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Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 1:58 pm
kimblebee wrote:Can anyone clear this up for me - what was the bit with the bath all about? are we to believe that the woman wet herself?.... enough to fill a bath???!!
I don't think that she wet herself... Think that was a representation of her orgasm.
That's what I got was happening... Wouldn't a comb be a lil urrr rough in the sensitive areas? lol You wouldn't want to bed her, she'd drown ya.
Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 2:40 pm
Ok giallo is not for me, I respect it's place in history and the influence it has but that's as far as it goes for me i'm afraid.
Amer looked lovely and my feeling regards the lack of dialogue is that it forces you to use your other senses more so you are focusing on the imagery more as there is no dialogue to distract you from what you are seeing.
However it bored me to tears and I just wanted it to end. I didn't get it and I don't really like it and it's not something I would ever want to revisit again.
Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 5:26 pm
Not sure what to make of this. Started off with promise and then I got the impression later on it was more about sexual awakening. Looked visually stunning and really the setting of the house and cobbled village but wanted more of a story. Had really good sound design. The second half of the film was quite slow going.
Was getting a bit bored of close ups of eyes and hair flattering the wind. It was interesting the film had not much dialogue but wished there was more substance.
Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:55 pm
Finally got my thoughts written down as it were:
Amer takes what is essentially the very typically French theme of burgeoning female sexuality and tells the story through the use of Italian giallo stereotypes – from the first act, which follows our female protagonist as a child, which is draped in very Suspiria-esque wrappings to the finale which recalls the legendary ‘black-gloved killer’ of numerous Italian giallo. Also running throughout the film is the sense of being watched – the young Ana, terrified by the watchful eye of her grandmother; the adolescent Ana realising that she draws the attention of the opposite sex whilst out in town with her mother; and the adult Ana who fears the sexualized watchful eye of men (a sexualization which is shown in a stunning sequence in which a cab driver LITERALLY undresses Ana with his eyes).
There are some faults with the film – the theme of ‘the eye’ and being watched is somewhat hammered home with laboured close-up on characters eyes, and the middle section of the film featuring the adolescent Ana wandering around town slows down proceedings considerably, but those are minor faults compared to the film as a whole. With Amer, Hélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani have crafted a film that does more than just rehash giallo themes and stereotypes, it revitalises them. When long-standing Italian directors cannot re-create the spirit of the classic giallo that they created (yes I’m thinking Argento) it really says something about Cattet and Forzani’s passion and skill and I’d certainly love to see the pair atempt a true detective giallo tale…
(Taken from my original review: http://www.blogomatic3000.com/2010/03/0 ... view-amer/
Posted: Mon Mar 01, 2010 10:18 pm
This is the review of Amer I posted on Facebook. I'm just pasting it here to save me a lot of typing, though it was written for people who hadn't seen the film. A film as stylised as this is always going to provoke different reactions from people. I'll agree it wasn't the most fun I had all weekend, but in some respects it was stunning.
The FB review
It's been called "A valentine to Giallo", an homage to the classic horror/ whodunnits that the Italians did so well in the seventies. Made by two young directors who seem to have done it as an act of love.
It missed out the detective bit altogether, though in fairness that was never the most interesting part of Giallo films. What made them special (I'm thinking mainly of Dario Argento fims here - he was the master) was the imagery, the colour palette, the dreamlike atmosphere, and the visual beauty. The beautiful woman and the black-gloved hands of the killer. The best ones were a joy to watch.
Amer takes these ideas to the extreme. There is almost no dialogue throughout the film, and everything we see is filtered through the increasingly disturbed central character. Because it's so strongly her view of the world we are never quite sure what is really real and what is her distorted understanding of reality.
There a two truly great things about this film:
- The look of the whole film is stunning. Lots of uncomfortable ECUs of eyes, fingers, skin, contrasted with shots of beautiful coastal countryside. These shots are I think deliberately not too spectacular or wide. We could have been shown splendid vistas of Italian countryside, but that would have detracted from the neurotically personal nature of the narrative. The use of colour was subtle and wonderful throughout.
- The sound design. So intimate and so detailed. We hear the sound of fingernails on skin, skin on paper, dead skin coming of a cadaver's face, razor blade on skin, even a child blinking - sounds we couldn't possibly hear in real life. We are drawn inside the girl's world, in which every sound has significance, and when we hear these tiny noises we feel we are truly sharing her experience. Beautifully done. Loud sounds when they happen are almost unbearable in their intensity. A slapped face sounds like a cannon; a car engine like a roaring dinosaur.
What lets the film down slightly is its own cleverness. I found myself occasionally admiring the technique rather than getting involved with the character. It also drops pace a bit in the middle section. After the intensity of the opening, the teenage section seems a little dry, and only begins to build again when we reach the third section.
