“…And scene!” Blogathon: Persona (1966) The Repeated Scene

Introduction: Fanny, Alexander and the Magic Lantern

Fanny and Alexander (1983, Svensk Filmindustri)

When dealing with a film that Bergman chronicles as being highly personal I feel it is only right that I give it the same treatment when I discuss it here.

There are times when I cannot help but inextricably tie my discovery of a filmmaker, or the genesis of my admiration for them, to the strength of my connection to their work. Which is to say Hitchcock and Bergman, for example, whom I gravitated to without prodding, and of my own volition, hold a more special place in my heart and mind than directors whose greatness I recognize but only found their work after hearing tell of how worthwhile an investment of my time it was and very consciously decided to watch them.

Specifically regarding Bergman, the story of my first viewing is that I decided to take the plunge when I was visiting family in Brazil. I saw a region 0 DVD of Fanny and Alexander on sale and even though to be able to see it I’d really do two translations (hearing Swedish audio, reading Portuguese subtitles and transposing it to English mentally); I went for it anyway.

Fanny and Alexander (1982)

I almost instantly loved the film a great deal and it fast became one of my favorites. I then proceeded to watch whatever Bergman I could from my teenage years through the present. DVDs were upgraded to Blu-rays at times; new-to-me titles acquired blind; repertory screenings at the Film Forum taken in when I was lucky enough to see them; his swan song was viewed the weekend it was released, dominating much of my annual BAM Awards; and then with his passing an honorary award with his name was created, and has a backstory of its own.

Fanny and Alexander (which I also got the box-set for and then viewed all versions, loving the TV version more than the original) was the impetus not only for my admiration but the best example of how I always inherently, nearly by osmosis, attributed to his films the axiom that the emotional truth of them was far more significant than the literal truth of the nearly fictitious “one true, correct meaning.” For it was without noticing really that I virtually never considered the wild conundrum, the paradox really, that exists in the telling of Fanny and Alexander until I revisited it and saw alternate versions.

Thus, when I made it around to Persona, which I believe I first saw as a VHS rental before getting a DVD,  it was one I instantly knew I wanted to come back and dissect. Even though I got the Repeated Scene, and it may not even be my favorite part of the film, I always came back to it.

Persona (1966, Svensk Filmidustri)

When I began my journey with Bergman, much like Alexander watching the images produced by the magic lantern, I was transfixed, as if by a wholly new experience unlike any I’d seen. Through Bergman’s eye the Repeated Scene in Persona was perhaps the most hypnotically dazzling. So here goes …

The Scene

Persona (1966)

For those who have seen the film but would like a refresher here is a YouTube link that works (for now) Those who have not seen it are advised to read carefully and selectively and see it as soon as they can:

 

The Text

Persona and Shame

Stepping back from the audiovisual image to the script we can look at a few different things.

My need to be current on Bergman has extended a bit beyond films. Be they plays, screenplays, even his novels, I’ve read quite a bit of his work also. Some I took out from the library or photocopied, some I felt impelled to get like the recently republished Persona and Shame screenplays in a single volume.

A few things that become readily apparent when reading the screenplays are:

  • The edit is the final process so certain things are altered or augmented by the editing process. Specific to Persona the doubling, the very repetition of the scene, was a construct of the editing room rather than the initial design. It doesn’t make it any less a calculated decision just one that came to the film when it was deemed necessary. It’s the same reason famed editor Walter Murch would line up stills of the first frame of each scene in grids, not just to get a different look at the project as a whole (in abstract), but it also provided the occasional new idea.
  • As for the text itself, it’s instigated by an action and it gains added weight and significance by the visual treatment of the scene. For as talky as Bergman can appear and be he worked in theatre sufficiently to know very well the delineation and the framing, lighting, and editing were always pivotal as well as the dialogue painting images where the camera could not.

Bergman’s thoughts on the dialogue itself as well as the genesis for his creation of the film will be covered in the next section. What matters here are the basics:

An actress Elisabet Vogler (Liv Ullmann) at the height of her fame and power consciously stops speaking but is just short of a breakdown and nothing is deemed physically or psychologically wrong with her. She and her nurse, Alma (Bibi Andersson), retreat to a country estate while she recovers. As Alma talks to her and observes her they clearly make an impression on one another such that the line that separates one from the other is blurred.

