Sunday, August 03, 2008

Double Bills




The new issue of Sight & Sound has a fun feature on double bills. (Here's the pdf.) A number of writers propose their own, for example:

Geoff Andrew -- Guy Maddin's My Winnipeg and Terence Davies' Of Time and the City, along with Victor Erice's short film La Morte Rouge. All 'city films'.

Michael Atkinson -- William Klein's Mr. Freedom and Trey Parker's Team America: World Police. ("The two most merciless, sophomoric films ever, made 35 years apart but during identically idiotic imperialist wars.")

Ian Christie -- Ken Jacobs' Tom Tom The Piper's Son and Douglas Sirk's Imitation Of Life.

Roger Clarke -- Wang Xiaoshuai's Frozen and Robert Bresson's The Devil, Probably.

Kieron Corless -- Alexander Kluge's Strongman Ferdinand and Chris Petit's Unrequited Love. ("Both Petit and Kluge are thorns in their respective film cultures; a marriage of inconvenients.")

Mark Cousins -- Rainer Werner Fassbinder's Gods Of The Plague and Djibril Diop Mambety's Hyenas. ("in the spirit of surrealism and the chance encounter, and because I think there are affinities between the directors I don't quite understand.")

Chris Darke -- Chris Petit's Radio On and Bruce Robinson's Withnail & I. ("One film sings, the other doesn't--Petit can't get a word in over Robinson's gargling.")

Graham Fuller -- Werner Herzog's Aguirre, Wrath Of God and Francis Ford Coppola's Apocalypse Now. ("Herzog's and Coppola's odysseys seem like episodes from the same demented dream. They share the river, the jungle, the mythic quest and wonderfully portentous rock music.")

Maria Delgado -- Juan Antonio Bardem's Main Street and Neil LaBute's In the Company of Men. ("Both films offer a brilliant commentary on the sadistic excesses of a competitive culture that fails to respect ethical boundaries.")

Charlotte Garson -- David O. Russell's I ♥ Huckabees and Jean-Luc Godard's Two Or Three Things I Know About Her. ("focusing alternately on the face and on the landscape, with the same mania for transforming ideas into objects.")

Alexander Horwath -- Carl-Theodor Dreyer's Ordet and Larry Cohen's God Told Me To.

Mark Le Fanu -- Elan Kolirin's The Band's Visit and Ivan Passer's Intimate Lighting. ("Some of the best and most endurable films turn out to be those little 'unambitious' comedies that nonetheless capture the hopes and disappointments of ordinary life with miraculous accuracy.")

Tim Lucas -- Georges Franju's Les yeux sans visage and George P. Breakston & Kenneth G. Crane's The Manster.

Adrian Martin -- Mark L. Lester's The Ex and Alan Rudolph's Remember My Name. ("When it comes to intriguing stories about menacing ex-spouses, there's a lot more on the ground than the Fatal Attraction (1987) misogynist thriller formula.")

Peter Matthews -- "To illustrate the decline of an authentic cinéma de scandale, I propose the coupling of Makavejev's abominable, lyrical Sweet Movie with its milder epigone, The Idiots."

Olaf Moller -- Hanns Springer & Rolf von Sonjewski-Jamrowski's Ewiger Wald and Reinhard Kahn & Michel Leiner's Waldi. ("Everything you'll ever need to know about Germany in a double feature that'll never make it to a cinema near you.")

Kim Newman -- Peter Sykes' Demons of the Mind and Jim O'Connolly's Tower of Evil. ("Part of the surreal wonder of 1970s British horror was the use of well-spoken actors we knew from bland TV sitcoms and adventure shows in demented settings.")

James Quandt -- Frank Borzage's Three Comrades and Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger's A Canterbury Tale. ("Both are wartime accounts of a trio of friends whose lives are transformed by a fourth figure.")

Jonathan Rosenbaum -- Gordon Douglas' The Iron Mistress and Fritz Lang's Clash By Night. ("[S]ometimes, from a business angle, one film becomes the hook to lure audiences to see another. In my Friday evening film series at college, I once showed The Wild One (1953) + Orphée, two motorcycle movies, back to back with that rationale.")

Brad Stevens -- David Lynch's Inland Empire and Jacques Rivette's Celine and Julie Go Boating. (""Nothing analyses a film better than another film," wrote French critic Nicole Brenez.")

