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burning like matchsticks in the face of the darkness
 
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Sunday, July 16th, 2006

Time Event
8:55p
The Last Day (2004) MFA, French (13 July 2006)
The Last Day (Le Dernier jour, France, 2004, 108 min.)

I was trying to think of what film this one reminded me of and the IMDb page made me realize it: Eighteen.  [Which I still need to post about.  I am obscenely behind, I know.]

On the Red Line home that night, I learned that the director used to be a dancer, which explains why there were so many extended shots of basically the human body in motion.

There was some interesting stuff going on, and I am far from opposed to dark&fucked-up, but the long shots of nothingness were really the dealbreaker for me.

the full spoiler commentaryCollapse )
8:58p
Time to Leave (2005) MFA, French (13 July 2006)
Time To Leave (Le Temps qui reste, France, 2005, 90 min.)

I was reminded of A Year Without Love.  [Which I still need to post about.  I am obscenely behind, I know.]

An IMDb reviewer said, "gorgeous title, I feel obliged to emphasize this," so I used the dictionary.com translator on it.  "The Time which remains."  I like this title better than "Time to Leave."  "Time to Leave" is wholly unmemorable (to me, at least) whereas "The Time Which Remains" is v. much what the film is about -- Romain doing what he will with the time which remains left to him.

From the MFA blurb: "Romain is never sanctified or made heroic, and the reconciliations he makes are with himself rather than with others." (Description adapted from the London Film Festival. )

the full spoiler commentaryCollapse )
9:07p
They Came Back (2004) MFA, French (14 July 2006)
They Came Back (Les Revenants, France, 2004, 102 min.)

The MFA guy who introduced the film said that while obviously the bulk of the festival is aimed at their mainstay audience who want typical French film, i.e. romantic comedy, they like to have some stuff that's different.  To which my reaction was: What festival have you been watching?  Because the two I'd seen so far were dark&depressing, and my impression of the festival catalog as a whole was that v. few of the films showing would be described as "romantic comedies."

Though I know Spanish rather than French, it seemed to me that "Les Revenants" would translate as "The revenants" (plural article, plural noun) rather than (plural pronoun, past tense verb) and indeed, dictionary.com gives it to me as "Ghosts."  The English title seems to me an homage to the zombie genre -- which it obv. was (says she who was surprisingly entertained by Shaun of the Dead but really has no interest in zombie stories) but the French title seems much more accurate to the film itself.

the full spoiler commentaryCollapse )
9:10p
You Are So Handsome (2006) MFA, French (14 July 2006)
You Are So Handsome (Je vous trouve très beau, France, 2006, 97 min)

MFA blurb: First-time director Mergault adopts a light touch here, but the delicacy with which she charts the relationship between Aymé and Elena can’t cover up the larger, darker reality to which the film is referring: the continuing imbalance between the “two Europes,” and the social consequences of that imbalance. (Description adapted from the Film Society at Lincoln Center.)
From this, I was expecting a much darker film than the one I actually saw -- but I'm glad I got the light film I did.

the full spoiler commentaryCollapse )
9:14p
To Paint or Make Love (2005) MFA, French (15 July 2006)
To Paint or Make Love (Peindre ou faire l’amour, France, 2005, 100 min.)

It makes me sad that this is one of the festival films that doesn't have a U.S. distributor, because I would probably actually buy it on DVD.  Having someone rip me the region 2 seems less than fruitful since it looks like it doesn't have an English option -- which of course begs the question of they managed the subtitles at the American festival showings.  [It's showing again at the MFA next Sunday.]

the full spoiler commentaryCollapse )
9:22p
"He went back to school to get a degree. Now he teaches music to kids; he taught music to me."
Recently I read a post by truepenny about how writing male narrators is easier (for her) than writing female ones, and I was just stupefied because I have to work to make my characters (original or fan) not talk/think/act like me, and the idea of writing from a male POV might in fact frighten me.  (I tend to write third person, so I'm not sure how keen I would be to write from the POV of a female character, but I feel basically incapable of writing from a male POV.)

Then hernewshoes posted about ye olde idea that persons not in positions of privilege have to learn how to navigate the world of those in power (er, I thought she did anyway; now I can't find it).  [Edit: Thanks, angevin2This post looks like what I was thinking of. I must have wandered over to matociquala's journal from a comment thread. /edit] This makes sense but is not how I have ever experienced the world.  I fully admit to being bad at navigating social interactions, reading social cues, etc. (though I can take small comfort that I know people far more awkward than I) and I understood how to interact with boys even less than I did with girls, but I never felt especially disadvantaged -- it was just an extension of the fact that I didn't socialize easily.

I've always thought that female narrator/protagonist predominated in YA fiction, and the vast majority of the books I recall from, well, everything I read outside the Western Canon, were female narrator/protagonist.  (Perhaps if I had grown up on sci-fi I would have felt differently.)

In other gender talk.... I was talking with Alyssa about my brother and how he's so driven and how that showed up in high school and I felt like, "How did that happen?" and she talked about how in jr. high all you really need to do is do well enough to stay in top track classes, that nothing really matters before high school, and that looking at various guys she knew in college who seemed kinda like slackers but are now v. happy/successful she wonders if maybe she's the one going about it wrong -- with all her planning in contrast to guys who just go out and do it.  I'm wary of gender generalizing/essentializing, but it was a v. interesting idea for me to keep in mind as to thinking about how people who are Not Me function in the world.
9:25p
Shockingly, I am fond of numbered lists.
1. Is it the "unconscious" or the "subconscious" that dreams are?  I recall Mr. Peterson insisting but do not remember which was which.  Whatever it is, mine is v. predictable.  (I'm voting for "subconscious" since this stuff is hardly repressed or surprising.)

2. Again with the bearable heat.

3. I did go to the Galleria, though.
3a. I seem to be developing a trend of moderately successful shopping excursions.  I can live with this.
3b. Who thinks "Fall into the Gap" is a bad slogan?  Not as bad as if we were in London, but still.
3c. Both times I've been in GapBody I've heard playing a song which Google tells me is "You're The Ocean" by Teitur.  Actually reading the lyrics I'm not sure how I feel about it, but I really enjoy listening to it.

4. I am obscenely behind on writeups of books+film.  I did do this weekend's French Film festival, though.  Backdated so as not to spam.  (Click here if interested.)  And yeah, so obvious that it's only for my own benefit.  There's some commentary, but mostly it's just collections of dialogue/moments.  I'm not sure I know how to write reviews proper, and there's certainly no motivation for me to do so in this context [i.e., my personal LJ].

5. zomg, I have 3 days of work and then I leave for WriterCon.
5a. writercon chat tonight (10pm Eastern -- which is much sooner than it was when I started all this).

6. I need to remember to order tickets for The Last Days of Judas Iscariot for Jonah and I tomorrow (to go next Wednesday -- when, according to the website, the price is half what it is for weekend [Thursday-Saturday] nights; Saturday@4 and Sunday are slightly less expensive than weekend nights).

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