Sound On Sight Radio #160 – An Education / Leslie My Name is Evil / The Trotsky

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The Festival de Nouveau Cinéma has begun in earnest, and nobody is more excited than we are. In this hour, Rick, Al and Simon take on a few of the fest’s initial offerings, including the widely praised and Nick Hornby-penned An Education, which is widely considered an Oscar fruntrunner – call it the Atonement slot. We’ll also take a look at Canadian offerings Leslie, My Name Is Evil, a fictionalized take on the Manson family trial, and The Trotsky, a Montreal-set comedy starring Knocked Up‘s Jay Baruchel as a young man who believes himself to be the reincarnation of Leon Trotsky.

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  1. maritn_j says

    yeah, I knew I’d missed something painfully obvious on that one once I turned to my other work — I haven’t seen zentropa in years, but you’re right, The Element of Crime is full of Tarkovsky nods.

    the five obstructions, for what it’s worth, has got to be one of my all-time favorite documentaries (or quasi-docs), and by far von Trier’s most accessible film (probably the only von Trier film I can actually get my non-film-brat friends and/or my mom to watch and hopefully enjoy). Well worth the watch.

  2. Reg says

    I normally don’t engage in pushback on blogs regarding my film, but you guys seem to want to invite it.

    Sorry that you went into an Arcade Fire concert and instead the Gruesomes and Deja Voodoo showed up.

    This is an anti-realist film utilizing camp aesthetics.

    Here is a link that will explain that to you (scroll down):

    As well as this one (about 1/3rd in on this video podcast):

  3. […] on Sight: FNC ‘09 & Antichrist Jump to Comments Episode 160 – FNC ‘09:  The Trotsky, An Education & Leslie, My Name is Evil – I did another double feature on […]

  4. maritn_j says

    fair enough. I definitely agree that he likes to provoke the press, critics, and anyone who might try to interpret his film — his Cannes comment was clearly directed at someone who was pompously insisting that he explain his film. But I do think that the Mirror references do also play a prominent thematic role in this film, which is why he made it a reference point for his actors. If nothing else it does speak to the kind of atmosphere and mood that he was trying to create.
    I’ve got no idea why he chose to use it as such a prominent reference within the film, but it is clear he did. The dedication just drives the point home.
    I’m really curious where you find he borrows from Tarkovsky in his other work. I’ve seen almost all his stuff, including reget, and never found Tarkovsky specifically to be of any real significance. I feel like I might have missed something. The only other place he makes a film in as explicit a response to another director’s work, that I can think of, is The Five Obstructions.

    1. Ricky says

      I have actually never seen the Five Obstructions but as I mentioned during out Element of Crime review, Von Trier tips his hat once or twice to Tarkovsky, starting with the opening shot: a donkey trying to get to its feet like the wounded horse in Andrei Rublev to the long tracking shots to the tone and feel of certain scenes. I wouldn’t say it is present in all his films but most certainly in The Element of Crime and Europa.

  5. maritn_j says

    hey guys, I really liked the second hour.
    As far as the tarkovsky quote at the end — Al’s got a point. Von Trier showed ‘Mirror’ to Dafoe and Gainsbourg in preparation for their roles, and made constant meaningful reference to Mirror within the film (eg. the strange shot of an unnaturally sudden gust of wind through the tall grass is probably the most direct, if not simply the location). And I think all the techniques and elements that call for a kind of reverence and awe in Mirror are exactly the ones that are the made the creepiest and most unsettling in anti-christ — this last point was Ricky’s, and I totally agree that von Trier was also going after the arthouse crowd, using the stylistic devices they’d most likely single out for praise (no matter how gruesome the subject of his film was) to represent the elements that are most directly associated with evil and alienation (other than genitalia). From this angle he’d be suggesting that people who treat cinema as if it were just another religion are alienating and evil.

    1. Ricky says

      Von Trier has always borrowed from Tarkovsky but he never felt the need to dedicate a film to him in the past. Things like this along with him self proclaiming himself to be the best director in the world at the Cannes festival further prove my point that regretless of what you think of the film, you have to agree that he spends just as much time thinking up ways to take jabs at cinephiles, critics and especially the press. That is my only point. I think some people over analyze the film. They over think it while others dismiss it for biased reasons. I don’t really care what the director intended because the two performances by the actors sold the film for me. That’s all I needed.

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