Jump to content
 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...

Recommended Posts

(Not a film that makes me think immediately of film noir, but it clearly is not any of the genres listed and, if anyone else would want to see this film, it most likely would be a reader of the film noir threads.)

 

Question: Is *COMING APART* (Ginsberg, 1969) (a) a pretentious, self-conscious attempt at an important "arty" movie, or (B) a raw, frank dissection of the duplicity consuming a man's soul?

 

Answer: Yes.

 

I loved it.

 

Milton Moses Ginsberg's first movie as a director (he made only three more) is a product of the late-'60s (the drugs, sex and clothing are dead giveaways), with *Cassavetes* as the most obvious stylistic point of reference. A psychiatrist, Joe (Rip Torn) has an apartment where he meets young female patients, young female neighbors, and young female pick-ups (see a trend?)...and his wife. Joe films the encounters -- or, at least some or portions of them. His profession is, naturally, known to his patients and wife, but may be unknown or hidden to others. Those women who want him cause him to pull away; those who spurn him results in him wanting them.

 

Joe's duplicity: He acts as if he cares about each of them when, in fact, it appears that he cares about nothing.

 

The entire movie takes place in the living room of Joe's apartment. The camera is static with long takes. The lower third of the frame is the back of a white sofa; the top two-thirds is a mirror. Most of the "action" is a two-shot of people on the sofa, with them, the rest of the room and the NYC skyline reflected in the mirror. When people are not on the sofa, usually their reflection is seen, but sometimes nothing but the sofa and mirror (and the reflection of objects) are visible.

 

The filming is surreptious. The camera is hidden in, what he tells one woman, a piece of kinetic art. The camera angle changes occasionally when he moves the "art." Takes end when either Joe turns the camera off or when it runs out of film.

 

Joe films the encounters so he can study or relive them, purportedly for a book. When he turns a camera back on or puts in more film, however, it is often unclear how much time has elapsed. A few seconds, 24 hours, a month? Are the gaps purely coincidental, intentional attempts not to re-experience an emotion (and is that emotion pleasurable or not), or merely to hide something from the viewer who is truly a voyeur? The one time Joe expresses rage is when a recurring young female ex-patient visitor has a camera with her and acts as if she's going to take pictures.

 

Rip Torn's performance is phenomenal -- forcing one to care about someone who appears to care about nothing. Ginsberg's construct of making the audience watch a character who is later going to watch what the audience is watching implicates the audienceas a participant in the character's duplicity.

 

Seldom has a movie on a single viewing moved me -- emotionally and intellectually -- as *COMING APART* has. It does what many great movies do -- forces you to love it or hate it. Being disinterested is not possible.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow! Coming Apart sounds absolutely fascinating. I'm not only impressed with what you describe but how you describe it, ChiO. Excellent stuff. Thanks for taking the time to post this. I have now added the film to my DVD wish list.

 

Pathetically, there is something you wrote that really hits home with me.

 

Those women who want him cause him to pull away; those who spurn him results in him wanting them.

 

I know those feelings all too well.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The DVD is on Kino International. No commentary, but the special feature is a long, very insightful essay by Ginsberg. The push-pull that you noted was autobiographical, but I imagine it is nearly universal.

 

There are two early episodes that are very emotionally painful, but moving, with a woman who has cigarette burns on her chest from a man she dated. She begs Joe to "do whatever you want to do to me." He says he'll "do whatever you want." She won't tell him what to do because that ruins the experience for her; he is clueless as to what to do because her desire makes him disinterested. Neither can satisfy the other on any level. The emotional and physical luridness is Fuller, but the look, subject and tone are '60s NYC independent filmmaking at its best (or, for some, its worst). Think Garfein (SOMETHING WILD), Clarke (THE CONNECTION), and Cassavetes.

 

I hope you like it. I think you will.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm truly in awe of your film tastes, ChiO. You have definitely opened up some doors for me.

 

The DVD is on Kino International. No commentary, but the special feature is a long, very insightful essay by Ginsberg.

 

I value well-done featurettes just as much as commentaries.

 

The push-pull that you noted was autobiographical, but I imagine it is nearly universal.

 

Don't tell me there are others.

 

There are two early episodes that are very emotionally painful, but moving, with a woman who has cigarette burns on her chest from a man she dated. She begs Joe to "do whatever you want to do to me." He says he'll "do whatever you want." She won't tell him what to do because that ruins the experience for her; he is clueless as to what to do because her desire makes him disinterested. Neither can satisfy the other on any level.

 

That sounds exactly like Blue Velvet. What I like the very most about Blue Velvet is the "relationship" between Kyle McLachlan and Isabella Rossellini. I'm the kind of guy who wants to protect women, so I basically fell for Isabella's character right away and Kyle's character acted similarly to how I'd react in the situation.

 

The emotional and physical luridness is Fuller, but the look, subject and tone are '60s NYC independent filmmaking at its best (or, for some, its worst). Think Garfein (SOMETHING WILD), Clarke (THE CONNECTION), and Cassavetes.

 

A Fuller-Cassavetes hybrid? No wonder you like this film.

 

I hope you like it. I think you will.

 

I love psychological films, so I'm sure I'll find it to be enthralling. I also appreciate creative filmmaking.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
© 2022 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Cookie Settings
×
×
  • Create New...