Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker, 2018)

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mfunk9786
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Re: Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker, 2018)

#2 Post by mfunk9786 » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:14 pm

It's not every day you see a trailer that is unlike anything you've ever seen before.

This got raves out of Sundance - it looks a little too IFC Center (if that makes any sense) to catch on with a wide audience, though.

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domino harvey
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Re: Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker, 2018)

#3 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jul 03, 2018 12:17 pm

That trailer is already one of the best films of the year

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DarkImbecile
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Re: Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker, 2018)

#4 Post by DarkImbecile » Tue Jul 03, 2018 5:58 pm

I haven’t watched it, but I read somewhere that the trailer was shot separately and isn’t part of the final film.

ETA: Not where I saw it, but here’s an article that mentions it.

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Re: Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker, 2018)

#5 Post by ianthemovie » Tue Jul 03, 2018 8:42 pm

Yeah, the movie is not edited in the style of the trailer. I saw it earlier this year when it screened at IFF Boston.

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domino harvey
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Re: Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker, 2018)

#6 Post by domino harvey » Tue Jul 24, 2018 6:47 pm

The young star of this and her mother are facing eviction, a GoFundMe has been set up to help (and already surpassed their goal)

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Foam
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Re: Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker, 2018)

#7 Post by Foam » Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:00 pm

Very excited for this. I still need to catch Flames, but Thou Wast Mild & Lovely and Butter on the Latch are some of the best, most stylistically singular, and underrated films I've seen this decade. Hope this brings more attention to her work.

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Re: Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker, 2018)

#8 Post by HinkyDinkyTruesmith » Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:09 am

Does anyone know what the home media situation is on this? I know that it's being released digital in a few places in this month, but does anyone know if a DVD/Blu-Ray release is in the future?

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soundchaser
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Re: Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker, 2018)

#9 Post by soundchaser » Mon Oct 01, 2018 1:01 pm

HinkyDinkyTruesmith wrote:
Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:09 am
Does anyone know what the home media situation is on this? I know that it's being released digital in a few places in this month, but does anyone know if a DVD/Blu-Ray release is in the future?
Oscilloscope put it out theatrically, so I can't imagine a Blu-Ray isn't forthcoming from them.

Speaking of being released, I finally saw this yesterday (in Baton Rouge, of all places), and I'm sorry to say that I didn't connect with it at all.

The trailer remains one of the most amazing things I've seen this year, but the film isn't cut like that at all. Instead, it's made up of a bevy of out-of-focus close-ups, no doubt intended to give us a glimpse into Madeline's mental state, where things are constantly shifting, hard to get a grip on, etc. Not a problem by itself, but certainly one when looked at in the context of the rest of the film. Once the novelty of this style has worn off, the experience becomes exhausting, and the overwhelming soundtrack makes paying any real attention difficult. It's a movie full of visually stunning shots, but the sheer volume of them makes them difficult to appreciate in the moment.

The story is going to invite lots of comparisons to Rivette - oblique plot? Check. Crises of identity? Check. Experimental theater troupe? Very check. And, like Rivette, Decker seems (on the surface) to be probing the distinction between actor and character, and where the line blurs. Helena Howard, the actress playing Madeline, does a brilliant job with the material she's given - and she takes risks that I suspect more seasoned actors wouldn't. The scene where she walks around New York oinking at passersby like a pig is bizarre, but strangely compelling in its rawness.