David Thomson -- Robert Bresson's A Man Escaped and Luis Buñuel's The Exterminating Angel. ("[M]y favourite double bills are secret, thematic pairings, films where deep below the surface one picture is speaking to another.")

Noel Vera -- Ishmael Bernal's At the Top and Mario O'Hara's Woman on a Tin Roof. ("a pair of lovely bookends for the dawning and passing of an era.")

Linda Ruth Williams -- Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits and Bruce Robinson's Withnail & I. ("Clever, quotable scripts, flawless performances, intelligent direction--can British cinema boast a more resoundingly entertaining pairing?")


* * *

Now let me toss in my proposal for a double bill: 3 Godfathers (John Ford, 1948) and Amar Akbar Anthony (Manmohan Desai, 1977).

They're both, in a way, 'masala movies' that combine many flavors--drama, adventure, comedy, and pathos. They're both mythic tales: Biblical in the Ford, secular-nationalist in the Desai.

In the Ford film, three men (including John Wayne) find the course of their lives drastically changed when they unexpectedly take on godfatherly (actually, step-motherly) duties for a baby. In the Desai film, three boys are abandoned by their father under a statue of Mahatma Gandhi (!), and get separated. They are then discovered, adopted, and raised in, respectively, Hindu, Muslim and Christian families; thus their names and the name of the film.

And now, your turn: one (or more) double bill(s) you might program if you had the chance?


* * *

Some links:

-- Ryland and Mubarak present their double bills.

-- At The House Next Door, Man On Wire director James Marsh responds to Godfrey Cheshire's criticisms of his film, more specifically its use of Michael Nyman's music from Peter Greenaway's films.

-- via One-Way Street: Walter Benjamin's "1940 Survey of French Literature" is published for the first time in English, in the New Left Review.

-- Michael Newman at Zigzigger: "Notes on Cult Films and New Media Technology".

-- Ed Howard on Stephanie Zacharek's review of Richard Brody's Godard biography.

-- Steven Shaviro on Grace Jones' new "Corporate Cannibal" video.

Pics: (1) Rattle, baby Pedrito and gun in 3 Godfathers (John Ford, 1948); and (2) Shabana Azmi (at right) is a modern Indian art-film icon, what Jeanne Moreau was to the nouvelle vague. Here she moonlights in the thoroughly 'commercial' Amar Akbar Anthony (Manmohan Desai, 1977).

51 Comments:

Blogger Maya said...

American Zombie with S&Man would be the perfect faux documentary date doublebill.

August 04, 2008 3:18 AM  
Anonymous Walter Biggins said...

What a fun game. Today's answer would be The General and Strangers on a Train. About a year ago, I contemplated my ideal film program at length here.

August 04, 2008 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Christian Keathley said...

The Small Back Room (Powell & Pressburger, 1949)
Juggernaut (Richard Lester, 1974)

In 1974, when I was eleven years old, I skipped Juggernaut because it looked to me like a bad Poseidon Adventure rip-off. Boy, was I wrong. When I finally saw it in college, I found this film about a terrorist who plants a bomb on an ocean liner to be positively gripping. Richard Harris plays the bomb disposal expert.

Many years later still, I saw The Small Back Room – about a bomb disposal squad in WWII – and only then realized that Lester’s film is something of an homage. Though Juggernaut was apparently inspired by a real life event, it references the Powell/Pressburger film in a variety of specific details. I haven’t read anything that makes this link between the two films – though admittedly, I haven’t scoured the literature.

I won’t give away too much, but one of my favorite bits in Juggernaut is the uncredited appearance of Cyril Cusack, who was also a member of the disposal squad in Small Back Room. We are left to imagine him as the same character, and to imagine the life-time of off-screen events that led him from the first film to the second.

August 04, 2008 11:27 AM  
Blogger Edwin Mak said...

Perhaps, this post should be renamed: How many frustrated programmers are out there?

I chose Boy Meets Girl (Carax, 1984) and The Black Canon Incident (Huang, 1986) because...

August 04, 2008 11:44 AM  
Blogger adam said...

How about The Killers and A History of Violence? A nice reminder of how to re-inject some new energy into a well-trodden genre, without relying on the generic signposts.

August 04, 2008 11:50 AM  
Blogger Brian Doan said...

