Monday, April 16, 2007



I also like the ending of MEPHISTO (1981, ISTVAN SZABO, A) very much. I don’t know if there is an exact word for this kind of ending. It doesn’t give a sense of perfect conclusion like the ones you always find in Hollywood films. I usually find this kind of inconclusive endings in Iranian films and Rivette’s films.

I like VIDEOGRAMS OF A REVOLUTION very much, and I also saw GHOSTS (2005, Christian Petzold, A+) and THE STATE I AM IN (2000, Christian Petzold, A+), which are co-written by Harun Farocki. I think Christian Petzold might be a student of Farocki. I read in Senses of Cinema that Petzold is one of very few current German filmmakers who have ties with the German masters of 1970’s.

As I have seen only one feature film of Farocki, so I can’t distinguish what is the influence of Farocki in the script of GHOSTS and THE STATE I AM IN. I just know that they are excellent. Both films deal with the lives of teenage girls, and both films shatter my feelings in a quiet and unhurried way,

I don’t know if you have seen any films by Christian Petzold, but I strongly recommend him. My friend and a critic who saw GHOSTS also compare this film to Jacques Rivette’s, because GHOSTS deals with the landscape in a way similar to Jacques Rivette, and GHOSTS hides something from the audience like Rivette.

In GHOSTS, there is a birthmark which can tell if the protagonist is really the daughter of a rich woman. Some characters in the film know if the protagonist really has the birthmark or not. But the audience never knows. Christian Petzold is very cruel to the audience about this. There is a scene when a character tries to see if there is a birthmark, and then the film suddenly cuts to another scene.

In LA BELLE NOISEUSE, which is 4-hour long, the director never reveals the painting to the audience. The characters in the film saw the painting, but the audience is not allowed to. Rivette is also very cruel to the audience. Hahaha

Speaking about withholding something from the audience, I think Michael Haneke comes close to this kind of method in HIDDEN, because he didn’t provide the full details about why the malicious videos are made. I also think about THE FLOWER OF EVIL (CLAUDE CHABROL), because Chabrol never reveals who did the malicious pamphlet in this film.

I haven’t had time to see Chabrol’s films on DVDs lately. The latest one I saw is still THE FLOWER OF EVIL. However, I see that the DVDs of THE BRIDESMAID (2006) and LA RUPTURE (1970) are available here.

I also saw a documentary about ISABELLE HUPPERT, and the documentary emphasizes on her works with Chabrol, such as in VIOLETTE NOZIERE (1978) and MERCI POUR LE CHOCOLAT (2000). The documentary is called ISABELLE HUPPERT: PLAYING LIFE (2001, SERGE TOUBIANA, A-).

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