Marcel Proust (1871-1922) is on his deathbed. Looking at photographs brings memories of his childhood, his youth, his lovers, and the way the Great War put an end to a stratum of society. ... See full summary »
At a wake one night in 1945, a group of aged women recall the life of one of their number. Sixty years before, Thérèse was barely 20 years old when she eloped with her boyfriend, Firmin, a ... See full summary »
In 1976, Jack Unterweger was convicted for the murder of Margaret Schaefer and sentenced to life in prison. While imprisoned, he committed himself to reading and writing, eventually earning... See full summary »
In an ethereal, high-ceilinged room, women stand, waiting. Perhaps it's Purgatory and they're dead. In the room, two young women, one an actress and the other a psychologist, watch the last... See full summary »
Sir Paul, a distinguished author, blinded in a horrific accident, advertises for an amanuensis, an assistant to help him with his writing. He employs the amiable Jane Ryder to be his eyes ... See full summary »
Jakob Windisch has written THE number one bestselling novel. Since he is very shy, no-one has seen him except Uhu Zigeuner who is the designated director of the film adaption. Zigeuner is ... See full summary »
A meditation on civilization. July, 2001: friends wave as a cruise ship departs Lisbon for Mediterranean ports and the Indian Ocean. On board and on day trips in Marseilles, Pompeii, Athens... See full summary »
Manoel de Oliveira
Filipa de Almeida,
Come to the Village of the Dogs, it's easy to find. Just follow the avenue of crutches and the prosthetic legs hanging from the trees. It's where the Virgin Mary keeps appearing in the sky.... See full summary »
A character study and a meditation on art in a time of opulence and syphilis. Gustave Klimt (1862-1918) lies in hospital, dying. In reveries, he recalls the early 1900s: it's fin de siècle Vienna. At the World Exposition in Paris, Klimt meets Georges Méliès, who does a moving picture for him, and Klimt falls under the spell of a woman who may be Lea de Castro. We see Klimt in his studio; we meet his mother and sister, who suffer from mental illness. We watch Klimt the libertine. On his deathbed and as a younger man, he imagines things as well: encounters with ministers and waiters and with women who are willing participants in his pleasures. Is this the source of art? Written by
While the world relaxed and enjoyed itself between wars. When art was a solitary and experimental endeavor. When Europeans rediscovered the power of nature in sex and in some cases the other way around. When lives really could be deep, and debauched and intelligent too, three men came out of Vienna: Freud and Wittgenstein were two of them. There may have not been such a concentration of greatness for many decades before and until the Fasori Gimnázium, also under by then slippery Austrian rule.
There's a commonality among those two and Klimt, and even between them and the more cerebral Budapest next generation. Its a matter of passion, sense (in both meanings) and concept curvature. While the two great art nouveau geniuses were wondering about space in Brussels and Barcelona, Klimt worked his space, curvature ans escape from the inside of women. Lots of women.
His work is of that type that is immediately attractive, so lots of people decorate with it. A brief familiarity with it breeds confusion, so unless you dig as deeply in viewing as he did in making, it will not connect. As a result, if you are serious about making a film of him, about him, you simply cannot do the normal thing: somehow artificially inducing drama into portraying a few known events. You cannot do what Greenaway did with Rembrandt, simply showing sexual passion and making the film painterly.
So along comes Ruiz, who is a strange bird, very much like Klimt. There's no middle familiarity with him. Either you know him deeply, you wrap your life where he has, or you miss the passion. You think him dull. You actually believe that someone would spend this much energy fine tuning the ordinary. Well, the thing about these three men is that they were their own worst critics. They all three created their own new worlds were none was before, worlds so perfect and pure anyone of lesser power would be unable to break them. Then they each turned on their own creation, finding and exploiting the weaknesses of their own creations, selves and now us. The art is not in the man but in how he made himself broken.
Look at each of them and see the beauty in partial dismemberment. Ruiz denotes this at the beginning with otherwise inexplicable, powerful amputee sex. As with Ruiz' best work, people act as others, split selves, whores of themselves, auditors and bureaucrats of sex. Love must be dissymmetric. Narrative to have power must be a bit jagged inside, where you want to go.
I admit, I think Malkovich was a bad choice. He really can be dull. But he is supposed to stagger through this, finding puddles of warm light, clean frames or open enclosure. The women are the thing, always the thing here and they are drawn well.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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