DC's

The blog of author Dennis Cooper

Barbet Schroeder Day

 

‘Expect the unexpected is the name of Barbet Schroeder’s game: Whenever you think you’ve been able to pinpoint his art he’ll come up with something so different from everything he did so far yet so him it hurts. Being a polymath of cinema and a polyglot of genres, he’ll deliver with the same ease: a prime piece of Hollywood genre glory à la Kiss of Death (1995) as he’ll do a formally experimental auteur film like La virgen de los sicarios (2000); an essayistic documentary on a gorilla talking in sign language (Koko, le gorille qui parle, 1978) as well as a drama centred on a women refusing to speak what’s ostensibly her mother tongue (Amnesia, 2015); a casually ironic look at the rites of sadomasochism (Maîtresse, 1975) and the rites of gambling (Tricheurs, 1984); a documentary series and a fiction feature looking at the same subject, as he did with the double The Charles Bukowski Tapes (1985) & Barfly (1987).

‘And as we all know: Nothing confuses the middle brow more than an auteur who doesn’t play by the rule that reads Stick to doing what seems to be your thing, but instead prefers to constantly try out new aesthetic approaches – or, quite the contrary, seems to be happy doing a commercial job by the book and well at that.

‘And so far we only talked about the director and not the producer and distributor: As the co-founder of Les Films du Losange, Schroeder became one of the most decisive figures in French 60s cinema: Besides always taking care of his own exploits, he saw to it that his life-long friend Éric Rohmer could do whatever he wanted (after the misadventures of his brilliant feature debut Le Signe du Lion, 1959/62) starting with La Boulangère de Monceau (1963); over the course of the decades, he’d back maverick undertakings like Frédéric Mitterrand’s Lettres d’amour en Somalie (1982) with the same gusto as big Euro arthouse productions like Volker Schlöndorff’s Un amour de Swann (1984).

‘Schroeder was born in Iran in 1941, the son of a Swiss geologist and a German physician. The latter saw to it that after a divorce her son went to school in France. His penchant for the extreme and apart was witnessed by his fiction feature debut: More (1969), arguably the only movie ever that managed to make drugs look really sexy. With his third feature, the documentary Général Idi Amin Dada: Autoportrait (1974), Schroeder upped the ante: he spend a lot of time filming a mass murdering sociopath being merry and doing terrible things; Idi Amin became the first example of evil incarnate Schroeder faced, to be followed by Jacques Vergès, one of the most mysterious figure of international law and underground politics who’d over the course of his career defend some of 20th century’s worst perps in court (L’Avocat de la terreur, 2007), as well as a rather obscure figure like Ashin Wirathu, the face and voice of Buddhist fascism in Burma (Le Vénérable W., 2017).

‘With Barfly followed by Reversal of Fortune (1990), Schroeder set off towards Hollywood and two decades of small gems like Single White Female (1992) or Before and After (1996) that did little to endear him with the arthouse crowd but brought intelligent entertainment to the masses. In between these, he’d shoot some truly off-beat projects, like the above-mentioned La virgen de los sicarios which is half surrealist delirium and half vériste exposé on the Medellin drug cartel, or the extraordinary Inju: la Bête dans l’ombre (2008), a brilliant adaptation of a Japanese crime literature classic that becomes a cautionary tale about Westerners who think they understand some foreign country better than its inhabitants.’ — Olaf Möller

 

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Stills



























































 

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Further

Barbet Schroeder Site
Barbet Schroeder @ IMDb
Interview: Barbet Schroeder
The Mordant Geography of Desire in Barbet Schroeder’s More (1969)
MINING DIAMONDS: The Films of Barbet Schroeder
Barbet Schroeder by Ken Foster
The Presence of Barbet Schroeder at the 13th FICM
Barbet Schroeder : “La haine de W envers les musulmans est presque génétique”
Video Barbet Schroeder: Evil is ‘part of humanity’
Masterclass Barbet Schroeder
Barbet Schroeder: «Le problème des religions, ce sont les hommes»
5 raisons d’aller voir la rétrospective barbet schroeder au centre pompidou
Pink Floyd, E.T., Gérard Depardieu… Le cinéaste Barbet Schroeder se confie

 

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Extras


Les documentaires abandonnés de Barbet Schroeder


Barbet SCHROEDER : “Pink Floyd était agacé du succès de More”


Barbet Schroeder est l’invité de Virginie Despentes

 

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Interview

 

Bette Gordon Do you think everybody, at one time or another, wants to kill someone and get away with it?