I'll second Chris's double bill-- Juggernaut uses RIchard Lester's fascination with cartoonish performance (that's a compliment) and the Rube Goldberg-like mechanics of gadgetry and filmmaking very well, and The Small Back Room is simply one of P&P's best movies, a tight, Le Carre-ish thriller that's unlike any of their other 40s work.

Girish, sorry to go off topic, but knowing of your interest in Robert Ray's work, I wanted to mention a new volume out from Parlor Press Called NEW MEDIA/NEW METHODS, which includes a Ray essay on the future of film scholarship. Here's the link:

http://www.parlorpress.com/newmedia.html

August 04, 2008 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Marilyn said...

You might check out Gautam Valluri's Double Bill-a-thon. He held it in September of last year:

August 04, 2008 5:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There Will Be Blood and Eureka (Roeg, 84)

August 04, 2008 6:21 PM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

Some Came Running and Voyage in Italy. If you don't get that combo, I have Contempt for you.

August 04, 2008 8:09 PM  
Blogger Andy Rector said...

I've hinted at this during a post at my blog before but would like to see what actually happens "up there on that screen, Fritz":

LA MARSEILLAISE + LES AMANTS REGULIERS

"...each picture should have a definite point of view, Jerry...":

WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (Lang) + THE PATSY (Lewis)

"here we have the fight of the individual against the cirumstances; the eternal problem of the old Greeks...":

ICI ET AILLEURS (Godard/Mieville/Gorin) + FORTINI/CANI (Straub/Huillet)

"I don't know if you are able to understand it Jerry, I certainly hope you can...it's a fight against the Gods...":

THE GREEN ROOM (Truffaut) + UNE AVENTURE DE BILLY LE KID (Moullet)

one last...a double bill I've always insisted on...something to do with fever: THE YOUNG ONE (Bunuel) and NOUVELLE VAGUE (Godard).

August 04, 2008 8:39 PM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

Christian: Don't feel bad about dismissing Juggernaut at age 11. Had I been a more developed cinephile at that age I wouldn't have missed two real life double features - Man who Shot Liberty Valance with Hell is for Heroes. and The Naked Spur with Trapeze.

August 04, 2008 10:42 PM  
Anonymous Jim Flannery said...

+1 to Edwin's first comment :-).

This week's entry would be Lisandro Alonso's Los Muertos b/w Clean, Shaven.

Carnival of Souls b/w Yella might seem indecent at first, but I actually think Petzold's film is more resonant, the earlier you recognize the armature it's built on -- in fact, I think recognizing it is actually the point.

As opposed to La Jetée b/w Spider Forest, which would just be cruel to the audience (even if Song does tip his hand early with a shot that's just a little too familiar in the airport scene.

Oh, and a longtime urge: Mulholland Drive b/w The Decay of Fiction.

August 05, 2008 12:33 AM  
Blogger Marc Raymond said...

A great topic and potentially endless in provoking associations.

One that pops to mind is Lee Chang-dong's PEEPERMINT CANDY with MEMENTO: two examples of reverse chronology filsm used to very different effects and within distinct national contexts.

One thing I like is when you see two films in a short period of time that unexpectedly illuminate each other and make me think of connections and ideas you wouldn't have had otherwise. A recent example of this for me was ATONEMENT and MARGOT AT THE WEDDING.

August 05, 2008 2:13 AM  
Blogger adam said...

This probably isn't really in the spirit of the exercise, but how about pairings which illuminate the brilliance of one film at the expense of the other? I was thinking about Robin Wood's discussion of how clear Rio Bravo's greatness is in the light of High Noon's failures.
Personally, I'm convinced that Hou's Flight of the Red Balloon gloriously succeeds in ways that are closely related to the dreadfulness of Anthony Minghella's Breaking and Entering, but I'd probably need a double-bill to sort out in my head what those relationships actually are!

August 05, 2008 8:27 AM  
Blogger Edwin Mak said...

Adam:

I think I know what you mean, this springs to mind the default double bill of Lee Kang-Shang's The Missing and Tsai's Goodbye, Dragon Inn. Both films of which play so heavily on delays, and refrains, yet only Goodbye really succeeds; or at least makes it entertaining.

I saw Lee's Help Me, Eros last night, and it seems that they've inadvertently repeated the pairing. Not only was it another poor film, it also won't get far from escaping comparisons with The Wayward Cloud, which I think most would agree is far better.

August 05, 2008 9:16 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Thanks, all, for these enjoyable and imaginative pairings. They make for fun reading.

