Has any one seen Mr Lazhar yet...?
I haven't, because I was waiting for a little more discussion about LQV before sitting down to watch it.
I guess we could move on to the next film choices very soon, whose turn is it? Strapped or JD?
LOUNGE: Panasonic TX-P50GT50 (is poorly) / Panasonic DMP-BDT120 / Yamaha RX-A2020 / Dali Zensor 3 (front) / Dali Zensor Vokal (centre) / Mordaunt Short MS20i Pearl Edition (rear) / Q Acoustics1000Si (sub) / Roksan Radius 5.2 (is poorly) / Ortofon Super OM20 Cartridge / Sky HD / WD My Book Live 2TB / Seagate Expansion 2TB / Nintendo Wii / Tacima CS-929
BEDROOM: Samsung LE32C450 / Sony BDP-S360 / Echostar HDS-600RS / Netgear WNCE2001
JD, it's your turn.
I can't keep up. I haven't bought Monsieur Lazhar yet.
Hardware: Panasonic TX-P50VT65B (calibrated); Cambridge Audio Azur 651BD; Yamaha RX-A810; Teac PD-H600; PS3; B&W 601 & 600LCR (series 3); Q Acoustics QAV (rear)
Furniture and Accessories: BLOK Classix 3000 Oak AV Cabinet; Atacama Nexus 6 (atabite metal filled); 3D3 A1112
I was lucky enough to record it from Film4 a week or 2 ago
Have we heard from Mike on LQV yet? Any more from JD? I intend to reply to strapped's last post on it when I get a proper moment.
HiFi / A/V / Bedroom
Mike has seen LQV Ben.
So we need everyone to get a copy of Monsieur Lahzar and watch it, and JD to choose his 3 films.
I have just ordered Monsieur Lazhar, so hopefully it will arrive in a few days.
I am gradually collecting my thoughts, ready for providing feedback re LQV tomorrow.
Lounge - Arcam Solo Neo, Partington Super Dreadnought, Monitor Audio Silver RX1, Panasonic DMP-BDT310, Samsung UE46D6530, Yamaha RX-A1020
Legacy - Rotel-RA820, Wharfedale Diamond 1, Philips CD104, Akai HX-R44, Sony ST-313L
I've just finished watching Monsieur Lahzar.
I promised to give my thoughts about LQV today, so here goes.
Before I watched the film, I had got the idea from somewhere, that the theme was an old man reminiscing on the four stages of his life. However after watching for a few minutes I could tell that I had got my thoughts very wrong.
After watching the film, I wondered if the theme was the futility of life the old man tries to cure his illness but dies, the young goat tries to survive, but presumably is killed by the winter cold, and the tree spends years growing tall, then is cut down by humans. The weak spot in my theory, was that I could not understand how the charcoal burners fitted in.
After watching the interview, and reading a few reviews (all seemingly based on the same press release), things are a bit clearer. The director was passionate about depicting a slower pace of life, centred on mountain villages in Calabria, where the locals still have a strong animist philosophy. This philosophy has links to from Pythagoras, who lived in Calabria in the 6th century BC and apparently spoke of each of us having four lives within us – the mineral, the vegetable, the animal and the human – "thus we must know ourselves four times", hence the title,Le Quattro Volte. This is depicted by the old man, then the young goat, followed by the tree, and finally the charcoal.
The film did meander at times, and would have been better as say an hour long documentary, than a film. I found it difficult to understand the core message, until I had read about the link to Pythagorus, so I think the film will have confused many who viewed it. Also I think that charcoal is not classed as a mineral, so technically the film fails to depict one of the four key aspects of Pythagorean philosophy. However I may be splitting hairs, as the definition of a mineral will not have troubled many of the film’s viewers.
Nevertheless, I will suggest that one of my friends who is into spiritual things, finds the time to watch it. He may like it better.
I'm fairly sure the wood is used as fuel. I thought images of the kiln (or pyre?) were again about transference of energy, or rebirth; one of the "four times" or "four lives" the director spoke of.
