haha Brandon, you are a funny man. Glad you are coming home. We definitely need to chill soon. Birthday party for Gentile sounds sweet. I’ll have to get in touch with you or Craver soon; when will you folks be back in town?
I get the Preminger comparison for Aronofsky, and don’t consider it blasphemy. It’s legit.
I guess Aronofsky is divisive; I’ve got to stop being so sheltered. I like the Preminger films I have seen. I’d say I have been less than enamored with Aronofsky’s last two fims. The Wrestler is an okay film (apart from an outstanding Mickey Rourke). I don’t love it. I really like Black Swan, but also don’t love it. Black Swan is a lot better than the Wrestler (much better written), but I don’t feel the same way about it that I do Pi, Requiem, and The Fountain. I love those films with The Fountain being the stand-out of the bunch. Give it another shot. I found it beautiful to look at and incredibly moving (I’m with you, Ben).
Sorry to hear about your dad’s finger. My dad almost did the same a few weeks ago with his snowblower. Those things are mad dangerous.
I try to separate the director’s intention from the film as much as I can, or at least look at his/her intention as just another interpretation and not something definitive. This can be hard though. I think reading interviews can sometimes ruin the experience of a film or augment it. It depends on what is being said. If the director’s intention is admirable or something you agree with then it helps...but if not then it destroys, as with Hanake.
I’m glad you see von Trier as having a better sense of humor. I get that too. He is a ridiculous character, but a fun one. I really like Dogville because I think it’s funny. Funny in the way that Funny Games is funny (when both are read as giant fuck you statements). Has anyone seen von Trier’s Europa? It’s on NWI, and I think it’s really awesome. It came before his dogme minimalist phase, and it has an incredible visual style. It’s one of my favorites.
Taste of Cherry (1997)
I’m late to the Kiarostami game; I have to admit it. This is the first film of his that I have seen. I have been meaning to see one of his films for a while now, and finally succeeded in watching this one this morning. Ebert apparently called it incredibly boring. I wasn’t ever bored by it. I found it kind of hypnotic. Most of the film you are entirely glued inside the car with Badii, but I never found this tedious. It was almost soothing to watch–so very calm, patient, and meditative. I’m a sucker for long takes. When they are done well, I find them to be impressive and effective. The long takes in this are done very well. They give the film a gentle rhythm and simplicity that just lulls you into tranquility. At least, they did for me. I enjoyed watching the takes unfold. And I loved all the shots. They are all so simple and beautiful; you start to appreciate them more as the film continues. The dialogue is simple and sparse, but also beautiful and interesting. Obviously, there is no real plot to the film and no strong sense of character, but I didn’t find this to be detrimental. I like the sense of mystery the film has. I like that we don’t really know anything about Badii or why he wants to die. It leaves him open to interpretation, just like the film itself, which doesn’t reveal much. I like films like this that are comfortable with their simplicity and ambiguity. I like films like this that are far more willing to suggest or hint at then ever to tell. They can be refreshing.
I appreciate this film for its simplicity, beauty, and intellect. I was surprised and intrigued by the final sequence where we see Kiarostami and his crew filming. I found this to be generous–an act of kindness for the audience. If you’ve seen the film or see it, perhaps you(‘ll) know what I mean.
After this, I’m eager to see Certified Copy. Brandon, you brought it up recently. Are you a fan of Kiarostami or just interested to see that particular film?