Persona (1966, Svensk Filmindustri)

Also interesting to note, is that this film had a change of shooting locale from Stockholm to Fårö Island that remedied many of the issues Bergman and company perceived when they saw the need for reshoots.

In examining the photo of Elisabet’s son that was Alma concocts a story about who this child in the ripped up photograph is clearly her son, so why is it ripped up? Alma speculates, to put it bluntly and concisely, that he was: the abortion that never happened. However, after the seeming coup de grâce of this judgment Alma reaffirms that she is she and coming up with something. She isn’t Elisabet only she can be.

Then the cycle starts anew. Alma repeats the story from a different point-of-view, in the camera’s view. However, where the tale was not quite complete here it is with Alma struggling against Elisabet invading her mind and soul. The story becomes Elisabet’s and Elisabet becomes Alma.

Persona (1966, Svensk Filmindustri)

The first half of the sequence culminates in the (in)famous double-image of the “bad” side of each of their faces spliced together in one frame.

The transformation is not as literal as it would be in a genre film but for the intents and purposes of this story its just as true and for either character to move on whether recovered or depleted a fracturing needs to occur to get them apart from one another.

Ingmar Bergman’s Perspective in Images: My Life in Film (1995)

Images: My Life in Film (1995, All Rights Reserved)

Many directors bristle at symbolism being imposed on their work or film theorists. And, at times, the bristling is more about that old chestnut of the “one, true version.” When it is quite clear that certain directors like Kubrick invited audiences engaging and refused to define the film for its audience. Therefore, Bergman’s background he gives on the making of the film give you the genesis, what was happening with him and how it shaped him and the story.

It should be noted that right before this he was burning the candle at both ends frequently writing and directing films for Svensk Filmindustri and was then appointed director of the Royal Dramatic Theatre. It was a lot but he thought he could handle it and ultimately chalked it up as so: “That experience was like a blowtorch, forcing a kind of accelerated ripening and maturing.”

After writing, shooting and promoting All These Women, and directing Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler for the stage, his health was waning: fever lead to double pneumonia and acute penicillin poisoning. As he was admitted to Sophiasammet Royal Hospital to recuperate the idea for Persona struck him and he began to work on it “mainly to keep my hand in the creative process.” And in doing so it was a bit freeing in a few different ways.

Persona (1966, Svensk Filmindustri)

With an unmade project canceled, his wondering about the place of theatre in the art world, and himself as an artist; he found a vehicle to express these doubts and pains and channeled it mostly through Elisabet Vogler’s personage. This is an emotional state he accurately encapsulated in what he wrote when he accepted the Dutch Erasmus Prize, an essay entitled “The Snakeskin,” which served as the foreword for the published edition of Persona. That state is rounded out and linked to the film more thoroughly in the book.

What is perhaps most fascinating is that I had not read this book, whole or in part before researching this (only the “Snakeskin” portion in Persona); so there was much information to discover, and it’s always interesting to glean insights into an artist’s creative process, but more illuminating that that is the fact that much of this story and truth is translated to the screen without overt underlining. It’s there, you feel it, and it either affects you or it does not but it’s there for you to see. Bergman’s art is not unlike his philosophy on why he is an artist:

“This, and only this, is my truth. I don’t ask that it be true for anybody else, and as solace for eternity it’s obviously rather slim pickings, but as a foundation for artistic activity for a few more years it is in fact enough, at least for me.”

 

Persona (1966, Svensk Filmindustri)

In his notes Bergman has not only poetics about his creative crisis and things that are implied by the film like “The conception of time is suspended,” and most importantly “Something simply happens without anyone asking how it happens.” Yet there is also the key to the emotional heart of the film, which is right there in the film itself:

Then I felt every inflection of my voice, every word in my mouth, was a lie, a play whose sole purpose was to cover the emptiness and boredom. There was only one way I could avoid a state of despair and a breakdown. To be silent. And to reach behind the silence for clarity or at least to try to collect resources that might still be available to me.
Here, in the diary of Mrs. Vogler, lies the foundation of Persona.

