#97- L’Age d’or

Quick recap: A man and woman want to get it on but keep getting interrupted by the church, society and family. LAME.

ruins the mood a little

ruins the mood a little

Fun (?) fact: Director Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí were good friends but had a falling out before the movie was set to start filming. The first day on the set Buñuel chased Dalí off the premises with a hammer.

My thoughts: I don’t even know. L’Age d’or begins with a documentary about scorpions and ends with an orgy with Jesus so……. basically, it’s your typical French film. I started out somewhat interested, especially when it came to the scorpions. I have severe arachnophobia and I was just thinking to myself  last night how nice it would be to have a new fear and what better than another arachnid?? But then the scene changed to a bunch of soldiers who are fighting some religious guys and I was a little confused, but figured I would catch on as the film went on. And then in the next scene the religious guys were skeletons and a man and woman were trying to have sex in public and at that point I threw my hands in the air and just went with it.

The problem I had with L’Age d’or is not that it was all symbolic, but that it was symbolism I had never seen before. At this point, I’m just going to assume everything I watched was a reference to sex in some way. On the positive side, I learned a whole new crop of euphemisms for sexual repression: ‘kicking the violin down the street’, ‘cow in the bed’, ‘slap an old woman’, and my personal favorite- ‘ murder a child for no reason’. Fun times, I’m telling you.

No, really.

No, really.

So, did the man and woman ever hook up?? I don’t know, kind of? At one point they were making out while a symphony played a few feet away and then they had each other’s hand in the other’s mouth, so I guess that counts as second base? The woman starts fellating a statue’s toe a little later on so I assume she wasn’t satisfied. At the end of the film, the two lovers are holding each other and having pillow talk- discussing how sleepy they are and how nice it is to murder children. And then the next scene the guy has blood all over his face. Luckily, I had checked out way before this scene came on and I wasn’t too traumatized.

L’Âge-d’Or

Final review: 1/5 and I don’t really think I need to go into detail as to why.

Up next: Babe!

Advertisements

#94- My Night at Maud’s

Quick recap:  A devout Catholic runs into an old friend, who identifies himself as a Marxist. The two decide to visit a recent divorcé (Maude), where they spend a night discussing philosophy.

maud

Fun (?) fact:  Want to host the most boring movie marathon EVER? My Night at Maud’s is the 3rd movie in a series entitled ‘Six Moral Tales’. 

Is philosophy really that exciting? No. No, it is not.

Is philosophy really that exciting? No. No, it is not.

My thoughts: Oh, France. I came into this project with some very stereotypical views about the French: Whimsy? Check.   Corrupting of youth? Check.    Existential art film? Check.  A story in which a penniless writer falls in love with a can can dancer from the Moulin Rouge? Check. And now add to that list a pretentious film, where every single bit of dialogue is stuffed with references to philosophy that some people might get, but I sure didn’t. Fact: If you have to spend more time researching what you just watched in order to understand the basic point, it’s not worth it.

The entire film is based off of the ideas of Pascal, who wagered that since it’s impossible to prove God exists, you might as well believe. If you live a good life and God does exist, you will be rewarded in the afterlife. If you do good and God doesn’t exist, then at least you didn’t waste your life.Vidal, the Marxist, likes the idea of Pascal but his friend Jean-Louis, the Catholic, does not. Jean-Louis doesn’t agree with his view on Christianity for several reasons I never understood. When the two friends end up at Maud’s, the conversation turns to Jean-Louis and his love for a woman he has never met. At some point, Vidal leaves and he is left with a choice: whether to sleep with Maud, who he clearly has an attraction to, or a random woman. Maud, for her part, is trying really hard to get Jean-Louis into bed. He is able to hold firm to his convictions until the middle of the night when he crawls into bed with her to get warm. In the morning, she rolls over and he embraces her. My first reaction was approval at his logic. But then he ultimately rejected her advances, and maybe that was for the best. When Jean-Louis meets his dream girl the very next day, he is seemingly rewarded for not backing down. The two get married and live happily ever.

My husband came up with the idea that Jean-Louis bet on meeting the girl of his dreams and, even if she had never appeared,  made the right choice not to sleep with Maud. I’d think about the movie further, except it has already exceeded the time spent watching the movie and so I am obligated to stop.

Final review: 2/5. My brain hurts.

Up next: Who knows?

 

 

#73- Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles

Quick recap: Jeanne Dielman is a single mother who spends her days meticulously cleaning the house,cooking, shopping, and prostituting herself out as a source of income. That’s the entire movie. All 3 hours and 21 minutes.

On the edge of my seat, wondering if she would peel the potatoes in time for dinner!

On the edge of my seat, wondering if she would peel the potatoes in time for dinner!

Fun (?) fact: The director, Chantal Akerman, used a female only crew to make the film. She later said that it didn’t work out as well as she had hoped it would, because she was not in charge of which woman would be hired.

I think the was the point in the film when I started to go insane, watching her mold the meatloaf 10 billion times.

I think the was the point in the film when I started to go insane, watching her mold the meatloaf 10 billion times.

My thoughts: It’s an understatement to say that I dreaded watching this movie. For one, it’s FRENCH. Secondly, it’s labeled under the genre ‘art house’, and finally, it was 3 hours and 21 minutes long. And for 3 hours and 15 minutes, I had to sit through watching a woman clean her house and cook food. FOR 3 HOURS AND 15 MINUTES, YOU GUYS.

