Sunday, February 17, 2013

I Need Your Cinephiliac Moments!

Hi everyone! I apologize about the lack of posting, and I am due a post just listing some of my random writing here and there, but this week I have a request from you. I am writing a paper for a seminar on canon-formation and new cinephilia, and I am centering it around re-writing the canon based on my oh-so favorite "Cinephiliac Moments" (see here for my original post on the subject). I want to list as many as I can, but I assume a list with multiple inputs from cinephiles like you that have very different tastes can lead to some better ideas. My real hope is that many of you will choose moments from films that aren't especially loved, or perhaps films that you find problematic but have that one moment that makes it all sort of worth it. (Just thinking of one myself—I'm not sure all of Robert Aldrich's Twilight's Last Gleaming works, but when he goes double split screen as the nukes rise out of the silos, man oh man is that cinema.) 

So if you could do me a favor and reach down into your cinephile data base and write down any you think of in the comments, that would be greatly appreciated. Once I finish the paper, I'll post our "new" canon for all of us to look at and argue about. 

Update: I am thankful for the responses below. A couple of notes. 1) Do not feel you need to explicate your situation, as long as it is understandable to what the moment is (ie. John Wayne walks away from the home at the end of The Searchers). 2) Feel free to list as many as you want. Seriously. Go nuts.


Andrew Robinson said...

Hmmm... q great moment I always like to draw on is the FU speech in The Odd Couple. One of the few things me and my parents have always agreed on was how great a duo Walter Matthau and Jack Lemon were and when I finally saw The Odd Couple and we have Matthau make this heartwarming speech of how much he's come to love Felix as a true friend and compatriot I kind couldn't stop loving the movie. "It took me 45 minutes to figure out FU meant Felix Unger." We've gone through this journey of competing manliness and we are given in return a great moment where we now know it's okay for men to be emotional to each other.

Scøut said...

Beyond The Hills (Mungiu) - After watching an incredibly restrained movie about an incredibly repressed shared lifestyle, the film hits a point that it cannot play by its own rules. Alina has come to get Voichita, her closest (only?) friend to leave the convent that's become her home. When that doesn't work, Alina tries to work herself into the fabric of this new life. When that doesn't work, something else takes over, something between epilepsy and incurable despair. The sisters of the convent, Voichita among them, try to tie Alina down to stop her from hurting herself or anyone else. Watching them tie this girl down and being aware of every single aspect of the situation and how quickly it could be fixed, suddenly I wasn't in the film anymore, I was on that board, bound with chains and gagged and unable to tell anyone that what she needs more than an exorcism is a hug from the last person on earth she feels love for. I suppose it's lucky for me the seats around me were vacant because I sat for those six minutes thrashing and making involuntary sounds of protest in Alice Tully Hall. I might have kicked someone by accident. I can't remember ever reacting that strongly to anything else in a theatre. I was completely unable to control my reaction to that unbearable scene. It struck me after I'd recovered and lay on my bed after the screening, grinning from ear to ear as I described it to my girlfriend: THAT is the power of cinema.

Jake Cole said...

Ugh so many. Even leaving out obvious ones like the ballet in THE RED SHOES, the camera tracking away from Travis in TAXI DRIVER, etc., there's still so many.

-There's a scene in BIRTH OF A NATION so pure that I want to own the film despite being so galled by the film as a whole. There's a bit where a Reb happens upon a mortally wounded Yank he knows, then is shot himself. As both die, they have a shockingly intimate moment that Sheila O'Malley beautifully illuminates here. I can't hope to improve on what she says, but that scene showcases all the beauty of Grffith's achievement without its disgusting drawback.

-The abrupt transition in YOUNG MR. LINCOLN from Abe walking with Anne Rutledge along a river to him visiting her grave near the same spot in winter.

-The opening crane shot of BREAKING NEWS, in which the epitomizes the paradox of To's camera being so shamelessly showy yet revealing primarily the delicateness of his hand.

