Sophomore Directorial Efforts

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peerpee
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Sophomore Directorial Efforts

#1 Post by peerpee » Mon Dec 28, 2015 12:49 pm

Trees wrote:The thing that strikes me about Rublev is its sheer scale and audacity, for someone rather early in their career. I'm not sure if I can really think of another director whose second film is not only this ambitious, but also this fully realized? It's one thing for a rising, confident young director to set out to make a world-changing epic... it's another thing to actually pull it off.
Welles?

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aox
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Re: Re:

#2 Post by aox » Mon Dec 28, 2015 9:29 pm

Trees wrote:The thing that strikes me about Rublev is its sheer scale and audacity, for someone rather early in their career. I'm not sure if I can really think of another director whose second film is not only this ambitious, but also this fully realized? It's one thing for a rising, confident young director to set out to make a world-changing epic... it's another thing to actually pull it off.
This may not be a very popular comment in a Tarkovsky thread (my favorite director aside from Tarr), but in regards to your comment, Costner? Dances with Wolves is kind of an insane directorial debut given its scale and scope regardless of how you judge the final product.

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Trees
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Re: 34 Andrei Rublev

#3 Post by Trees » Tue Dec 29, 2015 2:08 am

Both good examples, especially Welles, a noted prodigy.

Gibson's Braveheart also comes to mind as an audacious second film, though Gibson by that time was older and much better established than Tarkovsky.

Strange that Costner was never really able to follow up Dances. Not to drag this thread off topic, but I wonder what factors caused Costner to be unable to repeat the success of Dances?

beamish13
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Re: 34 Andrei Rublev

#4 Post by beamish13 » Tue Dec 29, 2015 2:24 am

Trees wrote:Strange that Costner was never really able to follow up Dances. Not to drag this thread off topic, but I wonder what factors caused Costner to be unable to repeat the success of Dances?
Open Range is an absolutely amazing film, and it doesn't suffer from the major script problems that plague Dances(Costner's character gets knocked out and wakes up later 3 times. Seriously?!).

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chaddoli
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Re: Re:

#5 Post by chaddoli » Fri Jan 01, 2016 6:48 pm

Trees wrote: The thing that strikes me about Rublev is its sheer scale and audacity, for someone rather early in their career. I'm not sure if I can really think of another director whose second film is not only this ambitious, but also this fully realized? It's one thing for a rising, confident young director to set out to make a world-changing epic... it's another thing to actually pull it off.
Boogie Nights?

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Trees
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Re: 34 Andrei Rublev

#6 Post by Trees » Fri Jan 01, 2016 6:57 pm

Well if you want to go that direction then you would name Tarantino and many others (anyone who has made a big, successful second film), but I was really talking more about large-scale, hyper-ambitious epics, especially period epics like Rublev. Dancing With Wolves and Braveheart fit that mold, but not really Boogie Nights. Staging pool parties in LA is a little different than staging massive medieval battles in Scotland or Tarter invasions in Russia.

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Gregory
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Re: 34 Andrei Rublev

#7 Post by Gregory » Fri Jan 01, 2016 7:36 pm

I'm not much of a fan of Boogie Nights but I can recognize that those scenes were done with much greater skill than the battle scenes of Braveheart, which offer little more than endless rapidly and haphazardly edited shots of people getting stabbed, sliced, or knocked down. In an era when average shot duration fell to just a few seconds, nothing could be more ordinary.
Last edited by Gregory on Fri Jan 01, 2016 7:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Trees
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Re: 34 Andrei Rublev

#8 Post by Trees » Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:01 pm

Well, since we're drifting off topic, I will politely disagree with you about Braveheart. At the time of its release, those battle scenes, particularly the elaborately staged Battle of Stirling Bridge with its slow-motion, nail-biting cavalry charge and blood-splattering smashed skulls, was something of a revelation in war films. It's easy to forget how ground-breaking those battle scenes were, because nearly every war film since has adopted Braveheart's war motifs. The realism and brutality of those battles were noted at the time by nearly every reviewer. Both Gibson and cinematographer John Toll were awarded Oscars for the film, along with the makeup department.

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Re: 34 Andrei Rublev

#9 Post by Raymond Marble » Fri Jan 01, 2016 11:46 pm

Trees wrote:...but I was really talking more about large-scale, hyper-ambitious epics, especially period epics like Rublev. Dancing With Wolves and Braveheart fit that mold, but not really Boogie Nights...
You're missing that all of those descriptors apply to Boogie Nights, which in every conceivable way is a better film than Braveheart.

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SpiderBaby
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Re: Sophomore Directorial Efforts

#10 Post by SpiderBaby » Sat Jan 02, 2016 12:38 am

Battleship Potemkin?
Black God, White Devil?

The Last Movie was audacious for a Hollywood production.