Barbet Schroeder No, I never felt like that.

BG You told me that if you ever found out you were dying of a dreaded disease, you would take somebody like Pinochet with you.

BS Yes … but, I was just trying to think how to make my death useful for other people. I’m more the type to accept people as they are, even if they are horrible. Anyway, political assassinations usually produce opposite results.

BG All of your characters are obsessed with money, power, sex, love … drugs. Yet, you remain distant. That distance is something that protects you, but I also maintain that you identify with your villains.

BS That distance comes from the way I see and feel. It’s inherent in the cinema. I don’t like movies that manipulate the audience. The cinema is there to show the inside from the outside. That’s how Isee it. For me, it’s the nature of this art. There are movies that try to get into the mind and the vision of obsessed or crazy people. That approach has not produced many masterpieces.

BG What about a film like Taxi Driver, where you get into the head of somebody, like the DeNiro character?

BS You get into his head by observing his comportment. I don’t think it’s a subjective movie.

BG Is there a difference between simply observing behavior and not taking a stand? For example, in Idi Amin Dada, you really are very interested in letting the audience come to their own conclusions about Idi Amin.

BS Nobody can be objective, obviously, so it’s subjective. In Amin Dada, it was his subjectivity and as little as possible of my own. I claim that I made the movie with him. It was a collaboration between us. I told him I wanted to do a self-portrait and that he should tell me what he wanted to be on the screen. Of course, I was giving him ideas because I asked him to repeat or talk about things that he had already said in the daily paper of his country. Those statements were already public domain. This is an approach of a movie maker versus the one of a journalist. I was not trying to make a judgment or a big political movie that would prove this or that. I just wanted him to exist as he was, and as he was seeing himself. That approach was much more revealing and much more exciting because it ended up talking not only about him, but about power in general. He is a caricature of all the men in power, without exception.

BG In your latest film, Reversal of Fortune, there is no conclusive position taken about Claus Von Bulow’s guilt.

BS My ambition was that the question of whether he did it or not would not be relevant once you have seen the movie.

BG I always wanted to ask you how you became a director? You produced many films. Tell me a little bit about your days with the “Les Cahiers du Cinema” crowd.

BS First, I think it started with the fact that I was not allowed to have books with illustrations when I was a child.

BG Why?

BS Because you have a tendency to imagine that what you’re reading is what you’re looking at—and very often the illustration, except when they are by extraordinary artists, like Gustav Dore, are very poor compared to what’s in the book. That was my first luck because I had to create my own images when reading. And then my second luck was that finally I started seeing movies at the Cinematheque in Paris when I was 14. I had seen only one movie before. It was in Colombia, when I was a child. I had to be taken out of the movie theater, crying. It was Bambi. (laughter) Then, when I was 13 and 14, I was living in Paris and I started looking at movies, and my luck was that there was this cinematheque, this incredible cultural center. I was there every night absorbing an immense quantity of great classical movies. I remember seeing two movies, two nights in a row, and walking back home and deciding, okay, I know what I want to do, I want to make movies. From then on it was very simple because I knew what I wanted to do.

BG Do you remember what the movie was?

BS Yes, Nah.

BG Nothing great?

BS Well, no, two films that now I like again, Potemkin and L’Age D’Or. Then, I went very far away from those movies, into American cinema.

BG What brought you to Paris in the beginning? You grew up in Colombia.

BS My mother went there after she divorced my father. So I was lucky enough to be there when the New Wave started. I was very young. But I was able to go to the Cahiers du Cinema and meet the people and be on the fringe of the New Wave. We would sit in the cafes and talk about film. That’s how I met Eric Rohmer and started working with him.

BG You became the producer of his films?

BS Yes, because I thought that the best way to learn, would be as producer. I always saw it as the person next to the director who does everything else but directing. So I was First Assistant, Electrician, Grip, Financier—I was everything. Rohmer’s first movies were done on budgets of really hundreds of dollars in 16mm black and white. I founded the company in 1963, when I was 22 and when I was 28, I finally directed my first movie, More.

BG I never realized you produced Paris Vue Par—Chabrol, Rohmer, Godard …

BS Oh yes. I wanted to have a production company that was like an art gallery or a publisher that goes in a certain aesthetic direction. So Paris vue Par was like a manifesto, a trailer made of short sections for a 16mm feature-length movie that these six directors were supposed to each make. The longer versions never came about.

