathless, or Last Year at Marienbad serves as social critique merely be virtue of its existence as an object that awakens. Escape or what skeptics would call "navel gazing" is a form of social critique, even if it's not "social critique".

Now that's not to suggest that Fellini, Bergman, and Antonioni are beyond reproach, but the vast majority of criticism I find towards these three and others of a similar nature, such as Resnais for instance, tends to run along simplistic cultural Marxist lines. In other words, it seems indicative of a certain crypto-disdain for art.

If one were to argue that great art could be anything that disrupts the status quo through the use of aesthetic devices then films like Persona and many of Fellini's certainly succeed.

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Re: 733 La dolce vita

#116 Post by Aspect » Fri Jul 18, 2014 5:23 pm

rrenault wrote:the mere existence of a film like 8 1/2 or Persona is the social critique.
That's awesome. I agree completely. And yes, that review is unfair to I Vitelloni. The story is, of course, autobiographical, and in some sense nostalgic, but the social critique is embedded within the very fabric of the story without Fellini attempting to beat the audience over the head with it. I mean, the entire movie would be different if they could all easily obtain jobs! This gets into the question of whether any movie or story can be interpreted correctly through an ideological lens. I think most filmmakers resist this kind of criticism as reductive. I tend to as well. Viewing a film through a certain lens can be revealing, but it's only one lens. Art, at its best, is more complicated than that.

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Re: 733 La dolce vita

#117 Post by rrenault » Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:13 pm

Aspect wrote:
rrenault wrote:the mere existence of a film like 8 1/2 or Persona is the social critique.
That's awesome. I agree completely. And yes, that review is unfair to I Vitelloni. The story is, of course, autobiographical, and in some sense nostalgic, but the social critique is embedded within the very fabric of the story without Fellini attempting to beat the audience over the head with it. I mean, the entire movie would be different if they could all easily obtain jobs! This gets into the question of whether any movie or story can be interpreted correctly through an ideological lens. I think most filmmakers resist this kind of criticism as reductive. I tend to as well. Viewing a film through a certain lens can be revealing, but it's only one lens. Art, at its best, is more complicated than that.
Yes the artists are often right, it is reductive, but many critics we'll read it as apathy and criticize them for being indifferent to societal ills, since all they care about is "their art". As I said above, the existence of the work of art itself is the social critique, which of course critics dislike, because it doesn't allow for easy analysis, which is odd though, since a lot of the critics who are skeptical of the Bergmans and Fellinis of the world will go on to praise Bresson, who much like Fellini does not beat the audience over the head with social critique and is also heavily focused on the "macro". Now I love Bresson for the record. I only mentioned him here in order to make a larger point about what I perceive to be the inconsistencies of the politics of cinephilia.

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Re: 733 La dolce vita

#118 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:55 pm

rrenault wrote:The world of 1780 was quaint and soothing enough that HSPs didn't quite crave that same sort of escape. This is all just conjecture, but it's worth exploring I think.
Granted you probably chose that date at random, but this is the year of the American revolution, the Fourth Anglo-Dutch war, and the Gordon riots in London. It was also dead smack in the middle of the industrial revolution (or the beginning of it, according to some historians). It also kicked off the two decades that would bring us The French revolution and The Russo-Turkish War, the rebellion in Ireland, Romanticism (that most subjective and politically radical of artistic movements), and the radical politics of people like William Godwin and Thomas Paine.

There was a considerable amount of turmoil in this period. You really ought to resist the impulse to treat the past with condescension (quaint, soothing, ect).

It's also worth noting that while the aestheticists and their idea of art for art's sake were the product of the late 19th century (especially writers like Pater, Ruskin, and Wilde), a significant portion of the prominent writers of the 20's and 30's were rejecting it and Romanticism in general in favour of political and social critiques and making art out of fracture (cubism, vorticism, the pastiches of Eliot and Pound). Artistic development is not some smooth teleology (like from objectivisim to subjectivism, say). It's an often violent push and pull between competing ideas.

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Re: 733 La dolce vita

#119 Post by rrenault » Fri Jul 18, 2014 6:58 pm

My point is there was no La Defense or Pu Dong in 1780, but yes, I chose that year at random. I'd say taking a stroll through La Defense is a bit more soul crushing than having passionate sex in the George V with the window open as Nazis march by. I think I'll take the latter. Fine, there was lots of war in 1780, but the 20th century was far bloodier, and besides people have been waging wars for millennia, so it's hardly a symptom of any particular historical era at the expense of all others.

Also, plenty of writers from the 20s and 30s like Pound, Woolf, Eliot, Stein and so on are hardly immune from these same accusations of narcissism and "inwardness". Likewise cubists like Picasso, Braque and the like. So no, perhaps T.S. Eliot was not a "Romantic", but he, much like Stravinsky or Miro, had that same seemingly "me and my art" attitude cultural Marxists often accuse their bete noirs of.

And even if the industrial revolution was just beginning to kick into gear in 1780 the still doesn't negate the fact technology saw tremendous advancements between that year and the early twentieth century and that urbanization increased exponentially in those hundred and some odd years. Just because they had the spinning jenny doesn't mean they had cars and zeppelins yet.