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Trees
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Re: 34 Andrei Rublev

#11 Post by Trees » Sat Jan 02, 2016 4:40 am

Raymond Marble wrote:
Trees wrote:...but I was really talking more about large-scale, hyper-ambitious epics, especially period epics like Rublev. Dancing With Wolves and Braveheart fit that mold, but not really Boogie Nights...
You're missing that all of those descriptors apply to Boogie Nights, which in every conceivable way is a better film than Braveheart.
Boogie Nights is a large-scale, hyper-ambitious period epic? I thought it was an ambitious and great regular period film. It's one of my favorite films from the 1990s.

Yes, Boogie Nights is another in a long line of fantastic second films. Depending on how you want to parse the details of what qualifies as a first film, you could add Cameron's Aliens and Scott's Alien, Wachowskis' Matrix and Tarantino's Pulp Fiction and countless other films to a general "second directorial efforts that were great" list. I think directors often fight to get a first film made, and then by the time they get the second film greenlit, they have a decade's worth of ideas ready to unleash.

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Manny Karp
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Re: Sophomore Directorial Efforts

#12 Post by Manny Karp » Sat Jan 02, 2016 6:28 am

I'm not sure I understand the emphasis on ambitious second or even first or early films. Especially when everyone seems to be talking about studio films for the most part. Most of the folks mentioned above aren't exactly Shane Carruth or Damon Packard making movies for a few thousand of their own dollars. I assume any director will get away with as much as the producers allow him or her to, whether their first or fortieth feature. I guess it was a pleasant surprise to see Anderson go from the awful Hard Eight to the markedly better and larger Boogie Nights but there's still really nothing there other than enthusiasm, and Goodfellas' structure and pacing, shots from DePalma and Kalatozov, and content from Exhausted: John C. Holmes, the Real Story. As for Tarkovsky, was Rublev an independent film? Did he not have the backing of the Russian State? I honestly don't know, but I assumed that's how Soviet filmmaking worked at the time.

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Re: Sophomore Directorial Efforts

#13 Post by MichaelB » Sat Jan 02, 2016 11:31 am

Manny Karp wrote:As for Tarkovsky, was Rublev an independent film? Did he not have the backing of the Russian State? I honestly don't know, but I assumed that's how Soviet filmmaking worked at the time.
Mosfilm ultimately called the shots, which is why it existed in three different versions (the original "Passion of Andrei" cut on the Criterion DVD, the more familiar - and apparently Tarkovsky-preferred - three-hour cut, and the butchered international release version, which I think ran about two hours and twenty minutes (but which I think has been invisible since the early 1970s, most likely for good reason). It's also why it was shelved until 1969.

It wasn't at all unusual for Soviet directors to be given far bigger budgets for their second features if they'd proved themselves with a competent debut - Aleksei German also springs to mind. (Trial on the Road is a far more ambitiously-scaled film on every level than The Seventh Companion).

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Trees
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Re: Sophomore Directorial Efforts

#14 Post by Trees » Sat Jan 02, 2016 11:58 am

This thread is a spin-off from the proper Rublev thread. My initial question about other, similarly massive-scale, audacious/auspicious epic period films from directors early in their careers was inspired by the below post from HerrSchreck, which sought, I think, to point out the unusual conditions that allowed Tarkovsky to embark on such a grand, borderline insane endeavor:
HerrSchreck wrote:

I don't know that he even knew what his original intentions were. Hoberman's phrase (I think it was Hoberman) "superproduction run amok" fairly well describes, I think. And its this luxury that created the necessarily peculiar conditions for this most miraculous film, which benefited from state agencies having no fucking idea what was on deck, how loose, adventurous, and indulgently original were the conception (not to mention entirely contrary to state paradigms at the time) and execution.. with well nigh a small city of resources made available. Even AT himself probably couldn't believe he was getting away with and actually pulling off the cinematic logistics he was.. with the wildest conceptions physically realized no matter what-- by the time it was all done he must have wound up with stuff he'd never dreamed he'd actually successfully execute.. material directors visualize only in their imagination (if they had the rare imaginative fertility to even conceive such material).

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Re: Sophomore Directorial Efforts

#15 Post by Tawfik » Mon Jan 04, 2016 6:54 am

In some way we should be able to compare Rublev's effort with Jean Cocteau's "La Belle et la Bête".
Keeping in mind that this movie was directed in 1945 in an occupied France gives it some kind of luxury. Cocteau was fighting a severe skin illness and all of this movie was directed through luck, miracle moments in some kind of fevereish trance. Even if it was an extremely though adventure and even if Cocteau wasn't entirely satisfied with the whole film, He managed to keep an entire artistic control over the film. The result is, as we know, amazing and even more considering he only had directed an experimental (and great) movie 13 years prior to "La belle et la bête". (Cocteau held a diary during the filming period that has been edited multiple times, quite an inspiring document).

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