'It's horrible being in love when you're...'

Film 8½ things about seeing Fellini's for the first time last night in an actual cimema:

(1) All the way there I had the song "It's horrible bein' in luv when you're eightnalf" by Clare and Friends playing out in my head. That's disturbing.

(1) Yes, person sitting two rows behind me. The girl in front of you is half attractive. Yes, she looks slightly bewildered. No, it isn't a good idea to go into a long, detailed plot synopsis ten minutes before the film's about to start. That's why she's given you that annoyed look and pretending she needs to go out and get a plastic spoon for her ice cream.

(2) The cinema is very busy and mostly with people younger than me. I'm thirty. At no time did I think I'd be going to see a Fellini film and be one of the oldest people there.

(3) The story is of a film director who should be making a film but seems to be procrastinating by going to some parties and cheating on his wife. No matter how hard Marcello Mastroianni tries, he ultimately fails to gain my sympathy by basically coming off as quite a smug person.

(4) At about the half hour point I realise I'm losing interest. Perhaps years of reading about how much of a classic this film was has elevated it to a level which it could never attain. But somewhere in the middle of the pitiless dialogue, pointless closeups of bit players or annoying camera angles I find that I can't be less involved.

(5) About minute fifty the audience laughs. Someone on-screen has made a joke at the expense of some extras who are supposed to be appearing in the film within a film. By now I'm making do with letting the admittedly exciting cinematography wash over me.

(6) Minute ninety and a dream sequence begins in which all of the women who've appeared in the film re-appear as part of a harem. Whiile initially an exciting concept, it plays in places as Carry On Art House. Next, the director decided he can't be arsed with the film he's making after all, and the movie ends well with a circus band and all of the cast dancing around in a circus ring. It's funny and interesting and has a freedom the rest of the film lacks.

(7) As the credits start to role, the audience literally and audibly gives a sigh of relief, partly because the film's ending and also I think because everyone realises everyone else is having the same reaction they've had.

(8) As I'm leaving the cinema, a couple are just behind me going down the stairs to the exit. I overhear her saying: "Surrealism is ok. But I think that some surreal has a limit...." I burst out laughing and we all agree we've just spent two hours we'll never get back and wished we'd been watching La Dolca Vita instead.

(and a half) When I get home I read the review from the Time Out Film Guide. Here it is:
"The passage of time has not been kind to what many view as Fellini's masterpiece. Certainly Di Venanzo's high-key images and the director's flash-card approach place 81?2 firmly in its early '60s context. As a self-referential work it lacks the layering and the profundity of, for example, Tristram Shandy, and the central character, the stalled director (Mastroianni), seems less in torment than doodling. And yet... The bathing of Guido sequence is a study extract for film- makers, and La Saraghina's rumba for the seminary is a gift to pop video. Amiably spiking all criticism through a gloomy scriptwriter mouthpiece, Fellini pulls a multitude of rabbits out of the showman's hat."
I decide that I'm never going to see an 'classic' film without reading what those people have to say first. It'll save a hell of a lot of time.

Student strikes proper prose as Hamlet in Maui

"A Lahainaluna senior playing Hamlet in a scene where he is debating whether to kill his uncle, King Claudius, who is the murderer of his father, won over the judges in the local round of the English Speaking Union 2005 National Shakespeare Competition."

Oh Homer

The debates about whether Shakespeare wrote the canon have a historic precedent. Many centuries before, people began questioning the authorship of Greek poet Homer's work. Over the years a belief has developed in some quarters that the classic Iliad and the epic Odyssey do not have a claim to single author status and that 'Homer' may instead be a blanket title to a group of creatives working over a number of years, a catch all term for a style of poetry.

Olivier Awards Nominations

... and Ben Whishaw's youthful Hamlet at the Old Vic is nominated in the Best Actor catagory.

Links for 2005-01-20 [del.icio.us]

Links for 2005-01-20 [del.icio.us]