-The wallpapered audience in THE KING OF COMEDY, like a film projected in reverse, with those in the movie shown an image of their viewers flickering falsely in front of them. Rupert Pupkin is a deluded, fame-hungry fool, but perhaps what motivates him is the awareness he's already being watched.

-When the go-go lights suddenly slide into view in TRASH, shattering the sense of neorealist verité by revealing the subjective eye of the camera in documenting its single-minded losers. The woman turns her apartment into a stage for her dancing, while the man keeps thinking about a fix.

-Baby Face Nelson's dying breath in PUBLIC ENEMIES, a ghost visibly departing its corporeal shell.

-The way the children almost cry like anime figures in I WAS BORN, BUT... It's a delayed response, the way a deep cut takes a few seconds to bleed. When it comes, they all rear their heads back and open their mouths impossibly wide, and one is thankful for the barrier of silence that makes this sight hilarious; it would be unbearable cacophony if sound was put to these sights.

-The reconstruction of the first image in KING LEAR, suggesting that the artist will always die in the pursuit of creating that which, fundamentally, already occurs in the natural world.

-The way Ella stifles a laugh when she sees Nate's masculinely uncreative notion of wallpaper in HEAVEN'S GATE. In a film that unfolds as a sprawling modernist epic, this touch, easy to miss in the shot distance, brings an incredible intimacy to the epic.

-The collapse of Shahdov's surgically altered face in A KING IN NEW YORK from laughter, a egotistical personalization of the humor-as-destroyer-of-confining-social-order that would later be used to tear apart a restaurant in PLAYTIME.

Andrew Skelton said...

Cinephiliac Moments of Problematic (to me) Films:

Werner Herzog's Invincible: an eye-popping dream sequence with hundreds(?)/thousands(s) of red crabs along a rocky shoreline.

The Dark Knight: The shot of Ledger's head hanging out of the police cruiser.

Killing Me Softly: The entire robbery sequence.

I found The Parallax View to be problematic overall, but that finale at the convention is pretty phenomenal.

Anonymous said...

Since I just saw 2001 on 70mm this weekend: The hard cut from the HAL-POV shot watching the astronauts conspire against him to the title card that says INTERMISSION. It's got to be one of the most ominous cuts in film history, playing out in silence, letting its scary implications sink in. HAL's assault on the ship begins immediately after the intermission, but for this moment (centralized in one simple, brief cut) the audience is suspended in oh-shit terror over what will go down when we come back from the lobby.


Anonymous said...

The opening creekside party in PEPPERMINT CANDY.

The final shot of PAPER MOON.

The dinner table symphonic "R-rolling" contest in A WOMAN IS A WOMAN

The bedtime conversation in LA RONDE.

The murder in BERNIE.

Just a few off the top of my head, sticking to non-universal masterpieces (maybe cheating w FEMME EST).

Spencer said...

well, i can't say that this is from a masterpiece or whatevs but I personally love this scene.

the scene in JOHN CARTER where he fights a ton of Tharks and it cuts between that fight and him burying his family. it's an awesome scene in every way. i love it.

also, the "define dancing" scene in WALL-E is pretty much perfect.

the whole ballet scene in THE RED SHOES is pretty amazing as well.

the revenge scene in RUSHMORE.

the montage of hula hoop making in THE HUDSUCKER PROXY.

the BE BLACK BABY scene from HI, MOM

the scene in CLOUD ATLAS where Frobisher is throwing plates in the air...that moment is just...AGH

the scene in SCOTT PILGRIM where he and ramona spend their first night together...the scene in the snow and in her apartment. also, ANY of the evil ex fights. especially that last one with Gideon.

the scene in A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH where they descend on the stairway into the OR.

i'm a sucker for this movie - but any of the songs in ONCE.

i'm done. i could list more. but i'm done.

Philip Concannon said...