Having said that, it may not have been possible to maintain that degree of involvement for the length of the film - I would accept that the directors may have let us relax a bit in order to draw us back in for the last reel, which I won't say anything about, expect that it was one of the most sensual and excruciating scenes I've ever seen in a film.
I'm also not sure what future this film has: it's not pacy enough for a mainstream release, and the violence is probably a bit much for the arthouses. I hope it gets the audience it deserves.
Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 2:48 am
I did not enjoy this documentary about "Looking".
Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 7:19 pm
Loved the music. Loved the first act "Suspiria/Inferno". Hated the second act; macro close ups of the ugliest girl I've seen in years the thirrd act was the closest to giallo i felt. At the end of the day i am still thinking about AMER as i was with EDEN LOG.
Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 8:28 pm
I can see what Voor is saying re the film representing the purest form of giallo, but I can't say I entirely agree and after chatting with the directors/producer after the film, I felt they tentatively took my point. I'll state now, I love the genre, but this was not a giallo, it was an arthouse film that chose to take on the staples of the giallo movie.
The makers obviously adore the genre and went to great lengths to get the necessary homages and imagery in place, but, whether we like it or not, the genuine giallo should be a pulp novel brought to the screen - with style. This was an arthouse film playing within the remits of a giallo framework and negating the plot element.
I loved it and it had me nodding away to various asides, but as a whole, and i said as much at the Q&A, how the hell did you get that financed? Appealing to people like me is one thing, but bankrolling something almost Greenawayesque to the tune of EUR 680,000 with very little chance of finding a receptive audience was extremely brave given their lack of track record.
Fair play to them for making it happen and making me very happy. I've been recommending it left, right and centre, but I'm not hopeful of a mass uptake. Not a giallo. Maybe the essence of one, but that's like saying a lump of meat, some spuds and a few bits of veg covered in meat flavoured water makes a roast. It's not about ingedients, it's about the end product. From the above analogy, I could just as easily make a stew. I'd enjoy it, but it wouldn't be a roast.
Posted: Tue Mar 02, 2010 11:42 pm
On the long drive home I was thinking a lot about AMER and was trying to break it down as I was concerned why a lot seemed to like/love it bar me. As I was watching I did notice that the style was pretty much spot on Giallo as I am aware of the style in those films due to my recent reading up on Argento and Documentaries I've seen on him (however no expert at all). However I feel that it was only this "the look" of the film that they did well (but it was done well).
My ultimate problem with the film was that they had no story of any remote interest to hang the style onto which is disappointing as it could have been a masterpiece had that happened and this is pretty much why I felt quite unsatisfied with it. I agree to an extent with others that this is the film that should have been called Giallo (rather than the Argento film last year) but again a true Giallo has other story elements in it that this didn't. I do like films where the style is it's main strength like Bladerunner, Legend and even Toys and Dick Tracy and even Hulk where it is just the style that is good and most other elements are either poor or uninteresting and I also love the works of David Lynch who reeks with style but they are also interesting in other areas as well. I eventually came to the conclusion (in my head anyway) that AMER was more of an art or student film whose thesis was to go and capture the style of the Giallo to prove you understand it. That said, in a Genre film festival with only 8 films, I thought it was a poor choice which hurst me to say as I love "The Guys" and they do a fantastic , brilliant job for us all. I thought if ever there was a film that should have been put in the "discovery screen" at the Empire then that was it. Not for everyone but interesting if you want to see a film only about the Giallo style. As I said to Paul; I just prefer my Genre films to be more engaging.
Oh well. I am sure everyone can talk for hours on it (which is actually a sign of an interesting film good or bad). :?
Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:24 am
Oh well. I am sure everyone can talk for hours on it (which is actually a sign of an interesting film good or bad). :?
Well I suppose, unless you're talking about how boring it was. Now I don't know what to think?
Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:08 am
This answered all my questions and made me realise i'm not savvy enough on cinema. Where can I take a course?
Still hate the middle sexual awaking section. Thinking of writing my own giallo know, though with plot.
Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:03 pm
the link to Offscreen.com wrote:unabashed formalist experimentation in [the] gialli lexicon
No matter if you're a died in the wool giallo nut or view with genre with perplexed disdain, Amer
is a picture that's going to elicit a reaction based overwhelmingly on the rigid formalism of the piece, more than any degree of love of Italian cinema -- and it's arthouse cinema at that; the style is closer to earlier, more playful Bertolucci (The Conformist
, The Spider's Strategem
) than any of the legendary giallo auteurs, no matter what shots are homaged. That's the bed the filmmakers have chosen to lie down in, and I think, Marlin, you were right in your first paragraph.