  • Magazine And Publicists: Synergistic Selling-Out!
    So hold on, Zoe, slow down. What is it you wanted to say?
  • Elizabeth Was Cursed Twice
    "The musical casting chairs still has Elizabeth stumped, she said. "I honestly don't know who all is in the second one, much less the first," she said. "Like, ... I keep hearing names, going, 'Really? I didn't know they were in it.'
  • Explore Tate Britain
    The interactive way to explore the world's largest display of British art
  • With Stephen Fry as The Book
    Just an excellent, excellent choice. Having heard him reading passages from the books before many years ago with just right wit and timing this is just so *right*.
  • Shakespeare Poisoned by Syphilis Treatment
  • Only with Amazon. Fabulous free gifts!
    Err. Right.
  • How copyright could be killing culture
    I'm sure this is just as true in the UK. Even on a basic level, tv series are being edited for dvd to remove music the programme makers no longer have the rights for.
  • "And dance by the light of the moon...."
    TV vanity cards
  • Hitchhiker's Guide Q&A - Part 2!
    "I like the idea that our film will work in a similar way to The Simpsons or a Pixar film, in the sense that it will appeal to a younger audience, but will also work on various other levels for an adult."
  • Casting call *or* what ever happened to Rickie Vasquez? (with photo)
    "Wilson Cruz presents “My So-Called Lifestyle" to an audience ... for Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. Cruz, the star of ... My So-Called Life, described the events leading up to his openly gay role on the show."
  • MP slates BBC children's TV duo
    Or, MP completely misjudges the mood of the nation. Again. BOGIES!
  • Who's Who of Victorian Cinema
    Where the man in the moon came from.
  • twitchfilm.net: Ah, Female Angst ...
  • Well we would ask for Jack but ...

    Here is how Jack Daniels died. He arrived at work early one morning and realised he needed to open the safe in his office. When he tried to open the door, he couldn't actually remember the combination. He kicked the safe in frustration and broke his toe. An infection set in and he slowly became increasingly ill. He eventually died from blood poisoning in 1911.

    Coat? What coat?

    Life Whenever I think of the play King Lear, since I can never follow the plot I always imagine the central moment, of the old, mad king in the moors railing against the elements stripping him of his humanity. Last night on the way the film class as I was nearly blown off my feet by the wind and the rain I realised I no longer had to imagine how his highness felt. I was cold and miserable. And it turns out, just like him, forgetful.

    I've been struggling on in multiple jumpers and shirts desperately trying to keep warm. Although I knew I had a leather jacket, I could hardly wear it for work. I'm one those people who likes shopping, but not necessarily for clothes, so I always kept at the back of my mind that the weather would pick up and I wouldn't need to buy a new coat. So I'm talking my Mum and having one of those, 'Are you sure you're wearing enough clothing?' conversations when she said the following.

    "I don't see why you're not wearing that coat you bought last year."

    Coat? What coat? I started to think. I didn't have a coat. I knew I didn't have a coat.

    "What coat?" I asked.
    "The one with the hood. The fluffy hood."

    The fluffy hood. The words bounced around the inards of my brain.

    "You bought it in Clayton Square. At that shop."

    Then it dawned on me. I had bought a coat. In the January Sales last year. I'd worn it all the way through to April. Then in the warmer weather put it away. And promptly forgot about it. Tonight when I got home, I checked the wardrobe, and sure enough, there it was hanging up. To a degree I feel as though its been gifted to me, along with the memory of buying it. So it's a good job it's just the kind of thing I'd buy for myself. I'm not sure what the king would think of all this though.

    Trial of Joan of Arc

    Film Tonight's film class was partly filled with a showing of Robert Bresson's Trial of Joan of Arc (Proc├Ęs de Jeanne d'Arc). It was another example of how I'm still learning about this medium I'm so fond of and in particular the range of storytelling techniques which have been employed. Considering the emotiveness of the subject and the story being told, the film employs a deceptively simple style, with few establishing shots, the majority taking place in midshots, with the brief bridging moments carried by hands and feet. It's also extra-ordinarily dialogue heavy, with it seems little room for fictionalisation we watch a woman condemned and executed for her personal beliefs.

    Bresson it seems was far from an actor's director. He actively hired non-actors who he found easier to mold into a particular 'performance'; he disliked the idea of overt manipulation of the audience, wanting instead to offer the events and allowing us to make up our own minds. To this end there isn't really what you might calling, acting or a performance. He's apparently seen a silent version of the same story and disliked it so intensely with all the crying and falling to the ground and praying and gesturing that he went completely in the other direction. Even as the judge condemns Joan and she is in sight of her death neither shows a hint of hystrionics, both could be considered positively placid, although I think it's more a case of captured dignity. In this way it does allow the viewer to project their own emotion onto the events. It felt to me as Joan was offering nothing but contempt to the court and her situation and didn't see much point in making to much noise because there was an inevitability to how her life's end was going to proceed.

