Tag Archives: historical

Midnight in Paris (2011)

I just saw this film tonight with Annie and my initial thoughts are as follows.

Beautiful. Just beautiful. First of all, I have always been a fan of Woody Allen films. Annie Hall is an absolute classic and his comedy has a charming cheekiness to it. We went to the movie with open minds because you never really know what to expect when it comes to Woody Allen, respectfully admiring his quirkiness.

I read through the other reviews when I was searching for good photos for this post and I don’t want to say what everyone else said, “Oh my god, this film is like my life.” But I think that’s the whole point. The entire message of the film is that it is human nature to be unsatisfied with the present. Even the good old days had good old days.

I discovered that the reason I’ve been so obsessed with old music and movies lately is because I am so sick of the pop culture that embodies the present tense. I’m tired of listening to cop out artists that are only in the business to make money. I’m bored with the same songs and movies and television shows that are being released that claim to be original. After seeing this movie, I realized that I should just shut up, because deep down everyone feels that way. In real life, we can’t just jump into a cab at midnight, time travel to the 20s and have Hemingway and Picasso critique our work. We just have to make the best of it.

If you think about it, the artists of today are in a pretty tough spot. We read and write about these painters, writers and musicians that have laid out impossible acts to follow. Artists are desperate to find something special and original, and despite my opinion of it all, it is one of the eras that pop culture must travel through.

Back to the film, Owen Wilson is the same in everything. But his blissful ignorance is so charming in this movie, perfect for a classic Woody Allen character. He carries the same romanticized view of the world that I do.

I absolutely loved this film, it was a breath of fresh air.



The Last Temptation of Christ (1988)

Before I get too much into it, I think it is just important to mention that when one watches, reviews, or even discusses this film, it’s really difficult to keep their personal belief system out of it. I’ll do my best to look at this from a critical and narrative standpoint. However, I might not be able to leave it un-compared to Ten Commandmentsor Ben-Hur, both movies I did grow up watching. So… we’ll see.

I appreciate Scorsese‘s attempt at showing Jesus Christ as a real man, one with both vulnerability and fear. I remember Sunday school describing him as always the peace maker, always sure of what God asked of him. It was certainly an interesting and new experience for me to see the character in that light. A little refreshing, more concrete. Approaching the character in this way allows the relationships he has with others to make more sense. People don’t want to idolize one that embodies perfection, but rather someone they can see in themselves.

Being Scorsese, naturally the gore factor went way higher than I have imagined in various classes. Willem Dafoe did a brilliant job displaying both the angelic side of Jesus, but also the side that no one sees.

This is really the first time in secular film that Jesus is the main protagonist. In those Easter films growing up, he is simply a presence, usually faceless, a mighty force that provides hope for the weary. Portraying the character up close, personal, and incredibly wounded is a strange difference.

There was, as expected, plenty of controversy regarding this film due to the fact that it embellishes upon the stories told in the Gospels. Like I said, I did my best to not watch this film as a member of any religion, but rather a spectator enjoying a dramatic story.


The Last Emperor (1987)

All three and a half hours, I did it. You barely notice it though, the constant flashback action that goes on causes the film to be very fluent and quick.

Speaking specifically of the flashback formation of the film, I couldn’t help but notice the technical differences applied between the past and present scenes. Bertolucci, the Italian director, who also did La Conformista, structured the film based on the range of perspective. In the present, Pu Yi is one of many. He is no longer the emperor, but rather a fellow prisoner in Red China. Scenes are shot from a distance, often only going so far as the 9 foot shot. This demonstrates his place in society.

However, in the scenes beginning at his age of three, the camera is often placed directly in front of the child, using a close up to illustrate his vulnerability. He is, at first, completely unaware of his power and responsibility. If the camera is not portraying a close up, it is placed behind him. The environment surrounding him is as important at the subject. Like in the photo above, this scene in the film shows the first time the new emperor is exposed to the members of the Forbidden City. He is so small, taking up only a small portion of the frame, yet you feel his importance vibrating through the image.

The transition between these two forms of filmmaking occur in a very strategically organized scene. At least this when I noticed it. There is some sort of ball attended by Pu Yi and his two wives. From the balcony above, we the audience see a camera man slowly panning down to the main center, filming the group. Since we see this first, we obviously get the sense that time has passed due to emerging technology. Our camera glances toward this camera man, but soon joins it side by side. In just a matter of about 15 seconds, we are once the observer, then suddenly at the same time and place as everyone else. Hello Communism.

This film was great, I definitely recommend it.