Re: Proof that artists don't know what they're doing

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I made the mistake of watching the interview with Coppola that came on the DVD with The Conversation and it made me sad to discover that he really isn't very smart. Here's this 100% brilliant movie, and it's made by someone who's all "The best choice I made was making him wear that see-through raincoat in every scene! See, it's like a CAUL. His name is CAUL."

Zizek is spot-on about why The Conversation is so good in The Pervert's Guide to Cinema.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 10:31 PM
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he really isn't very smart

That's how you know it's art, not something made by committee.


Posted by: Cryptic Ned | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 10:34 PM
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That is to say, I think the 70's were just, like, an awesome time for movies, man. Lots of stoner idiots just happened to make some really brilliant shit. You listen to the director's commentaries on any shitty movie now and you can hear all about their pained, tortured lighting choices and editorial decisions, all homages to this and that. You listen to the director's commentary on any genius American film of the 70's and it's like, "Man, I dunno what we were thinking when we did that. We thought it would be pretty cool, though." I'm not sure if Coppola's still getting deliveries of the weed we was smoking back then, but he should try.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 10:36 PM
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it made me sad to discover that he really isn't very smart

He made the damn thing, he doesn't have to explain it.


Posted by: Matt F | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 10:37 PM
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According to wikipedia Murch had pretty much a free hand in the sound design and editing, which is (like obvs!) a really important part of the movie.

Tell me, AWB: what does Slavoj say about The Conversation? Tell us all.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 10:39 PM
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he really isn't very smart

Well, he is Nicholas Cage's uncle.


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 10:41 PM
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5: Come on, w-lfs-n. You've seen that clip where he sits on the toilet and talks about the horrors of blood and defecation and silence and whatnot. It's your typical adorable Zizek stuff. Grr. I'll go find it.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 10:41 PM
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I haven't seen any clips in which Zizek sits anywhere and does anything.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 10:44 PM
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Boorman is still the ultimate in inarticulate directors. Coppola can't compete.

I don't see what's so absurd about remaking The Conversation -- since it's a movie about surveillance and personal ethics, the post-9/11 environment provides amazingly fertile ground. Why not. Go Coppola.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 10:44 PM
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It seems pointless. What was lacking in the original, that the post-9/11 world will provide? What new opportunities will be found?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 10:47 PM
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10: Nothing has to be "lacking" in the original, but sure the new setting would provide any number of new opportunities. Post-9/11 provides an America with a budding Stasi-esque public ethic in which people get arrested, deported or disappeared for saying the wrong thing or having the wrong past or background. The added elements -- subtle or otherwise -- this new setting could bring to a story about a surveilled private conversation seem self-evident.


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 10:56 PM
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I am hunting down this Zizek clip and giggling incessantly at his pronunciation of film as "feelum." His reading of The Matrix is insane and idiosyncratic, while his reading of Solaris is totally inspired.

What he ends up arguing about The Conversation and Psycho is that they both locate the scene of violence in the bathroom and focus obsessively on waste pipes, drains, toilet bowls as repositories for blood, and that in TC, the spilling up of blood from the toilet is a metaphor for film itself, the violent disgorging of the empty black hole that is supposed to receive our perverse longings, but instead dictates new ones to us. Or something along those lines. Except he says all this while sitting on a toilet and gesticulating violently.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:01 PM
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(I will refrain from pointing out that those added elements, whatever you think they are, can probably be brought to the viewing of the movie by the audience: in fact I'm not sure, short of having explicit mention be made in the movie of our current ethos or having the conversation surveilled not be of private interest (thereby changing the movie completely!), exactly how the new setting is supposed to do anything that simply being reasonably well informed, now, and watching the old movie, couldn't do.)

That's why I think it's relevant that Caul is a private operator, working on a private contract, surveilling a private conversation. The possibility that the government is interested in them comes up extremely early in the movie and is denied.

