Monday Movies: Cross-cultural opera extravaganza!
To get you in the movie mood, Ben Wolfson has pointed me toward this video bringing together scenes from the last decade’s films. Please identify each of them, in order, in the comments.
- Farewell My Concubine — this movie really had it all. In addition to the inherent interest of the genre, it was informative both about history and about a cultural tradition (Chinese opera) I was ignorant of. Yet it also stood as a sad reminder of the fact that my movie attention span leaves much to be desired. I ultimately watched it over the course of three days, and even then my viewing sessions were not uninterrupted. To my mind, one of the advantages of watching a movie in the theater is that I at least get to see it as a whole — but perhaps it’s not that big a deal. Might it be better to watch it in pieces so that each piece commands my attention more thoroughly? I don’t know. (Does anyone know where I could find a video of the underlying opera in its entirety?)
- Don Giovanni — continuing in my occasional efforts to gain a working knowledge of opera, I watched this movie adaptation. The movie format seemed to me to be a better way of taking in the opera than a recorded performance (though just going to see a live opera would be best). My main impression is that people back then were apparently really easily fooled by masks. It was also good to see Don Giovanni’s refusal to repent, given that Zizek has mentioned it about a hundred million times. Next up: Bergman’s adaptation of The Magic Flute.
- Me and You and Everyone We Know — I have seldom seen such a radically uneven movie. The parts with the little boy’s “back and forth” idea are absolutely amazing, but the rest felt very forced somehow. The dialogue felt more like a stage play than like a film. If you want to save time and just see the best scene, I’ve embedded it below:
You do, however, have to watch the whole movie to see the awesome punchline that this scene sets up.
- Secretary — I don’t know what to think of this movie. I didn’t find it to be this hugely sexy thing, and I’m retrospectively baffled that so many of the women on the online personals listed it as the sexiest movie they’d seen. The Girlfriend remarks that the movie flouts expectations — you expect it to be very risque, and in that context, the mundane places it takes you are surprising. In many ways, it’s similar to Psycho — the part that people remember is actually only a very small part of the movie, but at the same time the movie is nonetheless all about that small part.
- The Girlfriend Experience — this was probably my favorite movie of the week, helped by my reassessment of Eyes Wide Shut in the wake of this article. I loved the way it was shot, I loved the tie-in with the financial crisis, and I loved that it was only 77 minutes long.
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.