|Index||3 reviews in total|
Chaplin Today: Modern Times (2003)
*** (out of 4)
This episode in Philippe Truffault's series on Chaplin takes a look at his 1936 masterpiece MODERN TIMES. Filmmakers Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne give their opinions on the film as way as their thoughts about what Chaplin was trying to do with it. I've found the entire "Chaplin Today" series to be rather hit and miss but I think this one here is pretty good because of the detail we're given about the making of the film. We get quite a bit of detail about what was going on after the release of CITY LIGHTS and how Chaplin took that film on a world tour and by the time he got back to America he felt as if he didn't recognize the place. This, along with what was being done with machines, made the artist come up with this story. We also learn about a few scenes that were shot with the film but not used as well as the alternate ending, which was shot but not edited together. Fans of the film and Chaplin will enjoy hearing these stories and we also get some nice behind-the-scenes photos. The stuff dealing with the Dardenne's is also fairly entertaining as it's clear they're both entertained by the film and certainly very enthusiastic.
A series of films entitled "Chaplin Today" were made for European television several years ago. When DVDs for "Modern Times" and the rest of Chaplin's full-length films were released, these documentaries were included as a special feature. However, and this is quite odd, the style and quality of these films varies widely--very widely. Some (the ones I prefer) feature tons of background information about the film and its production. Following this, a generally respected director talks about the film--discussing what they liked about it and why. However, in some films this portion about the making of the original film is quite brief and in the case of the one for "Modern Times" this portion is completely omitted--which disappointed me greatly. What also disappointed me was having the Dardenne brothers just talk and talk and often over-analyze the film and its social significance. As a result, I felt gypped--and wanted so much more than the film delivered. Perhaps you'll enjoy it as much as the other review currently posted here on IMDb--I just know I didn't.
The CHAPLIN TODAY documentary-series, featured on the Superb
DVD-releases by MK2/Warner Bros, are a joy to watch and give nice
insight in the films it examines, as well as the era it came from and
helpful background information of Sir Charles Chaplin.
All these documentaries feature a famous or exciting director (Ouedraogo, Kiarostami, Jarmusch, Kusturica, Chabrol, Bertolucci, etcetera...) who comments on the Chaplin film and shows his admiration.
In this case the Dardenne-brothers, surely among the few Truly Gifted Cineastes on our globe, airs their warmth and respect for 'Modern Times' and Charles Chaplin.
Fascinating to see Messieurs Jean-Pierre & Luc drawing parallels to their films. And showing their gratitude for the Tramp, cinema's most well-known Icon, who made his final appearance in 'Modern Times'.
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