I also don't think the movie is "about" a surveilled private conversation, in the first instance; as I said in the post, it's psychological, and the psychology is Caul's.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:05 PM
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focus obsessively on waste pipes, drains, toilet bowls as repositories for blood

Does he offer, uh, any reason to believe this, in the case of TC? Does he adduce any other appearances of waste pipes, drains, or toilet bowls at all, let alone as blood-repositories?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:07 PM
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you heard wrong -- and big time -- about the insipid remake of Manchurian.


Posted by: asr1234 | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:08 PM
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Here's the text, anyway:

After suspecting that a murder is taking place in a nearby hotel room, Gene Hackman, playing the private detective, enters this room and inspects the toilet. The moment he approaches the toilet in the bathroom it is clear that we are in Hitchcock territory. It is clear that some kind of intense, implicit dialogue with Psycho is going on. In a very violent gesture as if adopting the role of Norman Bates' mother, the murder in Psycho, he opens up the curtain, inspects it in detail looking for traces of blood there, even inspecting the gap, the hole at the bottom of the sink, which is precisely another of these focal objects, because in Psycho the hole, through fadeout, is morphed into the eye, returning the gaze.

We say the eye is the window of the soul, but what if there is no soul behind the eye, what if the eye is a crack through which we can perceive just the abyss of a netherworld.

When we look through these cracks, we see the dark other side where hidden forces run the show. It is as if Gene Hackman establishes no we are nonetheless not in Psycho, let us return to my first object of fascination, the toilet bowl. He flushes it and then the terrible thing happens.

In our most elementary experience, when we flush the toilet excrements simply disappear out of our reality into another space, which we phenomenologically perceive as a kind of a netherworld, another reality, chaotic primordial reality, and the ultimate horror of course is if the flushing doesn't work, if objects return, if remainders, excremental remainders return from that dimension.

Hitchcock is all the time playing with this threshold. The most effective for me, even the most touching, scene of the entire Psycho is after the shower murder when Norman Bates tries to clean the bathroom. I remember clearly when in my adolescence I first saw the film how deeply I was impressed by, not only by, the length of the scene - it goes on for nearly ten minutes, details of things and so on and so on, but also by the care, the meticulousness, how it is done, and also by our spectators' identification with it. I think that this tells us a lot about the satisfaction of work, of a job well done, which is not so much to construct something new, but maybe human work at its most elementary, work as it were at the zero level, is the work of cleaning the traces of a stain. The work of erasing the stains, keeping at bay this chaotic netherworld which threatens to explode at any time and engulf us.

I think this is the fine sentiment that Hitchcock's films evoke. It is not simply that something horrible happens in reality. Something worse can happen which undermines the very fabric of what we experience as reality. I think it is very important how the first attack of the birds occurs in The Birds, precisely when Melanie crosses this bay. First we even don't perceive it as a bird, as if some stain appeared within the frame.

When a fantasy object, something imagined, an object from inner space, enters our ordinary reality, the texture of reality is twisted, distorted. This is how desire inscribes itself into reality, by distorting it.

Desire is a wound of reality.

The art of cinema consists in arousing desire, to play with desire, but at the same time keeping it at a safe distance, domesticating it, rendering it palpable.

When we spectators are sitting in a movie theatre looking at the screen, you remember at the very beginning before the picture is on, its a black dark screen and then light is thrown on. Are we basically not staring into a toilet bowl and waiting for things to reappear out of the toilet? And are, is the entire magic of spectacle shown from the screen not a kind of a deceptive view trying to conceal the fact that we are basically watching shit, as it were ...


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:09 PM
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Allow me to clean up that formatting...


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:09 PM
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Bah. Got lazy with my tags there.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:09 PM
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13: That's why I think it's relevant that Caul is a private operator, working on a private contract, surveilling a private conversation.

And you don't think it's relevant or in any way interesting that thirty years later the very line between private and public is far more effaced?

15: I remember watching it and thinking "if only people had to work that hard to corrupt the political process."


