Babylon Nights Question #6 ~ The Films at the Film Festival

by Daniel Depp

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Babylon Nights Question #6 ~ The Films at the Film Festival

Unread postby Liz » Wed Jan 12, 2011 1:41 pm

Pg. 177: They continued to see films in the morning, if they were scheduled. This turned out to be a wise move, since if you’d had a decent night’s sleep and enough coffee, there was less chance of dozing off. Granted, there were a few movies that kept you awake, but so many of the films took themselves too seriously (thought Spandau), their bleakness of spirit meant to be poignant but, after seeing so much of the same thing, becoming merely soporific. Even the violence became stylized, dull, and repetitive.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #6 ~ The Films at the Film Festival

Unread postby nebraska » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:00 pm

Would this be a good time to bring up the critical beating The Brave took at Cannes? :-/

It certainly was bleak and depressing in many ways, and it certainly showed some serious issues and tried to bring them to the viewer's attention, especially the poverty and hopelessness so many American Indians live with. I don't know how to compare the violence to other films that might have been shown but perhaps it was overload when added to all the other films.

I have always thought The Brave was a masterpiece in so many ways - it is a movie I can watch only once in a great while without being swallowed up by its darkness, which to me means it is very powerfully created. Perhaps it was one of many exceptional films that were overpowering when seen as part of a large number of films in quick succession, as suggested by this quote? It is really a sad commentary about what happens when the creators of film come with such hopes and inspiration.

And an interesting bit of narrative considering Daniel co-wrote The Brave.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #6 ~ The Films at the Film Festival

Unread postby Liz » Wed Jan 12, 2011 2:34 pm

nebraska wrote:And an interesting bit of narrative considering Daniel co-wrote The Brave.

My thoughts exactly while I was reading it. Was he being facetious--just another one of his little private jokes?

I've never been to Cannes, so I can't talk with any authority. I have to say that I tend to like dark artsy films, though. So I can't really relate to Spandau's opinion here. But having to watch one after the other after the other for a few days in a row could get old.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #6 ~ The Films at the Film Festival

Unread postby Betty Sue » Wed Jan 12, 2011 4:54 pm

I too couldn't help thinking that Daniel was trying to get some points across about Cannes. And I found his insight very interesting and believable. I know that even with TV I like to mix up the comedy and the drama and the musical; too much of a good thing is not a good thing. The first time I watched The Brave, being an optimist, I hoped for a different ending and just enjoyed it as a very sweet and gentle story of deep love (okay, with quite a bleak backdrop...).
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #6 ~ The Films at the Film Festival

Unread postby gemini » Wed Jan 12, 2011 6:23 pm

This does make me think of the treatment of The Brave now that you all pointed it out but I didn’t make the connection on my own when I read it. That negative vibe on Hollywood and Cannes seems threaded throughout Daniels writing. I do agree with the point he is making, that constant viewing of films can make them all have less of an impact than when seen apart.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #6 ~ The Films at the Film Festival

Unread postby fireflydances » Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:10 pm

I found Spandau's comments about films at Cannes a dose of conventional wisdom, and I'm not sure why Daniel wanted this said.

I read one review of Babylon Nights that called it a "lacerating anti-Hollywood novel as much as a detective story, an honourable entry in a lineage that stretches back to F Scott Fitzgerald's The Last Tycoon and Nathanael West's The Day of the Locust." (The Independent) If so, it's natural to assume that anything that a character says about the industry might be considered a thinly-veiled analysis by the author. Then again, Daniel's just as likely to be pricking his own balloon -- looking back with the wisdom of years at what must have been an intense period: first movie, written and directed by the brothers. What a trip that must have been. I mean, how do you get up the guts to put your first work out there for peer review by the denizens of Oz? I can't help wondering if they still would take "The Brave" to Cannes, if the place matters to them in the same way?

