Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Monday, 14 November 2011

Tonight's Movie

I have seriously been out of touch with movies for the last couple of months. I think I overdosed during winter. Anyway in the mood for a film tonight and thought I should tackle the ultimate tear jerker. Already got a lump in my throat picturing that little pointy finger. See how I go.....


Tuesday, 8 November 2011

The Artist

I know nothing about this film, other than Mark Kermode really likes it and that the trailer looks great.

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Umberto D, Vittorio De Sica, 1953


This film made me cry.

Already a fan of Italian director, Vittorio De Sica  (I had watched his extraordinary film, The Bicycle Thieves, many months ago, which also made me cry) I recently viewed Umberto D.

This was my second viewing of Umberto D, a film about an elderly pensioner struggling to survive during Italy’s postwar economic boom.

Umberto’s wealthy landlady evicts Umberto because she wants to use Umberto’s rented room to extend her living room and because Umberto is behind on his rent.   Alone, penniless and with nowhere to go Umberto does his utmost to maintain his dignity whilst trying to find the means to survive.  But the city seems void of any human compassion, even when he encounters former colleagues and friends.

There is a parallel story about the landlady’s kind maid, Maria, a very young girl, alone and pregnant.  She too seems destined to become homeless and penniless like Umberto.

To me this film is as much about Umberto’s poverty and homelessness (the desperation is palpable!) as it is about Umberto’s companionship with his ever-faithful dog, Flicke (Do they give Oscars to dogs??) 

It is Umberto’s love and concern for Flicke, which keeps him going. 

Umberto D is cast with non-professional actors but you wouldn’t know it from the performances and many of the cast members went on to have successful acting careers.

This story is heart-wrenching, but a must-see. It’s a masterpiece.  I love this film and I love Flicke.




Pierrot le Fou, Jean-Luc Godard, 1965


 
I recently watched the French New Wave film Pierrot le Fou (Peter the Fool) by director Jean-Luc Godard.  A story about a man named Ferdinand (Jean-Paul Belmondo), who dissatisfied with his marriage and bourgeois lifestyle runs away with the babysitter, Marianne (Anna Karina). 

Soon they lead a less ordinary lifestyle – always on the run, either being chased by Algerian gangsters or the police.  Marianne refers to Ferdinand as ‘Pierrot’ much to his annoyance (and hence the ‘Pierrot’ in the title).  Eventually they settle down near the Mediterranean Sea, philosophising about life, reading... and more philosophising.

Marianne soon becomes bored of this quaint, non-materialistic lifestyle and wants to move into town.  After some time apart, the couple is reunited and Ferdinand discovers that Marianne is not all she has appeared, which leads to a violent and strangely comical conclusion.

Many years ago I would have found this film a little too arty and wanky (those are film terms) and I must say there were certainly times when I wondered WTF was going on.  But I loved this film’s youthful vibrancy, it’s use of colours and pop art and the idyllic Mediterranean scenery.

The leads were excellent.  Jean-Paul Belmondo worked with Godard on his previous film ‘Breathless', which I think was his breakthrough role.  Anna Karina would become the muse and wife of Godard and appear in many of his films.

This film turned out to be a lot of fun.