But Howard, who is far and away the best part of the film, is only given a few moments to really shine. The rest of the film appears to be a "woe is me" lament by Decker herself, in the form of Molly Parker's Evangeline. She can't control her actors! Nobody's listening to her costuming plans! What makes this obvious self-insert even worse is that we're not supposed to *like* Evangeline. She's fickle, self-obsessed, and unintentionally cruel to the people around her. Why, then, do I call her a self-insert? Because of the third-to-last scene in the film. Evangeline decides that the troupe's story is now going to be about Madeline's strained relationship with her mother, and one of her black actors asks "have you thought about the optics of this?" Decker attempts to question the morality of her, a white woman, telling the story of a black (or mixed-race) teenager. The sequence that follows appears to be the answer to this question - "let your actors act." Madeline
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takes over the theater troupe and tells HER story - swapping out the pig masks for cat faces, creating rooms of flashing lights that simulate her visual overstimulation, etc. She draws Evangeline into her world, and the whole thing concludes with a transcendent quasi flash mob on the streets of New York, with regular folks joining in the creation of art.
But then, the ending. The shot of
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Madeline walking away from the camera in a hospital gown, implying that the whole film, or at least the preceding sequence of boundless creativity, is the hallucination of a deranged asylum escapee
is so curt and mocking that I cannot understand its inclusion. It's as if Fellini ended 8 1/2 with Guido
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not joining in the dance of life but sitting alone in a tub making babbling noises with his finger in front of his lips.
It's cruel to the audience, and it's cruel to the characters. If a tracking shot is a question of morality, then this one shot, with the character in focus, in the middle of the frame, and nothing on the soundtrack, following the disorienting experience preceding it, is surely on the same level.

And so that's why comparisons with Rivette ring hollow - he is never a cruel filmmaker, even when his characters are left alone or dead. The least-charitable interpretation of Out 1's ending cannot hope to match the abject smugness of this film. At no point during the 13 straight hours of Rivette did I want to claw my way, cat-like, out of the theater, and out of this nightmarish metaphor for artistic creation and mental instability.

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Re: Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker, 2018)

#10 Post by Cronenfly » Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:24 pm

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Is that really what she’s wearing in the final shot of the film? I don’t doubt you but that went right over my head. Thanks for the analysis.

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soundchaser
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Re: Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker, 2018)

#11 Post by soundchaser » Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:41 pm

Cronenfly wrote:
Tue Oct 02, 2018 4:24 pm
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Is that really what she’s wearing in the final shot of the film? I don’t doubt you but that went right over my head. Thanks for the analysis.
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I can’t find anything that backs me up on this, but it’s certainly how it came across: green, vaguely plastic-y, and tied up in the back with a rubber band. If I’m totally misreading the last shot, then I’ll admit that my ire isn’t completely earned. (Although I still didn’t like much of the preceding 90 minutes.)

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Re: Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker, 2018)

#12 Post by pianocrash » Sat Oct 20, 2018 1:15 am

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Image

I had to do a double take after reading this thread & seeing the film last night (rented it on demand right after midnight), but during the final sequence, it's the last costume change, though I don't believe it's a hospital gown (the front features a loose, flowing neckline & is quite striking).

But what you see is what you see, right?

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soundchaser
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Re: Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker, 2018)

#13 Post by soundchaser » Sat Oct 20, 2018 9:11 am

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Looking at it again, I think you may be right - the shoulders are too elaborate. I see how I made that mistake, though.

Still, I think the implications of the shot are largely what I outlined above. If you have a different interpretation, I’d be curious to hear it.

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Re: Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker, 2018)

#14 Post by pianocrash » Sat Oct 20, 2018 7:48 pm

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While I don't share the ire overall for this film, I also don't hold the end result in any real esteem. But really, the fluidity of the whole of the film was pleasant enough, even for someone like me who really loathes the idea of witnessing any theater troupe doing anything at all. The unique achievement of portraying them as a living, breathing unit was quite spectacular (like an organism that keeps changing shape), especially as the third act kicks in all the doubt that was bubbling up from the first two. As for Decker's mirroring of herself in the Molly Parker character, that's less important overall (though, if you want to get picky, I've always felt that directors who credit or co-credit themselves as editors are being too precious about their work, despite any non-artistic/monetary reasons that may defy them doing just that), but if it is, then by all means, don't mind me. But that final moment was almost an upheaval of the rest of the film, even if it was tucked into the previous scene of Miranda July honking her car horn at an otherwise oblivious, costumed person walking in the middle of a busy street - it lessened the power of what came before it (it was all in her head, she's insane!, it's just that simple!, the end). From that perspective, it's the opposite ending of La Dolce Vita - but then again, maybe it's the exact same thing? Either way, I'm not so sure the hype built onto Decker for this movie is warranted (is any?), but she does possess a narrative style that is decidedly her own, even if it's not as entirely sharp as it could be in places.

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