The Ultimate Trip [LA FLOR]

“But in that case, the entire magical, mysterious world in which I move would be shattered in a moment. And that’s not possible.”
– Colin, Out 1

“And who is this kind of Sultan who appears to have devoted his life to them?”
– Gatto, La Flor

At first glance, La Flor, Mariano Llinás’ magnum opus created in collaboration with the actresses Pilar Gamboa, Elisa Carricajo, Laura Paredes, and Valeria Correa, lacks the unity —structurally, tonally — that typifies so many of the greatest films of all time. An unashamed anthology film in every way aside from its conception by a single director, it spans no less than six genres/modes of filmmaking across its six episodes; counting the seven fifteen-minute intermissions and a luxurious forty-minute end-credit sequence, it runs 868 minutes (over 14 and a half hours), and takes as its very aim the exploration and co-opting of these disparate forms. Each part has its own flavor — a mummy B-movie, a musical “with a touch of mystery,” a spy movie (which itself spans multiple genres across five hours), an unclassifiable hybrid that piles something like four metafictions upon one another, a reimagining of Jean Renoir’s A Day in the Country, and a obscured visualization of an apocryphal text about 19th-century women held captive by Native Americans, respectively – starring the four actresses in all but the fifth episode in wildly varying roles. As might be expected, the process of making this film took ten years, shot episode-by-episode and piecemeal amid other films and across multiple continents. As part of the concept, the first four episodes tell stories that have no endings, the fifth tells a complete story fashioned from a famously unfinished film, and the sixth has an ending but no beginning.

Understandably, a project like this has never been made before, and in many ways it stands alone amongst other films; even something as sprawling as Jacques Rivette’s 13-hour Out 1, one of the films most commonly invoked in connection with this work — which in many (but not all) ways feels like its true spiritual successor — was shot in just six weeks. Indeed, it is difficult to think of a less outwardly focused all-timer: Out 1, for all its extended theatrical rehearsals and narrative digressions, emanates an overwhelming dread and fear in post-’68 Paris; the famously bifurcated shoot of Mulholland Dr. only enhanced the strange seductive pull of that dream factory known as Hollywood. So what makes La Flor the overwhelming, all-encompassing, electrifying masterpiece that it is?

Of course, one must start with the experience — I saw it in the largely de rigeur formulation of three parts, over the weekend that comprised the Locarno in Los Angeles 2019 festival — as with most films past a certain runtime. In a sense, La Flor both initially precludes but eventually invites a sense of complete and total discovery: the genres are laid out in Llinás’s introduction at the start of the film, giving the viewer a general road-map of the destination, complete with the diagram that gives the film its name. However, as with many of the best, most fascinating films, the journey is considerably stranger than initial appearances would suggest. Part of this is due to the slightly outmoded or schlocky nature of the first three genres in the film, especially in the context of world arthouse cinema, which consequently leads to a certain adjustment in expectations regarding rhythm — this is a far cry from slow cinema in every way except temporal duration — and how narratively “conventional” Llinás’s film might end up actually being. As might be expected, however, Llinás’s sensibility, while deeply committed to the intentions of genre in a way that proves vital for the film’s mastery, is too protean to play it all entirely like the films of each genre’s heyday, something which only becomes clearer in the later episodes: the Lewtonian mummy movie is inflected with a Cat People-esque subplot, the mystery mentioned in connection with the musical turns out to be a scientific cabal obsessed with using scorpion venom as a possible elixir for eternal youth, and so on. This approach, of course, is in keeping with Llinás’s previous film from 2008, the great four-hour Historias extraordinarias, which used its starting narratives as a jumping-off point to delve into a whole wealth of perspectives and stories.

What sets La Flor apart, however, is its recognition of the infinite possibilities that come with what might appear to be the rigid framework of genre. For all the invention of Historias extraordinarias — whose general sensibility is reprised multiple times throughout this film, most notably in the second half of episode 4 — it was bound more-or-less to the “real world,” and its concerns were strictly with the recognizable. No such compulsion is present here, and unexpected divergences arise, not just in the macro premise but in the micro: the sudden emergence of a character to the forefront of a narrative, a transformation of a certain group of characters that takes place with little prior warning. More importantly, this conception of a film world as something that is designed to be disrupted accomplishes the rare feat of pairing two distinctly contrasting things — continually upending the viewer’s conception of the world even as they recognize it is a world in which such things can (and logically should happen) — which are both fully thrilling in their own right, but produce an even greater frisson when placed in concert.

It might be useful to invoke Out 1 once more here. While Rivette’s film, certainly has more of an explicitly political bent built into the characters’ (mostly) unspoken reckoning with the current sociopolitical state, it shares that same fundamental mode of exploration. Jean-Pierre Léaud’s Colin and Juliet Berto’s Frédérique are perhaps the most visible instigators, and their investigative presence is echoed at various points in La Flor, most notably with Casterman in episode 3 and Gatto in episode 4. But to suggest that the other characters involved aren’t attempting a similar form of exploration would be inaccurate; in many ways such exploration is the attempt to make sense of their world, whether in an intellectual, artistic, or other such pursuit. Thus, the extended theatrical exercises explore both in a literal sense for the viewer, testing — pleasurably for some including myself, negatively for many others — the bounds of duration and observation, and in a more ideological sense, with each motion conjuring its own strange reflection and inflection.

As it is for one masterpiece, so it is for the other. The creative relationship that eventually created La Flor stemmed from Llinás attending a play in 2006 put on by Gamboa, Carricajo, Paredes, and Correa as part of their theater troupe Piel de Lava (which is still operating today). Inspired by the quintet’s shared love for fiction in almost primoridial form, Llinás’s intention was, according to his Cinema Scope interview with Jordan Cronk, to “make pictures with them a genre in itself. So that’s when I had the idea to make one picture that would be all the pictures — every picture.”

Despite these origins, La Flor conspicuously eschews the overtly theatrical moments of Out 1 — which, among other things, is driven by a bevy of similarly transcendent performances, although they stem from multiple traditions including cinema (Léaud) and theater and involve a larger, more consistently characterized cast — or the Shakespeare-riffing oeuvre of Llinás’s compatriot Matías Piñeiro, who (along with nearly every figure in Argentine cinema) helped out on the film and whose films have featured Paredes and Carricajo. Instead, Llinás’s concerns appear to remain consistently cinematic; though certain other artistic traditions are invoked like the music industry in episode 2, and he himself describes a strong affinity with painting, such influences are inherently associated with the artifice that the cinematic apparatus provides.

This extends to Llinás’s visual schema, which favors extreme close-ups in shallow focus, frequently abstracting the background, both items and faces, into a textured blur. This approach, which remains more-or-less constant for at least the first three episodes, and opens up only slightly in the rest of the film, was adopted in large part due to the limited budget, offering the potential for suggesting things like killer cats, explosions, and the like. But it also feels truly indicative of the sense of exploration involved in the film; the rack focus is the most obvious element, holding on a solitary face in the very immediate foreground for an unconventionally long time before shifting to the background to allow the viewer, previously waiting in anticipation, to see the reaction. At every single juncture, the viewer is invited in to participate in this strange and long endeavor, to piece together both the moment-and-moment interplay and the larger connections that La Flor weaves.

This expansive view translates to the film, which both pushes boundaries and consciously returns to past “outdated” forms, exploring both the concrete past and ephemeral future of cinema. That the central actresses had little cinematic experience (Llinás: “most of them had not even shot one picture. So we had to make their career. This picture would be their career. You’ve seen their lives, and through these images you now understand their process.”) only furthers this sense of a past (invoked in the long-standing collaboration the actresses had) and future (the episodes that these women and Llinás will continue to make, and which the viewer knows are to come) existing simultaneously.

Even the actual text of the film bears this out: in episode 3, each of the four women’s characters gets her own “origin” story. Though they all end up as spies, their narratives leading up to the point when the viewer first meets them differ drastically in both narrative and generic treatment: Gamboa’s is a traditional spy plot, complete with double and triple-agents; Correa’s is a South American revolutionary legend; Paredes’ is one of doomed, unspoken attraction between two assassins, and incidentally one of the best love stories I’ve ever seen; and Carricajo’s is an arduous mole hunt through Siberia. Each of them is brought to embody the force of these genres, and in placing them as part of the same group synthesizes them into a heterogenous blend; as with the episodes, the individual stories fascinate and move, but their impact is exponential when placed together. One of the many unspoken arguments brought forth by La Flor, and one of the most moving, is that each of these modes, whether it be a B-movie or a remake of one of the most iconic films by one of the greatest directors, has its place and should be recognized for its genuine worth in the cinema.

