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Oct. 29th, 2009 12:54 am
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New York Stories

I really enjoyed these three shorts, to the extent that I was rather tired when we started watching them, but woke up completely 5 minutes into Life Lessons because I liked it so much. I think these pieces are all absolutely wonderful in terms of showcasing the location of New York City. Since the location is a well known one, it helps the audience digest the backstory of the shorts as there are many stereotypes and expectations associated with NYC that come out within each film. NYC is well known for many communities, including the artist, wealthy socialite and Jewish communities that are explored within these shorts. NYC is the canvas on which the stories are painted on and the characters are popular stereotypes that are made human through the mastery of the directing, casting and acting. Although the official theme linking these shorts is NYC, the unofficial theme joining the three is also dysfunction, as each short features highly dysfunctional characters, families and situations.
  • Life Lessons - Very interesting use of irises. Not only did it tell the audience where to focus their attention, but it also contributed to the artistic feel of the film. There were plenty of beautiful close up shots, especially the shots of the canvases. This short was brilliantly cast and acted. If there is one thing I'm learning to appreciate in film school, it's the importance of casting. I've watched far too many films and tv shows where I just did not buy into the characters one bit (*cough Fringe cough*). For me, good casting can sometimes save an otherwise flawed movie (I'm looking at you and your BIG ASS PLOTHOLE, A Serious Man). The location of the studio was not only an aesthetically wonderful location, but also a location that reflected the life of Lionel. The large looming emptiness of the studio signified to me the emptiness of his soul, the disregard he has for Paulette. His life is a large room with a huge painting, his massive ego, in the middle that calls your attention to it. The hole in the wall of Paulette's bedroom is a window into another space and he constantly reaches through it and tries to drag that space/ Paulette back to his lair/studio. When Lionel refuses to tell Paulette if her art is good, I interpreted that as a statement about what an artist is. In some people's minds, art is not just about what is actually being created, e.g. the physical painting. It's about the ideology, the pain, the suffering, the struggle, and the meaning. Lionel cannot acknowledge Paulette as an artist based solely on her artwork - she has not struggled and won the right to be called an artist in his mind.

TBC with Coppola and Allen's incredible self induglence and wacky plotlines that should have been cut by 10 minutes.

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