BG But Paris Vue Par became a legend. Even here, people are always talking about that film. It encapsulated a period of history. How did you raise the money for that?

BS All I remember was that, at one point, I had done three of the six films and I couldn’t go further and … and then by magic suddenly a banker from Switzerland called and said I heard you’re doing something interesting. I want to be involved.

BG How come your life has such magic to it?

BS Yes!

BG Do you still have those kinds of magic things happen?

BS Well … yes, I’m always ready. You have to be ready. You have to pretend it happens by luck, but somehow you have to court luck.

 

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15 of Barbet Schroeder’s 24 films

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More (1969)
‘Based on a story by debutant director Barbet Schroeder, the 1969 film More is a classic study of ennui. Schroeder had worked as a producer, primarily for Eric Rohmer, for a number of years, and had led a peripatetic lifestyle since he was a child, courtesy of his father’s occupation. The film was made in the wake of the political fallout of 1968 and at the height of a phase in culture known for drug experimentation, so-called “free love” and an explosion of popular music which seemed to have a revolutionary coda. Now revolution was on the streets. In its own way, although not made as a critique of drug use, recreationally or otherwise, the film’s narrative can be read as a social study of a time in which alienation was fomented among the young, to devastating effect. An unholy mixture of James Michener’s forthcoming backpacking adventure, The Drifters (1971) and Céline’s Journey to the End of Night (1932) , Schroeder’s film remains a chilling experience. The references to these unconnected novels is subtle: Michener’s mammoth tome is a telling zeitgeist tale of contemporary decadent youth and its symmetry with that other period of political extremism, and consequent fascistic implications of laissez-faire, that centred around the crazed world of Berlin in the 1920s; Céline’s novel is an overtly political work that channels the concept of purely evil characters and their inexorable trip to an inevitably doomed conclusion. Both are expressions of social failure, decadence and political extremism. Céline’s is clearly intended to be read as satire, although it has its critics. Neither is directly connected with this film, but the film could be read retrospectively as a gloss on their collective concerns about human behaviour and an interpretation of the links between the fallout from war, drug addiction, sociopathy and societal collapse, despite Schroeder’s consciously distancing the film from any kind of social comment. On the surface, it resembles a work by Antonioni: a journey to within by enigmatic protagonists whose predilections are a mystery for the average viewer, their motives unknowable. However, as Geoffrey Nowell-Smith states of the Italian auteur’s oeuvre, his typical narrative “is cast in the form of a sort of spiritual journey towards, ideally, self-discovery and the discovery of the world. The discovery may not be consummated; indeed the journey may end . . . only in destruction”. Schroeder’s first film as writer/director deviates from this strategy in having the protagonist openly declare his willingness to try anything, no matter how it ends. It is not therefore a drama of existentialist despair in the face of modernity. It is a work of self-abasement startling in its juxtapositions and wearying in its depiction of a life lost to boredom and permissiveness. A hymning of self-regard and degradation, insularity and obsession, ducking and diving to make ends meet, this journey into the void is perhaps more understandable now with distance, even though it was a popular hit at the time of its release. Based on a story Schroeder devised, it was co-written with Paul Gégauff, and dialogue was supplied by Paul Gardner, Eugène Archer and the lead actress, Mimsy Farmer. If it wasn’t an exercise in social discourse, it proved as powerfully as ever the acculturating role of film, proving a massive and critical success throughout Europe upon its release.’ — Offscreen


Trailer


Excerpt

 

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The Valley (Obscured by Clouds) (1972)
‘Schroeder and Pink Floyd’s second collaboration continues the filmmaker’s exploration of sexual freedom and mind alteration, this time in upland Papua New Guinea. After a restless diplomat’s wife (Bulle Ogier) goes looking for a rare bird’s priceless feathers with a group of hippies (including Michael Gothard and Jean-Pierre Kalfon), they encounter the indigenous Mapuga tribe, who inspire them to find a paradise located within a valley “obscured by clouds.” Schroeder observes his characters and locales with a vivid, anthropological eye—by turns curious and cynical—as Pink Floyd inhabits the aural spaces with hazy compositions, recorded during the band’s Dark Side of the Moon studio sessions and released in the album Obscured by Clouds.’ — filmlinc


Trailer


Excerpt

 

