Thursday, May 21, 2009

The List: Week One

Going through a list of movies over the summer. Thoughts as I go along.

The Lady Eve

Really liked this. Had a screwball comedy vibe to it, but smarter and better paced. Sturges was definitely ahead of his time. Dialogue is fast but naturalistically delivered. Also not as sweet about the world and relationships. The characters and situations are ridiculous but believable. The actors were great. Very slick movie for its time. Mamet points out perfect structure of the narrative, as the characters are constantly driven by the next goal: Girl wants to con man, then love and be accepted by man, then rejected and found out by man and wants revenge, then in love again. Naturalism is key to what makes this film work.

The Rules of the Game

Sneaky deconstruction of 30s French upper and middle classes. The image above was pointed out by critic on the DVD as a great use of deep focus photography. The servants in the background turn out lights as the two men talk, visually accentuating their conversation at points and contradicting it at others. The action in the shot also works to underline the theme of harmless vs. harmful deceits. Great mirroring shots of the game (rabbits and pheasants) being shot and the pilot being killed at the end. Another cool shot is the aftermath of the death (the host's speech and Renoir's character's speech) as a parts of a play on a stage.

Up next: The Conformist and The Leopard.