|Index||2 reviews in total|
This superb exercise in combinatorics demonstrates the cinematographic power of Raoul Ruiz. A black and white prelude to the movie sets up the tone and announces the intent to tell nine stories, all marked with letters of alphabet, with the subsequent permutations of these stories. Not only the plotlines get mutated and re-ordered, so do the actors, hats, beards, accents, manners - in short, whatever MAY identify an actor in a role ceases to be such an identifier. The plot itself becomes a mystery, since there are parallel searches for the treasure, the map of treasure, which as we learn is a treasure in itself, a coin, a kidnapped father etc. etc. etc. The camera work is breathtaking. From the very first tale, where camera makes a full circle around a reading monk while the surroundings change from daytime to nighttime (all in one take), to the very end where the same woman appears both in a coffin and on a tree, as well as a free spirit. One can only feel happy to hang on to one's good senses immediately after the dazzling story twists and visual bravura. It would be foolish even to dare think of "getting it" in one screening. This movie, filled with visual, verbal and audio gags must be seen numerous times. Knowledge of French would be beneficial since the subtitles cannot convey the semantic depth of Ruiz's sharp and tornado-like dialogues (e.g. when asked about the cause of death, the character responds that the deceased just had a "crise de foi(e)", which is either "liver deficiency" or "crisis of faith" depends on what one hears :) ) If you have enjoyed the visual luxury of Le Temps retrouve, you would be dazzled by Combat d'amour. The only thing that I find missing is Catherine Deneuve or Gerard Depardieu, the only two names that can practically force distributors to buy this movie. Just like Donald Sutherland almost single-handedly brought Canadian taxbreaks to thousands of American and Canadian movies, the French government should oblige the abovementioned "godparents" to appear in almost every French movie, making them exportable and distributable :)
Just another note on the subject: a first ever full translation of the
medieval book: Hypnerotomachia Poliphili (the strife of love in dream)
just been published.
Here is the description of the book: The first, complete, English-language translation in five hundred years of one of the world's most compelling fantasies. It is hard to believe that one of the most famous books in the world, the Hypnerotomachia Poliphili, read by every Renaissance intellectual and referred to and revered in studies of art and culture ever since, has never appeared in full in English. One reason, no doubt, is the length and difficulty of the text. It is a strange, pagan, pedantic, erotic, allegorical, mythological romance relating in highly stylized Italian the quest of Poliphilo for his beloved Polia. The author (presumed to be Francesco Colonna, a friar of dubious reputation) was obsessed--one might say sexually obsessed--by architecture, and the book's 174 woodcuts are a primary source for Renaissance ideas on both buildings and gardens. In 1592 a beginning was made to produce an English version but the translator gave up part way. Now, at last, the task has been triumphantly performed by Joscelyn Godwin, who succeeds in reproducing all the wayward charm and arcane learning of the book in language accessible to the modern reader. Printed in the same size and format as the original, the book includes all the woodcuts and has a substantial introduction by Professor Godwin. Its appearance is a publishing event, filling a notorious gap in every academic library, in the collections of scholars, and on the bookshelves of everyone interested in the history of Western culture.
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