Film Bitch History
Oscar History
Welcome

The Film Experience™ was created by Nathaniel R. Gemini, Cinephile, Actressexual. All material herein is written and copyrighted by Nathaniel or a member of our team as noted.

 

Powered by Squarespace
Don't Miss This!
Comment Fun

RIP Peter Fonda 

"He should've totally won the Oscar for his sensitive and subtle turn in Ulee's Gold" - Claran

"You're right, it is hard to look beyond Easy Rider in most assessments of his career, so it's great to hear more about these other films..." -Edward

Keep TFE Strong

We're looking for 500... no 461 Patron SaintsIf you read us daily, please be one.  Your suscription dimes make an enormous difference. Consider...

I ♥ The Film Experience

THANKS IN ADVANCE

Interviews

Directors of For Sama


recent
Lulu Wang (The Farewell)
Ritesh Batra (Photograph)
Schmidt & Abrantes (Diamantino)
Wanuri Kahiu (Rafiki)
Jia Zhang-ke (Ash is Purest White)

What'cha Looking For?
Subscribe

Entries in 3 Women (7)

Saturday
Jul092016

Tweetweek: Citizen Kane, Odd Marquees, New Arrivals

I have to begin this week's tweet roundup with this amazing find from Scott Feinberg - a press clipping about Citizen Kane on Oscar night and the room reaction to every mention of the film.

 

Crazy, right? The politics of the moment are always so hard to properly contextualize after the fact when it comes to art that endures.

More entertainment tweets ahead but first a joyous announcement from our friend and podcast mate Katey Rich...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May262015

Beauty Break: "Cinema Without People"

My favorite tumblr of the moment is called Cinema Without People which collects images from movies without the characters in them. Sometimes it's a perfect reminder of the skill of production designers, art directors, and set decorators such as the Goldfinger set.

(One of my favorite awards stats is the different ways that BAFTA and Oscar treat James Bond films and BAFTA rightly nominated this one for Art Direction.)

Other times it reminds you of great storytelling, auteur quirks, or the characters themselves through their very absence. It's nearly always haunting and beautiful. The very shy "about" portion of the tumblr simply declares that it was made with love for introvert film fans. I am not an introvert but I can still feel the love.

After the jump 10 more images that caught my eye that I just loved...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
May062014

Visual Index ~ 3 Women's Best Shots

Given that 3 Women is a different picture every time I lay eyes on it, I'm dying to see what other people see in it, too. Thus, this brilliantly strange atypical Robert Altman is an ideal film for Hit Me With Your Best Shot, wherein everyone is welcome to choose what they think of as the "best shot" from the pre-selected film.  Find out what others saw in this picture by clicking on the photos to read the corresponding articles at these fine blogs.

11 BEST SHOTS FROM 3 WOMEN (1977)

They float about as a pair throughout the film as creepily as those cinematic twins in another Shelley Duvall classic...
-The Film's The Thing 

She tries it on for size, decides she's gotten enough, and goes on her merry way... 
-Dancin Dan on Film

 

A magnificent construction that highlights all of these themes while subtly foreshadowing what will happen later in the film...
-The Entertainment Junkie 

I’m a sucker for shots involving reflections, so I find this one very beautiful...
- Coco Hits NY 

The film opens in a sort of dream space and never quite leaves even as many sequences (especially in the first hour or so) seem fairly straight forward...  
-Musings and Stuff 


I would attend the hell out of one of Millie's dinner parties...
- Stranger Than Most 

"Persona 2: One More Woman Makes 3"
-Best Shot in the Dark  

Point #2 is that this is the exact moment where the distinction between Millie and Pinky starts to break down...
- Antagony & Ecstasy 

Dreams can't hurt ya."
-Intifada 


Millie, singular and perpetually out of place Millie, with twins both literal and figurative...
- The Film Experience 

 

I'm still trying to wrap my head around this creepy, disturbing film...
- Film Actually  

Next on Hit Me With Your Best Shot
Michelangelo Antonioni's Blow-Up (1966) 

Tuesday
May062014

"We don't like the twins" - On Robert Altman's 3 Women (1977)

I've seen 3 Women exactly 3 times. Look at me all numeriffic. Each time it shapes-shift fluidly like its still half submerged in the embryonic waters of pools, aquariums, nursing home baths, and dream floods that keep engulfing the women, particularly Sissy Spacek as "Pinky" (or "Mildred" depending on how you read the picture). She's the most permeable of them all.

Permeable, maybe, but never painlessly transforming; if the movie camera had never discovered Sissy Spacek's face in various stages of psychotic breaks (see also Carrie) it would have missed its calling entirely. 

The first time I saw the film it was like looking a crystal clear umbillical cord between Persona (1966) and Mulholland Dr (2001). The second time it was a singular experience, untethered to other films from my favorite genre (Women Who Lie To Themselves™) and played as a remarkable feat of interiority and actressing (Shelley Duvall won "Best Actress" at Cannes and that jury deserves a prize of its own for going there.). With this third screening 3 Women morphed into a messy horror comedy, a pitch black and deeply uncomfortable but still funny horror comedy about social autism, menstrual cycles, and the terrors of having no center and no support system to reinforce your youness. Follow?

Whichever film 3 Women is while you're watching it, it's impossible to miss its obsession with twins.

