Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Woody Allen. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα Woody Allen. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τρίτη, 10 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Frances Ha (2012)

Directed by Noah Baumbach
Written by Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig (screenplay)
With Greta Gerwig, Mickey Sumner, Adam Driver
USA, 86 min

In noisy and busy New York a lot of young people are struggling for a better life. One of them is Frances. She doesn’t really have an apartment since her temporary job in a dance firm is not really offering her a decent salary and as she declares being a dancer, she is actually a struggling one trying to stand out.

“Frances Ha” is the silent surprise of last year. An independent American production with a pretty black & white photography, young actors and most of all a freshly point of view of how young people are these days. Even if it is based on New York with its neuroticism borrowed by Woody Allen’s remarks and movies, the film speaks for everyone. For all the struggles every person, who experiences the western society’s “diseases”, deals with.

The film of Noah Baumbach is inspired by the French Nouvelle Vague and the characteristic Woody Allen vibe of “Manhattan” and “Annie Hall”. In its content, the awkwardly designed character of Frances always has a talent of bringing unintended questions and blurred (but truthful), life and love, statements.

She lives with her best friend, Sophie, who she considers as her soul mate. They share an apartment together and a wonderful life – almost in a childish way - but when Sophie decides to move elsewhere with someone else, the deep disappointment in Frances’s face is more than evident in herself and her own life. It somehow makes her realize and think over her own life purpose and how she would be able to survive in hectic New York.

The later crisis between them will almost force her to face this big blank wall of self reflection. This eventually will result into reinventing her own goals and plans, to actually confront her own self.

Life for Frances is something she needs to endure, but her own existence and well – being depends mostly on other people. She is social and quite extrovert, but she shares a quite rare intimacy only with the people she chooses, or better to say, with the people who really don’t bother judging her bold and nervy social behavior.

The clean and abrupt – almost tidy – editing of the movie gives away Baumbach’s random direction attitude. It feels like he put together all his frames and shots somehow unintended. This procedure’s honesty is an element missing from other contemporary Americans. It is marvelous and so beautiful to see how his direction’s simplicity, even though is not completely new or innovative, helps him recreate through his own perspective.

Frances drifts around New York, she imposes herself into other people’s lives, she tells exactly what she thinks and is so genuine that you cannot do anything but admire and secretly envy her freedom of character. But she is also sensitive and talented, maybe not made for the big lights and major dance performances, but her style and life values are there permanently to remind her – and us – that we need to keep up and promote our own dreams any way possible.

Nothing that others – or society and the media – enforces us to do should happen. Success is an overestimated situation that can destroy as easy as it can build human lives. The point is to live and experience through feelings. But the other, more valuable hidden point is what you produce in this world to actually have a meaning for some people, even if you can count them in one hand.

This is what “Frances Ha” is about. It is for the small, not of great significance, lives of people who are actually very important, even more important than the already seemingly important ones.

The essence of this film is completed through these lines:
"I want this one moment. It’s what I want in a relationship…It’s that thing when you’re with someone and you love them, and they know it, and they love you and you know it but it’s a party and you’re both talking to other people and you’re laughing and shining and you look across the room and catch each other’s eyes, but not because you’re possessive or it’s precisely sexual, but because that is your person in this life."

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?

Τρίτη, 19 Μαρτίου 2013

To Rome with Love (2012)

Σκηνοθεσία: Woody Allen
Σενάριο: Woody Allen
Παίζουν: Woody Allen, Penélope Cruz, Jesse Eisenberg, Alison Pill, Roberto Benigni, Alec Baldwin

Η απόδειξη ότι όταν είσαι εθισμένος στις ίδιες σου τις εμμονές, το αποτέλεσμα μόνο καλό δεν είναι.

Το στόρι έχει ως εξής: τέσσερις παράλληλες ιστορίες ανθρώπων από δύο διαφορετικές χώρες (ΗΠΑ, Ιταλία)διηγούνται με τραγελαφικό (;) τρόπο τις διαπροσωπικές τους σχέσεις, προσπαθώντας να βρουν τους εαυτούς τους και τον έρωτα. Ζευγάρια, οικογένειες, απλοί άνθρωποι που βρέθηκαν στη Ρώμη και άθελά τους παρασύρθηκαν από τη μαγεία της, ό, τι και αν σημαίνει αυτό.