Posted by: DS | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:12 PM
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In our most elementary experience, when we flush the toilet excrements simply disappear out of our reality into another space, which we phenomenologically perceive as a kind of a netherworld, another reality, chaotic primordial reality, and the ultimate horror of course is if the flushing doesn't work, if objects return, if remainders, excremental remainders return from that dimension.

If this is true of the phenomenology of Slavoj Zizek, I really hope that Analia is handy with a plunger.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:12 PM
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And you don't think it's relevant or in any way interesting that thirty years later the very line between private and public is far more effaced?

You might be taking my preterition too seriously.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:13 PM
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1: Another explanation for the filmmaker's apparent stupidity: working in a visual medium and interpreting the work verbally involve different kinds of thinking.


Posted by: Michael Vanderwheel, B.A. | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:13 PM
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I ain't Coppola, maybe he has come up with some original comment on the movie that I can't imagine, but it is a nearly perfect movie that doesn't need a remake.

I generally don't approve of classics being remade, although I am not sure why. There are however many versions of Hamlet out there, and Twelve Angry Men could just be considered an actor's exercise.

But to an extent movies are events in time that cannot be reproduced...some of what made for the impact and meaning of The Conversation was the year it was released and the innovations in technique.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:15 PM
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20 made me giggle.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:17 PM
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This clip at 5:56 suddenly becomes totally hilarious.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:20 PM
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Zizek gives me hope


Posted by: Scizor Cyster | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:24 PM
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Agree with the post that this film is unlikely to benefit from a remake, but I haven't seen it since high school and don't remember it well enough outside of a scene or two to competently discuss why. On the other hand, maybe this is part of the process Coppola needs to go through to finally return to making awesome movies. First release an extended version of one of your masterpieces which hurts it, though not that badly, then make something so personal that no one else knows what's going on with it, thirdly remake another classic, and then suddenly he'll be purged (into a pipe, perhaps) and able to work again.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:28 PM
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I mean, or Breathless cannot be redone., because a critical part of Breathless is the long apartment scene and the backseat car camera not moving during the conversation. Some things are best because they are first, or best early examples.

The Conversation was about Vietnam, anyway. We can't get any innocence back. We can barely retrieve any guilt.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:33 PM
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We can't get any innocence back. We can barely retrieve any guilt.

Grim!


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:40 PM
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27 was me, and speaking of 12 Angry Men there's a huge Lumet series happening at the Film Forum. I was trying to decide if it's worth paying to see Network for the umpteenth time just because I've never seen it on a big screen.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:41 PM
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25: In my America, Zizek gets an hour each night on prime time television to narrate his chores. Every episode ends with, "I think that x should be forbidden for children."


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:42 PM
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Network seems like the sort of thing that a small screen does just fine with, being, of course, about the small screen.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:44 PM
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31: I would pay to hear Zizek and Herzog go head to head about what they find "disgusting." What fun!


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:45 PM
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My thoughts were similar, I'm just easily seduced by the idea that seeing it in 35mm will be a whole new experience. On the other hand, Film Forum screens aren't very big.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:47 PM
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Oh, more than likely this is just some actor with millions of extra bucks who wants to reinterpret the part and work with Coppola. Coppola says "Why Not"

I have been trying to think of a classic that could be made interesting with a new application of directorial style and technique, just like we like to see Pacino & McKellen do Richard III. I can't think of many that have worked.

Umm, 13 Tzameti is a well-crafted piece of nihilism, Hostel for the art movie crowd. Just watched, and recommended. Night.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:49 PM
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If it means more footage of Gene Hackman's cock I'm all for it. The Conversation seems like a movie that could be, but won't be, great remade.


Posted by: foolishmortal | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:50 PM
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Agree that 13 Tzameti is nihilistic, I just wouldn't have listed that as a positive quality. If you want to get away with not having any characters, I need more from the movie than that.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:52 PM
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Last night was Shutter a very good asian ghostie for those who like asian ghosties. The best part, since the movie was Thai, was later exploring the weird & wacky world of Thai naming conventions.