So many moments instantly come to mind! Here are a few:

A startling flash of red to indicate murderous rage in A Cottage on Dartmoor.

A young girl moves a glass with her mind in the final scene of Stalker.

The short musical duet between father & son in The Tree of Life.

Two people on opposite sides of the street have a confrontation through torrential rain in Floating Weeds.

Bibi Andersson's erotic monologue in Persona.

Sterling Hayden catching a whisky glass from the bar while drinking from his dainty coffee cup in Johnny Guitar.

The shot of a knife being held over an infant child in Ian Holm's The Sweet Hereafter flashback.

Sister Ruth applying red lipstick in Black Narcissus.

Buster Keaton shaking Marion Mack and then kissing her as they throw sticks into the engine in The General.

Ryan O'Neal trying to tell a story through the tears to his dying son in Barry Lyndon.

The heartbreaking look on Baptiste's face as he glances backstage and sees Garance with another man in Les enfants du paradis.

Jim and Claudia's kiss in Magnolia.

The way Gene Hackman says, "I didn't solve anything. It just...fell in on top of me." at the end of Night Moves. God, I miss Gene Hackman.

Tom M. said...

-The camera lurch outside of the Silencio Club in MULHOLLAND DRIVE.
-The reaction to the father leaving in THE TREE OF LIFE.
-David destroying his clone in AI: ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE.
-Dancing Scene in 35 SHOTS OF RUM.
-When Doug sees Claire for the first time through the time/cinema machine in DEJA VU.
-The ending dancing scene in SYNDROMES AND A CENTURY.
-The "I love you very much" ending of WE OWN THE NIGHT.
-The opening ten minutes of ALI.
-Celine reaching out to touch Jesse, but he shifts a little before she does and she pulls back in BEFORE SUNSET.
-The ending in the prison in L'ENFANT.
-The woman removing her hijab in TEN.
-Bud in the movie theater in THE LONG DAY CLOSES.
-The ending of THE THING.
-Catherine tackling the possessed Kelly through the mirror and reaching her hand toward escape while being consumed by the darkness in PRINCE OF DARKNESS.
-Jack holding Sally's body while fireworks fill the background in BLOW OUT.
-The webcam scene in THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN.
-The movement of the glass at the end of STALKER.
-The wind blowing as the man turns around in THE MIRROR.
-The cut from the man releasing the bird as he dies to the pan of a large forest in THE MIRROR.

Anonymous said...

-The entire scene between Bobby Sands and the priest in HUNGER

-The gripping of the steering wheel by Gosling in DRIVE

-***SPOILER*** When Georgina sleeps with her dead lover in THE COOK, THE THIEF, HIS WIFE, AND HER LOVER

-The drunken fight between Kovic and his mom when he pulls out the catheter in BORN ON THE FOURTH OF JULY

-The first processing scene in THE MASTER

-The rape scene in IRREVERSIBLE (I should probably explain this one. I've never seen a scene from a film that's made me physically sicker than this one. So it' not to say it's even a particularly "good" scene, but I can say its more "accomplished" than just about any other scene.)

I hope I'm doing these right. As far as my understanding goes it is simply supposed to be a moment in a film that is especially profound to me. I know some of these are meant to be profound but I think it's hard to find a moment that the director didn't have some sort of intention. I'll try to think of more later.

Abid said...

Bibi Anderson's monologue in Persona. I consider it the most erotic moment in all of cinema and nothing I've watched as topped it sense.

Double Life of Veronique - Really the whole film, but the puppet scene is mesmerizing.

Black Christmas: The ice glass sculpture death of the strongest character in the film. The intercutting between the Christmas Carol'ers, the murder, and the screams being drowned in the empty hallways, really highlights the brilliant use of sound throughout the film.

Now for the other picks:

Ali: The opening sequence with Ali's training, introduction of Jamie Foxx's character, and Sam Cooke's Live at Harlem recreation. The rest of the film goes down hill from there, but it's one of my favorite sequences in Mann films, and one of my favorite starts to a film.

