7 Asphalt

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HerrSchreck
Joined: Sun Sep 04, 2005 11:46 am

#51 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Dec 24, 2006 2:24 am

I must be the only person aside from some contemporary critics who likes PRIX DE BEAUTE-- I love Mate's cinematoraphy, the virtually all-location shooting, the sense of spending time with these characters throughout their mundane daily activities, and find the ending pathos pretty much par for the Pabst-Brooks / early-French unhappy ending schtick (though I don't dislike it).

Are you saying that the sound is being run too quickly Tom? I know there are a variety of versions and runtimes for this film, sound and silent (the original silent being the longest)... Obviously as this was always a dubbed silent (even the sound version), it appears that (particularly in the runway scenes) silent footage is being run at sound speed, bigtime. I've heard folks who owned the vhs version saying the two seem about par with no missing footage on the dvd and couldn't detect where the speedup vs. the "93 min" vhs version was (ie lack of tweety-sounding voices.)

Do you have any more info on this Tom, as I'm been trying to ascertain what the hell is going on with the runtimes-- i e bad spec data on the runtimes, or a shortened print, or a speedup. Not sure..

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david hare
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#52 Post by david hare » Sun Dec 24, 2006 4:12 am

I'd like to address this more carefully but Ive been to an Xmas lunch with Four Remaining Cinephiles de Sydney (and short on the booze) during which I got inta a great run on Prix.

Schrekeroo- i think apart from anything, what boils me down on it as a movie is:

it sets out to do the post silent talkie thing, which it does very well. Exemplary dubbing etc (although you must all realize Louise didn't speak a word or French);

the narrative itself which problematically for me pushes Louise thru too many domestic micro dramas. Admittedly she looks fabulous thru these, but the guys do NOT. I simply can't believe her supposed interest in husband, after the great scenes with tough Pabstian men whom she melts into suicidal desire; NOT to mention Jean Bradin playing the Objective Correlative redemptor. (Really for such a thematically fascinating movie Ophuls la Signora di Tutti is the tops, and a masterpiece);
and - I guess - nothing about the mise en scene really bothers me, but it doesnt entrance me either. The nice thing about the picture is that it gives us one brave and sublime shot of Louise, in tight tanktop after reconciled domesticity, clearly showing her gorgeous small breasts. I was honestly sexually stirred by this. But I always am by les mignons, or mignonettes.. I would agree with absolutely anyone this shot alone would make the movie worth watching in any case.

But I keep thinking it should have been a Rene Clair Picture, as was originally intended.

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HerrSchreck
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#53 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Dec 24, 2006 4:31 am

What disc do you have of this-- is it the French Brooks "COFFRET"..? and if so, what's the running time on your copy?

Bringing momentarily back on topic-- I think Betty Amann is all fake lashes, kilograms of poundation power, and quarts of eye liner and lipstick-- her looks are painted onto a powder-gessoed canvass. Her gaudy looks (tho her performance is not bad at all) become poodle-like when compared to the ethereal natural beauty and stratospheric charismatic intelligence (and great fucking ass!.. boy o boy when ya catch it from the right angle you really get the point) of Louise Brooks.

Re PRIX mise en scene. I dunno-- certainly not a masterpiece or even as good as the degenerating-as-it-goes-along TAGEBUCH... but I think the basic petty mundane blankness and completely uninteresting nature of the characters themselves-- let's face it, Louise is playing a droll loser of a woman going out with a douche bag imbecile, not even a dashing one or one who exposes any iota of charms... hangs around with the pipsqueak runt of a man being abused by friend and stranger alike... so I find the vaguely uninspired and even here & there flatlining direction to be an almost ex-post facto accidental mood-enhancer for the great cinematographic exposition of these wonderfully drab cafeterias, offices, public beaches, blue collar streets, anonymous workaday crowds-- supported with at times quite naturalistic performances. In my opinion.

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david hare
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#54 Post by david hare » Sun Dec 24, 2006 4:44 am

Yeah - dis all true. But (I hinted at this before) the great interesting center of Pabst is these molto Butch (and potnetially masochistic) men who seem to fall over (not to put too fine a point on it.) Interestingly, in l"Atlantide nothing less than Brigitte Helm is the adversary but she barely resgisters as an identity beyond the scenario (But to give all credit to Pabst he's obviously focussing on a male environment at least. Perhpas like the war movies which I havent seen for decades.)

Genina includes a - quite shockingly out of "type" - CU of Brooks in Prix during the post wedding/before "redemption" scene of Louise (and the camera twists around over her face) in which she's hugely made up with lashes and mascara - the only such shot of her in her filmography that I know. I guess this is part of the narrative iconog of her becoming a star/poster girl, but the placement of it within this particular sequence simply demonstrates Genina's complete lack of control over the material.
(I watched this again last nite for some psychically obscure reason. Maybe just Louise.)

