Google+ Cinema Viewfinder: Happy Holidays and a Preview of Things to Come

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy Holidays and a Preview of Things to Come

by Tony Dayoub

First of all, whatever belief system you subscribe to, I wish you and yours a peaceful and safe weekend. I will be taking a short break with my family to visit some loved ones in Los Angeles. In the meantime, I'll still be watching movies (watching the Blu-ray for one of my favorites from last year as you read this, Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, which will be available on Blu-ray and DVD Tuesday, April 6th) so you might see an unexpected review here or there. For those who wish to keep up with the conversation, here are some films you can expect me to cover when I return on April 12th:
Feel free to keep commenting on any reviews already posted. I do read every comment and will be responding as soon as possible throughout my leave.


Mike Lippert said...

Hmmm Summer Hours got the Criterion treatment? I liked it but didn't think it was good enough for Criterion. It's always strange to see which modern movies they will decide to put out but hey, they can put out whatever they want as long as the quality titles keep coming like My Life to Live and the prices keep going down. Have a good one.

Tony Dayoub said...

You didn't think it was good enough for Criterion? That was on my best list for 2008.

Well, part of the reason it is on Criterion is because it's part of the deal where they're releasing IFC films like CHE, A CHRISTMAS TALE, GOMORRAH, HUNGER, etc.

I guess we're even because though I liked GOMORRAH, I wasn't thrilled with it enough for a Criterion special edition, myself.

Sam Juliano said...

Geez, if Mike Lippert doesn't think SUMMER HOURS is good enough for Criterion, then what contemporary film does he think does qualify??? This is one of the greatest films of recent years, as so many of the very best bloggers have attested to with stellar reviews, not to mention (dare I say?) the entire professional establishment. Criterion is lucky to get this masterpiece.

Mike Lippert said...

The entire establishment agrees that Summer Hours is one of the very best of all recent films? That means that every critic who saw it liked it? Which means it should be getting 100% on the two big critics ranking sites? Seems like it's sitting at 92% on Rotten Tomatoes (sorry Tony, I know your feeling on this site) and 84% on Meta Critic. Plus the viewer ratings on IMDB are sitting at 7.1. I'd think a film that has swayed everyone with it's undisputed brillance would be closer to 10 wouldn't you?

I'm not saying that Summer Hours is a bad film, I'm simply saying that, like other great critics like Roger Ebert and J. Hoberman, I found it somewhat minor. I'm sorry for presenting a view that is not the same as yours, I didn't realize that wasn't allowed. I was under the impression that criticism has thrived and remained alive all these years because of the fact that not everyone agrees.

Having read what Tony had written about the film I respect his opinion as all of his work is thoughtful and well written. I do not however buy into the argument that just because some of the "very best" bloggers have loved this film means anyone who doesn't love it is wrong.

As for contemporary films that deserve the Criterion treatment before this one? Everlasting Moments, Shotgun Stories, Balast, Best of Youth, 25th Hour, Man Push Cart, Chop Shop Conversation(s) with Other Women, Dopamine, Keane, Nobody Knows, Russian Ark, Saraband, The Son, L'Enfant, Lorna's Silence. On top of this there are still plenty of Ingmar Bergman movies that have never been released in North America, a couple of Fellini movies and Rchard Linklater's SubUrbia still can't be found on DVD.

I would rather fork out the extra cash for a DVD with the Criterion stamp for any of these films before Summer Hours. I'm sorry you disagree.

Sam Juliano said...

Mike, you are the first (and only) person who has contested this great masterpiece for Criterion treatment, and if any other bloggers venture over to this site on Easter weekend, I'm confident they'll make the same observation. Yeah, that's right. Your comment here is NOT the final word, and I felt incensed enough by the shortsightedness of your posting it in a public forum to mention that every film blogger I've read has praised this film to the rafters, with a number placing it as their #1 of the year, or in their top 5. So basically you're issue is that I brought up the whole of the critical establishment in the blogger world and within the professional ranks.

My bad. Every critic and every blogger out there should back off and let "Mike Lippert's" opinion stand tall. I'm sorry Mike, you seem like an intelligent young man, and you're fairly polite as well, but if you are going to make that statement in a public forum, with a film as celebrated at that one, I simply must call you on it. Criterion did not base they decision on whether YOU liked the choice, but rather on an overwhelming concensus, and I'd say it's one of their most inspired choices ever. I already own the film on Region 2, and will definitely be double dipping here.

