Thursday, 7 September 2006

Ronin, far from heaven - GG

Far From Heaven (Fri 7 845P) is set in 1957 with Julianne Moore and Dennis Quaid as the definitive modern Connecticut-American couple. The backdrops, the costumes, the manners, the expectations are true to the 1950s down to the minutest detail. At no time does the film or the film makers belie the fact that this film was made some 45 years later, in 2002. This allows us to fall into step with a 1950s mindset to address the issues of homosexuality and racism from new eyes. This attention to detail to recreate the mood as well as the look of a 1950s film is one of the film’s highlights.
To quote from Roger Ebert’s review : “Director Todd Haynes says he had three specific inspirations: Douglas Sirk's "All That Heaven Allows" (1955), which starred Jane Wyman and Rock Hudson in the story of a middle-aged widow and her handsome young gardener; Sirk's "Imitation of Life" (1959), with Lana Turner as a rich woman whose maid's daughter (Susan Kohner) passed for white, and Max Ophuls' "The Reckless Moment" (1949), about blackmail. In Sirk's films you often have the feeling that part of the plot is in code; that one kind of forbidden love stands for another.”
The forbidden love in this film is the gay love of the “perfect” business man and father, Dennis Quaid and the interracial attraction between Julianne Moore and their black gardener, Dennis Haysbert. For a film that has so much going for it, it is not surprising that an enormous number of reviewers liked this film a lot. GG’s Scott Murray has this to say though : “the film will be stunning for many and overly precious for others.” I’m sad to say that I fall into the latter category and found the film’s pacing to be to slow.
Ronin (Fri 7 noon) is an action film that has more going for it than just one set piece after another. Directed superbly by John Frankenheimer (The Manchurian Candidate), the car chases through the winding streets of Paris are fantastic. The heart of the film however belongs to the mateship and mutual respect between Jean Reno (the master of the heart of gold with a gruff exterior) and Robert De Niro. Both hold to the honour code of the ronin, a Japanese expression referring to the code of behaviour of samurai warriors who have no master to serve.
Above average comedies, My Big Fat Greek Wedding (Fri 9 830P) and Analyze This (Fri 9 1030P).
Some Like It Hot (Sat 9 130P) is back in the program so good luck !
I have not been engaged to watch any of the 9/11 tributes / films / documentaries up until now. I’m not sure if its the prospect of documented misery that’s too close to home or whether I’m wary of “celebrating” an event that has no answers and will only end up as a flag waving exercise for America and its government. Having said that, the French documentary that was released 1 year after the event, 11’9”01 – September 11 (Mon SBS 1040P) is a compilation of 11 reflections from 11 acclaimed filmmakers (including Alejandro Inarritu, Ken Loach, Samira Makhmalbaf, Mira Nair) and I feel compelled to visit it this time around. Perhaps enough time has passed for me that I can view it a little more dispassionately ?
Being a fan of Korean drama, I will be tuning into If You Were Me (Tue SBS 1040P) which is a collection of short films from different Korean directors, including my favourite, Park Chan-wook.

1 comment:

lach said...

I have seen The Manchurian Candidate (remake) and it was quite good.

My Big Fat Greek Wedding is pretty lame.

Analyze This is hilarious. Great movie. Billy Crystal at his best. Analyze That is pretty dodgy, don't bother.