Hint:If you ever meet the Thai President, call him "Miew". If you say "Khun Miew" they may smile at you indulgently.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-11-08 11:55 PM
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his reading of Solaris is totally inspired

Having never seen the 1973 version but having read the book and seen the 2002 version, I am not sure if I am quite able to comment, but—I found it a little annoying. It ignores the hero's desire to continue living with the resurrected wife, and his distraught reaction to her second suicide. If Solaris were really about women-as-male fantasy (which it isn't, really), the hero would seem to me a quasi-feminist living in a world in which misogyny was fully realized.

Anyway, if Frowner (IIRC) reads this, thanks for mentioning Lem in a sci-fi thread a few weeks back. He's awesome, although Return from the Stars seemed to demonstrate that maybe Zizek is onto something, as Lem's female characters are as inscrutable as his alien intelligences.


Posted by: destroyer | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 12:01 AM
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If you ever meet the Thai President, call him "Miew". If you say "Khun Miew" they may smile at you indulgently.

Just the current Thai president, or all of them?


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 12:05 AM
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I made the mistake of watching the interview with Coppola that came on the DVD with The Conversation

I made a similar mistake with Ratatouille. It would have been difficult for the director to have come off as more annoying and unlikable than he did.


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 12:15 AM
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"Actually, I hate rats. And food."


Posted by: teofilo | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 12:17 AM
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"so i decided to make this movie, this horror film, about the things that I hate. but you loved it. you all loved it...And so it is without regret that I now press the big, red button here which will begin a chain reaction that will set off a string of volcanoes which will destroy the world..."


Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 12:29 AM
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Why remake the Conversation? Because in risk averse Hollywood, making a remake is easier to sell than a new movie on the dangers of the post-9/11 surveillance society. Especially since remaking a classic movie like this appeals to Hollywood's sense of artiness without having to run the risks of actually being arty.

Coppola plays along because he's long since run out of new ideas and is therefore content to return to his old glories. Which is the sort of failure mode a lot of directors experience late in their careers.

Meanwhile the average movie audience thinks a movie made five years ago is old and doesn't know or care from this movie.


Posted by: Martin Wisse | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 12:30 AM
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Hitchcock remade "the man who knew too much" twenty-two years after his first version. He said that he liked the second version better.


Posted by: lemmy caution | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 1:19 AM
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I think if Coppola could talk intelligently about what he was up to in the movie, then he wouldn't have had any need to make the movie.


Posted by: Walt Someguy | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 1:26 AM
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Does he offer, uh, any reason to believe this, in the case of TC? Does he adduce any other appearances of waste pipes, drains, or toilet bowls at all, let alone as blood-repositories?

It doesn't have to be intellectually rigorous, ben, it's only media studies. It's not like it's a real subject.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 2:49 AM
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Didn't they already do a remake of The Conversation incorporating post-9/11 paranoia? It's called Enemy of the State and it even has Gene Hackman in it.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 3:51 AM
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48 is right.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 3:55 AM
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Ah, I think I've found the source of all this confusion.

13: I'm not sure ... exactly how the new setting is supposed to do anything that simply being reasonably well informed, now, and watching the old movie, couldn't do.

Considering how rare those two traits are, remaking "The Conversation" just might be a great idea.

48: Enemy of the State was made in 1998, though.


Posted by: Cyrus | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 6:49 AM
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39: I don't actually agree with anything Zizek says about anything, but I do think he does some totally inspired reading sometimes. Does that make sense? It's not, like, rigorous or consistent.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 6:55 AM
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This is my favorite thing about Zizek. It is a fact almost universally acknowledged that one can think he is almost always wrong while still finding him totally inspired.


Posted by: Sybil Vane | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 7:07 AM
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I think he works best in the role of public intellectual, writing op-eds in the newspaper and such. I've never made it through one of his books. (Tried twice!)


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 7:15 AM
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He made the damn thing, he doesn't have to explain it.

I am with MattF on this one.

I am almost always disappointed when I hear someone explain their art (music, movies, books, dance).

