Arnaud Desplechin

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knives
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#51 Post by knives » Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:14 am

I assume that means you've seen the first film. I don't think it's required, but it helps to deal with some of the nuances. As to historical tissue, I must disagree slightly. While audience understanding isn't required for audience appreciation Desplechin does give enough information to garner a depth from how that history paints his biography. This, for me, is most clear in how the film deals with Desplechin's career long obsession with Ashkenazi Jews. One souvenir makes sense best if you understand the Cold War and western Jews relations to the soviet bloc in the time of the '80s.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#52 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Jan 08, 2020 8:52 am

Sorry knives I meant history as personal history not objective history- I would agree with you on that but the intention of my comments was that despite not getting a linear and connected-by-detail account of how exactly the relationship moved from harmony to resentment we fill in the pieces through the emotional eliciting empathy rather than a more filled in set of facts. It’s indicative of Desplechin‘s talents that he can shake the normative expectations in audience engagement in these subtle ways (I think it’s easier for audiences to resign such hangups if the film is more loudly declaring itself as detailing into the ‘absurd’) though it seems like enough people shrug at or are bothered by his work, unsurprisingly, where I shouldn’t speak in blanket terms!

I actually haven’t seen the first film yet, it’s last to come to me from the lib and I only read that this was its prequel last night, so I’m interested to how it’ll fit. I also had no idea Ismael’s Ghosts was a sequel to Kings and Queen until after I saw that so it’ll be a good excuse to watch everything again.

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knives
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#53 Post by knives » Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:44 am

I honestly think My Sex Life to be equal to his best so you're in for a treat.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#54 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Jan 08, 2020 10:30 am

knives wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:44 am
I honestly think My Sex Life to be equal to his best so you're in for a treat.
That's what I'm hearing - very excited. So far I've seen (in order of viewing, over the years): A Christmas Tale, Ismael's Ghosts, Jimmy P, and then most recently Kings and Queen, My Golden Days with My Sex Life and Esther Kahn's uncut version on deck.

What do you consider to be his other best? Any others worth seeking out specifically?

I'll be revisiting A Christmas Tale in a new context over the next week too, as I don't think I was quite ready to take in what he was putting down at the time I saw it probably five years back, though I remember liking it. I'm sure it'll make a spike.

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domino harvey
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#55 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:07 pm

Ma vie sexuelle is my favorite Desplechin, and you just watched its sequel/prequel

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#56 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:50 pm

Yeah, I'm aware that it's the sequel/prequel (though I didn't read that fact until just before I popped it into my player last night). I'm looking forward to it - especially since it appears to be his longest film and I can't wait to spend three hours in his milieu.

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swo17
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#57 Post by swo17 » Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:51 pm

Serious question, therewillbeblus: Are there like five of you?

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#58 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:09 pm

swo17 wrote:
Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:51 pm
Serious question, therewillbeblus: Are there like five of you?
Not that I'm aware of but I might have a double out there (poor Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse reference), just an obsessive-compulsive guy with an addictive personality who doesn't sleep much, has a girlfriend buried in grad school, and a lot of time on my hands. As I start my next venture building up my own practice I expect to become more like 1/5 of a person though, so trying to take advantage of this time to soak up viewings.

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domino harvey
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#59 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:52 pm

That's just what I'd expect your team of movie watching interns to say

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#60 Post by therewillbeblus » Wed Jan 08, 2020 2:21 pm

Image

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Matt
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#61 Post by Matt » Wed Jan 08, 2020 6:26 pm

Last edited by Matt on Thu Jan 09, 2020 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin on DVD