August 05, 2008 10:04 AM  
Blogger girish said...

To interrupt this discussion just for a second, let me post an excerpt from David Bordwell's new post on cinephilia:

"The cinephile loves the idea of film.

"That means loving not only its accomplishments but its potential, its promise and prospects. It’s as if individual films, delectable and overpowering as they can be, are but glimpses of something far grander. That distant horizon, impossible to describe fully, is Cinema, and it is this art form, or medium, that is the ultimate object of devotion. In the darkening auditorium there ignites the hope of another view of that mysterious realm. The pious will call Cinema a holy place, the secular will see it as the treasure-house of an artform still capable of great things. The promised land of cinema, as experimentalists of the 1920s called it: that, mystical as it sounds, is my sense of what the cinephile yearns for.

"This separates the cinephile from the lover of novels or classical music. They love their art, I suspect, because of its great accomplishments. Who with literary or musical taste would embrace the subpar novel or the apprentice toccata? But cinephiles will watch damn near anything looking for a moment’s worth of magic. Perhaps this puts cinephiles closer to theatre buffs. They too wait hopefully for the sublime instant that flickers out of amateur performances of Our Town and Man and Superman.

"That’s also why I think that the cinephile finds the desert-island question so hard to answer. What movies would I want to live with for the rest of my life? All of them, especially the ones I haven’t yet seen."

August 05, 2008 11:20 AM  
Blogger David said...

Peter, shouldn't the trilogy be Voyage to Italy, Two Weeks in Another Town, and Contempt?

Also, Andy: La Marseillaise and Les Amants Reguliers?

Some ones that occurred to me recently:

Trans-Europe Express (Robbe-Grillet)/That Obscure Object of Desire (Bunuel)
Antonia (Conner)/Violence at Noon (Oshima)
Monsieur Verdoux (Chaplin)/Pickpocket (Bresson)
The Trip (Corman)/Quick Billy (Baillie)
Father of the Bride (Minnelli)/The Leopard (Visconti)
Eyes Wide Shut (Kubrick)/Vertigo (Hitchcock)
Father Brown (Hamer)/The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes (Wilder)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (Wiene)/The Testament of Dr. Cordelier (Renoir)
Night of the Hunter (Laughton)/Ordet (Dreyer)
The Trial (Welles)/L'Eclisse (Antonioni)
Pitcher of Colored Light (Beavers)/The Searchers (Ford)
Dr. Bull (Ford)/State Fair (King)
Cluny Brown (Lubtisch)/The Duchess of Langeais (Rivette)
Last House on the Left (Craven)/Weekend (Godard)
Tom Tom the Piper's Son (Bitzer)/Helas Pour Moi (Godard)
Spione (Lang)/The Dark Knight (Nolan)

And most of all:

Street of Shame (Mizoguchi)/Rio Bravo (Hawks)

August 05, 2008 1:55 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Hey, David, just curious: what makes you put the Mizoguchi and Hawks together? (i haven't seen the former.)

August 05, 2008 4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Auto-calypse

Trafic (Tati) / Weekend (Godard)

Guess the Theme

Oldboy (Chan-Wook) / The Son(Dardenne)

L'Ennui de la Cubicle

After-Hours (Scorsese)/ Fight Club (Fincher)

Loss and Longing

Contempt (Godard) / Andrei Rublev (Tarkovsky)

Beauty: The Back of a Woman's head

Breathless (Godard) / The Mirror (Tarkovsky)

August 05, 2008 4:52 PM  
Anonymous Walter Biggins said...

Another one, this one so obvious that I can't believe I didn't think of it earlier: Jacques Tati's Play Time and Steven Spielberg's The Terminal, the latter of which consciously riffs on the former, even though it does in a much more circumscribed space.

August 05, 2008 5:06 PM  
Blogger David said...

Actually, that's something I keep wanting to write a (short) essay on. Both are melodramas about drunks and delinquents reconfigured so the melodrama is all in the back stories, and what is foregrounded instead is a bunch of people hanging out in a shared space and makeshift community, drinking, talking, and in extended scenes in each film (completely superfluous to the narrative, key to the portraiture), sitting around and singing songs together.

