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Home » Culture and Criticism

Cinemarch Madness: Truffaut Division Poll

Submitted by on March 16, 2013 – 10:41 AM5 Comments

grunge film background

Frankie, Frankie, Frankie. Ya killin’ me here.

…Okay. I haven’t seen Central Station, The Heiress, Judgment at Nuremberg, or Monster’s Ball, so I won’t vote for them.

That doesn’t help much in terms of ruling things out, but I’ll start with The 400 Blows (has a sweetness to it, as even the dreariest Truffaut tends to), Atonement (that fevered scene in the camp is gorgeously awful, but I hate the end because I hate the casting), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (hard to watch but basically uplifting and probably my favorite movie of that year), Funny Games (felt like an exercise, albeit a strenuous one), and Phenomenon (just…don’t get why it’s here). I get a darkness from The Rose, but it didn’t bring me down, and the staginess of Virginia Woolf is a bit distracting. Also Sandy Dennis’s teeth. Sorry, Sandy Dennis.

I’m left, then, with Blue Valentine, L.I.E., Remains of the Day, and United 93. The last is a shoo-in; knowing how it ends and having to see the responses of the people on the ground…I’m glad I saw it, and I’m glad I won’t see it again. L.I.E. is harder to explain, and I’m still not entirely sure I “like” the ending, but it’s what you imagine happening after the film ends that’s the dark part…that some people just get lost and stay there. My third vote is a tough one, because I get a little impatient with Remains of the Day. Someone say something. On the other hand, I also got impatient with Blue Valentine at times. Yeeeees yes, he’s lost his wedding band. GOT IT. But BV has a love-hangover quality that I both respect and would prefer to avoid, so: BV it is.

What gets through? For the first time, I can’t even guess, because I think the toughest watches may have been avoided by many people for just that reason.

Truffaut Division: Vote for the THREE (3) harshest films.

  • Blue Valentine (17%, 84 Votes)
  • United 93 (16%, 83 Votes)
  • Atonement (13%, 67 Votes)
  • Monster's Ball (12%, 59 Votes)
  • Remains of the Day (9%, 44 Votes)
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (8%, 42 Votes)
  • Funny Games (6%, 31 Votes)
  • Judgment at Nuremberg (5%, 27 Votes)
  • The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (5%, 24 Votes)
  • L.I.E. (3%, 16 Votes)
  • The Rose (2%, 10 Votes)
  • The Heiress (2%, 9 Votes)
  • Central Station (1%, 6 Votes)
  • The 400 Blows (1%, 4 Votes)
  • Phenomenon (1%, 3 Votes)

Total Voters: 189

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Not sure what’s going on? You’ll fit right in around here (heh) but in the meantime, the Cinemarch Madness FAQ is here, and a poll overview is here.




  • Sarah D. Bunting says:

    Oh, and the CM poster girl pageant gets another entrant in Michelle Williams.

  • attica says:

    I hated The Heiress like I hate all Henry James stuff. People are purposefully cruel to each other, and they either learn nothing from it or, at the most, learn to suck it up or pretend it’s okay. Which: why endure that wordy slop for that message? (I know a ton of people who adore James beyond all other writers. I admit it colors my opinion of them. Sorry, James fans!) So that will get my vote.

    I didn’t care for Atonement, either. (If only Saoirse Ronan could have played the whole movie; she’d’ve perked things up.) So I didn’t think it was bleak as much as annoying.

    RotD? Loved it. I enjoyed the repression of it all, the allegiance to the notion of duty (even if what they were dutiful to was wrong or stupid). It could be viewed as a cautionary tale that the universe doesn’t care if you’re happy. Which, perhaps weirdly, I don’t think is bleak.

  • year of the cat says:

    Judgment at Nuremberg: When Judy Garland Takes the stand against you, you KNOW you are toast.

  • Allison says:

    @attica – It’s interesting that you should say that because I feel that Washington Square, which The Heiress is based on, isn’t very bleak at all. It has a rather nice, satisfying end for Catherine. The Heiress, however, I find to be terribly bleak so I’ll also be voting for it, but not for the same reason as you. The final scene, with Catherine walking up the stairs in a big “fuck you” to Morris is seen by many as an empowering moment, but it’s really just the capper on a scene that shows you what a miserable, bitter bitch she’s become. In the novel, she doesn’t let him destroy her in that way, and I love that.

    I’m pretty sure Atonement will advance because people walked out of theaters furious, all “I hate Briony! I hate the world!” but I’d read the book before seeing the film and the book was such a satisfying reading experience, the bleakness didn’t take me.

  • Robin in Philly says:

    Dear lord, I am soulless, aren’t I? My husband and I walked out of ‘Atonement’ pissed off that it had been nominated for Best Picture. Too much of it didn’t work for me, particularly the famous long, tracking-shot war camp scene – I thought it belonged in a completely different movie and wanted to scream “Stop the camera and GO BACK TO THE STORY already.” I was surprised by how much I later enjoyed the book.

    (Then again, some of my hate projects from my ex-boyfriend admitting he blubbered his way through the movie. The same ex-boyfriend who thought that my crying at ‘Dead Poets Society’ was a character flaw. Eff you, buddy.)

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