Ο, κατά τα άλλα αγαπημένος, Woody Allen με την τελευταία του ταινία – ή μάλλον κάτι που μοιάζει με ταινία, η καλύτερα κάτι που θέλει να μοιάσει με ταινία – προσπάθησε να μας εισάγει στο ιταλικό ταπεραμέντο με απόλυτη αποτυχία.

Δεν ξέρω από πού να ξεκινήσω. Προφανώς και ο νευρωτικός αγαπημένος σκηνοθέτης θέλησε να κάνει απλά μία όμορφα κινηματογραφημένη ταινία για τη Ρώμη, αφού φαίνεται πως τώρα στα γεράματα ανακαλύπτει τη γοητεία των ευρωπαϊκών πόλεων. Μόνο που αυτή του η επιθυμία κατέληξε σε ένα νερόβραστο στραπατσαρισμένο σενάριο, που δεν θυμίζει σε τίποτα τον παλιό καλό νεοϋορκέζο εαυτό του.

Από το πρώτο λεπτό προβολής, απορείς ποιοι είναι όλοι αυτοί οι χαρακτήρες, από πού προέρχονται, που πάνε, ποιος είναι ο σκοπός τους. Όλες οι παράλληλες ιστορίες ξεκινούν χωρίς να επεξηγείται τίποτε και με κανέναν τρόπο κατά τη διάρκεια του φιλμ.

Ένα ψόφιο σενάριο σε συνδυασμό με χαρακτήρες άδειους, κενούς και απόλυτα copy paste από άλλες ταινίες του. Θα λέγαμε ότι η ταινία είναι ένα συνονθύλευμα αμερικανικής πολυλογίας και ιταλικής καρικατούρας.

Κύριος εμπνευστής αυτού του στυλ, ο Benigni (απολαυστικός όπως πάντα), του οποίου η ιστορία προσπαθεί άχαρα να καταδείξει τη μανία της ιταλικής κοινωνίας με τα τηλεοπτικά ριάλιτι, κάτι που ο Mattero Garrone αποτυπώνει θαυμάσια στη νέα του ταινία “Reality” (δείτε κριτική εδώ).

Σκηνοθετικά δεν υπάρχει αρχή, μέση και τέλος. Αν εξαιρέσεις τα όμορφα ζεστά πλάνα της αιώνιας πόλης, που περισσότερο μοιάζουν με διαφημιστική καμπάνια, οι καταστάσεις στις οποίες εισέρχονται οι πρωταγωνιστές είναι περισσότερο σουρεαλιστικές και αδιάφορες, παρά μέρος μιας κωμωδίας που αξίζει την προσοχή σου.

Ναι υπάρχει το στοιχείο του νευρωτικού μέσου αμερικανού, ναι κάνει μία νύξη για τον ίδιο του τον εαυτό και την απόσυρσή του από τα κινηματογραφικά δρώμενα – μέσα από την αντιδιαστολή του χαρακτήρα που υποδύεται. Αυτό όμως δε σώζει σε καμία περίπτωση την ανυπαρξία ουσίας στην ταινία.

Και εκεί που περιμένεις να γελάσεις έστω και λίγο με τα κρύα αστεία και τις τραγελαφικές καταστάσεις, η αλήθεια είναι ότι δε θα δεις κάτι περισσότερο από άνοστα αστεία, ναι αυτά που είδες ήδη από το τρέιλερ.

Στην όλη ασυναρτησία να προστεθεί και ο φανταστικός χαρακτήρας του Alec Baldwin, κατάλοιπο της προηγούμενης ταινίας “Midnight in Paris” (διαβάστε κριτική εδώ). Ακόμη απορώ που κολλάει.

Άχαρη, αδιάφορη και κυρίως απογοητευτική, η τελευταία ταινία του Woody Allen αποδεικνύει πως ο δημιουργός καλύτερα θα ήταν να επέστρεφε στη Νέα Υόρκη. Φαίνεται πως μονάχα αυτή η πόλη του προσφέρει την καλύτερη έμπνευση.