What's really fascinating to me is the obsession in each movie on doors (Hawks opens with one opening; Mizoguchi closes with one not closing). Characters in each try to lock themselves up in some safe, private community, away from public compromises (where every "good" character in each risks severe humiliation). But only in the Hawks do the doors really close; it's a fantasy, if a somewhat strange one, in which the characters have to lock themselves up from the public realm into order to protect it. Mizoguchi goes for Realism (with capital "R"): the doors don't shut and there is no sense of privacy (his own brand), so that constantly people are eavesdropping and spying, like a Kafka story, in which it's impossible to ultimately distinguish between public and private, and as a result, everyone is humiliated and compromised.

Looking at it this way, Street of Shame could just as well match with Good Men, Good Women or Flight of the Red Balloon. Might be my favorite Mizoguchi, actually (nobody else's). The Masters of Cinema DVD is a bit glossy and flat, but only because it's spic and span--well worth watching.

August 05, 2008 5:30 PM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

Well I have something more to pay attention to, as I recently got the French DVD of Street of Shame which also has Princess Yang Kwei Fei.

Godard in a triple bill might be too much. Because they would be amusing on a theater marquee -
I Married a Monster from Outer Space with Earth Girls are Easy, and 101 Men and a Girl with 99 Women.

August 05, 2008 8:41 PM  
Blogger weepingsam said...

This is a fun topic - there are so many ways to look at it. Films that illuminate each other or contradict each other or complete each other, etc... And either ideas for what would be a good match or thinking about actual double bills you've seen - either real double features or just interesting back to back viewings: like seeing Planet of the Apes and Make Way for Tomorrow the same day... which makes me think of a recent pair of films that I think would make a good double bill: Up the Yangtze and Operation Filmmaker - documentaries about uprooted young people...

Anyway - I also wanted to note that Brad Stevens' pairing of Rivette and Lynch is particularly inspiring. I thought I'd posted something about their connections, but I couldn't find it anywhere - though I found the post just now half written, and never posted... it seems to me there's a real connection there - Mulholland Drive, especially, seems to borrow quite a bit from the Celine and Julie, but both films (the last two Lynch's) seem to be inspired by Rivette...

August 05, 2008 9:09 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

I haven't seen AmarAkbar Anthony in years--brilliant choice!

I love the drama and pathos and unintentional humor of the blood transfusion scene--and how many films can boast of such a scene?

Throw in another double bill--Wanted, that recent adaptation from a graphic novel of a hit man after a target with unintended results, and Mario O'Hara's Bagong Hari (The New King, 1986), about pretty much the same story (the target's identity turns out to be similiar, too). Fascinating to see the contrast betewen a generic Hollywood action flick full of strobelike editing, shaky cam and CGI effects, and a more classically composed action film (Bagong Hari's as if John Ford shot an action noir in Manila).

August 06, 2008 1:10 AM  
Blogger Oggs Cruz said...

How about Lav Diaz's Batang Westside (West Side Avenue, 2001) and Death in the Land of Encantos (2007). The former examines being strangers in a foreign land, the latter examines being a stranger in your homeland, all in the context of death, the death of a drug user in the former and the deaths of the victims of a typhoon in the latter. Also, that double bill would roughly be around 14 hours. Fun times!

August 06, 2008 2:00 AM  
Blogger Flickhead said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 06, 2008 7:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Alexandrov's Jolly Fellows (it has about thirteen alternate titles) and Demy's Demoiselles de Rochefort. Both films leave you with a grin that hurts your cheek, both see the musical as a constant state of being, and both see music as a way of making sense of the world and of resisting to anything that's wrong (something common to all musicals I guess, but here it's made into a philosophy and a conscious position more than in most).
And the Alexandrov has the greatest ten opening minutes of any musical I've ever seen, and which are among the greatest film openings I can think of in any genre (the rest is also fantastic but not quite better than perfect, so the Alexandrov would have to be shown first to maximize the impact).
I guess this is a double bill where the energy comes from two features reinforcing each other by being similar (though it's interesting to see the diffferences) rather than completing or being in contrast to each other. But it's also a double feature that shows a way of including choreographies other than the classical Hollywood/Broadway solution.
Anyway, huge fun


Oh, and since we're on the subject of musicals, anyone know a good spot for arabic/indian/chinese musicals? I unearthed a Positif from a couple of years ago with a dossier on oriental musicals which hugely grabbed my interest (Maoist musicals from the Cultural Revolution, come on!), but apart from what they recommend themselves (a french book on the arabic musical that I haven't found except second-hand and ridiculously expensive on amazon) so far I haven't managed to find out more. Again, it seems so many people come here that it's worth putting in a little prayer...
Nathan

August 06, 2008 11:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Apart, of course, from Youssef Chahine, R.I.P.

