1960s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

An ongoing survey of the Criterion Forum membership to create lists of the best films of each decade and genre.
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
DarkImbecile
Ask me about my visible cat breasts
Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2013 6:24 pm
Location: Albuquerque, NM

Re: 1960s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#626 Post by DarkImbecile » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:25 pm

BenoitRouilly wrote:
Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:22 pm
I noticed the 30ies closed off just last month... looking forward to the results.
That was the 1920s list; the 1930s project is going until mid-February.

User avatar
swo17
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: 1960s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#627 Post by swo17 » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:26 pm

We spend 8 months on each decade. Because eight months don't make a year?

User avatar
BenoitRouilly
Joined: Fri Jul 13, 2018 5:49 pm

Re: 1960s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#628 Post by BenoitRouilly » Mon Jul 16, 2018 4:34 pm

Oh wait. I checked out Upcoming List Project Deadlines and I saw the one that ended on June 10, I tought you talked about that one.
Let's run down my seen list of 30ies films then.

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: 1960s List Discussion and Suggestions

#629 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Apr 24, 2020 8:53 am

domino harvey wrote:
Tue Oct 09, 2012 8:42 am
Satan conduit le bal (Grisha Dabat 1962) Five years before Catherine Deneuve and Jacques Perrin played fate-crossed lovers in Demy's Les Demoiselles de Rochefort they appeared together as one of several mismatched pairs in this clever, mean-spirited diatribe against idleness of both youth and economic class. Dabat's film, co-scripted by Roger Vadim, gives us a gaggle of flip loafers who congregate at the estate of the wealthiest's parents and waste no time in not only disrespecting existent boundaries of romantic commitment and societal decency, but flaunting said rifts. This is a cruel film-- when the most human character is the retired gangster who plots to wipe out his daughter's paramour, you know your main protagonists are fucked-- but it's a telling work of social commentary. When the richest amongst them gets rejected for the last time by Bernadette Lafont, she asks what comes next. He responds, "I'll make money."
A merciless film indeed! I admired the strategy of the narrative, how we are introduced to our beautiful leads in a classic underdogs-on-the-run fashion but where something in the air feels oddly unsympathetic from the start, and we soon find out why! Not that we can’t see these warning signs right away (clear manipulation, cold logical use of nepotism to escape from consequences without concern for ethics) but they don’t necessarily extend to all yet. Much attention is paid to characters living a luxurious lifestyle and seemingly enjoying themselves only for the menacing reality to sink in from within and beyond, like an objective sun of morality setting on the stage.

Also, this is the actual synopsis on IMDb, which I think is hysterically apt in its informality:
Spoiler for only the first 5 minutes that kicks off plotShow
Ivan, an arrogant yet handsome douche, crashes the car he lifted from an auto garage for a joyride. Rather than go to jail the kid talks the owner into letting him pay the damages with money he can squeeze out of his girlfriend Manuelle and her mobster father.

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: 1960s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#630 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Jun 08, 2020 11:34 am

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

I decided to revisit this on a Monday morning to start the work week during a global pandemic right, and it’s somehow more depressing than I remembered. This film could be shown at nihilist training camps, and the title may as well be their mantra. The aspect that struck me this time is how every gear in the film is operating on America’s problem-focused mentality. In an early competition, the emcee doesn’t open up the event to instill hope about the winners (he actually tells the audience not to focus on that) but instead repeats that there will be three 'losers.' In this world, being first is meaningless, but being last will destroy you.

This decree, bathed in bleak tones of this brown and grey milieu, is the devotion to a state of hopelessness. The bar is set so firmly at what not to be rather than what to be that it's no wonder everyone is miserable (plus it’s the Great Depression, after all). The exploitation works because of the desperation, and since we are immersed into an environment this oppressive- both naturally and perpetuated by other human beings- we feel the pain of a missing dress as if we’re trapped and powerless right there with York.

It’s fascinating to watch this in our current age, because of how (only recently) many fields in America have made a concerted effort to operate in strengths-based fashions. Most businesses, schools, and certainly mental health modalities, put a lot of effort into listing strengths first and problems second. And yet, we still default to being problem focused, to think of what we could do better, what we don’t have, what an employee or client hasn’t done or needs to do to meet a goal. Even in my field this is a constant. What does that say about America- that we need to push ourselves to adopt a mindset against our nature and still fail most of the time? I don’t know how much of this is human nature by way of simply existing in a social world or how much is environmental conditioning, but regardless, this is a film about the history that aided in capitalizing on and perpetuating this mentality.

The schadenfreude that would be repurposed for reality tv, shows like Cops, Jackass, etc. is alive here in the contests’ advertising model; and even the public hold up signs that ask the contestants not to disappoint rather than rooting for them to win! The cold dog-eat-dog world contains people who enter on their last legs, and when their sole supports are removed, either fail publicly in the means designed by the competition to mask the financial, esteem, and identity destruction that comes with this loss, or adapt with futile resilience to stay alive until they burn out in even worse fates.

