THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN LIFE IS NOT BEING DEAD
First let me say that this film is GORGEOUS. A Spanish/Swiss film, the look is clearly inspired by a mix of classic Film Noir and Catalan art.
The essence of the story is that Jacobo is a piano tuner with a secret – he doesn’t actually tune any pianos. He just goes to sleep, and wakes up to find that the pianos have been tuned.
The film jumps between the past and the present, and we learn that there is another man living in the house – in a hidden basement.
Of course, everything is a little more complicated than this.
The film is shot in black and white, which really emphasises some of the Film Noir quality, and creates a tangible sense of threat and mystery. The only use of colour – and still limited and muted – is in Jacobo’s dreams. Although having little to do with the main story, these provide a strong emotional backdrop for the film.
The music is also very important, and very beautiful, with some great piano and guitar work.
There is a lot to digest in this film – fear of ageing, and change, a dash of politics, and plenty of relationship baggage. I couldn’t really read any central message though, and that is perhaps its only real failure.
A THOUSAND KISSES DEEP
Mia (Jodie Whittaker) is dealing with the death of her Mother, when an elderly neighbour commits suicide by jumping from a window. Distraught, Mia begins to investigate the old woman – someone she had never noticed before.
Quickly, things take an intriguing and sinister turn, as she discovers her own belongings in the woman’s flat, including a photo of her ex-lover, Ludwig (Dougray Scott).
Deeply unsettled, Mia speaks to the caretaker Max (David Warner), who seems to know far more than he is letting on. He explains that the lift in the building is, in fact, a time machine. (This small info-dump was a little clumsy, though.)
Mia travels back through momentous occasions in her life, coming to terms with her mistakes and faults, and her strong affection for an abusive partner. She is desperately trying to avoid the future that fate seems to have in store for her.
There are great performances throughout. Jodie Whittaker manages to portray the fragile Mia, we feel her weakness as well as her strength. The eventual desperation in her character is believable.
Dougray Scott will be given a great deal of praise for his portrayal of abusive, roguish Ludwig. His control over Mia is understandable. Going from bully to lover, all with a sparkle in his eye.
The film is shot in a very assured manner by Director Dana Lustig. The use of music – jazz specifically – is something that appeals to me in particular. It creates a romance and has a timeless quality which helps to tie the various different ages of Mia together.
The film is an interesting analysis of Mia’s character. It wasn’t surprising to learn in the Q&A following the screening that various psychoanalytic processes were used to create the narrative. Revisiting important moments from our past, working out how that makes us who we are today. Although the film is forced to simplify it into an easy structure, it is an interesting device. I felt that this really helps to lift the film into being something a little special, and well worth some attention.
‘Uh, I’m fairly alarmed here’
Back in 1993 I was a dinosaur obsessed 12-year old. Believe me when I say that Steven Spielberg may have made JURASSIC PARK just for me. I saw the film at the cinema 10 times that year. The soundtrack was the first that I ever owned (on cassette!). Golly, I love the film.
The current re-release gave me an opportunity to see it again – at the BFI IMAX.
The film has really stood the test of time. Yes, some of it is dated (‘interactive CD-ROM!’), but the thrills and scares and sheer excitement still work wonders.
I don’t know if I’ll be seeing it 10 times this year, but I will be going to see it again.
The best film you’ll see in the cinema this year is JURASSIC PARK.
Drive drove me up the wall
I wasn’t going to bother posting about my DRIVE review, but as everyone is going nuts about it, I thought I would.
The first ten minutes are really good.Tense, exciting and interesting. The rest is awful, and actually bored me.
If you wish to read a review that isn’t going to tell you that DRIVE is stylish and exciting with a thumping soundtrack, then head on over to Cinetalk and read my review.
In a nutshell, however, about half an hour in, I realised that if this was on TV, I would have turned over. Perhaps the most damning thing that can be said about a film?
I honestly hated it, and the more I hear people who’s opinion I (used to) trust saying that the film is great, the more I hate it. I just hope that I’m not the only one. It’s kinda like everyone has been replaced with pod-people from Mars, and I’m the only person left with any sense!
Greenwich Picturehouse has been playing some classic films, and I was lucky enough to catch THE THIRD MAN. I’ve always really enjoyed the film – it’s one of the most atmospheric I can think of. Set in post-war Vienna, where people and politics are desperate, where Old world meets New. Carol Reed shows us some beautiful shots, and some not so beautiful people.
As there’s clearly a print doing the rounds at the moment, I highly recommend tracking it down and catching it on the big screen. Beautiful! I’ll leave you with Harry Lime…
I’ve been looking forward to TROLL HUNTER since the trailer first surfaced on the internet. It was, in fact, the film I was most looking forward to this year – and this was a year with SUPER 8!
So what did I think? Well, you’ll have to head over to Timmbot for my review.
A look at Almodovar’s seriously twisted new film
I saw THE SKIN I LIVE IN over a week ago, but I’ve put off blogging about it, as I’ve just not been able to decide what I thought.
I don’t wish to give away any of the twists, to a basic premise will have to do. We follow a plastic surgeon, Robert, played by Antonio Banderas. He has a woman – possibly a patient – locked in a room in his house. Through some clever flashbacks and cutting, we learn that his life has been marked with tragedy, and both his wife and daughter have met unfortunate fates.
As the film progresses, and I tried to tie up the various threads, I would jump to shocking conclusions, only to discover that I was wrong, then jump to an even more shocking conclusion.
The film is very slick to look at and listen to. The colours, the music, the clothing are all very stylish. This suits the themes of identity that the film throws up, and does make it very easy to watch.
The acting is all top notch. Again, it’s hard to go into too much detail. I really don’t want to give away plot details.
Essentially, if you want a twisted film that WILL disturb you, then THE SKIN I LIVE IN is spot-on. I’m just not sure whether I actually liked it.
Pub golf and City running. An odd combination?
I have a couple of new articles over at Itchy London. The first is a guide to Pub Golf – a dangerous new craze in drinking games. It’s a little complicated, but a lot of fun.
The second is a guide to running in a big city. This will help to burn of those beer calories! I love running, and particularly love running in London.