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Surrealism on TCM


SansFin
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I understand well that surrealism is a genre which many on this forum do not like.  It seems to me that there is condemnation for each movie which airs on TCM which is not linear, realistic and mundane.

 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank TCM for showing many excellent movies of the genre in recent times. 

 

A Page of Madness (1926)

Repentance (1984)

Daisies (1966) 

The Seventh Seal (1957)

Hausu (1977)

La Jetée (1962)

Zardoz (1974)

Juliet of the Spirits (1965)

Persona (1966)

(1963)

Orpheus (1949)

Suspiria (1977)

 

and many, many others.

 

I appreciate well the many movies of Luis Buñuel which TCM has aired:

Diary of a Chambermaid (1964) 

Tristana (1970)

Belle de Jour (1968)

Un Chien Andalou (1929)

The Exterminating Angel (1962) 

Simon of the Desert (1965)

Viridiana (1961)

 

I hope that at some time that TCM will air:

The Color of Pomegranates (1968)

Viy (1967)

 

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I understand well that surrealism is a genre which many on this forum do not like.  It seems to me that there is condemnation for each movie which airs on TCM which is not linear, realistic and mundane.
 
I would like to take this opportunity to thank TCM for showing many excellent movies of the genre in recent times. 
 
A Page of Madness (1926)
Repentance (1984)
Daisies (1966) 
The Seventh Seal (1957)
Hausu (1977)
La Jetée (1962)
Zardoz (1974)
Juliet of the Spirits (1965)
Persona (1966)
(1963)
Orpheus (1949)
Suspiria (1977)
 
and many, many others.
 
I appreciate well the many movies of Luis Buñuel which TCM has aired:
Diary of a Chambermaid (1964) 
Tristana (1970)
Belle de Jour (1968)
Un Chien Andalou (1929)
The Exterminating Angel (1962) 
Simon of the Desert (1965)
Viridiana (1961)
 
I hope that at some time that TCM will air:
The Color of Pomegranates (1968)
Viy (1967)

 

Haxan? :lol:

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I missed 'Suspiria' - darn it. Hope they run it again some day.

 

 

I believe that they have aired it only as TCM Underground. I do not recall it being in Prime Time. I have checked and it is sad to say that it is not on available schedules.

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    I've never seen this movie, but perhaps VALERIE AND HER WEEK OF WONDERS (1970-Czech) might qualify as a 'surreal' film?   

 

I did not know of this movie. I have now read of it and it seems to be one which I must watch. I thank you for alerting me to this.

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Here's another movie I've not seen (though I'd like to!) that might also qualify as a bit of a surreal film:  The 1973 Yugoslavian Tv horror movie "LEPTIRICA" (aka:  "The She-Butterfly").  It looks like a lot of creepy fun. 

 

Here's a few oddball movies I've seen that I believe could be categorized as being on the surreal side:  

 

EQUINOX ► But only the original 1967 amateur film!  The 1970 theatrical version was re-worked and is no improvement!  In fact, once I saw the so-called 'amateur' film I had no use for the theatrical version anymore.  The original '67 film had a much more surreal feel to it and was a great deal more fun to watch.  A friend of mine bought the Criterion Collection DVD just to get to see the original '67 film.  The theatrical version was released on VHS, but the amateur film was only released as a bonus on the Criterion disc.  That friend was kind enough to make me a copy of the '67 version of "Equinox" just so I could see it.  Well worth a watch!

 

SHADOW OF ILLUSION (1970-Italian)  Take a pickup truck to expatriate hippie Weirdsville and you might come up with this unusual movie which stars Daniela Giordano and William Berger.  Ms. Giordano plays 'Gail Bland', a young woman traveling overseas to make a business deal with a cosmetic company called "ISIS COSMETICS".  And then things get strange and creepy . . . but fun! 

 

DARK ECHOES (1982)  This is a 'sort-of' horror movie directed by an American stuntman named 'George Robotham'.  The cast is multi-national and involves an angry dead sea captain in a pea-coat named 'Manfred Gohr'.  Seems Captain Gohr has had enough of being dead for 100 years so he comes up from the lake in which his ship sank and is one unhappy fella!  He wreaks havoc on the nearby village and does not like mirrors.  I swear you'll think this movie takes place in an alternate universe if you watch it.  Stars Joel Fabiani as an American psychic, Karin Dor, Wolfgang Brook, James Dobson and Hanna Hertelendy.    

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I hate to seem like a pedant, but I really must comment on the shift in the use of the word 'surreal.'  Surrealism was a philosophical movement born in the early post-WWI era.  Its goal was to revolutionize human society by breaking down the false rationality of modern bourgeois life, allowing a freer, more spontaneous, and therefore, more fulfilling and satisfying life.  A way of doing this, mostly through literature and visual art, was to create with unrestrained spontaneity, resulting in startling and unexpected combinations, that were nevertheless powerfully affecting on an emotional, and unconscious level.

 

Over the past few years, I've noticed that people are starting to use the word surreal when what they really intend is 'unreal,' or simply unusual, off-beat, or weird.  

 

I hate to say, only the films by Luis Buñuel on your original list can be considered Surrealist.  And even then, not all of them.  Belle de Jour, and Diary of a Chambermaid are not at all Surrealist.

 

Cocteau is often considered a Surrealist, but he consistently refuted that, even though his films have a dreamy, otherworldly atmosphere.

 

Good examples of Surrealist filmmakers include, in addition to the early work of Buñuel, Salvador Dali, René Clair, and Man Ray.  Many of their works, especially the early ones, are available on YouTube for viewing.