    The film was made in 1962 and to a degree it's difficult to watch now without comparison to similar films and television. I was immediately reminded of Judgment at Nuremberg released a year before and similar based on transcripts of the trial, the main difference being that although that extrapolated history its was very much about actors and sported an exceedingly starry cast (for the time). The modern equivalent are the acted cases which appear on television from time to time and now in the theatre. Wierdly, the closest I can think of would be the Sky News coverage of the Hutton Enquiry, in which the day's movements in court, uncaptured by television were acting out within hours of them happening. Like the Bresson film that eskewed performance over content, although then it was probably due to time in production pressures over an artistic decision.
    Technorati Tags: , , , , , ,

    Awards Boycott

    Film It's the award season and I was expecting that I would gladding on about who should be winning which statue were. But significantly I haven't the inclination. After many years I've come to the conclusion that despite a few recent anomolies, the really good films, the films you actually want to see more than once and my goodness have a relationship with over time never win.

    I see Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind up for a Bafta, something inspirational and frankly about the time we live in and I can already imagine Scorsese strolling up on stage to collect another award for The Aviator. It's good to see things by Shane Meadows and Edgar Wright in there, and Kate Winslet doing a Scarlett Johanssen with two nominations, but where hell are Before Sunset or The Bourne Supremacy, both of which are doing something entirely new with their relative genres? What makes Richard Greengrass' directing in the latter any worse than Michael Mann in Collateral?

    I'm just disappointed that a seemingly random series of films are picked out for glory when there are equally good movies being released which don't get recognition. It's old news, true, but it's finally become annoying for me which is why I'm boycotting suggesting what's going to win this year. Which isn't to say I won't be watching the ceremonies. After all I might miss moments like William Shatner getting an award for acting. Who would have thought something like that would ever happen?
    Technorati Tags:

    Penny Drop

    Lucy Davies, star of Shaun of the Dead and The Office is the daughter of comedian Jasper Carrot. His real name is Robert Davies. He got the nickname Jasper at school and added his new surname Carrott when he started doing the clubs.

    It's just so dangerous.

    Life When I checked my email this evening I recieved the following message from BT Yahoo, my internet service provider:
    "Dear Customer,

    Good News: FREE upgrade for Surftime customers

    What are we doing?

    We're simplifying your BT Yahoo! Surftime service so you'll be able to use it at any time, day or night, without additional call charges.

    This means that you'll no longer have to pay extra for surfing during the day, Monday to Friday ...."
    I've read through the message a number of times. I've checked the source code to see if it's spam. I even thought about printing it out so that I can do thing you see in films were people turn messages back to front for authenticity. It seems fine to me.

    I just don't believe it.

    I'm being given more flexible hours online for no extra cost.No more waiting until 6pm to check my emails and surfing at midday on a bank holiday. It's just so dangerous. It starts on the 24th January. If you don't hear from me that night, you can assume something has gone terribly wrong and you should go on without me...

    Links for 2005-01-16 [del.icio.us]

    Links for 2005-01-16 [del.icio.us]

  • Supper With The Stars -- how to hire Norman Collier to come around for tea
    "Malandra (Burrows) is a charmer, who likes nothing more than an after dinner sing-song."
  • Laura Rossi
    Composer for the excellent 'Silent Shakespeare'
  • BBC Radio 4 Front Row 29/09/04
    Includes report on 'Silent Shakespeare'
  • bfi Video: Silent Shakespeare
    The 'about' page
  • I aten’t dead
    Apology accepted!
  • The Skinhead Hamlet

    "Our hope was to achieve something like the effect of the New English Bible."

    [Well, there is some swearing.]

    Hamlet The Text Adventure

    "I am in my bedroom in the palace. There is a four-poster bed, and not much else. A portrait hangs on the wall. An exit leads north."

    Iconography: Dalek on a container


    Iconography: Dalek on a container
    Originally uploaded by feelinglistless.

    Iconography: Dalek on a container


    Iconography: Dalek on a container
    Originally uploaded by feelinglistless.

    I noticed this also spraypainted on a container near the old tennis courts in Sefton Park. I'm not sure if it's by the same hand as the stencil. It must have taken some time though.

    Iconography: Dalek on a bring bank


    Iconography: Dalek on a bring bank
    Originally uploaded by feelinglistless.

    What I really don't understand about this stencil of a Dalek is whether the person is a Doctor Who fan or just likes the design. I mean what leads someone to taking the picture, cutting out the picture, taking it all the way to the park (in the dead of night I presume) and spraying it on something like a bring bank?

    Iconography: Dalek on a bring bank


    Iconography: Dalek on a bring bank
    Originally uploaded by feelinglistless.

    So there I am minding my own busines, doing by bit for the environment when I find someone has stenciled a Dalek to our local paper bring bank. It really doesn't get more random than this does it?