Category Archives: films to watch

Fargo/Coen Brothers (i) week syllabus 01/22-01/29

Film:

Fargo  (1996) Coen brothersRoger Deakins

Exercise:

Dramatic construction with index cards. Each card = one minute of screen time, one script page.

“writing on each of them a minimal number of words that describe a step in the narrative… Important character interactions in a scene.” (Mackendrick p. 45)

What each character wants. Scene objective. What the character wants and how the story moves forward.

Script to read:

Fargo (Coen brothers)

Course book:

On Film-making (Alexander Mackendrick)

Films to watch this week:

Nightfall | Jacques Tourneur (1957)

On Dangerous Ground | Nicholas Ray (1951)

Article “five films that influenced the Coens’ classic” from BFI

Articles to read:

none

Essay or script:

500 words on Fargo or neo-noir script 3-5 pages (Saturday)

Location scouting:

none

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Writing/Film Project:

Chukkumi (mornings) (make deadline)

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Book to read:

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. James Joyce.

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Photo project:

none

Wiener-Dog

Watched Wiener-Dog (2016)

Dir. Todd Solondz

              Professor Phillips
“Celebrity Schmelebrity”
is a terrific script.

               Dave Schmerz
It’s a piece of shit.
I tried to do something good.
It’s… something…
Get into my childhood.
Get into some…
Something real.
Real stuff.
Pain.
Memories.
Dreams.
But I wanted it to be funny.
I wanted people to like it.
I wanted it to sell.
So I threw in
the mixed-up identities…
I threw in the sex jokes.
The Mafia.
A little schtick.
Everyone loves a little schtick.

To Watch: Au Hasard Balthazar (1966) Robert Bresson

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Todd Solondz’s Exquisite, Imperfect “Wiener-Dog” The New Yorker Article

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mulberry-crop

Silence

NY Times The Passion of Martin Scorsese article

To watch Silence (2016):

To read: Silence by Shūsaku Endō (1966)

“As the hours passed, the room, already dark, seemed to diminish around us, until it resembled a screening room, or a chapel, a place where questions of how to live are posed through stories and images.”
“The Italian-American Catholicism of the area was centered on street processions devoted to saints brought over from the old country: San Gandolfo for the Sicilians on Elizabeth Street, San Gennaro for the Neapolitans on Mulberry Street.”

Mulberry Street c. 1900. Via Wikimedia/Library of Congress.

To read: Don DeLillo

“Spiritual Exercises” of St. Ignatius of Loyola (founder of the Jesuits)

“The exercises, devised in the 1520s, invite the “exercitant” to use his imagination to place himself in the company of Jesus, at the foot of the cross, among tormented souls in hell.”

To read: Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola (1522–1524)

Jesuit poet Gerard Manley Hopkins

To watch again The Mission (1986) Roland Joffé

“A.O. Scott, now a chief film critic for The New York Times, once wrote that Scorsese approaches filmmaking as “a priestly avocation, a set of spiritual exercises embedded in technical problems.””

To watch Boxcar Bertha (1972), After Hours (1985), The Color of Money (1986)

To read: The Last Temptation of Christ (1955) by Nikos Kazantzakis

To watch again The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

 

“Like the novel, the picture interrogates the very idea of Christian martyrdom, by proposing that there are instances when martyrdom — the believer holding fast to Christ to the bitter end — is not holy or even right. It makes in the way of art the arguments made in defense of “Last Temptation”: that an act can’t be fully understood if the intentions behind it aren’t taken into account, and that a seeming act of profanation can be an act of devotion if done out of an underlying faith.”
“He will go to hell — but he will go to hell for their sake.”