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General Idi Amin Dada: A Self Portrait (1974)
‘In 1974, Barbet Schroeder went to Uganda to make a film about Idi Amin, the country’s ruthless, charismatic dictator. Three years into a murderous regime that would be responsible for the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Ugandans, Amin prepared a triumphal greeting for the filmmakers, staging rallies, military maneuvers, and cheery displays of national pride, and envisioning the film as an official portrait to adorn his cult of personality. Schroeder, however, had other ideas, emerging with a disquieting, caustically funny brief against Amin, in which the dictator’s own endless stream of testimony—by turns charming, menacing, and nonsensical—serves as the most damning evidence. A revelatory tug-of-war between subject and filmmaker, General Idi Amin Dada: A Self-Portrait is a landmark in the art of documentary and an appalling study of egotism in power.’ — Criterion Collection


Trailer


Barbet Schroeder présente “Général Amin Dada: autoportrait”

 

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Maîtresse (1976)
‘Barbet Schroeder’s Maîtresse (1976) is a film that is extremely hard to classify. Even with the hindsight of almost forty years, its apparent bed fellows all share a stubborn resistance to classification. The collection of films with vaguely similar themes and tendencies to push boundaries of explicitness that came out in the 1970s such as Salò Or 120 Days Of Sodom (1975) and Last Tango In Paris (1972) often seem to be slot next to Maîtresse. This sort of curating is lazy and entirely misjudges the themes and characters of Maîtresse that are far more every day, domestic and tame. The film is a character study of the relationship between two very different characters; petty thief Olivier (Gerard Depardieu) and secret, professional dominatrix Ariane (Bulle Ogier). When Olivier breaks into the flat below Ariane’s he finds that it is also owned by her and is in fact her “S&M” dungeon where she entertains her clients for money. Becoming embroiled in each other’s worlds, they fall in love and traverse the many challenges that come between them through Ariane’s work and Olivier’s ironic power over her.’ — Celluloid Wicker Man


Trailer


Compression Maîtresse de Barbet Schroeder par Gérard Courant

 

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Koko: A Talking Gorilla (1978)
‘In 1977, acclaimed director Barbet Schroeder and cinematographer Nestor Almendros entered the universe of the world’s most famous primate to create the captivating documentary Koko: A Talking Gorilla. The film introduces us to Koko soon after she was brought from the San Francisco Zoo to Stanford University by Dr. Penny Patterson for a controversial experiment—she would be taught the basics of human communication through American Sign Language. An entertaining, troubling, and still relevant documentary, Koko: A Talking Gorilla sheds light on the ongoing ethical and philosophical debates over the individual rights of animals and brings us face-to-face with an amazing gorilla caught in the middle.’ — Criterion Collection


Excerpt


Excerpt

 

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Tricheurs (1984)
‘Enjoyable romp through the desperate attempts of two-star crossed lovers to escape their destiny around a roulette table. Unlike Jacques Demy’s hypnotic masterpiece Bay of Angels, which is referenced, the gamblers in Tricheurs are not glamourous. They are old, unabashedly lonely, presentable at best and gamble as a substitute for love. Having improbably found comfort in each other, they come to the startling realisation that instead of compulsively losing, perhaps there is a way to cheat. What follows is a psychologically involved, thrilling caper that suffers only from some ill placed humour at the expense of the caricatured supporting cast.’ — MaxOrphunk


Trailer

 

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Barfly (1987)
Barfly is a lowlife fairytale, an ethereal seriocomedy about gutter existence from the pen of one who’s been there, Charles Bukowski. First American fictional feature from Swiss-French director Barbet Schroeder is spiked with unexpected doses of humor, much of it due to Mickey Rourke’ quirky, unpredictable, most engaging performance as the boozy hero.’ — Variety


Excerpt


the entire film

 

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Reversal of Fortune (1990)
‘Claus von Bülow’s trial in 1982 for the attempted murder of his wealthy wife Sunny had it all: sex, drugs, nobility and betrayal. She had lapsed into an irreversible coma and her husband was found guilty; but an appeal, in which his case was handled by Alan Dershowitz (from whose book the film is adapted), led to acquittal. Reversal of Fortune intersperses flashbacks of the von Bülow marriage with a reconstruction of legal investigations for the second trial. Under Schroeder’s direction, the social comparisons are by no means subtle; and a detached approach to characterisation is most acute in the case of comatose Sunny (Close) -‘brain dead, body never better’ – whose disembodied voice provides commentary. That said, the performances from Irons (as von Bülow) and Silver (Dershowitz) hit the right pitch within a rather difficult scenario. But this is a strange, unsatisfactory mixture of satire and docudrama which engages the mind and leaves the emotions intact.’ — Time Out (NYC)


