Fix Idea: Films About Obsessed Artists, Scientists And Adventurers

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Fix Idea: Films About Obsessed Artists, Scientists And Adventurers
Fix Idea: Films About Obsessed Artists, Scientists And Adventurers

Video: Fix Idea: Films About Obsessed Artists, Scientists And Adventurers

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The film "Obsession" was released, whose star we have already written about, is a tense drama about a young jazz drummer who is driven to madness by the perfectionism of his mentor, the famous conductor. The film charmed both critics and ordinary viewers: at the main American Sundance Film Festival, he won both the Grand Prix and the Audience Award. It is impossible to tear yourself away from the young actor Miles Teller and the story he played, and "Obsession" deserves a place in the list of powerful film dramas, whose heroes went crazy before our eyes and got to the point of being obsessed with some idea. We decided to recall the best films on this topic.

Text: Andrey Kartashov

Conversation

The Conversation, 1974

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Francis Ford Coppola's film could be called a production drama, albeit an unusual one: it is a rare profession of a wiretap specialist. It can be considered a thriller: fulfilling another order, the main character begins to suspect that he has witnessed a murder (yes, this, of course, is a free remake of Antonioni's "Magnification"). But as a result, "Conversation" turns out to be about something other than the usual genre constructions. Having devoted his life to eavesdropping on others, Hackman's hero himself is as closed as possible from the world, he has no friends or loved ones; there is only a saxophone in an empty apartment and the growing confidence that he is being watched is false, because who really needs it. From a certain angle, "Conversation" is a film about the director himself: 1974 was the year of Coppola, he released two films one after the other, won the main prize in Cannes and competed with himself at the Oscars (the winner was "Godfather - 2"). Overwhelmed by his own success, the director already dreamed of how he would remake Hollywood alone. Immediately after this victorious year, I started Apocalypse Now, and many years of work on this film inevitably grew into an obsession.

Sinekdokha, New York

Synecdoche, New York, 2008

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If "Conversation" can only be interpreted as an (unintentional) statement about the director himself, then "Sinekdokha, New York" talks about it quite bluntly. In the directorial debut of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman, his own penchant for dramatic heaps (see Being John Malkovich and Adaptation) carries over to the protagonist, played by Philip Seymour Hoffman. Having received a prestigious and large prize in monetary terms, he starts a grandiose performance, for which he removes a hangar in Manhattan, builds scenery in it, hires actors and begins rehearsals. The main idea is the reproduction of everyday life, and rather quickly it turns out that the exact imitation of life is the limit to which one can endlessly approach, but it is impossible to completely reach it. The work on the play drags on for years, then for decades; the director's family breaks up, another appears, then a third, but he no longer notices this, and the hangar is expanding, gradually turning into an exact copy of New York.

Cast: Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Michelle Williams, Samantha Morton, Hope Davis, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Dianne Wiest, Emily Watson

Computer chess

Computer Chess, 2013

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King Mumblecore's astonishing film, Andrew Bujalski, hovers between dock styling and otherworldly science fiction - not about the future, but about the past. The action takes place thirty years ago, when computers were large, and artificial intelligence was not able to do that much. Scientists who gathered in a California hotel in 1980 for a conference and competition of chess programs are engaged in it.One of the dialogues near the end of the film conveys the essence of what is happening quite well, when a timid girl with glasses - the only woman in the company of mustaches in sweaters and wrinkled shirts - tries to flirt with a young graduate student. “After these few days, it’s starting to feel like people are walking at right angles, like pieces,” she says. “Do they jump over each other? And when one is in the place of the other, he disappears? " he asks with interest. In the same hotel, seminars for New Agers in search of themselves are held, somewhere the Pentagon looms invisibly with sinister contracts, and the annals of the Geek symposium begin to resemble stories about a thoughtless invasion of the secrets of the Universe, like Alien and, especially, 2001 Space Odyssey ". As it was sung in the unforgettable song of the group Bonaparte, “when you watch computer, computer watching you”.

Cast: Criss Schludermann, Tom Fletcher, Wiley Wiggins, Patrick Rister, Kevin Beversdorf, Jim Lewis, Freddie Martinez, Cole Noppenberg, Miles Page

Lust for life

Lust for Life, 1956

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There seem to be more films made about van Gogh than about any other painter: "Vincent and Theo" by Robert Altman with Tim Roth, the great "Van Gogh" by Maurice Pial and this film, the earliest of them. Red-bearded Kirk Douglas plays an artist with characteristic energy, almost rage - which, apparently, is quite close to the truth of life: Van Gogh suffered from bipolar disorder, which was aggravated by an addiction to absinthe and lead poisoning contained in some paints. Like many biopics, "Lust for Life" runs through the entire biography of its hero, but most of all dwells on the years spent in Arles, which ended with another depression and a shot in the chest. Director Vincent Minnelli, author of dozens of classic musicals, infuses the film with incredibly and unhealthy colors that are characteristic of van Gogh himself.

Cast: Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, James Donald, Pamela Brown, Everett Sloan, Niall McGinnis, Noel Purcell, Henry Daniel, Madge Kennedy, Jill Bennett

All this jazz

All That Jazz, 1979

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Another story, based on the director's own biography, is the latest film by Bob Fossey, author of Cabaret and one of the most influential choreographers in Broadway history. His alter ego Joseph Gideon - a nod to Guido from Eight and a Half - is simultaneously working on a new theatrical show and a stand-up comedy film (referring to Fossey's biopic of Lenny Bruce). Already at the beginning of "Jazz" it is obvious that the hero is on the verge of either a nervous breakdown, or a heart attack from overwork, or both at once: every morning he starts with a handful of pills and exclamation "It’s showtime, folks!" Therefore, it will not be a big spoiler to say that workaholism will not bring Gideon to good, as he did not bring Fossey himself a few years earlier, who was admitted to the hospital immediately after the Oscar ceremony. It is striking that even the plot, which ends with a visit to an emergency and open heart operation, in the hands of Fossey turns into a musical with dancing and an orchestra.

Cast: Roy Scheider, Jessica Lange, Leland Palmer, Anne Reinking, Cliff Gorman, John Lithgow, Ben Verin, Erzhebet Foldy, Michael Tolan, Max Wright, Deborah Geffner

Fitzcarraldo

Fitzcarraldo, 1982

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Like most incredible stories, Fitzcarraldo is based on true events. An Irish adventurer named Fitzgerald, having moved to South America, is captured by the unthinkable idea of ​​building an opera house in the Peruvian jungle. Such a project requires money, and Fitzcarraldo (as the locals call the Irishman) equips an expedition to an inaccessible forest with rubber trees. The central element of the plan: the steamer, on which the expedition was rafting down the river, needs to be dragged over the mountain - and the lengthy episode in which this undertaking is carried out makes the hero of Klaus Kinski (who else could play it) the most, perhaps, the largest figure in the gallery madmen Werner Herzog.Of course, the director, not inclined to reverence for the facts, greatly exaggerates, but he himself sets himself more difficult tasks than any other director in his place. The ship of the real Fitzcarraldo was several times smaller than what was filmed in the film, and it was carried over the mountain, disassembled; from Herzog the steamer is being dragged entirely, and without special effects and the help of modern technology. There are two conclusions from this: sometimes art is more than life; to make a reliable movie about a megalomaniac, you need to be a megalomaniac yourself.

Cast: Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale, Jose Levgoy, Miguel Angel Fuentes, Paul Ittscher

TV network

Network, 1976

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One of the many things that Sidney Lumet's satirical fantasy tells about television is that people work very hard on television (which is true). Sometimes so much that they begin to lose touch with reality, if, of course, we assume that reality exists. "The Network" begins as a film about TV presenter Howard Beale, whose future parting with his beloved work drives him to insanity. Then the real main character appears in the plot - the producer of the new formation performed by Faye Dunaway: she decides to use Beale's condition and raise the ratings with his crazy antics on the air. As the ratings really start to grow, the heroine, inspired by the success, invents new formats, gradually turning her channel into a true theater of cruelty. And, although audience percentages and ad revenue figures appear in the film more than once, she does so primarily for the love of art.

Cast: Faye Dunaway, William Holden, Peter Finch, Robert Duvall, Wesley Eddie, Ned Beatty, Arthur Berghardt, Bill Burroughs, John Carpenter, Jordan Charney, Katie Cronkite

Pi

Pi, 1998

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As mentioned above (see "Computer Chess"), and indeed it is known from life, logical abstractions are attractive, but dangerous for people who are carried away. Max, the protagonist of Darren Aronofsky's debut film, does math. His attempts to explain the universe in terms of numbers at some point meet with keen interest from stock traders and Jewish theologians; both begin to pursue Max with their own goals. He himself does not understand what the number of 216 digits he discovered means, but stubbornly continues to work, although the elderly teacher warns him that he is not worth it. In general, those who are familiar with Aronofsky's film "The Fountain" (and, incidentally, "Noah"), already guess that the Hasidim appeared for a reason and Max's headaches were not caused by simple overwork: in his studies he went too far for the human mind.

Cast: Sean Gallett, Mark Margolis, Ben Shankman, Pamela Hart, Stephen Perlman, Samia Shoib, Ajay Naidu, Christine May-Ann Lao, Lauren Fox, Stanley B. Herman

Behind the scenes

Offscreen, 2005

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This film could have been shot just by Charlie Kaufman, if he was a Dane with a passion for low-fi aesthetics. The plot is somewhat similar to "Adaptation" or the same "Synecdoche": the prominent actor Nicholas Bro (starred in most Danish films and in the episode "Nymphomaniac") decides to turn his life into a film and begins to carry a small camera everywhere, filming everything on it. The idea is to create the perfect love movie starring Nicholas's wife. She, however, is not delighted with the idea, and soon the director's passion for his project really develops into a mania, and the results of Nicholas turn out to be exactly the opposite of those intended. "Behind the scenes", of course, terrible formalism, mannerism and foppishness (there is, for example, the release of the real director Christopher Boe in the role of himself, of course), but at the same time - an accurate and sincere film about love and what director's ambitions.

Cast: Nicholas Bro, Lena Maria Christensen, Karen Margrethe Bierre, Christoffer Boe, Jacob Södergren, Bjarke de Koning, Trine Dyurholm, Ellen Hillings

King of Comedy

The King of Comedy, 1982

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There are many films about geniuses who have achieved greatness through talent and work, but very little has been filmed about graphomaniacs. The King of Comedy, perhaps Martin Scorsese's most underrated film, is one of them. As in Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro plays the role of an insane loner in the scenery of New York at night, but now his character is rather pathetic and comical: his name is Rupert Papkin (no one can remember this name), and he wants to become the king of humorous stage - not having any talent for this, but possessing an extreme degree of stubbornness and impenetrable determination of an idiot. Its victim is the stand-up star performed by Jerry Lewis himself, through a nodding acquaintance with whom Rupert hopes to break onto the stage. However, the viewer quickly becomes aware that the story is more tragic than funny, and certain scenes of this film are generally the most painful thing that you have ever seen on the screen. It is not surprising that in its time "The King of Comedy" failed, because you expect something different from such a title. Scorsese, however, considers this film to be the best of his career.

Cast: Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Sandra Bernhard, Diana Abbott, Martha Heflin, Shelley Hack, Ed Herlihee

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