Archive for the ‘Clichés’ Category

Think of a film, any film. Yes, it is probably in this one. Director Pálfi György had the brilliant idea to make a movie entirely made up of scenes form other movies. The result is a story cut from more than 450 films and series – a nightmare in terms of copyright, one would imagine. But Pálfy managed to avoid legal toss and turn by declaring his film educational material for film students and releasing it as a free attachment to scholar Balázs Varga’s book about the film.

I have nothing but admiration for Pálfi, and whoever saw his Taxidermia probably knows why. However, despite the idea bordering on genius and the joy of watching this film, I was also very much disappointed. It seems that after having come up with such a nice premise, the author did not have the patience to come up with a story worth telling. And this is such a huge miss, as the possibilities were literally endless, he could have told ANY story. Instead, we get a quite disappointing cliché of boy meets girl they fall in love and misunderstanding comes between them. But this is still not the worse part, at least not what bothered me most. It was the annoying sexism and the portrayal of women – or, should I say, the Woman. One could argue that this might be one of the points of the film: how it’s the same old story, the same old characters, over and over again, and we still love them. So ok, if the point was to illustrate that Hollywood or film in general is a sexist cliché, well done. Still, I would have much preferred it if we got a different, stronger and more nuanced female character cut together from all the weak ones. Or if we got a male character who is not a thug.

But no, women are flirty singers who just want to get married and taken care of, while men chase after them and physically win them over from the competition and make them into trophy wives. After that women cook, clean, iron, have babies and wait for their husbands (who work long and hard, of course) in vain, having the audacity to have a headache when he comes home drunk and wakes them to have sex. Then the guy believes the first guy who suggests his wife is cheating… although, honestly, when would she have the time with all that cooking and ironing? And when a strong guy has doubts, he hits women, but suffers while doing it. Ok, women hit back but when they do, they turn alien monsters. Furthermore, when hurt in love, men join the army to blow stuff up and repeatedly shoot each other, while women take long baths to the music of Twin Peaks (no complaints here).

And the most painful was to watch genuinely original characters that Hollywood and film in general managed to create being cut into these ultimate cliché roles – when Björk seems to be saying a cheesy „I do” to a marriage proposal, that really hurt. And when there is a big dance scene without Christopher Walken, that hurts too. How could that happen?

But all and all, if one loves film, one just cannot stop watching and enjoying this avalanche of films coming our way. All the classics are there, but it was especially exciting to see some old time favorites like Twin Peaks, La Haine, Blue Velvet, La Boum (healthy humans born in the eighties might remember that as Sophie Marceau’s first film, so sweet and so eighties cool…), Monthy Python (at least two movies), Scenes from a Marriage, Dear Hunter, Annie Hall, The Double Life of Veronique, Pi, Irreversible, Natural Born Killers, Dangerous Liaisons, and so, so much more. Plus, the delight of the many Hungarian classics popping up here and there. The music also deserves special mention, even though we all know the selection by heart, it was nice to hear all the classic soundtracks again.

A huge missed opportunity which nevertheless should not be missed by anyone who loves film.


… in no particular order. And also – I just realized this by reading my own list – these clearly show that there are some “pretty awesome” movies made in the States, no matter how much I or anybody else trash “American” films.


1994, Oliver Stone

“The media is like the weather, only it’s man-made weather.”

“Mickey and Mallory are the best thing to happen to mass murder since Manson.”

“It’s just murder. All God’s creatures do it. You look in the forests and you see species killing other species, our species killing all species including the forests, and we just call it industry, not murder.”


1998, Tony Kaye

“-There was a moment, when I used to blame everything and everyone for all the pain and suffering and vile things that happened to me, that I saw happen to my people. Used to blame everybody. Blamed white people, blamed society, blamed God. I didn’t get no answers ’cause I was asking the wrong questions. You have to ask the right questions.
Like what?
Has anything you’ve done made your life better?”