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Excerpt

 

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Single White Female (1992)
Single White Female, adapted from a novel by John Lutz, is one of the richest thrillers of the 1990s, both in the way of its recognizable atmosphere and multifaceted performances. In this psychological study, meticulously directed by Barbet Schroeder, Allison (Bridget Fonda) sublets a room to the peculiar Hedra (Jennifer Jason Leigh). The ladies soon find common ground, but gradually Hedra begins to reveal a shady streak and a serious obsession over her new friend. Schroeder’s narrative drives the situation calmly forward, slowly building the ladies’ flat into an agonising milieu, the events of which keep the viewers on their toes. The setting is straightforwardly identifiable, the terror brought into the midst of everyday life in almost Hitchcockian fashion. The two female stars both give the top performances of their careers. Bridget Fonda is charismatic and likeable, whereas Jennifer Jason Leigh gets to interpret an unstable, yet frightfully determined eccentric. The director never allows these characters to become black-and-white, but we reach an understanding on the mindscape and motives of both women. Single White Female is a fascinating study about obsession, guilt and human interaction. This influential film has been inspiring psychological thrillers for the past 25 years.’ — TET


Trailer


Barbet Schroeder Discusses The Look Of The Film

 

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Before and After (1996)
‘Apart from Molina’s sharp performance as Demeris, none of the main actors comes off particularly well. While Streep displays her usual exacting intelligence, the generic mom role allows for little that’s distinctive or memorable. Beyond looking dyspeptic and vaguely artsy, Neeson seems to lack the leading-man heft required in Ben; his work is wan and unfocused. And though Furlong has presence in spades, this is one too many films where he’s gotten by on that trademark woebegone stare and monotone delivery; it’s about time the boy started to act. Schroeder nonetheless has turned out a visually pleasing film thanks to contributions such as Luciano Tovoli’s crisp lensing and Stuart Wurtzel’s vivid production design. Other tech credits are similarly high-caliber.’ — Variety


Trailer


Meryl Streep in Conversation: Before and After (1996)

 

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La Vierge des tueurs (2000)
‘Occasionally venturing into dreamlike surrealism, the movie mostly hits you with a heavy dose of cinema verite. The movie is about the city of Medellin in the same way that Midnight Cowboy is about New York. The characters aren’t dealing with the problem of staying human in a huge metropolis, but staying human in the midst of instability that verges on anarchy. The effects of fifty years of civil war aggravated by narcotrafficking and the associated crime are shown in two ways, which are the central themes of the film: the shift from the old and traditional to the modern, and the loss of value that human life has suffered. The banality of the several killings in the movie drives home the second, and the explorations that Fernando and his two boyfriends (sequential, not simultaneous) take through the city show the first.’ — mne2596


Trailer

 

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Murder by Numbers (2002)
‘Unfortunately, as the preoccupation with catching the bad guys becomes more pronounced, this more fascinating potential is relegated to the back seat. Even as the psychological interdependencies of the two boys take the foreground, the movie gets more and more crowded with fun-house surprises and cliffhanging set pieces, when what might have served the story better is a moment in which the detective sees herself in either or both of the boys, even though she has to take them down. It says much in favor of Gayton and Schroeder’s craft that these repugnant, cold-blooded young heavies do achieve a measure of poignancy — one gets the sense that neither had much of a chance against the demons driving him — yet that spark of insight never really jumps from them to the movie’s heroine, and through her, to us.’ — FX Feeney


Trailer


Excerpt

 

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Terror’s Advocate (2007)
‘Director Barbet Schroeder has given us some memorable monsters in the past, perhaps especially Jeremy Irons as Claus von Bulow in the 1990 Oscar-winner Reversal of Fortune. The real villain of that piece, however, was Alan Dershowitz, Von Bulow’s lawyer: a man renowned as the bullish, amoral defender of the indefensible. Maybe it was Dershowitz’s reputation that, by a winding road, finally led Schroeder to this documentary subject: controversial French defence lawyer Jacques Vergès, famous for taking instruction from all sorts of dodgy types, including Slobodan Milosevic. When sinister tyrants find themselves in The Hague, sitting behind a bullet-proof screen, it’s Vergès’s number they’ve got on redial. This is a man who makes Dershowitz look like Nelson Mandela. I can’t remember when I last saw any interviewee look so purely conceited, so coolly unrepentant, so utterly convinced of his own worldly charm. No cat ever got the cream with more gorgeous self-congratulation. Throughout, he grins and beams and waves his cigar around and generally behaves as if he is being praised for a lifetime of good works and achievements – and, in fact, it is a flaw in Schroeder’s otherwise insightful film that Vergès is never directly confronted. If you knew nothing about him at all, you might assume from his body language that he was a successful composer or novelist in his anecdotage, good-humouredly accepting the adulation in a South Bank Show profile. But this is a man we see being praised by Pol Pot.’ — The Guardian