#62 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:44 am

domino harvey wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:48 am
I watched Esther Kahn and dear lord, sign me up for the minority who find it a masterpiece! I can believe its stormy reception because it is so Desplechin-y— Long, winding, unpredictable, erratic, beautiful, well-observed, and filled with such a wealth of unexpected and un-anticipatable character beats
Further proof of Desplechin's comfort in sacrificing conventional narrative fluidity for pure emotion, this can come off like a series of isolated bursts of anthropological cores swinging on the vines of steady and transparent observation to bizarre disorder. I'm genuinely surprised at how negative basically every thought I can find on the internet written about this movie is.. sure it's defiant of the 'rules' of the viewing game, but the most consistent criticism I see is that Desplechin sacrifices attention to character for mise en scene, and I think his fidelity to his subjects is perhaps Desplechin's greatest strength, often masked as prioritizing ambiance when he understands how integral this milieu is to developing sides of his character's experience most filmmakers miss. There's an ineffable connection there that he finds, and I can't quite put my finger on how, but it's the novel energy felt that makes his films come alive in ways that feel like an upgrade in the medium via a fourth invisible dimension. I don't want to come off as narrow minded but I really don't understand how one can miss the raw honesty of this film's heroine. If Summer Phoenix subverts expectations of how an actor should behave, it's because people don't behave like actors. Sometimes they hold emotion in, become flat, and yet their soul permeates the character with subtle radiation of truth, and we get that here in spades. The acting lesson scenes call for that sincerity in uniqueness that will blow the audience (within the film) away, not to be flashy but to be honest with oneself in every particle of their being, which could be a mirror of what Desplechin does with his own characters and his own audience too.
SpoilerShow
The self-mutilation was unexpectedly intense, even for Desplechin, but it also demonstrates how he doesn't rely on external, more comfortable measures of mental health problems to gravitate to this space, and instead trusts the abrasive and eccentric behavior that comes with emotional dysregulation as true authenticity for Esther's experience.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#63 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 10, 2020 12:17 am

Comment je me suis disputé... (ma vie sexuelle)

Perhaps it’s an odd comparison but this is the most novelistic film I may have seen after Vale Abraão, the difference being that this film breathes on a more intimate (and subsequently convoluted) fusion between subjective and objective perspective. Desplechin draws arguably his most flawed hero, and yet also the most kindred, as possessing the humanity to magnetize the audience to relation with only slight abrasion and more ease due to his sensitivity and confidence with the material. The selfishness that drives him (and plenty of other wonderfully complex characters in this film, even some who only get a brief monologue) is analyzed but also validated as human nature, dissected and presented as is sans guilt as our greatest barrier and protective factor against the raw intimacy of social relationships, disturbing harmony but containing the harm of total self-destruction. This reminded me of Margaret in that way - a subjective union but reserved enough where we can look at the behavior and psychology and empathize both outward to the screen and inward to ourselves.

There is an extra observant emotional theme that I’m not sure Desplechin has really hit quite the same way in his films since - that of a character who believes he’s self-aware, and is to a degree, but is also afraid to dig through that surface layer to the real authenticity of the discomfort that bars him from growth. He is partly the confident man he appears as but his core beliefs are rooted in fear just like the rest of us, and facing the actuality of his internal strains would be too painful so he solidifies his attitudes and escapes into fantasy, projections, and social distractions. So do the other men, and the women, and even our narrator spends most of the film unpacking the psychologies of each character experiencing distress at the overwhelming changes in dynamics that trigger vulnerability to their identities, but is this narrator even reliable or is he just scraping at the surface of these characters’ awarenesses, ironically professing an omniscient view but leaving the indescribable truths where they belong, and showing the limitations of even god’s ability to access and emit? The characters actually behave just like this omniscient narrator, confronting their partners, friends, and selves with similar analyses that further this irony of the impossibility of total knowledge and puts forth the idea that perhaps subjectivity is as significant as objectivity, and that nobody really knows anything more than anyone else in the end- while also not minimizing the importance and fun of such dissections!

I’ve rarely come across a character that I relate to so deeply as Paul, not in the attitudes, or personality, or behaviors that exist on the surface but on the psychology, the emotional defense mechanisms, the fear and doubt and directionless existential staticity that look for attention while driving the machine. This isn’t a portrait of a sad life, but an ordinary one that is simultaneously normalized against didacticism and individualized just like every one of us. Paul is given as much value and worth as anyone else, and his own character defects and defense mechanisms that hinder his participation in his growth are not pitied or judged but matched with his sense of humor, social resilience, wit, and other strengths that allow for his participation toward growth in his life. If that sounds contradictory it’s because it is and isn’t, it’s as complicated as any person can be summarized with words and yet very simple. It’s a humanist perspective, one of the few true ones, and for Desplechin- already a fairly humanist filmmaker- this is his most sensitive and validating film in that space that he naturally treats as familiar with an attitude of being comfortable with the uncomfortable. How can someone be both honest and deceitful towards themself and others, and still wind up as definitively authentic? I have an idea, but I couldn’t film it. Desplechin can.

