From the Melbourne Movie Marathon.
The Lady Eve Preston Sturges 1941
Screwball romantic comedy where of course you know how it ends so it is the journey that counts. Not a lot of laughs, chuckles yes, a little bit of slapstick.
I think I laughed more at this than the others. It is wonderfully funny, and a wonderful comedy. I do think it's a little ridiculous in terms of plot, but it's just such fun.
Solaris Andrei Tarkovsky 1972
An unusual viewing experience, the DVD version I had must be spliced together from different versions. Mostly it was a dubbed version, but every now and then it would go to a subtitled version, strange.
This is a detail film, long drawn out tracking shots, luxuriating over the scenes. You are given lots of time to study the subjects, not surprising then that during the film there were references to both Tolstoy and Dostoevsky both wordy writers. This did help bring you into the world of madness/reality that Hari was experiencing. Did this film need to be nearly 3 hours long, not really.
People always talk about Tarkovsky like his work is impossibly slow, but I feel like it's a lot quicker than either Werckmeister Harmonies
or I Don't Want to Sleep Alone
. I also think I liked this a lot more than any of the others at the marathon. I do wish a little that I'd seen it with a little more time to think and process it, because I think it's really remarkable.
I love the way he plays with colour and black and white photography. I think the setup in the beginning is really interesting, and important for what follows. The footage of Tokyo is gorgeous and such a wonderful contrast to the images of nature, which have been the sole dominance to that point. The philosophy was never as heavy for me as I think some of the others found it, and I think it fits really well. It forces you to think but never provides the answers in the conversation, although they are definitely present in the text and subtext.
I found the ending brilliant.
The Cook The Theif His Wife & Her Lover Peter Greenaway 1989
Another visual film, but this one a feast. This is the 4th time I have seen this film and it still has not diminished. Now having also watched Greenaway's 'Nightwatching' about Rembrandt I keep seeing what appear to be references to Rembrandt's work (e.g. the way some of the kitchen staff dress). Love this film.
What a film. Pretty gross, right? The use of colour is so extreme and gorgeous, as are the amazing sliding tracking shots from room to room. The costume changes between room are brilliant as are the costumes themselves. Mirren's performance is really incredible.
All That Heaven Allows Douglas Sirk 1955
Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson in a May September romance, which because of the era it was from I was not sure how it would end, tragedy or not. Some superb framing and use of light and dark, particularly when Jane Wyman's son issues an ultimatum to her, Jane's face is fully lit, while his is shadowed except for the eyes.
I adore Sirk. I think this is probably his second best, right behind Imitation of Life
. The photography is amazing, and the colour is so rich and vivid. I love the story, and the wonderful social commentary, whilst occasionally a little obvious, is so fantastic. It's a brilliant film.
Favourite of the marathon The Cook... least favourite (but still enjoyed) That Lady Eve.
'Til next time.
. Worst: The Lady Eve
. Enjoyed them all. Well, maybe enjoyed isn't the best way to describe some of them. Admired maybe.
And today:The Return
- Andrei Zvyaginstev, 2003
My third time watching this film. It's quite incredible. One of the best looking films I've seen. The photography is amazing, and the colour is just as incredible, using blues and greys and startling occasionally with vivid greens.
The plot is simple: two sons are surprised when their long absent father reappears. The older strives to impress, the younger is petulant and stubborn. The father takes them on a trip into the wilderness.
And while it's a simple plot, it's a gripping one, and it's imbued with massive thematic and symbolic overtones. The subtext is pouring out of every scene. I wonder if it's taken me three viewings where it gets to the point that I'm beginning to understand some of the symbols and metaphors and transformations. It's quite and incredible film.
As a side note, it is very Tarkovskian - in the camera movement, in the way it photographs nature and the industrialised world, and the huge presence of water and rain. Impressive.