I have to say I've never really bought into Cannes or the concept of film festivals in general. If you look back at Cannes winners a lot of them are very memorable films, extremely deserving of praise but then, there are always so many incredible films not there, not at any festival, never recognized with a 'festival award'. So I've taken that to mean that all festivals are really about something else: where you live, who you are and who you know, and a whole wild range of covert dealings that result in -- the winners. It's a club basically. There are the favored ones and those who can just forget about ever entering the fold.

If anything I believe "Babylon Nights" succeeds in making Cannes and it's 'serious' attempt to pick 'the best' seem small. This tiny assortment of quirky people coming up with 'the winner'. And they aren't anywhere near the center of the action for the book.

edit: Why try to correct something when you are tired. Losey sentence anyway.
Last edited by fireflydances on Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:54 am, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #6 ~ The Films at the Film Festival

Unread postby nebraska » Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:06 pm

I will recommend again that anyone who has not seen Cannes Man, the silly movie where Johnny and Jim Jarmusch have cameo roles, by all means try to watch it. ;-)

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #6 ~ The Films at the Film Festival

Unread postby fansmom » Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:22 pm

fireflydances wrote:I have to say I've never really bought into Cannes or the concept of film festivals in general.
Is it the film festival concept you don't like, or the concept of judging films? (I have fond memories of the AFI's JD film fesival about five years ago. Speaking of Jim Jarmusch, "Dead Man" on a big screen was excellent!) I take issue with judging works of art. I know, I know, some films aren't works of art, but some are, and you just can't compare these apples to those oranges.

If I were on the panel that chose the winners for the 1939 Oscars, I'd still be pondering my choices. :blush:

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #6 ~ The Films at the Film Festival

Unread postby Buster » Wed Jan 12, 2011 11:26 pm

I'll second what nebraska wrote:
I will recommend again that anyone who has not seen Cannes Man, the silly movie where Johnny and Jim Jarmusch have cameo roles, by all means try to watch it. ;-)

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #6 ~ The Films at the Film Festival

Unread postby fireflydances » Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:47 am

Quick replies. Late. I've seen Cannes Man, it is silly. And I would say it's the judging or the need to find 'the best' that bothers me. It is not the right question -- what's best. It should be creating a forum to bring filmmakers together to share their work, show what they are proud of, and get feedback, good criticism. I have no problem with the films that were selected as best at Cannes. Just an amazing list of wonderful things. But look at what isn't there. Why is best relevant in art?? It doesn't make sense as a pursuit.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #6 ~ The Films at the Film Festival

Unread postby Liz » Thu Jan 13, 2011 2:10 am

I haven't seen Cannes Man, except for a quick preview.

Fansmom, was this AFI Film festival after the tribute to Johnny and the Libertine's premiere at AFI in November 2005? So much has happened since then, I'm not remembering.
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #6 ~ The Films at the Film Festival

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Thu Jan 13, 2011 10:22 pm

If you go back and read the tidbit on the Cannes Festival it seem they have tried to make it a serious showcase to honor the art of film in the past. I'm not so sure that is the case now, especially if what Daniel writes is true, it seems to be more of a place to see and be seen and use the name. Not to say that good films aren't shown there. Maybe it is the industry who doesn't take it seriously enough? Also more festivals have become what seems to be prestigious...Sundance, Toronto?

fansmom, were you at the AFI tribute?
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #6 ~ The Films at the Film Festival

Unread postby fansmom » Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:02 pm

That time frame--2005--sounds right for the AFI film festival. I don't think anyone expected him to show up. It was at the AFI in Silver Spring, about a half hour from me, and we mainly went to see some films on the big screen that we'd only ever seen on TV. Dead Man and WEGG were especially nice. I noticed things (don't ask me what, I don't remember now) I'd never seen on the DVDs.

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Re: Babylon Nights Question #6 ~ The Films at the Film Festival

Unread postby fireflydances » Thu Jan 13, 2011 11:38 pm

I didn't realize AFI had a Depp festival in 2005. :-O
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Re: Babylon Nights Question #6 ~ The Films at the Film Festival

Unread postby DeppInTheHeartOfTexas » Fri Jan 14, 2011 9:51 pm

The AFI tribute and premiere of The Libertine was in 2005 in LA. That explains it!
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming -

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