You make a point that the film doesn't have a 100% rating, but what film does have a 100% rating? You pose that "prestigious" list of potential Criterions, but not a single one of those has a rating as high as SUMMER HOURS. And while you take extreme issue with a brief e mail that obviously rubbed you the wrong way, you then use Roger Ebert and J. Hoberman as examples of critics who didn't like the film. You make no mention of the fact that SUMMER HOURS captured the trifecta of winning Best Foreign Film from the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of the Film Critics, which I think is the definitive critical word. But I know, Richard Linklater's SUBURBIA is far more important for Criterion treatment. Of course.

(to be continued)

Sam Juliano said...

As far as that list you posed as films "more deserving" than SUMMER HOURS, I'll say first up that EVERLASTING MOMENTS was my #7 film of 2009, and it has actually already been announced for Criterion treatment. I also love teh Dardennes' films and that humanist Japanese gem NOBODY KNOWS, but I could really say the same thing here by saying that the following films deserve the Criterion treatment more than the ones you mention: (I am in the minority with RUSSIAN ARK, but I am humble enough to admit it has an overwhelming regard, so I say the issue is with ME not the film)

Kings and Queen (Despletchin)
Son Frere (Chereau)
The Lives of Others (Von Donnarsm)
Devils on the Doorstep (Wen)
The House of Mirth (Davies)
A Time For Drunken Horses(Ghobadi)
Werchmeister Harmonies (Tarr)
Talk To Her (Almodovar)
Downfall (Hershbiegel)
35 Shots of Rum (Denis)
Far From Heaven (Haynes)
Fateless (Koltai)
Dogville (Von Trier)
The Sweet Hereafter (Egoyan)
Seraphine (Provost)
Moolaade (Sembene)
4 Months 3 Weeks 2 Days (Mungiu)
Fateless (Koltai)
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The Fountain (Aronofsky)
The Maid
Of Time and the City (Davies)
The Pool (Smith)
The Last Mistress (Breillat)
Synchedoche New York (Kaufman)
Inland Empire (Lynch)
Alexandre (Sokorov)
Children of Men (Cuaron)
Tropical Malady (Weerasethakul)
Rat-Trap (Gopalaskrishnan)
Police Adjective
Un Prophete (Audiard)
2046 (Kar-Wei)
Cache (Haneke)
Syndromes and a Century (Weerasethakul)
Assassination of Jesse James (Dominick)
Pan's Labyrinth (Cuaron)
The Ister (Barrison, Ross)
Crimson Gold (Panahi)

And there are a number of others that would be ideal candidates for the Criterion treatment from the contemporary period. But we know these are fantasies here, as a bevy of reasons won't allow such a gleeful development.

But of all the recent decision-making at the Voyager company, the decision to go with Assayas' masterpieces is frankly one of their finest hours.

I'm sorry you disagree.

Sam Juliano said...

Gus Van Sant's ELEPHANT and the wonderful Irish gem ONCE would be nice additions to the collection too.

But Mike, what exactly do you mean by this statement here:

"On top of this there are still plenty of Ingmar Bergman movies that have never been released in North America"

What do you mean by "plenty?" Bergman (who is my own personal favorite director of all-time) has been comprehensively served on region 1 on DVD, and completists have no doubt celebrated. The "plenty" that you note here is only FACE TO FACE (which has a long running rights issue and never even appeared on laserdisc) and THE MAGICIAN, which I understand we may see within the next year. But aside from those two, there is nothing of any consequence unrepresented on these shores. I do love SUMMER WITH MONIKA and ILLICIT INTERLUDE, but the all-Region Tartans are negotiable on North American players, so in effect that have been released for worldwide consumers, including North American ones. Similarly the all-Regions of MARIONETTES and THE SERPENT'S EGG are also on these shores in that Tartan series, and are easily obtainable cheaply.

What we have of course is nearly the entire kitten kaboodle for Bergman lovers:

Wild Strawberries (Criterion)
The Seventh Seal (Criterion)
Through A Glass Darkly (Criterion)
The Silence (Criterion)
Winter Light (Criterion)
The Virgin Spring (Criterion)
Sawdust and Tinsel (Criterion)
Smiles of a Summer Night(Criterion)
The Magic Flute (Criterion)
Cries and Whispers (Criterion)
Fanny and Alexander (Criterion)
Persona (MGM/UA)
Shane (MGM/UA)
Hour of the Wolf (MGM/UA)
The Passion of Anna (MGM/UA)
Torment (Eclipse)
Crisis (Eclipse)
Port of Call (Eclipse)
Thirst (Eclipse)
To Joy (Eclipse)

Geez, what's your beef? What's really left of any consequence at this point for North American and worldwide consumers? And no significant Fellini is MIA at this point either. I know, that was an April's Fool's Day joke, right?

