Derik Badman's Journal

2019-09-30 07:39

Watched Ozu's Floating Weeds over a couple sessions. Breaking up a movie into multiple sittings is not ideal, but I've seen it before, and it's not exactly one where I'll forget important plot elements. I feel like I say it for all the Ozu movies I've watched recently, but this one also feels a bit unusual for the late Ozu. I'm wondering if my conception is just based too much on a few of the films I've watched multiple times that are very family, parent-child, indoor home/work, themed like An Autumn Afternoon, Late Autumn, Late Spring, End of Summer, Early Summer... basically almost all the ones with seasons. (Interesting that he never made a winter movie, though also I know some of these are not exact translations of the original Japanese.)

Floating Weeds starts with an travelling acting troupe coming to a seaside town. In way the troupe serves as the family in the movie, but also, we quickly learn the troupe leader has an son in the town, who thinks he is an "Uncle". It's not exactly clear what the relationship is between the actor and the son's mother. They are amiable, it's indicated he sends money for the son, but it also doesn't seem they see each other often or are lovers. But that serves as a second family in a way, and so we get a clash between the two when the actor's lover (an actress) finds out about the other family and asks a younger actress to seduce the son. Drama ensues, including a few rather angry fights than you normally see in late Ozu.

This is a late color one, and as expected, the color is beautiful, as is the way the shots have been set up with spots of color dotted across the composition from shot to shot. Ozu came to color really late in his career (only 6 by my count of his... 55 according to imdb... are in color), but he immediately seems to have taken to it in his work. Lots of outdoor scenes in this one too, with bright skies and the ocean. It looks like I wrote about Floating Weeds the first time I watched it back in 2008 and there are a number of samples there to see... And looking at that post I realize how little new I have to say about the film.

Also started watching Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye, an adaption of the Chandler novel (which I reread kind of recently). I know I've seen it before, but didn't remember it very well. I actually paused it with 30 minutes to go last night to make dinner and now I'm not sure I'm going to finish it. The film is not particularly interesting once the novelty of the 70's setting and unusual casting of Marlowe wear off. Sterling Hayden (who I've seen in a number of noirs like The Asphalt Jungle) really plays it up as a Hemingway-esque drunk writer. The script really misses, I think, by removing all the early parts about Marlowe and Terry Lennox's relationship. Lennox just appears in the film with no reference to who he is or how Marlowe knows him, so it takes away the viewer's sense of the relationship and the knowledge of Marlowe we get from how he sticks his neck out for this other guy. (And I think then makes the ending more poignant.)

Played a lot of Code Vein over the weekend after it showed up late Friday. It's almost blatant stealing from Dark Souls is quite successful, as are the many elements added to the game that make it both easier and more narratively satisfying. For one thing, when you die, there is no "Humanity" type loss, so while you lose some progress, it's not a similar winnowing away of your ability to survive (or get help). Also you pretty much always have an NPC companion with you to help out, which, for me, is crucial for boss fights. But the companion is optional, so someone who wants a challenge could go it alone.

The game also makes much greater use of NPCs, cut scenes, and a comprehensible story. You have a sense of why you are doing things and what the goal is. And, via a series of "memories" you view via items found in the world, you also learn more about the world, the background, and the other characters. So far I am quite enjoying it. I had a lot of trouble with the second boss fight, but I think that was partially because I hadn't totally understood how a few elements of the game worked (that "passive" abilities had to be... equipped). And like many of these games, I end up constantly wanting to know what's next, to keep exploring and see what happens.