Today I watched Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH (1946, Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger) as part of my required viewings for my British Cinema module in university. It is their second film that I watch after The Red Shoes.
It’s a nice film, but as with The Red Shoes I had the impression that the film was more of a fun and naive piece of entertainment rather than the deep and meaningful drama I expected. The resolution where “love wins everything, even death” is so clichéd. Besides, this is one of those narratives in which main characters are afraid of death despite it is clear to them that an afterlife exists: if it is so, what there is to be afriad of, and what sense of urgency there could ever be? In fact, if I was to be sure that there is eternal life after death, I would gladly slaughter the most people I can before offing myself! Wouldn’t that simply solve everything?
There is a film that I watched last September that I really enjoyed but I waited till today before talking about it because I couldn’t find the right picture. Now that I own the Blu-ray, here is the screenshot(s) that I was looking for. If I was able to make animated gifs, I would have made one.
The film is Tarsem Singh’s THE FALL, a work of love that it took him four years to put together, travelling around the world in breathtaking locations to get the best shots without the aid of computer generated imagery. And it paid off, because every single shot of this film is perfect, and the whole film could be regarded as a textbook for directors who want to learn all the tricks of the job. It is just too bad, however, that such an amazing feat for the eyes is stabbed to death by a weak story, which renders all the visuals forgettable for a general public already used to expect anything from the screen.
The sequence that I liked the most is a transition between two shots where the cut is so seamless it is almost impossible to spot. The camera spins around a blue butterfly pinned in a box above a layer of velvet, and as it does so it fades to an island of the same shape.
This is movie magic.
My research for my film continues. Tonight I watched WRISTCUTTERS: A LOVE STORY, another film about suicide suggested me by the script writer.
Unlike The Sunset Limited, this film doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the act of suicide is only used as an excuse to tell a weird, fantasy story which doesn’t even try to investigate the reasons behind such an extreme act. I think the journey undertaken by the characters is meant to be seen as their own inner journey towards a better understanding of what are the good things in life, but in the end the story and the dialogue are too weak to say something that’s actually meaningful.
The visual style is not bad, but nothing really special. I don’t think I will consider this film as a “source of inspiration” for my project.