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Great, great, film.
I don't think anybody can make films like the French. Let's all go to France and watch films. Maurice Pialat has put something together here that's like a religious experience. At the end a soaring modern aria comes on and right there in the first few notes you realize he really did trick us - it wasn't about money, lust and war but life and the common tragedy. This is a film I first saw on video about 7 years ago. It blew my mind then. Warhol had come to mind, because of the overall affectless tone, the plodding rhythm. I had found it in our local supermarket then and again last week, up for sale $3.50. No way I was going to miss it - I had blabbed about it to too many people thru the years. But I procrastinated looking at it, expecting it to be boring. I couldn't really remember much besides its tone. The schedule cleared, though, and equipped with a serious remote I chopped my way through slowly, back over the subtitles again and again catching it all. A knockout.
More Than He Could Chew
We have here a movie that looks like it was filmed in about 6 months when it could have used two years. The story is there's no story. Woody has now come to the conclusion that life comes down to lust vs. luck. The mania has led to a kind of aesthetic sloppiness. We end up with an immense and great cast inadequately rehearsed and directed in a gorgeously photographed movie with inadequately developed characters, dialogue and ideas. Do you like to see actors stepping all over each others lines, film as rehearsal? This is the movie for you. There's just too much. The only director I can think of who might have been able to do justice to material of such a broad scope would have been Fellini. Allen needs desperately to get centered, simplify and think Eric Rohmer, Eric Rohmer, Eric Rohmer. Perhaps take a couple of years off - away from the influence of Robert Altman and Mel Brooks. Branagh's Woody persona, a wonderful novelty at first, wears very thin. Automatonic performances by the likes of W. Ryder and a host of others. Who can blame them? They found themselves in a series of sketches. Still, though, worthwhile and at times fun, if only to watch Judy Davis go ape in her early scenes with Branagh. Plus a few beautiful images, several funny lines.
Love Serenade (1996)
It doesn't get any better than this.
There are some films that seem to go so deep, they should just be allowed to go on and on. Their light is so bright they seem to compete with nature itself - they uplift and enlighten. Love Serenade, with it's repetitive Barry White underscore, its dead-on "this is not an act" performances and above all it's eccentric, unforeseen dialogue, plot and visuals has been added to my list of all-time bests. There's so much to learn here about art.