An unseen woman recites Shakespeare's sonnets - fourteen in all - as a man wordlessly seeks his heart's desire. The photography is stop-motion, the music is ethereal, the scenery is often ...
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Pier Paolo Pasolini
An unseen woman recites Shakespeare's sonnets - fourteen in all - as a man wordlessly seeks his heart's desire. The photography is stop-motion, the music is ethereal, the scenery is often elemental: boulders and smaller rocks, the sea, smoke or fog, and a garden. The man is on an odyssey following his love. But he must first, as the sonnet says, know what conscience is. So, before he can be united with his love, he must purify himself. He does so, bathing a tattooed figure (an angel, perhaps) and humbling himself in front of this being. He also prepares himself with water and through his journey and his meditations. Finally, he is united with his fair friend.Written by
from "Peter Grimes"
Music by Benjamin Britten
Libretto by Montagu Slater
Performed by the Chorus and Orchestra of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden
Conducted by Colin Davis See more »
This film is the archtypal Jarman movie. Jarman considered himself a painter more than a film maker and thought of the camera as just an improvement on the brushes of the past. In this film he carries those concepts through to their fullest conclusion.
The moody Voice-overs of Shakespeare sonnets by Dame Judy Dench add to the multi-layered portraits of two young men and their relationship. Jarman was going for a mood here and the narrative line is pretty sketchy but if you ever wondered what would happen if one of those Calvin Klein Obsession adverts were stretched to 80 minutes by a really talented film maker then this is the film for you.
Without a strong narrative line this film may move too slowly for many and you are hereby cautioned. There were several folks noticeably snoring during the screening that I attended but those that are Jarman fans would not miss it.
It also occurred to me that given the very light story line that this might be a great background film to have playing amid a gathering of friends where the entire focus of the group was not on the film.
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