August 06, 2008 11:22 AM  
Blogger Jonathan Rosenbaum said...

When I programmed a Straub-Huillet retrospective in New York in 1982, this included some pairings and groupings of Straub-Huillet films with films by other filmmakers that they selected. Perhaps the most inspired of these was "Othon" + "Every Revolution is a Throw of the Dice" + "A King in New York"--the logic of which becomes apparent if one recalls that the Chaplin film starts with a revolution!

August 06, 2008 1:24 PM  
Anonymous Adrian said...

Here's a triple bill joke from the current Brisbane Film Festival, where I'm on jury duty:

FOUR WOMEN (Adoor Goplakrishnan) + THREE WOMEN (Manjeh Hekmat) = SEVEN WOMEN (John Ford)

I am sure other 'mathematical combination' programming will be possible !!

August 06, 2008 6:57 PM  
Blogger weepingsam said...

Adrian: if they added Another Woman, they could show Eight Women, right?

August 06, 2008 8:03 PM  
Blogger girish said...

To which: add La Fille coupée en deux (Chabrol) to get (voila) 8 1/2 Women (Greenaway).

August 06, 2008 8:14 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Jonathan, it's good to hear from you.

Noel, that blood transfusion scene from Amar Akbar Anthony has to be one the most wonderful and absurdly touching scenes in all Indian popular cinema. (And for added effect, Desai slaps the opening credits over it, even though it comes a half-hour into the film--we could almost be watching an Apichatpong movie!).

Nathan, since nearly all Indian popular films are musicals in one sense, a terrific viewing companion might be Rachel Dwyer's BFI Screen Guide to Bollywood that has write-ups on 100 key films. I would argue with none of the titles on her list. Her write-ups are quite good too.

David, I await your Mizo/Hawks essay; you've whetted my appetite!

August 06, 2008 9:56 PM  
Blogger girish said...

Corey Creekmur, who teaches at U/Iowa and writes (among other subjects) about Indian cinema, reminds me that Philip Lutgendorf's site (it's terrific) has a good write-up on Amar Akbar Anthony that includes several pictures including one of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi.

August 06, 2008 10:08 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Good stuff, oggs.

How about this one:


The Dark Knight
and James Batman.

Haven't seen that one yet, am planning to.

I did see Ariel Ureta playing the Man of Steel (in an omnibus film directed by Joey Gosiengfiao and Ishmael Bernal called Zoom, Zoom, Superman!. I was all of...seven years old at the time, and remember enjoying it immensely. Superman battling, if I remember right, a robot whose body resembled a huge biscuit tin.

August 06, 2008 11:52 PM  
Blogger Noel Vera said...

Childhood memories can be so treacherous.

Turns out that robot was in Fight, Batman, Fight!. But I did see Zoom Zoom Superman--I think.

August 07, 2008 12:12 AM  
Blogger Tucker said...

Girish, great post. Double features have got to be one of the best mind exercises and then experiences (when the double feature is actually watched) around. I've been meaning to comment but have been too lazy. Recently I posted a double feature idea I inadvertently created, La Chinoise & The Weather Underground, which I highly recommend.

The Sight & Sound list is rather telling. Many of the choices are rather pedestrian, as choices go (even though the the films are often excellent). Even though many of the pairings would make a great evening of movie watching, I can't help but think that The Searchers and Rio Bravo (both films I love) is a rather too obvious choice, and not a choice one needs a film critic to create. But others are just brilliant, for example Duck Soup and Battle of Algiers, or Inland Empire and Céline et Julie vont en bateau. When I think of the purpose of double features it includes the idea of a good evening of movie watching, but it also includes the idea of creating something greater than the sum of its parts, as well as something unexpected and mind engaging. Finding pairings that one would not have otherwise considered is one of the best uses of the double feature exhibition genre.

August 07, 2008 8:16 AM  
Blogger Lukas Foerster said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 07, 2008 11:23 AM  
Blogger Lukas Foerster said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

August 07, 2008 11:25 AM  
Blogger girish said...

Tucker, I agree, The Weather Underground is a movie that needs to be much better known.

