From remaking “Suspiria”

Suspiria is a 1977 Italian horror film directed by Dario Argento. Today it’s a classic, grandiose and glossy. It’s also baroque in many ways : decors and colors are vibrant, the music is… not to be outdone.

Considered as a masterpiece, you have today to accept its… exaggerations. If your mind plays the game, it’s a very strange delight, full of great ideas.

When I heard about a remake I facepalmed, like many other movie lovers.

I’ll watch it soon but before that, I read interviews of other directors who reacted on the new Suspiria.

  1. One saying it was stupid to remake it because the first movie was such a milestone.
  2. Another one saying it was OK.
  3. The director, saying it made something totally different, with, for example, colors “à la Fassbinder” (the first Suspiria also happened in Germany).

Tilda Swinton, actress in the new movie, told something very smart (which made me write this article) :

As the story of the first Suspiria is very light (“An American newcomer to a German ballet academy comes to realize that the school is a witches coven”), it can be used like an opera libretto.

I thought it was smart. I know dozens of “Manon Lescaut” or “La Bohème”, the Puccini opera, and each time it’s very interesting to see what they do with the characters, the decor…

What does Manon Lescaut want?

I don’t know I feel this is a good tool, but I need help. How can I formalize it?

  • “When you think remaking something is useless, but you have to find a good angle to realize it’s not”?
  • “When you have to think about something in a new way (borrowing from another field) to find a new interest in it”?
  • “Once you have a core, a spirit, you can weave things around, it’ll be interesting to notice the differences”?
  • “Working on decisions : let’s keep this from the original/let’s change that”?

Tell me?

What’s the point to remake something frame by frame (like they’ll do with The Lion King)?

Advertisements

“The Red Turtle” (2016) quiet, intelligent, and dialog free. Presented by Studio Ghibli.

After a storm, a man is alone on an island. There, he meets a red turtle…

It’s a French/Japanese animated movie, directed and written by a Dutch man. It’s just made of images and music, no word is spoken. It’s so quiet… and mesmerizing.

Have a nice day

JP

 

7emIDVF5wSoVgBn1JpnUSzYhlQa-3.jpg

Spending a day with a movie

I read an interview of Vittorio Sorraro, who is a cinematographer (the guy responsible of cameras, light, image, in a movie).

Thus I discovered that this guy worked on Apocalypse Now & One From the Heart (Coppola), Reds (Beatty) and 1900 (Bertolucci).

All these films titles, this list, jumped on me. They are all of the same type : you could spend a whole day around these movies.

Apocalypse Now is based on a Conrad novel. There’s a “Redux” (which means “brought back”) version which is a masterpiece. You’ll also find a documentary about the shooting, made by Coppola’s wife. You’ll find plenty of interviews about this craziness on the web and in books. Etc.

I saw One From the Heart just a few years ago in Blu-ray. I was awaiting an über-artificial bad movie and I found it very touching. All around is fake (everything’s done in studios) with the will to appear a decoy. Yes, it’s like Manet and his brush strokes, remember?

Reds is so underrated. Beatty won the Best Director Academy Award, but everybody seems to have forgotten this fabulous and mature film.

This could have been about big big movies like Lawrence of Arabia, Zhivago or Ran, but it’s not. Some little movies are so enthralling that… you will spend days exploring the maturity, the complexity of them. OK I add one : The Sheltering Sky.

What other titles do you have in mind?

 

Have a nice day!

 

 

vlcsnap-2010-08-01-18h24m34s23

1900-4-7

apocalypse-now-2

image

TheSheltering-Sky.jpg

 

From “Looper” to “Star Wars VIII”

  1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi was directed by Rian Johnson (born in 1973). As I often like to chain the movies I watch with a link, I watched Looper… his previous film, the day after. Looper is a splendid Sci-Fi movie and I watched a long interview of Johnson in the bonuses. I discovered an adorable geek with a fast brain, capable of talking about Casablanca, Akira, who wrote, organized and directed the movie, which “delivers an uncommonly smart, bravely original blend of futuristic sci-fi and good old-fashioned action”, 93% on Rotten Tomatoes!
  2. I really respect and understand that the Star Wars teams wanted this guy, as they wanted Gareth Edwards (born 1975)  for Rogue One. Monsters was a haunting masterpiece (though very low budget), and his Godzilla was… really different.
  3. I have a third example : Joss Whedon. Smart father of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly (then Serenity), a great “space western”. After Cabin in the Woods, he was swallowed by Marvel Studios, directing two huge Avengers movies.