Hey Mike, Happy Easter to you and yours!!

Sam Juliano said...

And there are a few more I neglected to include too, every single one of which I own,like so many other bloggers.

Scenes From A Marriage (Criterion)
Saraband (Sony)
Autumn Sonata (Criterion)

At this point we should be thinking about the absence of Sjostrom's THE WIND, Vidor's THE CROWD and THE BIG PARADE, Von Stroheim's GREED, Sjostrom's THE SCARLET LETTER and HE WHO GETS SLAPPED and a bunch of other silent gems that continue to be MIA on legitimate DVD release (though VHS to DVD conversions are easily enough to manage) before we aim our thoughts at a virtually completed negotiation of Ingmar Bergman and Federico Fellini on DVD.

Back to SUMMER HOURS: In addition to Tony Dayoub's impassioned and brilliant commentary on the blog for Assayas's film I would point to three reviews of the film that were wholly extraordinary. One is by Joel Bocko at THE SUN'S NOT YELLOW and WONDERS IN THE DARK, Ed Howard at ONLY THE CINEMA and Craig Kennedy at LIVING IN CINEMA. It was Kennedy's #1 film of the year.

Needless to say it finished in my own Top 10 as well.

Yeah, I know I'm being a bully here, but this great film deserves every aggression I can muster.

Mike Lippert said...

Sam, your passion for this film is inspiring but does not change in my mind that it is minor. Did I say I didn't like it? Nope, I only said that I didn't think it was Criterion worthy. And if you read my original statement, that's exactly what I said: That (I) didn't think so. I didn't say that Criterion has now lessened their brand, that they should have consulted me first, that this product should be boycotted. Nope, I only said I thought the movie was minor. I also encouraged its release saying that, if the release of contemporary films continues to promote the brand while driving prices down, all the better. I have no idea where you got that I put my foot down and deemed my opinion of the film more worthy simply because it exists in the minority. If others think it is a major work than I am glad they have found some joy in it that I did not and would gladly read and respect their entitlement to their opinions, including yours if you have a review of it out there somewhere.

Mike Lippert said...

Another thing, the comment about Fellini was not an April fool's joke. Being my favourite filmmaker there is nothing I would love more than to own copies of Casanova, The Clowns and The Voice in the Moon, be they minor or not.

Sames goes for Bergman. I don't care if the majority of his major work has been released in North America, as a completist I want copies of :

After the Rehersal
All These Women
Brink of Life
Devil's Eye
Devil's Wanton
Face to Face
It Rains on Our Love
A Lesson in Love
The Magician
Music in Darkness
The Rite
Secrets of Women
Ship Bound for India
Summer Interlude
This Can't Happen Here
The Touch

Or did you forget about those ones?

One another note, every critic on every blog on the internet has loved this film? I think this is a case of someone being blinded by love. You've let your hyperbole get the best of you.

Here's a review from PA Editor's Blog:

I especially agree with the last line: Looking for a lighthearted film with a little bit of seriousness, this is the film for you. Too bad, it could have been a more significant film.

The writer of Static Fix didn't seem to love it either:

Or were these two blogs not count because they are not part of the blog elite who all deemed Summer Hours an undisputed masterpiece?

But now we're just splitting hairs and wasting time. So on one final note, I must say that, you say my opinion here has been short-sighted. To be honest, of course it is. I didn't come here to this blog to write my own personal review in the comments section. If I wanted to review Summer Hours I have my own blog for that. I'm sorry you took such offense that you needed to fill up 4 comment boxes just trying to negate it but really, it was an off-the-cuff comment that refered simply to my own personal feelings and nothing more.

Sam Juliano said...


I did indeed take exception to what you said. And yes, I most certainly DID fill up four comment boxes on an Easter Sunday where I should rightfully be upstairs with my five kids in this gorgeous weather. But you made a statement at a public forum, making an assertion that I strongly condemn. Sorry, but you are fair game. Don't bother sending me links to the extreme minority. I can send you a recent review of a blogger who hated CITIZEN KANE! The point is I can send you tons of links to the contrary, and you conveniently ignored the awards it won from the NY, LA and NSOFC, which really says it all on that front. I did not take your comment as "off the cuff" at all, it was a provocative insult to tasteful movie lovers, and I responded in kind.

