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PostPosted: Mon May 22, 2017 9:31 am 
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The Florida Project is receiving strong praise at Cannes, maybe next time he'll actually be invited into the main lineup


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 Post subject: Re: Sean Baker
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 2:22 pm 
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A24 has bought the rights to The Florida Project


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 Post subject: Re: Sean Baker
PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:15 pm 
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Trailer


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 Post subject: Re: Sean Baker
PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:03 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 1:47 pm
mfunk9786 wrote:


Seems he liked The Florida Project


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 Post subject: Re: Sean Baker
PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 2:11 am 
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The Florida Project isn't likely a movie I'd want to watch again anytime soon, but it's extremely well executed all the way around. Baker knows what he's doing and has, as he showed in Tangerine, a real knack for lighting. Willem Dafoe is fantastic in this, really embraces a physicality to the part of a character who thru his job has seen it all, but still retains such an utter humanity towards others.


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 21, 2017 10:53 pm 
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If this doesn’t win Best Picture this year I’ll be surprised. It is a high wire act to make something so deeply felt about people who are in such dire circumstances but Baker pulls it off in a way that is more digestible to more people than American Honey, which is really impressive. Will have more to say once I can process this one. Hope enough people see it to create the buzz it deserves.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 4:48 am 
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Just got back from this and it might be the first great 2017 release I've seen. In many ways, it feels like a companion piece to American Honey (a film I thought was good but not great) in its depiction of a put-upon subculture of poverty and desperation, one in which we can readily identify people who would get out if given a sliver of a chance and some who would keep finding ways to doom themselves even if they came upon a bit of luck -- this film largely focuses on the latter, though both circumstances are tragic and human in their own ways. It seems all at once despairing but also not without joy and hope thanks to its emphasis on children and the power of their imagination. Chock-full of emotionally rich moments, terrific work with the children as performers, a thoughtful and skilled but not attention-grabbing visual approach. The ending really brought it all home, too, in an ambiguous, ambivalent, and beautiful way. My thoughts here aren't coherent, but I heartily recommend this, and hope people can see it while it's still out.

(The only other Baker I've seen is Tangerine, which I liked enough but didn't have any particular affection for, so I don't have any standing to compare this to the rest of his work. I've had Starlet in my Netflix queue forever, so it looks like it's time to finally check off that box.)


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:18 pm 

Joined: Wed Dec 02, 2015 3:07 am
I saw this a few nights ago, too—with just one other person in the theater, sadly (though it was a late show on a Tuesday, so I guess that's understandable)—and I went in ready to be unimpressed, but it really, really won me over and has continued to do so the more I sit with it. I generally don't enjoy contemporary "poverty porn/slumming it" movies, and while I appreciated Tangerine's willingness to build a story around characters otherwise ignored by most people and media, played by actors who actually represent them, it still had a whiff of "exotic social tourism" that it never quite got out from under. Seeing The Florida Project, I can put my finger on why with a little more precision: the improvisational scripting and reality-TV-esque handheld cinematography of Tangerine, while intended to lend an air of realism, instead heightened the artificiality and amplified the "outsider looking in" feeling.

But The Florida Project manages to be empathetic and compassionate towards its characters without being apologetic, touristy, or accusatory; combined with a far smoother style, the movie lets their situation speak for itself. It's refreshing that it doesn't go Oscar-baity for the Message Picture Angle and try to Teach The Audience that Poor People Are People Too, Society Did This or At Least Didn't Stop It, etc. Those ideas are present, of course, but focusing on Moonee lets them bubble up naturally, through, for example, Defoe's incredibly balanced performance as an emergency-stop surrogate father, or by situating the children's world as encapsulated in the adult world, oblivious but littered with its remnants—abandoned condos, pocket change, lost lighters—and afflicted by its struggles. Baker also pulls off some wonderfully expressive but simple cinematography, such as the simple act of refocusing rather than cutting when
[Reveal] Spoiler:
Moonee leans back and forth in her chair at the buffet
.

Though there are some moments that are a little too on the nose (e.g. Moonee's reason why
[Reveal] Spoiler:
that tree is her favorite
), when he does push the empathy hard, it's usually in service to a pay off that feels justified by an equivalent intensity. The finest example, of course, is the cut
[Reveal] Spoiler:
to that final shot, from Jancey and Moonee in the doorway to them running through the park,
which may be the fastest I've ever gone from respect for the handling of a tricky emotional climax, to eye-rolling disappointment, to complete admiration. It took about six seconds to run that gamut, but the directional shift from one kind of emotional intensity to a completely different kind maintains that intensity while completely repurposing it. Its jarring nature is a rare, wholly earned moment of sympathetic identification with a character's catharsis: the shift to the
[Reveal] Spoiler:
iPhone footage with a non-diegetic soundtrack
suddenly and starkly highlights both the children's and the audience's limited control and understanding and a shared form of outsider status. I've seen lots of folks insist that
[Reveal] Spoiler:
the last shot must be fantasy, because there's no way the two kids could run into the park like that, and I have no idea of the logistics of doing so. But it's irrelevant: it's a fantastic, in both senses, escape, whether or not its a feasible one.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 4:18 am 
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Oh, the ending is

[Reveal] Spoiler:
completely impossible, which is what gives it its power. So much of the children's experience is their fantasy, their way of seeing the world through a sense of wonder no matter how dire the circumstances, that when the direst of circumstances comes to be they escape into the highest fantasy.


I found it a moving and appropriate end.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 16, 2017 12:35 pm 
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[Reveal] Spoiler:
I felt the same way. We were already seeing much of the film through the eyes of children, without verging into full-on fantasy - so why not take that plunge for the film's final moments? It felt very much earned after seeing reality closing in on those girls.


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