“War changed Jean-Pierre Grumbach into Melville, basically took from him even his birth name, his innocence, confirming him blocklike under his patronym, a solid character with a studied set of accoutrements, an impassable mask. The fighting, the atrocities, painted his reality gray, erased the idiotic border between good and evil, set him down firmly in a world of nuance where the bad man is never entirely bad and the good man is never entirely good, a world peopled with nice bad men and bad nice men, humans who are all too human.” Adrien Bosc explores how foundational the years of WWII were in Jean-Pierre Melville’s life—not only his own service, but that of his brother Jacques.
The topic of Reverse Shot’s latest symposium, asking its writers to highlight a sequence in a film that explores the duration of time, is broad enough to encourage a wide range of responses. Thus far there is Michael Koresky on the horrifying ten-second final shot that all of The Seventh Victim is building toward (“But after those ten seconds—so fleeting and frightening—we are left forever on the other side of a closed door”); Michael Joshua Rowin on Roeg’s use of synchronicity in Don’t Look Now’s opening (“Only the viewer is witness to the coincidence of these events as John feels their cumulative force upon his “second sight””); Lauren Du Graf on the juxtaposition of past and present in Alfred Guzzetti’s Family Portrait Sittings (“Yet unlike Night and Fog (or The Wizard of Oz, for that matter), Guzzetti’s film portrays the past in color and the contemporary moment in black and white, an inversion that further subverts a sense of time as a linear sequence of events”); and Julien Allen on the ingenious narrative and thematic shifts Hitchcock pulls off during the clean-up scene in Psycho (“How soon after our heroine has been so viciously dispatched, turning our experience and emotions upside down, do we find ourselves itching for her body to disappear, even though this means her murderer will most likely escape justice? Just nine and a half minutes. Are we monsters?”)
“The film cannily moves its counter across a board whose rules have been laid down by Freudian psychoanalysis, Propp’s analysis of folk tales, and film theory’s obsession with the B-movie and noir. But Rodriguez’s lighthouse fetish conceals a deeper truth. When Franny comes to the precinct, he picks up a miniature guitar and sings a few lines of the song that will play over the end credits, Willie Nelson’s “I Just Can’t Let You Say Goodbye,” a haunting murder ballad in which a man loves a woman to death. Franny doesn’t catch the inference. By then, she is already in the embrace of murder, romancing Rodriguez’s partner Malloy, whom she suspects of killing and beheading Angela Sands.” An excerpt from Sophie Meyer’s new collection reads Campion’s In the Cut as a feminist traversing/subverting of a Manhattan whose innate patriarchalism swelled to suffocating levels out of post-9/11 grief.
“Fincher has always been more interested in the aftereffects than the violence, in those drawn in by the charisma of the serial killer than the serial killer himself. He’s interested in how contagion spreads rather than in the source of the virus, how a group of marginalized men living in a meaningless consumerist culture become a fascist gang in Fight Club, how cops and journalists can become obsessed with an unsolved crime until their lives disintegrate into shambles in Zodiac.” Jessa Crispin places Mindhunter in the context of Fincher’s career-long critiques of masculinity—and expects it will be as misunderstood and appropriated as celebration by those its condemning as much of his other films. Via Mubi.
“Windows upon windows upon windows upon windows facing south . . . First floor: a rice bucket has been left out to dry. Second floor: a fox is being served by a cock. A salon. Third floor: the clattering of typewriters. Fourth floor: a handkerchief has been left out to dry. Fifth floor: a person weeps over a letter. Okay, that didn’t happen—a waiter polishes his shoes.” Three short newspaper editorials by Ozu Yasujiro—on the city streets at night, observing fellow passengers on a train, and his aging mother—show a witty love for the humanity of daily rhythms. By coincidence a newly translated piece by Chris Marker shares one of Ozu’s topics, but his equally brief portrait of a stranger on a train manages to skip across seven countries and post-WWII political divisions. (“The moment he spotted my accent, he sat down in front of me, offered me a cigarette and declared: “I do not know France.” Too bad; but his acknowledgement actually pleased me. I was already resigned to undergo the account of his garrisons at Bayonne or at Deauville—the thirtieth since the beginning of my journey. To believe that others imagine it gives us pleasure to hear about their country.”) All via David Hudson.
“After spending an entire movie exploring your character as [a romantic challenge/an equal/an independent woman], we need to go in another direction for our male [lead/leads/audience] to grow.” Erik Sternberger offers a multiple-choice form Template For Informing the “Female Love Interest” that She Will Not Be in the Sequel.
“I did not love being called a muse…. I didn’t want to be strident about it or say, ‘Hey, give me my due,’ but I did feel like I wasn’t a bystander. It was half-mine, and so that part was difficult. Also I knew secretly that I was engaged with this longer project, and wanted to be a writer and director in my own right, so I felt like the muse business, or whatever it was, was a position that I didn’t identify with in my heart. But I think one thing I learned early because of the group of movies that are called mumblecore… is not to attach too much to the moment you’re living through from a press perspective. I also had this sense of, Well, they’ll just eat their hat one day.” Greta Gerwig talks with Noreen Malone about her solo directorial debut Lady Bird, the fulfillment of directing, and still hating the term mumblecore.
“[W]hile the rest of us might remember little Danny pedalling like the wind along the corridors of the Overlook, hyperventilating in terror at the horrors of room 237, what stuck for Lloyd was the excitement of being allowed to ride a tricycle indoors. Although it came with a lesson in the hollowness of grownup promises. A crew member offered to send him the tricycle after the movie: ‘I was waiting and waiting for it, but it never came.’” 45-year-old Dan (it’s Dan, now) Lloyd, satisfied teacher and happy father of four, tells Cath Clarke what a genuinely fun and not at all scary time he had on the set of The Shining.
The weekly links page is compiled and curated by Bruce Reid, with obituaries curated by Sean Axmaker, and other contributions from friends of Parallax View.