David Chase (#110 of 27)

New York Film Festival 2012: Amour and Not Fade Away

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New York Film Festival 2012: <em>Amour</em> and <em>Not Fade Away</em>
New York Film Festival 2012: <em>Amour</em> and <em>Not Fade Away</em>

The key scene in Amour comes during the film's second hour, in a scene in which Georges (Jean-Louis Trintignant) tries to desperately to shield his concerned daughter, Eva (Isabelle Huppert), from seeing her mother (Emmanuelle Riva) in her dying state. In response to her increasingly frenzied demand that she see her, Georges says, “None of all that deserves to be shown.” He eventually relents and apologizes for the concealment, but in that one line of dialogue, one can grasp the unmistakable touch of the film's director, Michael Haneke: Georges may be afraid to confront the horrors of his wife's slow death, but Haneke will surely force all of us in the audience to confront it, in all its agonizing ugliness.

If you're looking for empathetic humanism in the contemplation of aging and dying, á la Leo McCarey's Make Way for Tomorrow or Yasujirô Ozu's Tokyo Story, you won't find it in Haneke's carefully composed frames, ruthlessly prolonged takes, and generally detached stance. Amour plays like a dissection more than anything else, and however one reacts to it depends almost entirely on the emotional resources the individual viewer brings to it. Haneke, as usual, isn't interested in holding your hand in that way.

David vs. David vs. David; or Which Is the Greatest TV Drama Ever, Simon’s The Wire, Milch’s Deadwood, or Chase’s The Sopranos?

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David vs. David vs. David; or Which Is the Greatest TV Drama Ever, Simon’s The Wire, Milch’s Deadwood, or Chase’s The Sopranos?
David vs. David vs. David; or Which Is the Greatest TV Drama Ever, Simon’s The Wire, Milch’s Deadwood, or Chase’s The Sopranos?

Below is a transcript of a roundtable audio discussion featuring House contributors Andrew Johnston (Time Out New York), Alan Sepinwall (The Star-Ledger, What's Alan Watching), and Matt Zoller Seitz (The New York Times).

 

Throwing Down

MZS: This is Matt Seitz. We're here at Joe Jr.'s restaurant at Sixth Avenue and 12th St. with Alan Sepinwall of The Star-Ledger of Newark and Andrew Johnston of Time Out New York. Andrew and Alan and I have decided to get together and talk about the greatest drama show on television, because at one point or another, all of us have declared a particular drama show to be the greatest dramatic series in the history of American television. I'll just start with my pick, which is Deadwood, and I think we'll go around the table.

The Sopranos Recap: Season 6, Episode 21, "Made in America"

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<em>The Sopranos</em> Recap: Season 6, Episode 21, “Made in America”
<em>The Sopranos</em> Recap: Season 6, Episode 21, “Made in America”

“It's my nature.”

That's the punchline of the the fable “The Scorpion and the Frog,” a fable repeated in numerous pop culture works, including The Sopranos, which referenced it in Season Two. About 10 minutes into “Made in America,” the final episode of the final season of David Chase's drama, that phrase wriggled into my head and stayed there. It's key to appreciating the final episode, and key to understanding Chase's attitude toward people; they are what they are, they rarely change, and when they do, they stay changed for as long as it takes to realize that they were more comfortable with their old selves, at which point they revert; and once they're taken out of the picture, by illness or incarceration or death, the world keeps turning without them.

Which is a roundabout way of saying, what the hell did people expect from David Chase? Closure? Satisfaction? Answers? A moral?

It was the perfect ending. No ending at all. Write your own goddamn ending.