The Texas Chain Saw Massacre: The screaming. I guess it doesn't qualify as a scene per se, but the screaming moments, with the closeups of her eyes is something that has yet to leave my mind.

Collateral: Shadow of the Sun scene. God, Mann's use of digital.

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me: The entire bar sequence starting with Lynch's patented stage performance through the drug-induced night out.

Zodiac: The taxi death. The overhead shot and camera pans over the city really bring the cities investment and fear of the killer to life.

Dressed to Kill: The museum scene.

George Washington: The 4th of July Scene.

The opening crane shot of BREAKING NEWS: SECONDED.

Walkabout: The swimming scene.

Gate of Flesh: The sex scene with the priest, the set design, the shot of the cross on the rocks, the use of color. Everything. The entire film, really.

Aret Frost said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aret Frost said...

The overhead tracking shot in THE LONG DAY CLOSES that starts with the kid swinging on the rails and tracks to the church, the theater, and the school, all in one take, might be the greatest sequence I've seen on 35 mm.

The subway tracking shot in THE DEEP BLUE SEA ain’t to shabby either.

The moment in ROSETTA, where Rosetta is in her bed and repeats various comforting statements to herself, like “You made a friend.”

The moment in CLOSE-UP towards the end of the trial where the judge asks Sabzian “What part would you like to play?” and Sabzian replies “My own.” Then the judge responds “Haven’t you already done that?.” Sabzian doesn’t respond verbally, but has a frustrated look on his face, as if to suggest he hasn’t been able to express his true identity throughout his life. Playing the role of Makhmalbaf allowed him to get closer to realizing this ideal, but he still feels as though the only way he can truly realize himself is by playing himself in a film.

The bar-room scene in INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS

The final montage in THREE COLORS: BLUE

The TAXI DRIVER scene in which Bickle talks to The Wizard (Peter Boyle’s character) about all the bad ideas in his head. Wizard responds with a rambling monologue about how driving taxis defines him as an individual. Bickle responds by saying that’s the dumbest thing he’s ever heard. This scene provides a perfect encapsulation of the inability of men to connect emotionally.

The scene in MIDNIGHT in which John Barrymore impersonates a child on the phone.

The argument in the café in The SHOP AROUND THE CORNER in which Margaret Sullavan’s character insults Jimmy Stewart’s character by calling him an unsophisticated shop clerk.

The great tracking shot in DAYS OF BEING WILD that leads into a dilapidated building where Leslie Cheung and Andy Lau participate in a drug deal that turns violent. The whole sequence is great.

The moment in HEAVEN'S GATE during the night following the first attack in which the townspeople start singing and Cimino cuts to members of The Association who look on, envious of the townspeoples’ ethnic solidarity and community.

The tap-dancing scene in BOY MEETS GIRL set to David Bowie’s “When I Live My Dream.”

Seeing the HOLY MOTORS accordion sequence in a packed Egyptian Theater was a transcendent experience for me.

The whole nighttime pursuit of the kidnapper in HIGH AND LOW is pure cinema at its best.

Abid said...

For some Joe Wright:

The ballroom sequence in Anna Karenina.

The fountain scene being told through Briony's imagination. (Obviously the tracking shot, too.)

Hanna: the scene under the cover between the two girls where the shots focus are told through closeups of their eyes.

marshlands said...

This is some tip of the iceberg shit ahhhhhhh MOVIES ROOL (will post more time/energy permitting)

STALKER -- Entering The Zone: railroad sequence with Stalker, Writer, Professor. Sound. Image. Time. Cinema.

WERKMEISTER HARMONIES -- The Sun, The Earth, The Moon, and Immortality: a barroom demonstration.

