Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

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Re: Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

Post by Force Ghost on Sat Jul 23 2016, 04:56

@rey09 wrote:
bela.mesecina wrote:
@rey09 wrote:are the subtitles for LNS on the youtube one correct?
@rey09

I speak Russian, I'll watch the movie today. I'll come back here and report later Wink
@bela.mesecina

oo excellent !
@rey09

It's ok, but the beauty of dialogue is often lost in the translation, or parts of it are left untranslated. Everything is accurate, that's the most important
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Re: Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

Post by rey09 on Sat Jul 23 2016, 08:27

bela.mesecina wrote:
@rey09 wrote:
bela.mesecina wrote:
@rey09 wrote:are the subtitles for LNS on the youtube one correct?
@rey09

I speak Russian, I'll watch the movie today. I'll come back here and report later Wink
@bela.mesecina

oo excellent !
@rey09

It's ok, but the beauty of dialogue is often lost in the translation, or parts of it are left untranslated. Everything is accurate, that's the most important
@bela.mesecina

Ah thanks so much!
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Re: Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

Post by vaderito on Sat Jul 23 2016, 09:02

Watching YT! Will live blog!

Cinematography is to die for! The shot that pans away from people on the beach watching the plane fly away (it's plane POV so you don't see it but hear propeller). Our main 4's faces are in the shadow so you don't see who is who while they are in a group. Now we see part of Sergei's face. he's wearing a hood. takes it off. You know right there he's a man of mystery. He also has phallic symbol gun.

Kostya's memory while writing letter is gorgeous. Force bond.

But my favorite gotta be foreshadowing with fire burning while present day scenes unfold, such as Sergei helping Tanya. While Kostya talks about love.

Camera work in character scenes is fantastic. Sergei's jealously with his face at the front of the screen and Tatiana and Andrey in th background showing that their canoodling, not music, is the cause of his outburst. Andrey reading the latter to Tatiana while hooded Sergei approaches. Tatiana's face in the rain.

But this is the most important scene so far. Sergei vs moral compass Andrey. This is Kylo vs Rey. We are too blinded by Tanya's gender but it's Andrey's different take on the world from Sergei's that's a Thing that may have seeped into Ahch-to. Speaking of, landscape is the main character just like 4 humans.

Kostya leaves his love 
Sergei finds love
Tatiana takes love for granted
Andrey rationalizes love

man vs human nature
man vs nature

Pick ax shirtlessness!
Human shadows against stunning backdrop

OMG, fire and pick axes scene is insane.

This movie is beautiful. If Ahch-to is 1/2 this well shot we are in for a treat.

Kostya's obsession scene is phenomenal! What photography! People should pay more attention to Kostya. he's a man who keeps leaving his beloved wife because obsession (with something that may not be there - in this case, diamonds) is "what else to do in this short life?" he claims to love Vera (wife whom he writes letter that he never sent) but his heart is really in the quest.

OMG, people, THE UST SCENE! THE UST SCENE! HOLY SITH! WOW! Ok, I'm calm. They are sweating because it's hot and because they are in this narrow space close to each other and his pick ax or whatever produces this sound that's like a heartbeat that gets faster and they look at each other over the shoulder or from the corner of their eyes and than he makes a move like he was going to kiss her or assault her but stops himself and she says he was tired so he leaves. She's crying but not really crying, it's more like really heavy breathing and than kind of laughs because she found a diamond! Symbolism! Diamond in the rough is him.

"Thank you for feelings. Even reciprocated". OK, so the way I see it, the movie's about what makes life worth living. For Kostya, it was finding diamonds. For Sergei, it was feelings/love (for Tania). For the young couple, it was glory I guess, still have 1/2 to go through. But basically, for Kostya it's something bigger than him while for Sergei it's something intimate. 

One cannot really say SW character X = LNS character X, etc. They all have something that can thematically play into any of them.

Yeha, this definitely isn't about love triangle or even romance. People try to find purpose of living. Sergei found it which is why he risked to get killed. His life may be short but it was fulfilling thanks to (his love for) Tanya. Tanya didn't find purpose so she kind of just gave up. Etc. But, again, romance is not the point and  no one should look into to try decoding VIII. In fact, it's hard to decode any plot point beyond that there may be a group of people stranded in inhospitable environment that tests them mentally and physically.

Read The Tempest for more obivous plot points.


