The Stranger (Luchino Visconti, 1967)

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Anonymous

#26 Post by Anonymous » Fri May 19, 2006 7:21 pm

davidhare wrote:For him it's a visual means to dissociate individual actors and create the "Crowd". Also a way to maintain continuous action in long takes.
...and Kubrick uses the zoom to reveal details that comment upon the individual. Jancso and Angelopoulos use the zoom to move between framings that would otherwise not be possible, essential to the poetic rhythm of their filmmaking. Visconti, I think, is drawn to the visceral effect of the zoom, pulling us deeper into his characters' emotions. Etc.

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david hare
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#27 Post by david hare » Fri May 19, 2006 9:28 pm

Certainly the use of the zoom throws up the whole notion of Bazin's "open frame" and continuous takes, against decoupage or montage. I'm personally glad it's now used so sparingly. For one thing the quality of exposure or the actual film grain, lighting etc seems to be critical and so many zooms in movies end up looking awful.

OAT mentions Snow and Wavelength, certainly a perfect example of the "visceral" use of the zoom. To me Visconti's zooms in, say the Damned and Death in Venice simply become ubiquitous and lazy.

Anonymous

#28 Post by Anonymous » Sat May 20, 2006 5:25 pm

davidhare wrote:Certainly the use of the zoom throws up the whole notion of Bazin's "open frame" and continuous takes, against decoupage or montage. I'm personally glad it's now used so sparingly.
As long as you acknowledge that's a highly conservative position.
davidhare wrote:For one thing the quality of exposure or the actual film grain, lighting etc seems to be critical and so many zooms in movies end up looking awful.
Don't see what you're getting at here. The zooms in Jancso/Angelopoulos/Kubrick are technically flawless.

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Dylan
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#29 Post by Dylan » Sat May 20, 2006 7:26 pm

What bothers me is handheld, which I find to be overused. I like handheld when I feel it has a strong purpose (whether in a singular scene, such as the forest sequence in The Conformist, or the basis of a film's style, such as Husbands and Wives or Rosetta). In regards to zooms, I think many directors have utilized them in an intelligent and meaningful way.
Last edited by Dylan on Wed Oct 21, 2020 3:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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david hare
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#30 Post by david hare » Sat May 20, 2006 8:29 pm

Ugetsu, Kubrick was technically meticulous, to the point of having new lenses invented for things like the 2001 wide shots, or the candle lit scenes in Barry Lyndon. Not to mention the steadicam shooting in Shining. What Im saying is the early days of unrestrained zooming in good to bad movies often resulted in poor, grainy images. Modern filmmakers arent going to let that happen, just as modrern filmmakers are far more aware of preserving their work on fade proof color stocks, and so on. Indeed the zoom or telephoto is very much PART of an "armamentarium" of technical tools.

Which part of Bazin's "open frame" thesis do you take as "conservative? Among the people I know whenever there's discussion of montage/decoupage vs long take or such, it's generally in the context of older filmmakers, and more importantly is subservient to directors whose mise-en-scene exists to acommodate the meanings of their films, like Preminger or Antonioni.

This whole discussion of zooms/ telephotos etc probably derserves its own thread now. Enough people have rightly zoomed in on the use of it throughout contemporary world cinema to start anew. Good to see the forum focussing on film language and aesthetics.

Anonymous

#31 Post by Anonymous » Sun May 21, 2006 4:57 am

Perhaps I misread your comment. I took it that you were rejecting Bazin in favour of Eisensteinian montage.
Last edited by Anonymous on Mon May 22, 2006 5:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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david hare
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#32 Post by david hare » Sun May 21, 2006 7:37 am

Nonononononono!!!

What sort of a fag do you think I am?

Numero Trois
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Re: The Stranger (Luchino Visconti, 1967)

#33 Post by Numero Trois » Fri May 21, 2010 11:31 am

Believe it or not, it comes to Netflix Instant Watch on June 1st. At least according to Feedfliks.

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zedz
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Re: The Stranger (Luchino Visconti, 1967)

#34 Post by zedz » Fri May 21, 2010 4:18 pm

I know the phenomenon of posting in a dead thread on the anniversary of the previous post is not unknown, but surely four years is a record? (And I have to admit that I probably wouldn't have noticed if David's previous post hadn't been so eye-catching!)

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tartarlamb
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Re: The Stranger (Luchino Visconti, 1967)

#35 Post by tartarlamb » Fri May 21, 2010 4:46 pm

I was wondering why there was so much discussion in the last few days about this. Guess I should have looked more closely at the year stamp!

Since I've only seen a grubby pan-and-scan German dub of this film, I'll give this another go on Netflix and hope that its better. But I remember thinking that Camus's book really does not translate to film well. Taking Rotunno from the streets and beaches and placing him in a stuffy, crowded court room to film a long and preposterous trial brings the narrative to a grinding halt. And Mastroianni may have seemed an obvious choice to play the protagonist, bearing as he did a passing resemblance to Camus and having performed the existential malaise bit very well in La Dolce Vita, but he seemed bloated and past his prime in this.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Stranger (Luchino Visconti, 1967)

#36 Post by domino harvey » Fri May 21, 2010 5:16 pm

I hate Netflix's choppy streaming on Macs, but I'll make an exception for this one. Yowza!

