The writing below comes from an e-mail I sent to someone:
–Somehow I think it is a little bit ironic that the two directors (Duras and Robbe-Grillet) who seem to truly understand the most about the potential of cinema are actually writers. But maybe it is reasonable, not ironic, because some people who work in many fields of arts may understand more about the different potential of each art form and can use the potential of each art form much better.
–The acting style in Robert Bresson is very unique. I like the fact that it breaks from the normal rules of “convincing acting”, “believable acting”, “realistic acting” or “acting from the inside”, but it still can be great in its own way. When I was a teenager, I used to think that “realistic acting” (Meryl Streep, Jodie Foster, etc) was the greatest way. But when I became a cinéphile, I realized that there are many styles of films, and different styles of films require different styles of “great performances”, such as the hilarious styles in Almodovar or John Waters’ films, the aloof styles of Delphine Seyrig or Tilda Swinton, the demented styles in Herbert Achternbusch, Werner Schroeter, or Ulrike Ottinger’s films, the melodramatic styles in some films, the deadpan styles in Tati or Kaurismaki’s films, or the seemingly-wooden styles in Bresson or Godard. I also like the “totally unconvincing styles” in many Thai films made by amateur filmmakers very much. Some unconvincing performances have their kind of charms.
–I just found out that TRANS-EUROP-EXPRESS (1966, Alain Robbe-Grillet) is available in Google Video, too. I like this film very much, though I much prefer EDEN AND AFTER to it. I also read a novel by Robbe-Grillet called RECOLLECTIONS OF THE GOLDEN TRIANGLE. It has a very interesting and perplexing structure of storytelling. In the end, I don’t know for sure at all which events really happen in this novel. But I think it contains too many straight sado-masochistic scenes for my taste.
–I like CHARISMA very much, though I don’t understand anything at all during the last part of the film. Actually, I don’t understand “the messages” in most of Kiyoshi Kurosawa’s films. His films are too philosophical for me to understand, but I still enjoy their atmosphere and their weirdness. I haven’t seen BRIGHT FUTURE yet, but I love DOPPELGANGER (2003) and BUG’S HOUSE (2005). My friend Filmsick thinks that CHARISMA is actually about the war between people who react differently to “a thing”. There are some people who “worship a thing”, while other people wants to “destroy that same thing”. There are also some people who want to “exploit that thing”, some people who believe they don’t have to choose between “destroy or protect that thing”, and some people who don’t care for that thing at all. The Charisma tree in this film can actually stand for many things in this world. Any person who strongly believes in something, which mean his belief is likely to be opposed by some other people in society, can also be like a Charisma tree. My friend thinks that CHARISMA tries to portray this aspect of a society.
–I want to see TURIN HORSE very much, too. I hope it is better than THE MAN FROM LONDON. I think THE MAN FROM LONDON is quite visually amazing, but I think its story is not as impressive as other films by Tarr. Filmsick also thinks like me. He said that later films of Tarr (from DAMNATION to WERCKMEISTER HARMONIES) seems to be “viewed through the gaze of evil eyes”, but these evil eyes are absent from THE MAN FROM LONDON, so some characteristic charms of Tarr’s films are absent from it, too.
–I just watched DUELLE last year. It is amazing. I love its fantasy story which takes place in realistic settings. That’s the kind of things I like in Rivette’s films. He can turn a mundane street and everyday activities into a fantasy world, full of benign conspiracies, secrets, or ghosts. His films seem to belong to no genre and seem to be free from many unnecessary filmic rules or traditions. I also love what Matthew Flanagan wrote about AROUND A SMALL MOUNTAIN in Senses of Cinema very much. He wrote that “As always, Rivette’s mise-en-scène points as much to the concreteness of natural sound as that contained by the physical frame, and the narrative progression hangs in the balance of the wind in the trees.” , because I like the wind in the trees in Rivette’s films.
Talking about Rivette, I hope you have a chance to see two Argentine films called CASTRO (Alejo Moguillansky) and THEY ALL LIE (Matías Piñeiro), because these two films have the same kind of charms found in Rivette’s films.