For this reason, though it is certainly possible to do so, it seems unwise to watch any of these in total isolation. Their cumulative impact operates on an emotional level, whether it comes in the levity of the first scene in episode 4, where the actresses (playing a version of themselves) openly bemoan the French dialogue they had to speak in the previous episode (both in La Flor and in La Araña, the film within the film) or in the genuine appreciation of Llinás’s personal appearances, as he thanks the audience for their patience in watching his film. Perhaps most open-hearted of all is the final passage of episode 4, where the four actresses appear by themselves amid nature. Scored to the second movement of Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G major, it is no simple portraiture: each of them are obscured in some way, whether it be by their distance from the camera, their facing away from it, or the foliage in the way. It is, like many of the greatest moments in the film, revealing, mysterious, slightly embarrassing, and transcendent all at once. This, perhaps, is the greatest achievement of La Flor: a 14-hour film that lacks any trace of insincerity, pompousness, or bloat, instead emerging in every single moment as a monument to a vision and to four immensely talented actresses. May it last forever.

June 2019 Capsules

Blue Velvet (rewatch)
One of the keys to Blue Velvet is that, at least in the heightened collection of Americana that is Lumberton, Jeffrey is closer to a bad boy than when viewed from the vantage point of 1986 (or now). The earring is of course the tell-tale sign, but it is evident throughout: the slight unrecollection of Detective Williams, the appellation of “Ivy League” from Sandy’s jilted boyfriend, the approving comments of the high school girls. Lynch’s vision is less of total innocence corrupted and only partially restored than the exposure of that which was hidden in plain sight — like an ear only uncovered when searching for rocks to lob at a beer bottle in a fit of stifled discouragement. Sandy is the innocent (and luminous), but Jeffrey is something more undefinable and complex: the boy investigator, the lover of mysteries both benign and seductive, the detective *and* the pervert.

The Awful Truth
There are far too many standout scenes in this staggering masterwork, but perhaps one of the most representative of The Awful Truth‘s genius is one of its most seemingly direct, with its central couple and their farcical paramours (one of whom, Dixie Belle, holds this as her only scene in the film) together in a club. In purely narrative terms, this scene’s utility is to provide the inspiration for Lucy’s “drunken” performance near the end of the film, but it possesses a dynamic that speaks to the ensuing hijinks within the scene and through the rest of the film. McCarey isn’t necessarily subtle with how he conveys the prevailing relationships, but it remains both effective and hilarious: through much of the scene, the divorcing Jerry and Lucy are captured in a two-shot, while Leeson and Dixie Belle are shunted off into their own separate singles, a decision that enhances the spouses’ connection by way of discomfort at their present states.

In the spirit of the film, this initial situation is spun out further, with not one but two full performances. Jerry is in many ways the figure in charge here, remaining as the spectator, but just as important is the genuine sense of glee on Leeson’s face, the shameless committment of Dixie Belle, the sheepish embarassment of Lucy. And one of the film’s finest bits of subtlety is here, as Jerry moves seats, first to the space vacated by Dixie Belle, and then to Leeson’s. It is a mastery of space, an assertion of dominance, which plugs directly into the tug-of-war at The Awful Truth‘s core, and that he does it with a full grin makes it all the more pleasurable.

14th (1976): “Artistic Freedom” Show Notes

Table of Contents: Description, Corrections/Clarifications, Housekeeping, General, Main Slate, Recurring Directors, Recurring Countries, One-Time Directors, Festivals/Oscar Nominees, Discussions By Length, Specifications

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Subscribe to the podcast here.

Description
The fourteenth episode of the Catalyst and Witness podcast, devoted to exploring the films and format of the New York Film Festival, hosted by Ryan Swen and Dan Molloy. This covers the fourteenth edition of the festival in 1976.

0:00-27:53 – Opening
27:54-1:11:17 – Part One [Small Change to The Ceremony]
1:11:18-1:55:04 – Part Two [Kings of the Road to Illustrious Corpses]
1:55:05-2:34:08 – Part Three [Story of Sin to A Touch of Zen]
2:34:09-3:20:25 – Part Four [The Middleman to The Marquise of O…]
3:20:26-3:26:08 – Closing

Corrections/Clarifications

  • The episode title comes from a quote by Martin E. Segal regarding the barred screenings of In the Realm of the Senses, via the New York Times.

Housekeeping

  • Hosted by Dan Molloy & Ryan Swen
  • Conceived and Edited by Ryan Swen
  • Recorded in Los Angeles on Zoom H4N and Sennheiser Microphones, Edited in Audacity
  • Podcast photograph from Yi Yi, Logo designed by Dan Molloy
  • Poster by Allan D’Arcangelo
  • Recorded May 25, 2019
  • Released May 31, 2019
  • Music (in order of appearance):
    • Small Change (opening night)
    • Harlan County, U.S.A. (another favorite)
    • In the Realm of the Senses (favorite of the first section)
    • Dersu Uzala (favorite of the second section)
    • A Touch of Zen (favorite of the third section)
    • Duelle (une quarantaine) (favorite of the fourth section)
    • The Marquise of O… (closing night)

General

  • Selection Committee: Richard Roud (program director), Richard Corliss, Roger Greenspun, Charles Michener, Susan Sontag, Arthur Knight (West Coast consultant), Henri Langlois (retrospective consultant)
  • Location: Alice Tully Hall and Ziegfeld Theatre
  • Prices: 2, 2.50, 3.50, 5; for opening and closing night 4, 5, 7, 10
  • Films seen for the podcast:
    • Ryan
      • Seen before podcast watching period: In the Realm of the Senses, A Touch of Zen
      • Seen for the podcast: All available except Story of Sin, Strongman Ferdinand, Nana, Fear of Fear; A Touch of Zen rewatched
      • Favorite films: A Touch of Zen, Duelle (une quarantaine), The Marquise of O… Dersu Uzala, In the Realm of the Senses, The Ceremony, Sérail
      • Least favorite films: Illustrious Corpses
    • Dan
      • Seen before podcast watching period: Small Change, Ossessione, In the Realm of the Senses, The Ceremony, Kings of the Road, Duelle (une quarantaine)
      • Seen for the podcast: All available except Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000, The Memory of Justice, Illustrious Corpses, The Middleman, Nana; none rewatched
      • Favorite films: Duelle, Harlan County U.S.A., The Marquise of O…, A Touch of Zen
      • Least favorite films: Story of Sin, Ossessione
  • Discoveries of the festival: Bernice Bobs Her Hair, Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000
  • Unavailable films: Sunday Funnies, In the Region of Ice

Main Slate

Opening Night: Small Change [L’Argent de poche/Pocket Money] (1976, François Truffaut)
October 1, 6:30
Released 1976
Retrospective: Ossessione [Obsession] (1943, Luchino Visconti)
October 2, 3:00
Released 1977
Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 [Jonas qui aura 25 ans en l’an 2000] (1976, Alain Tanner)
October 2, 6:00
Released 1976
In the Realm of the Senses [Ai no korīda/Corridor of Love] (1976, Nagisa Oshima)
Replaced With: The Ceremony [Gishiki] (1971, Nagisa Oshima)
October 2, 9:00
Released 1977/Released 1974
Kings of the Road [Im Lauf der Zeit/In the Course of Time] (1976, Wim Wenders)
October 3, 5:00
Released 1976
Dersu Uzala (1975, Akira Kurosawa)
October 5, 6:15 {Ziegfeld Theatre}
Released 1977
The Memory of Justice (1976, Marcel Ophuls)
October 5, 6:30
Released 1976
“Rites of Passage”
Sunday Funnies (1976, Ray Karp)
In the Region of Ice (1976, Peter Werner)
Bernice Bobs Her Hair (1976, Joan Micklin Silver)
October 6, 6:15
Never released/Never released/Never released
Illustrious Corpses [Cadaveri eccellenti] (1976, Francesco Rosi)
October 6, 9:30
Released 1981
Story of Sin [Dzieje grzechu] (1975, Walerian Borowczyk)
October 7, 9:30
Released 1976
Sérail [Surreal Estate] (1976, Eduardo de Gregorio)
October 8, 9:30
Released 1976
Strongman Ferdinand [Der starke Ferdinand] (1976, Alexander Kluge)
October 9, 6:00
Released 1977
A Touch of Zen [Xiá nǚ/Hero Woman] (1971, King Hu)
October 10, 2:00
Released 2016
The Middleman [Jana Aranya] (1976, Satyajit Ray)
October 12, 9:30
Released 1980
Duelle (une quarantaine) [Twhylight] (1976, Jacques Rivette)
October 13, 9:30
Never released
Retrospective: Nana (1926, Jean Renoir)
October 14, 9:15
Released 1929
Fear of Fear [Angst vor der Angst] (1975, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
October 15, 6:15
Never released
Harlan County, U.S.A. (1976, Barbara Kopple)
October 15, 9:30
Released 1977
Closing Night: The Marquise of O… [Die Marquise von O…] (1976, Eric Rohmer)
October 17, 6:00
Released 1976

