Archive for May 26th, 2010

 © 2010 by James Clark

      In La Dolce Vita, Fellini had surprised himself on getting embroiled in a campaign outstripping his well-developed cinematic resources. He could only hope that hefty swatches of well-tuned narrative playing themselves out in weird emotional shock and abuse could serve to deliver a concrete complement to a thematic architecture speaking to uncharted sensual exigencies. (Subsequent pyrotechnics did not exactly attain to heart-stopping revelations.)

    Fifty years later, in Alice in Wonderland, Tim Burton, cultivating the same unforgiving terrain, a land in the meantime becoming an obsession (a recurrent nightmare) to Jacques Demy and David Lynch, found himself equipped with technical wonders he was not slow to appreciate and apply with gusto.

    Particularly like Demy, Burton, through many years, has not impressed the market as a figure apt to get Geiger counters hopping. So, on undertaking a vaguely Lynchian makeover of Lewis Carroll’s beloved (and, that is to say, harmless) antidote to too much mathematics, he was, so to speak, in all-red attire, strolling into an enclosure of bulls (bulls, though, quite prepared to pay for their shot, in great numbers). The deprecation greeting his effort cannot but remind one of Demy’s being stigmatized for life (perhaps forever) as “that French idiot trying to make MGM musicals.” This turmoil, mother’s milk to the aforecited intrepid, attaches one with special adhesion to Johnny Depp’s fey “Mad Hatter,” smiling and speaking with gossamer and secretly supercharged glee and melancholy, very much like Delphine Syrig’s “Lilac Fairy” getting things done in Demy’s “fantasy,” Donkey Skin (1970). (The Hatter takes such an exhilarating deep breath in ushering a unique protagonist into her role of dragon slayer; the Lilac particularly rises to the occasion in steering a high-maintenance princess away from the very poor idea of agreeing to marry her father.)  (more…)

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by Allan Fish

(Spain 2002 112m) DVD1/2

Aka. Hable con Ella

Nothing is simple

p  Esther Garcia  d/w  Pedro Almodóvar  ph  Javier Aguirresarobe  ed  José Salcedo  m  Alberto Iglesias  art  Antxón Gómez  cos  Sonia Grande

Javier Cámara (Beningno Martin), Dario Grandinetti (Marco Zuloaga), Leonor Watling (Alicia), Rosario Flores (Lydia González), Geraldine Chaplin (Katerina Bilova), Mariola Fuentes (Rosa), Paz Vega, Elena Anaya, Marisa Paredes, Cecilia Roth,

At the time of its release, response to Almodóvar’s truly unique personal drama was rather mixed.  Those who liked it loved it, while others were more lukewarm, perhaps driven away by a plotline that could be read as a little creepy by many.  Perhaps they expected, even wanted, another All About my Mother, his previous success.  Talk surprised everyone, as it was furthest from his earlier kitsch than any of his films had been, and was in every way a complete departure. 

            Two men, Marco and Benigno, happen to sit together at the ballet one evening.  Marco doesn’t notice Benigno, but he himself is noticed.  Marco is next seen watching a TV programme on which a female bullfighter, Lydia, is questioned about her love life and storms off.  He decides he wants to interview her for a magazine, meets her in a bar and, after an impromptu rescue from her house involving a snake, becomes a close friend of hers.  Sadly, Lydia is put into a coma after an accident in the bullring, and Marco stays loyally at her bedside and, while at the hospital, meets Benigno, who is a nurse at the hospital catering for another comatose patient, Alicia, who has been in a coma for four years.  The two men’s loyalty to their unconscious charges brings them close together and changes their lives forever. (more…)

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