Last edited by vaderito on Sat Jul 23 2016, 11:00; edited 9 times in total
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Re: Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

Post by Darth Dingbat on Sat Jul 23 2016, 09:24

Did Sabinine survive or not? He completed the mission, but I thought it was left ambiguous whether he lived or died, and whether the papers he had in his pocket were the map to the diamonds or the letter to his wife.

I find that very interesting - on the surface the film seems to glorify sacrificing individuals' needs for the sake of a higher goal, but at the same time the whole story is framed as something very "small" and personal: a letter to the central character's wife.

Even the sacrifice part is ambiguous; for the most of the film, the characters are just trying to survive (and help each other), and the great sacrifices that are made seem to be motivated by love, not by the lofty goal (which isn't even lofty, looking at it with my disapproving glasses on: destroy that fine landscape for diamonds? really?).

But the sacrifices made for personal reasons (love) ultimately end up contributing to the greater good => Sabinine accomplishes the mission (assuming he does, and didn't lose the map along the way...).

It's such a haunting film, partly because so much of it is actually in conflict with its state-approved "message". Didn't expect to like it as much as I did, but so many images stayed with me - I can close my eyes now and see the characters struggling with the different elements. And the trees! The burnt trees!
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Re: Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

Post by vaderito on Sat Jul 23 2016, 11:18

@Darth Dingbat

Kostya (Sabinin) survived.
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Re: Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

Post by Darth Dingbat on Sat Jul 23 2016, 11:22

@vaderito wrote:@Darth Dingbat

Kostya (Sabinin) survived.
@vaderito

Right, I watched it again. I forgot he opened his eyes in the end. I just remember him looking pretty much dead in the snow. Laughing
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Re: Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

Post by vaderito on Sat Jul 23 2016, 13:57

I think it's hard to analyse these movies without knowing the film language they used, which may be quite different from modern film language because of the period (end of 50s) and culture (is it a triumph of Soviet spirit or is it subtly subversive by calling the sacrifice for the country pointless?). So as an amateur film fan I don't dare make any proclamations.
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Re: Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

Post by LadyHa on Mon Jul 25 2016, 00:30

First off, I have to say it's so surprising that my interest in Star Wars of all things has led me to this film. Here's to unexpected discoveries!

Letter Never Sent certainly has some of the most captivating cinematography I have ever seen.  The black and white film is so crisp- lots of contrast as well as arty effects like sun flares.  I especially liked the rain scenes- maybe partly because they seem like the most likely candidates as influences on Episode VIII.

I wish I could find out more about the composer and the score.  Sounds like theremin at times, but I think there may be another electronic instrument as well.  The downward plodding theme that recurs when they are walking through foliage is cool- very repetitive for the time, I think.  In fact, the cinematography and the music are so front and center that I think this would have even worked as a silent (no dialogue) film with a few title cards.

I agree with @vaderito in that I am pretty sure that there are references tied to Soviet culture that have gone over my head.  I get that it was made during a time of strong censorship and that patriotism, loyalty, and stoicism were values they perhaps needed to incorporate.  But I am not sure about other issues.  For example, I sort of expected Tanya to get with Sergei.  It's such a common romance trope for a woman to leave her intellectual husband for a brutish man who gives her 'what she really needs.'  Then again, maybe the point was that Sergei was heroic, while Andrei took the coward's way out? Not sure, both were self sacrifices.

I did have have a laugh, though, because I watched this with my (male) partner.  We were chatting off and on during the film, but when we got to the trench scene with Tanya & Sergei, I said, "whoa, hold up! What do we have here!"  He was a little slow to notice what was going on, and later described the film to a friend as having minimal sexiness except for a few shots of a laboring shirtless guy.  My partner generally seems to understand films better than I do, but I guess that I am just more shall we say, "attuned" to metaphorical sex/lust on film than he is!

Lastly, I'll say that it was a pleasure to watch a film with many long, uninterrupted shots.  As much as I enjoy The Force Awakens, many of the scenes were so tightly edited that they feel a little choppy to me. This is just an aesthetic preference, but I'd love to see episode VIII use more through, uncut scenes.
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Re: Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

Post by vaderito on Mon Jul 25 2016, 10:16

Sergei leaves such impression that when he
Spoiler:
dies
halfway thought, the movie never really recovers even though it becomes decidedly more action-y from that point.
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Re: Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

Post by IoJovi on Mon Jul 25 2016, 10:45

@vaderito wrote:Sergei leaves such impression that when he
Spoiler:
dies
halfway thought, the movie never really recovers even though it becomes decidedly more action-y from that point.
@vaderito

100% agree with this! It was a great movie overall, but the best parts were before
Spoiler:
the fire struck
.