It’s interesting to note here that Bergman, as he himself notes has named a character Vogler before such as in “The Magician —with another silent Vogler in the center — is a playful approach to the question.” The name would then pop up in later films. The usage of silence, one of the quintessential traits of cinema that separates it from the stage, is also strongly present in this title as well as others by Bergman including the appropriately titles The Silence which features hardly any spoken dialogue.

Persona (1966, Svensk Filmindustri)

About the Repeated Scene specifically he writes in his book:

“…Suddenly they exchange personalities.”

“They sit across from each other, they speak to each other with inflections of voice and gestures, they insult, they torment, they hurt one another, they laugh and play. It is a mirror scene.
The confrontation is a monologue that has been doubled. The monologue comes, so to speak, from two directions, first from Elisabet Vogler, then from Alma.”

“We then agreed to keep half their faces in complete darkness — there wouldn’t even be any leveling light.”

Leveling light here refers to fill light, which is any light that would be aimed at the darker side of an actor’s face to lessen the contrast ratio. In keeping the highlight normal and the fill side very underexposed there is an inherent additional disquiet added to the viewership of the scene combine that with the editing tactics, then the unconventional treatment of the dual dialogue, including some jump cuts, and there is a crescendo to climax that is fairly universal even if the beats are more subsumed and the conflicts more internalized than in a standard, conventionally structured and told film. Upon seeing rushes of the scene edited Bibi Andersson and Liv Ullmann reacted as follows:

Bibi exclaims in surprise: “But Liv, you look so strange!” And Liv says: “No, it’s you, Bibi, you look very strange!” Spontaneously they denied their own less-than-good facial half.

The trick had worked and fooled the actresses themselves into seeing each other’s faces on the film. The film from that point was already speaking to people through its images alone. Yet despite the unconventional approaches, even on the written page, Bergman warns about those as well saying that “The screenplay for Persona does not look like a regular scenario.” And that it “May look like an improvisation,” but it is quite clear that there is a meticulous level of plotting that is only elevated by the inspired choice made in the edit.

Persona (1966, Svensk Filmindustri)

Even though Bergman saw his return to his position at the theatre as a temporary setback (“When I returned to the Royal Dramatic Theatre in the fall, it was like going back to the slave galley.”) there is no doubt that Persona was a personal triumph due to the very personal, even if abstracted, look at himself that revitalized virtually everything in his life as evidenced by the statement “I said that Persona saved my life — that is no exaggeration.” Persona also marked an artistic revolution for Bergman, a change in his whole approach wherein he realized “The gospel according to which one must be comprehensible at all costs, one that had been dinned into me ever since I worked as the lowliest manuscript slave at Svensk Filmidustri, could finally go to hell (which is where it belongs!).”

Liv Ullmann’s perspective in Liv Ullmann: Interviews (2006)

Liv Ullmann (2006, University of Mississippi Press)

 

What Ullmann added in interviews through the years does speak more to the scene itself, and as one of its participants she gives tremendous insight into the making of it, as well as her process as an actress. Also, how she was cast became a legendary story as she is a Norwegian-born actress and Bergman had only worked with Swedish actors at the time. It is the kind of stuff legends are made of but not as fantastical as people make it out to be.

“He had seen one picture I’d been in. And it wasn’t like he picked me up off the street, because I’d been an actress for many years in Norway. But he did take a terrible chance because I was very young — I was twenty-five — and I was to play a woman at the height of her career and having neurosis, which I knew nothing about. So he decided to use me on intuition, and I did the whole part completely by intuition, because I only understood what it was about many years later.”

About production specifically:

“That was very strange because he did that with two cameras. There was one on Bibi when she told my story. It was supposed to be cut up, using the best from each. But when he saw it as a whole, he didn’t know what to pick. So we used them both. Many people have tried to analyze why he does this. The real reason is that he felt that both told something there which he felt was important. He felt he couldn’t tell which was most important so he had both. “

That above reaction reinforces Bergman’s feelings and vision. Closer to the time she made it she revealed:

“The way I prepared was to read the script many times, to try and block it into sections. I would try to think, ‘This is the section where this is happening to her, and now he goes a little deeper in this section.’
“That is the way I very often work. I divide the manuscript into sections which always makes you know where you are shooting.”

