Eva & L'amour des Hommes

[*musique intrigante]


I don't mind a good race to the bottom, just a slow one to the middle.
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Reported on 4th of April, 2018

After two Filles (Fleur de Tonnere and La Fille de Brest), I gave up on French films, concluding from only two that all French films are terrible. Then an actual fille dragged me to see Eva and L’amour des Hommes, back to back. An effort to dissuade me had merely led to an increase in my sample size.

The end of story. This time it's really over.


re: Eva & L'amour des Hommes
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What’s interesting is not that both of them are genuinely terrible, but they are so in exactly the same way, and furthermore in the same way The Disaster Artist and Tomb Raider and the inspirationally terrible Den of Thieves are. That is to say: the almost perverse desire to avoid even the most basic of storytelling.

You’re not going to see them because you can’t and I’m telling you – emphatically – not to. And so it is left to me to give you some type of vague impression of the icepick lobotomy through the tearducts to save on surgical instruments that was the experience of watching them back to back.

By way of relating what happened, one is tempted to say ‘Eva tells the story of…’ and then continue with the agonizing details of a writer with a girlfriend (DEFCON 5), who steals a play to become a success (4), has to – very slowly – write another play (3) lacks inspiration (What a beat! Imagine all the times he can…stare at things!) (2) and begins to transcribe his conversations with an escort (Mlle. Isabelle Huppert) as dialog…

They usually go nuclear at DEFCON 2, so you’ll never find out.

Fortunately for you, I’m no Alternative History Cuban Missile Crisis, so I’ll just tell you the ending. The writer gets beat up (don’t ask why, because I have no idea, see no story, above), and then sees Mlle. Huppert at a Paris café six months later. A friend of Mlle. Huppert asks ‘Il est qui?’ (‘who is that?’), to which I replied, out loud, thinking that they wouldn’t actually use it as a curtain line, ‘personne’ (‘no one’). Whereupon Mlle. Huppert seemed to actually hear me, said ‘personne’, and the screen went black.

As bad as my French is, theirs is worse.

Eva

9 March 2018 @ UGC Les Halles


-$4.00 or, if one must be quotidian, and one must... 
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

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A few paragraphs back I said ‘one is tempted to say’, meaning anything I have said afterwards doesn’t count. I reserve the right to insert that phrase at the beginning of this entire affair at some point.

In this case, ‘tempted’ because one thing Eva does not do is tell a story. It feels like a first film, and yet it’s made by a veteran. It invokes the troubling conceit that things happening onscreen is the same as knowing what characters, expectations, turns, and god forbid, even acts are. People say stuff, characters are killed, boobies are shown, and yet, somehow you don’t care.

One of the reasons I’ve been away from you, and you’ve missed me so much, is that I’m writing again. And by that, I mean I’m researching. I forget that writing this damnable thing is part of the research, but one of things I unearthed is a quote from Mr. David Milch, which I relate here:

When I read Samuel Beckett, I finish and I said, “That is a great writer.” When I read Dostoyevski, I say, “What a great story.” And that why, in two hundred and fifty years, nobody’s going to know who Samuel Beckett was, because he was incapable, with all his gifts, of the final humility of submitting himself to the story.

Of course, Mr. Milch never tells us what a story is, but I have a lot less shame, so I’ll just say at least one thing: a goal. One would think that ‘to finish a play’ is a goal, and one would be incorrect. Because the goal needs obstacles. I’d say no one would watch a film where someone needs to get a book off that shelf, and then goes to get a book off the shelf, but the films of JJ Abrams remain very popular.

Unfortunately, things happening (people dying, getting beat up, endings that mirror the beginning etc.) are not the same as a story, any more than wanting things is. He could risk getting caught stealing the first play, a conceit that is never even hinted at, or reveal himself to be a toad. In the stead of story, we are treated to ‘[musique intriquante]’, which is the advantage of having to see things with French subtitles. The fact that detestable music is the only hint of something happening, is, in this case literally, spelled out.

Profits!
As with L’Amour des Hommes, the idea of a hateful misogynist creep (and our lead is that) has some interesting places to go…
$2.00
Total Profits
$2.00
Losses!
…unless you treat him as a hero
$2.00
or interesting
$2.00
or ever put him in danger of being caught
$3.00
Total Losses
$7.00
Now do you understand what I mean by story?