Me, I prefer that roast, no matter how longingly I can usually adore the disparate "ingredients" in all their rapturous forms. For me, Amer
is more like a picture from the great transcendentalists so beloved of Paul Schrader (a group of filmmakers similary precise and exacting in their craft): more fascinating to talk about and debate than to rewatch at any great length.
I would also say that it is both brave and laudable for Alan and Paul and Ian to programme this in place of, say, any other expected English language picture soon to be available in multiplexes or DVD stores. One of the marvellous things about Frightfest is that it always seeks to, in some way, expand its audience's expected boundaries of what they might consider "something they'd like to see"
, be it Guy Maddin's Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary
, The Isle
Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 5:11 pm
I'd also have to add that, althogh that article is terrific, neither Suspira nor Black Sabbath are giallo pictures and the Stelvio Cirpiani music cues are from Poliziotteschi not giallo.
As the article suggests, it's more helpful (and probably more preparatory) to view this as a billet dou to Italian genre cinema as a whole, rather than to the giallo exclusively, as it has been sold (and it's really been sold in the marketing and pre-release buzz on the fragmented editing and hypoer-stylised colour palette, the most giallo-esque aspects of the picture).
Posted: Wed Mar 03, 2010 8:35 pm
Oh I do think this is going to be going on for a while.
Giles, I think your lovely comparison of Amer with early Bertolucci is rather nice but I feel it might be a way of channelling Amer into different territory - I still remain resolutely set in my way that Amer is a giallo.
The way we're looking at the film is very rigidly structured - we're looking at it from the genre viewpoint without any room for the time we are now. What I mean is, had Giallo not stopped as a genre (and it has, what we get at the moment is very rare and very rarely good) would it not have evolved?
Take any genre: noir for example or musicals and throughout the times they continue to evolve. Noir becomes neo-noir splinters into future-noir, experimental-noir , hell even horror-noir. Some basic language remains from the films but the final product is completely different to what we could constitute as noir.
So had Giallo continued to evolve - why can't something like Amer come out of it at some point? The story of a woman's sexual perversion , expressed and identified by an 'other', fianlised with a pseudo-sexual attack on the penetrative force whilst exploring the voyeur and the victim - is as giallo as is ever going to get, at least for me.
I can accept not selling the film as a giallo exclusively but I think a disservice is being done to the picture here by trying to deny it its' roots. It'd be like saying Blade Runner could not be noir - because it is , in every android cell of its' structure.
Posted: Thu Mar 04, 2010 10:44 am
Interesting, and a great point. However, I do think there’s a massive disparity between developing and mutating genre to mirror changes in worldview/technology/ narrative ideas, as your theory suggests, and reaching a cul de sac of extremes and a complete immersion in stylistic excess to the point of obfuscation of story. That is to say, you can see people ripping of Blade Runner’s future/tech noir until we all revert to the feudal farming system once the grid goes down and Skynet takes over. But I simply can’t see anyone cueing up to imitate of Amer: it’s a complete one-off, a fusion of so many iconographic styles, intriguing but underdeveloped Lacanian psychoanalysis filtered through deeply personal flourishes and indulgences. It’s not a new genre, in fact it’s the archly intellectual counterpoint to Inglourious Basterds. Just as no one can, or should, really use that picture as a jumping off point for a new and radical direction in war genre cinema -- it’s practically the last word on that kind of integrated, cinephile wish-fulfilment just as Kill Bill was for the revenge genre -- so I think Amer *is* a cul de sac for high-art Italian exploitation.
The giallo *has* mutated, though, you’re right and the reality is, it’s gone mainstream: it’s Basic Instinct, it’s Jade, it’s the Alex Cross pictures and, finally, it’s CSI, Wallander, Steig Larsson…it’s come full circle to what it always was: cosy, Agatha Christie/Edgar Wallace-style murder mysteries. What’s important, however, what made giallo “giallo”, is the basic idea that any “study of crime” is reflected by the society in which they’re produced. So in the USA in the 1930s we had the very prim and playful Thin Man murder mystery pictures; today they’re less concerned with baroque filmmaking aesthetics and more with the social and ethical questions of a more free and permissive modern society, high tech social realism and the procedural end of things and of post-modern character study.
But in Europe in the 1960s and 1970s, the genre were given an exotic twist in the form of a mid-century arthouse explosion of everyone from Fritz Lang and the German auteurs who managed to survive into the sound era through to Antonioni, Renais, all that the French New Wave directors celebrated first in their criticism and then made in their subsequent films. The “classic” giallo film emerged from this time in the early 1960s when an explicit cinephile movement swept the world like never before (and, lest we forget, spawned a new generation of legendary deeply referential filmmakers).
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