Later on she elaborated even further:

“A lot of things I seriously didn’t understand. I just had to do it on feeling, on instinct. I couldn’t ask him because I felt so grateful he was giving me this, that I must pretend. When I see it now, I understand it so much better. I understand the character. But in a way I think it doesn’t matter because deep down we can experience even if we don’t really understand. I think you can instinctively play a character without intellectually or by experience being at that level. So many more people would appreciate him if they would dare to go in and think he’s really simple that he’s going to their emotions, not worry about the symbols.”

So with all these vantage points where does that leave us?

Conclusion: The Film Tears

Persona (1966, Svensk Filmindustri)

One of the structural totem poles in Persona is an image of a film strip burning and breaking. It marks a rupture in the reality as its being presented, and it reveals to us, as a reminder the eyes through which this story is being seen (Elisabet’s son played by Jörgen Lindström).

 

Faithless (2000, Fireworks Pictures)

When the film tears for us as viewers what are we left with? Is all theorizing to be tossed out the window? An interview Ullmann gives later on in her career when she took on Faithless as a director, based on Bergman’s screenplay:

Both women are called Marianne, so you can make all sorts of fantastic connections. Every viewer should have the freedom to do that.
Everyone also has the freedom to make connections with Elisabeth Vogler, I didn’t know very much, but I just knew I was playing Ingmar. That’s why I said that Max von Sydow could have played the part. I thought at the time “I will just watch Ingmar and I will try to act like him. In the current film, the character is called Bergman like the character he made into a woman and I played as Elisabeth Vogler in Persona. You can have great fun with this.

Which actually is not discordant with her assertions that “The real reason is that he felt that both told something there which he felt was important. He felt he couldn’t tell which was most important so he had both,” and that “So many more people would appreciate him if they would dare to go in and think he’s really simple that he’s going to their emotions, not worry about the symbols.”

If the film guts you it’ll pay to dig and pick apart these images and examine the interplay of the characters, the questions about reality, dreams, psyche, life, death, and sexuality. If it doesn’t move you an intellectual examination may not make it any better for you, and what would your motivation be to go in search of answers anyway?

When seeing the Repeated Scene in Persona you will think any of three things: a noble attempt at an experiment that fell short, a brilliant gamble that pays off in spades or a wasteful piece of sophistry. Many of the scenes in the film can be seen along this spectrum. It just bears noting to modern audiences that while his style, at-times starkness, look, and human dramas have become clichéd through the reverence of film students and arthouse filmmakers through the years, but many of the things he was doing were new and unique when he did them.

Persona (1966, Svensk Filmindustri)

When the film tears for you as a viewer as Persona ends Bergman seeks for you to have been moved, to have thought and to have examined just as he moved, thought on, and examined his own life in its making. All else is fun, as Ullmann says, but there is no wrong. In this film Bergman rebelled against the tyranny of coherence and singular meaning and came out a victor, and we are all better for it; for now we have been moved.

 

 

Classic Movie History Project: The Muybridge Experiment (1880)

If you follow my blog closely you’ll note that in trying to cover the depth and breadth of the cinematic experience I often gone very early into the origins of film. Most recently I posted on a very early film I first saw on Movies Silently. When trying to select a topic for the Classic Film History Blogathon the easiest way for me to narrow down potential topics was to go very early and very specific.

This brings me to the Muybridge Experiment. They were the most significant photographic experiment prior to the advent of motion pictures (1880), as we knew them for more than a century. It is also further evidence that nothing comes from nothing and these things can always be traced, and it is my firm belief that knowing these things is highly important. While these rapid-fire stills have been shown in a simulation of motion, they were taken as stills in 24 triggered cameras solely to prove whether or not all four of a horse’s hooves leave the ground at full gallop (they do):

 

Muybridge_race_horse_animated

Mast & Kawin in A Short History of the Movies underscore many things worth noting about the experiment itself:

In fact they were not motion-picture photographs but serial photographs; Muybridge himself called them “serial pictures.” But they were major advances over a series of drawings and posed stills. Continuous motion had been divided into distinct frames, but it had not yet been photographed by a single camera.

The intent was not to create a pre-cursor to the motion picture, but it was quickly realized that that is just what happened.

