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Archive for the ‘Pedro Silva’s movie reviews’ Category

amarcord

by Pedro Silva (Camolas)

Mankind has always struggled to transform into words every expression of the human soul. In Portugal we imagined a word, saudade, to define an enigmatic yearning of the heart, a word to express a feeling so connected with our history that is impossible to translate it into any other language. In a similar way Fellini had to find his own neologism. Supposedly Amarcord simply means “I remember”, but we know Fellini was a great liar. I’ll go with the ones that presume Amarcord means the way he remembers the past, whether the memories are true or fake.

Amarcord, the film, is a recollection of those kind of surreal childhood memoirs, delivered as a guided tour through a year in the life of the town of Rimni, from one spring to the next. The cinema of Fellini is always autobiographical in one way of another, degenerated bits of his life and his fantasies.  Such courageous personal expression, rarer in cinema than in literature, contributed to his major achievement, he made himself an adjective, “Felliniesque”. The old dictionaries did not have enough words for his genius.

“… and in the end, it’s all about sex!” In a very Freudian approach that is how an old friend use to end our late night adolescent dissertations, no matter what the subject we were on. Fellini feels the same way. Small-town life and adolescent sexuality were already portrayed in Il Vitelloni. Sex can’t be absent or hidden even in a childhood tale, Rimni is filled with muses that inhabit the fantasies of youngsters and adults, offering us an amusing quantity of big curvy butts and outsized breasts. The men’s minds diverge from the sexual repression religion tries to impose. (more…)

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Wings (1)

by Pedro Silva

“For the love song is never truly happy. It must first embrace the potential for pain. Those songs that speak of love without having within their lines an ache or a sigh are not love songs at all but rather Hate Songs disguised as love songs, and are not to be trusted.” in the words of Nick Cave on his lecture The Secret Life of the Love Song.

The romantic genre generally goes around a central love story and tends to come to an emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending trying to ignore the dangerous path that waits the few souls that have courage enough to love truly and unconditionally, and most times fail to create trustfully love stories.

Nick knows all about Love Stories, and his performance of “From Her to Eternity” on the punk-cabaret club where Marion wonders alone couldn’t be more appropriate. The title resumes the film and the lyrics of the song even refer to a man that reads the diary of his lover as Damiel hears the thoughts of Marion. Again “The Carny” lyrics and darkness are perfect to emulate her feelings about this particular moment in her life. The contrast is evident between Jürgen Knieper’s celestial score on the library scenes against the gothic darkness of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. (more…)

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johnny-guitar-playing-the-piano

by Pedro Silva

François Truffaut proclaimed Johnny Guitar “La Belle et la Bête du western”.

American audiences “didn’t know what to make of it, so they either ignored it or laughed at it” points Martin Scorcese. There where guns and horses but Johnny Guitar is not a ‘classic western’, it somehow threatened the conventions of the most American of genres. The lack of action, the untraditional themes and the unprecedented role of women didn’t match the expectation of regular western fans.

The major revision element was an issue over gender. Vienna (Joan Crawford) and Emma (a brilliant Mercedes McCambridge) were the main protagonist and antagonists instead of Johnny Guitar and the Dancin’ Kid. Both characters assume traditional masculine roles, they were the leaders on the respective sides of the fence, and even present a shocking virility to the 50’s women. Some people tend to view homosexual elements on the relationship between Vienna an Emma. I think it’s clearly exaggerated, Vienna just represents the sexual freedom Emma herself wishes she could have and this leads to anger and frustration on her part and Vienna becomes her target. (more…)

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