enitharmon: (film)
I posted the attached thoughts in Another Place. What do you think?

Now read on )

Film Diary

Jul. 1st, 2008 03:27 pm
enitharmon: (film)
Sunday night's film was Brassed Off, a nice soothing choice for a day of feeling zonked out. Or was it?
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'Theatre is my life,' said a friend of mine some years ago. 'My life is theatre,' I replied. That could be an encapsulation of Les Enfants, an astonishing film in which life and art intertwine so intimately that it becomes hard to tell which is which. This is the story of the ill-starred love affair between Baptiste, a mime artist, and Garance, a woman of the street, set against the shadowy theatrical world of 1840s Paris. It's a long film - over three hours - but it doesn't drag at all and theer's much more to it than one simple love story because the central characters love, hate, cheat and are cheated by other inhabitants of that world - notably Fréderick the roué and would-be classical actor, Lacenaire the suave con-artist and killer, Nathalie who wants Baptiste all to herself, and the sinister figure of Jéricho the informer who drifts through the scene as the actors play out their pantomine in real life as well as on the stage.

I had to watch this twice, it was so complex I didn't follow it the first time through. The second time, though, it all fell into place. It was terrific - not in the sense of stirring up the adrenaline, but in a way that leaves you convinced that you've experienced - not merely seen because it really involves you - something that you won't ever forget. It's full of the meticulous emotional detail of a Henry James novel, it's no shabby little shocker, and you just know that long after seeing it, it will keep revealing further secrets.

Talk of 'the best film ever made' is all rather silly, I feel, because it's so subjective. This would have to be a contender in the lists of most discerning critics.
enitharmon: (Default)
I've got a bit of catching up to do. This was the first film I watched after the move, back at the end of May.

They say you shouldn't go back, and perhaps this film is the one to prove me right. I had very fond memories of it, not least because Julie Christie is in it, and Donald Sutherland, and the lovemaking scene is legendary (when I was talking to Julie Christie on the phone once, as you do, I asked her about that and she giggled and said what a lovely man Donald was). But also because I recalled a film full of quiet menace with a shocking dénouement. A little surprising, I always thought, that it came froma short story by Daphne du Maurier (Ian McEwan's The Comfort of Strangers isn't a million miles away, either.)

It was a little disappointing, really. Julie Christie looked gorgeous, of course. Donald Sutherland looked preposterously 1970s, and the whole thing looked dated in a way that much older films don't. Ah well, let's write this one off to experience. And it wasn't that bad...

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