To watch: La Strada (1954) Federico Fellini

bitacora. dic. 1

I wake up. Tiny claws scratching the wooden floor. A tongue lapping at the water. The dogs are ready to eat. Boil the water. Soften the food. I put Yolo in the pen. He demands to be set free. Chocolino come here. Treat time. Choco sit, down, beg, spiiiiiin, down, gidaria, eat. Repeat five times. Then his plate. Down. Gidaria. Eat. He wolfs it down.
Out the door. Elevator from the 5th floor to the first. The morning sun is bright. The city has already had a few hours to get started. I wait for 155.
The 155 is almost empty. I sit at the back on one of the single seats, and continue reading The Sound and The Fury. The 155 travels east. We cross the Suyeong at Millak. I look down at the water and try to come up something pretty. Nothing comes up. Just water moving toward more water. In India it would be spiritual. People get off at Centum. We turn north. I read. We turn at Jaesong and climb up toward Jangsan mountain. I hear the bus shift gears. People get off and on. A blue and white bus with red numbers driving up a city built on a mountain slope on a sunny morning in Korea. The market at Banyeo samdong, people with grocery bags, people reading their phones. We descend into Banyeo ildong. The view opens and a large slice of city appears framed by pine forests at each side, rows of tall monolithic white buildings beyond the basin of the Suyeong. The spine of the Geumjeongsan still green. The mountain disappears behind older and smaller houses. We enter Banyeon ildong. Narrow streets. A blue work truck parked at a tight corner. Honking. I read. We turn. The bus gathers speed. I hear the bus shift gears.  We careen down the strip until the overpass. The whiny bell announces a passenger stop. An old lady with curly hair waddles to the backdoor holding the handrails as if enjoying an adventure at a moving jungle gym. I get off at the elementary school. The yellow leaves of the unheng tree strewn on the sidewalk. I think of my dad and how once as a kid I pretended to be a blind boy or an old man, using an imaginary cane to prod my way around the subsuelo hallway of the hotel. My dad frowned and asked me, ¿te haci de ciego o de viejo? I pondered the question. I looked at the corral my dad had been chatting with before he’d decided to test my morals. His friend looked back at me, grinned and waited for my response. I looked at my dad. De viejo, I said. Ah, bien, porque algun dia vai a ser viejo. I buy an ice americano at Amico for 2,500 won. The lady that made it hands it to me and bends the end of my straw so I won’t have to. I sip and exit the coffee shop.

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dubliners-DSC_0980

Dubliners

Joyce, James. Dubliners. New York: Signet Classics, 2007. Print. (First ed. 1914.)

The Sisters

The priest “Sometimes he had amused himself by putting difficult questions to me, asking me what one should do in certain circumstances or whether such and such sins were mortal or venial or only imperfections. His questions showed me how complex and mysterious were certain institutions of the Church which I had always regarded as the simplest acts.” p. 5

“His face was very truculent, grey and massive, with black cavernous nostrils and circled by a scanty white fur. There was a heavy odour in the room — the flowers.” p. 7

**An Encounter p. 13

“It was too late and we were too tired to carry out our project of visiting the Pigeon House.” p. 18

“- I say! Look what he’s doing!
As I neither answered nor raised my eyes Mahony exclaimed again:
-I say …He’s a queer old josser!
-In case he asks us for our names, I said, let you be Murphy and I’ll be Smith.” p. 21

“A slap on the hand or a box on the ear was no good: what he wanted was to get a nice warm whipping. I was surprised at this sentiment and involuntarily glanced up at his face. As I did do I met the gaze of a pair of bottle-green eyes peering at me from under a twitching forehead. I turned my eyes away again.” p. 22

Araby

“I allowed the two pennies to fall against the sixpence in my pocket. I heard a voice call from one end of the gallery that the light was out. The upper part of the hall was now completely dark.
Gazing up into the darkness I saw myself as a creature driven and derided by vanity; and my eyes burned with anguish and anger.” p. 32

After the Race

“They walked northward with a curious feeling of disappointment in the exercise, while the city hung its pale globes of light above them in a haze of summer evening.” p. 42

Two Gallants

“Corley halted at the first lamp and stared grimly before him. Then with a grave gesture he extended a hand toward the light and, smiling, opened it slowly to the gaze of his disciple. A small gold coin shone in the palm.” p. 59

A Little Cloud

“A gentle melancholy took possession of him. He felt how useless it was to struggle against fortune, this being the burden of wisdom which the ages had bequeathed to him.” p. 72

“Their faces were powdered and they caught up their dresses, when they touched earth, like alarmed Atalantas.” p. 73

“The bar seemed to him to be full of people and he felt that the people were observing him curiously. He glanced quickly to right and left (frowning slightly to make his errand appear serious), but when his sight cleared a little he saw that nobody had turned to look at him:” p. 75-76

Lord Byron

“Hushed are the winds and still the evening gloom,
Not e’en a Zephyr wanders through the grove,
Whilst I return to view my Margaret’s tomb
And scatter flowers on the dust I love.”