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NABOB OF NOWHERE
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin on DVD

#64 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Fri Jan 10, 2020 6:25 am

therewillbeblus wrote:
Thu Jan 09, 2020 1:44 am
domino harvey wrote:
Mon Jan 06, 2020 3:48 am
I watched Esther Kahn and dear lord, sign me up for the minority who find it a masterpiece! I can believe its stormy reception because it is so Desplechin-y— Long, winding, unpredictable, erratic, beautiful, well-observed, and filled with such a wealth of unexpected and un-anticipatable character beats
Further proof of Desplechin's comfort in sacrificing conventional narrative fluidity for pure emotion, this can come off like a series of isolated bursts of anthropological cores swinging on the vines of steady and transparent observation to bizarre disorder.
Reading these I wonder if you both have seen Brizé's 'Ma Vie' which I think is also a likely candidate for similar appreciation. In fact Brizé's other work particularly with Vincent Lindon is highly recommended. The latest - La Loi du marché and En Guerre- take a more overtly political stance and dissect the cruelty of the labour market ,in turn redundancy and strike action, through stealth rather than the sentimental agitprop espoused by latter day Loach.

For the record I am a fervent Desplechin follower and find great joy in using his films as a barometer for the progression of Amalric's career.

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domino harvey
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#65 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jan 10, 2020 8:27 am

I haven’t, but will be watching at least La loi for the Cesars project, which I’m still dutifully working my way through without write ups with the goal of finishing this year

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#66 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:32 am

Regarding Comment je me suis disputé... (ma vie sexuelle), I've been reeling about some gaps in the narrative this morning and just discovered that I watched the U.S. DVD which seems to have about six minutes cut. For those who have seen the uncut and cut versions, did I miss something or is Rabier's falling out with Paul not exactly explained? Why does Paul have a breakdown/health issues following the monkey scene? And why, oh why, did Marion Cotillard's underwear dance scene get cut, when it sounds like not only a spiritual experience for the viewer (from what I've read, I mean that in a non-sexual way, as an exhibition of beauty in the world that grounds one to the present) as well as for Ivan's character, establishing his own arc?

It's possible that I missed some of these things, but any help would be appreciated. I'll be finding the full version later on and giving it a proper rewatch.

Edit: The breakdown scene needs no explanation, and works just fine as the exact kind of enigmatic existential crisis that requires no continuity or holds for the audience to grab onto in order to be powerful - in fact it works better than it ever could with more context.

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domino harvey
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#67 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:58 am

I was planning to queue up a rewatch soon, so I'll keep an eye out for your questions

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#68 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:27 am

domino harvey wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:58 am
I was planning to queue up a rewatch soon, so I'll keep an eye out for your questions
Thanks! I'm assuming you have the uncut version from backchannels? These OOP French DVD prices are insane..

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domino harvey
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#69 Post by domino harvey » Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:30 am

I have the Cahiers double DVD set with Esther Kahn, which wasn’t a million dollars when I bought it a decade ago!

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#70 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 10, 2020 11:48 am

I just stumbled upon this reading from Senses of Cinema, which is a solid analysis of the film's many merits and complexities

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knives
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#71 Post by knives » Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:17 pm

If I remember from my reading correctly the argument is never explained like with the title because Desplechin was trying to avoid a lawsuit as this was based on a real argument.

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#72 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:56 pm

knives wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 2:17 pm
If I remember from my reading correctly the argument is never explained like with the title because Desplechin was trying to avoid a lawsuit as this was based on a real argument.
That makes a lot of sense - I knew about the title and their falling out (the actual colleague's name is almost identical) but didn't think of the possibility that the reserve would bleed into the context of the narrative as well

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#73 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:43 pm

therewillbeblus wrote:
Fri Jan 10, 2020 10:32 am
And why, oh why, did Marion Cotillard's underwear dance scene get cut, when it sounds like not only a spiritual experience for the viewer (from what I've read, I mean that in a non-sexual way, as an exhibition of beauty in the world that grounds one to the present) as well as for Ivan's character, establishing his own arc?

It's possible that I missed some of these things
So I looked up runtimes and apparently the 178 minute one is incorrect since the French disc seems to be 172 also on backchannels. I gave it another spin and found the Marion Cotillard scene (I don’t know how I could have possibly missed it but I did) so false alarm, my mistake.

I’d still love to engage in a discussion though especially around the strange mood shifts (i.e. the run through the woods post-monkey scene) once you see it domino!

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DarkImbecile
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#74 Post by DarkImbecile » Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:44 pm

This is what happens when you're watching three screens of 1.5x-speed films at once

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Arnaud Desplechin

#75 Post by therewillbeblus » Fri Jan 10, 2020 7:53 pm

Or when you nod off because you’re not sleeping due to watching too many movies and rewind to the wrong part :|

There are definitely some films where I’ll multitask a bit on, rewatches and such, but foreign language films and especially something with rapid fire dialogue like a Desplechin, well that’s just not even possible!

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