THE MAN FROM LONDON (Bela Tarr, 2007) -- That one part where the camera pans with two characters leaving a bar after a lengthy conversation, only to reveal and linger on a billiards table surrounded by a) the source of the accordion music playing throughout the scene, a woman b) a man balancing a cue ball on his nose c) a man dancing around holding a chair in the air.

BEAU TRAVAIL -- Rhythm of the Night: Lavant’s dance moves / end credits

WITHNAIL & I -- Camberwell Carrot, Presuming Ed, and the End of the 60s

PERFORMANCE -- Memo From Turner: James Fox trips, Jagger rocks

VERA CRUZ -- Rebels! 360-degree pan around Lancaster’s head/hat as the Mexican guerrillas show themselves, revealing Coop/Burt/etc are trapped

REPO MAN -- You know how everyone’s into weirdness?: Shrimp, Plate, or Plate of Shrimp monologue, or Burning Trash with Otto & Miller

BLUE VELVET -- Now it’s dark: Ben’s house, the candy colored clown they call the sandman

IMITATION OF LIFE (Sirk version) -- The funeral. The fucking funeral. Oh my god.

THE BAND WAGON -- The Faust pitch

SAFE -- Every shot that makes a San Fernando Valley living room look like outer space

MODERN ROMANCE -- The scene where Albert does quaaludes, would also like to submit every foot of film shot for this (editing sequences, car/date sequence, ‘running’ sequence, etc)

POINT BLANK -- Hell Bent On Revenge: Marvin stalks corridors (sound design!), city, breaks into ex-wife’s house and fires full round of pistol into empty bed with Incredible Amounts of Rage

marshlands said...


ZARDOZ & BOB LE FLAMBEUR -- Inverted Climaxes and Shifting Sympathies: Rooting for Everyone To Be Killed/Die and For The Heist To Be Called Off

THE AMERICAN FRIEND -- Green lights everywhere: The Majesty, Impossibility, Beauty and Textures of Robby Muller’s night photography

CHLOE IN THE AFTERNOON -- White Walls and Transcendental Love: the final resolution of Rohmer’s moral tales, the naturalistic beauty of Nester

SILENT LIGHT -- The Cosmos And Everything Within It: the opening sequence, from the stars to the silent breakfast at dawn...


RED DESERT -- Enigmatic dreams and yellow smoke: Vitti’s swimming dream/flashback (?) sequence, and/or just simply the yellow smoke billowing out of the power plant stacks...

POSSESSION -- Subway Terrors: Adjani loses it

NAKED -- The Post Modernist Gas Chamber: Johnny’s adventures with a security guard, empty space, voyeurism...

BARTON FINK -- Play Acting: When Michael Lerner’s studio-head Jack Lipnick dresses himself for WWII from wardrobe department

THE THING (Carpenter) -- Apocalyptic computer readouts & drinking to oblivion: that part where the computer screen (in green text) predicts 0% chance of survival, or, just that moment at the end when Keith David and Kurt Russell have a drink and prepare to die

marshlands said...

oh whoops left Zabriskie blank...choose your own adventure??

(either the plane flying overhead at unfathomably close proximity or the obvious Pink Floyd HOUSE EXPLOSION)

marshlands said...

ARIEL -- What's This Do?: Kaurismaki's convertible-top death gag / RIP Matti Pellonpaa

Eric Van Uffelen said...

The Tree of Life: The moment when toddler Jack says "two alligators" is the key to the film to me, as I believe it's about how/why/when we (humans, Malick's characters, Malick, the audience) ascribe meaning. Also when the boys make fun of the drunk and then immediately don't make fun of the man with polio, ugh, that hit my heart.

Magnolia: The greatest "hang a lantern" moment I've seen, when Philip Seymour Hoffman's character pleads over the phone "this is the part of the movie where you help me out." Also when Claudia smiles directly at the camera in the final shot.

Once Upon a Time in Anatolia: When the tea is served, along with the Coke. Shut it down. Just shut it down. Scene of 2012.