After having projected the images he proceeded to advance the photographic science and arts:

In 1880, Muybridge first projected moving images on a screen when he gave a presentation at the California School of Fine Arts; this was the earliest known motion picture exhibition. He later met with Thomas Edison, who had recently invented the phonograph. Edison went on to invent the kinetoscope, the precursor of the movie camera.

The relationship between Muybridge and Stanford became turbulent in 1882. Stanford commissioned the book The Horse in Motion: as Shown by Instantaneous Photography, written by his friend and horseman J. D. B. Stillman; it was published by Osgood and Company.The book claimed to feature instantaneous photography, but showed 100 illustrations based on Muybridge’s photographs taken of Stanford’s mare Sallie. Muybridge was not credited in the book except noted as a Stanford employee and in a technical appendix based on an account he had written. As a result, the Britain’s Royal Society of Arts, which earlier had offered to finance further photographic studies by Muybridge of animal movement, withdrew the funding. His suit against Stanford to gain credit was dismissed out of court.
Muybridge soon gained support for two years of studies under the auspices of the University of Pennsylvania. The university published his current and previous work as an extensive portfolio of 781 collotype plates, under the title Animal Locomotion: An Electro-photographic Investigation of Consecutive Phases of Animal Movements, 1872–1885. The collotype plates measured 19 by 24 inches, each were contained in 36 by 36-inch frames; the total number of images were approximately 20,000. The published plates included 514 of men and women in motion, 27 plates of abnormal male and female movement, 16 of children, 5 plates of adult male hand movement, and 219 with animal subjects.

Muybridge’s experiments lead to Marey’s advances in France in 1882 where the images where shot through a Chronotograph process, all in one camera. Then in 1884 George Eastman began experimenting with celluloid and paper-roll film. None of these things occurred without Muybridge’s experiment though.

It’s also interesting to note that while silent films were shot at variable frame rates sound synchronization required a standard; that compromised rate ended up being the same number Muybridge shot trying to prove a simple point.

Free Movie Friday: Blondie Brings Up Baby (1939)

Introduction

I wanted to start this series back in January. Basically, there are a lot of good movies out there that you can watch free and clear. Meaning you don’t have to pay for them and by streaming it free you’re not stealing it because they are in the public domain. Also, in some cases, these films are not all as ancient as copyright laws usually call for.

Blondie Brings Up Baby (1939)

As mentioned before, Larry Simms played “Baby Dumpling” a.k.a Alexander Bumstead for quite a few years. Unusually articulate for his young age his cadence and delivery add to the laughs. This is the first film in the series wherein he features more prominently.

In Anticipation Of: Who’s Your Daddy and the return of the Radar

Introduction

The In Anticipation Of posts have been a bit too infrequent on this site. However, I have created them both for films I eventually saw, like Mercy, and those that have not yet come to fruition, like The Necroscope.

Prologue

Usually after I release my BAM Awards on an annual basis I try my best to keep tabs on who was nominated so that I can see what they follow-up with. This is usually the case with directors, writers, and actors. Especially when they happen to be involved in foreign (to the US) productions, as you typically do have to be more proactive to watch them in something else.

Barring being overly-proactive you can only find new projects almost entirely by accident, which is how I learned about Who’s Your Daddy having just started pre-production.

Who’s Your Daddy

Who’s Your Daddy tells the tale of

Nineteen year old sweethearts Simon from Denmark and Ida from Norway has just come together and moved in an apartment in Oslo. To celebrate, they open a few bottles of red wine and decide to inaugurate the bedroom, which ends in a not-so-planned pregnancy. In Ida’s eyes, there must be changes in the house for her to want to keep the baby. He must begin to take more responsibility and stop spending all day playing Playstation and smoking weed with his buddies. He needs to get a better job, join the couples therapy: anything that can get the relationship on a new level. He must grow up. Ida moves out, and Simon embarks on a journey with buddies, a journey to learn responsibility, love and change his personality. A comedy about friendship, love and dead dogs.

and stars William Jøhnk Nielsen, Nikolaj Groth and Aurora Nossen. I’d previously seen Nielsen in In a Better World which he earned a BAM Nomination for in the first year I expanded the young acting categories.