As far as the Bergamn responses, please, don't even go there. ALL REGION DVDs are available of these on Tartan!!!!

After the Rehersal
All These Women
Devil's Eye
Devil's Wanton
A Lesson in Love
The Magician
Music in Darkness
Secrets of Women
Summer Interlude
The Touch

The few others there are minor beyond even the aspirations of the world's most fervant Bergman fanatics, and have not yet made it to DVD, which in the large sphere is no great catastrophe. What we want and need from Bergman is with us now, with the exception of those two I originally mentioned, one of which is on Tartan anyway. So it's really FACE TO FACE only!!!

Sam Juliano said...

"I didn't say that Criterion has now lessened their brand, that they should have consulted me first, that this product should be boycotted."

Aye, Mike, aye. I thought it was oobvious I was employing deliberate sarcasm when I made the assertions I did to pound home my point. You are obviously bothered enough to respond in kind. Fair enough.

Tony Dayoub said...

Wow, who would think such an innocuous post would create such turmoil? I've been following this argument while on vacation, so I haven't been able to step in as soon as I would have liked, but here are my two cents.

Sam, of course, your references to the critical consensus opens you up to many of the attacks that Mike has lobbed at you. Though you and I are in complete agreement about the importance of SUMMER HOURS, as I've said before, this argument is a crutch because it misses the point. If Mike considers the film is minor, and you disagree, then I would hope you would use the text of the film, or even specific text from the critical consensus you refer to in order to illustrate why this film is definitely not to be dismissed.

That being said, Mike, it seems that you took a lot of Sam's attacks on your critical acumen quite personally. Part of the fun in talking about film is to debate it. Simply arguing tit-for-tat is dumb. We must have thicker skins than this.

I think it was in extremely poor form of you, Mike, to move this argument over to your own blog, where Sam was less likely to respond (because he probably doesn't even know it exists), and turn it into an ad hominem attack. Twisting Sam's own admission, "I most certainly DID fill up four comment boxes on an Easter Sunday where I should rightfully be upstairs with my five kids in this gorgeous weather," into your reductive and mean-spirited attack, "Apperently [sic] while he was neglecting his five children on Easter Sunday to argue a worthless point with me..." This kind of cruelty is uncalled for when discussing something trivial like a film.

Your attack on Wonders in the Dark, Sam's blog, is also short-sighted. It is a much more influential and popular blog than yours (not an insult, simply a fact backed up by numbers... just compare your respective Google PageRanks). I'm sure that wouldn't give me license to call your fledgling blog "Mickey Mouse" the way you attacked his as being elitist. If anything, devoting a post on your blog to this silly kerfuffle undermines your position. Comparing your argument to debates between the esteemed Jim Emerson and the equally estimable Jonathan Rosenbaum is just pure self-aggrandizement.

In short, if each of you want to argue whether this work is major or minor, I would love the discussion to focus on the qualities of the film that support each of your respective arguments. Both of you know I'm of the opinion that SUMMER HOURS is of importance. My review spells out why. I still don't know after reading these 12 comments why either of you feel the way you do about the film.

Sam Juliano said...

Tony: This is moderation of the highest order, and I am deeply appreciative for so much of what you say here, in addition to the exceedingly kind words about Wonders in the Dark. My deepest apologies to you too for being so outspoken; but alas you know me too well. While I'll admit I didn't know until I read your response here that Mike had carried this over to his blog (apparently looking for the same 'stamp of approval' and leverage' that he accuses me of when I refer to criticisms) I must admit I am stunned that he would resort to such an attack, bringing in some personal observations. I thought comments I made at this blog would stay here, and didn't expect to be exploited at another place. I can excuse that as a simple matter of Mike being 24 years old, (compared to my ripe old 55 years) but it does seems to be exceedingly bad sportsmanship. I will do no such thing at my place, though one of my fellow teachers claimed he would comment at Mike's place after I jokingly showed him the post over there. I must admit that being called a 'deuce bag' by a kid I've never met, is the sad side of personal loyalty. Mike seems to think that by posting what he did makes him 'in the right.' Well, I will certainly be back here later today with specifications of my personal love for SUMMER HOURS and my responses to the latest round of attacks he initiated at his blog.

