A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)

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whaleallright
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)

#26 Post by whaleallright » Fri Dec 01, 2017 10:01 pm

"Self-effacing" usually means something like "modest." Is that what you meant?

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)

#27 Post by knives » Sat Dec 02, 2017 7:28 pm

whaleallright wrote:"Self-effacing" usually means something like "modest." Is that what you meant?
Typo and exhaustion. I meant more like self destructive.

To Blackhat:
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It's a film about longing, grief, and related things which are defined by the only resolution possible being one of self realization where the other person is no longer accessible. Lowery seems to respect that idea with the other ghost, but by adding a time traveling element M gets a pleasant out that satisfies his desire as a giveme.

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Lost Highway
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:41 am
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)

#28 Post by Lost Highway » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:20 am

I didn't feel that the film took an easy way out.
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It implies that the outcome is always the same, it just takes some ghosts longer to get there than others. It invents a bit of mythology of what happens when ghosts attempt to die. They go to the origin of the place they haunt and go through it all over again. But every ghost eventually has their moment of realisation that they can't hang on, even if it takes them centuries.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)

#29 Post by knives » Sun Dec 03, 2017 11:37 am

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That last sentence would be fine and agreeable if M wasn't rewarded into having that realization. The other ghost (whose storyline seems much better handled) has a moment of realization that the wait will not ultimately be rewarded and that it would be appropriate to move on. M on the other hand almost gets into a toxic masculinity where his obsessive hounding of his woman is rewarded by being allowed to read the note. There are ways (which the film itself offers) to show all of these themes in a way that doesn't direct itself to a Hollywood ending.

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Lost Highway
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Re: A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)

#30 Post by Lost Highway » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:55 pm

knives wrote:
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That last sentence would be fine and agreeable if M wasn't rewarded into having that realization. The other ghost (whose storyline seems much better handled) has a moment of realization that the wait will not ultimately be rewarded and that it would be appropriate to move on. M on the other hand almost gets into a toxic masculinity where his obsessive hounding of his woman is rewarded by being allowed to read the note. There are ways (which the film itself offers) to show all of these themes in a way that doesn't direct itself to a Hollywood ending.
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]I can’t figure out wether you are mixing up the actor Casey Affleck and his sexual harassment notoriety with the character he plays here or whether you don’t quite have a grasp on the issues around ˋˋ toxic masculinity ˋˋ. Moping around in a sheet for centuries wouldn’t be my definition of the phrase. As his wife isn’t really aware of his presence, how is he ˋˋ hounding ˋˋ her ? A Hollywood ending would have showed them reunited in heaven or somesuch. This is more ambiguous. We don’t know what her note says apart from that he finally is able to let go. For all we know she may have confessed to cheating on him with his best friend.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)

#31 Post by knives » Sun Dec 03, 2017 3:42 pm

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I took what the note says as being irrelevant so much as the desire for it as one last way to connect to her. On that level I don't see any ambiguity.

As to toxic masculinity, I was perhaps being a bit too flippant though all the same rewarding a man with a token of his beloved in this way seems to be endorsing that desire. It's the opposite of the earlier, "I suppose they will never come back." Any message other than one of letting go is going to come across unfortunately though I doubt Lowery ever intended that.

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domino harvey
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Joined: Wed Jan 11, 2006 2:42 pm

Re: A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)

#32 Post by domino harvey » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:00 pm

Have you never lost a loved one? I don't like the movie, but cmon, how can you read this like that?

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)

#33 Post by knives » Sun Dec 03, 2017 4:04 pm

Not in the specific context of Affleck and Mara, no.

Edit: I also want to say I don't think that is a significant flaw of the film. Lots of good films can be translated into something creepy by accident and I wouldn't put too much into such things unless it has a really consistent effect (rather than the ending swerve here). Even with just the ending the main problem like I said at first is how cheap it comes across rather then anything so moralistic. I'm much more disappointed in it for giving him a deus ex machina than what that god means for him emotionally.

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Black Hat
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2011 5:34 pm
Location: NYC

Re: A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)

#34 Post by Black Hat » Sun Dec 03, 2017 5:24 pm

I do understand where Knives is coming from as initially my reaction was really? After all that? I think the bigger issue I had with the ending was the sudden shift in tone, but once I readjusted my feelings fell in line with Lost Highway's.

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Lost Highway
Joined: Thu Aug 29, 2013 7:41 am
Location: Berlin, Germany

Re: A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)

#35 Post by Lost Highway » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:00 pm

I liked the film and its central visual conceit never lost its charm for me. I’m not sure either the end entirely added up but it’s one of those films where I was happy enough for the journey not to mind the slightly bumpy arrival. I just find it weird to frame a film which attempts to capture something about inconsolable grief in the type of terminology applied to the sexual harassment scandals currently swamping my twitter feed. Makes me feel dirty that The Ghost and Mrs Muir is one of my favourite films and which A Ghost Story reminded me of.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)

#36 Post by knives » Sun Dec 03, 2017 7:55 pm

I do think the visual aspects of the film were smartly handled. The bedsheet is a brilliant choice and the high rise was a nice conceit while it lasted.

I'll concede the toxic term was perhaps overdone, but my original stance that the ending is a cop out that cheapens the film is one I'll stay ardent on.

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whaleallright
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2005 12:56 am

Re: A Ghost Story (David Lowery, 2017)

#37 Post by whaleallright » Sun Dec 03, 2017 8:21 pm

I think accusing a ghost (who, pretty much by definition, haunts people and places) of "toxic masculinity" is peak internet.

I wasn't primarily invested in the film as an attempt to create a coherent mythopoetics of the afterlife. I was more attuned to the various conceits—the hauntings, the second ghost, the time travel, etc.—as visual renderings of the some of the ideas put forward in an exclusively rhetorical manner in the Will Oldham/party scene.

This might just be me, but I have a special fondness for stories that show a particular place through time, with the different inhabitants mutually unaware of each other's existence (see also the comic "Here"). One of Jia Zhangke's earlier conceptions of 24 City, if I'm not mistaken, was along similar lines: it would follow a group of people in an factory district of Chengdu, then switch without much transition to an entirely different group of people in a luxury high-rise that, we gradually learn, occupies the same site as the factory once did. The film he actually made was a bit less high-concept.

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