Sunday, 25 May 2008

The Godard season continues: Le Petit Soldat. Made the same year as Bout de Souffle but censored by the French gov, so not released till '63. Terrorism, spying. The torture scenes are very simple and very memorable. In fact I didn't think I'd seen the film until the soldat is in the bath, chained to the taps (visual reference, conscious or otherwise, to crucifixion) matches being burned under his hands. Not sure when I saw it before: a long time ago. Godard scenes: people photographing, reading books, talking about music. Informed by b/w photography: the scene in which the soldat photographs Karina, light and dark, great cinematography. A photo is the truth and cinema is 24 truths a second. Her first film with Godard (?), looking solemn and rather hesitant, and actually more beautiful and convincing than the pretty Karina of subsequent Godard films. A film full of pain and defensiveness, reminding of the traumas post WW2 and of French involvement in Algeria. But then Godard never does deal much with intimacy.

Lust: Caution, first impression, first half, a dull screen adaptation of the story, made tedious by the laboriously recreated street scenes. Why do directors think that throwing huge amounts of money in massive recreations makes a film more real, more authentic? Because having spent the money they have to spend too long filming it, and the narrative suffers. The second half is less distracted and it's when Tony Leung and Wei Tang take over. His performance stunning, wartime, it's torture and kill or be killed. And I'm still alive, he says. And his performance shows the cost. This isn't in the book and it's a mesmerizing addition. So it's another film 'about' the suffering of war. You don't need detailed reconstructions of streets to tell this story. Wang Kar Wei's treatment of the same period is much less elaborate and much more atmospheric.

Tango: the problems of distance and maintaining energy levels. Best when I'm in London early and eat at Moro. Stayed for Milonga class on weds and had a really good time. It means I get an early train back, an added bonus these days with the show coming up. So I think I'll skip the Dome for a few weeks. A good time on weds and then a rather mediocre Welsh Centre. I just seemed tired and not very inventive, but it kept the ball rolling. So it goes.

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