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HerrSchreck
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#55 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Dec 24, 2006 4:59 am

But what dvd edition-- is it French or did you grab the Kino like Tom & I? And if not the Kino which ed. & whats runtime?

(Always loved as an extra on the Kino the vintage "Notes to the projectionist.. Now pay close attention here bubba because you have sitting on the tabel in front of you this new thing we fuckin sophisticos call THE SOUND FILM. Did you pull yourself back up offa the floor? Yes that's right, tripe eater-- a SOUND film. It talks-- it makes noise. Send your piana player for a baguette & vino or somesuch. Now read the below very very very very very carefully several times becuase this is a SOUND film and if you fuck up and folks isn't able to hear the SOUND you is gonna make Our WOnderful Film Compnay... cough uh make that SOUND film co... make us look terrible getting folks irritated unable to hear shit then they come at us with bats and clubs and baguettes swung at our vulnerable parts giving us a real bad time, and if you fuck us up in a sucha way-- trust me pal, we know where you live. SO get down with this sound shit front and back fore and aft make with the tone and learn to Know Your Volume... don't make me come over there...")

It was all very quaint & moving-- before the bastards realized they were flushing the artistry of the kammerspiel, expressionism, and impressionism down the outhouse pipe forever, with their SOUND. And I don't like the sound of that at all.

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david hare
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#56 Post by david hare » Sun Dec 24, 2006 5:55 am

Yeah it's the French Carlotta Box set. Got no idea of running time cause it's sitting on the floor somewhere upstairs. But I'll letya know ASAP. The print itself is a bit ragged but not bad. And the Soundtrack frankly is excellently clear . But I've alwasy found the aesthetic of sound added after event INCLUDING dialogue far too distancing. (And as you well know it's common in Hollywood and France in this period.)

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Tommaso
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#57 Post by Tommaso » Sun Dec 24, 2006 7:54 am

I don't know for sure, as I haven't seen the French dvd, but the review at dvdclassik gives the runtime of the French disc as 93 mins, which already would include PAL speedup and the speed-up you get when you project silent footage with sound speed. Now the Kino disc has an additional speed-up, as it runs only 88 mins (it should be the other way round of course, as it's NTSC, or at least it should also be 93 mins when PAl/NTSC-conversed). And the result totally annoys me. The projection speed looks like 30 frames/sec to me. I have no idea what happened here, but I don't believe it was projected like this in the cinema.
As to the film itself, I agree with everything David has said about it. And although all the points Schreck makes are good and valid (outdoor shooting etc.), the film totally lacks in interest drama-wise. The characters are ill-defined, and Brooks is just not believable in that house-wifey role. Dialogue, if it exists at all, is dull as it could possibly get (even if it's an early talkie, this is even worse than anything that Leni gets to say in the early Fanck talkies, and honestly, this says quite something...). I also wonder how it was possible to direct the beauty contest itself in such an uninteresting matter-of-fact way. The end of the film, as I said before, is bloody brilliant and totally unexpected after what was going on before. Even the cinematography quite suddenly is two levels above the rest of the film. I agree with Schreck about the street and cafeteria shots, which do look good, but certainly are not that unusual for the time. But I can't see the dullness going on as a 'mood-enhancer', not in the way as a similar dullness enhances or drives the film as in a, say, Kaurismäki film.

Coming back to topic: I wouldn't think it fair to compare Amann to Brooks. Louise's sexuality and attractiveness is of a quite different brand than Betty's; Amann is not supposed to appear 'pure' and 'innocent' (yet fatal) as Brooks does in "Pandora". So the fake lashes, eye liners etc. are what is needed for the part to make her 'treachery' and the decadence of her lifestyle in "Asphalt" convincing. The film is all about intentional deception, whereas the guys in "Pandora" all fall for Brooks because they deceive themselves without Brooks doing much for it, except looking as gorgeous as she does.

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HerrSchreck
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#58 Post by HerrSchreck » Sun Dec 24, 2006 8:47 am

Oi vey meine contrarian friend.. I compared the two due to:
Cinetwist wrote:Just seen this. Considering the competiton of similar German films from the same year and Langlois' quote, all I have to say is this; "There is no Garbo, there is no Dietrich, there is no Louise Brooks, there is only Betty Amann!"
I'm talking about the looks of the two women. As women. Brooks' beauty vs. Amann's "beauty".