Recurring Directors
Key: films in this iteration excluding shorts/omnibus/retrospectives, films in this iteration including, films in the festival up to this point excluding, films up to this point including, number of gala spots (when applicable), number of festivals with more than one film shown (when applicable); † indicates their last appearance, fraction in parentheses indicates number of features shown from oeuvre, features released in the eligible timeframe, features in oeuvre

  • Nagisa Oshima: 1/2/2/3/0/1
  • Satyajit Ray: 1/1/6/6/1†(6/24/32)
  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder: 1/1/6/6
  • François Truffaut: 1/1/5/5/4
  • Jacques Rivette: 1/1/5/5/0/1
  • Alexander Kluge: 1/1/4/4
  • Eric Rohmer: 1/1/3/4/2
  • Akira Kurosawa: 1/1/3/3/1
  • Francesco Rosi: 1/1/3/3/0/1†(3/15/18)
  • Marcel Ophuls: 1/1/3/3
  • Luchino Visconti: 0/1/2/3/1
  • Walerian Borowczyk: 1/1/2/2†(2/14/14)
  • Alain Tanner: 1/1/2/2
  • Wim Wenders: 1/1/2/2
  • Eduardo de Gregorio: 1/1/1/1
  • Barbara Kopple: 1/1/1/1
  • Jean Renoir: 0/1/0/4

Recurring Countries
Key: films in this iteration excluding shorts/retrospectives, films in this iteration including, films in the festival up to this point excluding, films up to this point including, number of gala spots (when applicable)

  • West Germany: 4/4/23/24/1
  • France: 3/4/84/101/12
  • USA: 3/5/42/57/2
  • Italy: 1/2/31/36/3
  • Japan: 1/2/13/16/1
  • Poland: 1/1/10/10
  • USSR: 1/1/6/6/2
  • India: 1/1/6/6/1
  • Switzerland: 1/1/4/4
  • Taiwan: 1/1/1/1

One-Time Directors

  • King Hu
  • Ray Karp (short)
  • Joan Micklin Silver
  • Peter Werner (short)

Festivals

  • NYFF World Premiere
    • Harlan County, U.S.A.
  • Cannes
    • A Touch of Zen (1975, Technical Grand Prize)
    • Story of Sin (1975)
    • The Marquise of O… (Grand Prix)
    • Kings of the Road (FIPRESCI)
    • Strongman Ferdinand (Directors’ Fortnight, FIPRESCI)
    • Duelle (une quarantaine) (Directors’ Fortnight)
    • In the Realm of the Senses (Directors’ Fortnight)
    • Illustrious Corpses (Out of Competition)
    • The Memory of Justice (Out of Competition)
  • Berlin
    • Small Change
  • Other
    • Dersu Uzala (Moscow, Golden Prize, FIPRESCI)
  • N/A
    • Bernice Bobs Her Hair
    • The Ceremony
    • Fear of Fear
    • In the Region of Ice
    • Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000
    • The Middleman
    • Nana
    • Ossessione
    • Sérail
    • Sunday Funnies

Oscar Nominees

  • Dersu Uzala: 1975 Best Foreign Film (won)
  • Harlan County, U.S.A.: Best Documentary (won)
  • In the Region of Ice: Best Live Action Short Film (won)

Discussions By Length (Approximate)

  • 19:39 A Touch of Zen (2:14:29-2:34:08)
  • 19:32 In the Realm of the Senses/The Ceremony (51:45-1:11:17)
  • 14:20 Duelle (une quarantaine) (2:42:00-2:56:20)
  • 12:02 The Marquise of O… (3:08:23-3:20:25)
  • 11:41 Dersu Uzala (1:21:07-1:32:48)
  • 9:46 Sérail (2:00:10-2:09:56)
  • 9:41 Small Change (28:51-38:32)
  • 8:52 Kings of the Road (1:12:14-1:21:06)
  • 8:23 “Rites of Passage” (1:41:06-1:49:29)
  • 8:16 The Memory of Justice [One Person] (1:32:49-1:41:05)
  • 7:27 Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 [One Person] (44:17-51:44)
  • 6:49 The Middleman [One Person] (2:35:10-2:41:59)
  • 5:44 Harlan County, U.S.A. (3:02:38-3:08:22)
  • 5:43 Ossessione (38:33-44:16)
  • 5:34 Illustrious Corpses [One Person] (1:49:30-1:55:04)
  • 4:46 Fear of Fear [One Person] (2:57:51-3:02:37)
  • 4:31 Strongman Ferdinand [One Person] (2:09:57-2:14:28)
  • 4:06 Story of Sin [One Person] (1:56:03-2:00:09)
  • 1:29 Nana [No Person] (2:56:21-2:57:50)

Specifications

  • François Truffaut, L’Argent de poche, 1976, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 104 minutes, 1.66:1, French, France.
  • Luchino Visconti, Ossessione, 1943, 35 mm, black-and-white, mono sound, 140 minutes, 1.37:1, Italian, Italy.
  • Alain Tanner, Jonas qui aura 25 ans en l’an 2000, 1976, 35 mm, color and black-and-white, mono sound, 116 minutes, 1.66:1, French, Switzerland.
  • Nagisa Oshima, Ai no korīda, 1976, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 102 minutes, 1.66:1, Japanese, Japan.
  • Nagisa Oshima, Gishiki, 1971, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 123 minutes, 2.35:1, Japanese, Japan.
  • Wim Wenders, Im Lauf der Zeit, 1976, 35 mm, black-and-white, mono sound, 175 minutes, 1.66:1, German, West Germany.
  • Akira Kurosawa, Dersu Uzala, 1975, 70 mm, color, 6-track stereo sound, 142 minutes, 2.20:1, Russian, USSR.
  • Marcel Ophuls, The Memory of Justice, 1976, 16 mm, color and black-and-white, mono sound, 278 minutes, 1.37:1, English and German and French, USA.
  • Ray Karp, Sunday Funnies, 1976, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 21 minutes, 1.37:1, English, USA. (?)
  • Peter Werner, In the Region of Ice, 1976, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 37 minutes, 1.37:1, English, USA. (?)
  • Joan Micklin Silver, Bernice Bobs Her Hair, 1976, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 45 minutes, 1.37:1, English, USA.
  • Francesco Rosi, Cadaveri eccellenti, 1976, 35 mm, color and black-and-white, mono sound, 120 minutes, 1.85:1, Italian, Italy.
  • Walerian Borowczyk, Dzieje grzechu, 1975, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 130 minutes, 1.66:1, Polish, Poland.
  • Eduardo de Gregorio, Sérail, 1976, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 83 minutes, 2.35:1, French and English, France.
  • Alexander Kluge, Der starke Ferdinand, 1976, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 97 minutes, 1.37:1, German, West Germany.
  • King Hu, Xiá nǚ, 1971, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 180 minutes, 2.35:1, Chinese Mandarin, Taiwan.
  • Satyajit Ray, Jana Aranya, 1976, 35 mm, black-and-white, mono sound, 131 minutes, 1.37:1, Bengali, India.
  • Jacques Rivette, Duelle (une quarantaine), 1976, 35 mm, color and black-and-white, mono sound, 121 minutes, 1.85:1, French, France.
  • Jean Renoir, Nana, 1926, 35 mm, black-and-white, silent, 150 minutes, 1.33:1, French, France.
  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Angst vor der Angst, 1975, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 88 minutes, 1.37:1, German, West Germany.
  • Barbara Kopple, Harlan County, U.S.A., 1976, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 103 minutes, 1.78:1, English, USA.
  • Eric Rohmer, Die Marquise von O…, 1976, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 102 minutes, 1.37:1, German, West Germany.

13th (1975): “Celluloid Guerillas” Show Notes

Table of Contents: Description, Corrections/Clarifications, Housekeeping, General, Main Slate, Ephemera, Recurring Directors, Recurring Countries, One-Time Directors, Debuts/Final Features, Festivals/Oscar Nominees, Shorts, Discussions By Length, Specifications

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Listen to the podcast here.
Subscribe to the podcast here.

Description
The thirteenth episode of the Catalyst and Witness podcast, devoted to exploring the films and format of the New York Film Festival, hosted by Ryan Swen and Dan Molloy. This covers the thirteenth edition of the festival in 1975, and features special guest Alyssa Heflin, George Eastman Museum film preservation graduate student and cinephile.