Counterparts

“The dark damp night was coming and he longed to spend it in the bars, drinking with his friends amid the glare of gas and the clatter of glasses.” p. 92

“His wife was a little sharp-faced woman who bullied her husband when he was sober and was bullied by him when he was drunk. They had five children. A little boy came running down the stairs.” p. 101

Clay

“Then she asked all the children had any of them eaten it — by mistake, of course–but the children all said no and looked as if they did not like to eat cakes if they were to be accused of stealing.” p. 108

I dreamt that I Dwelt (song)

“I had riches too great to count, could boast
of a high ancestral name,
But I also dreamt, which pleased me most,
That you loved me still the same.” p. 110

“But no one tried to show her her mistake” p. 111

A Painful  Case

“He had an odd autobiographical habit which led him to compose in his mind from time to time a short sentence about himself containing a subject in the third person and a predicate in the past tense. He never gave alms to beggars, and walked firmly, carrying a stout hazel.” p. 114

“The workmen’s discussions, he said, were too timorous; the interest they took in the question of wages was inordinate. He felt that they were hard-featured realists and that they resented an exactitude which was the product of a leisure not within their reach. No social revolution, he told her, would be likely to strike Dublin for some centuries.” p. 117

“he heard the strange impersonal voice which he recognised as his own, insisting on the soul’s incurable loneliness. We cannot give ourselves, it said: we are our own.” p. 118

“he realised that she was dead, that she had ceased to exist, that she had become a memory.” p. 123

No one wanted him; he was outcast from life’s feast. He turned his eyes to the grey gleaming river, winding along towards Dublin. Beyond the river he saw a goods train winding out of Kingsbridge Station, like a worm with a fiery head winding through the darkness, obstinately and laboriously. It passed slowly out of sight; but still he heard in his ears the laborious drone of the engines reiterating the syllables of her name.” p. 124

Ivy Day in the Committee Room

“-There’s no tumblers, said the old man.
-O, don’t let that trouble you, Jack, said Mr Henchy. Many’s the good man before now drank out of the bottle.” p. 136

“Then he took up the corkscrew and went out of the door sideways, muttering some form of salutation.
-That’s the way it begins, said the old man.
-The thin edge of the wedge, said Mr Henchy.” p. 137

“Mr Crofton sat down on a box and looked fixedly at the other bottle on the hob. He was silent for two reasons. The first reason, sufficient in itself, was that he had nothing to say; the second reason was that he considered his companions beneath him.” p. 138-139

“Mr Hynes hesitated a little longer. Then amid the silence he took off his hat, laid it on the table and stood up. He seemed to be rehearsing the piece in his mind. After a rather long pause he announced:

The Death of Parnell
6TH OCTOBER 1891″ p. 142

“-Good man, Joe! said Mr O’Connor, taking out his cigarette-papers and pouch the better to hide his emotion.” p. 144

A Mother

Mr O’Madden Burke “His magniloquent western name was the moral umbrella upon which he balanced the fine problem of his finances. He was widely respected.” p. 155

Grace

“She believed steadily in the Sacred Heart as the most generally useful of all Catholic devotions and approved of the sacraments. Her faith was bounded by her kitchen but, if she was put to it, she could believe also in the banshee and in the Holy Ghost.” p. 169

Soldiers at Dublin Castle, c.1905. Via Wikimedia.

Dublin Castle (Caisleán Bhaile Átha Cliath)

peloothered (drunk)

 

“The General of the Jesuits stands next to the Pope.” p. 175

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, first Superior General. Via Wikimedia.