The movie opens with Jeanne Dielman letting a client into her home so they can have sex. My hopes were high at this point, that this would be more interesting than I had hoped. Dielman leads the man down the hall, closes the door, and……..that’s it. No sounds, nothing. The two emerge after it has gotten dark. The man pays Dielman and tells her that she will see him next week. Dielman then goes back to her routine of cleaning and cooking until her son comes home. Once again, my hopes were raised as the two of them sat down for dinner, but nobody said a word. Instead, I was treated to 15 minutes of people eating soup and then eating potatoes with stew. It didn’t take long for me to catch on that this was how the whole movie would play out.

Jeanne Dielman also taught me that I eat soup the wrong way

Jeanne Dielman also taught me that I eat soup the wrong way

In all fairness, I actually started to enjoy the film. As grating as it was to watch chores being played out in real time, I could fathom even less having to do that EVERY DAY. And as annoying as it was to sit through 3 hours and 15 minutes of this woman’s routine, it was necessary to understand her oppression. It just wouldn’t have worked to have a montage of Dielman doing her daily chores and looking mournfully at the screen while some sad song played. The only way to understand was to live it. It also made the scene where her routine starts unraveling (she drops a spoon) more noticeable. I appreciate that the director didn’t have to spell it out for the audience, but trusted that after sitting through 3 hours and 21 minutes of this woman’s life, we would figure it out.

The last 10 or so minutes of the film account for the only action to take place. SPOILER ALERT( not that you are going to run out and watch this, but just in case), during a session with a client, Dielman orgasms. After a conversation with her son earlier in the movie, I gather that this might have been the first ever for her. I suppose it empowers her or something because as she is putting her clothes on and the man is lying on the bed, she calmly goes over to him and stabs him to death with a pair of scissors. The last scene in the film is of her sitting in the darkened dining room, with blood on her shirt and hands and I think she is smiling.

Jeanne Dielmann

This film is considered to be one of the best feminist films out there, and I suppose I agree, although I don’t have much knowledge on the subject. Halfway through the movie, I started to become genuinely concerned for Dielman. I wondered what legacy she will have left, years from now. Will she only be seen as a caring mother? Probably. For me, the bleakest scenes came on the last day, as she sat quietly with nothing to do. It was as if her routine was her entire life: her enjoyment, her hobbies, and her passion. So if she didn’t have these routines, she was nothing. I’m not sure what to take from that, but at least I understood the feminist movement in the 70’s a little better.

jeannedielman

Final review: 4/5. This was a hard one to pin down because there is no way in hell that you could pay me to sit through this again, yet I still enjoyed the movie.

Up nextM:r. Deeds Goes to Town

 

 

#71- Cleo from 5 to 7

Quick recap: Cleo, a French singer, must wait on the results of a biopsy. She is supposed to call the hospital in the evening so the entire film happens from 5 pm to 7 pm, as she ponders life and her fate.

It took me almost the entire movie to realize the numbers were the time

It took me almost the entire movie to realize the numbers were the time

Fun (?) fact: There isn’t much fact-wise about this film, probably because not much happens. The only mildly interesting thing I could find is that ‘Cleo from 5 to 7’ is considered a French Wave film, which I can pretend to have an opinion about now.

The random kittens were a nice touch

The random kittens were a nice touch

My thoughts: I realize I don’t have much to go on, seeing as how I have only seen 3 French films, but the ones I have seen are….different. I am well aware that ‘French’ isn’t a genre, but from Amélie to Murmur of the Heart to this movie, there is a connecting thread of Frenchness. That’s not a bad thing, because I find it amusing to finally understand what pop culture has been alluding to this whole time.

The concept of filming in ‘real time’, as Cleo waits for the results of her test is interesting, but also kind of boring because nothing happens. Most of the movie is just watching her be sad with her friend, sad at her house, sad with her managers, sad at a café and even sad at the park. I get the point, that this is an existential movie where nothing is supposed to happen, but that doesn’t make it any less boring. Once in awhile, when Cleo was gazing sadly at nothing in particular, she would do a voice over and say something profound. But for the most part, there was just a lot of looking sad. My favorite was in the café when she put her own song to play on the jukebox and then watched sadly as no one paid attention to it.

less sadness. More random kittens.

less sadness. More random kittens.

It would be unfair of me to pretend that I despised this movie because really, there were some enjoyable parts. I most identified with Cleo’s transformation from ‘baby doll’ to actual woman by the end of the film. Once she took off that ridiculous wig and donned her black dress, she become 50% less insufferable. Her conversation with the soldier was also really nice. I daresay he was my favorite part of the film because he was just so likeable and was able to draw a real discussion out of Cleo. Although there wasn’t much of a plot, I felt the ending when the diagnosis was confirmed was the best way to go. She takes the news stoically and then confides to the soldier that now she is happy. Considering the soldier was shipping off to war that night, the fact that both of them had uncertain futures was especially poignant.

Final review: 3/5. I didn’t hate it. I was amused by the silent film that played in the middle of this movie. It was funny and also very French, as it should be.

I thought I was watching a Wes Anderson film during the opening credits

I thought I was watching a Wes Anderson film during the opening credits

Up next: Kramer vs. Kramer