681 Frances Ha

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ianungstad
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681 Frances Ha

#1 Post by ianungstad » Tue Jul 24, 2012 3:16 pm

Frances Ha

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Greta Gerwig is radiant as a woman in her late twenties in contemporary New York, trying to sort out her ambitions, her finances, and, above all, her tight but changing bond with her best friend, Sophie (Mickey Sumner). Meticulously directed by Noah Baumbach with a free-and-easy vibe reminiscent of the French New Wave’s most spirited films, and written by Baumbach and Gerwig with an effortless combination of sweetness and wit, Frances Ha gets at both the frustrations and the joys of being young and unsure of where to go next. This wry and sparkling city romance is a testament to the ongoing vitality of independent American cinema.

DIRECTOR-APPROVED SPECIAL EDITION:

- New high-definition digital master, with DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio on the Blu-ray
- New conversation between filmmaker Peter Bogdanovich and the film’s cowriter and director, Noah Baumbach
- New conversation between actor and filmmaker Sarah Polley and the film’s cowriter and star, Greta Gerwig
- New conversation about the look of the film between Baumbach, director of photography Sam Levy, and creative director Pascal Dangin
- Trailer
- PLUS: A booklet featuring an essay by playwright Annie Baker

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Jeff
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Re: Toronto Film Festival 2012

#2 Post by Jeff » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:07 pm

ianungstad wrote:The film was originally going to be written and directed by Greta Gerwig. It seems like she ran into some problems as Baumbach took over directing duties and is now listed as co-writer. Hopefully it's great. It would be a nice way to bounce back after HBO passing on his pilot. I think the announcement took a lot of people by surprise but the project has been kicking around for about a year as "untitled Greta Gerwig project".
Not to mention what was supposed to be his next film based on his own script, While We're Young, which fell apart at the last minute -- twice.

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Re: Toronto Film Festival 2012

#3 Post by ianungstad » Tue Jul 24, 2012 4:26 pm

I do have some reservations. I love Noah but much like Whit Stillman or David O. Russell, his strength is more as a writer than a director. At least from the TIFF press release it sounds like he took another crack at the screenplay.

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knives
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Re: Toronto Film Festival 2012

#4 Post by knives » Tue Jul 24, 2012 5:01 pm

I think that's a real easy complaint to make since he is such a good writer, but all three of those directors much like Eric Rohmer have proven themselves to be genius in direction too. Just not upfront about it.

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Re: Toronto Film Festival 2012

#5 Post by ianungstad » Tue Jul 24, 2012 6:38 pm


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Jeff
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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#6 Post by Jeff » Sun Sep 02, 2012 1:15 am

Apparently this was very warmly received at Telluride. Reviews by Eric Kohn and Rodrigo Perez corroborate this. Kris Tapley tweeted that it's Baumbach's best.

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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#7 Post by Brood_Star » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:24 pm

Extremely charming and genuinely funny in an unforced way.

I'd say if you want a 100% spot-on funny version of Community (the TV show) and NY Hipster lifestyle sounds appealing, I'd recommend this one. I think it's the funniest movie I've seen in almost ever.

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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#8 Post by bainbridgezu » Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:01 pm


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Murdoch
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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#9 Post by Murdoch » Tue Mar 05, 2013 9:31 pm

With Damsels in Distress and how much I enjoyed that trailer, I think from now on I'll only watch movies with Greta Gerwig in them.

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bainbridgezu
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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#10 Post by bainbridgezu » Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:49 pm

Murdoch wrote:With Damsels in Distress and how much I enjoyed that trailer, I think from now on I'll only watch movies with Greta Gerwig in them.
After House of the Devil, I'd be happy only watching movies about Greta Gerwig and pepperoni pizza.

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Matt
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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#11 Post by Matt » Thu Apr 04, 2013 11:48 pm

I've just come back from the screening at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. For my money, this is Baumbach's best film, and you all know how much I love Margot at the Wedding. It's quite a bit more accessible than his last few films, mainly because it's impossible to dislike any character played by Greta Gerwig, even when that character is painfully sabotaging herself. That's not to say the movie or the character are not complex. They both are, wonderfully so.