It's funny, but being the old emotional Italian-American that I am, I was actually going to visit Mike's blog today and offer him some encouragement and commentary at whatever post he had showcasing, as I felt terribly bad over yesterday's Easter contentiousness. But he beat me to the punch with this unexpected attack on his home turf.

Stephen said...

Sam, I don't see the need to foam at the mouth whenever someone dislikes a film that you like.

Nothing is set in stone. Mike called Criterion's choice into question in a simple inoffensive way. I do not see what the problem is. I can understand being passionate (which I'm not) about film but not tyrannical.

I'm sorry Tony but there are too many discussions that turn personal or aggressive on the internet.

I'll be trying to see the film soon. When I do I'll try not to beat other people over the head with my opinion of it.

"I can send you a recent review of a blogger who hated CITIZEN KANE!"

I think I know the one.

Sam Juliano said...

Stephen, excuse me for being "passionate." I 'foam at the mouth' in much the same way that you 'spill vitrol' when you DON'T like something. Have you ever looked back at some of the nastiness that appear in your reviews where the establishment seems to embrace something. You have your own serious issues, which I won't even waste my time reiterating, but you're barging in here the way you did just now and opposing me the way you did tells me more than I really need to know about you.

Of course you conveniently ignored the entire follow-up matter here of the dfiscussion here being exploited on Mike's blog. But of course you wouldn't want to say anything in my favor, when in fact I do think that serious demonstration of bad taste has eclipsed the argument here by a long distance.

Stephen said...

"Stephen, excuse me for being "passionate." I 'foam at the mouth' in much the same way that you 'spill vitrol' when you DON'T like something."

My vitriol, as you choose to call it, is directed at films, not people or opinions.

"...but you're barging in here the way you did just now and opposing me the way you did tells me more than I really need to know about you."

It isn't barging in. It is an open discussion. I felt that I wanted to defend the rights of people to give their opinions and not be squashed for it. I think it's OK to shoot down an opinion but not bring down the person with it.

You can draw whatever conclusions you like about me from a comment that is asking for a bit of moderation and acceptance.

'Bad taste' doesn't really exist in the abstract. I don't want to take sides and so whatever Mike has put on his blog isn't really pertinent. What I did want was a bit of consideration for differing opinions.

Sam Juliano said...

I'm back.

Let me go back to the beginning. When Mike Lippert made this statement:
"Hmmm Summer Hours got the Criterion treatment? I liked it but didn't think it was good enough for Criterion."
--he opened himself up for an opposing view. When he passes a judgement on Criterion artistic compatibility, he then frees up people like myself to make overt reference to other critics and critics groups, who after all are the ones en masse who will much of the time sway Criterion's resolve outside of the company's "comittment" to IFC, which still might not come to fruition if the proposed venture isn't accepted by Voyager as artistically promising. Having said that however, we know that Criterion has also gone the dubious route of ARMEGEDDON and THE ROCK. My original response to Mike, which truthfully was just as innocuous and brief as his orginal comment, was that many important critics' group loved the film, a statement I stand by. These critics' groups are far more significant in deciding the film's DVD fate here than the dissenting view of a single blogger. I was not attempting to invalidate Mike's opinion, nor to say that he should blindly follow the majority, but rather that the huge majority thought it an excellent choice, a position I strongly supported myself. When I riginally read that statement by Mike, I was literally floored, and I came out smoking. I'll admit that's the way I am. I am that way with my closest friends too, but it never affected our loving relationships. It's more a facet of my emotional, Italian-American demeanor. But when Mike went back with the longer e mail, then I felt the desire to respond in kind.

As far as Mike's erroneous contention that I "follow" the critics, the evidence doesn't remotely support a contention.

I disliked GOMORRAH, INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS, A CHRISTMAS TALE, GREENBERG, MOTHER, BEESWAX, THE HEADLESS WOMAN and numerou sother films over the last few years, while liking a number of others that the critics hated. I would say I agree with the majority no more than 50% of the time scanning through my diary here. Still, I will use a situation for "leverage" when I want to make some kind of a point, which is what I did here. Tony Dayoub is right though, when he says that it's far more important to know what "I" thought of the film, and unfortunately I did not write a full review for the film, instead option for a much shorter summart assessment in my "Best of 2009" post in early January. But I'll gather my thoughts on the next comment here.

