Saturday, December 4, 2010

4 Movies About Movies

Or, about the making of movies, or the definition of movies, or the general being of movies. Et cetera.

1) Irma Vep
Maggie Cheung stars as the star of a malfunctioning remake of Les Vampyres, remunating of the state of French cinema, and American cinema, and cinema in general.

2) Tristram Shandy: A Cock and Bull Story
Likewise, an adaption of Tristram Shandy with the egocentric Steve Coogan, wherein nobody can agree on which subplot to keep and which to toss, where they're going to get their damn funding, and what can be done to make Coogan look taller. Blurring the lines between non and fiction, and sharp comedy about the follies of filmmaking (duh).

3) Persona
Because he says it better, and I'm lazy, Mike Lippert of You Talking to Me? left a comment on my review of the film, which goes like this:

[...]the entire concept of the film (because a concept is what it rightfully is) is that it explores Bergman's effective relationship to film itself. It first begins with a montage which, in a way, works out Bergman's life through film: an image from his earlier film The Devil's Wanton, a beloved childhood cartoon, the tarantula (Bergman's image for God, his interpretation, not mine, and so on).

The film is bookended by a young Bergman in a bedroom with images of Liz and Alma projected on a screen. They are beuatiful women but they are not real, they are simply reflections of simulacrum (composite images without an original) because they are the faces of actresses playing characters and not in fact real women. It's only half ironic that both were, at one point, Bergman's lovers.

The film then deals with two opposing women: the caregiver: real and emotional and the actress, fake and emtionally indifferent. The actress has reverted inside herself because she doesn't exist as a human being outside of the stage. Both womens' reactions to the horrifying sex story that is told is wholly telling.

Then the film burns up and reconstructs itself after alma steps on a piece of glass, the first human sensation she has maybe ever felt and thus, we need a new film, in which we even get a glimpse of Bergman and his crew manipulting a shot. The roles have changed, the actress can feel, and so goes the film until the truth of the matter is revealed jarringly in the infamous fash mesh in which Bergman shows complete control over these women, who do not exist but instead are simply images that he can manipulate of his own free will. In that sense it's the most personally perverse shot Bergman ever devised.

And then the child again, touching the glass, reaching out to these women, trying to escape. He grabs for real beauty and yet all he gets is cold glass for these women are no more than projections on a screen: a chemical reaction of light hitting film and being projected on a cold surface. In this sense, Bergman reveals that film is both love and pain: encapsultaion and isolation: within film Bergman is his own master, ability to make his lovers into anything he wants and yet he still ends up cold and alone with no more than images projected behind a gladd barricade.

4) 8 1/2

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