Does anyone remember the names of these obscure artful films?
September 23, 2008 9:46 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone remember the names of these obscure artful films?

I saw some beautiful weird films years ago in art school and have no idea how to find them again other than asking a film major "Have you ever seen a movie where ..." (He hadn't) So here's what I remember about each film.

Things I remember about Film A.
1. It's in color.
2. There is one English sentence in the whole film. A girl says "I love you" and runs off. The rest is a language I don't recognize.
3. The main character is impotent and at one point is described as a 'drowned mouse riding on the back of a bull.'
4. The cure for his impotence is to sleep with a fat black witch.
5. At one point a beautiful princess is punished, by having fire lost from her kingdom. The only place a torch can be lit is between her legs. There is a scene with a line of people lighting torches while the princess screams in pain.
6. For no apparent reason, in one scene a man dressed as a fish stands by a body of water.
7. There are a lot of unbalanced artsy shots, where you just gaze at the composition. Also a lot of sand color.

Things I remember about film B.
1. It is black and white.
2. I don't remember anyone talking
3. The subject is time travel. A man travels through time and falls in love.
4. The movie is made with a series of still images, instead of moving pictures.
5. In one scene, there is action and it's the love interest breathing in her sleep....it's riveting.
6. At one point the couple is on a date in what appears to be a natural history museum. There are taxidermed animals everywhere but no other people.
7. Someone is killed with a gunshot.
posted by debbie_ann to Media & Arts (12 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
 
The second is Chris Marker's La Jette.
posted by Manhasset at 9:48 AM on September 23, 2008


The first one really sounds like something by Kenneth Anger, but your description doesn't match up with any of the films of his I've seen.
posted by neroli at 9:59 AM on September 23, 2008


I'm almost certain that the first movie is Satyricon by Federico Fellini. It's a bizarrely surreal epic about Rome. I don't remember an "I love you," but the rest is familiar. The part you're describing is mostly near the end. Here's wikipedia's not terribly helpful summary of that bit:

In the second of the stories within a story in the film, the owner of the Garden of Delights narrates the tale of Enotea to Encolpio. For having rejected his advances, a sorcerer curses a beautiful young woman: she must spend her days kindling fires for the village’s hearths from her genitalia. Inspired, Encolpio and Ascilto hire a boatman to take them to Enotea’s home. Greeted by an old woman who has him drink a potion, Encolpio falls under a spell where his sexual prowess is restored to him by Enotea in the form of an Earth Mother figure and sorceress.
posted by CheshireCat at 10:15 AM on September 23, 2008


Wow. Yes, those are exactly the movies I remember. Thank you.
posted by debbie_ann at 10:34 AM on September 23, 2008


Also, that second one, La Jettée, directed by Chris Marker, is a remarkable movie. It's probably not worth noting, but the vastly inferior Terry Gilliam film 12 Monkeys is based on La Jettée.

And, if you like La Jettée, you should find Chris Marker's other (not totally obscure) movie, Sans Soleil. It's a documentary-poem in English with images from around the world that focuses on letters from a man who's just returning to Japan after years away.
posted by koeselitz at 10:46 AM on September 23, 2008


Criterion did both those Chris Marker films on one dvd, and I'd HIGHLY recommend it.
posted by tremspeed at 11:20 AM on September 23, 2008


Criterion did both those Chris Marker films on one dvd, and I'd HIGHLY recommend it.

Me too—I never spend money on DVDs any more, but I just got that one.

Also, since nobody's actually spelled the movie's title correctly yet, it's La Jetée. The title is hard to translate; Wikipedia says "boarding platform," which I guess is as good as anything I can come up with.
posted by languagehat at 11:34 AM on September 23, 2008


languagehat: Also, since nobody's actually spelled the movie's title correctly yet, it's La Jetée. The title is hard to translate; Wikipedia says "boarding platform," which I guess is as good as anything I can come up with.

Gah! I was so busy fussing with it trying to get the unicode accent to work that I misspelled the damned word!

But I think "tarmac" is a pretty good translation, no? Maybe "terminal." That's all a jetée is, right? If we were in England, we could get away with translating it "The Jetty."
posted by koeselitz at 12:58 PM on September 23, 2008


A Jetty
posted by koeselitz at 12:59 PM on September 23, 2008


Partially unrelated: I've always seen La jetee [sic, yeah, yeah] translated as "The Pier".
posted by reductiondesign at 8:39 PM on September 23, 2008


The truly obsessed will do well to also check out Wim Wenders' Tokyo-Ga - half travelogue/half love-letter to Ozu, where he attempts to gain a deeper understanding of the filmmaker by visiting his gravesite and interviewing some surviving actors/crew members from Ozu films. There's a scene that takes place in a La Jetée-themed bar (!), where Chris Marker himself is drinking at. You only see him for a second, as he's tremendously camera shy.
posted by tremspeed at 11:22 PM on September 23, 2008 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the tip, tremspeed! I have the Criterion DVD of Ozu's Late Spring (a fantastic film if there ever was one), yet I'd never looked at the stuff on the bonus disc, which includes Tokyo-Ga. I can't wait to watch that now...
posted by koeselitz at 10:04 AM on September 24, 2008


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