06 January 2013

Four Films Four Million Messages and Then Some

Hope is the struggle of the soul, breaking loose from what is perishable, and attesting her eternity. -- Herman Melville.

Visions I have seen. Now part of who I am. My conscious mind grappling with unconscious desires. The love of beauty and the beauty of love. I have seen....

Jeanne Moreau in Elevator to the Gallows (1958). Louis Malle's first film a richly gorgeous noir though on a higher plain. With Moreau hauntingly stunning roaming the streets of Paris looking and wandering as the best laid plans go awry. The Miles Davis soundtrack accompanies her meanderings. Soulful. Is this a film about the impossibility of perfection? The mad way the muddled way of life disrupts our perfect dreams hopes wishes fantasies. Left grasping for what should have alit on our open palm.

Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday (1940). Snappy slappy happy dialogue that positively sings. Oh it rings. Fast talk. Patter. And so smart. So many stories in one. There is the politics of it of course for one. But really the love between these two people. Their compatibility. How wonderfully wise they are and so damn street smart and sensitive to the rhythms of the world they embrace. Attuned is what they are. Gracefully savvy. They need want each other and together make more than a couple but a team as all great duos do. A team of ten twenty. Unbeatable even in loss but here they win.

That said mad woman in Vincere (2009) Ida Dressler captured by the oh wow! Giovanna Mezzogiorno. She believes herself to be the rightful wife and co parent of no one less than Mussolini (yeah that one).  Their passion early in the film is of the unbridled kind that films so often get all wrong but this is so right. Ms. Mezzogiorno plays Dressler as a driven crazy groping hungry sensual woman who takes stubborn determination to the nth degree and well well beyond. No quit all insanely self assured that her rightful place is right smack dab next to Il Duce. A story of how obsession in the face of reality can -- when bathed with love -- can end so badly. So sadly.

Passion of Anna (1969) from the singular Ingmar Bergman is of course about many peoples passions. How maddening it is to be trying to cope with all the complications life throws our way and then there is love and relationships mixed in. Oh my. Our isolation. It can be so easy to escape to within deep in ourselves and thus so easily avoid others and actually experiencing life through someone else's eyes for the brief moments possible. Never to know another view. Then someone is let into our world as we step into theirs and....There is the clutching passion. There is pulling back. There is confusion and remorse and its a wonder that thinking people can stay in a relationship. And here they are on an island where innocent animals are being butchered and one lonely man blamed and....But Bergman with cinema photographer Sven Nykvist tell it so beautifully.

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