 

OK, here’s the pattern : smart directors swallowed by huge systems to make the biggest blockbusters.

Could it be a special Peter Principle?

Did we lose the guys for good cinema? Why?

 

monsters24.png

 

 

 

 

Long cool movies for holidays Part 1

Winter holidays are linked to childhood. I was born in 1966 and there were 3 TV channels. Three. I was happy to spend a little time with the TV magazine, to circle good films with a red pen.

Today I remember these Big Budget Long Movies, with an Intermission, see? I remember Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (“with the guy of Mary Poppins”), Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music, or Dr Zhivago. These let you, as a child of this era, full of tears, happiness and energy, and I’m sure it put a strong core into me. Something like… whatever.

 

Have a nice New Year’s eve!

Thank you Elia Kazan

Elia Kazan (1909 – 2003) was a Greek-American director, producer, writer and actor, described by The New York Times as “one of the most honored and influential directors in Broadway and Hollywood history”.

His autobiography, “A Life”, is one of the best books I’ve ever read. Smart, fast, generous, complex, it made me study his films, Marlon Brando, McCarthyism, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, the “Methods” in acting, New York vs Los Angeles, the crisis of 1929, what it is to be a director, a migrant, etc…

Kazan is a controversial personality because he gave testimony before before the “House Committee on Un-American Activities”, and you can see an example on YouTube when he got an honorary Oscar at 90 years old, a few actors refused to applause him.

So, you could study this interesting struggle between what is quick-easy to judge as a “mistake”, and the huge talent of this man. I read his own book (he explains himself in many pages), I watched “On the Waterfront”, and I understood. It was like a relief…

I’m thankful today because he made me understand many aspects of the American culture, he whetted my curiosity on many other artists. I read the Arthur Miller’s autobiography just after Kazan’s book, and watched many movies adapted from Tennessee Williams (Kazan directed A Tramway Named Desire on stage and as a movie, both with Brando).

A book, and a year long travel, around this, in fact : “What is it to be a standing man?”. Thanks, mister!

 

Thanks for reading!

 

Seated-Splendor-Stevens.JPG

Urban Cowboy, y’all

OK. As a movie lover, I knew Urban Cowboy was a good movie, but I never watched it until today.

I know something : for American people, the “South” is something, say, like… different. The accent, for example. So : imagine what it can be for… a French!

It’s a bit like all of you, but worse, you see? When I see a country music singer (with his hat), I have “this” smile. I’m sorry, but it’s VERY strange for us. Imagining to wear a cowboy hat in a joint, OMG…

One day, a American good friend of mine took a few hours to explain me country music, with the lyrics, etc. Broken hearted men, singing about sorrow, regrets and lost love. It left me in a awe (and, well, my own life was a sadness disaster at this time). I knew nothing about it all. It was interesting…

Urban Cowboy is the story of a dumb alpha male (John Travolta), quitting the family farm for the city of Houston. In a honky-tonk he meets a girl (Debra Winger), marries her, then becomes jealous of a stupid bad guy released of parole (she’s attracted, of couuuurse). Everybody rides a mechanical rodeo bull, etc.

So : East Texas in the eighties, country music and, as I saw in IMDB, “young couples without big bank accounts who have trouble getting along”.

The actors and the director manage to do something great : we, little by little, learn to LIKE these people. A simple minded sexist redneck, a dumb spouse falling for the first bad guy in town, etc. And we love them!

Well, it’s impossible not to love Debra Winger, right?

The hold of tragedy squeezes them all, and it becomes… important. It’s a good movie, I told you!

 

This is a useful tool, and a dial : don’t mock unknown cultures too fast, even if it’s the easiest path for you. Be serious, hold on, bend over, lean, study the most boring universe, and find your seeds. Little by little, I was interested in this film, and I found the music really great (lyrics included). Who will do the same with opera, or Italian classical music or Belgian literature?

Have a nice day, y’all!

 

Urban-Cowboy.jpg