Τετάρτη, 23 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)

Director: Alain Resnais
Writer:  Marguerite Duras
With: Emmanuelle Riva, Eiji Okada, Stella Dassas
Duration: 90’
Production: France, Japan

Elle is a French actress shooting a movie in Hiroshima. She meets Lui, a married Japanese architect. Together they share their opinions about the war, about life and love, until all of their past is being unraveled.

This movie and its story have a strong sentimental base. At the beginning the war pictures and the words that accompany them are breathtaking. We are being introduced to a couple that met in Hiroshima. The details of their relationship and their background are being slowly revealed.

First everything is about the war. As the story goes the focus changes and goes to the couple’s past, particularly Elle’s past. Then, she will slowly expose herself to buried memories and feelings. The strong and confident French actress will become a scared little girl and nothing can save her. She is exposed to love, sentiments, and strong feelings. Slowly she will remember that once she did fell all these again. The turbulence that the past provokes makes her act in complete denial of the present.

The constant denial of Elle’s lover depicts the general denial of such a destructive war that makes your heart doom. The power of her own story is so magnificent that deletes somehow the struggle of their departure (she has to go back to France to her husband, he is married in Hiroshima).

Several images scattered create the essence of memories tried to be forgotten through the years, the alcohol though, manages to withdraw them from the oblivion darkness to the realistic surface of the present. He listens carefully as the moments of grief and despair she recalls appear, pretending to be the lover she lost once and for all.

All these information she reveals, do expose why she has lived what she has lived, but not in any case justify the actions of her surroundings towards her. Her betrayal is so powerful her own parents lock her in this basement; she is being constantly humiliated for this unfortunate – but so fortunate for her still – affair with the German soldier during the Nazi occupation.

She loved him with all of her human senses. She never regrets her love for him and now this Japanese man makes her relive this strength in her soul. He makes her remember the true love she once experienced and so tragically lost. She is deadly afraid that all these will happen again. Scared and alone she starts drifting through Hiroshima, trying to settle her thoughts, trying to put her own feelings in order.

He is following her, trying to convince her to stay with him, but she – like a dog experiencing a traumatic incident – believes that such a strong love will result to her “imprisonment” again. The loss, the emptiness, the grief of losing a lover were so intense, she never wants to live it again. The unclear ending proves not only that the destinations does not even matter, but also that strong feelings can overcome any type of fear ever existed in one’s mind and soul.

Yes she probably stayed, we don’t know for how long, we will never know, but at least she managed to talk about this traumatic experience, to let it out, there exposed, ready to be judged or dismissed. She managed to somehow accept it deep in her heart, without accusing or regretting, but only sharing it, reliving it and finally discarding it to permanent oblivion

Κυριακή, 6 Οκτωβρίου 2013

Blue Jasmine (2013)

Director: Woody Allen     
Script: Woody Allen
Starring: Cate Blanchett, Sally Hawkins, Alec Baldwin, Peter Sarsgaard, Andrew Dice Clay
Duration: 98 min
Production: USA

After an almost destructive last movie (yes I mean “To Rome with love”), where the script and its characters were tasteless like a dessert with no sugar, Woody Allen leaves behind the wondering around in Europe and goes back to good old inspiring America, specifically to San Francisco.

There he introduces us to the wealthy idle Jasmine, or better to say the ex – wealthy but still idle Jasmine. Jasmine comes back from New York, where she lived as a princess, drenched in luxuries, spoiled by her extremely rich husband, to San Francisco. There she will stay with her sister, Ginger, for as long as it takes her to step up on her feet again. Cocky, arrogant and mainly vain, Jasmine will confront all the mistakes of the past, the tragedies she endured and she will finally have to face herself.

Woody Allen (thankfully) managed to come back with a freshly script and a well structured - but so weak - character, that of Jasmine, after a big long disappointed cinematic run through the last years. Here, he takes his neurotic obsessions and transforms them, through Cate Blanchett’s divinity, into a total collapse of the fake life. Jasmine lived for years without caring for what’s inside people, without paying attention to anything else rather than her own social life and vanity. Now everything she loved in her life have gone so tragically wrong that she needs to accept reality and make amends with the past.

She moves in with her younger sister, who is living a modest life with two kids, trying to be happy and satisfied, even if she picks out the wrong guys – as Jasmine gladly points out. Ginger is the complete opposite of Jasmine, however they give to each other – without realizing it – the moral support they both need, even if Jasmine clashes with everything that doesn’t fit in her socially “perfect” world.

Through the magnificence of Blanchett’s acting, Allen manages to show the downfall of a woman who never managed to confront her problems and preferred to look away. In a fake rich life she had everything she needed, fake friends, temporary luxuries and nothing really deep, nothing really satisfying or truly happy.

Through this decaying format of modern life and the emphasis  in the absolute blank in richness, Woody Allen with his known tragicomedy elements, manages to show the true face of today and the ugliness that money really caries. Who needs all the Louis Vuitton if their life is miserable, if the problems are there and you do nothing but keep buying and spending and buying?

The anachronistic storytelling with flashbacks of Jasmine’s previous glamorous life keeps pointing out the fragile nature of the character and how her own inaction has severe consequences in her psychological state. Through tragedy Allen gives comedy and vise versa, showing with his camera, via his unique directing talent, numerous funny and extremely sad situations simultaneously.

The arrogant attitude Jasmine has towards others who she sees as inferiors, as her sister’s boyfriends, is absolutely hilarious. However these are the middle class people who happen to search for the meaning in their lives, even if they don’t own mansions and villas in Cannes, even if their accounts don’t have numerous zeros, even if they happen to live in a poor neighborhood. They have nothing but warmth, love and a constant desire of enjoying life as it is. And Woody Allen seems to know that.

Woody Allen with “Blue Jasmine” is expressing something very specific, trying to show how real life is to all his colleagues, the Hollywood actors, the common people like you and me. So, what do you think, is anyone listening?