0:00-23:22 – Opening
23:23-1:30:07 – Part One [Conversation Piece to F for Fake]
1:30:08-2:20:05 – Part Two [The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser to Xala]
2:20:06-3:03:28 – Part Three [The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum to Compañero: Victor Jara of Chile]
3:03:29-3:49:41 – Part Four [Exhibition to The Story of Adèle H.]
3:49:42-3:57:22 – Closing

Corrections/Clarifications

  • N/A

Housekeeping

  • Hosted by Dan Molloy & Ryan Swen
  • Special Guest Alyssa Heflin
  • Conceived and Edited by Ryan Swen
  • Recorded in Los Angeles and Rochester on Zoom H4N and Sennheiser Microphones and MacBook GarageBand, Edited in Audacity
  • Podcast photograph from Yi Yi, Logo designed by Dan Molloy
  • Poster by Carol Summers
  • Recorded April 7, 2019
  • Released April 30, 2019
  • Music (in order of appearance):
    • Conversation Piece (opening night)
    • Fox and His Friends (another favorite)
    • F for Fake (favorite of the first section)
    • Xala (favorite of the second section)
    • Moses und Aron (favorite of the third section)
    • India Song (favorite of the fourth section)
    • The Story of Adlèle H. (closing night)

General

  • Selection Committee: Richard Roud (program director), Richard Corliss, Roger Greenspun, Arthur Knight, Arthur L. Mayer, Charles Michener, Susan Sontag, Henri Langlois (retrospective consultant)
  • Location: Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall
  • Prices: 2, 2.50, 3.50, 5; for opening and closing night 4, 5, 7, 10
  • Films seen for the podcast:
    • Ryan
      • Seen before podcast watching period: F for Fake, Xala
      • Seen for the podcast: All available except Milestones; all rewatched
      • Favorite films: India Song, Moses und Aron, F for Fake, La Chienne, Fox and His Friends
      • Least favorite films: Black Moon, Compañero, Autobiography of a Princess
      • Rewatch Round-Up: Muriel, or the Time of Return (1st)
    • Dan
      • Seen before podcast watching period: La Chienne, Grey Gardens, F for Fake, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, Xala
      • Seen for the podcast: All available except Autobiography of a Princess, Compañero; F for Fake rewatched
      • Favorite films: F for Fake, India Song, Fox and His Friends, Moses und Aron, La Chienne, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, The Story of Adèle H.
      • Least favorite films: Black Moon, Conversation Piece, Hearts of the West
      • Catch-Up Corner: Even Dwarfs Started Small (8th)
    • Alyssa
      • Seen before podcast watching period: Fox and His Friends, F for Fake
      • Seen for the podcast: All available except Compañero; F for Fake rewatched
      • Favorite films: F for Fake, Fox and His Friends, India Song, Xala, The Story of Adele H.
      • Least favorite films: Black Moon, Hearts of the West, Autobiography of a Princess
  • Discoveries of the festival: India Song, Smile
  • Unavailable films: Exhibition, French Provincial

Main Slate

Opening Night: Conversation Piece [Gruppo di famiglia in un interno/Family Group in an Interior] (1974, Luchino Visconti)
September 26, 9:00 {Avery Fisher Hall}
Released 1977
Retrospective: La Chienne [The Bitch] (1931, Jean Renoir)
September 27, 3:00
Released 1976
Fox and His Friends [Faustrecht der Freiheit/Fist-Right of Freedom] (1975, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
September 27, 6:00
Released 1976
Grey Gardens (1975, Albert Maysles & David Maysles & Ellen Hovde & Muffie Meyer)
September 28, 3:00
Released 1976
F for Fake (1973, Orson Welles)
September 28, 6:00
Released 1977
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser [Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle/Every Man for Himself and God Against All] (1974, Werner Herzog)
September 28, 9:00
Released 1975
Electra, My Love [Szerelmem, Elektra] (1974, Miklós Jancsó)
September 30, 6:15
Never released
Black Moon (1975, Louis Malle)
September 30, 9:30
Released 1975
The Wonderful Crook [Pas si méchant que ça/Not So Bad] (1975, Claude Goretta)
October 1, 6:15
Released 1977
Xala [Impotence] (1975, Ousmane Sembène)
October 1, 9:30
Released 1975
The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum [Die Verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum oder: Wie Gewalt entstehen und wohin sie führen kann/The Lost Honour of Katharina Blum, or: How Violence Develops and Where It Can Lead] (1975, Volker Schlöndorff & Margarethe von Trotta)
October 3, 6:15
Released 1975
Hearts of the West (1975, Howard Zieff)
October 4, 9:00
Released 1975
Moses und Aron [Moses and Aaron] (1975, Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet)
October 5, 3:00
Released 1975
Autobiography of a Princess (1975, James Ivory)
And: Compañero: Victor Jara of Chile (1975, Stanley Forman & Martin Smith)
October 5, 6:00
Never released/Never released
Exhibition (1975, Jean-François Davy)
October 5, 9:00
Released 1975
India Song (1975, Marguerite Duras)
October 8, 6:15
Released 1981
Milestones (1975, Robert Kramer & John Douglas)
October 8, 9:30
Released 1975
Smile (1975, Michael Ritchie)
October 9, 6:15
Released 1975
French Provincial [Souvenirs d’en France/Memories of France] (1975, André Téchiné)
October 9, 9:30
Released 1976
Closing Night: The Story of Adèle H. [L’Histoire d’Adèle H.] (1975, François Truffaut)
October 12, 8:30 {Avery Fisher Hall}
Released 1975

Ephemera

  • A series of directors’ symposia (unscheduled)

Recurring Directors
Key: films in this iteration excluding shorts/omnibus/retrospectives, films in this iteration including, films in the festival up to this point excluding, films up to this point including, number of gala spots (when applicable), number of festivals with more than one film shown (when applicable); † indicates their last appearance, fraction in parentheses indicates number of features shown from oeuvre, features released in the eligible timeframe, features in oeuvre

  • Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet: 1/1/5/6/0/1
  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder: 1/1/5/5
  • Werner Herzog: 1/1/5/5
  • Miklós Jancsó: 1/1/5/5
  • François Truffaut: 1/1/4/4/3
  • Marguerite Duras: 1/1/4/4
  • Louis Malle: 1/1/3/3/1
  • Luchino Visconti: 1/1/2/2/1
  • James Ivory: 1/1/2/2
  • Volker Schlöndorff: 1/1/2/2†(2/22/22)
  • Ousmane Sembène: 1/1/2/2
  • Orson Welles: 1/1/2/2†(2/5/14)
  • Albert Maysles: 1/1/1/2
  • David Maysles: 1/1/1/2†(2/8/8)
  • Claude Goretta: 1/1/1/1
  • André Téchiné: 1/1/1/1
  • Jean Renoir: 0/1/0/3

Recurring Countries
Key: films in this iteration excluding shorts/retrospectives, films in this iteration including, films in the festival up to this point excluding, films up to this point including, number of gala spots (when applicable)

  • France: 6/7/81/97/11
  • USA: 4/4/39/52/2
  • West Germany: 4/4/19/20
  • UK: 2/2/19/21/1
  • Italy: 1/1/30/34/3
  • Hungary: 1/1/8/8
  • Switzerland: 1/1/3/3
  • Senegal: 1/1/2/2

One-Time Directors

  • Jean-François Davy
  • Stanley Forman & Martin Smith
  • Ellen Hovde & Muffie Meyer
  • Robert Kramer & John Douglas
  • Michael Ritchie
  • Margarethe von Trotta
  • Howard Zieff

Feature Debuts

  • Stanley Forman & Martin Smith
  • Ellen Hovde & Muffie Meyer
  • Margarethe von Trotta

Final Features

  • John Douglas
  • Stanley Forman & Martin Smith

Festivals

  • NYFF World Premiere
    • Autobiography of a Princess (?)
    • Compañero: Victor Jara of Chile (?)
    • Grey Gardens
    • Hearts of the West
    • The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum
  • Cannes
    • The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Grand Prix, FIPRESCI, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury)
    • Electra, My Love
    • India Song (Out of Competition)
    • Fox and His Friends (Directors’ Fortnight)
    • French Provincial (Directors’ Fortnight)
    • Milestones (Directors’ Fortnight)
  • Other
    • F for Fake (San Sebastian)
    • Moses and Aaron (Rotterdam)
    • The Wonderful Crook (Locarno)
    • Xala (Moscow)
  • N/A
    • Black Moon
    • La Chienne
    • Conversation Piece
    • Exhibition
    • Smile
    • The Story of Adèle H.