Here were my thoughts on Nielsen’s performance in summation at year’s end:

William Jøhnk Nielsen has perhaps the most impressive “simmer” of these actors. He has a lot of anger and frustration to play and he has to work up to a boil frequently. It’s a different kind of emotion than most of these actors had to work which is why this is one of the few categories I decided to expand this category to six nominees, which was unprecedented until this year in three instances.

Later, Nielsen also played a small role in A Royal Affair, a tremendous film that brought Alicia Vikander to my attention, as well as inciting my fandom of Mads Mikkelsen.William Jøhnk (Clinton Gaughran)

However, since that brief appearance I had not seen him in anything. Fast forward a few years to where I serendipitously learned of his next project.

Conclusion

This movie sounds like a good one, and it’s great when actors in their late-teens/early-twenties are afforded roles true to their age and their transitory life stage, as opposed to playing down in age a few years merely to simplify production. So I look forward to what writer/director Marius Pinnås Sørvik (pictured in the header) brings to cross-cultural comedy of today’s youth.

I await this film eagerly, and will update this post as necessary. Overall I’ll not rest on chance too much anymore, so I will also begin a Watchlist on Letterboxd and take fuller advantage of Go Watch It from now on in lieu of the My Radar feature I once had here.

Review: Still (2014)

One thing I will always aim to do is examine the film in and of itself and try as much as I can to avoid the cinematic pre-life (the interaction, impressions, and ideas I may have had with and about the film before seeing it) having any influence on my writing on it. However, that is not always possible. One way in which that’s true is when you’re watching an actor who has become very well known for a role, particularly one on television. In this case I refer to Aiden Gillen, best known to most as Petyr Baelish a.k.a. Littlefinger on Game of Thrones.

Specifically to the large cast on Game of Thrones I’ve noticed a few interesting things: first, you can almost forget how deep and talented the cast is because you see them on a weekly basis, usually in small but strong snippets. Then when you see the same actor in a film, where they get to dominate a lot more screentime you are almost taken aback. This has proven true with Isaac Hempstead-Wright in The Awakening, Art Parkinson in Dracula Untold, but this extends past house Stark too one example being Nicolaj Coster-Waldau in Headhunters. Another interesting thing is that it can affect your view of the title some: Lena Headey was in 300 before Game of Thrones, then returned for the sequel. That sequel had a lot more issues than the original and the lack of her involvement, because I know knew her better, was one of them.

However, one thing I don’t expect these actors to do is to be static or settle into a type. I relish seeing them stretch and test their mettle, which is usually why actors are drawn to indies in the first place. It’s also a testament to my blank slate theory as I had forgotten the synopsis by the time I went to check this film out.

If you’re interested here it is:

A gritty and atmospheric thriller about the traumatic disintegration of a man and father, STILL is the haunting, deeply moving story about a journey every parent hopes they will never have to make. Tom Carver (Aidan Gillen, Game of Thrones and The Wire) is a man stumbling blindly towards a crossroads in his life, recently thrown out of focus following the unexpected, tragic death of his teenage son in a car crash. After a seemingly harmless encounter with a neighborhood kid, he finds himself involved in a feud with a teenage gang that quickly intensifies to more disturbing and horrifying heights. With Tom’s personal life unraveling before his eyes, and the threat of gang violence escalating out of control, the world he is so desperately trying to rebuild may disintegrate all together.

What that set-up moves puts in play is a scenario wherein the stakes are ever-rising and the spiral is potentially ever-downward, and allows for an arc of such power that its positively captivating. That’s not to say this film is merely an actors’ showcase. That would be incorrect and unfair for this is a great film that is compelling because of the characters it builds. One you get to know very well and see how he responds to getting pushed. Some you assume you know and get to know better as the film progresses.

Nor is Gillen alone in his strong showing here. Joining him as being of note are Elodie Young, who as a pained but distanced ex-wife, and Sonny Green, who plays his one-note expertly and surprisingly adds quite a few towards the end.

This film is one that starts small and slowly but mushrooms and truly earns its tragic arc that makes it worth investing time in. It’s simple in conception but not easy to execute by any means.