Trailer

 

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Amnesia (2015)
‘Schroeder’s film style has always been foursquare and straightforward, but he’s capable of some striking effects within his planispokenness. One of the movie’s most striking moments finds Bruno standing on the patio of Jo’s house, having come to a critical juncture in a war story he’s telling. Martha, from inside the house, asks, “What happened to the girls?” and her disembodied voice at that point seems like that of Bruno’s conscience. The writing of this scene, though, and Ganz’s magnificent performance, also has the effect of making Martha’s stance and indignation look petty, imperious. It is reported that this movie’s scenario was inspired by the life of Schroeder’s own mother, and the film has a personal tone that is not always detectable in his other movies. It enhances a film that’s one of the most thoughtful in his body of work.’ — Glenn Kenny


Trailer


Barbet Schroeder On His Film, “Amnesia”

 

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Le vénérable W. (2017)
‘In Burma, the “Venerable Wirathu” is a highly influential Buddhist monk. Meeting him amounts to traveling to the heart of everyday racism and observing how Islamophobia and hate speech lead to violence and destruction. Yet this is a country in which 90% of the population has adopted Buddhism as a faith: a religion based on a peaceful, tolerant and non-violent way of life.’ — CannesFF


Trailer

 

 

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p.s. Hey. ** Kreator, Cool, thanks. I’m into hotels too. Semi-big time. Yow, about the Berlin experience. The Greenbriar, noted. Japan has some great hotels, no surprise. Nevada too, and not just in Vegas. Anyway, yeah. Ooh, you donated some hotels to my motley crew, god love you. They look so good at first peek. Everyone, Keaton of the ever evolving name has added some hotels to the batch on the blog’s front page yesterday in a neat and exciting stack that I highly recommend you peruse thusly. Sweet! ** James, I hereby declare you the hotel post’s mascot. I’m very glad that you and PGL have aligned too, of course, of course. ** David Ehrenstein, I remember ‘200 Motels’ being unbearable, but I can bet it looks cool now. I haven’t been to Palm Springs since I was 13 years old. How about that? ** kier, Hi, Kierator! Mm, among the ones in the post? Maybe I’d like to stay at the fort in the middle of the ocean one, I don’t know why. Zac and I are considering actually staying at the robot hotel the next time we go to Tokyo. Yeah, the voyeur one is extremely interesting. Hm. Good, I’m glad the infection is a total goner. I think the essay is something that you could aim to get done as easily and quickly as possible and still ace amazingly for us reader types. But, yeah, let it flow. The very second Oslo is confirmed, I will celebrate with a text or email with your name on it. Big, big love. ** Sypha, I love hotels too, no surprise, I guess. Theme hotels especially. Yum. Well, yeah, I’m pimping PGL as much as I can without getting pushy or obnoxious. You can think of it as part and parcel of giving a gift. ‘Cos, in your case at least, it is. ** JM, Hi. I see your email in my box, and once I am fully awake, because I am not right now despite appearances otherwise, I’ll go check it out and get back to you. Thank you! ‘Vice’ didn’t seem so good on my short visit, but my friend was good. Tomorrow night … means tonight, no? I get so confused what with the giant time change betwixt here and you. How did it go? Could you tell? I have not read those two AS books, and I will go order them pronto, thank you very much. I’ve never understood the giant hatred of Shyamalan. ‘He’s arrogant’, so what? I suspect it’s because he’s not white and arrogant. I thought his early films through ‘The Village’ were quite good, and then the ones after that were always with interest of some kind, except for maybe ‘The Last Airbender’, which was pretty bad. Hm, no, I don’t know of a reasonably priced way to get Sotos’ books off the top of my head. I know Peter, and I always get them from him. I’ll ask around, or … Everyone, Can anyone help out JM by telling him a place/way to get Peter Sotos’ books at a non-exorbitant price? Thank you if so. ** Corey Heiferman, Hi. Thank you a lot for the hotel alerts. The first was very enticing, and the doomed second one produced much poignancy. I only compared Prout and chess because they seem to be considered the creme de la creme of their respective genres and I’ve never partaken of either possibly because that creme de la creme designation in combination with their time consuming-ness puts me off, rightly or wrongly, probably wrongly. I have played checkers. ** Steve Erickson, I was too old for ‘The Wall’ movie when it came out. I thought it was really stupid and unwatchable. ‘Yellow Submarine’ has its charms. Very curious, of course, to read your take on ‘Image Book’. Your angle on it seems like a very ‘you’ angle on it, which, I hesitate to add, is only a very good thing. I didn’t know about that Pig Destroyer thing, no. Thank you. Honestly, I’m shocked to learn that ‘MacGuyver’ still exists. ** _Black_Acrylic, Hi, Ben. Indeed! ** Warren, Hi, Warren! How totally great to see you! Very exciting about your new record. Oh, huh, that’s interesting. The bio writing idea. No, that’s not something I’ve done before, but … let’s discuss it so I understand what exactly that involves. I guess by email? Or even phone? My email is: denniscooper72@outlook.com. Interesting idea. I’m very honored that you ask. Yeah, let’s talk about it. Cool. I’m good, and I trust you are as well, hopefully big time. Talk soon. ** Kyler, Hi. Oh, well, of course I’m happy to bits that you watched and really liked ‘L’argent’. Bresson’s final hurrah. Great, I’m thrilled to hear that. ** h, Hi. Aw, thank you for the pre-birthday conceptual feast which I am feasting on conceptually as I type while wishing so hard that a jpeg was edible. ** Okay. I think it was Mr. Ehrenstein who planted the idea that I should do a day on Barbet Schroeder, and so I did. What an odd and flexible oeuvre that dude has, as you will see or have seen. See you tomorrow.