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Re: 733 La dolce vita

#120 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:14 pm

rrenault wrote:My point is there was no La Defense or Pu Dong in 1780, but yes, I chose that year at random. I'd say taking a stroll through La Defense is a bit more soul crushing than having passionate sex in the George V with the window open as Nazis march by. I think I'll take the latter.
It's an easy point to make so long as you remain innocent of what life in the 18th century was actually like. I think you rather take your privileges for granted. La Defense and Pu Dong will seem pretty comforting once you've spent a little while living without electricity or running water, in the midst of rebellion and war, in a time of public executions and secret police, where medicine has only recently begun studying dissection again and still thinks bleeding people helps them, where there is no germ theory of disease, no disinfectant, no anaesthetic, where the majority of people live hard rural lives, children are put to labour, being in debt can land you in prison, and only a small portion of the population will ever understand what education and comfort is, let alone luxury. Very little of what you consider soothing and comforting was present back then.
rrenault wrote:Also, plenty of writers from the 20s and 30s like Pound, Woolf, Eliot, Stein and so on are hardly immune from these same accusations of narcissism and "inwardness"
Er, Eliot, Pound, Wyndham Lewis, ect. were the ones criticizing Romantics for narcissism and navel-gazing and demanding a return to the traditions of classicism and anglo-catholicism and the continuities to the past that they offered. They were the enemies of art for art's sake. And it's no wonder many of them were proto- or outright fascist.

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Re: 733 La dolce vita

#121 Post by swo17 » Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:17 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:I think you rather take your privileges for granted. La Defense and Pu Dong will seem pretty comforting once you've spent a little while living without electricity or running water, in the midst of rebellion and war, in a time of public executions and secret police, where medicine has only recently begun studying dissection again and still thinks bleeding people helps them, where there is no germ theory of disease, no disinfectant, no anaesthetic, where the majority of people live hard rural lives, children are put to labour, being in debt can land you in prison, and only a small portion of the population will ever understand what education and comfort is, let alone luxury. Very little of what you consider soothing and comforting were present back then.
And yet most people living back then decided not to kill themselves.

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Re: 733 La dolce vita

#122 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:20 pm

swo17 wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:I think you rather take your privileges for granted. La Defense and Pu Dong will seem pretty comforting once you've spent a little while living without electricity or running water, in the midst of rebellion and war, in a time of public executions and secret police, where medicine has only recently begun studying dissection again and still thinks bleeding people helps them, where there is no germ theory of disease, no disinfectant, no anaesthetic, where the majority of people live hard rural lives, children are put to labour, being in debt can land you in prison, and only a small portion of the population will ever understand what education and comfort is, let alone luxury. Very little of what you consider soothing and comforting were present back then.
And yet most people living back then decided not to kill themselves.
Just decided to kill other people, to judge by the number of revolutions and rebellions.

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Re: 733 La dolce vita

#123 Post by rrenault » Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:23 pm

Mr Sausage wrote:Eliot, Pound, Wyndham Lewis, ect. were the ones criticizing Romantics for narcissism and navel-gazing and demanding a return to the traditions of classicism and anglo-catholicism and the continuities to the past that they offered. They were the enemies of art for art's sake.
Except their yearning for the past has in turn been criticized as reactionary, elitist, and Romantic by others. Teapot calling the kettle black I suppose you could say, since they wanted art to be "art" again by "resucing" it from the "newly educated masses".

Nobody would ever accuse Balzac, Ophuls, or Ozu of being a 'narcissist', even though I'm sure every single one of them was in some way just as "pompous" as Fellini was. Let's try to tie Fellini and La Dolce Vita into this, before the moderators move this all to another thread and it eventually gets drowned.
Last edited by rrenault on Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mr Sausage
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Re: 733 La dolce vita

#124 Post by Mr Sausage » Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:27 pm

I am such an idiot for getting into an argument with this guy again. Swear to god I didn't realize it was him until just now. The style of the posts should've tipped me off, tho'.
rrenault wrote:
Mr Sausage wrote:Eliot, Pound, Wyndham Lewis, ect. were the ones criticizing Romantics for narcissism and navel-gazing and demanding a return to the traditions of classicism and anglo-catholicism and the continuities to the past that they offered. They were the enemies of art for art's sake.
Except their yearning for the past has in turn been criticized as reactionary, elitist, and Romantic by others. Teapot calling the kettle black I suppose you could say, since they wanted art to be "art" again by "resucing" it from the "newly educated masses".
Yes, they were reactionary and elitist. The Romantics, however, were radical and egalitarian. This is why no one has ever criticised Eliot, Pound, and Lewis for being Romantics, ever. Because they weren't. You don't know anything that you're talking about. Again. Please just stop.

rrenault
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Re: 733 La dolce vita

#125 Post by rrenault » Fri Jul 18, 2014 7:35 pm

Okay, but that's really my point. Why is being "reactionary" and "elitist" a bad thing if the end result is genuinely great art? And besides I think a lot of cinephiles tend to forgot how radical and groundbreaking the "serious" cinema pioneered by Fellini and Bergman was at the time in the 1950s. Nobody had ever seen anything like it before, so it was in a sense a watershed for the medium, even if it wasn't the sort of 'materialist' watershed many auteurists fetishize over.

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