Sunday, April 09, 2006

Ye art film kya hai?

I watched "L'Avventura" today and I have one question:- What the hell was that all about? I mean, it was.....boring!! My friend said Ingmar Bergman, who was fond of putting almost everyone else down, said of Antonioni, "He hasn't mastered his craft yet." I'm tempted to agree.

WARNING:- The word 'breast' is mentioned somewhere herein. Those who find such language offensive are warned to go no further.

You can almost see the effort the actors put in to appear 'aloof' and 'enigmatic' and 'intellectual' and what-and-all. Fine, that might be the fault of the individual actors and not the director. Or 'direttore,' as they're called there. But he's the one who wrote the story. And it doesn't seem he put too much effort into writing something that would sustain audience interest for two whole hours. The movie begins promisingly enough, with the rather detestable Anna disappearing and her amour Sandro beginning an affair with the pretty Claudia. The island where Anna disappears has been captured beautifully, though. You can look at it and feel very happy. But then, the ennui begins to set in. I had to watch the movie in parts, since I kept falling asleep every time I tried to watch the whole thing at a stretch. I didn't take as long to watch it as 'Pather panchali' but this was almost as painful.

The music when the opening credits roll is brilliant. Very, very catchy. Earworm material.

So, I've resolved to avoid Antonioni for a long time now. Just like I'd resolved to avoid Tarkovsky after a particularly traumatic viewing session of 'Solaris' and 'The mirror.' Yes, I haven't watched 'Stalker' yet and everyone agrees it's one of his best films. But I don't want to take risks. What threw me off, I suppose, was a particular scene in 'Solaris' where, for some obscure and irrational reason, the camera zooms in upon a man's ear and you can see the hair sticking out of it. There, I dare you to go and watch a Tarkovsky film now.

See, this is where Kubrick, Fellini and Kurosawa excel. They write(or adapt) stories beautifully and brilliantly, no matter how simple it is. They can even do some pretty complex stuff. And you never quite lose interest while watching their films. They weren't the pretentiously 'ars gratia artis' types, either. They kept in mind the necessity of being commercially viable and made movies which would bring in people and make money for their producers. That didn't mean they pandered to the lowest common multiple. Far from it. But their movies were always fascinating and good to watch.

Kubrick --> GOD. Fellini is brilliant. Kurosawa is also the very good auteur.



Finch, Scout said...

arse gratis artis.
i know. bad one.

Kurosawa took me time. I just could NOT get myself to watch The Seven Samurai at a stretch.

Agreed. Kubrick is God level. I haven't tried any Fellini.

Strangely, Earworm type Score has always been American Beauty. Eerie Piano thing when Spacey makes a move on Suvari.

What a movie!

Karthik D said...

"The Mirror", The one you had been to with Mr. kk? I did watch a few minutes of Fellini's Roma. I did like it. Will see the remaining movie as time permits.

Anu said...

Doesn't the "zooming into the ear with the hair" scene still give you nightmares when you think about it?? I mean, who would want to look at the hair in any man's ear, for God's sake??!!
True, the only thing in L'avventura that's remotely very good, is the background!!
Though, did you watch Fellini's Amarcord??? Its an absoultely cute movie.. PLease don't start ranting at me again, for calling Fellini's movies cute.. It really is!!

Arjun Sharma said...

Finch, watch 'Rashomon' or 'Stray dogs' or something first, before 'The seven samurai.' I'd recommend 'Rashomon' because it is easily one of the best films of all time.

KD, no, it's the film I'd been to with Karthik, my junior, and Anu here. Harrowing experience. The film, I mean, not watching it with those two. He he..
Yes, 'Roma' is very nice. The story is like those of all Fellini films I've watched --> captivating. Somehow, you can't let go.

And Anu, yes, I still shudder when I remember that scene!! Good God, horrible!!
OK, 'Amarcord' is cute, I give up. I will watch it and judge for myself whether agreeing with you was right.


anu said...

yes.. cute!!