I much prefer AWB's comment:

"Man, I dunno what we were thinking when we did that. We thought it would be pretty cool, though."


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 7:16 AM
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Somewhat related, I really love Apocalypse Now.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 7:18 AM
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People remake movies because you can't get audiences to watch an old movie by saying "This is really relevant for what is happening today." You can only get the publicity machine pumping for new movies.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 7:39 AM
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"The best choice I made was making him wear that see-through raincoat in every scene! See, it's like a CAUL. His name is CAUL."

He could be a smart man who is used to explaining himself to stupid people. Seems fairly likely to me.


Posted by: mcmc | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 7:47 AM
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Okay,okay, so I am trying to think of what is essential to The Conversation so that you could call a new movie a remake and why Enemy of the People is not a remake. I think the alienation and arrogance of the central character is more important than the paranoia, although alienation and arrogance may connect to paranoia I wouldn't know and anyway.

Is Antonini'a (sp) Blow-Up closer to The Conversation, very close, even to a last ambiguous scene, than DePalma's Blow-Out? And I can't remember the name of that movie about East Germany & surveilance.

I was trying to remember a movie that followed the Hackman character arc without any of the techie stuff, wildly off, TL Jones in No Country for Old Men has some of the impotence and confusion.

Fuck man, what makes a story, anyway?


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 7:51 AM
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While Enemy of the State is a fine movie (and the Hackman character is interestingly similar to someone in my social circles), it would be hard for it to have incorporated post-9/11 paranoia in 1998.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 7:54 AM
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I thought about The Lives of Others as a paranoid surveillance movie, but I don't think it counts, because it's so much about people overcoming their fear of the state. It's much more trying to be about art and human connection than about the surveillance state, which is just the milieu in which the power of that other stuff can be demonstrated. It's very good, but way too uplifting and human, ultimately.


Posted by: A White Bear | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 7:57 AM
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59: boy we really must know the same people.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 8:23 AM
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I have been trying to think of a classic that could be made interesting with a new application of directorial style and technique, just like we like to see Pacino & McKellen do Richard III. I can't think of many that have worked.

Quentin Tarantino's Picnic at Hanging Rock. David Fischer's Black Narcissus. Peter Greenaway's Late Spring. The possibilities are endless!


Posted by: snarkout | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 8:28 AM
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39: Well, several of us were talking about Lem. But you're welcome. I haven't read Return from the Stars or even Zizek on Solaris, though. Perhaps another visit to the library is in order.

Not that any Zizek will be in; damn grad students have it all.

(I really never know what to think about Zizek. When I read him he seems so plausible and persuasive and yet when I try to think any kind of actual politics in a (fumblingly, inadequately) Zizekian manner it doesn't seem to work. Also when I read really seriously Zizekian leftists I am not impressed. I wasn't fond of the Zizekian position in that recent kerfluffle about Venezuela, for example, and it made me feel guiltily like some kind of vulgar empiricist since I certainly wanted to turn to lived experience of Venezuela as a corrective to Zizek.)

(This is the trouble with being an amateur of theory.)


Posted by: Frowner | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 8:30 AM
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60:Well, one aspect of The Conversation that I think os important is that the story has no grand political elements (Three Days of the Condor, Parallax View)

I suppose the Corporation can be a substitute for the surveilance state, but The Conversation feels squalid and petty in ways. Like Blow-Up, it's ultimately about adultery, murder, and money. Hackman & Hemmings aren't just outside the corridors of power looking in, they are alienated from the human relationships that corrupt & redeem.

The Corporation that hires Hackman could just as well be the typical Corrupt Old Money of a Hammett or Chandler novel. Unless there is a point to The Corporation Job being reduced to just another gumshoe with a camera outside a motel room.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 8:31 AM
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I bought Zizek's Welcome to the Desert of the Real in an airport bookstore because I thought it was about the Matrix.

what a ripoff


Posted by: felix | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 8:35 AM
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re: 51 and 52

That's often how I find European critics, philosophers, social commentators and the like. Infuriatingly stupid at times, self-aggrandizing, inconsistent and completely failing to be even minimally rigorous. But, at the same time, often interesting, provocative, smart, witty and playful.