-$5.00

L'amour des Hommes

9 March 2018 @ UGC Les Halles


-$2.00 or, if one must be jejune, and one must... 
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

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No, you don’t, because I’m not done! L’Amour des Hommes fares considerably worse in this regard, as the goal is ‘to take pictures of men’. The twist coming from nowhere – is that she then proceeds to…take pictures of men.

A potentially interesting tale, as turning around male gaze (ahem – Sonny’s Virtues – ahem) has some heft to it. It meanders and then ends, but it took Eva for me to understand where these films come from: experience.

I hate experience, almost as much as I hate real life. The underlying implication of a writer character (or artists in general) is that we’re seeing the filmmaker, uninspired in every sense of the word, relating things that happened to them. He saw a prostitute once. Good for him! She took some pictures? Who would have thought? In the end, she breaks up with the guy because…it’s the end of the movie, I guess, and we have to symbolize female emancipation without the actual trouble of writing it.

Profits!
There’s a nice observed moment where the lead continues the ritual of washing the car of her dead boyfriend. It’s a way of communicating a feeling through action…
$2.00
Total Profits
$2.00
Losses
…that the rest of the film fails to know how to do.
$4.00
Total Losses
$4.00

-$2.00

Story is conflict, something we supposedly avoid in real life. That being said, we do seem to be doing a lot of non-avoiding avoiding of late. And maybe that’s where it – and we – settle: conflict makes us feel icky, and there’s only so much to be had. My life, cakes, writing this, doggies, craves conflict in its stories. For others: the Twilight films, where the vague hint of something possibly happening and then – over four films – not, is preferable to be sure.

But the fading of narrative is a devil’s pact – we don’t like to feel bad, and writers don’t want to work hard, to the final humility as Milch puts it. I don’t mind a race to the bottom, as sometimes that produces a The Room or even a Geostorm.

I do mind a race to the middle.

 

Thoughts on The end of story. This time it's really over.

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  1. Une Femme Française says:

    1. Je suis une femme, pas une fille, et tu étais plus que consentant !
    2. Désolée d’etre bassement terre à terre but I’m unsure how you lost any money on these films as you didn’t pay for the tickets 😉
    3. As you mostly love life, does it mean you love experience? This opposite day thing is getting a little complicated.
    4. L’Amour Des Hommes, I agree, was bitterly disappointing but certainly not because it was about taking pictures of men, this is very commendable and rarely shown in films. It’s the sad attempt to portray a female photographer whose goal is to take erotic pictures of beautiful men without EVER showing beauty or erotica, (or any kind of aesthetics) that is objectionable. Not one of her supposedly hot sitters was even graceful and the film is shoddily shot. Can you imagine for one second, a film about erotic photography where none of the women were attractive. It would never get made. Not one minute was worthy of its great original concept. Yes, I am envious they didn’t ask me to direct it. It would take some doing to do a worse job. It’s a dream topic to tackle the female gaze. Always wanted to have a go at it, never will. Woe is me.
    5. Seven months on, and I still can’t stomach that joke… Maybe that’s why it took you so long to get laid ;). Could start another section here entitled Offensive Writers That Don’t Get Laid ☺
    6. I am so happy to finally read Sonny’s Virtues, want to finish it now, where’s the whole pdf?

    1. Scott Scott says:

      Hello person that I don’t know who they are, and I don’t know them! So…
      1. Bah ouais…mademoiselle
      2. I lost valuable time that could have been used spending money on films, of course.
      3. If every day is opposite day, than I love experience, or rather I love the love of experience, but hate experience. And sandwiches.
      4. All for naked men. There’s an audience for that. I’m happy if you make a film like that, but it should also be, uh, good.
      5. Still a joke. Not a good one, but a joke nevertheless.
      6. I don’t actually have a copy, but found one on the internet. Yes, it’s about looking at men and how post-modernism grew out of that discomfort. Stand by it. Only cited by 19, I remember discovering that articles from a certain professor who failed my ass had fewer than that for his articles. I’m petty, but I’m principled enough to say it.

  2. Person you know says:

    Mademoiselle is obsolete now…
    and jokes, even offensive are mostly ok, but here’s the rub; I had to be told it was a joke as it simply reads like a prostitution apologist’s comment that many men mean and say routinely IRL, that’s no joke.
    I guess the issue is that I care that you don’t care (that people would think you’re a chauvinist pig. when they read that. )
    Shoot me.

    1. Scott Scott says:

      ‘Mademoiselle’ was the joke. Sigh.

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