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    "the new non-narrative movies"

    So the table of contents for this week's New Yorker (Mar 5 cover date) promised that the topic of David Denby's Critic at Large column would be "new non-narrative movies," which any regular reader of this blog must know is something that'll make me perk up and take interest. I was a little bit disappointed to see that the article didn't quite deliver what I expected: it is not, in fact, about "non-narrative movies," but rather about movies that have unorthodox narratives. But I still thought it might be interesting to list some of the movies discussed. As a nod to traditional narrative I've arranged them in chronological order:

    • Luis Buñuel's Un Chien Andalou (1928)

    • Alain Resnais' Hiroshima, Mon Amour (1959)

    • Michaelangelo Antonioni's L'Avventura (1960)

    • Alain Resnais' Muriel (1963)

    • Luis Buñuel's The Discreet Charm of the Borgeoisie (1972)

    • Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction (1994)

    • Alejandro González Iñárritu's Amores Perros (2000)

    • Christopher Nolan's Memento (2001)

    • Alejandro González Iñárritu's 21 Grams (2003)

    • Michael Gondry's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

    • Alejandro González Iñárritu's Babel (2006)

    Traffic, Syriana, and Miami Vice get special mention as "clogged-sink narratives," "which are so heavily loaded with subplots and complicated information that the story can hardly seep through the surrounding material."

    Denby writes appreciatively about many of the films in that list, but the main point of the article is to pan Babel. Everything else is just context, although the pan resonates strongly enough to implicate all films that utilize unusual narrative forms: Denby closes by comparing Babel unflatteringly to The Lives of Others, which derives its "shattering power" from "[s]traightforward chronology, [which] still may be the best way of leading us to the paradise of a morally complicated but flawlessly told story." Needless to say, I'm not certain I agree.

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    Sunday, March 04, 2007
    11:59 AM


    I told you, Antonioni's L'Avventura, perhaps more than any other modern movie, is a story told almost entirely through images. I believe one critic called it the purest movie ever filmed, as in, a story told with images.
    the purest movie ever filmed

    I'd have gone with Stan Brakhage, maybe?
    Unfamiliar. Recommendation?

    Whoa, that surprises me, especially given that you're a Decasia fan.

    Here's maybe a good starting point.
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