Not that I'm any kind of wide reader in that field.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 8:54 AM
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66: the obvious next step - out-Zizeking Zizek - would be to discuss e.g. movies with special reference to things that don't even appear at all in the movie in question. I think that with enough panache and wit one could make a good living doing this.

Say, the symbolism of the sea in Blade Runner, which represents the essentially uncontrollable Organic which all the characters, in their various ways, try and fail to dominate. When Deckard looks out at the sea from the rooftop, for example, its scale dwarfs him and reflects the insanity and futility of his own attempts to impose order on both the city and his own disorderly emotions. To Tyrell, the sea is a mockery of his own attempts to make money by controlling and creating organic life.
(--But you never see the sea in Blade Runner.
-- Indeed, this is central to my point.)


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 9:06 AM
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Is it Hackman's romantization of alienation that causes him to misperceive the situation? He empathizes with the wrong people, thinks he knows more than they.

This is an error the wiser dicks of Hammett & Chandler didn't make. In Maltese Falcon, , Little Sister the reader is misdirected toward suspicion of the Power Centers until the veil is removed and the evil revealed in who was apparently the most innocent & vulnerable.

Hackman desires & hates power, feels used & deceived...and so is used and deceived.

Hmmm. desires & hates power, feels used & deceived...Wooobama!!! Sorry. Couldn't resist.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 9:08 AM
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Zizek could have a point.

I was thinking about the use of space in The Conversation. The busy park, the shadowy loft, te literal corridors of power, Hackman standing alone at the bottom of the skyscrapers, the claustrophobic hotel room & bathroom, the final empty bright room.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 9:22 AM
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Take a pill, Ben. Remaking a film doesn't erase the original. It sounds like an interesting idea to me.


Posted by: bitchphd | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 9:41 AM
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Agoraphobia (claustrophia?). Hackman is usually surrounded by much empty space. Am I misremembering, or does the sex happen in a wire cage? At the end Hackman doesn't just tear the room apart looking for a bug, he empties it, creates space around himself.

The house(apt?) at the end is a bit of a surprise. And it is not Hackman's professional space that is invaded, but his most personal space. And he finally seeks refuge, escape, security in the obviously very personal activity of playing the saxophone.

All rights reserved to my book The Conversation & Seductions of Paranoia, Public Space & Personal Time in the Surveilance State


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 9:43 AM
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The Manchurian Candidate and I've heard that the remake was actually tolerable,

Wrong. I'm a big Demme fan, but the movie was unwatchable.


Posted by: msw | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 9:48 AM
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72:Worst Liev Schreiber performance ever. Streep also sucked. It must have taken a massive effort to elicit bad acting from those two.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 10:08 AM
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On Demme and remakes, did anyone ever see The Truth About Charlie? How was it?


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 10:37 AM
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Take a pill, Ben. Remaking a film doesn't erase the original.

The future can change the past, B.


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 11:34 AM
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And now they're remaking The Taking of Pelham One Two Three? The main thing that has going for it is its balance between humorous and dramatic tone, which is one of the hardest thing to get right and modern Hollywood has an esp. difficult time with. Disaster.


Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 3:54 PM
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I thought AWB didn't like Freudianism. Or is it just Freud himself?

Anyway, I find "The Conversation" vaguely interesting, in the way that parables are interesting, but otherwise not at all compelling. I just fail to be engaged by characters who are so completely affectless. It always kinda gets me that so many people consider the film to be not only high art but highly enjoyable.


Posted by: fig | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 6:41 PM
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did anyone ever see The Truth About Charlie?

Belatedly: My brother and his girlfriend said it was, bar none, the worst movie they'd ever seen.


Posted by: Witt | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 6:59 PM
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So who's affectless?


Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 02-12-08 8:15 PM
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