We don't like the twins. You'll learn about them soon enough"

Or, I'd argue more emphatically, its obsession with triplets; two identical, one fraternal. Though Altman's undervalued picture spends most of its time with the odd twosome of Millie (Duvall) and Pinky (Spacek) and though Pinky's initial trajectory seems to be very Single White Female in her urge to be with (or just be?) Millie, we're almost always dealing with triplets; the third is easy to miss, never identical and nearly always silent. Whether we're looking at actual twins (unfriendly blondes Polly & Peggy) or one woman reflected who appears to be two, or two women who appear to be three or four (reflections galore and too many images to screencap) or an actual rarer three-shot of the film's stars there's always some sort of triangulation going on when the image is placed in its narrative context.

Which is why my choice for "Best Shot" multiplies the multiples yet further and encapsulates absolutely everything that's so rich and weirdly specific yet vaguely disconnected about Millie and the movie itself. Millie has just been displaced from her own bedroom by Pinky when she returns to work and talks about nothing but Pinky.

I think she'll be back to work next week. The doctors really thought she was going to die. What's worse there could have been brain damage! 

Millie, singular and perpetually out of place Millie (note how Duvall towers over the other women like some absurd weed that needs pruning), trails her oblivious co-workers down the hallway in a continuous shot, talking non-stop as she does for the entire film. No one is listening despite her dramatic flourishes. Each of them are paired with their twin, literal or figurative ("Doris the Chinese one - she and I are best friends") shutting Millie out entirely. The last line as the undifferentiated women begin to dissipate out of the shot is brilliantly apt. It starts out all inclusive before it shuts someone out with its casually exclusive desperation. It's as lonely as Millie's foldout bed outside the now shuttered bedroom door. 

She asked about each and everyone one of you... especially the twins."

There's every reason to believe that Millie didn't like Pinky as her perpetual shadow/other before the medical drama. But now she's alone again. And what could be worse than that?

More 3 Women?
Here's a Visual Index of all the "Hit Me With Your Best Shot" entries 'round the web. 

Oscar Shut-Out
Oscar voters had no time at all for 3 Women despite their fondness for Altman in the 1970s. I'd gladly hand it nominations for Actress, Director, and Art Direction for starters. In fact, an early aborted mental draft of this article was entirely about the art direction. 

Programming Note
One change in the upcoming schedule. I didn't realize that Warner Bros / DC had chosen an official day for Batman's 75th (the date of his birth is complicated) so we'll postpone that Batman-related Best shot episode until July in the second half of this season

 

Thursday
May012014

"You're going to be the patient, and I'm going to take you in"

Millie: Okay, now what's wrong with ya? 
Pinky: Nuthin'
Millie: Well there's gotta be something wrong with ya."
Meet Millie (Shelley Duvall, Cannes Best Actress Winner / BAFTA Best Actress Nominee) and Pinky (Sissy Spacek). You won't ever forget them once you do. Join us Tuesday night when Hit Me With Your Best Shot looks at Robert Altman's 3 Women (1977). It's available on Netflix Instant Watch, Amazon Instant, and iTunes. Watch it, choose a shot, and play along!
Thursday
Sep222011

Distant Relatives: Persona and Mulholland Drive

Robert here with the first entry in Season 2 of Distant Relatives, the series that explores the connections between one classic and one contemporary film. This week we feature a request by Nathaniel himself. Feel free to make your own requests in the comments.

Two movies about two women

When Mulholland Drive was released to perplexed but ecstatic reviews in 2001, and then again when it was being declared the best film of the decade in many places nine years later, there were few mentions of a film that seems to be an obvious influence: Ingmar Bergman's Persona. Perhaps that's because the actual influence is as indefinable as the two films themselves. The Wikipedia entry on Persona shares a few non-specific sentences about its influence on Mulholland Drive paired with a note demanding a source for this information. So how do we know these films are related? Well they certainly seem like they should be. Both are about two women living together under unusual circumstances, one sick, the other a caregiver. In both cases, at least one of the women is an actress. Both films show a general degredation of these women's relationships. So why weren't more people blathering about the obvious intersection of these two movies? My guess is because both Persona and Mulholland Drive only really inspire one question: What on earth is going on? Interpreting, explaining, "decoding" if you will, these films is the understandable immediate concern of anyone whose just been exposed to these two terrific cinematic puzzles. Yet that does them a sort-of disservice. These films are more than puzzles. You could spend a lifetime trying to figure out what they're all about and completely miss what they're all about. That said, we won't spend much more energy here trying to find answers about these films. We haven't the time, the space, or the likelihood of agreement enough to keep it from being anything but a distraction.

Bergman's Persona begins with actress Elizabeth Vogler (Liv Ullmann) experiencing a sudden fit of despair and going voluntarily mute. In the hospital, she's paired with nurse Alma (Bibi Andersson) and the two are sent off to a seaside cottage where they develop an ambiguously intimate relationship and the silent, passive judgement of Elizabeth begins to turn Alma into an aggressor. Eventually the film begins to flip on it's head, revealing its own artificiality, and it becomes impossible to know who is who, and what role they're playing. Mulholland Drive opens with aspiring actress Betty's discovery of accident victim amnesiac Rita hiding out in her apartment. Soon, between line readings and Betty's audtions, the two lady sleuths are investigating Rita's life and identity and eventually becoming lovers (or have they always been?). Eventually the film begins to flip on it's head, revealing it's own artificiality, and it becomes impossible to know who is who, and what role they're playing.

Unusual universal themes

Death. Sex. Love. Ambition. Lynch and Bergman love all the standard universal themes. But they add two more strange, dark and upleaseant universal themes to the list.... Click for full post.

Click to read more ...