Monday, October 19, 2009

NYFF/Toronto Podcast

John Lichman and Vadim Rizov invited me to participate in a podcast about the Toronto and New York film festivals for's movie blog. Among the most discussed films are Tsai Ming-liang's Visage (Face), Bruno Dumont's Hadewijch, and Jacques Rivette's 36 vues du Pic Saint Loup (Around a Small Mountain).


Darren said...

Hey Dan, I enjoyed listening to your end of this conversation and wish we'd had time for a longer talk in Toronto. I went back to see Face a second time on the last day of the fest, and although I'm also not quite ready to call it my favorite Tsai film, it's right up there. The narrative is much more coherent than I'd originally thought. Knowing that he's making a film about Salome gives context to a lot of the seemingly-random scenes.

As much as I enjoyed Hadewijch from shot to shot while watching it, the film doesn't work for me. It feels really calculated -- like he's pulling the Dreyer and Bresson strings.

Unknown said...

I really love Face too. I talked to a woman who visited the set (evidently Leaud, who's barely lucid, would walk on when he felt like it and give whatever lines he wanted, and Tsai would protect him and call it a day), who told me Tsai started off with a much longer script--the one that would specify that the producer went to Thailand for the director's mother's funeral, which I only know from the press notes--and edited it down to the bare seeds he needed to stand in for story-lines. Hence the Amalric moment that's only a moment.

Glad to hear the love of Hansen-Love too, my other big love from Cannes (with Resnais).

Dan Sallitt said...

Darren - I guess Hadewijch is my least favorite Dumont film - I too felt as if he was willing himself in wrong directions sometimes. But I responded to a lot of what Dumont was doing as well. I didn't feel as if he was losing his grip, stylistically speaking.

David - sorry to hear that Leaud isn't together (why? Illness?), but your description of the set fits the experience of the movie pretty well. I don't know if the relative abstraction of Face is the mode I would choose for Tsai, but his style is so much about the autonomy of each individual shot that it has power for me with even a tiny bit of narrative context.