Horton, Deckard, Sweeney, Amadeus, and a Red Balloon!

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Listen to Dick Staub, Greg Wright, Jennifer Spohr — and me! — as we discuss Horton Hears a Who, Expelled, Snow Angels, Blade Runner, Sweeney Todd, Once, Amadeus, Flight of the Red Balloon, and Lady Jane on this month’s Kindlings Muse movie podcast.

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  • The Kindlings Muse’s site editor has corrected the erroneous link.


    I *would* have pushed harder on Greg’s “entertainment” comment, given time, because we totally disagree on that point. But yeah, we have to keep our comments very brief at the Kindlings to cover as much ground as we do.

    Yeah, I don’t think “greenlit” really applies. Clearly, cinema is an art form for Mungiu in a way that American moviegoers have a hard time comprehending. “Marketability” isn’t a focus; artistry, truth, beauty, poetry, suggestion… these are the distinctives of great filmmakers like the Dardennes.

    Greg is a good friend and I respect him as a reviewer, but I was surprised by his comments on this film. I think they reveal more about what he considers “entertaining” than they reveal about the film itself.

    People who go to cinema to contemplate an art form rather than to pay moviemakers to keep them awake at the end of a long work week can find a world of fascinating choices in Mungiu’s movie. If somebody looks at the Mona Lisa and says, “Yeah, but Da Vinci had some responsibility to make this an exciting, stimulating piece of work,” then that’s a very narrow view of what visual art should do, and what qualifies as “exciting and stimulating.” I wouldn’t tell W.H. Auden, “I think you should revise your poem because it’s not compelling enough to sell copies at the grocery stand.”

    The more I learn about the way visual art can convey ideas, the more interested I become in films that bore 99% of the audience. They think I’m a snob. But I’m just learning from teachers who work with different lenses and who get excited by what they see through those lenses.

    And having said all that, I’m also surprised by Greg’s comments because there were sequences in 4 Months that drew me to the edge of my seat and scared me as much as any thriller in recent years.

  • longpauses

    Jeff, you might want to let them know that the podcast posted there has nothing to do with Horton, Deckard, Sweeney, Amadeus, or a Red Balloon. Maybe it’s an older episode? You’re talking, instead, about Boleyns, Adams Apples, and Paprika.

    How do you feel about Greg’s position on 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days — that any filmmaker who is working with other peoples’ money is obligated to produce a film that is entertaining (or, more vaguely, Greg’s kind of entertaining)? I was hoping you’d push him a bit harder on that, but the format of the podcast — lots of films in a short time — seems to discourage serious discussion. I haven’t seen 4,3,2 yet, but “How did that film get greenlit?” isn’t a particularly interesting question to ask of the Romanian New Wave, which is probably the most exciting development in foreign cinema in the last three or four years.