I assumed that was the case, as right at the end we see them in their truck dropping it off in the village, so unless there's some superstitious purpose firewood can be the only explanation. Given that it was already wood though it seems like a remarkable amount of effort to go through. Still, I assume it's something that really goes on as the director must have been filimg real people. I agree it must be about transferrence of energy and rebirth; it is transformation by fire (of wood, into slightly different but no doubt much more useful wood!). I found it also linked into your next point...
I agree. There's a tension between the extent to which the community embraces nature, attempts to harness it and distances itself from it completely. The pyre certainly seemed like a distancing in terms of its deeply intricate use of geometric shapes, although clearly it was all utlilisation of natural products. The very complexity I felt showed the lament you talk of. It demonstrated the experience of generations in carrying out the task they did, all wordlessly. I found this a film which made me very nostalgic for the simpler way of life. Even though I'd clearly never experience their simpler life I still felt nostalgic for that but it also evoked nostalgia for one's own simpler times.
Can you expand?
Edit to above post: there was an interesting contrast between the passsing down through the generations of the complex pyre technique and the fact that upon the goat herder's death his goats were sold, I assume to some sort of 'out of towners'. Both must have been traditional events, yet one was clearly central to the community culture and another was immediately abandoned. Maybe this said something about the fact that even this community will be defeated by the march to modernity? And / or some sort of comment on the loneliness of the herder?
This philosophy has links to from Pythagoras, who lived in Calabria in the 6th century BC and apparently spoke of each of us having four lives within us – the mineral, the vegetable, the animal and the human – "thus we must know ourselves four times", hence the title,Le Quattro Volte. This is depicted by the old man, then the young goat, followed by the tree, and finally the charcoal.
That is interesting. I haven't had a chance to rewatch the interview and I'm not sure the Pythagorean stuff was in there. I think you're definitely splitting hairs about the charcoal / mineral thing! It would be worse to crowbar in some sort of alternative reference. I also disagree with you about it being better as a documentary (what would make it a documentary? Would you want a narration?). I felt it was very cinematic, probably best summed up by the pyre sequence. A very different type and pace of film from most, but no less worthy as a film IMO. Still, I'm interested to hear the alternative thoughts on it.
I wouldn't want a narration, but maybe a short textual intraduction explaining about the link with Pythagorus.
I can see that. Although I probably prefer one watch through applying one's own ideas to it before returning to it with more information. Just like you had some interesting thoughts about the futility of life.
If you just wanted an intro and for it to be slightly shorter, what's the difference for you between this film and a documentary?
Perhaps this tension between old and new worlds and traditional and modern techniques is pivotal to unpacking the film. (Not just thematically but also stylistically.)
I'm guessing you mean stylistically, since we've already unpacked themes of tension between tradition and modernity to some degree.
It's worth thinking about the film in the context of stylistic traditions in Italian cinema, specifically post-war "neorealist" filmmaking techniques and an (unachievable) ideal of nonmediation.
Post-war Italian filmmakers (De Sica, Rossellini, et al.) utilised specific approaches to filmmaking in their efforts to shun fascism and represent the plight of the working classes.
These techniques included the casting of non actors, the long take, location shooting, and natural lighting. (Some of these decisions were necessitated by the decimation of Italy's filmmaking infrastructure rather than simply being artistically motivated.)
Nevertheless, "Italian neorealist" techniques were celebrated by French critics as achieving an objective representation of reality. (Google "Andre Bazin and neorealism.") This is hyperbole and romanticism, since all filmmaking, especially narrative cinema, though also documentary, involves mediation and narrative construction at some level. Moreover, "neorealist" cinema was decidedly sentimental in its representations of the young and old, use of classical scores to signal emotional response, and borrowings from other conventions such as slapstick comedy, each of which contradict the so-called "realist" approach taken. In any case, neorealist techniques remain an important part of Italian cinema's ancestry and have influenced filmmaking approaches more broadly.
I say all this because Le Quattro Volte makes extensive use of techniques associated with Italian neorealism and is very much in conversation with Italian film history. In this sense it's a film that's highly conscious of filmmaking traditions and heritage, even if it includes more abstract formal compositions to ask existential questions.
The short version of all that being that the thematic oppositions we've discussed can also be traced through stylistic analysis of the film.
Apologies if that seems a bit snobby. I had to go through the film heritage stuff to discuss Le Quattro Volte in this context.
© 2014 Haymarket Publishing