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Re: The Stranger (Luchino Visconti, 1967)

#37 Post by Numero Trois » Fri May 21, 2010 5:30 pm

zedz wrote:I know the phenomenon of posting in a dead thread on the anniversary of the previous post is not unknown, but surely four years is a record?
I sure as fuck didn't know.

Why wait? It's on youtube with English subs. Ah, but I guess it's the German version tartarlamb mentioned.

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Dylan
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Re: The Stranger (Luchino Visconti, 1967)

#38 Post by Dylan » Tue Jun 01, 2010 5:06 am

Numero Trois wrote:Believe it or not, it comes to Netflix Instant Watch on June 1st. At least according to Feedfliks.
This seems like a cruel joke, but Netflix is actually streaming the 1945 Orson Welles film "The Stranger" through the listing of the Visconti film. I was really, really hoping that Paramount (I'm guessing they still have the American distribution rights) would've licensed a restored print for showing on Netflix (as they recently have with "Looking for Mr. Goodbar" and other films that are MIA on DVD) but it doesn't look like that's happening. If we're lucky, somebody screwed up at Netflix and Visconti's film will be streaming soon, but... I doubt it.

Looks like the widescreen German dub with English subtitles on youtube is the only way to go for now.

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Fred Holywell
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Re: The Stranger (Luchino Visconti, 1967)

#39 Post by Fred Holywell » Tue Apr 12, 2016 5:53 pm

This thread's been dead for quite a while, but... since I just stumbled across it again... I thought I'd let those interested know that the Italian version of "The Stranger" is available on-line, with English subtitles, here. It's been there (off and on) for a few years now, as have the German, Spanish, and English dubs.

Image

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domino harvey
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Re: The Stranger (Luchino Visconti, 1967)

#40 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jun 23, 2021 3:58 pm

Finally caught up with this, my sole remaining unseen Visconti feature, and hoo boy while I'm all over the place on his work as a whole, this is definitively his worst film for many of the reasons already expressed. Adapting the novel was a losing venture no matter what, but some of the laughably rigorous fidelity here in the early passages is a good reminder that those who believe a good book adaptation needs to slavishly parrot the source text are missing the bigger picture. Mastroianni is embarrassing, phoning it in and confusing malaise and ennui with blankness. Karina's affected kittenishness here is more frosh posturing than anything approaching liveliness. But nothing else competes with or can prepare you for the zoooooom, zooooooom, zoooooooom X 10000

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Fred Holywell
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Re: The Stranger (Luchino Visconti, 1967)

#41 Post by Fred Holywell » Wed Jun 23, 2021 9:51 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Wed Jun 23, 2021 3:58 pm
Finally caught up with this, my sole remaining unseen Visconti feature, and hoo boy while I'm all over the place on his work as a whole, this is definitively his worst film for many of the reasons already expressed. Adapting the novel was a losing venture no matter what, but some of the laughably rigorous fidelity here in the early passages is a good reminder that those who believe a good book adaptation needs to slavishly parrot the source text are missing the bigger picture. Mastroianni is embarrassing, phoning it in and confusing malaise and ennui with blankness. Karina's affected kittenishness here is more frosh posturing than anything approaching liveliness. But nothing else competes with or can prepare you for the zoooooom, zooooooom, zoooooooom X 10000
I seem to remember reading that Visconti thought Mastroianni wrong for the part early on and wanted Delon to replace him. But Marcello had some sort of deal with the Camus estate that guaranteed him the film, and he was hell bent on doing it. His dream role or something.

And yes, that zooming. Like a kid on too much sugar with a new toy, he wouldn't leave it alone. This line from a Slant review of The Damned applies as much to The Stranger, I suppose: "Luchino Visconti’s overuse of superfluous zoom-lens trickery suggests that he was barely in control of his own worst impulses."

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domino harvey
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Re: The Stranger (Luchino Visconti, 1967)

#42 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jun 23, 2021 11:18 pm

I don’t recall their use being an issue before his segment of Le streghe, but they are Adult Swim-level non-sequitur here

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Drucker
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Re: The Stranger (Luchino Visconti, 1967)

#43 Post by Drucker » Fri Jun 25, 2021 10:11 pm

domino harvey wrote:
Wed Jun 23, 2021 3:58 pm
Finally caught up with this, my sole remaining unseen Visconti feature, and hoo boy while I'm all over the place on his work as a whole, this is definitively his worst film for many of the reasons already expressed. Adapting the novel was a losing venture no matter what, but some of the laughably rigorous fidelity here in the early passages is a good reminder that those who believe a good book adaptation needs to slavishly parrot the source text are missing the bigger picture. Mastroianni is embarrassing, phoning it in and confusing malaise and ennui with blankness. Karina's affected kittenishness here is more frosh posturing than anything approaching liveliness. But nothing else competes with or can prepare you for the zoooooom, zooooooom, zoooooooom X 10000
I caught this film in 35mm a few years ago during a Mastroianni retrospective (and sat next to Colonel West at the screening!). Dom's 100% right here. The film and print was quite beautiful, but the tone of the film was completely wrong and well it's hard to imagine a worst cast actor as the protagonist for this particular adaptation.

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