Oscar Nominees

  • The Story of Adèle H.: Best Actress

Shorts

shorts

Discussions By Length (Approximate)

  • 16:10 F for Fake (1:13:57-1:30:07)
  • 14:42 India Song (3:06:30-3:21:12)
  • 14:39 Fox and His Friends (48:07-1:02:46)
  • 13:27 Moses und Aron (2:39:45-2:53:12)
  • 13:13 Black Moon (1:48:51-2:02:04)
  • 12:21 Conversation Piece (24:21-36:42)
  • 11:23 La Chienne (36:43-48:06)
  • 11:09 Grey Gardens (1:02:47-1:13:56)
  • 10:43 Smile (3:28:05-3:38:48)
  • 10:13 The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1:31:06-1:41:19)
  • 10:01 The Lost Honor of Katharina Blum (2:21:06-2:31:07)
  • 9:48 The Story of Adèle H. (3:39:53-3:49:41)
  • 9:37 Xala (2:10:28-2:20:05)
  • 8:36 Hearts of the West (2:31:08-2:39:44)
  • 8:22 The Wonderful Crook (2:02:05-2:10:27)
  • 7:30 Electra, My Love (1:41:20-1:48:50)
  • 6:51 Milestones (3:21:13-3:28:04)
  • 6:03 Autobiography of a Princess (2:53:13-2:59:16)
  • 4:11 Compañero: Victor Jara of Chile [One Person] (2:59:17-3:03:28)
  • 1:53 Exhibition [Unavailable] (3:04:36-3:06:29)
  • 1:03 French Provincial [Unavailable] (3:38:49-3:39:52)

Specifications

  • Luchino Visconti, Gruppo di famiglia in un interno, 1974, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 121 minutes, 2.35:1, Italian, Italy.
  • Jean Renoir, La Chienne, 1931, 35 mm, black-and-white, mono sound, 91 minutes, 1.20:1, French, France.
  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Faustrecht der Freiheit, 1975, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 124 minutes, 1.37:1, German, West Germany.
  • Albert Maysles & David Maysles & Ellen Hovde & Muffie Meyer, Grey Gardens, 1975, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 94 minutes, 1.37:1, English, USA.
  • Orson Welles, F for Fake, 1973, 35 mm and 16 mm, color, mono sound, 88 minutes, 1.66:1, English, France.
  • Werner Herzog, Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle, 1974, 35 mm and 8 mm, color, mono sound, 110 minutes, 1.66:1, German, West Germany.
  • Miklós Jancsó, Szerelmem, Elektra, 1974, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 70 minutes, 1.66:1, Hungarian, Hungary.
  • Louis Malle, Black Moon, 1975, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 100 minutes, 1.66:1, English, France.
  • Claude Goretta, Pas si méchant que ça, 1975, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 112 minutes, 1.66:1, French, France.
  • Ousmane Sembène, Xala, 1975, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 123 minutes, 1.66:1, Wolof and French, Senegal.
  • Volker Schlöndorff & Margarethe von Trotta, Die Verlorene Ehre der Katharina Blum oder: Wie Gewalt entstehen und wohin sie führen kann, 1975, 35 mm, color and black-and-white, mono sound, 106 minutes, 1.66:1, German, West Germany.
  • Howard Zieff, Hearts of the West, 1975, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 102 minutes, 1.85:1, English, USA.
  • Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet, Moses und Aron, 1975, 35 mm and 16 mm, color, mono sound, 107 minutes, 1.37:1, German, West Germany.
  • James Ivory, Autobiography of a Princess, 1975, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 59 minutes, 1.37:1, English, UK.
  • Stanley Forman & Martin Smith, Compañero: Victor Jara of Chile, 1975, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 58 minutes, 1.37:1, English, UK.
  • Jean-François Davy, Exhibition, 1975, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 110 minutes, 1.37:1, French, France.
  • Marguerite Duras, India Song, 1975, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 120 minutes, 1.37:1, French, France.
  • Robert Kramer & John Douglas, Milestones, 1975, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 195 minutes, 1.37:1, English, USA.
  • Michael Ritchie, Smile, 1975, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 113 minutes, 1.85:1, English, USA.
  • André Téchiné, Souvenirs d’en France, 1975, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 90 minutes, 1.66:1, French, France.
  • François Truffaut, L’Histoire d’Adèle H., 1975, 35 mm, color and black-and-white, mono sound, 96 minutes, 1.66:1, French and English, France.

2019 Reading Log

1. Augustus (1972, John Williams): 12/23/18-4/21/19 (on-off)
In a certain sense I don’t know if I’m entirely fit to form any coherent thoughts on this monumental work, considering my prolonged and very scattered engagement with it. But it seems fitting, in a certain way: it is a book of transience, looking backwards at memories only mostly remembered, even as those who bear witness to history pass before their time. The years pass, only highlighted truly by the denotations in the headings, and the voices thin one by one until the subject himself speaks, and his own voice is as distinguished yet as fundamentally poetic as the rest. A fitting final work, then, encompassing a life and a nation with unimaginable grace.

2. The Savage Detectives (1998, Roberto Bolaño): 4/22/19-6/23/19
It’s an understatement to say that this permeated and swirled around in my consciousness for the two months I read it, and probably will for a good long while after. Finishing it at around the same time as my experience with La Flor, a work of comparable scope and artistic lineage, if not ultimate intention, does certainly color it, but in many ways this colossal work seems even more mysterious than when I first started it. The structure certainly points to a fundamental aimlessness, when a person becomes further unmoored from an already rootless existence, as the regimented structure of the days disappear and a testimony can be split into many parts and take place over the course of a single night or decades. In a sense, this almost combines the intentions of the previous two books I’ve read (Invisible Cities and Augustus) and transforms them, anchoring itself in a time, space, and movement simultaneously real and imaginary. But the anxieties, the raucousness, the desperation are all too real; what truly punctures is not just the two (or three) lost souls at its center, but the fates of so many characters that feel just as key as the rest. Whether ending up dead or cocooned within a life far less radical (for good or ill), no one can escape the progression of time, the march of the decades. When your goal is unexpectedly fulfilled with little fanfare, where can you go, what can you do?

3. Three to Kill (1976, Jean-Patrick Manchette: 6/23/19-6/24/19
Didn’t necessarily expect the political edge to this, which becomes an inflection through the course of the narrative but rears its head at unexpected moments, but it pairs perfectly with the ruthless cool of this, the loving detail given to the process by which men engage in vicious exchanges. Like many of the great artists, and like his central character, Manchette’s facility with time is extremely adaptable, and his chapter structure bears this out: the longest chapters both feature spans of long months and the course of a night, and sometimes they last less than two pages, all the better to convey the clipped yet melodic nature of his prose. Calling this bloodless wouldn’t be correct, but a steeliness emanates off of every sentence, a total confidence that thrills.

A Top 100 Films of All-Time

The original incarnation of this list, which is now updated regularly, can be found here.

A text-only version of this list can be found here.

100. The 400 Blows (1959, François Truffaut)

99. Moses und Aron (1975, Jean-Marie Straub & Danièle Huillet)

98. Meek’s Cutoff (2010, Kelly Reichardt)

97. Outer Space (1999, Peter Tscherkassky)

96. Blackhat (2015, Michael Mann)

95. That Day, on the Beach (1983, Edward Yang)

94. The Birds (1963, Alfred Hitchcock)

93. Fort Apache (1948, John Ford)

92. The Day He Arrives (2011, Hong Sang-soo)

91. The Tree of Life (2011, Terrence Malick)

90. Weekend (1967, Jean-Luc Godard)

89. The Battle of Algiers (1966, Gillo Pontecorvo)

88. Long Day’s Journey Into Night (2018, Bi Gan)

87. Breathless (1960, Jean-Luc Godard)

86. Do the Right Thing (1989, Spike Lee)

85. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000, Ang Lee)

84. Manhunter (1986, Michael Mann)

83. Zorns Lemma (1970, Hollis Frampton)

82. My Neighbor Totoro (1988, Hayao Miyazaki)

81. Night and Fog (1956, Alain Resnais)

80. Before Sunset (2004, Richard Linklater)

79. India Song (1975, Marguerite Duras)

78. Lost in Translation (2003, Sofia Coppola)

77. Carol (2015, Todd Haynes)

76. Nashville (1975, Robert Altman)

75. The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (1978, Lau Kar-leung)

74. Yourself and Yours (2016, Hong Sang-soo)

73. Stop Making Sense (1984, Jonathan Demme)

72. Cure (1997, Kiyoshi Kurosawa)

71. Silence (2016, Martin Scorsese)

70. Taipei Story (1985, Edward Yang)

69. Persona (1966, Ingmar Bergman)

68. Blade Runner (1982, Ridley Scott)

67. Notorious (1946, Alfred Hitchcock)

66. 2046 (2004, Wong Kar-wai)

65. Neon Genesis Evangelion: Do you love me? (1996, Hideaki Anno)

64. (nostalgia) (1971, Hollis Frampton)