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I hate to seem like a pedant, but I really must comment on the shift in the use of the word 'surreal.'  

 

I am sorry to say that I must disagree with your assessment. 

 

I have read a thesis concerning: A Page of Madness (1926) as the first true surrealistic movie. The Dionysian elements and its shinkankaku-ha-based philosophy are exact parallels to French-movement surrealism. The French films which preceded it were more strongly Dada than Surrealism. The arguments in the thesis were so very strong that the researcher was granted the equivalent of PhD. based upon it.

 

I have on my side also that: The Color of Pomegranates (1968) on my list was declared to be: "surrealism" by the government! :)

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I also appreciate TCM showing these movies, and hope they will be aired more regularly.  The Exterminating Angel and Orpheus I've seen only once, so especially hope they're repeated.

 

I believe that each has been aired more than once and so we may hope for more repeats. It is nice that we have two opportunities as they could be shown as either: TCM Underground or: TCM Imports.

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I fished out my tape and watched DARK ECHOES again a couple hours ago and I must say it's just as odd as I remembered it.  It was filmed in Hallstadt, Austria and Slovenia, Yugoslavia (except on the credits it's listed as 'Slovenia, Jugoslavia'). 

 

    'SansFin' (WithoutEnd?), should you ever watch 'DARK ECHOES' and feel that it's not surreal or at least not surreal enough to qualify I'd respect your opinion, but with the cast, the plot, the location and such odd places at said location as the 'Bone House' it just feels like it takes place in an alternate universe.  How this movie got made is anyone's guess . . .

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For those viewers who are not comfortable with the genre, a good film to view would be Peter Ibbetson, directed by Henry Hathaway and starring Gary Cooper and Ann Harding. Andre Breton (who after all has been called "the founder of surrealism") wrote, "This stupendous film, this triumph of surrealist thought..."

 

Peter Ibbetson can be viewed as a Hollywood classic, and therefore one which the uninitiated would feel comfortable with; and also on Breton's terms; and ultimately on both levels.

 

So why doesn't TCM show it?

 

 

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'SansFin' (WithoutEnd?), should you ever watch 'DARK ECHOES' and feel that it's not surreal or at least not surreal enough to quality I'd respect your opinion, but with the cast, the plot, the location and such odd places at said location as the 'Bone House' it just feels like it takes place in an alternate universe.  How this movie got made is anyone's guess . . .

 

I believe that the concept of: "surreal" has highly individualized components. What is surreal to one person might be a typical Saturday night to a different person. I will look for access to: Dark Echoes (1977).

 

My username does mean: "without end" because that describes best my love for movies in that I wish that they would not end. It is self-joke also because my uncle had my highchair next to his projector when he babysat me. It is said that I would be perfectly quiet and quite absorbed while movies played. It soon came to be that I would begin to fuss when I saw the word: "Fin" because I knew the movie was done. The family joke was that I could read French before I could speak any language.

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I must wonder if surrealism is a state of mind. 

 

I have happened to find two comments of  recent which I feel that some may feel have elements of the surreal while others will believe them to be odd or weird only:

 

"When you say that nine out of ten forest fires are started by humans, all I hear is that ten percent are started by bears playing with matches."

 

"Three of the four voices in your head want to go to sleep. The fourth voice wonders if penguins have knees."

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I did want to mention not to be fooled by the '1977' date on the IMDb for 'DARK ECHOES'.  My guess is the movie was filmed about 1982 and completed/released in 1986 (which is the copyright date on the movie).  I really don't know where that '1977' date came from. Maybe from someone who's never seen the movie! 

 

     Here's another totally lunatic movie from 1973:  GODMONSTER OF INDIAN FLATS.  This movie was directed by an artist named Fredric Hobbs (b. 1931), who also made 2 other movies (Roseland and Alabama's Ghost).  Both of those movies are supposed to be as nuts as 'Godmonster', but I've only seen 'Godmonster of Indian Flats'. 

 

      The plot goes all over the place, but this movie may be the only film in the world that makes you feel sympathy for an 8-foot mutant sheep on the loose!   I bought a copy of this movie on tape from 'Something Weird Video' several years ago and you really must see it to disbelieve it.  The ending makes absolutely no sense, but I like it.  :P  

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No one has mentioned my two favorite surrealist films: Duck Soup and Dames. The original Surrealists recognized Duck Soup as being surreal.

 

To me, the greatest surrealist director is Busby Berkeley, in his musical sequences, and this is especially so in Dames. The combination of elements is startling, unexpected, and just plain loopy. Berkeley's surrealism is so natural and spontaneous that by comparison Bunuel looks like a prissy graduate student!

 

Slayton has given a good description of the goals of the original surrealists. The quarrel between the in-group of surrealists and the heretic Cocteau is reflected in Orpheus.

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No one has mentioned my two favorite surrealist films: Duck Soup and Dames. The original Surrealists recognized Duck Soup as being surreal.

 

To me, the greatest surrealist director is Busby Berkeley, in his musical sequences, and this is especially so in Dames. The combination of elements is startling, unexpected, and just plain loopy. Berkeley's surrealism is so natural and spontaneous that by comparison Bunuel looks like a prissy graduate student!

 

Slayton has given a good description of the goals of the original surrealists. The quarrel between the in-group of surrealists and the heretic Cocteau is reflected in Orpheus.

 

Surrealism being natural sounds 'off',  but I get what you're saying here.  

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