As to the distinctions between the two characters-- don't buy into it, Tom. It's another whopper of misguided scholarship. I see very little difference, sans random details of character i e looks and occupation, between Ammann of ASPHALT and Brooks. Don't fall into the overhyping critical pit of Lulu's "purity"-- she's a whore, she's devious, glories over the destruction of Schon's marriage and the life of a genuinely "pure" or "oblivious" or "innocent" young woman (Schon's bourgoise fiance), refuses to set him free when he tries to make her see that the arrangement must be terminated... pouts, weeps, flirts upon command as situations require, fucks and is willingly pimped by lecherous and stinking old men who beat her and exploit her, gives free trade fucks as Christmas presents to clearly unstable, unnamed young men right off the street, etc. The Lulu of Pabst is not the Lulu of Wedekind, in my opinion. She connives, she cheats, she manipulates... but this is all excepted because of... what---- she's a hottie?

The mysterious, ethereal, mystical innocence beautysomething that the critical scholarship has attached to Pabst & Brook's Lulu is a whopper of a red herring to me. Brooks engineers much of the misfortune and crime throughout the picture but she is innocent because.... she's pretty? So it's all the guy who strained desperately to get away from her-- not because she's blindingly, breathtakingly beautiful and innocent, but because she's a hooker and the whole town knows it and are snickering at him-- it's his fault?

I see Brooks & Pabst failing slightly in portraying a woman so beautiful and oblivious to the effects of that beauty that she unintentionally causes misfortune around her-- yes this is Wedekind's Germanic Lulu.

Brooks for me is far more modern than this. She is a very modern woman for me precisely because she is such a sexual dynamo-- she wants what she wants and places a premium on getting what she wants, places a premium on the pleasures and people of the streets as well as the bourgoisie. She can screw a millionaire and can screw a wretched old alcoholic in a garret and it's all the same to her-- the liberation and the modernist mindset (and mise en scene) come from the fact that she is very very smart, aware of all the implications, knows that she is considered to be amoral by all those who would condemn her, and it all means absolutely nothing to her. That is the revolutionary modernist aspect of the film/character (both of which are indivisibly bound together): to be so thoroughly apart from the bourgoise mindset that bourgoise guilt simply does not exist-- therefore these judgements mean shit to her. This doesn't mean she doesn't know what she is doing-- I read Brooks as a very conscious force of nature, seeking, assessing opponents, obstacles to her pleasure, routes to pleasurable contact. Her liberation is a total state... it is not an unconscious disposition taking place behind a blind spot. So a hooker sees nothing wrong with her behavior.. doesn't make her innocent beyond the bounds of her own judgements.

And because Brooks sees nothing wrong with this behavior-- as the morality of her actions are second to the pleasure of contact-- so the movie sees nothing wrong with her behavior, judges her not a whit. That was thunderously modern for the time, because of the truth behind Brook's performance, the shame-free liberated persona right there onscreen, causing it all to sparkle with the heat and confusion of the times, sliding across the gleam of Krampf's surfaces... it's a seething combination. The lack of a narrative center, the lack of judgement and morality

So I can understand, in this sense, cinetwists' conceptual linking of Amman & Brook's characters. They are both women of the streets who have reached a station through conscious con and hustle. They survive by their wiles and making their way with the testosterone of men. Schon tries to get away as does the policeman at first. In these first scenes both women literally bulldoze their kisses onto their male protagonists to force the sexual response... to move their own personal cons/survivals along.

Anyhow, 'twist was talking about Amman's beauty I take it, and acting skills-- I find both second to Brooks.

And also-- generally-- I'd say the frieght of blatant excess powder and yardlong false lashes with all their gaudiness are more the tools of the whore than the polished invisible hustler of the haute bourgoisie. Remember Pabst almost went with the Lord High Empress of the false long lash-- Dietrich! The natural beauty of Brooks is the lucky epiphany of casting, and not the stereotyppical tools of the character herself.

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Tommaso
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#59 Post by Tommaso » Sun Dec 24, 2006 9:32 am

HerrSchreck wrote:I see Brooks & Pabst failing slightly in portraying a woman so beautiful and oblivious to the effects of that beauty that she unintentionally causes misfortune around her-- yes this is Wedekind's Germanic Lulu.
And Alban Berg's, too. It's difficult to see the character in Pabst's film in the light in which you see her if you've been familiar with the Wedekind character for a long time.