I foresee that there will be comparisons made to "Girls" (assuming people will be talking about this movie, which I sincerely hope for): they tread similar ground (aimless twenty-somethings) and even share an actor (Adam Driver), but the similarities are pretty superficial.

I'll be attending the talk tomorrow night and will report back about anything of interest.

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Professor Wagstaff
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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#12 Post by Professor Wagstaff » Sat May 04, 2013 11:59 am

Caught this at the Montclair Film Festival last night and I'm as won over by it as you, Matt. Gerwig's never been more of a charismatic screen presence and Baumbach takes a refreshingly lighthearted approach to much of the material, perhaps sparked by his co-writer/star incredible zeal. I too think any comparisons to Girls are superficial (there were certainly plenty overheard after the screening). Perhaps the biggest difference for me would be that Frances never seems to fall into the horrible self-pitying and navel-gazing tendencies of that show's characters. No matter what rash, ill-advised mistakes Frances makes (and there are many) or how many times life knocks her down (quite literally), she always returns with a dogged determination to set things right in her life. It's a nice change from most of the twenty-somethings in films today.

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mfunk9786
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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#13 Post by mfunk9786 » Mon May 20, 2013 10:51 pm

What a wonderful, magical little film. Will write more soon,
SpoilerShow
but particularly charmed by the final moment - joins There Will Be Blood in the recent films that have titles that don't make sense 'til the very end
, and that shouldn't be explained to those who haven't seen the film yet. Adorable stuff, never thought I'd use that word to describe something Noah Baumbach created.
Last edited by mfunk9786 on Tue May 21, 2013 7:32 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Adam Grikepelis
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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#14 Post by Adam Grikepelis » Tue May 21, 2013 6:08 am

mfunk9786 wrote:
SpoilerShow
... particularly charmed by the final moment - joins There Will Be Blood in the recent films that have titles that don't make sense 'til the very end, and that shouldn't be explained to those who haven't seen the film yet.
I don't know about you, mfunk, but I'd consider that a major spoiler.
Really looking forward to this film. Would've been only casually interested, if I hadn't seen the surprisingly wonderful Margot at the Wedding earlier this year.

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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#15 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue May 21, 2013 9:53 am

Sorry, thought I kept it vague enough - I didn't explain in the slightest where the title comes from, or how it's revealed. But I added tags just in case you're not alone in that belief!

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Adam Grikepelis
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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#16 Post by Adam Grikepelis » Tue May 21, 2013 9:35 pm

That's ok, it's probably more of a pet annoyance more than anything, feeling like it'll rob me of the moment when I'll likely forget about it by the time I see it.
(Kind of but not quite like when reviews/publicity mention "an ending/twist you'll never see coming!". Except yes, now I will. Thanks PR people.)

I've seen the same kind of approach used in at least one novel, and it works really nicely in a coda-like fashion - especially if it's suggested rather than explicitly stated.

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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#17 Post by Lionel » Thu May 23, 2013 11:21 am

Interesting piece on the NY times on a notorious scene which took 42 takes before they could finally get it right.

To be honest, the scene itself doesn't seem to have great acting in itself and there's probably something to be said about needing that many takes from your actors (even if your name is Kubrick).

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Matt
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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#18 Post by Matt » Thu May 23, 2013 11:59 am

Lionel wrote:there's probably something to be said about needing that many takes from your actors (even if your name is Kubrick).
And what would that be?

There are a lot of different emotions coursing through that scene, and it's the moment that finally breaks the friendship between Sophie and Frances, so I don't doubt it was difficult for it to come off as real. I don't begrudge any creative person the time it takes them to feel they're happy with the work they're making.

And while they did 42 takes, those takes only took two hours. That's not a lot of time on a movie set for a single scene. I've spent more time on single takes making student films.