(to be continued)

Sam Juliano said...

Stephen you and I have different philosophies on human relations and loyalty. Your aversion to my question of the bad taste of the 'blog overlap' proves one-sidedness here. There wasn't anyone pressuring you to contribute here, and even if your position was as you described, I would have expected some respect from you.

I have always supported you and included you on my blogroll, and have spoken well of so much of what you do. The least you could have done was play fair here.

With all due respect, as of today I am permanently ending any further affiliation with you. I wish you the best, but I would prefer if you stay away.

To be honest for all the contentiouness, I respect Mike Lippert far more than I do you, as at least at his site he has loyal followers, who in part are motivated to an affinity for the person. I admire that, and have similar contributors at my place. You could have said nothing. there was no pressure for you to comment, knowing the depth of the argument here, and knowing me well as far as the internets will allow.
In this sense, I foresee a reconciliation with Mike, and renewed respect for Tony Dayoub, whom I've always admired anyway, while your activity here has left the worst taste in my mouth imaginable.

Stephen said...

"I would have expected some respect from you."

It's because I have respect for you that I felt the need to say something here.

You are one of the better more knowledgeable writers around here only sometimes I think you go over the top in your hectoring of other people. I wanted you to play fair, to use your words.

Sam Juliano said...

By why Stephen, why pray tell did you not at least say something, anything, about the blog overlap?

Why did you oppose me completely and open the way you did?

I am a hard-driven guy when I love a film (and I don't always agree with the critics either) and you know my style is a vigorous, albeit sometimes an unreasonable method.

Can't we just respect people for the way they are and how they handle things?

Sam Juliano said...

Marilyn Ferdinand didn't care all that much for SUMMER HOURS, and Ms. Ferdinand is surely one of the internet's finest writers--finest, with a capital F. I didn't bring this here to this discussion, as I was trying to build a case of "numbers" for the legitimacy of a Criterion DVD release.

I wanted Mike to know that his position was in an extreme minority in this decision, as he volunteered here his own increduality, for whatever that is worth. it was a conscious strategy that I often employ in making arguments. But as Tony Dayoub has reluctantly admitted to me, it's not a very popular way of going about things in the blogging circles.

Sam Juliano said...

Summer Hours pays homage to the great Ozu, in a year when more than one French director has honored the Japanese icon. As family members share a summer holiday in their uncle Paul Berthier’s rural house, elderly Hélène (Edith Scob) discusses the future with her son Frédéric (Charles Berling), an economist. Over the years, her brother amassed an extraordinary collection of furniture, pottery and artifacts, to say nothing of his own artwork and journals. But much of the collection, like the house itself, needs restoration that her children can’t afford.

Frédéric’s brother Jérémie (Jérémie Rénier) is considering moving to China to work, while their sister Adrienne (Juliette Binoche), a designer, has been living in New York. Their decision about what to do with the estate is forced on them sooner than expected. Should they try to hold the collection together, or should they disperse their family heirlooms to museums and auction houses?

A basic plot synopsis makes Summer Hours seem like a stereotypical French film, one filled with wine, cigarettes and endless talk. But the themes Assayas raises have more widespread appeal. For example, each character approaches art in a different manner. For Eloïse (Isabelle Sadoyan), Hélène’s longtime housekeeper, a vase is simply an object of beauty; for Jérémie, it might finance his relocation, and further separation from his siblings. For Frédéric, it represents the history of his family, something he senses is slipping away. But how can one remain loyal to a family that no longer shares a purpose or direction? It's a fleeting elegy to the past, an acknowledgement of global change, of multi-national integration. (the ending with the partying teenagers in gateway to the present and future and a death knell to the past) It's a poignant examination of the value of the material things, of furniture, of paintings and decor, and these inform a general philosophy of life filtered through fractured familial relationships.

Lastly, in the tradition of Ingmar Bergman it's about the encroahment of death, of of things left undone and unrealized, and of just how fleeting life is.

Through poetic, indellibly lovely images Mr. Assayas imbues his universal story with a rapturous melancholy, beautifully lit with a classical palette, a perfect match for the high standards of Criterion.

Mike Lippert said...