63. Paris, Texas (1984, Wim Wenders)

62. The Terrorizers (1986, Edward Yang)

61. The Hole (1998, Tsai Ming-liang)

60. Wavelength (1967, Michael Snow)

59. Ashes of Time (1994, Wong Kar-wai)

58. A New Leaf (1971, Elaine May)

57. Rio Bravo (1959, Howard Hawks)

56. A Star Is Born (1954, George Cukor)

55. Miami Vice (2006, Michael Mann)

54. Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975, Chantal Akerman)

53. Out 1: Spectre (1972, Jacques Rivette)

52. Inland Empire (2006, David Lynch)

51. Syndromes and a Century (2006, Apichatpong Weerasethakul)

50. Napoléon (1927, Abel Gance)

49. The End of Evangelion (1997, Hideaki Anno)

48. Trust (1990, Hal Hartley)

47. Gertrud (1964, Carl Theodor Dreyer)

46. Pierrot le fou (1965, Jean-Luc Godard)

45. Rear Window (1954, Alfred Hitchcock)

44. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964, Jacques Demy)

43. Close-Up (1990, Abbas Kiarostami)

42. Tokyo Story (1953, Yasujiro Ozu)

41. Sansho the Bailiff (1954, Kenji Mizoguchi)

40. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001, Steven Spielberg)

39. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928, Carl Theodor Dreyer)

38. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992, David Lynch)

37. The Mother and the Whore (1973, Jean Eustache)

36. The Rules of the Game (1939, Jean Renoir)

35. Blue Velvet (1986, David Lynch)

34. Les Vampires (1915, Louis Feuillade)

33. Neon Genesis Evangelion: Take care of yourself. (1996, Hideaki Anno)

32. Sunrise (1927, F.W. Murnau)

31. Twin Peaks: The Return (2017, David Lynch)

30. Muriel, or the Time of Return (1963, Alain Resnais)

29. Late Spring (1949, Yasujiro Ozu)

28. Eraserhead (1977, David Lynch)

27. Heat (1995, Michael Mann)

26. M (1931, Fritz Lang)

25. The Awful Truth (1937, Leo McCarey)

24. Duck Amuck (1953, Chuck Jones)

23. Platform (2000, Jia Zhangke)

22. Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003, Tsai Ming-liang)

21. Chungking Express (1994, Wong Kar-wai)

20. Dragon Inn (1966, King Hu)

19. Citizen Kane (1941, Orson Welles)

18. Last Year at Marienbad (1961, Alain Resnais)

17. La Flor (2018, Mariano Llinás)

16. A Brighter Summer Day (1991, Edward Yang)

15. La jetée (1962, Chris Marker)

14. Out 1: Noli me tangere (1971, Jacques Rivette)

13. Only Angels Have Wings (1939, Howard Hawks)

12. Seven Samurai (1954, Akira Kurosawa)

11. Meet Me in St. Louis (1944, Vincente Minnelli)

10. Céline and Julie Go Boating (1974, Jacques Rivette)

9. Vertigo (1958, Alfred Hitchcock)

8. The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967, Jacques Demy)

7. The Night of the Hunter (1954, Charles Laughton)

6. In the Mood for Love (2000, Wong Kar-wai)

5. A Touch of Zen (1971, King Hu)

4. The Magnificent Ambersons (1942, Orson Welles)

3. Sans soleil (1983, Chris Marker)

2. Yi Yi (2000, Edward Yang)

1. Mulholland Dr. (2001, David Lynch)

March 2019 Capsules

Transit
The central conceit, of an environment where the anachronistic elements are essential to the frissons of the whole endeavor, is brilliant, but even more impressive might be Petzold’s restraint and careful deployment. Transit never comes off as overbearing in this — or indeed any — regard: there are no intrusions of technologies that could not have been replicated in the 1940s. The effect is so much richer in this withholding; because the situation is so carefully etched and the stakes so closely tied to a specific time, one can very easily forget the present-tense trappings. But when a modern car trundles into view, or a soldier in an American uniform and an assault rifle stands guard, the effect is continually vivid and bracing, never unsurprising, but never *just* a reminder that what is past is present.

A telling sign, and just one of many moments that shows that Petzold completely understands what he’s accomplishing: Georg lights his cigarettes with matches, not a lighter.

Last Year at Marienbad (rewatch)
As much as any one of the elements in Last Year at Marienbad, Resnais understands the inherent uneasiness and ethereality of his constantly moving camera. It glides past people, emphasizing the spaces around the figures rather than the statuesque forms themselves. In many senses, the people are nigh indistinguishable from the background themselves, and yet to say that Resnais gives them no inner life would be wholly inaccurate. The snatches of conversation, the particular glances or looks that they have on their faces, suggests the possibility of infinite stories, even past the multiple manifestations of the central relationships. It is a limitless film, consisting of hallways and memories leading to everywhere and nowhere.

12th (1974): “A World Phenomenon” Show Notes

Table of Contents: Description, Corrections/Clarifications, Housekeeping, General, Main Slate, Recurring Directors, Recurring Countries, One-Time Directors, Debuts, Festivals, Shorts, Discussions By Length, Specifications

poster

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Subscribe to the podcast here.

Description
The twelfth episode of the Catalyst and Witness podcast, devoted to exploring the films and format of the New York Film Festival, hosted by Ryan Swen and Dan Molloy. This covers the twelfth edition of the festival in 1974, and features special guest Jason Miller, New York cinephile and kind of a Twitter guy.

0:00-23:16 – Opening
23:17-1:23:06 – Part One [Don’t Cry With Your Full to Lancelot du Lac]
1:23:07-3:04:18 – Part Two [Part-Time Work of a Domestic Slave to Out 1: Spectre]
3:04:19-4:03:18 – Part Three [The Middle of the World to Céline and Julie Go Boating]
4:03:19-5:08:57 – Part Four [Alice in the Cities to The Phantom of Liberty]
5:08:58-5:13:31 – Closing

Corrections/Clarifications

  • Kristen Yoonsoo Kim’s name was misspoken as Kristen Soonyoo Kim.

Housekeeping

  • Hosted by Dan Molloy & Ryan Swen
  • Special Guest Jason Miller
  • Conceived and Edited by Ryan Swen
  • Recorded in Los Angeles and New York City on Zoom H4N and Sennheiser Microphones and MacBook GarageBand, Edited in Audacity
  • Podcast photograph from Yi Yi, Logo designed by Dan Molloy
  • Poster by Jean Tinguely
  • Recorded February 25, 2019
  • Released
  • Music (in order of appearance):
    • Don’t Cry With Your Mouth Full (opening night)
    • Stavisky… (another favorite)
    • Lancelot du Lac (favorite of the first section)
    • Out 1: Spectre (favorite of the second section)
    • Céline and Julie Go Boating (favorite of the third section)
    • A Woman Under the Influence (favorite of the fourth section)
    • The Phantom of Liberty (closing night)

General

  • Selection Committee: Richard Roud (program director), Richard Corliss, Arthur Knight, Arthur L. Mayer, Andrew Sarris, Susan Sontag, Henri Langlois (retrospective consultant)
  • Location: Alice Tully Hall and Avery Fisher Hall
  • Prices: 2, 2.50, 3.50, 5; for opening and closing night 4, 5, 7, 10
  • Films seen for the podcast:
    • Ryan
      • Seen before podcast watching period: Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, L’Age d’Or*, The Exterminating Angel*, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie*, A Woman Under the Influence
      • Seen for the podcast: All available except The Milky Way; Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, A Woman Under the Influence rewatched
      • Favorite films: Céline and Julie Go Boating, Out 1: Spectre, Lancelot du Lac, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Stavisky…, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, A Woman Under the Influence
      • Least favorite films: Old-Fashioned Woman
    • Dan
      • Seen before podcast watching period: Lancelot du Lac, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Céline and Julie Go Boating, Alice in the Cities, L’Age d’Or*, The Exterminating Angel*, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie*, A Woman Under the Influence, The Phantom of Liberty
      • Seen for the podcast: All available except The Night of the Scarecrow, Lacombe Lucien, The Middle of the World, La Paloma; Alice in the Cities rewatched
      • Favorite films: Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Céline and Julie Go Boating, A Woman Under the Influence, Lancelot du Lac, Stavisky…, Out 1: Spectre, From These Roots
      • Least favorite films: Part Time Work of a Domestic Slave, A Bigger Splash
      • Catch-Up Corner: The Illumination (11th)
    • Jason
      • Seen before podcast watching period: Lancelot du Lac, Italianamerican, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, Les Enfants Terribles, Alice in the Cities, L’Age d’Or, The Exterminating Angel, The Milky Way, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, A Woman Under the Influence, The Phantom of Liberty
      • Seen for the podcast: All available except The Night of the Scarecrow, Lacombe Lucien, The Middle of the World, La Paloma; Lancelot du Lac, Italianamerican, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul, The Milky Way, A Woman Under the Influence rewatched
      • Favorite films: Céline and Julie Go Boating, Lancelot du Lac, Out 1: Spectre, A Woman Under the Influence, The Exterminating Angel, The Phantom of Liberty, L’Age d’Or, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie, Ali: Fear Eats the Soul
      • Least favorite films: Part-Time Work of a Domestic Slave, Old-Fashioned Woman
  • Discoveries of the festival: From These Roots, The Night of the Scarecrow, La Paloma, Stavisky…, A Bigger Splash, the Middle of the World
  • Unavailable films: Don’t Cry With Your Mouth Full, The Bench of Desolation, Rome Wants Another Caesar, Yudie, The Circumstance