The Prisoner of the Vatican

Orangeman

Pope Leo XIII “union of the Latin and Greek Churches.” p. 179

Lux upon Lux
Lux in Tenebris

Papal infallibility

John of Tuam

*****The Dead p. 189

Mr Browne “He was astonished to hear that the monks never spoke, got up at two in the morning and slept in their coffins…
-The coffin, said Mary Jane, is to remind them of their last end.” p. 217

***”Our path through life is strewn with many such sad memories: and were we to brood upon them always we could not find the heart to go on bravely with our work among the living. We have all of us living duties and living affections which claim, and righly claim, our strenuous endeavours.” p. 220

“And everything went on beautifully until Johnny came in sight of King Billy’s statue: and whether he fell in love with the horse King Billy sits on or whether he thought he was back again in the mill, anyhow he began to walk round the statue.
Gabriel paced in a circle round the hall in his goloshes amid the laughter of the others.” p. 224

*****”He stood still in the gloom of the hall, trying to catch the air that the voice was singing and gazing up at his wife. There was grace and mystery in her attitude as if she were a symbol of something. He asked himself what is a woman standing on the stairs in the shadow, listening to distant music, a symbol of. If he were a painted he would paint her in that attitude. Her blue felt hat would show off the bronze of her hair against the darkness and the dark panels of her skirt would show off the light tones. Distant Music he would call the picture if he were a painter.” p. 226

“O, the rain falls on my heavy locks
And the dew wets my skin,
My babe lies cold…” p. 227

****”A wave of yet more tender joy escaped from his heart and went coursing in warm flood along his arternies. Like the tender fires of stars moments of their life together, that no one knew of or would ever know of, broke upon and illuminated his memory. He longed to recall to her those moments to make her forget the years of their dull existence together and remember only their moments of ecstasy.” p. 230-231

“A ghostly light from the street lamp lay in a long shaft from one window to the door. Gabriel threw his overcoat and hat on a couch and crossed the room towards the window. He looked down into the street in order that his emotion might calm him a little.” p. 233

*******”The air of the room chilled his shoulders. He stretched himself cautiously along under the sheets and lay down beside his wife. One by one they were all becoming shades. Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age. He thought of how she who lay beside him had locked in her heart for so many years that image of her lover’s eyes when he had told her that he did not wish to live.” p. 240

*******”A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill were Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly though the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.” p. 241


Afterword

“The Irish playwright John Millington Synge once said that words should have the crispness of an autumn apple,” p. 244

“Dubliners was accepted for publication in 1904 and, due to the prevailing puritan prudery, it got passed from fearful publisher to fearful publisher and was eventually published nine years later. It was not a book that reverberated like the shot heard around the world; indeed it sold three hundred copies, of which one hundred were purchased by the author himself, a not unfamiliar tactic to gain bestseller status,” p. 247

Ireland “is somewhat a matriarchy, which to me is a society where men look down on their women with reverence.” p. 248

“Some scholars say that James Augustine Aloysius Joyce could not, in his early years, write anything that he had not observed and personally experienced in some way; thus Dubliners follows a path through childhood, through puberty and ts sins of the flesh, a constant torment to Irish teenagers, sometime maturity, and the emerging of the man into public view.” p. 248

To read Anton Chekhov Анто́н Па́влович Че́хов

The Dead (1987 film) John Huston

Sodom_and_Gomorrah

To Read (20th Century)

James Baldwin (US) |

Notes of a Native Son, The Fire Next Time, No Name in the Street, The Devil Finds Work  

Jorge Luis Borges (Argentina)|

Historia universal de la infamia, Ficciones, El Aleph.

 R. K. Narayan (India)|

Swami and Friends, The Bachelor of Arts, The English Teacher. See his works on mythology/religion (Gods, Demons and Others, The Ramayana) see list of works.