11 Comments

  1. three quick notes today

    1. BS is great and especially great because BS also abbreviates Bull Shit!
    2. Tomorrow night means…. tomorrow night, actually! Usually I would comment in the morning so it would mean tonight.
    3. Agree on Shyamalan’s non-whiteness meaning he’s probably disliked. I think it has something to do with his non-anglo name and the fact it’s easy to make fun of. Widespread disdain is like a virus when it can be ‘meme’-ified. Loved his last two films, mostly agree on the rest of his work. Would encourage you to revisit The Happening if you’re ever inclined, which gets a lot of flak for no good reason – so well and truly here for Glass.

    j

  2. Dennis, yeah, some authors are better at it then others (self-promotion, I mean). Like as you know I’ve seen a lot of local author nights at work where some of the said local authors are downright pushy: like there was this one lady going around the store to random customers and accosting them to buy her book. Then one night I had a local poet keep pestering me to buy his book, or to put a down payment on it (never mind the fact I was on the clock). I believe my mental thoughts about that were, “When hell freezes over.” And I know some authors on the horror scene who, when you’re reading their book on Goodreads, will “like” every single page status update you post… it’s like trying to read a book with someone staring over your shoulder! And then when you do finish it they pester you to post a review on Goodreads, on Amazon… ugh.

    In any event I got my 2 hardcover author copies of HS in the mail today (for whatever reason they shipped separately from the paperbacks, though those should be arriving soon as well). At 400 pages it looks like a monolithic slab! It’s nice to finally have a hardcover book, though it’s limited to only 60 copies… the pb, of course, will be unlimited. I do live for that moment when the author copies arrive and one finally sees the book as a finished artifact, though it’s also a surreal moment… how something that begins as nothing more than a flight of fancy in one’s mind eventually becomes this physical object, almost like magic… it’s weird though, to have this thing that existed only in your head for so long, to watch it go out into the world and become its own entity (if that makes sense)… kind of tough to let it go!

  3. Hi Dennis,

    I am a film student and I really, really love your films and your writing. I love the blog, and I especially love the gif works. You have perfected the GIF story format. I hope Zac is doing well, and please tell him.

    I was really wondering if you and Zac were considering publishing the screenplays. I would _love_ to read them.

    Thanks!

  4. If only I hadn’t been foolish enough to erase my interview with Schroeder! He ended it by saying that his next film will deal with French politics in a way that will make a big impact, although he was quite vague about specifics.