Main Slate

Opening Night: Don’t Cry With Your Mouth Full [Pleure pas la bouche pleine!] (1973, Pascal Thomas)
September 27, 9:00 {Avery Fisher Hall}
Released 1975
Retrospective: Liebelei [Flirtation] (1933, Max Ophuls)
September 28, 3:00
Released 1933
The Night of the Scarecrow [A Noite do Espantalho] (1974, Sérgio Ricardo)
September 28, 6:00
Never released
Lacombe Lucien (1974, Louis Malle)
September 28, 9:00
Released 1974
Stavisky… (1974, Alain Resnais)
September 29, 9:30
Released 1974
Lancelot du Lac [Lancelot of the Lake] (1974, Robert Bresson)
September 30, 9:30
Released 1975
Part-Time Work of a Domestic Slave [Gelegenheitsarbeit einer Sklavin] (1973, Alexander Kluge)
Also: The Bench of Desolation [Le banc de la désolation] (1974, Claude Chabrol)
October 1, 6:15
Never released/Never released
Rome Wants Another Caesar [Rome rivuole Cesare] (1974, Miklós Jancsó)
October 1, 9:30
Never released
“Roots”
Yudie (1974, Mirra Bank)
Old-Fashioned Woman (1974, Martha Coolidge)
From These Roots (1974, William Greaves)
Italianamerican (1974, Martin Scorsese)
October 3, 6:15
Never released/Released 1974/Never released/Released 1978
A Bigger Splash (1973, Jack Hazan)
October 3, 9:30
Released 1984
Out 1: Spectre (1972, Jacques Rivette)
October 5, 1:00
Never released
The Middle of the World [Le Milieu du monde] (1974, Alain Tanner)
October 5, 6:15
Released 1975
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul [Angst essen Seele auf/Fear Eat Soul Up] (1974, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
October 5, 9:30
Released 1974
Retrospective: Les Enfants Terribles [The Terrible Children] (1950, Jean-Pierre Melville)
October 7, 6:15
Released 1952
Céline and Julie Go Boating [Céline et Julie vont en bateau] (1974, Jacques Rivette)
October 7, 8:45
Released 1978
Alice in the Cities [Alice in den Städten] (1974, Wim Wenders)
October 8, 6:15
Released 1977
La Paloma [The Dove] (1974, Daniel Schmid)
October 8, 9:30
Released 1992
The Circumstance [La Circostanza] (1973, Ermanno Olmi)
October 10, 9:30
Never released
Retrospective: Homage to Buñuel
L’Age d’Or [The Golden Age] (1930, Luis Buñuel)
The Exterminating Angel [El ángel exterminador] (1962, Luis Buñuel)
The Milky Way [La Voie lactée] (1969, Luis Buñuel)
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie [Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie] (1972, Luis Buñuel)
October 12, 11:00
Released 1980/Released 1967/Released 1970/Released 1972
A Woman Under the Influence (1974, John Cassavetes)
October 12, 6:00
Released 1974
Closing Night: The Phantom of Liberty [Le Fantôme de la liberté] (1974, Luis Buñuel)
October 13, 9:00 {Avery Fisher Hall}
Released 1974

Recurring Directors
Key: films in this iteration excluding shorts/omnibus/retrospectives, films in this iteration including, films in the festival up to this point excluding, films up to this point including, number of gala spots (when applicable), number of festivals with more than one film shown (when applicable); † indicates their last appearance, fraction in parentheses indicates number of features shown from oeuvre, features released in the eligible timeframe, features in oeuvre

  • Jacques Rivette: 2/2/4/4/0/1
  • Luis Buñuel: 1/5/7/11/1/3
  • Robert Bresson: 1/1/6/6
  • Alain Resnais: 1/1/5/5/2
  • Claude Chabrol: 1/1/5/5/0/1
  • Ermanno Olmi: 1/1/5/5
  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder: 1/1/4/4
  • Miklós Jancsó: 1/1/4/4
  • Alexander Kluge: 1/1/3/3
  • Martin Scorsese: 1/1/3/3
  • Louis Malle: 1/1/2/2/1
  • John Cassavetes: 1/1/2/2
  • Alain Tanner: 1/1/1/1
  • Wim Wenders: 1/1/1/1
  • Jean-Pierre Melville: 0/1/1/2
  • Max Ophuls: 0/1/0/3

Recurring Countries
Key: films in this iteration excluding shorts/retrospectives, films in this iteration including, films in the festival up to this point excluding, films up to this point including, number of gala spots (when applicable)

  • France: 8/12/75/90/10
  • USA: 3/5/35/48/2
  • West Germany: 3/3/15/16
  • Italy: 2/2/29/33
  • Switzerland: 2/2/2/2
  • UK: 1/1/17/19/1
  • Brazil: 1/1/3/3
  • Germany: 0/1/0/2
  • Mexico: 0/1/2/3/1

One-Time Directors

  • Mirra Bank (short)
  • Martha Coolidge
  • William Greaves (short)
  • Jack Hazan
  • Sérgio Ricardo
  • Daniel Schmid
  • Pascal Thomas (gala)

Feature Debuts

  • Jack Hazan

Festivals

  • NYFF World Premiere
    • A Woman Under the Influence
  • Cannes
    • The Exterminating Angel (1962, FIPRESCI)
    • Stavisky… (Best Actor)
    • Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (FIPRESCI)
    • Lancelot du Lac (Out of Competition, FIPRESCI)
    • A Bigger Splash (Critics’ Week; also Locarno International Jury Second Prize)
    • La Paloma (Critics’ Week)
    • Céline and Julie Go Boating (Directors’ Fortnight; also Locarno International Jury Prize)
    • The Night of the Scarecrow (Directors’ Fortnight)
    • Part-Time Work of a Domestic Slave (Directors’ Fortnight)
  • Berlin
    • Out 1: Spectre (1973?)
    • Alice in the Cities (?)
  • Other
    • The Circumstance (Locarno, FIPRESCI)
    • The Middle of the World (Locarno)
  • N/A
    • L’Age d’Or
    • The Bench of Desolation
    • The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie
    • Don’t Cry With Your Mouth Full
    • Les Enfants Terribles
    • From These Roots
    • Italianamerican
    • Lacombe Lucien
    • Liebelei
    • The Milky Way
    • Old-Fashioned Woman
    • The Phantom of Liberty
    • Rome Wants Another Caesar
    • Yudie

Oscar Nominees

  • Lacombe Lucien: Best Foreign Film
  • A Woman Under the Influence: Best Director, Best Actress

Shorts

shorts

Discussions By Length (Approximate)

  • 41:21 Out 1: Spectre (2:22:57-3:04:18)
  • 29:52 “Roots” (1:41:49-2:11:41)
  • 22:05 Céline and Julie Go Boating (3:41:13-4:03:18)
  • 20:37 “Homage to Buñuel” (4:24:38-4:45:15)
  • 17:58 Lancelot du Lac (1:05:08-1:23:06)
  • 17:50 Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (3:14:50-3:32:40)
  • 17:04 A Woman Under the Influence (4:45:16-5:02:20)
  • 14:52 Part-Time Work of a Domestic Slave (1:24:06-1:38:58)
  • 13:54 Stavisky… (51:13-1:05:07)
  • 12:50 Liebelei (25:25-38:15)
  • 12:38 Alice in the Cities (4:04:20-4:16:58)
  • 11:14 A Bigger Splash (2:11:42-2:22:56)
  • 9:27 The Middle of the World [One Person] (3:05:22-3:14:49)
  • 8:31 Les Enfants Terribles (3:32:41-3:41:12)
  • 7:53 Lacombe Lucien [One Person] (43:19-51:12)
  • 6:36 The Phantom of Liberty (5:02:21-5:08:57)
  • 6:22 La Paloma [One Person] (4:16:59-4:23:21)
  • 5:02 The Night of the Scarecrow [One Person] (38:16-43:18)
  • 1:40 Rome Wants Another Caesar [Unavailable] (1:40:08-1:41:48)
  • 1:15 The Circumstance [Unavailable] (4:23:22-4:24:37)
  • 1:08 Don’t Cry With Your Mouth Full [Unavailable] (24:16-25:24)
  • 1:08 The Bench of Desolation [Unavailable] (1:38:59-1:40:07)