You make some quite convincing points, Schrecko, as always. Question is where you put the emphasis. She is in my view not just apart from the bourgoisie mindset, but also apart from any other sort of looking at sex from a moral point of view, and that is what makes her 'pure'. She may be modern, but she is also very archetypically 'ancient', and I always found Brooks' appearance perfect in her 'untouchability'. In a way I've always regarded her as another manifestation of the absolute will and power that can be found in Haggard's "She who must be obeyed" or, to a lesser degree, in Benoit's "L'Atlantide". Lulu/Brooks appears 'cold' not because she is a clever machiavellist (Amann in 'Asphalt' behaves quite calculating, too, but she has a radiant warmth to her, nevertheless), but because she has this mythic aura of not quite being from this world. That's why Brooks in this role has become such a cultural icon, because she is like a statue on a pedestal rather than someone you take home to bed.
HerrSchreck wrote: Her liberation is a total state... it is not an unconscious disposition taking place behind a blind spot. So a hooker sees nothing wrong with her behavior.. doesn't make her innocent beyond the bounds of her own judgements.
That's precisely what I meant. As her liberation is total, and as she appears to have never been NOT liberated, it is only her own judgement that counts, and that is what I meant with 'innocent'. She is not 'innocent' from an outside moral standard (bourgeois or not), but that isn't the point.
HerrSchreck wrote: And because Brooks sees nothing wrong with this behavior-- as the morality of her actions are second to the pleasure of contact-- so the movie sees nothing wrong with her behavior, judges her not a whit.
Yes, this is what makes the film so interesting and ultimately much better than "Asphalt". May's film is all about style and is convincing in its own way, but the end pretty much plays upon the good Christian morale of sin, punishment and ultimate redemption.
HerrSchreck wrote:Anyhow, 'twist was talking about Amman's beauty I take it, and acting skills-- I find both second to Brooks.
I thought he was only talking about the beauty, which ultimately comes down to everyone's own taste, as both Amann's and Brooks' acting is a far cry from the other actresses he mentions (Garbo and Dietrich). I'm not a big fan of either of these, but I doubt that Brooks would have been able to play as diverse roles as Dietrich in an equally convincing manner. And also, looking at "Prix de Beaute" again, Brooks simply is not convincing when asked to play something else than the young girl/femme fatale. I have no comparison with other Amann films, though.

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Cinetwist
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#60 Post by Cinetwist » Sun Dec 24, 2006 9:48 am

Actually, I wasn't necessarily talking about Amann's beauty and even less so, acting ability. I was being far more base than that and was thinking more of her sexuality. I felt more seduced by her than I had been by Louise in "Pandoras.." or by Garbo in "The Kiss".

It wasn't a very objective reaction, just as I assumed Langlois' wasn't when I decided to adopt that seemingly applicable quote. I haven't seen any other Louise Brooks films, so I can't really go into the depth that you guys are. It was just a gut (or should I go lower ;)!) reaction.

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Tommaso
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#61 Post by Tommaso » Sun Dec 24, 2006 11:09 am

Cinetwist wrote: I was being far more base than that and was thinking more of her sexuality. I felt more seduced by her than I had been by Louise in "Pandoras.." or by Garbo in "The Kiss"..
Me too! :D And probably that's why I surely tend to overrate "Asphalt"...

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david hare
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#62 Post by david hare » Sun Dec 24, 2006 4:43 pm

Don't fall into the overhyping critical pit of Lulu's "purity"-- she's a whore, she's devious, glories over the destruction of Schon's marriage and the life of a genuinely "pure" or "oblivious" or "innocent" young woman (Schon's bourgoise fiance), refuses to set him free when he tries to make her see that the arrangement must be terminated... pouts, weeps, flirts upon command as situations require, fucks and is willingly pimped by lecherous and stinking old men who beat her and exploit her, gives free trade fucks as Christmas presents to clearly unstable, unnamed young men right off the street, etc.
Yep! She's MY kind of gal!

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manicsounds
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Re: 7 Asphalt

#63 Post by manicsounds » Tue Mar 13, 2012 9:42 am

So how come this is out of stock at so many places?

peerpee
not perpee
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 3:41 pm

Re: 7 Asphalt

#64 Post by peerpee » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:04 am

Because it takes months to repress a massive catalogue after it's all been destroyed, and this is one of the last to be re-pressed! (along with SPIONE, ASSASSINATION, TARTUFFE, FRAU IM MOND, and FUNERAL PARADE OF ROSES).

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TMDaines
Joined: Wed Nov 11, 2009 1:01 pm
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Re: 7 Asphalt

#65 Post by TMDaines » Tue Mar 13, 2012 10:44 am

peerpee wrote:Because it takes months to repress a massive catalogue after it's all been destroyed, and this is one of the last to be re-pressed! (along with SPIONE, ASSASSINATION, TARTUFFE, FRAU IM MOND, and FUNERAL PARADE OF ROSES).
This is still one of my favourite releases. Possibly because it was the first one that I bought and watched.

It'd be really great to see some more Weimar cinema from beyond the big names get released by you.

Bürgermeister
Joined: Thu Jul 03, 2008 7:05 am

Re: 7 Asphalt

#66 Post by Bürgermeister » Tue Mar 13, 2012 11:35 am

peerpee wrote:Because it takes months to repress a massive catalogue after it's all been destroyed, and this is one of the last to be re-pressed! (along with SPIONE, ASSASSINATION, TARTUFFE, FRAU IM MOND, and FUNERAL PARADE OF ROSES).
Are Humanity and Paper Balloons & Francesco Giullare di Dio still waiting to be re-pressed also?

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