Archive for June, 2008

June 20, 2008

>Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing – Part 6

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The Graduate (1967) – Elaine & Ben

This is an unforgettable ending scene, which obviously contains spoilers, so if you haven’t seen the film yet, don’t watch the vid.

June 13, 2008

>Nat Film Festival – Day 4

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Blind (Netherlands, 2007) – “All right, we will start the story; when we come to the end we shall know more than we do now.” And so the film begins, borrowing the famous lines from Hans Christian Andersen’s tale The Snow Queen. It’s winter, and in a dark and isolated mansion, lives a blind young man and his mother. She’s been trying to find a caretaker lady to him, but all of them run away due to his violent attacks. One day comes Marie, the woman who will change everything in this young man’s life. The Snow Queen is the story she reads often to him, calming him down little by little. They fall in love, despite the fact he can’t see her. He thinks she’s a pretty 21-year old red-haired with green eyes, whereas she’s around 30, albino, and full of visible scars on her face, remains of a mysterious past. When there’s a possibility for him to recover his sight by doing a surgery, Marie disappears. Madly in love, he doesn’t forget her.

The film’s premise is good and interesting, however, it is not executed in a great manner. There are few past takes about Marie’s childhood, that only incites what might have happened to her, not only phisically as well as emotionally. It would be obvious to say that “love is blind” is the film’s theme, perhaps, something like “real beauty can only be appreciated through dark” or “there is beauty in things we can not really see” could be an answer. Like in the obvious, however, beautiful, metaphor created from the image of the young man, now cured, with his eyes binded. He sees bright spring colours in a landscape where there’s nothing but barren trees and the whiteness of snow. Cinematographly the film is stunning and outstanding, altering the taciturn darkness of his blindness with the luminous colours of his imagination.

Dan in Real Life (2007) – Among violent crimes, kidnapped young women and an unhappy romance, I didn’t mind seeing something lighter in between. Dan (Steve Carrell) is a responsable widow man raising his three daughters, and he has always placed his family’s needs ahead of everything, including his own happiness. He’s spending a weekend at his parents’ house, and at the same day, he meets in a book shop Marie (Juliette Binoche), a beautiful woman who could be the one. They talk, there is a great chemistry in the air, and he’s finally determined to struggle in the love field again. There’s only a little detail: right after he arrives at his parents’ house, he discovers the lady in question is actually his little brother’s newest girlfriend. Poor Dan!

One can guess by the film’s trailer almost everything about the story. Like many family comedies (could it be a comedy genre? Think of The Family Stone) there are always strategically pre-created situations that create humour: the cop who appears in the wrongest time, one of Dan’s daughter who enters in the bathroom to finally ask tips to Marie about how to figure out her own future, while Dan himself hides in the shower… Many times these situations do work, however it’s hard to believe in Marie when she behaves in a childish manner during Dan’s date to a gorgeous childhood friend (Emily Blunt, having her talent wasted one more time), nevertheless, it’s all in order to make the audience laugh, I suppose. Carell is good as the family man, and as for the film, it’s obviously predictable, but far from bad.

My Blueberry Nights (Hong Kong, China, France, 2007) – In a perfect idyllic world, there’s Jude Law in a new yorker cafe, along with a tasty piece of homemade blueberry pie waiting for you, at any time, at any day. That could be my humble definition for Wong Kar Wai’s latest achievement. Yup, I’m with those who were disappointed by the film. Norah Jones‘ boyfriend leaves her, and she leaves their flat’s keys with Jude Law, in case the nameless guy returns. She eats a piece of pie in the nearly empty cafe (there’s only her and Jude), and then travels around USA, meeting different characters along the endless road. Everyone has unsolved life/love problems. The world is unperfect and tough, and she works as a waitress in different spots, while Jude desperately calls different establishments to find the woman with a broken heart (Wouldn’t it have been easier to have traded e-mails?).

One of the characters she meets in her soul-searching trip is a man (David Strathairn) who refuses to accept the fact his much younger wife (the always gorgeous and wonderful Rachel Weisz) left him for good, which is the strongest subplot, with a powerful and moving monologue by its end. Another interesting character is a young woman (Natalie Portman, also wonderful) who gambles to conceal her loneliness. However, this is one of the most superficial stories in the film, one of those I wish I could have known more about. The stunning cinematography and other great aspects of the director’s typical visual style didn’t make me forget the film’s unpolished dialogues.

June 11, 2008

>Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing – Part 5

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Before Sunset (2004) – Jesse & Celine

Let me sing you a waltz / Out of nowhere, out of my thoughts / Let me sing you a waltz / About this one night stand / You were, for me, that night / Everything I always dreamt of in life / But now you’re gone / You are far gone / All the way to your island of rain / It was for you just a one night thing / But you were much more to me, just so you know / I don’t care what they say / I know what you meant for me that day / I just want another try, I just want another night / Even if it doesn’t seem quite right / You meant for me much more than anyone I’ve met before / One single night with you, little Jesse, is worth a thousand with anybody / I have no bitterness, my sweet / I’ll never forget this one night thing / Even tomorrow in other arms, my heart will stay yours until I die / Let me sing you a waltz / Out of nowhere, out of my blues / Let me sing you a waltz / About this lovely one night stand.