11 posts categorized "Neo-Realism"

June 16, 2024

WORKING GIRLS — THE CRITERION COLLECTION

Welcome!

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Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel. Punk heart still beating.

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ColeSmithey.comLizzie Borden's third film, behind "Regrouping" (1979) and "Born In Flames" (1983), is a perfect chamber-piece of neo-realist social satire.

The film's feminist trappings of an '80s era Manhattan brothel provides the frame for a piercing commentary on the effects of American capitalism on women.

"Working Girls" could easily be adapted to be a modernday Broadway play.

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It would be a sensation for its timeless qualities of social, sexual, and economic truth.

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Molly (Louise Smith), a professional photographer, lives with her lesbian girlfriend when she isn't working as a sex worker in a Manhattan brothel run by a domineering madam.

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"Have you ever heard of surplus value?"

That theme line shoots like a sharp political dart when a character speaks it.

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“All workers create more value at work than they receive in wages. The extra surplus value goes into the boss’s pocket as profit.”

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Surplus value is "the surplus produced over and above what is required to survive, which is translated into profit in capitalism. Since the capitalist pays a laborer for his/her labor, the capitalist claims to own the means of production, the worker's labor-power, and even the product that is thus produced."

Female hands hold cups of coffee, count money, and remove cum-filled condoms.

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Everyone chisels; there is no place to hide.

Not Rated. 93 mins.

5 Stars

Cozy Cole

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October 11, 2023

BREAKING THE WAVES — SHOCKTOBER!

ColeSmithey.comColeSmithey.comWelcome!

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does. This ad-free website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon.

Thanks a lot acorns!

Your kind generosity keeps the reviews coming!

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ColeSmithey.comColeSmithey.com

ColeSmithey.comIt's impossible to know when you are watching film like "Breaking the Waves" that you are witnessing the high watermark of a filmmaker's career.

Made shortly after Lars von Trier (he added the "von" himself) co-authored with Thomas Vinterberg the strident "Dogme 95 Manifesto" for low-budget filmmaking, "Breaking the Waves" comes with a clarity of vision and social urgency that is an assault on the senses and the intellect. Von Trier leaves no stone unturned.

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In her breakout performance Emily Watson plays Bess McNeill, a simple-minded Scottish, Calvinist churchgoer who marries Jan Nyman (Stellan Skarsgard), and oil rig worker who suffers a terrible accident that leaves him paralyzed. Bess McNeill's worldview is hampered by the religious indoctrination she has gone through.

Intimate conversations with God, in which Bess takes on both roles, provide insight into her sincere but ill-conceived thought process. Nonetheless, the love that Jan and Bess share is real as her imagination brings her to God. 

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When Jan urges Bess to go out and have sex with other men and report back to him her carnal experiences, she takes Jan's wishes beyond the realm of common sense. In her mind Bess is helping cure Jan from his dire circumstance.

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Cinematographer Robby Muller’s documentary shooting style favors intimate close-ups to reveal characters’ inner emotional lives. Muller captures Scotland’s rugged atmosphere as a supporting character to the Shakespearian tragedy on hand.

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Although fiercely criticized for its shaky handheld camerawork, the technique gives the film an ungrounded sensibility of floating on roiling waves. Naturally, film and television industries coopted von Trier’s technique so much so that it doesn’t stand out at all.

The film's seven-acts are marked by colorful postcard chapter headings accompanied by songs such as Mott The Hopple's "All the Way From Memphis" for Chapter One — Bess Gets Married or Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road" to announce Chapter Six.

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Lars von Trier makes a clever attack on organized religion that resonates with Bunuel's famous line, "I'm an atheist, thank God." Emily Watson gives an angelic if earth-shattering performance that is transgressive, cathartic, and viscerally painful.

Here is a film that makes you feel like you've read the novel, seen the movie, and lived the life of a protagonist more empathetic than any other. You just might need a stiff drink afterward but you will have witnessed one of the best films of all time. 

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Rated R. 159 mins.

5 StarsColeSmithey.com ColeSmithey.comCozy Cole

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January 13, 2022

TANGERINE

ColeSmithey.comJaw-dropping neo-realism.

Writer/director Sean Baker is our modern equivalent to the great John Cassavetes. 

For all of the easy access to smartphones with excellent video cameras, only Sean Baker is making anything this impactful on an iPhone 5S.

Get real.

"Tangerine" is a good litmus test for a date movie.

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Only two kinds of people, hypocrites or narcissists. Take into account that a narcissist is someone who refuses to admit they're a hypocrite; we are all hypocrites, every one of us.  

Rated R. 88 mins.

5 StarsBMOD COLE2

COLE SMITHEY

Groupthink doesn't live here, critical thought does.

This website is dedicated to Agnès Varda and to Luis Buñuel.

Get cool rewards when you click on the button to pledge your support through Patreon. Thanks a lot pal!

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