1999, David Fincher

“Man, I see in fight club the strongest and smartest men who’ve ever lived. I see all this potential, and I see squandering. God damn it, an entire generation pumping gas, waiting tables; slaves with white collars. Advertising has us chasing cars and clothes, working jobs we hate so we can buy shit we don’t need. We’re the middle children of history, man. No purpose or place. We have no Great War. No Great Depression. Our Great War’s a spiritual war… our Great Depression is our lives. We’ve all been raised on television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires, and movie gods, and rock stars. But we won’t. And we’re slowly learning that fact. And we’re very, very pissed off.”


1999, Spike Jonez

“Anyway, the point is… this is a very odd thing. It’s supernatural, for lack of a better word. I mean, it raises all sorts of philosophical-type questions, you know… about the nature of self, about the existence of a soul. You know, am I me? Is Malkovich Malkovich? I had a piece of wood in my hand Maxine. I don’t have it any more. Where is it? Did it disappear? How could that be? Is it still in Malkovich’s head? I don’t know! Do you see what a metaphysical can of worms this portal is? I don’t see how I could go on living my life the way I’ve lived it before.”


1977, Woody Allen

“There’s an old joke – um… two elderly women are at a Catskill mountain resort, and one of ’em says, “Boy, the food at this place is really terrible.” The other one says, “Yeah, I know; and such small portions.” Well, that’s essentially how I feel about life – full of loneliness, and misery, and suffering, and unhappiness, and it’s all over much too quickly. The… the other important joke, for me, is one that’s usually attributed to Groucho Marx; but, I think it appears originally in Freud’s “Wit and Its Relation to the Unconscious,” and it goes like this – I’m paraphrasing – um, “I would never want to belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member.” That’s the key joke of my adult life, in terms of my relationships with women.”


1989, Steven Soderbergh

“I remember reading somewhere that men learn to love the person that they’re attracted to, and that women become more and more attracted to the person that they love.”


2002, Spike Jonez

“-Anyway, listen, I meant to ask you, I need a cool way to kill people. Don’t worry, for my script.
I don’t write that kind of stuff.
Oh, come on, man, please? You’re the genius.
Here you go. The killer’s a literature professor. He cuts off little chunks from his victims’ bodies until they die. He calls himself “the deconstructionist”.

“Do I have an original thought in my head? My bald head. Maybe if I were happier, my hair wouldn’t be falling out. Life is short. I need to make the most of it. Today is the first day of the rest of my life. I’m a walking cliché. I really need to go to the doctor and have my leg checked. There’s something wrong. A bump. The dentist called again. I’m way overdue. If I stop putting things off, I would be happier. All I do is sit on my fat ass. If my ass wasn’t fat I would be happier. I wouldn’t have to wear these shirts with the tails out all the time. Like that’s fooling anyone. Fat ass. I should start jogging again. Five miles a day. Really do it this time. Maybe rock climbing. I need to turn my life around. What do I need to do? I need to fall in love. I need to have a girlfriend. I need to read more, improve myself. What if I learned Russian or something? Or took up an instrument? I could speak Chinese. I’d be the screenwriter who speaks Chinese and plays the oboe. That would be cool. I should get my hair cut short. Stop trying to fool myself and everyone else into thinking I have a full head of hair. How pathetic is that? Just be real. Confident. Isn’t that what women are attracted to? Men don’t have to be attractive. But that’s not true. Especially these days. Almost as much pressure on men as there is on women these days. Why should I be made to feel I have to apologize for my existence? Maybe it’s my brain chemistry. Maybe that’s what’s wrong with me. Bad chemistry. All my problems and anxiety can be reduced to a chemical imbalance or some kind of misfiring synapses. I need to get help for that. But I’ll still be ugly though. Nothing’s gonna change that.”


2001, David Lynch

“I’m scared like I can’t tell you. Of all people, you’re standing right over there, by that counter. You’re in both dreams and you’re scared. I get even more frightened when I see how afraid you are and then I realize what it is. There’s a man… in back of this place. He’s the one who’s doing it. I can see him through the wall. I can see his face. I hope that I never see that face, ever, outside of a dream.”