Movies of late

We watched the first three minutes of Anna Karenina last night which led to the following conversation over dinner today:

‘What’s the world done to deserve Keira Knightley?’

I thought that was easy.

‘Global warming. Hitler. Destruction of the Great Barrier Reef. Carelessness with nuclear reactors. Assassination of Gandhi.’

‘You aren’t even half way there.’

Anna Karenina Inexecrable, based on the first three minutes. Maybe it got worse.

Enfants du Paradis is splendid, one can understand why it is rated so highly in the French film world. Notably the dialogue remains a pleasure in the guise of English subtitles. Arletty, the star, was a wonderful balance of earthy and ethereal, available and unavailable, entirely convincing as the person with whom all the men fell in love. It is a poignant discovery to make, post watching this, that Arletty was in real life not so very different. Her letters, discovered and published after her death, are described in a French article which is well worth translating via google, as it has the touching inaccuracies that make French a delight to read when translated this way. Again, we see her paradox, the famous statement, explaining her involvement with a German Luftwaffe officer:

My heart is French but my ass is international

whilst underneath this, the sort of line her character in the movie could easily have made, was the fact that she adored this man. She spent time in gaol as a consequence of her relationship. It went on well beyond the war and the power of it never left her, though he did eventually abandon her. Surely her story will be made into a movie some time; it certainly reads like one.

Under the Skin will disappoint lovers of the book, I suspect. Not that I’ve read the book, but I examined the plot of it in order to add some comprehension to the movie. The movie takes a very small part of the book, that which justifies the disrobing of Scarlett J. at any conceivable moment including five minutes into the movie where we are treated to the naked bods of both Scarlett and another girl. Despite naked girls – and Scarlett clothed or otherwise – not being my thing, the movie is okay. Very boring – the same scene/idea is repeated with small variation for what felt like a lot of the movie, but not knowing what it all means gives suspenseful edge to the boredom. Please take that in the most positive way, I like that sort of combination. There was also the occasional erect penis, something I’ve never seen in a general release movie before.

Prick Up Your Ears One can only lament the acting demise of Gary Oldman after his wonderful start, this movie included. Alfred Molina is brilliant. Fantastic supporting cast. Vanessa Redgrave must have been born for sixties fashion. Wallace Shawn was Wallace Shawn, a role he plays to perfection. I very much doubt, should he ever enter a Wallace Shawn look-alike compeition that he would come anywhere other than first. Even if he tried not to. Even if he wore a big false beard and funny glasses. And heels. Julie Walters in a tiny role, Eric Richard and Steven Mackintosh in even smaller ones. Etc. Etc.

Galileo Bertolt Brecht wasn’t able to keep me awake, but the fault, I’m sure, is entirely mine. I will return to it.

5 thoughts on “Movies of late

  1. I was going to say re Under the Skin, there’s more naked men than women, but you did mention it. I thought it terrifying in places (on the beach) and the aliens-eye-view of Glasgow superb. If you didn’t know the book hard to work out what was going on at first, but something special here..

    • Alan, I totally agree with you, it is extremely atmospheric – terrifying will do! I can’t help wondering if explaining the storyline as it appears in the book would have spoilt that. I also find, as usual, that small budget tin foil special effects are always better. I disagree here with Paul Bryant who didn’t like the closing scene.

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