I think, as one final word, the entire point of my original post has been hugely misunderstood by everyone except Tony. When I say I felt the film was not Criterion worthy it is not simply because I feel it to be minor, but also because there are plenty of great films out there that have no home on any North American DVD format. Therefore, it seems silly to me to release a modern film that already exists on non-Criterion DVD, when something like Linklater's SubUrbia as never been on DVD period. I'd be perfectly content owning a non-Criterion version of Summer Hours or Gomorrah or Che or Benjamin Button if Criterion was focusing on getting films into my hands that are in desperate need of a DVD release like said Bergman or Fellini films. Can you Sam, really say that you'd rather have Summer Hours with the Criterion stamp, especially since you already own the film, when other great films have either never been on DVD or gone out of print, especially when the film in question has barely been on DVD for a year? That's all I was originally trying to say and maybe it's my fault that that idea didn't come across, but I figured it was implied by my final statement in which I said I accept films like Summer Hours coming out as long as they continue to put out films like My Life to Live which has been out of print for some time now.

Sam Juliano said...

Mike, although I own that Region 2 DVD of SUMMER HOURS, I still would prefer to have the Criterion treatment of the film than a number of the ones you add. For me the film is THAT great. But generally speaking, I would prefer to bring out newer stuff that hasn't been given proper or any treatment, so the gist of your position here is sound. In fact the entire last comment here by you was quite excellent, I'll readily admit it.

Stephen said...


I can admit that I may have been blunt in my dissatisfaction with your approach. I was patronising in a Schoolmaster way.

When I see someone who I think is being too aggressive or harsh (ESPECIALLY if I have interacted with them cordially in the past) I say something. Maybe you think I should have kept my nose out and that's fine.

I did not mention Mike's behaviour because I have not 'talked' to him before. I was trying (stupidly and maybe rudely) to moderate you. Your opinions are strong and intelligent but I feel you undermine them in the way you put them forward so 'forcefully'. Didn't you do to me precisely what Mike did - i.e. publish a post holding me and my Citizen Kane review up to ridicule?

If my brother or a good friend was acting in a way I thought over the top I would tell him.

I apologise if you do not think it was my place. The worst I have done is ask for better behaviour. As I have said before - I only attack films. I don't mean to attack people. If you saw it as an attack then I'm sorry.

That's life and the perils of internet conversations.

MovieMan0283 said...

Stephen, I'll jump in here just for a moment to make a clarification. Since I linked up to that piece of Sam's you mention it probably behooves me to justify it. I think the difference with Sam's post-CK piece was that he used the disagreement with you as a springboard to launch into a broader point, one I found very compelling and very relevant to the blogosphere (Mike, for better or worse, just rehashed the conversation itself and offered his thoughts on it). Now, the discussion admittedly got sidetracked in the comments where people ganged up on you, but I don't think the piece itself was primarily an attack piece (also Sam knew you'd see it, as you read his blog).

Otherwise you have some points about Sam's strategy, though your interjection was poorly timed and conceived. Hopefully you guys can work this out, or else move on with minimal bad feeling.

Apropos of nothing, I'm still trying to figure out what screen-cap I should seek for your "gallery" piece. You really laid down the gauntlet there!

Stephen said...

Thanks MovieMan.

You're right. I shouldn't have jumped in the way I did. I got a little over-heated myself.

As for your image, I can't wait.

Sam Juliano said...

Thanks all.

I know well how my "strategy" was ill-conceived, but this isn't the first time I've tried to gage the general concensus in trying to monitor an opinion which in this instance was to validate the decision of a DVD company to move forward on a release. When I have passionate feelings for a film I do go to the mat. There never was anything personal here, and as I stated previously I wa srubbed wrong by Mike's origina statement, which seemed to be rather blunt and condescending.

But I think we have resolved everything here,and again I thank Tony Dayoub for his deft navigation of what has surely turned into a soap opera of allegations, contentious crossfire and gooey apologies. Ha! He's probably thinking to himself: Why do I even bother.

From my own end I have made my peace with Mike and have completely balked on my threat to Stephen, who is again in my good graces. I rarely stay angry for more than a few hours, and I am most satisfied with his responses here. I will continue to visit and comment at his site as I will here at Cinema Viewfinder.

Movie Man, as always I salute you for your perceptive and rationale clarifications, and your kind words and support.

Burning Reels said...

Wow, who'd have thought such a small post like this would create such melodrama:)

I also found Summer Hours to be good rather than great but it has many admirers so should be a decent addition. Gomorrah on the other hand is not the greatest of choices.

After the fun of The Bad Lieutenant, would love to see Cage and Herzog work together again.