Specifications

  • Pascal Thomas, Pleure pas la bouche pleine!, 1973, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 116 minutes, 1.66:1, French, France.
  • Max Ophuls, Liebelei, 1933, 35 mm, black-and-white, mono sound, 88 minutes, 1.20:1, German, Germany.
  • Sérgio Ricardo, A Noite do Espantalho, 1974, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 92 minutes, 1.37:1, Portuguese, Brazil.
  • Louis Malle, Lacombe Lucien, 1974, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 138 minutes, 1.66:1, French, France.
  • Alain Resnais, Stavisky…, 1974, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 120 minutes, 1.66:1, French, France.
  • Robert Bresson, Lancelot du Lac, 1974, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 85 minutes, 1.66:1, French, France.
  • Alexander Kluge, Gelegenheitsarbeit einer Sklavin, 1973, 35 mm, black-and-white, mono sound, 91 minutes, 1.37:1, German, West Germany.
  • Claude Chabrol, Le banc de la désolation, 1974, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 52 minutes, 1.37:1, French, France.
  • Miklós Jancsó, Rome rivuole Cesare, 1974, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 78 minutes, 1.37:1, Italian, Italy.
  • Mirra Bank, Yudie, 1974, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 20 minutes, 1.37:1, English, USA.
  • Martha Coolidge, Old-Fashioned Woman, 1974, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 49 minutes, 1.37:1, English, USA.
  • William Greaves, From These Roots, 1974, 16 mm, black-and-white, mono sound, 31 minutes, 1.37:1, English, USA.
  • Martin Scorsese, Italianamerican, 1974, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 49 minutes, 1.37:1, English, USA.
  • Jack Hazan, A Bigger Splash, 1973, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 106 minutes, 1.66:1, English, UK.
  • Jacques Rivette, Out 1: Spectre, 1972, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 253 minutes, 1.37:1, French, France.
  • Alain Tanner, Le Milieu du monde, 1974, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 115 minutes, 1.37:1, French, Switzerland.
  • Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Angst essen Seele auf, 1974, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 92 minutes, 1.37:1, German, West Germany.
  • Jean-Pierre Melville, Les Enfants Terribles, 1950, 35 mm, black-and-white, mono sound, 105 minutes, 1.37:1, French, France.
  • Jacques Rivette, Céline et Julie vont en bateau, 1974, 16 mm, color, mono sound, 193 minutes, 1.37:1, French, France.
  • Wim Wenders, Alice in den Städten, 1974, 16 mm, black-and-white, mono sound, 110 minutes, 1.66:1, German, West Germany.
  • Daniel Schmid, La Paloma, 1974, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 110 minutes, 1.37:1, German, Switzerland.
  • Ermanno Olmi, La Circostanza, 1973, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 97 minutes, 1.37:1, Italian, Italy.
  • Luis Buñuel, L’Age d’Or, 1930, 35 mm, black-and-white, mono sound, 63 minutes, 1.20:1, French, France.
  • Luis Buñuel, El ángel exterminador, 1962, 35 mm, black-and-white, mono sound, 95 minutes, 1.37:1, Spanish, Mexico.
  • Luis Buñuel, La Voie lactée, 1969, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 102 minutes, 1.66:1, French, France.
  • Luis Buñuel, Le Charme discret de la bourgeoisie, 1972, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 102 minutes, 1.66:1, French, France.
  • John Cassavetes, A Woman Under the Influence, 1974, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 155 minutes, 1.85:1, English, USA.
  • Luis Buñuel, Le Fantôme de la liberté, 1974, 35 mm, color, mono sound, 104 minutes, 1.66:1, French, France.

February 2019 Capsules

Céline and Julie Go Boating
Perhaps the most elegant metaphor for cinema ever devised, and crucially Céline and Julie Go Boating lacks a *visible* camera (which would localize its aesthetic concerns too thoroughly); Rivette’s supreme intelligence is such that theater and cinema, to an even greater extent than in his past films, mesh through his deftness of both staging and editing, as each new shot choice or repetition creates its own associations. Plus, what image of a moviegoer is more relatable than the two women staring slack-jawed at the screen, occasionally giggling or gasping in disbelief?

Blackhat [rewatch, first time director’s cut]
Impossible to state how much the inclusion of the ship denied harbor by the effect of the rising soy prices does to establish the world in which Blackhat moves: it is one set by nebulous rules and regulations, where the fate of innumerable people can be turned by the whims of a ghost in the machine.

Only a ghost can kill another ghost.

All-Time Favorites

Les Vampires (Feuillade)
Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler (Lang)
Napoléon (Gance)
Sunrise (Murnau)
The Passion of Joan of Arc (Dreyer)
M (Lang)
The Awful Truth (McCarey)
Only Angels Have Wings (Hawks)
The Rules of the Game (Renoir)
Citizen Kane (Welles)
The Magnificent Ambersons (Welles)
Meet Me in St. Louis (Minnelli)
Notorious (Hitchcock)
Fort Apache (Ford)
Late Spring (Ozu)
Duck Amuck (Jones)
Tokyo Story (Ozu)
Rear Window (Hitchcock)
Sansho the Bailiff (Mizoguchi)
Seven Samurai (A. Kurosawa)
A Star Is Born (Cukor)
The Night of the Hunter (Laughton)
Night and Fog (Resnais)
Vertigo (Hitchcock)
The 400 Blows (Truffaut)
Rio Bravo (Hawks)
Breathless (Godard)
Last Year at Marienbad (Resnais)
La jetée (Marker)
The Birds (Hitchcock)
Muriel, or the Time of Return (Resnais)
Gertrud (Dreyer)
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (Demy)
Pierrot le fou (Godard)
The Battle of Algiers (Pontecorvo)
Persona (Bergman)
Dragon Inn (Hu)
Wavelength (Snow)
Weekend (Godard)
The Young Girls of Rochefort (Demy)
Zorns Lemma (Frampton)
The Devils (Russell)
A New Leaf (May)
(nostalgia) (Frampton)
Out 1: Noli me tangere (Rivette)
A Touch of Zen (Hu)
Out 1: Spectre (Rivette)
The Mother and the Whore (Eustache)
Céline and Julie Go Boating (Rivette)
Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (Akerman)
India Song (Duras)
Moses und Aron (Straub & Huillet)
Nashville (Altman)
Eraserhead (Lynch)
Days of Heaven (Malick)
The 36th Chamber of Shaolin (Lau)
Blade Runner (Scott)
Sans soleil (Marker)
That Day, on the Beach (Yang)
Paris, Texas (Wenders)
Stop Making Sense (Demme)
Taipei Story (Yang)
Blue Velvet (Lynch)
Manhunter (Mann)
The Terrorizers (Yang)
My Neighbor Totoro (Miyazaki)
Do the Right Thing (S. Lee)
Close-Up (Kiarostami)
Trust (Hartley)
A Brighter Summer Day (Yang)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (Lynch)
Ashes of Time (Wong)
Chungking Express (Wong)
Heat (Mann)
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Do you love me? (Anno)
Neon Genesis Evangelion: Take care of yourself. (Anno)
Cure (K. Kurosawa)
The End of Evangelion (Anno)
The Hole (Tsai)
Outer Space (Tscherkassky)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (A. Lee)
In the Mood for Love (Wong)
Platform (Jia)
Yi Yi (Yang)
A.I.: Artificial Intelligence (Spielberg)
Mulholland Dr. (Lynch)
Goodbye, Dragon Inn (Tsai)
Lost in Translation (Coppola)
Before Sunset (Linklater)
2046 (Wong)
Inland Empire (Lynch)
Miami Vice (Mann)
Syndromes and a Century (Weerasethakul)
Meek’s Cutoff (Reichardt)
The Day He Arrives (Hong)
The Tree of Life (Malick)
Blackhat (Mann)
Carol (Haynes)
Silence (Scorsese)
Yourself and Yours (Hong)
Twin Peaks: The Return (Lynch)
La Flor (Llinás)
Long Day’s Journey Into Night (Bi)

Auteurs with multiple entries include: Lang, Dreyer, Hawks, Welles, Hitchcock (4), Ozu, Resnais (3), Marker, Demy, Godard (3), Hu, Frampton, Rivette (3), Lynch (6), Malick, Yang (5), Mann (4), Wong (4), Anno (3), Tsai, Hong