Thursday, June 15, 2006

Film Quick Hits

I've watched two notable fims in the past week in between World Cup action. And as a friend pointed out they were fittingly about a disapearing act, and living in the shadow of a 4ish year old memory. Ugh. C'mon USA.

It's easy to see why Michealangelo Antonioni's L'Avventura was booed by audiences at the 1960 Cannes Film Festival but at the same time, rewarded by critics with the Golden Palm for "creating a new film language, and the honesty of the pictures." The story focuses around the disapearance of a beautiful young woman as she and her friends go to on an island cruise. Immediately after her disappearnce her lover and her best friend seach for her and within days begin an affair. The characters in this film seem entirely stunted in dealing with real human emotions. They are obviously wealthy beyond belief and have everything they could wish for. Yet they are seemingly unable to connect in any real way with eachother. We aren't told of their inability to connect directly but by the way Antonioni frames them against lanscapes and architecture. The first hour of this film is amongst set primarily on an island after the disapearance is some of the most beautiful filmaking I have seen. The buzzword around the characters in most reviews seems to be malaise. Couple that with the pace of the movie and I could see why some audiences hated it. But, as for me, I found myself empathizing with characters I would normally not feel anything for, and just being struck by the overall beauty of the film.

Wong Kar-Wai's 2046 is a bit of an indirect sequel to In the Mood for Love. 2046 can stand well on its own, I think as a stylistic piece, but I can't imagine it would actually hold up as more than that without some of the background set forth in In the Mood for Love. We meet Chow again, the protaginist from In The Mood for Love around four years later. He is a completely different man from when we last saw him. Now he is almost entirely a womanizer, and seemingly insincere as well, which is a bit of a shock if you cared for him in the first film. Set between 1964-1968 primarily 2046 goes back and forth between the past, 1960's present, and then a futuristic science fiction novel. Yeah. It takes some patience to get through, and someone more eloquent than me to explain the plot. What ties it all together is, in my opinion, the ending of In the Mood for Love though. In seeing that, we then can attempt to makes more sense of Chow's actions. Wong Kar-Wai of course remains a master of mood in this film. The color and lighting are phenomenal. I definitely reccomend viewing it on a high quality large screen. And then maybe you can discuss with me what I just saw, as I am still processing it. I probably will be for a while actually.

Here is to hoping that the USA and Croatia can actually score a goal and maybe even win a game this World Cup and maybe then, just maybe, I will watch some more uplifting films.

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