Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Foreign into Fall: Part VII

Part I, Part II, Part III, Part IV, Part V, and Part VI can be read by click on the links. Here's my most recent Foreign Film's viewed for this series and have been selected from Edward Copeland's best of non-English film nomination list.

Viridiana (1961) directed by Luis Buñuel
This Cannes winner unfold in an unusally disconnected way, almost in three different episodes with different principle characters and tones, yet the different episodes connect with a very powerful anti-idealism message.

The movie tells the story of nun who's mother superior request that she visits her elderly uncle and benefactor, despite the young nuns desire to go. After a series of the oddest events take place, the young pious nun, Viridiana, finds her self head of her uncle's house and leaving her trajectory as a nun. Yet, as she tries to do right and minister in a powerful way, she is faced with a disillousionment and disappointment that her ideals were unachievable.

The films message is so unique, that it's unflowing construction is worthwhile to overlook.

This very progressive story for pre-war WWII Europe was said to have set an outrage with many of the films many characters having multiple sexual partners, affairs, and past lovers. The aristocrates and the servants find themselves intermingling at a large event, where everyone's secret and past love interest come to light in a dangerous dramatic and comical way.

The film is enjoyable, yet at many times it seems like a stage play, rather than a motion picture in its dialogue, characters, and tone.

(Soviet Union)
The story in this film is not so original in the wide world of film, in that it is the story of a young woman who falls in love with a man shortly before WWII, and he dies at war while she remains hopeful that he is alive. Yet what made this film unique to me was the fact that it was a Russian story, not European or American, and that some of the film shots and editing were very unique and artful relative to other pictures I have seen.

There is a tremendous scene were bombs are going off overhead and the lead female refuses to leave the apartment, and one of the male leads plays piano amidst the warning sirens and flashing sounds and lights of the bombs. It was a wonderful scene.


nate said...

RC, thanks...your blog is my tutorial. My wife and I, after watching cool hand luke, have decided that we are missing out by not enculturating ourself in the history of hollywood past (and older forienf films). All we need now is a blockbuster membership!

Terence Towles Canote said...

The Rules of the Game does seem a bit stagey, but plot, dialogue, and performances are so compelling that it never bothered me. It is definitely one of the all time great movies.

weepingsam said...

It seems a bit odd to call Rules of the Game "stagey" - not that it isn't, because it's very theatrical, everything from the story to the way it's staged to the way people behave, the importance of playing roles and self-presentation in the story, to the shows in the show, and how everyone is always playing to an audience... It's hard to see it as a criticism. And then there's the staging and camera work taking you into the middle of the story, creating all those little stages inside the house... it's an absolutely dazzling looking movie; nobody moved a camera better than Renoir, or moved people and cameras together better than Renoir.

Anyway - this, M, and Late Spring are getting my top three spots in this poll... there's not much better.

RC said...

@ mercurie & weepingsam -- i will be posting my top 25 list soon...keeping in mind that even with the films I've watched in this project more foreign & classic film knowledge is weak...but to someone, like me, who's generally into contemporary cinema, stagey is not a major criticism but tends to not be a huge positive.

I can understand a films place in the classical cannon, and still evaluate it on it's entertainment value.

Rules of the Game makes my top 25, but it's not towards the top.