My World (this last… month?)

So I swear I intended for my last entry of My World (Last Week); to start off something I would post at the conclusion of each week… and here we are, over a month later.  *slap on the wrist*  My bad. 

 Here we go, take two:

Watching, film:
Hypothesis of a Stolen Painting (1979, Ruiz)
The Draughtman’s Contract (1982, Greenaway)
La Collectionneuse (1967, Rohmer)
Nashville (1975, Altman) (umpteenth revision, theater this time)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001, Anderson) (umpteenth revision)
Friends with Money (2006, Holofcener) (second viewing)

Watching, other:

Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro” – San Diego Opera (best of the season)
Regina Spektor concert – House of Blues (I’m still smiling over it)

Reading:
On Photography by Susan Sontag (still)
Emma by Jane Austen (still)
Prisms by Theodor Adorno
The Dreamers by Gilbert Adair (again)
Moments of Being by Virginia Woolf (again)
Sylvia Plath’s Journals (again)

Listening:
Owen Pallett’s (or Final Fantasy, if you insist) He Poos Clouds (essential track: “Song, Song, Song”)
Regina Spektor’s Soviet Kitsch (essential track: “Us:)
Mavis Staples’s Only for the Lonely (essential track: “Until I Met You”)
Nina Simone’s The Soul of Nina Simone (essential track: errr, “Save Me” is my favorite)
Aretha Franklin’s The Age of Aretha (essential track: “Since You’ve Been Gone (Sweet Sweet Baby)”)

Experiencing:
“Charles Sheeler: Across Media” – De Young Museum, San Francisco

 Or something like that. 

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5 thoughts on “My World (this last… month?)

  1. (NOTE:I put * between lines, otherwise the lines would be too close. I’m still puzzled about how to write in wordpress.com)

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    Thanks to your suggestions about Regina Spektor and Summer in the City, I have listened to the album BEGIN TO HOPE (2006), and like the songs ON THE RADIO and APRES MOI very much. I think ON THE RADIO is very catchy, and I like her voice in APRES MOI.

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    Seeing Ruiz and Greenaway films together is one thing I would like to do, too. In my opinion, Ruiz, Greenaway, and Robbe-Grillet films can be grouped together in a way, because they are:

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    1.Like a kind of games, or mind games.

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    1.1 SNAKES AND LADDERS (1980, Raoul Ruiz)
    Jonathan Rosenbaum wrote in http://www.rouge.com.au that this film is “a Borgesian metaphysical fantasy whose hero progressively discovers that France is a life-size board game (devoted to Snakes and Ladders or ‘The Goose’s Game’) – one has to deal with tatty special effects of Edward D. Wood Jr calibre, along with the brilliant conceits and two separate off-screen narrators, male and female.”

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    Note: While France becomes a board game in SNAKES AND LADDERS, the map of Paris is also represented like a board game in LE PONT DU NORD (1982, Jacques Rivette).

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    1.2 DROWNING BY NUMBERS (1988, Peter Greenaway)

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    1.3 N TOOK THE DICE (1971, Alain Robbe-Grillet)
    I have heard that this film is made by breaking up EDEN AND AFTER into various fragments, and put the fragments together again in a new order of scenes. The scene order of this film is determined by the dice throwing of a new narrator.

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    If you like films in this group, two other films I recommend are LES CREATURES (1966, Agnes Varda, A+), in which islanders are turned into pawns in a chess game, and YOU BET YOUR LIFE (2005, Antonin Svoboda, Austria, A+), in which the act of dice throwing seems to determine a man’s fate.

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    2.Deeply influenced by paintings.
    Magritte seems to influence both Ruiz and Robbe-Grillet.

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    3.Deeply influenced by literature.
    For example:

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    3.1 LA BELLE CAPTIVE has a character who said he met Marcel Proust last night in a theatre.

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    4.Narratively puzzling

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    5.Present characters as if they are objects, or pawns in games. Somehow, they seem to be the opposite of films by John
    Cassavetes, Eric Rohmer, or Caveh Zahedi, because the latter group excels in presenting characters as real human beings. I think both groups are great in their own ways. I have heard that Walerian Borowczyk also tends to present characters as if they are objects, too.

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    I haven’t seen HYPOTHESES OF A STOLEN PAINTING. I have seen only four films by Ruiz so far. They are A PLACE AMONG THE LIVING, THAT DAY, TIME REGAINED, and SHATTERED IMAGE. I think I like THAT DAY the most. TIME REGAINED might be the best, but I feel closer to THAT DAY.

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    I haven’t read EMMA, but I had to read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE in 1994, when I took 19th Century British Novels course. I had to read PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, GREAT EXPECTATIONS, VANITY FAIR and TESS OF D’URBERVILLES in the course at that time. I have to admit that I like PRIDE AND PREJUDICE the least, but I like watching films adapted from Austen from time to time. I haven’t seen PRIDE AND PREJUDICE (2005, Joe Wright), though. I like EMMA (1996, Douglas McGrath, A-), but I prefer CLUELESS (1995, Amy Heckerling, A+), which is also adapted from Austen’s EMMA.

  2. It wasn’t intentional, but yes, it seems I’ve been in the mood lately for European art films, particularly of the “mind game” sort. I’m hoping to get some thoughts typed up soon, though I’d like rewatch Hypothesis again before I do. Ruiz has been so hard to see here in the US up until a few months ago. The only other that I’ve seen is Temps retrouve , which is one of my all-time favorite films.

    I’m glad that you like Regina Spektor–the more I listen to her, the more I love her. She’s amazing live.

    I’m on the last pages of Emma, and I’m not sure if I’m going to end up liking it or P&P more. Funny, for a long time I had written off Austen–but she could very well be the author that is capable of making me laugh out loud more than any other I’ve yet come across. Wright’s film is really excellent, by the way–I highly recommend you check it out sometime.

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