And what does this film’s existence say, on a culturally-reflexive level, about the processing we have as viewers in marveling at another’s expense without thrusting our own agency? Did I watch this movie today because I want to align with these people’s pain, to empathize in the midst of a stressful global event, or to feel better about my position in relation to this nightmare? I think about these dual subconscious intentions often. The show Jackass is a great example of a program seemingly devoted to schadenfreude, and yet since we have all experienced pain- isn’t it also designed, on a superficial physiological level, for us to access another's pain through communal relation? I don’t think it needs to be one or the other. I experience this a lot in self-help meetings, where you hear someone share about going through a difficult time and feel better. You don’t want that person to be hurting, but it feels better not to be alone- so one can be relieved by another’s hardship in comparison to theirs, as well as join with them, simultaneously. This film was released at the time of the Vietnam War, in a year of great change (as Tarantino and plenty of accompanying articles have pointed out about '69 recently), during an era of disillusionment in the American people, and I wonder the extent to which the country needed to be relieved and to join in suffering. Well Pollack and his phenomenal cast provided that suffering.

The default to a problem-focused perspective in America is never expressed better than when Rocky says, “I may not be able to spot a winner, but I sure can spot a loser” to ignite the ultimate descent into surrender for our leads. And as they throw in the towel, America’s weaponized heartless engine of victimization, purposed for the invaluable commodity of voyeuristic displacement, continues on with sustained fervor- and probably always will.

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: 1960s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#631 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Jul 18, 2020 1:27 am

Inside Daisy Clover is a peculiar version of the cynical Hollywood tale, in that treats stardom much like my last writeup in this thread, They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?, does- completely negating its allure which pales to the escapism that drives the narrative. We are never given even the basics, a rationale or buildup, of why Wood wants to be an actress, nor are any aspects of the process granted the energy to romanticize, once underway. The reasons are simply that this life is not her current life, much like in the Pollack the goal isn't success, but not-suffering. The promise is not one's hopes and dreams but the bar set just above terrible, to be independent of an insipid existence, moving away from the unbearable rather than toward a target.

The journey to, and in, stardom is completely stale, as Wood encounters characters barren of flavorful personalities. Even her elopement consists of a drawn out scene where Wood and Redford cannot even communicate for what feels like forever, to the point where Wood eventually resorts to brainstorm the banal activities she'll take up (a long silence is broken with "I think I'll learn to cook"). None of the suitors in Wood's life are exciting or kind, they're just different and so worth offering herself to because it beats being alone (Plummer's 'courting' is so awkward and coercive that it feels like a borderline sexual violation, as Wood just lies there motionless and numb). The path of apathetic coasting that Wood finds herself on is far more realistic in its stagnancy than one of high highs and low lows, big dreams and heavy blows. In that sense it's also bitterly depressing, when the optimal experience to strive for is a honeymoon of uncomfortable communication breakdowns and passive abandonment.

The showtime scenes of Wood performing are most focused on the technical artificiality and distancing effects between Wood and her audience, with the camera panning out as we become further removed from her, our view blocked with wires and cameras and crews between us and our subject. The behind-the-scenes dubbing later on juxtaposes Wood's isolation and muted screams with the facade of joy on her celluloid performance. Plummer says, "the world identifies with you, bonehead" as a reason for Wood to snap out of her funk- but the gap between her and the world is so vast, she could hardly care less. She doesn't want, and has never wanted, to be identified with, just to identify with something. Daisy's ultimate statement of resilience is an accident from failed concessions of the finite variety, and although I appreciate how she wanders off smiling at setting fire to her vapid life, any optimism available must be taken with ultrasensitive caution. The only happiness possible in the world of this film is in the abandonment of a confining milieu, rather than the liberation serving as a step towards any aspiring opportunity.

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: 1960s List Discussion and Suggestions (Lists Project Vol. 3)

#632 Post by therewillbeblus » Mon Sep 14, 2020 8:37 pm

Elvira Madigan would seem familiar if I described its narrative structure, but the process of delivery is unlike anything I've seen. We know how the story ends before we are privileged a glance at the radiance of love's power in the first images. This is essentially a story of how love liberates in private, becoming a world on its own, and how this is at odds with the rest of the world that doesn't subscribe to its rules. In this kind of love, the couple is the center of their shared world, their playful games are so self-assured that we don't need to understand their jokes or idiosyncratic flirtations because they jive off of one another’s energy seamlessly, speaking a unique language known only to them, that we have no business trying to piece and should be grateful enough for the opportunity to voyeuristically admire.

There is a tragedy inherent to this contrast with environment, but Widerberg conscientiously doesn’t focus there nearly as much as the sublime that exists for the individual, completely special and singular and dependent on nothing but intrinsic energy with their loved one to survive. They muse about the outside world: war, occupations, philosophy; and yet they can safely do so from their bubble of symbiotic passion. The attention paid to this Eden-like paradise in the woods, exalted spiritual relationships with all creation in their vicinity, is like the fairy tales real life brings when we look for them. When the milieu's cancer does seep in, the message is less of a wake-up call to problems in how they practice their love, but a shade of realism that has become poisonously repellent in the wake of how sober these lovers have become to the possibilities of life. The scene where Sixten becomes angry about Hedvig showing her legs doesn't feel sourced in common jealousy so much as a discomfort with the need to compromise the self through sharing the beauty only he can truly know with the numbed misperceptions of the outside world. Just as cognitive-heavy intelligent people kill themselves when their environments don't match their psyches, the emotionally-explosive lovers can become just as hopeless in an atmosphere that doesn't reflect their level of intimacy.

The ‘blade of grass’ analogy said in the film defines this position of meaning-making better than I can, but it’s true in all the ways that matter to these people and that have mattered to us at certain times of our lives and, with any luck, will again. As Sixten says, “Isn’t that what love is? That you borrow someone’s eyes to experience the world as they see and feel it?” I can’t help but realize that this is exactly what Widerberg is granting us, the gift to relive that experience of love. I’m in love with this film.

Post Reply