I've been thinking idly today about films which include excerpts from other films within them, like

-- The King of Comedy (Scorsese) & Pickup on South Street (Fuller).
-- Paris Belongs To Us (Rivette) & Metropolis (Lang).
-- Mes Petites Amoureuses (Eustache) & Married Life (Sachs) & Pandora & the Flying Dutchman (Lewin).
-- Guddi & Anupama (both Hrishikesh Mukherjee)
Etc.

This would be an endless list...

August 07, 2008 10:34 PM  
Blogger girish said...

More double bills: a post devoted to them at The Listening Ear.

August 07, 2008 10:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An interesting double bill could be "Noroît" de Jacques Rivette and "River of Gold" de Paulo Rocha.

Also have to say that Noroît seen in 2008 is an utterly modern film. I think it's the greatest Rivette alongside Jeanne la Pucelle.

-jpm

August 08, 2008 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Peter Nellhaus said...

One double feature I attended was under the banner of "Revolution '33". The films were Duck Soup and Zero for Conduct.

August 09, 2008 2:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saw the Scarlet Empress yesterday and thought of pairing it up with... L'Année Dernière à Marienbad.
What got me ticking was the tension, common to both films, between statues and human beings. In Sternerg, it's exteriorized and the statues are real, contrasted to the naive innocence of Marlene's movements and overwhelming her. That the camera chooses to follow her around in dollies only accentuates the looming presence of the gargoyles.
In Marienbad, you get a bunch of human statues, slowly getting more and more petrified, with love as the only antidote (rather like in Sternberg).
But in the Scarlet Empress, the final sequence does away with statues, ending in a whirlwind of movement that's a liberating seizing of power. In Marienbad, no such luck. The camera can still move freely (though still menacingly, cf the dolly-forward-fade to white rape) but no euphoria is allowed. Maybe that's what's scary about the film: whatever the feeling expressed (love, playful seduction or perverse domination), the flipside of it must be terror.

Haven't seen Marienbad in a while so I might be wrong, but I was reminded of it and played the contrast game throughout my viewing of the Sternberg.

August 09, 2008 6:22 AM  
Blogger Filipe Furtado said...

My friend Cleber Eduardo programs a festival done all in double bills, a new brazilian film fallowed by an old one and then a discussion. Some of his choices do a great job at giving perspective to some of the new films and it's very useful here in Brazil when official discourse often makes it sound like there's nothing done here outside of a few official classics before 1990.

As for a double bill let me cheat a little and suggest one between Julio Bressane's Memories of a Blonde Strangler and Caetano Veloso's album A Little More Blue, both angry and homesick works by brazilian artists living in exile in London at 1971.

August 09, 2008 11:41 AM  
Blogger Filipe Furtado said...

I also love when festivals create accidental double bills, both when they are unusual (The Son's Room/Ghosts of Mars in 2001 São Paulo) or just flow perfect into each other (Gianikian/Ricci Luchi's Ghiro Ghiro Tondo, Guerin's Unas Fotos en La Ciudad de sylvia and Giavito's Profit Motive at this year's Buenos Aires).

August 09, 2008 12:05 PM  
Blogger David C said...

Hotel du Nord and Trouble in Mind, both of which weave tight, quirky melodramas around the habitues of small establishments (Trouble was renamed Wanda Cafe abroad).
"You know why I opened an early morning cafe? Because you can't pick a better time of day... to watch the sun rise."

August 10, 2008 6:17 AM  
Blogger dave said...

late to the game here, but this is one of my favorites to play. first, though, I'd like to say that Inland Empire + Celine and Julie Go Boating is an excellent one.

Bela Tarr's Satantango, followed by Pedro Costa's In Vanda's Room.

two films about the eternal presence of the past:
John Gianvito’s Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind, followed by Jean-Luc Godard’s Eloge de l’amour.

the What is Capitalism? Double Feature:
Class Relations (Straub/Huillet) followed by Wall Street (Oliver Stone)

Rivette's Don't Touch the Axe (aka The Duchess of Langelais) followed by Andrew Bujalski's Funny Ha Ha (the romantic trajectories of these films, and the moments of recognition that end them, are secretly very similar).

August 10, 2008 9:41 PM  
Anonymous Anuj said...

Camera Buff (Kieslowski)/Close-Up (Kiarostami)

Germany Year Zero (Rosellini)/Mouchette (Bresson)

August 20, 2008 2:59 PM  
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December 20, 2008 2:03 AM  

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