Archive for January 31st, 2011


by Kaleem Hasan

It is not easy to nominate a film to equal let alone surpass the Leopard in the much attempted though rarely successfully realized art of translating literary writing to cinema. To remain true to two art forms at one and the same time is always a tall order and yet Visconti accomplishes this miracle in a work which is easily the director’s greatest and also one that was in some measure autobiographical for him. One of course thinks of Kurosawa’s supreme Shakespeare versions in Throne of Blood and Ran but these films are complex transpositions doing double duty in equal measure to Kurosawa’s vision as well as Shakespeare’s and therefore harder to pin down as ‘adaptations’ in the usual sense. Visconti seems a bit more modest in comparison aiming only to arrive at the best cinematic equivalent for Lampedusa’s sublime work and yet in doing so he opens up a rather intimate chamber drama into a sprawling large scale epic that captures the tones and notes of the novel to sheer perfection. The Leopard ought to stand as the very model of what a cinematic reworking of lierature ought to look like. (more…)

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Javier Bardem in Oscar-nominated performance in "Biutiful"

by Sam Juliano

The harshness of winter continues to exert all kinds of practical adversity to those in the Northeast, but others in the midwest and the south have fared little better in this most infamously memorable of seasons.  While framing the events of a blog which are experienced and enacted in a largely ‘indoor’ venue with outdoor conditions might be a bit inconsequential, it does affect those who are busy making their way to theatres and concert halls, much less to their daily jobs.  In any event, another old-fashioned blizzard is tentatively scheduled for mid-week in the NYC area, so the old warnings are still in place.

With the PGA, DGA and SAG well in hand it’s clear now that the British period piece The King’s Speech is well on it’s way to big-time Oscar glory.  As I consider it one of the year’s best films, I am smiling at this development, especially since it appeared for two months that The Social Network had this all wrapped up.

Here at Wonders in the Dark, a number of posts have been very well-received by readers, continuing an excellent tradition of the site moving in a number of artistic directions.  Jamie Uhler penned his ninth installment in his seminal “Getting Over the Beatles” series, while his near-namesake young Chilean Jaime Grijalba presented his Top 20 of the Year, a list to rank with the best of them.  Again, this marvelous young scholar has written with great authority, erudition and taste in making a stellar contribution to the WitD and his own place, Exodus: 8:2. Boldly, and with singular passion, Grijalba named Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan the best film of 2010.  Bob Clark has penned two more superb marathon essays on science-fiction and animine, while Allan Fish’s landmark ‘Fish Obscuro’ series continues forward with splendid essays on films by Jean Epstein and Marcel Pagnol.  Maurizio Roca’s ‘film noir’ countdown draws nearer, while Bob Clark’s promised ‘weekend’ consideration of science fiction is also one the verge of fruition.  The film noir accent of the site, graphically engineered by Dee Dee,  coincides with both the Film Noir preservation blogothon launching at Ferdy-on-Films and the ‘Fritz Lang in Hollywood’ Festival running at the Film Forum until February 10.  Tony d’Ambra’s 11 line poem on Black Swan has again raised the bar for creativity in an area where he has frankly been untouchable. (more…)

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