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Re: Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

Post by MeadowofAshes on Mon Jul 25 2016, 20:56

Sergei's 
Spoiler:
death
did sort of stop the movie in its tracks, didn't it? Like, I think I got where they were going thematically with everything after that, but the amount of drama surrounding that character leaves you feeling like something was going to play out one way or another but is left undone.
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Re: Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

Post by vaderito on Mon Jul 25 2016, 22:57

@MeadowofAshes wrote:Sergei's 
Spoiler:
death
did sort of stop the movie in its tracks, didn't it? Like, I think I got where they were going thematically with everything after that, but the amount of drama surrounding that character leaves you feeling like something was going to play out one way or another but is left undone.
@MeadowofAshes

Totally. Perhaps we didn't get used to that sort of film-making but I felt like that was a mistake.
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Re: Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

Post by Kessel on Tue Jul 26 2016, 02:11

I agree with others that,

Spoiler:
Sergei's death seemed abrupt. I was expecting his conflict with Tanya to be explored more, so it was kind of shocking to me when he ran off and died at the very beginning of the fire.  I guess his death happened the way his character lived; impulsively and in "the heat of passion."

I watched LNS a while ago and unfortunately, I didn't have time to watch it again this weekend, so I didn't feel I could add much to the conversation this time around, but it's great to read so many great comments and thoughts from everyone! I'm sure at least some of these great ideas occurred to Rian too, in some capacity.
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Re: Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

Post by Darth Dementor on Thu Jul 28 2016, 15:34

@MeadowofAshes wrote:So we have Andrei, Sergie, Tanya, and Sabinine. The first three die, the last survives. What I noticed about characterization was that the first three seemed to embody one specific trait that they took to the extreme. 
-Andrei is self-sacrificing to the point of committing suicide so he isn't an extra burden on the group. 
-Sergie is a brute. He has an anger problem, he's obsessed with Tanya and thinks of his feelings as love but in the ditch scene it seemed like he was considering sexually assaulting her. 
-Tanya is excitable to the point of it bordering on annoying. Any piece of good news is dance worthy. LOL.
- Sabinine seems to be a balance of the latter three and is the only character who survives as nature turns nasty. He has survival instinct, but he's not a brute. He's hopeful, but not overly excited. In the end, he is self-sacrificing, but he doesn't willfully commit suicide, he just becomes determined to see the mission through. This drive seems to come from both love of his wife, whom he has been writing to, and a duty to his country (or could be a desire for fame? Or both? I wasn't quite clear on that).

So at the end we have this sole surviving character who appears dead. Medics show up. They retrieve the document he's kept close to his heart. Is it the letter or the map? Or both? It's never made clear. Then the closing shot - his eyes open and he is figuratively reborn. I can see this being an indicator for thematic elements of Space Bear. Space Bear representing balance of the Force or integrating the shadow, the characters being put to the test and their weaker or imbalanced natures being winnowed away so that their balanced, integrated selves are reborn. And of course, I think it will be driven by love.  Wink Or at least "something greater than oneself".

Other initial response to the film: 
I loved how the eerie, low-key humming music early on was used to create tension and foreshadow that sith was about to hit the fan.
@MeadowofAshes

You're right about the first three representing traits.  It can be argued they represents other ones as well.  Traits that make people what they are but when left unchecked; taken to far can be bad for the human race overall.

Sergie:  represents extreme ID.  He shows mans brutal side left unchecked.  He is all about instinct, almost to an animalistic point.  He is the early point of man in his caveman phase.  Like @Vaderito wrote the scene with him and Tanya digging in the trench and finding diamonds showed that early humans were diamonds in the rough.  The early cavemen were brutal but underneath lied something great and special...human beings.

Andrei:  Is intellect without compassion.  Going solely by cold hard logic at the expense of compassion is just as bad as what Sergie embodies.  intelligence without emotion makes someone a robot incapable of relating to their fellow man/woman.  It is no different than being made of wires and steel.  Emotions and feelings is what separates us from animals.  If we didn't care about others all the intellect and knowledge in the world wouldn't separate people from wolves, sharks and lions who kill to survive.  They go through the motions of life without really going anywhere.

