Monday, May 14, 2007


This is my comment in MEMORIES OF THE FUTURE’s blog:

I just listened to AIN’T GOT NO, I’VE GOT LIFE, and I think it is very touching. Nina Simone’s voice makes me feel both the hardship of life and the dignity of someone who will not give in to all those pressures in life. The lyrics are great. It is very sad in the beginning, but life-affirming at the end.

If I have to include this song in a film, I think I might use it in the documentary LOVE AND DIANE (2002, Jennifer Dworkin, A+), which is about the difficult lives of a mother and a daughter.

By the way, I'm gradually reading your film reviews in the past. I like what you wrote about BORN IN FLAMES very much. The film seems to be very interesting. So I have quoted something you wrote about this film and posted it on some Thai movie webboards. I do it because I want some DVD vendors in Bangkok to be interested in this film and order this DVD to be sold in Bangkok. I hope you don't mind that I quote your writing to promote this film. I also mention your name and give a link back to your dvdaddict's page.


MEMORIES OF THE FUTURE left a comment in my blog here:

This is my reply:

I’m very lucky that the Alliance Francaise in Bangkok had the film print of INDIA SONG. During the past ten years, I saw INDIA SONG once in a mini-theatre in a university in Bangkok, and for the other six times I saw it in the theatre of Alliance Francaise. INDIA SONG was shown there two times in 1997, two times in 2000, and two times in 2004.

As for BEAU TRAVAIL, I saw it four times during the French Film Festival in Bangkok, and I saw it at Alliance Francaise for the fifth viewing.

I’m glad you like Kim Seong-su. He looks great in THE RED SHOES.

Other Korean actors who strawberrize my world include:
(The name of the actor, the year he was born, the name of a movie that he played)

1.Ji Jin-hee (1971) – THE OLD GARDEN (2006, Im Sang-soo, A+)

2.Lee Dong-wook (1981) – Arang (2006, Ahn Sang-hoon, B)

3.Kim Kang-woo (1978) – The Beast and the Beauty (2005, Lee Gye-byeok, B+)

4.Oh Ji-ho (1976) – La Belle (2000, Yeo Kyun-dong)

I don’t know if you will like LA BELLE CAPTIVE (A+) or not. However, I will try to write about my feelings for this film.

I have seen this film only once. I apologize in advance if I remember anything wrong or misunderstand anything. My memory is very unreliable.

I think this film is not as exciting as LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD, TRANS-EUROP-EXPRESS (1966, Alain Robbe-Grillet, A+), or EDEN AND AFTER (1970, Alain Robbe-Grillet, A+), but it is still very interesting. I think the emotional flow in this film doesn’t run as smoothly as the other three films. I think that LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD, EDEN AND AFTER, and LA BELLE CAPTIVE seem to have fragmented storytelling. But though the storytelling in these three films are fragmented, the emotional flow still runs smoothly in LAST YEAR AT MARIENBAD and EDEN AND AFTER, but in the case of LA BELLE CAPTIVE, it seems as if the emotional flow is also fragmented, too.

I think that in a mainstream film, there seems to be a certain kind of emotional flow. The emotional flow will swing up or down during the early part of the film. After that it will rise steadily and quickly to the climax point near the end of the movie. However, in EDEN AND AFTER, I seem to experience a few climaxes. There is not only one climax as in most mainstream films, but I feel as if there are three climaxes—the first in the poisoning scene in CAFE EDEN, the second in the chasing scene in the factory, the third in Tunisia. This is because there seems to be more than one story being told in EDEN AND AFTER.

But in LA BELLE CAPTIVE, I feel as if the emotional flow rarely goes high. The story in LA BELLE CAPTIVE seems to be restarted again and again, but most of the stories in this film don't have a chance to go to the climax point, because they end abruptly before they get to that point.

But though this characteristic might make me like LA BELLE CAPTIVE less than other films by ROBBE-GRILLET, I still like this film very much, at least much more than most thrillers by Brian De Palma (Hey, I like De Palma). I think that the difference between LA BELLE CAPTIVE and other Robbe-Grillet's films is a good thing, too. I think that the reason why LA BELLE CAPTIVE is different in this way might be because Robbe-Grillet created LA BELLE CAPTIVE by using Magritte's series of paintings as the starting point. I don't know much about the information behind this film, but there are six paintings by Magritte, all of which are called La Belle Captive. If Robbe-Grillet used many paintings, instead of one painting, as an inspiration for the film, it is no doubt why the film's emotional flow is fragmented. I feel as if Robbe-Grillet didn't want to finish each story inspired by each painting. I feel as if he jumped to another story inspired by another painting before the former one could be told completely.

However, this characteristic is what I both like and dislike in the film. It makes me like this film less than other films by Robbe-Grillet, but it makes this film very different from many other films at the same time. The film seems to surrender to an enormous power by the paintings of Magritte and Edouard Manet. And that's what I don't find in other films concerning paintings.

I'm not sure if the painting in this link by Edouard Manet is the same painting in LA BELLE CAPTIVE or not.

However, there are still many things that I like in LA BELLE CAPTIVE. It is still a film by Robbe-Grillet, so all those questions of who is alive, who is dead, who is half-dead, who is dreaming, who is awake, who is half-awake, who is imagining, who is being imagined—need no answer. I still find that frustation might equal satisfaction in this film. In other films, I might feel frustrated when the mysteries in the films are not solved. But in Robbe-Grillet's films, there will be many mysteries, there will be many clues, and there will be no answer, or there may be too many possible answers. I might feel frustrated at first when the film ends abruptly, leaving all those mysteries unsolved. But after a while, I start to feel as if all those unsolved mysteries were beautiful and colourful gift boxes. I don't know what is the exact gift inside these boxes. I can only guess, and get great pleasure and fun from the guessing. But the fun will end and the pleasure will die whenever I open the box to look what is really inside.

There are still many things I would like to write about LA BELLE CAPTIVE, but I have to go to sleep now.

An article I intend to read:
La Belle captive: Magritte's Surrealism, Robbe-Grillet's Metafiction
By Ben Stoltzfus

A painting in the series of La Belle Captive by Magritte

This is the photo of Oh Ji-ho, the leading actor of the Korean film LA BELLE.

No comments: