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18 minutes ago, Bilbo said:

I haven't seen the full film, only caught a bit of it on telly this afternoon but it's a gorgeous looking film. 

 

It ought to be, it was David Lean and Freddie Young's return to 65mm, after having shot Doctor Zhivago on 35mm. Combine that with the Irish countryside, and you're bound to get something exquisite-looking.

 

But the story just isn't that interesting, not for the 140 minutes it should be; not for the 206 minutes (!) that it currently is, and certainly not for the 223 minutes (!!) it originally was.

 

Its really no different to Doctor Zhivago in that the scale just isn't conducive for the story. Lean pulled this aesthetic back for A Passage to India, but - for some odd reason - film's still a bore. Shame.

 

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I don't know why. It had all the markings of something I'll enjoy immensly: more scaled-back than Lean's previous efforts, with a subject matter very much up his alley (not to mention my own!) with regards to clashing cultures, exotic setting and so on; great talent attached. Certainly, the craft of it was very good. I was really enjoying it for the first hour or so.

 

But then, slowly but surely, I felt the movie was starting to bore me. I don't quite know why, and I wish it hadn't: but it did.

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3 hours ago, Chen G. said:

Great-looking film.

 

But for me, it unfortunately joins the "bore" camp with all of Lean's post-Lawrence epics, even in its current, truncated form. And the one thing movies should never do is bore.

 

Certainly didn't deserve the ribbing Lean got for it, though. Its the same shtick Lean pulled of with Doctor Zhivago.

 

3 hours ago, Chen G. said:

 

It ought to be, it was David Lean and Freddie Young's return to 65mm, after having shot Doctor Zhivago on 35mm. Combine that with the Irish countryside, and you're bound to get something exquisite-looking.

 

But the story just isn't that interesting, not for the 140 minutes it should be; not for the 206 minutes (!) that it currently is, and certainly not for the 223 minutes (!!) it originally was.

 

Its really no different to Doctor Zhivago in that the scale just isn't conducive for the story. Lean pulled this aesthetic back for A Passage to India, but - for some odd reason - film's still a bore. Shame.

 

 

I think Ryan's Daughter is definitely a masterpiece.

 

I think the two most deried aspects are its strengths - the score and the screenplay.

 

I won't spoil it for those who haven't seen it but it achieves the perfect balance of tragedy. You see two separate plots unfolding over the course of the film. They intersect suddenly and surprisingly in a single moment that crystallizes the entire story and takes your breath away.

 

It is also a female story. Sure it is big, but it is also deeply felt and explores the characters' inner lives.

 

A Passage To India I am less fond of. That I think IS perhaps more spectacle than character exploration. But on the principles of film-making alone THAT also is a very well made film.

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Yeah, its really doesn't make a spectacle of the landscape nearly as often as Lean's previous epics, which I suppose accounts in some part as to why I found it a diminished experience. I don't necessarily view Lean's vistas as overburdening the narrative: its more Robert Bolt's excessive plotting, and Lean's refusal to streamline it in the editing bay.

 

Its why I find Lawrence of Arabia better paced than Doctor Zhivago, even though technically the former takes more time to tell less plot.

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3 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

Yeah, its really doesn't make a spectacle of the landscape nearly as often as Lean's previous epics, which I suppose accounts in some part as to why I found it a diminished experience. I don't necessarily view Lean's vistas as overburdening the narrative

 

It's been awhile since I've seen Ryan's Daughter but I remember an endless but spectacular storm sequence, spectacular landscapes and a spectacularly beautiful bus scene. 

 

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I know. I think that A Passage To India is very much a journey exploring conflicting cultures, colonialism and the impact of the social class system. It's very 'lively' which is quite unusual for David Lean but very typical for E.M. Forster (Howard's End, A Room With A View). I suspect there was a change in Lean's style and that he avoided long, slow, spectacular landscape shots because the critics had completely crushed his previous film (Ryan's Daughter).

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Oh absolutely, but - while I don't want another Ryan's Daughter - I don't think the absence of those landscape shots necessarily helped the film.

 

Plus, the conflict that arises in the film's second half just isn't as strong as I expected, given the long wait. I guess it doesn't measure up compared to the other Lean epics, which are all at least set in war-time.

 

I suppose I wanted more of Indianas rioting and more of the trial, rather than have Mrs. Quested suddenly have a change of heart. Plus, the whole scenario surrounding the accusation really doesn't work visually: you just know Aziz didn't do it.

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7 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

Plus, the whole scenario surrounding the accusation really doesn't work visually: you just know Aziz didn't do it.

 

I don't think E.M. Forster was very interested in a 'did he or did he not do it' type of situation, Chen. It's not a crime movie.

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7 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

I wouldn't know, but I think it would have brought a bit more tension to the film. The situation is just too surreal, and it makes Mrs. Quested seem like an absolute moron.

 

There is tension, the tension of injustice. 

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1 hour ago, Chen G. said:

Yeah, its really doesn't make a spectacle of the landscape nearly as often as Lean's previous epics, which I suppose accounts in some part as to why I found it a diminished experience. I don't necessarily view Lean's vistas as overburdening the narrative: its more Robert Bolt's excessive plotting, and Lean's refusal to streamline it in the editing bay.

 

Its why I find Lawrence of Arabia better paced than Doctor Zhivago, even though technically the former takes more time to tell less plot.

 

I actually think Dhivago is a pretty bad film. I loved the book but the movie didn't work for me at all. The book is very delicate. The movie is overwrought. I think Zhivago foregrounds the spectacle and makes some very ordinary plotting choices. The book is way more nuanced.

 

I literally think they got it all wrong and someone should try to do a proper adaptation.

 

32 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

Oh absolutely, but - while I don't want another Ryan's Daughter - I don't think the absence of those landscape shots necessarily helped the film.

 

Plus, the conflict that arises in the film's second half just isn't as strong as I expected, given the long wait. I guess it doesn't measure up compared to the other Lean epics, which are all at least set in war-time.

 

I suppose I wanted more of Indianas rioting and more of the trial, rather than have Mrs. Quested suddenly have a change of heart. Plus, the whole scenario surrounding the accusation really doesn't work visually: you just know Aziz didn't do it.

 

24 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

I wouldn't know, but I think it would have brought a bit more tension to the film. The situation is just too surreal, and it makes Mrs. Quested seem like an absolute moron.

 

I think that's the central idea of the film. And the book. Even in the book the 'event' happens offstage which casts the entire book in ambiguity. I think Forster definitely summons a modicum for sympathy and understanding for Adela. Lean tries his best as well. 

 

The conceit is very much what you have in some art films, where a major event happens offscreen. Like the disappearence in L'Avventura or Clouds of Sils Maria or Picnic at hanging Rock.

 

I actually think it is the most interesting narrative device in the movie/film. Without it both would be rather ordinary period narratives of culture clash.  The choice to use this central trigger incident that happens offstage is the thing that sets the novel/film apart.

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I wouldn't know about bad, but I certainly don't like Doctor Zhivago. Has a lot of impressive artistry - as you come to expect from Lean - and its admirably darker than a lot of the big-screen epics of the time. But I just don't feel the central romance: Zhivago and Lara take too long to meet in any meaningful way, and once they  do - their feelings for each other are told, not shown, through a letter of Zhivago's; and one sent to his wife, of all people.

 

The heroes of Lean's previous epics were "nuts" - Nicholson with his obsession for military discipline, and Lawrence with his sadistic impulses. Zhivago is just an ordinary bloke... before he suddenly starts cheating on his wife (with whom he has a much more beliveable relationship, I may add) and the mother of his children. From that point on, he can rot in the Gulag for all I care.

 

The framing device feels like Robert Bolt lazily recycling the concept from Lawrence of Arabia. But where that film's framing device was succint, largely silent and generated a lot of intrigue regarding the main character (and serves as a source of great irony in hindsight), here its overly-wordy and serves as the source for some really strangely-placed episodes of voiceover during the bulk of the film.

 

Even in terms of spectacle, there's just too much plot for Lean to really use the landscapes - spectacular though they may be - like he does in Lawrence of Arabia. Even in terms of photography, Lean originally wanted it shot in 65mm black-and-white, but eventually settled for 35mm, so the film lacks the timeless clarity of Lawrence of Arabia and Ryan's Daughter. The score's great, but Lean tracked one variation of Lara's theme and smothered the entire picture with it, killing it through over-exposure.

 

23 minutes ago, TheUlyssesian said:

The conceit is very much what you have in some art films, where a major event happens offscreen. Like the disappearence in L'Avventura or Clouds of Sils Maria or Picnic at hanging Rock.

 

But it doesn't happen offscreen: not really, anyway. We do see some strange scene in which the echoes make Adela faint. I'm sorry, but I'm just not buying it. Knowing Aziz' character, too, you just know he didn't do it.

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23 minutes ago, Chen G. said:

I wouldn't know about bad, but I certainly don't like Doctor Zhivago. Has a lot of impressive artistry - as you come to expect from Lean - and its admirably darker than a lot of the big-screen epics of the time. But I just don't feel the central romance: Zhivago and Lara take too long to meet in any meaningful way, and once they  do - their feelings for each other are told, not shown, through a letter of Zhivago's; and one sent to his wife, of all people.

 

The heroes of Lean's previous epics were "nuts" - Nicholson with his obsession for military discipline, and Lawrence with his sadistic impulses. Zhivago is just an ordinary bloke... before he suddenly starts cheating on his wife (with whom he has a much more beliveable relationship, I may add) and the mother of his children. From that point on, he can rot in the Gulag for all I care.

 

The framing device feels like Robert Bolt lazily recycling the concept from Lawrence of Arabia. But where that film's framing device was succint, largely silent and generated a lot of intrigue regarding the main character (and serves as a source of great irony in hindsight), here its overly-wordy and serves as the source for some really strangely-placed episodes of voiceover during the bulk of the film.

 

Even in terms of spectacle, there's just too much plot for Lean to really use the landscapes - spectacular though they may be - like he does in Lawrence of Arabia. Even in terms of photography, Lean originally wanted it shot in 65mm black-and-white, but eventually settled for 35mm, so the film lacks the timeless clarity of Lawrence of Arabia and Ryan's Daughter. The score's great, but Lean tracked one variation of Lara's theme and smothered the entire picture with it, killing it through over-exposure.

 

 

But it doesn't happen offscreen: not really, anyway. We do see some strange scene in which the echoes make Adela faint. I'm sorry, but I'm just not buying it. Knowing Aziz' character, too, you just know he didn't do it.

 

I read the book years ago so my memory is foggy. But I think it was more uncertain in the book.

 

It all kind of is a catostrophic misunderstanding which is one way to categorize many major historical conflict.

 

I think the opaqueness lends moral intrigue to a relatively straightforward premise.

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On 8/10/2019 at 4:47 PM, Bilbo said:

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I was in that exact place two weeks ago. Absolutely stunning locale. Skelling Michael (aka Ahch-To island from the new Star Wars trilogy) is just off the right side of the shot, in the horizon

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4 hours ago, Romão said:

 

I was in that exact place two weeks ago. Absolutely stunning locale. Skelling Michael (aka Ahch-To island from the new Star Wars trilogy) is just off the right side of the shot, in the horizon

 

County Kerry is one of if not the most beautiful locations in all of Europe. Gorgeous on a nice day, dramatic and moody on a bad one. Great place to visit. 

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I love how in many scenes, the actual object of interest is pushed to the very edge of the wide cinemascope frame. Or how in the finale more than half of each shot is filled with the blurred backside of a head, with the action confined to a square area on one side.

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7 hours ago, Marian Schedenig said:

I love how in many scenes, the actual object of interest is pushed to the very edge of the wide cinemascope frame. Or how in the finale more than half of each shot is filled with the blurred backside of a head, with the action confined to a square area on one side.

Yes, you're right. I never noticed that, before.

 

38 minutes ago, Alexcremers said:

 

(Y)

That's two things that we agree on, Alex :lol:

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