Tanya:  Represents emotions taken to the extreme without logic.  Just as too much intellect without compassion will ruin one, so to does compassion without logic to think it through.  If you try to help and please everyone then everyone will be left with nothing.   As the story of The Farmer, his Son and his Horse illustrates:  

Spoiler:
"Once there was a man, his wife, and his young son.

They were happy, but they needed more money.

Sell the horse” said the man’s wife.

So the man agreed to sell the horse.

The man and his son started to walk to town.

Soon they met a friend.

The friend said, “Are you crazy? Why are you walking? One of you should ride the horse.”

So the boy climbed up on the horse's back.

Soon they met an old man.

The old man said, “Are you crazy? Your son is riding, but you are walking. You should ride the horse.”

The boy climbed off. The man climbed on.

Soon they met an old woman.

The old woman said, “Are you crazy? You are riding, but your son is walking. You should both ride the horse."

So the boy climbed back on.

Soon they met a farmer.

The farmer said, “Are you crazy? Both of you are riding the horse. The horse won’t make it to town. You should carry the horse to town.”

So the man and his son tied the horse to a pole. They carried the horse into town.

The towns people laughed and laughed.

The noise frightened the horse. He kicked himself off the pole and ran away.

“What are you going to tell mother?” the son asked.

“Well, son,” the man said.

true-self“I agreed to sell the horse please your mother.
You rode the horse to please my friend.
I rode the horse to please the old man.
We both rode the horse to please the old woman.
We even carried the donkey to please the farmer!”

The man sighed.

Then he said, “This is what I’m going to tell your mother:"

"You can’t please everybody. In the end, you please nobody... not even yourself.”
http://straightnesstraining.com/horse-stories/a-man-his-son-and-a-horse/

Almost anything taken to an extreme can cause disastrous results even something as wonderful as compassion and intelligence .  Sabine survived because he had a healthy balance of all those traits, without letting him dominate him as a whole.


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Re: Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

Post by vaderito on Thu Jul 28 2016, 15:46

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Re: Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

Post by SoloSideCousin on Thu Jul 28 2016, 17:22

OMG @Darth Dementor! I haven't even seen the movie yet and I *know* you have cracked the code! They are all extreme like the Jedi and Sith, like Han and Leia in Aftermath 2 and Bloodline, like Kylo Ren with whatever he is up to, like I suspect Luke too. Rey is going to be the one who teaches balance. I suspect she is like Kylo in being half dark and light, but she will navigate better after a lot of trials because she is *not* a Skywalker. Only an outsider could teach them. Kylo will teach her many things I think, but I think she will be the balanced model to show him self acceptance and how he can live his life untormented.

This also gives me another thought. All these people except for the survivor seem like archetypes in that one facet represents each so absolutely. SW in the past has dealt very much in archetypal characters. What if Rian is going the other way ... what if he saying that one note Yoda archetypes are no way to be?
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Re: Movies That Influenced Episode VIII Viewing Party: Letter Never Sent (Unsent Letter)

Post by Darth Dementor on Thu Jul 28 2016, 17:42

@SoloSideCousin wrote:OMG @Darth Dementor! I haven't even seen the movie yet and I *know* you have cracked the code! They are all extreme like the Jedi and Sith, like Han and Leia in Aftermath 2 and Bloodline, like Kylo Ren with whatever he is up to, like I suspect Luke too. Rey is going to be the one who teaches balance. I suspect she is like Kylo in being half dark and light, but she will navigate better after a lot of trials because she is *not* a Skywalker. Only an outsider could teach them. Kylo will teach her many things I think, but I think she will be the balanced model to show him self acceptance and how he can live his life untormented.

This also gives me another thought. All these people except for the survivor seem like archetypes in that one facet represents each so absolutely. SW in the past has dealt very much in archetypal characters. What if Rian is going the other way ... what if he saying that one note Yoda archetypes are no way to be?
@SoloSideCousin

I think so. All the little clues and tidbits in TFA points towards balance, which could be the theme of the entire trilogy. So I wouldn't be surprised if Luke comes out looking less than perfect, like so many fans are hoping for. He will appear human and fallible.

The saga has already started with him as a failure (his school destroyed and his main pupil turning to the dark side under his guidance). Just look at him at the end of the movie; he looked heart broken and miserable. He was man that felt like he had nothing in the entire universe. Rey isn't just Kylo's hope but Luke's as well. His chance for his own redemption with restarting the Jedi again.


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