    The new MCGYVER is a reboot with a new , younger cast.

    In the last 3 days, my laptop has crashed 3 times. Two of these happened while I was in the middle of writing reviews or program notes, and although I didn’t lose huge amounts of text, it’s still a serious enough problem that I need to head to a repair shop tomorrow. However, I also have a lot of writing and Vimeo watching to do in the next 2 weeks, enough that I think I’ll need to rent a computer if I have to leave my own in the shop. I’m not sure how all this might work out and I’m very anxious – I hope there’s a simple solution, like replacing the power chord. But having my computer crash repeatedly in the middle of writing scares the shit out of me.

    I’ve turned in my review of THE IMAGE BOOK to Gay City News. I think I know what you’re getting at; my writing can head to films’ obvious political points at the expense of their more poetic qualities. On a second viewing, I still like THE IMAGE BOOK a great deal, but the “La Region Centrale” section struck me as its weakest precisely because it tries to be relatively direct and politically pointed while still sticking to an aesthetic of brief quotations. But on a formal level, it makes almost everything else playing in New York now look really basic.

    Here’s my article on the IFC Center’s Iranian film festival: https://www.rogerebert.com/festivals-and-awards/the-2019-iranian-film-festival

  5. Hotels are exiting. I’ve lived in them, stayed in them, fucked in them, partied in them. I’m a one room kind of guy most of the time. I was just looking at Rappers houses and I feel like I got confused. I love to think of the Greenbriar, that area is lovely, theres a hotel with cable-cars there and a glass dining room, the Hawks Nest Lodge, its built on Lovers Leap. The Fort Harrison in my downtown is where Keith Richards wrote I cant Get No Satisfaction, its part of the Scientology capital/city now. Japan sounds scary/Nevada even more so. First masturbated in a hotel come to think of it, after seeing my cousin undress, haha. Stayed at a really small hotel in Athens after being robbed around the main square. As I was leaving I heard a voice from an alley far away say, “Dont forget the debt.” lol. I was like, “Fuck yall,” at that point. I think of the Royal Orleans, “And if you take your pick, careful how you ch-ch-ch choose it.” hehe. Oh, if I were not such a good Catholic. Life inspires me to my bones sometimes. I know some of this work, for years wanted to change my name to Robert Keaton Mugabe. Or just Keaton’amin. Haha the crying kid, oh no. SWF was Lesbianism 101 for my generation LOL. “Damn, this is serious.” Inspired as fuck. xoxo

  6. Hi, Dennis! That was a gif. An imperceptible kind. But you can see some moving things there if you wait just a bit. Still, inedible tho, sorry. Happy Happy Birthday to you again. Now it’s officially your day in Paris. Enjoy the day! 💜

  7. WHEW! Finally got in here today!

    Barbet is very very special. In French cinema he’an essential force, being the man responsibe for givig Rohmer a career. He has also acted. He appears I Godard’ “Les Carabiniers” and Rivette’s “Out 1” in the “L’Angle du hard” scenes. More importantly he’s the lead ghost in Celine and Julie Go Boating He and Bulle Ogier have been a couple since the dawn of time but they only got married a couple of years back.

    Barbet has a way of looking at Evil without flinching. This is obvious in his Idi Amin film (I wrote the notes for the criterion DVD) and “Terror’s Advocate” but also “Reversal of Fortune” and “Murder By Numbers”

    MY favorite of all his films is “Our Lady of the Assassins”

    “Th Valley Obscured by Cloud” was a big “Head Movie” back in the day.

    Oh and “Barfly” is wonderful too.

    And Barbet also directed a couple of episodes of “Mad Men”

  8. Happy Birthday, Big D!

    I’ll be back Thursday evening. I haven’t been able to stay awake the last couple evenings.

  9. Happy B day Dennis – did you know that the Tarot card for Capricorn is The Devil?? Thought you’d like that. Came on here to tell you: it’s rare that I see a film twice in a row, but had to see L’ARGENT again and liked it even better the second time. I love the sounds, which Bresson discusses in this brilliant Cannes press conference. I don’t remember if you’ve posted it before, but if you haven’t seen it, I promise you wouldn’t want to miss it. I’m really blown away…the press conference was practically better than the film itself! So enjoy for your birthday if you haven’t seen it, and have a great one:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Jzujl9dWHo

  10. Loved the Barbet Schroeder..

    Happy Birthday Dennis! Xoxo

  11. Happy birthday Dennis!

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