Saturday, October 13, 2012

Marco Berger

Marco Berger is a criminally undervalued film-maker - his two films, Plan B and Absent are masterpieces in emotional restraint that totally defied my expectations. The former, a closed fist of a love story, that I fell utterly in love with. The latter, a kind of unrequited love story filmed as a suspense flic, that managed to punch you in the gut with that same closed fist.
Even if you don't get to see either film  - though you really should - please think about making a pledge, via Kickstarter, towards his new film (which promises to be another love story driven by inner turmoil). It looks like he is struggling to meet his target at the moment - which is a real shame.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

97/30 years ago today...

"Say it again, it keeps me awake"
"I love you"

Today is Ingrid Bergman's birthday - she would have been 97. It's also the 30th anniversary of her death. Reason enough to share a choice moment (I make no apologies for the superlatives).

Notorious is one of Hitchcock's very best and certainly his most obviously romantic film. It's gone on to become a template in how to make a spy/love story that is gorgeously romantic, chock full of quotable dialogue (unusual for Hitch and courtesy of Ben Hecht) and, because this is Hitchcock, is extremely exciting. It's also, for me at least, Bergman's most moving performance.
Alicia is a the original fallen woman - the daughter of a Nazi, a drunk and a whore - and not only is she well aware of it ("Mata Hari, she makes love for the papers") but everyone around her makes sure she is reminded of it at every turn: Devlin, who recruits her and falls in love with her and so has to hide his true feelings behind a steely veneer for fear of exposing her; the government agents they work for who are happy to throw her to the wolves and yet still look down on her; her Nazi mother-in-law.  And, of course, in the best tradition of Hollywood Melodrama, she has to prostitute herself and risk her life to prove that she is both a patriot and good girl after all.
The finale aches with the outpourings of the long-restrained emotions of the lead characters and the stair-case sequence is the very lesson in suspense. It is, most definitely, magnificent.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Born on this day 1874...

J C Leyendecker

Not film related - for a change. But just realised it's Leyendecker's birthday today so, until I get back to posting (I promise to soon!) it's a good enough reason to take pleasure from some of the pre-eminent illustrator's rather splendid [and most often homo-erotic] work.


The French Soldier's Greeting

Thinking of the Girl Back Home