excellent, must see, enjoyed immensely
excellent, must see, enjoyed immensely
great film, a little julie dash a little terrence malick, ok a lot, and a little toni morrison
Director of Beasts looks like a first time director. He made an acclaimed short on Hurricane Katrina that I have not seen called Glory At Sea. Found it on YouTube, I'll probably check it out tonight.
Nice, good lookin out
I'm not altogether sold on Green's work either, but it seems a bit unfair to sell his early work as sentimental and derivative of Malick. Malick's influence is, of course, there, but George Washington owes as much to Burnett's Killer of Sheep. Moreover, the constant and violent shifts between the high visual language associated with Malick and the action scenes, which lack all sense of subtly and have a soap opera-like feel to them, produce an imbalance of affect. This imbalance, Id' suggest, is done purposefully. It is meant to make the cliches of the 90s indie world apparent.
His last real experimental film, Undertow, continues this trajectory. Like GW, Undertow is a mix of mismatched styles. It takes its plot from Laughton's Night of the Hunter, its dialogue from B-movies, and its acting from whatever hell bad actors are stored. The result is a film that disrupts the Tarantino celebration and merging of high and low culture, showing it to have its own hierarchies of taste--etc etc.
This doesn't make the films all that enjoyable. Having seen all of his early work, I have no real desire to return to them. But the unique and discomforting combinations of high and low, the slowing of time, so that the viewer, in his or her boredom, is thrust out of the diagetic space, do what all great films do: they offer a new look at the way in which people live their lives. Green's glimpses may, at times, fall flat, but they're far from derivative.
To the topic of this thread, I haven't had time to see BotSW yet, but have it on my list. Here's a one of the few ambivalent takes on the film: http://queerblackfeminist.blogspot.c...male-gaze.html
. . . and since you mentioned Julie Dash, MHD, she finall secured funding for Tupelo 77, so if you're a fan of her work, you might want to keep an eye out for it.
I have not seen GW or All The Real Girls since they came out so my emotional reaction to them is much more present in my mind than an analytical recollection. I remember being very put off by what seemed to me a somewhat absurd and utopian view of the south. GW and it's weird united colors of benetton meets William Eggleston kids felt contrived to me at the time. I still laugh at the ridiculousness of Zooey Deschanel whispering "Hello Hello Hello Hello" in the ear of her boyfriend in All The Real Girls. If I'm recalling right beyond Green's aesthetic I seem to remember an actual relationship that he had/has with Malick. I think they developed some projects together and may or may not have spoken of a Mentor/Mentee relationship. I have not seen Undertow. Night of The Hunter definitely ranks in my top ten. So I'm kind of annoyed to hear he derived from it for one of his more "experimental" films.
Last edited by Sal Paradise; 07-16-2012 at 07:51 PM.
I'm with you; his presentation of the South is flat. Every gothic cliche is included, with none the style's nuances, none of its complexities, added. This is true whether you choose to read the film in the manner I have or in the manner you have.
My objection to your reading, however, has more to do with your initial claim that Green is derivative of Malick. The problem, perhaps, is semantic in nature. More directly, there is a difference between a text that derives material from a source or sources and a text that is derivative of a source. The former category includes just about every text we encounter. The later, on the other hand, is a pejorative that assigns the title of unimaginative thief upon the maker. The question to ask, however, is how does one distinguish between the two.
The answer, for me, lies in synthesis. That is, a text is not derivative when it takes its source material and combines it with other ideas or sources in order to produce something new. Thus, Malick's use of the Starkweather story in Badlands or Weyth in Days of Heaven derives material from these texts, but the result is something entirely new. His use, in effect, translates and expands upon the Starkweather story and Weyth's paintings and offers viewers a new way to see both. the result is a world that is simultaneously familiar and new. Likewise, Laughton, since you mentioned admiring NotH, takes Grubb's novel and a variety of techniques from the German Expressionists--Caligari in particular--and synthesizes them into something completely new and terrifying. And some 34 years later, Lee takes Laughton's LOVE/HATE into new territory. None of these films is derivative. This is because of the ways in which the three directors are able to synthesize--or fuse--their sources with their ideas. I suspect this is easy to see with great works like the ones mentioned, but what about less successful films--like those made by Green?
The case, of course, is harder to make, but I want to suggest that if we read the films as challenges to the calcified but often invisible cliches that were endemic to late 90s, then the awkward and uneven affect produced is less a fault and more a purposeful dislodging of tired, comfortable tropes. More directly, Green's "shortcomings'--the two-dimensional South, his voyeuristic look at poor kids (you mention Eggelston; I'd suggest that the always exploitative Clark might be an even better source)--are juxtaposed to the masterful techniques of Malick and Burnett. This juxtaposition refuses the sort of fusion that hides cliches under the hard-skull of accepted techniques. Just like George's unfused skull leaves his brain--and, symbolically, his feelings for Nasia---exposed and open for ridicule, Green never closes the gap between his techniques, and, in refusing such closure, he leaves the calcified, often racist and always classist portrayals of the poor open for criticism.
I know that's a tough sell; I often tell people that the difference between elegance and pretension is the invisibility of effort. If we can see the work, then elegance is lost. By this standard, Green's films clearly fall within the realm of pretension. And this is only compounded by the fact that his sources never quite synthesize, which would seem to be counter to everything I've said above. However, when the point is awkwardness, when the purpose is a discomforting by exaggeration and absurdity, the rules of elegance don't apply. Synthesis, in this case, is not so much a matter of elegantly incorporating one's sources, but, rather, it is a matter of using the proverbial master-texts in such a way as to expose how indie films are merely retreads of what has come before.
As such, Green's work uses his sources to derive something different--something new.
As to the Malick/Green connection; Green mentions in an interview with The Believer that they used to meet at a coffeehouse (I think) in Beverly Hills and talk about films, and that Malick partially funded All the Real Girls and Undertow.
Last edited by Sal Paradise; 07-17-2012 at 12:39 PM.
Yeah, I was lucky enough to catch Killer of Sheep in 1990, when Burnett's To Sleep with Anger came out. The small theater/poster shop on Wisconsin Ave, right next to the Georgetown Roy Rodgers, was doing a first run of Angerand, by some miracle, had managed to get the then long out of print Killer of Sheep. I wasn't keen on seeing it, but the cashier, who thought it was hilarious that two 13 year old boys used to skip school to watch foreign and independent movies, shamed us into watching. And, well, a pretty 20-something woman, who appears to know everything when you're 13, holds more sway than just about anybody, so we reluctantly bought tickets. Thank God for that!
Seen it Today...Very special movie.....Quvenzhané Wallis as Hushpuppy and Dwight Henry as Wink gave two performances that hope do not go unnoticed at Awards time at end of the year.
It\'s Leroy\'s World....we just dance in it!
Thanks for the heads up!
As for the charges against me, I am unconcerned. I am beyond their timid lying morality, and so I am beyond caring.
This movie is definitely high on the list of movies to see.
Better every day.
Hahaha. Yes!!! The Bio was awesome. The Outer Circle was great, too, but we had to be really desperate to see a movie before we hit anything that far away from PG. If memory serves, it was almost exactly in between Tenley Town and Friendship Heights, which was always thick with bored police, too.
And, of course, if we're talking about Georgetown theaters, the Foundry may have gotten only second-run flicks, but let's just say my mother worrying about the potential of clubs corrupting me should have been looking toward the Foundry in the late 80s and early 90s.
on the subject of new films - Killer Joe just came out here, really enjoyed that