Still is hypnotic and most effective because of how it manages to reverse fortune in its closing act, as well as have you dole out your empathy to many of the concerned parties, leaving your jaw agape at its conclusion. This is a film I’d recommend to anyone looking for a drama with a tragic arc, and serious real world stakes.

9/10

Still will be available on DVD on June 30th.

Music Video Monday: Lady Gaga (feat. Beyoncé) – Telephone

Introduction

I’ve debated starting this theme for a few weeks, and I ultimately decided I would as it would encourage me to looks for options that actually fit what I’m aiming for. If one pays too much attention to Top 40 type music you tend to see a dearth of creativity in the music video form. The music video is spawned from short films and can be as creative if not more so than their predecessor. Far too often it does just become singing heads. I want to try and buck that trend and find ones both new and old that do something somewhat outside the box, at the very least have some sort of visual narrative. Here we go.

Lady Gaga (feat. Beyoncé) – Telephone

Here is a more recent video that fit here for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that this video co-stars a very famous vehicle from the Kill Bill films.

Short Film Saturday: Yeah Kowalski! (2012)

Introduction

For June, at least in the short film department, I will be featuring gay-themed films for Pride month.

Yeah Kowalski! (2012)

I wanted at least one of these short films to be a bit more of a conventional tale. The fact of the matter is a great number of gay-themed films aren’t just themed but predominantly about sexual identity and awareness. Here you have a fairly common concern to adolescents: seeming to develop slower than contemporaries, but told from a slightly different perspective. Until representations are varied and widespread enough, such that LGBT cinema is no longer a subgenre of its own, representative stories are necessary. However, when the tone is lighter and the conflicts are more universal there is an added ability to reach a vaster audience aside from the built-in one who will inherently “get it.”

Enjoy!

Free Movie Friday: Blondie Takes a Vacation (1939)

Introduction

I wanted to start this series back in January. Basically, there are a lot of good movies out there that you can watch free and clear. Meaning you don’t have to pay for them <em>and </em>by streaming it free you’re not stealing it because they are in the public domain. Also, in some cases, these films are not all as ancient as copyright laws usually call for.

Blondie Takes a Vacation (1939)

Here the Bumsteads take their particular brand of lunacy on the road. The first two films, and other selections can be found here.

Announcement: The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon

The last of three blogathon announcements for today: following up the Bergman theme from the last one here I will be covering the one collaboration between Ingmar and Ingrid Bergman (no relation) Autumn Sonata.

The Wonderful World of Cinema

150627-frederika1 It’s not without reasons that Ingrid Bergman is on this year Cannes Festival’s official poster. That’s because, on August 29th 2015, we’ll celebrate her 100th birthday. Of course, Ingrid Bergman is unfortunately no longer with us, but that’s not a reason why we shouldn’t celebrate her. For the occasion, I decided to host my very first blogathon: The Wonderful Ingrid Bergman Blogathon. So, that’s a new step for me as a blogger. Ingrid Bergman is my personal third favourite actress, but she’s also, for me, most talented of them all. She was also a fascinating lady. Of course, this is my personal opinion. I’m sure many of you like her too, so I’m hoping for a high level of participation! The event will take place from August 27th to August 29th 2015. Rules for the blogathon: The rules for this blogathon are quite simple.

1- Pick a subject. You can…

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Announcing the “…And Scene!” Blogathon!

Second reblogged announcement of the day. At the same time I will be partaking in The Classic Movie History Blogathon I will also be contributing to the great “…And Scene! Blogathon” where I will be discussing the repeated scene in Persona.

Sister Celluloid

Breathes there a classic movie lover who has never burst forth with those immortal words…

“I LOVE THIS PART!!”

Well, here’s your chance to sing it loud and proud!

Sister Celluloid presents the “…And Scene!” Blogathon—your chance to go into excruciating detail about your favorite classic film scene (or one of them, anyway—I’d never be so cruel as to ask you to narrow it down any further). The one you replay over and over, so the DVD ( or VHS tape—c’mon, you know you still have them!) has a little groove in it. The one you catch yourself mouthing the words to. The one where your loved ones tiptoe out of the room because they know you’re going to get all weepy or crazy or giddy again. Yeah. That one. Share it here, with your movie people… we know just how you feel!

And just think of it—you don’t even…

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