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Author Topic: Words, words, words...
Member # 5003

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I was thinking about how there used to be a lot of Shakespeare adaptations on film. Nowadays there are a lot of film adaptations on film. It kind of worries me. I guess the pendulum may in time swing back. Maybe I am blind to things going on in the film world that are worthwhile.

It also seemed like there was better foreign film when I was younger, or was I just younger? My life as a dog, Babette's Feast, Jean de Florette, The Seventh Seal.

My brother attended a symposium where he got to meet George Lucas, I believe this was between the release of Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones, and they discussed the reconfiguration of the theater business, how one needs big films to open every weekend now, due in part to a pattern set by the Star Wars prequels, but probably going back to Titanic

Though I suppose there are things happening. I guess we will remember fondly these days we saw Lord of the Rings Trilogy, and Harry Potter, and hopefully Narnia on the big screen.

And there was that Jane Austen phase. Some might not consider that a blossoming of culture, but I liked it, and it seemed like it would last forever.

I guess there was a Merchant of Venice out not too long ago, and it was set in Renaissance Venice and not in that strange historical but not contemporaneous vein like Branaugh's Hamlet.

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Member # 5024

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I attend the Toronto Film Festival Yearly, and there is still a solid amount of intellectual (and over-intellectual [Wink] ) film being made, although I admit my favourite was an adaptation from/homage to The Red Balloon. That's probably an accident of the films I saw, though.

That being said, I think there are definitely fads that the film industry goes through in an attempt to ride the wave of whatever's popular. At the moment, it's a fad for fantasy riding on the surge of interest LOTR triggered.

The same is true of the "Jane Austen" phase, the Shakespeare adaptation phase. They are just studios, who tend to be less inventive and more derivative in what they chose to make, cruising public interest for as long as they can. This phase may seem less intellectual because of its source material, but (I know we've had this discussion before) despite its action-film-y-ness, I wouldn't say that LOTR was much less intellectual than your average Jane Austen.

There are other smaller surges going on simultaneously as popular films open doors to a couple of followers in the same genre.

Also, you specifically mention Shakespeare. People are still adapting Shakespeare, although I think Branagh's lost his magical ability to do so (or run out of Shakespeares that mean enough to him to truly adapt well) which has possibly caused a slip in interest. Also, it takes a while to regrow the mainstream interest in things after a successful adaptation.

So, I think what I'm trying to say is... I don't think mainstream cinema has got significantly stupider.

EDIT: Too many negatives caused by sleepiness.

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Member # 10030

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There have been many excellent foreign films that have come out in the past couple years: Pan's Labyrinth, The Lives of Others, The Edukators, Sophie Scholl, The Sea Inside, etc.

Also, Pride & Prejudice with Kiera Knightly was pretty recent. Kenneth Branagh just made As You Like It (though it's not like anyone cared much).

I'm not exactly sure what your point is, but basically I think there are just as many great movies now as ever.

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Pan's Labyrinth was an amazing movie by the way.
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Member # 5535

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You were just younger and more... capricious?
Claude Berri (Jean de Florette) is still producing/directing. What is your springboard to exploration?
Film adaptations on film like Shaggy Dog, Parent Trap, Psycho and Flight of the Phoenix? What of an experience cap? I just watched Pieces of April and Patricia Clarkson yelled, “I don't want to add another bad memory! I can't go!”
I saw Mostly Martha and won't see the KZJ remake. I liked Internal Affairs and will skip Scorcese's adaptation. Sitting with friends I enjoyed Tom Cruise and War of the Worlds but not Vanilla Sky. Seven Samurai and The Magnificent Seven are both great, though Samurai is sadder.

Magazines and IMDb keep me searching. Netflix, with its wonderful browser, delivers the whims and deliberate choices. Allowing the tension of a scene to play is my greatest hurdle, “why are these characters doing this in their life?” The tedious squirm and the conflict squirm are measured and I am capable of cutting off a film: Eyes Wide Shut, Melinda And Melinda and Titus.

Lars and The Real Girls is worthwhile and offered plenty of vulnerable squirming.
foreign films worthwhile...
Twilight Samurai
Kitchen Stories
Man Without A Past
Brothers directed by Susanne Bier and I've just Netflixed After the Wedding.

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Eduardo St. Elmo
Member # 9566

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I don't know if this film has been mentioned in other threads, but I'd like to recommend Eastern Promises
It may be that his movie hasn't yet been released in the USA, since it's mostly paid for by the BBC.
While it could be described as your average mobster movie, I think it is a bit more than that. It has a nice mix of subjects - deceptive innocence, the (un)acceptance of homosexuality, loyalty and family (the latter two of course being intertwined). Since it's a gangster film you should expect some graphic violence, but it is not the main part of the plot.
One reason why American theatres may choose not to bill this movie is the nudity involved, though I can imagine that the chance of seeing 'Strider' in the buff could be a selling point for some.
All in all I liked it well enough to look into the last collaboration between Cronenberg and Mortensen "A History of Violence", which I also enjoyed.

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Member # 7070

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Eastern Promises was in American theatres I believe in October. Fairly wide.
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Eduardo St. Elmo
Member # 9566

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Just goes to show that I shouldn't post such things without checking my facts. Thank you for the heads up.
It didn't do to well over here. It was only screened late at night and only played for 2 weeks.
Most people do tend to watch the 'bigger' movies - Golden Compass, Enchanted and such. Though it is a Dutch movie that has been topping the charts for two months now.

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Member # 5003

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Yes, I suppose that in the past there have been a lot of film adaptations, like how Christmas Carol has been made a half-dozen times and such like.
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Member # 8576

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I would recommend "The Kite Runner". I think it is a good adaptation of the book, counts as a foreign film (lots of it is subtitled, some is in English), and has very cool kite scenes
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