Graham Greene (England)|

The Comedians, The Heart of the Matter, A Burnt-Out Case, The Quiet American, The End of the AffairThe Ministry of Fear,  Our Man in Havana, Monsignor Quixote 

Robertson Davies (Canada)|

The Salterton Trilogy, The Cornish Trilogy, The “Toronto Trilogy”

Giorgio Bassani (Italia)|

The Garden of the Finzi-Continis

Mordechai Richler (Canada)|

The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz, Barney’s Version, Solomon Gursky Was Here

Brian Moore (Northern Ireland/Canada)|

Judith Hearne, The Emperor of Ice-Cream, Black Robe 

Evelyn Waugh (England)|

Decline and Fall, A Handful of Dust, Brideshead Revisited, Sword of Honour

Nicolas Poussin, The Dance to The Music of Time, 1640. Wallace Collection, London. Via Wikimedia.

Anthony Powell (England)|

A Dance to the Music of Time

John Martin, The Destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, 1852. Via Wikimedia.

Marcel Proust (France)|

In Search of Lost Time

Robert Musil (Austria)|

The Man Without Qualities

Joyce in Zurich, c. 1918. Via Wikiemdia.

James Joyce (Ireland)|

Ulysses, Finnegan’s Wake, Dubliners,  A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

Simone de Beauvoir (France)|

The Second SexShe Came to Stay, The Mandarins

Bertolt Brecht (Germany)|

Threepenny Novel, Drums in the NightThe Modern Theatre Is the Epic Theatre    

Wole Soyinka (Nigeria)|

Aké: The Years of Childhood, Death and the King’s Horseman, The Lion and the Jewel  

Jean Cocteau (France)|

Les Enfants Terribles, Les Parents Terribles, Beauty and the Beast, Orpheus 

Jacques Prévert (France)|

Les Enfants du Paradis, Paroles (wrote scenarios and dialogues for films. See list)

Toni Morrison (US)|

Beloved, Song of Solomon, Sula, The Bluest Eye

Italo Calvino (Italia)|

Invisible Cities, If on a winter’s night a travelerOur Ancestors trilogy, Cosmicomics

Leonardo Sciascia (Italia)|

Una storia semplice, The Day of the Owl, To Each His Own. See films: Open Doors (1990), Cadaveri Eccellenti (1976) and Il giorno della civetta

Cesare Pavese (Italia)|

The Moon and the Bonfires, see translated poems.

Natalia Ginzburg (Italia)|

L’inserzione, Family sayings (Lessico famigliare),  Caro Michele (film Caro Michele, 1976)

Georges Simenon (Belgium)|

Creator of detective Jules Maigret. Maigret and the Yellow Dog, Dirty Snow, Red Lights 

Milan Kundera (Czech)|

The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Joke,The Book of Laughter and Forgetting

Chinua Achebe (Nigeria) |

Things Fall Apart,No Longer at Ease, Arrow of God, A Man of the People, Anthills of the Savannah, An Image of Africa (lecture on Heart of Darkness) 

Muriel Spark (Scotland)|

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, The Mandelbaum Gate, The Driver’s Seat, Memento Mori

Philip Roth (US)|

The Ghost Writer,American Pastoral, Sabbath’s Theater

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Stanley Kubrick: Interviews, and BIFF Cinema Library

Found the Cinema Library at BIFF hill. shhhhh. no backpacks.

Stanley Kubrick Interviews by Gene D. Phillips.

“Kubrick is fiercely concerned with the accuracy of the small details that make up the background of his films, because he feels that helps the audience to believe what they see on screen.” viii

“Kubrick sometimes nursed ideas over long periods before he was able to bring them to fruition.” viii

“directing a film can be like trying to write War and Peace in a bumper car at an amusement park, when you finally get it right, there are not many joys in life that can equal that feeling.” p. xii

Dream Story by Arthur Schnitzler

Clean Break by Lionel White

To Read at the library:

book of essays and interviews on Wes Anderson

World Cinema by Geoffrey Nowell-Smith

John Ford

Planet Hong Kong by David Bordwell

Print the Legend: The Life and Times of John Ford by Scott Eyman

The Passion of David Lynch

books on Stanley Kubrick

Interviews with Scorsese, Ridley Scott, Kubrick, Bertolucci, Michael Mann.

books on Kurosawa

Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels screenplay

Mediated Sex: Pornography and Postmodern Culture.

Goodfellas script

books on Cinematography

Eyes Wide Shut screenplay

The Making of Blade Runner

Boogie Nights script

Dark City (book on film noir)