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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#19 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu May 23, 2013 12:05 pm

And the take that was finally used was fucking fantastic

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Lionel
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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#20 Post by Lionel » Thu May 23, 2013 12:22 pm

Matt wrote: I don't begrudge any creative person the time it takes them to feel they're happy with the work they're making. And while they did 42 takes, those takes only took two hours. That's not a lot of time on a movie set for a single scene. I've spent more time on single takes making student films.
I don't begrudge taking that many takes on a film, but it makes me think the reason why so many would be required. One has to assume either the director wasn't sure what he wanted (or he did and he wasn't able to communicate it properly) or he just was trying to achieve a certain emotional tiredness from the actor.
Greta Gerwig is a terrific actress so I'm not even going to entertain the thought she wasn't receptive to direction!
I know many regard Kubrick's decision to repeat takes ad infinitum as another sign of his greatness.
I'm just not sure that necessarily has to be seen as a positive sign per se.

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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#21 Post by Roger Ryan » Thu May 23, 2013 3:53 pm

No, it's not always positive to do a lot of takes, but, as Kubrick once said, the film itself is one of the least expensive aspects of shooting a movie so why not try some different approaches once you have the actors and crew in place?

Once you get past the technical problems (difficult camera moves or blocking), an actor will usually attempt to perfect a certain delivery over a succession of takes. However, once you get past a certain number, that idea often goes out the window and the actor might deliver something unexpected that is better than what was achieved early on. If stage actors feel they can reach a more sublime performance 100 or 200 performances into a run, then doing 50 or 100 takes for a film (if you can afford the time!) may prove beneficial.

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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#22 Post by hearthesilence » Thu May 23, 2013 4:27 pm

Moot point - for an indie production, burning through a lot of film can actually be considered a great expense, but they're not even using film, as the article points out ("switch cards"), it was digital, so no biggie.

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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#23 Post by Lionel » Thu May 23, 2013 5:35 pm

hearthesilence wrote:Moot point - for an indie production, burning through a lot of film can actually be considered a great expense, but they're not even using film, as the article points out ("switch cards"), it was digital, so no biggie.
That's true. I wonder how much the digital revolution has changed the process and if there is less rehearsal because of that. It's also interesting to note that in the end take 29 was used and I do believe there has to be a threshold at some point where more takes are not necessarily adding more to the performance (unless you are trying to achieve a sense of frustration maybe).

As for film itself being one of the least expensive aspects of shooting that might be true, but it's also hard to deny that one of the most expensive factors in shooting a film is probably time.

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Roger Ryan
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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#24 Post by Roger Ryan » Fri May 24, 2013 8:31 am

Lionel wrote:...As for film itself being one of the least expensive aspects of shooting that might be true, but it's also hard to deny that one of the most expensive factors in shooting a film is probably time.
Absolutely. I was really just reiterating Kubrick's reasoning for shooting numerous takes and I, parenthetically, acknowledged that time would have to be figured in as well. Oftentimes, you don't know you've achieved the best take until successive takes prove to be no better or worse. Considering this, it's not surprising that Baumbach chose Take 29 (out of 42) for the film.

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Re: Frances Ha (Noah Baumbach, 2012)

#25 Post by colinr0380 » Sat May 25, 2013 7:03 pm

Matt wrote:
Lionel wrote:there's probably something to be said about needing that many takes from your actors (even if your name is Kubrick).
And what would that be?

There are a lot of different emotions coursing through that scene, and it's the moment that finally breaks the friendship between Sophie and Frances, so I don't doubt it was difficult for it to come off as real. I don't begrudge any creative person the time it takes them to feel they're happy with the work they're making.

And while they did 42 takes, those takes only took two hours. That's not a lot of time on a movie set for a single scene. I've spent more time on single takes making student films.
I was listening to the commentary for THX-1138 again earlier this week and I was reminded of something that George Lucas talks about there when reading this conversation. In a scene between Robert Duvall and Donald Pleasance Lucas ruefully talks about the way that it took lots of takes not because the performances were bad but in order to 'modulate' the performances, saying that while Duvall 'got it' on the first take Pleasance usually took until take ten or fifteen to hit his peak, at which point Duvall was slightly less on top form. So there are wider issues of how things are playing in the whole scene to consider beyond just actors not getting it right the first time.

Of course Lucas was saying this in context of how difficult things were for him back in the 70s before he had the technology at his fingertips to be able to digitally and seamlessly combine the best individual takes of two actors together into one scene. I doubt even now that many filmmakers, Baumbach included, have access to that!

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