Sois belle et tais-toi [Be Pretty and Shut Up] (1981)

Sois belle et tais-toi
Director: Delphine Seyrig
“Cast”: Jenny Agutter, Juliet Berto, Ellen Burstyn, Candy Clark, Patti D’Arbanville, Marie Dubois, Louise Fletcher, Jane Fonda, Luce Guilbeault, Shirley MacLaine, Millie Perkins, Maria Schneider, Barbara Steele, Susan Tyrrell, Viva, Anne Wiazemsky, Cindy Williams
Seen on: 12.4.2018

“Plot”:
Delphine Seyrig interviews actresses about their work and the movie industry, touching on casual bias as well as outright sexism all of them encounter pretty much every day, shedding light on the struggles women face when they just want to act.

Be Pretty and Shut Up is a fascinating documentary with very interesting women and interviews, but it’s also incredibly frustrating to see that we still have the same discussions even 40 years later.

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The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond (2008)

The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond
Director: Jodie Markell
Writer: Tennessee Williams
Cast: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Evans, Will Patton, Ann-Margret, Mamie Gummer, Jessica Collins, Ellen Burstyn, Zach Grenier
Seen on: 6.11.2016

Plot:
Fisher Willow (Bryce Dallas Howard) has spent some time overseas. Now she’s back home and supposed to come out to society. But while she was gone, her father caused some trouble in their town and is now hated. Fisher herself is rather wild and outspoken. The two things in combination leave her rather ostracized. She can’t even find a date to accompany her. So she pays Jimmy (Chris Evans) to accompany her. Jimmy’s family used to have a big name, but they have since fallen in standing. And Jimmy has his fair share of troubles to contend with, but he desperately needs the money.

I do wonder why nobody ever talks about The Loss of a Teardrop Diamond. Not only is it by Tennessee Williams (a “lost screenplay” that resurfaced 50 years after it was written), it’s a really good film.

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Wiener-Dog (2016)

Wiener-Dog
Director: Todd Solondz
Writer: Todd Solondz
Cast: Keaton Nigel Cooke, Tracy Letts, Julie Delpy, Greta Gerwig, Kieran Culkin, Danny DeVito, Ellen Burstyn, Zosia Mamet, Ari Graynor
Seen on: 2.9.2016

Plot:
Remi (Keaton Nigel Cooke) can’t believe his luck when his dad Danny (Tracy Letty) brings home a dog. Remi’s mother Dina (Julie Delpy) is less taken by Danny’s gift, fearing that she will be the one having to care for it. Pretty soon it becomes clear that it’s not going to work out for the dog in this family. And so begins a oddyssee for the little guy, from one weird owner to the next.

Wiener-Dog wasn’t great, but it was a decent film that was often very funny and sometimes a little too cruel. There are many things to like about it, but also a few things I didn’t like.

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The Age of Adaline (2015)

The Age of Adaline
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Writer: J. Mills Goodloe, Salvador Paskowitz
Cast: Blake Lively, Michiel Huisman, Harrison Ford, Ellen Burstyn, Kathy Baker, Amanda Crew, Lynda Boyd
Seen on: 9.7.2015

Plot:
After an accident Adaline (Blake Lively) has stopped aging. Fearing experiments done on her and persecution, she spent her life hiding and running so that nobody will notice that fact. Only her daughter Flemming (Ellen Burstyn), who by now looks like Adaline’s grandmother, knows the truth. But then Adaline meets Ellis (Michiel Huisman). He’s good-looking, charming, nice and rich, and has fallen head over heels for Adaline. She will now have to decide: does she keep running or does she risk people really getting to know her.

The Age of Adaline is just as cheesy as it looks and sounds – and very nice in all that kitsch.

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Interstellar (2014)

Interstellar
Director: Christopher Nolan
Writer: Jonathan Nolan, Christopher Nolan
Cast: Matthew McConaugheyAnne HathawayJessica Chastain, Wes BentleyDavid Gyasi, Michael Caine, Casey AffleckTopher GraceMatt Damon, John LithgowDavid Oyelowo, Bill Irwin, Mackenzie FoyTimothée Chalamet, Ellen Burstyn

Plot:
The earth is dying. Cooper (Matthew McConaughey) used to be an engineer, but now he lives on a farm, trying to grow his own food, with his father (John Lithgow), his daughter Murphy (Mackenzie Foy) and his son Tom (Timothée Chalamet). Murphy is convinced that their house is haunted and actually figures out a message – coordinates. Intrigued Cooper drives there and stumbles on the world’s largest space project, trying to find other viable planets. It’s headed by his former professor Brand (Michael Caine) who promptly asks Cooper to join their last chance to find a planet in time. Even though it means leaving his family behind, especially Murphy, Cooper agrees and together with Brand’s daughter (Anne Hathaway), they take off.

Interstellar is a mixed bag of beans. Visually stunning, scientifically apparently accurate, at least for a while (not that I’d really know), and with all around great performances, it nevertheless fails when it comes to the storytelling.

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Flowers in the Attic (2014)

Flowers in the Attic
Director: Deborah Chow
Writer: Kayla Alpert
Based on: V.C. Andrewsnovel (the first in the Dollanganger Series)
Cast: Heather Graham, Ellen Burstyn, Kiernan Shipka, Mason Dye

Plot:
Cathy (Kiernan Shipka) leads a happy, sheltered life with her parents and siblings. But when her father suddenly dies, her mother Corrine (Heather Graham) doesn’t know what else to do – so she returns to her parents, despite the falling out she had with them. But once they’re there, it becomes clear that Cathy’s grandmother (Ellen Burstyn) doesn’t want the children there. Instead of a warm welcome and a safe haven, Cathy, her older brother Christopher (Mason Dye) and their two younger, still incomprehending siblings get locked into the attic for an indeterminate amount of time, with only occasional visits by their cruel, religious grandmother and their flighty mother.

I am not entirely sure why I started watching this film or why I finished it. The entire set-up is so convoluted, the acting is so very mediocre (apart from Ellen Burstyn and Heather Graham) and then the incest… but it does go by rather quickly and I watched it with a kind of horrified fascination.

flowersintheattic

[SPOILERS]

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River of Fundament (2014) – DNF

River of Fundament / Festwochen link
Director: Matthew Barney
Writer: Matthew Barney, David Grimm
Based on: Norman Mailer‘s novel Ancient Evenings
Cast: John Buffalo Mailer, Milford Graves, Dave Bald EagleMadyn CoakleyMaggie Gyllenhaal, Ellen Burstyn, Deborah Harry, Salman Rushdie
Part of: Wiener Festwochen

Plot:
Norman I (John Buffalo Mailer) is on his way to be reborn. But a lot of things have to happen for that to be possible. First Norman has to wade through a river of shit to get to his own wake. But that’s only the beginning.

When I got the ticket for this film (which is part new footage, part footage from earlier outdoor productions), I knew that there was a high chance I wouldn’t like a five-hour, modern, surreal opera based on a Norman Mailer novel. But I wanted to give it a shot anyway. Well. Now I can say with confidence that I don’t like this five-hour, modern, surreal opera based on a Norman Mailer novel. I walked out after the first act.

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